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Transcript, edited for reading:
It’s that time of year! Time to make your business plans for the new year.
It’s time to assess what’s worked in your business this year and make plans to make more money, take more time off, and grow your influence in the market next year.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll be taking time away from the inner workings of your business over the next eight weeks to make those plans. In this special episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., I’ve got five ways you can improve on your plans.
Now, that’s no matter what planning system or strategy you’re planning to use. Plus, these tips have all been inspired by listener questions.
You ready? Here we go.
The first question comes from Aerie North, who you can find at Skillshare.com/AerieNorth.
She says, “I’m never 100% sure if adding a new product or service to my business will confuse my existing clients. I’m an artist and art teacher, and as an art teacher, I know how to create in many mediums. I sell art prints and coloring books online, and I also make crochet sculptures for art galleries. I’d like to add teaching crochet sculptures in my online classroom, but I already have several different art modalities represented in my online classroom. Will adding new and different types of art classes turn off my existing students?“
This is a really great question, and it’s something that I hear from listeners and readers no matter what market they’re in. Aerie is in art and art education, but of course, I hear very similar questions from life coaches and designers and photographers, consultants, all types of businesses, and this is also a really common question at this time of the year.
Because the end of the year or even the beginning of the next poses some really special challenges for business owners, and the most insidious of those challenges is, of course, the temptation to try new things, whether that’s new products or new list-building tactics, new messages, new packages.
And… I get it…
Trying new things is fun, it’s exciting, and it could be a huge opportunity, which is exactly what Aerie is wondering about: is this a big opportunity, or is it potentially a distraction or worse? Because any time you add something new, it could be great, or it could completely dilute what’s already working.
As Mike Michalowicz says in The Pumpkin Plan, there is always a “direct correlation between diluted focus and a diluted bank account.“
That’s pretty clear, and I completely agree with Mike on this, and I’m sure that you’ve probably experienced this in the past as well. Or you might be able to look at your business right now, and say, “Oh, yeah, my diluted bank account is coming from my diluted focus,” and so we want to avoid this when we’re planning for the new year.
So the first way that you can improve your new year business plans is to double down on your positioning.
1. Double Down on Your Positioning
Now, what’s positioning? Before I get into the rest of the answer to this question, let’s talk a little bit about what I mean specifically by positioning.
Positioning is where your business sits in the market. It’s the stories that your customers tell about your business. It’s the message that you put out. It’s how you do what you do differently. It’s the price you set, it’s the packages or offers that you make, it’s how you show up in the market, and all those things come together to give you your positioning. In other words, where you sit in the market.
Now, if you’re tempted to start something new, to add to your offerings, expand your audience, take a step back. Does what you’re creating reinforce your brand? The story it tells about your customers, the value you have to offer, or does it dilute your focus?
Now, for Aerie, that means taking a look at how she wants to be positioned in the market, what she wants to be known for, how she wants her customers to talk or think about her business, and what message she wants to lead with, and then determine if those new classes will reinforce that positioning or dilute it. And the key here really is in the answers to those specific questions, and I’ll come back to that in just a minute.
But Aeries’s positioning may not be based on the particular art method she’s teaching. It might be based on the particular value she’s offering through art, or maybe it’s based on who she’s helping her customers become.
Her positioning could be based on lots of different things, not necessarily the modality or the method in which she’s teaching, and that’s so important here, because to know whether it’s a distraction or not, to know whether it’s confusing or not, to know whether it’s going to interrupt what’s already working and dilute her focus when it comes to her brand, we need to know what that specific positioning is. We need to know where it comes from and what she wants it to be, and so that here really is the key, because until she knows exactly what that positioning is, she can’t know for sure whether she’ll confuse customers with a new offering and slow the growth of her business.
So for Aerie and for everyone listening, you need to be able to answer these three questions:
First, when people talk about your business, what do you want them to say?
This question’s really important because we tend to think about positioning as something that’s sort of inherited, it’s something that is done to us, it’s a place that we are put in the market, but positioning isn’t like that.
We get to choose where we’re positioned, how we’re positioned in the market in regards both to our own business and in relation to other people’s businesses, so you get to decide what you want people to say about your business by the types of offers that you put out, by the messages that you use, by the types of marketing that you engage in, the prices that you set, all of those different pieces there tell a story that lets you position your business specifically. So you’ve got to be able to answer that question to know whether a new offer or a new tactic is going to help you or hurt you.
The second question is what’s different about what you’re offering than what others are offering?
Positioning isn’t just based on your business, it’s based on your business in relation to the rest of the market, in relation to other businesses.
Now, I know the temptation here is to kind of fall into some, you know, competition spiral, where you worry about what other people are doing, but this is really an opportunity to take control of that, to break yourself out of that competition downward spiral, and instead, really focus on what you can do to actively position your business relative to other businesses, and to do that, you do have to be paying attention.
You’ve got to look at what other people are doing so you can do things differently.
Then the third question is what story does your business tell about your customers?
What story does your business tell about your customers? A lot of times, with branding and with marketing, you’re focused on the story that you want to tell. Your story. The story of your business. Why you do what you do, how you got here, what kind of interesting things have happened in your life or your work experience that have led you to this place, but that is the least important part of the story that your business is telling.
The most important part of the story your business is telling is the story where your customers are the hero. The part where your customers are the star. So your business has to actively tell a story where your customers get to be the hero, and the clearer you are about that story, the more upfront you are about with that story, the more it affects your positioning, and the clearer your positioning becomes. So with every decision you make about the next year, make sure you’re reinforcing those answers, and then doubling down on your positioning.
Aerie, for you, that could mean that those new classes go one way or the other, but you won’t be able to figure that out until you have the answers to those three questions.
Now, our next question comes from Jody Riddick of JustJodieLeigh.com.
She asks, “How do you get the most out of mastermind?”
Now, I love this question, and it leads me to the second way you can improve your business plans for the new year, which is to get support from diverse sources.
2. Get Support From Diverse Sources
I named 2016 the Year of the Mastermind for me, and it’s proven to be an extremely helpful strategy. I have taken part in three different masterminds over the course of this year, you know, where I am a participant, and I’ve also led two different masterminds over the course of this year, where I’m working with clients in a mastermind group, and I have seen and felt the power of masterminds firsthand all year long.
I can tell you in also watching what is so powerful about masterminds that there are three ways that people most often go wrong with masterminds, and there are then three ways, of course, that you can improve on what your past experience with masterminds might have been.
So the first thing is that people seek out mastermind partners who are kind of going at the same pace they are, which might be slow to non-existent, and so the first way that you can get the most out of a mastermind is to actually…
Seek out people who are moving at a faster pace than you.
You want the people that you’re masterminding with, as a business owner, to actually push you, to challenge you, to inspire you to get a little more uncomfortable, to do things a little more outside of your comfort zone, and really use that to propel your business forward. So that might mean that you have to introduce yourself to some new people to put a really effective mastermind together. Or it might mean you need to revisit some contacts that have gone stale, because those people have been moving at a faster pace than you’ve been.
This also means that you’ve got to be willing to say no to masterminding with people who could hold you back, and I know that that is something that gives people butterflies in their stomach, it makes them feel bad, and I know, I’ve totally been there, too, but this is something that really will make or break your mastermind experience.
So as you are building a mastermind for next year, and I really, really hope that you do, do seek out people who are moving at a faster pace, who are trying new things, who are setting bigger goals than you, and I think very, very quickly, you’ll find that you’re getting more and more out of those interactions.
The second thing that people do wrong with masterminds is that they put together groups of people with very similar businesses, people who run in the same circles as they do, and of course, you can fix this one simply by…
Putting together a mastermind with people who have different types of businesses from yours, and people who run and move in different circles of influence from you.
So you guys don’t all want to have the same mentors. You don’t want to all have the same influencers. You don’t want to all be reading the same blogs or listening to the same podcasts. You want to put together a mastermind group of people who are getting information and ideas and inspiration from different sources, and you want to put together a mastermind group of people who are operating different businesses than yours. Or at the very least, operating their business very differently from yours.
The problem with putting together kind of a really homogenous mastermind group is that there’s a lot of confirmation bias that happens there, and you end up kind of doubling down on strategies that are just what you’re already doing. They’re already the things that don’t seem really to quite be working, but if instead, you know, if you’re a life coach and you mastermind with a photographer and a website designer and a B2B business consultant, you’re going to see opportunities in what they’re doing that you would have never considered as part of your kind of life coach-y business brain way of thinking.
It’s not that things in the life coach business sphere are bad or that things in the photography business sphere are bad or that things in the B2B consulting space is bad, it’s just that there is more creative ideas out there, if only you would break out of your sphere of influence and into someone else’s, and masterminds are perfect for this.
You’re going to find out what’s working in other industries, you’re going to find out what’s working in other business models, and you’re going to be able to get creative about what to do with that in your own business simply because you’re not going to be so close to that idea, so close to that tactic, so close to that strategy that you can only think in terms of what you’ve already done or what’s already worked or what you already know. So that’s the second thing that you can do to get the most out of a mastermind.
Another reason masterminds go wrong is because they’re unstructured. If you want to get more out of your mastermind group next year…
Use a structure.
Make sure there is an agenda to every meeting. Prepare for each meeting. Know what you’re going to share.
In most of my masterminds, it’s some variation on a very simple structure, and I have Jaime Masters from The Eventual Millionaire Podcast to thank for this in a couple of different forms, but in most of my mastermind groups, the structure is simply having a round-robin group share at the beginning. That can be around challenges, it can be around victories, it can be around what you accomplished over the last week productivity-wise, and then spending the rest of the time focused on one person or one issue or one goal in the group.
And simply by breaking up time like that, everyone gets heard, everyone has an opportunity to speak up, to share something, and then everyone also has the opportunity to focus on just one thing, and this really has been the difference between, again, mastermind groups that make it and mastermind groups that get broken.
So make sure you’re using a structure, and it’s going to feel a little weird at first. It’s going to feel awkward, I promise you that, so just be prepared for it. If you’re the person kind of imposing the structure on your group, it will feel strange, but that strangeness will wear off over time as people just come to know what the expectation is week in and week out, and that structure, again, will give everyone a chance to kind of relax and focus and get the most out of the mastermind group.
But above all of those things, regardless of what’s going to work for you, or you know, what you’re want to take or leave from what I just offered there, I do hope that you set a goal to create and meet with a mastermind group next year, whether that’s monthly or biweekly or weekly. Most of my groups meet weekly, and I highly recommend it. Even if not everyone can meet each, you know, week in and week out, that’s okay, but that weekly structure, it keeps the pace moving. It keeps people on topic. It means there’s less catch-up time every time you meet, and so I find that weekly frequency really, really helpful.
Our next listener question comes from Leslie at MischaLee Jewelry. She says, “How do you manage your time when there are a lot of really different business tasks that have to be done? I feel pulled in so many directions sometimes.”
Of course, the answer to this question is the third way you can improve your business planning for the new year, and that is to know your top priority at any given time.
3. Know Your Top Priority At Any Given Time
Now, one of the biggest benefits of planning ahead, whether it’s for the month, the quarter, or the year, is that it becomes easier to spot your top priorities.
These priorities will show themselves as specific goals. So if you look, at your next year’s plans or your next quarter’s plans, you’ll see some specific goals, hopefully, that you’ve set for yourself. The more specific, the easier it will be to know what’s important for you and your team to be focused on.
But underlying your specific goals, the things that are really important to you at any given time, there’s going to be three currents. Think of them as ocean currents, so no matter what direction your ship is traveling in, you’ll get influenced by the current that you are currently in. You need to take that current into account, and adjust for it as you go.
Now, the first current is bringing in revenue…
and this is maybe the current that most of us are in most of the time, and it’s also the most powerful current, because if you don’t feel like you have this taken care of, if you don’t know where the money is coming from, you really can’t focus on anything else. Most specific goals can serve this current, which is a really good thing.
If this is where you’re going to be a lot of the time, you need to know how any of your specific goals can help you bring in revenue so that you’re going in the direction that you want to be going in.
So if you’re building your list, make sure you’re making offers to new people who join your community, making money off of that specific goal of growing your audience.
If you’re aiming for a book deal, make sure you know what that advance from the publisher needs to be to keep your business running, so you know that when you sign that contract, there’s going to be an amount of money coming in that leaves you comfortable, that leaves you, again, steering that ship in the right direction.
If you’re growing your team as your specific goal, make sure that you know how each new team member will allow for new revenue to come in. So again, each time you hire, you’re not feeling like, ech, that expense of paying them every week or every month, instead, you’re saying, ooh, I get to bring in this new team member, and they’re going to bring in this many thousands of dollars to my bottom line every month. That’s a much better way to look at that, and it’s going to keep you a lot more focused.
Now, the second current is building your base or filling your pipeline…
and you can’t ever really ignore the need to know where your next lead is coming from, but sometimes, this is the biggest priority.
Maybe things have tapered off, or you know that you really need to accelerate building your audience, filling your pipeline in order to get to that next place that you want to be in your business. Now, again, if this is a need for your business right now, or you know that it will be sometime over the next three, six, or twelve months, look at how you can leverage specific goals. Maybe like a big launch, a speaking gig, or a media campaign to grow your audience and fill your pipeline. Look at the things that you want to accomplish next year, and figure out how you can use them to steer your business in this current of building your base.
The third current is optimizing internal systems.
Now, as my good friend, Natasha Vorompiova from SystemsRock.com would tell you, every business has systems. It’s just that some of us pay attention to those systems, and some of us don’t, and so at any given time, you might feel a priority in your business for focusing and paying more attention to those internal systems. Your specific goals can be used to focus on optimizing these systems. Making them work smoother, delegating more of their pieces, or codifying them as part of your operations.
So if you want to know how to manage your time, know what your priority is right now by knowing what specific goal you’re working toward and how the current you’re in is affecting how you approach that goal.
Just about any goal that you see in your plans over the next three, six, or twelve months can be leveraged within one of those three currents, so that you’re not feeling conflicted, but instead, you are moving in the direction you want to be moving in. So instead of balancing, you know, going after that book deal and bringing in money, you see how those two things can work together. Or instead of, you know, managing a big launch and having that conflict with optimizing internal systems, you can see how those two things work together.
Now, the next question, and this is a very popular one, is from Kay at The Happiness Detective. She says, “How can I improve my sales technique? I have the shop, I have the products, I’m out there promoting the best I can, but so far, only crickets.”
Now, the answer to this one, is the fourth way, of course, that you can improve your business plans for the new year, and that is to separate your marketing plans from your sales plans.
4. Separate Your Marketing Plans From Your Sales Plans
Separate your marketing plans from your sales plans. I want you to make sure that you have campaigns in place that serve two different, though related, purposes.
One, building awareness of your business and your brand, and two, converting sales.
Way too often, especially in online business circles, but this is pretty much in every business circle, I see these two objectives overlapping, and it makes each of them less effective. So if you’re overlapping building awareness with converting sales, you’re probably not building as much awareness as you’d like to be doing, and you’re probably converting sales less than you would like to be doing, and no small business owner wants to be in that situation.
We want to know that our base, our audience is growing all the time at a pace that’s going to allow us to grow our revenue, too, and of course, we want to know that the sales are coming in. We want to know when they’re coming in, and so this is kind of a, maybe a counterintuitive against trend recommendation, but based on what I see going on in the small business marketplace right now, I want to encourage you to, on some level, separate your marketing plans from your sales plans, and that means that you are focused on, you know, whatever blog post is going out, whatever podcast episode is going out, whatever emails you’re sending, whatever list-building campaigns you’re engaged in, you know what the main goal is.
Is the goal of this tactic or strategy to build awareness about your brand? To grow your base? To build your audience? Or is it to convert people who know about you into buyers? Which is it?
Now, I’m not going to say across the board that campaigns can’t do both, but if you find yourself struggling in this area, I think this is one of the most effective things that you can do, and I think that that’s where most of our listeners find themselves in, and even if you’re finding that you are marketing well and you are selling well, I think that drawing attention to this and looking at these two different opportunities can help you do even better with that as well.
Any time you are marketing and selling, or promoting as Kay said, for your business, make sure that you know whether you are focused on building your audience or converting your audience into buyers.
Now, the biggest opportunity here is really to give other people an opportunity and a reason to say yes right now whenever you’re looking for sales. It’s really hard to do that when you’re focused on building your audience. Building your audience gets people excited, it gets people engaged, it gets people sharing, it gets people commenting, liking, opening emails, clicking on things, right? But it doesn’t generally get people buying.
The kind of mechanisms at play there are pretty different.
When you want to shift gears and focus on sales, when you want to get people to buy, you really have to be focused on giving people a reason to say yes right now, and so that means first and foremost giving them a clear call to action.
You’re not just posting pictures of the work that you create, you’re not just talking about the service that you offer, but you’re actually asking them to buy. You’re asking them to set up an initial consultation. You’re asking them to register now for a workshop. Make that call to action really, really clear, and then back that call to action up with natural urgency.
Natural urgency is simply the answer to why buying now is more important to your customers, or potential customers, than putting off, and why it’s important now has to do with them. It’s a situation that’s happening in their life. It’s a way that they feel. It’s a goal that they’re working toward. It’s a problem that they keep bumping into. An obstacle that they can’t overcome. So think about what that is. Be as specific as possible, create that call to action, then back it up with that piece of natural urgency. If you can do that, and at the same time, separate out those things that are just there to build awareness, just there to build your audience, I think you’re going to get a much better return on your time and your energy when it comes to sales.
Now, the final way that you can improve on your plans for next year is inspired by my friend Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin from The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership.
She says, “Talk to me about how to handle the emotional transition from solo to CEO. Releasing task responsibility, delegating without fear has been my challenge for about the last six months,” and I know a lot of our listeners are in a very similar position here.
So the fifth and final way that you can improve on your business plans for the next year is to make a plan to step back while letting your business grow.
5. Make a Plan to Step Back While Letting Your Business Grow
Now, a lot of people are going to put delegation and team-building on their new year business plans, but it’s not enough to just hire people to ease your workload. As my friend, Peter Lang, from the Uhuru Network marketing agency, told me in regards to myself and my own business, you have to offload responsibility, too.
This is where so many small business owners go wrong, myself included, from time to time.
Now, when I say responsibility, I don’t mean the responsibility for whether a task has been done properly. Whether the blog post gets uploaded, whether Facebook posts go out on time, whether the customer service emails get answered, etc. What I mean is responsibility for important indicators in the business, important metrics, the things that really make our businesses tick.
In other words, if you’re really looking to step into your CEO role and give yourself some space in your business, you need to be able to say, “I have a marketing person who does more than post to social media and plan my email marketing. They’re in charge of making sure my subscriber count goes up month by month. They’re also in charge of insuring our conversion rates during launches maintain a certain benchmark.”
Or maybe for your business, you need to be able to say, “I have a customer service manager who isn’t just in charge of answering email. She also looks for ways to improve our net promoter score and owns our customer retention efforts.”
See the difference there? It’s not just about the individual tasks that need to get done, getting individual activities off of your plate as you delegate. It’s also about delegating a higher level of responsibility. Responsibility for something that is key to the way the business runs.
In the first example, it was about conversion rates and subscriber counts. In the second example, it was about net promotor score and customer retention.
Now, when you plan for that type of team management, you’re not just offloading tasks. You’re not allowing yourself to continue to be the bottleneck for decision-making and strategy.
You’re actually creating a team that knows how to create value for your organization, and they actually have the space and capability and responsibility to do that, even without your direction. That then allows you to step back and still watch your business grow. And so to that end, for next year, don’t just plan to make changes in your team. Don’t just plan to add new team members or delegate tasks that should have been delegated a long time ago.
I also want you to plan for time off. Plan for time off such that your business continues to grow. Plan for time off in your quarterly or annual plans, and don’t allow yourself to make this time that the whole business is taking off.
This isn’t just time that you can afford to step away because the business doesn’t need to grow during that time. Make this time that the company is growing without you, and if you can delegate that level of responsibility, if you can assign that level of responsibility and let people take charge of those important indicators, those important metrics for your business, the important strategy-level decisions, you’re going to be able to do just that.
So again, let’s go over those five ways that you can improve on your business plans for next year so that you can get the most out of what is a beautiful new opportunity, which is starting fresh, whether that’s in January or April or July or September. You can start over again with your business at any time of the year.
The first way you can improve on your plans is to double down on your positioning, making sure that every decision you make for your business reinforces the story that you want to tell about your business and its relationship to the rest of the market.
The second way you can improve on your plans is to get support from diverse sources. Put together a mastermind group. Seek out people who are moving at the same or faster pace to you. Seek out people who have different types of businesses, and use a structure to make sure that those meetings are as productive as possible.
The third way you can improve on your plans for next year is to know your top priority at any given time. Know both what your specific goal is for any week, month, quarter, or for the year, and at the same time, pay attention to the current of your business. Do you need to bring in revenue? Do you need to build your base? Do you need to optimize your internal systems? And allow your specific goal to become leverage for getting those things done as well.
Fourth, separate your marketing plans from your sales plans, and in doing so, make sure that when you are actually selling, you’re making a clear call to action, and you’re giving people a good reason, an urgent reason to say, “Yes,” right now.
And finally, make a plan to step back and let your business grow. So as you’re looking at opportunities to build your team in your business plans for the next year, use it also as an opportunity to give people responsibility over important indicators and metrics in your business, so that you really can step away and continue to see the business grow without you.
Want me to answer your busines question in an upcoming epside? Leave a comment here or–better yet–use your phone or computer to record yourself asking your question (plus who you are, what you do, and where we can find you online) and email the file to email@example.com.
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Tara: Hey everyone, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit. I’m Tara Gentile, your host, and together with CreativeLive, we explore the unique strategies that creative entrepreneurs use to take control of their lives, profit from their passions, and pursue what’s truly important to them.
My guest this week is Monaica Ledell, a sought after copywriter and digital strategist.copywriter and digital strategist. In the last decade, she’s helped her clients create nearly $10 million in revenue, and worked with personal and entrepreneurial giants like Lisa Nichols, Jaime Tardy, Jonathon Fields, and Author Benjamin. She’s the president of Truth Hacking, and unconventional branding and sales positioning company that builds profitable, results-based brands, and the creator of Mommy Breadwinner, a blog for working moms who want more play and dough.
Monaica and I talk about her process for creating stories and brands that sell, how she connects with clients who don’t have time for your content marketing, and how she divides her time between client services and business development. Monaica Ledell, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit. Thank you so much for joining me.
Monaica: Of course. What an honor and a privilege.
Tara: Absolutely. Thank you. So let’s start off by talking about how you got into copywriting and branding. What kind of drew you into this work?
Monaica: Well, it was by accident, because plans in my life just don’t work out when I make them. You know, like life plans? I can make lots of business plans, Tara, but … but doing life plan stuff, like it just always takes its own kind of angle and twists and turns, so I was in another business, it really wasn’t working out. I was down in Mexico at an event. This is ten, eleven, twelve years ago, and actually, eleven, and I meet this guy who I thought had all the answers, and he really did at the time, and he became my mentor. I just wanted to know how to be successful, and so this guy ended up becoming my mentor, which is a story in and of itself, and I didn’t fall into copywriting or anything like that, although my high school AP English teacher told my parents as a senior I could write romance novels at the time, but anyway. So he … this guy called me one day, Tara, and he said, “Monaica, I’m mentoring you, but I want to do something different.” And I said okay. And I, you know, I’m in my early twenties, and he said, “I want to teach you sales.”
And I said, “Well, I don’t have any interest in learning sales, David,” and I didn’t say it like that, but that was basically the gist.
And he was like, “No, I’m going to teach you this, and it’s the way it’s going to be, because if you don’t know how to do this, then you’re not going to be successful in business, but if you do know how to sell, you can go anywhere. It doesn’t matter what happens in your life or your business.”
And I said okay. Because it was contingent. Like this guy was not going to mentor me if I didn’t do it his way. So as I grew in that mentorship, things just started to happen. So I started doing email copywriting when it really became a thing. So in some ways, I guess I’m kind of like a little bit of a veteran, which is strange, but anyway, it’s the truth. And we just started using other tools and I was adopting them as I was learning sales, and that’s really how it all came about.
Branding was a different story, if you want me to tell you that.
Tara: Yeah, please.
Monaica: Yeah, so what I realized over the years, after doing a ton of launches, you know, because you kind of get into this thing, and you’re like, I mean, we were using Constant Contact at the time, right?
Monaica: I mean, that’s all there was, really, and besides like just sending things through, like, your computer, you know, on a mass email list, which we would never do anymore, right? But what I realized through the years after doing all of these launches and producing so many people and products and services and pitching them out into the world is that you could have a great performing ad, you could have all of the strategic thingies on your website, like I got the opt-in here, and I got this here, and it looks good, and it’s on the right hand, and the blah, blah, blah, right, and then you could have like a highly-targeted ad with Google ads or even Facebook now, and everything could still underperform, right? Or it could perform at subpar levels, so it was like what’s the deal on that? If they’re following the quote/unquote marketing, internet marketing rules, why is this happening? Right? Well, the brand is off, and when you talk to high-level brand, I mean, sorry, funnel experts, they will tell you if you don’t have your story right, like the whole thing is going to underperform. So that’s when I started to be able to really step into my creative juice and my psychology background and go, ah, I know what makes people tick, I can get them to move, right? But then the … the brand piece goes further, because it’s layered, Tara, and so you know, over time, what I developed was a really incredible skillset, which is how do you create market disruption? Right? How do you actually take this amazing, genius individual who has all of these talents, and how do you help the world make sense of who they are.
Tara: Mmm, okay. We need to dive into that a little bit further.
Monaica: That’s okay.
Tara: Really good. So what is your thought process when you’re trying to figure out how do I make the world make sense of this person or this brand or this company or this idea?
Monaica: Well, sometimes, I tell people, I really, what I really have is human investigative company, right?
Monaica: I do a lot of upfront work, and to this day … now, I don’t know if I’ll always be able to say this, but I can now, so I do, but I always preface it with this, to this day, I’ve never been wrong about a brand, ever, not once, yet. And I just dig and I dig and I dig, and I get to know somebody. I mean, like when I kick off, and I start with a client, Tara, I start with, “So where were you born? What was your dad like? What was your mom like? What kind of house did you grow up in? Were they married?” You know? And we get all the way up to kindergarten, and we’ve probably been talking for a half hour before we get up to kindergarten. So I have to know the whole story, and many, many times, I’m the first person who’s ever got the whole story. And then there will be this … there’s this piece that like how do you quantify it? Right? Like, I see people like my clients in their creative genius, and they get into that zone, right? Where they’re just so connected. You know, like when you’re just writing or you’re doing something or you’re singing. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you’re like … like time literally stops, okay? You know that feeling, right? And so you know that that’s the zone. I learned from this woman who is a, I don’t know, some sort of specialist in this kind of zone area. She says, and I believe her, that most people in the world only get to experience that a couple of times in their life, and when I was sitting in this really private, ten-person kind of mastermind two years ago, I thought to myself, “Man, I’m freaking lucky as hell, because I get to feel that like several times a week,” and then, of course, that high, ambitious entrepreneur was like, “Hey, how can I feel that every day?” Right? But when you get into that place, there’s this intuition that happens, and you’re like, eh, they’re holding back, or they’re not clear, and so my job is to help them get really, really clear.
Like, the whole crux of this one individual’s brand, who is a huge success story for us, right? And as so many of our clients are. I get down to about … we get up to about five, you know, and she’s making coffee and she’s waiting for her daddy, because her daddy is a … she’s using the terms daddy, her daddy is a grass farmer in Texas, and she’s living with her grandma, and anyway, and I just kept pressing and pressing and pressing, and I’m like, “So what did you do when you would wait for him to get to work,” because they had this house on this property and he would come into work in this house, and she said, “Well, I would make coffee.” And now I’ve got the footage rolling in my head of this little, tiny girl, who’s so ultra-responsible, making coffee for her dad at five years old. And I said, “So, did you drink it?” You know, like I’m looking for every detail, and she goes, “Well, as a matter of fact, I would.” Would you put cream and sugar in it? She goes, “No, I took it black.” And so it’s all of those little details that start to come together where you really start to get fully immersed in a human being, right? Who they really are? In addition to that, I do tons of interviews. So I don’t want to just take their word for it. Like, I’m interviewing people on their behalf. Like, I want to know how the world sees them.
And so there are these other, you know, brand experts who kind of DIY it, and they’re like … and there’s nothing wrong with this, by the way, because it can get you started, but it’s like so, go ask people what they think of you. All right. Well, the problem with that, and if you have a background in psychology or you’ve experienced this, you would know, is that when two people get into a conversation like that, it’s pretty vulnerable. So Tara, tell me what’s awesome about me. Right? And like … like what are my gifts and blah, blah, blah. Like, those are uncomfortable questions to ask, for starters. Secondly, you’re going to be put on the spot, so it’s not like, you know, human nature doesn’t want to come back and be like, well, you know, you, you know, I think that these are your gifts, but you’re going to kind of shade it and tell me what you think I want to hear, even if you’re up front, because it’s just … it’s just too vulnerable, and then whatever you’re telling me, even if it’s like amazing, 100% truth, I’m probably only going to hear about of that and be able to interpret it, because it’s vulnerable for me to accept that truth and reality about myself.
So when I say we run a human investigative company, I’m doing a whole lot of up front work to talk to these people and figure out where their true genius is, and then it’s about putting the magnifying glass in the right spot. Because I could be like, “Oh, you’re the most amazing author in the world,” and a lot of our clients are, but like is that how we really want to step out there in the world? Or is it the fact that they do this, instead, and then secondary to that, they’re an amazing author? Right? We have to find that white space in the marketplace and put them right there, so that now they have their own segment of the market that they’ve just swooped up and taken, nobody else owns it. Does that make sense?
Tara: Yeah, it does. Okay, so you’ve … you’ve talked about your interview process with a client. You’ve talked about sort of the interview process that happens with their clients. And then you mentioned, you know, where … where do you put the magnifying lens, how do you find that white space in the market, and that makes me think that you’re also doing a good bit of market analysis, sort of as a three-prong approach. Is that true?
Monaica: Yes, we do do that piece, too.
Tara: So what does that look like?
Monaica: Well, I’m doing … I do a couple of things. First, I research within the marketplace, and then I research just outside of the marketplace, because sometimes, a client comes in, and they’re like, “I want to be here,” but where they really need to be is over here, right?
Monaica: Which is a totally different spot. And so if I were to just go into their competitive market and look at it, we’re leaving out a humongous opportunity here. You have to really look at … you have to be able to dive deep, not only within a client, but within a marketplace, and also look at something globally. And then you have to be able to theorize, this takes me back to like psychology research college days, what would be the domino effect if we theoretically put somebody right here instead?
So I had a client, this is a really good example, it just was very plain as day. She’s at the top of a network marketing company. At the very top. She’s a veteran. She’s been there for a long time. She makes a hell of a lot of money. She travels the world. Everybody knows who she is. And so she’s at the very top of this network marketing company, and we get into some of the competitive research, and we’re looking at who her competitors are, like you know, other competitors within the network marketing industry and some of the other personal development. Something just wasn’t sitting right, you know. And so as we talked and talked and talked, I finally … we got down to the truth, and she was like, “I think I figured it out, where my resistance is.” And I was like, “What is it?” Because I’m just trying to get her feedback about the market. Like where are her creative boundaries, right? I’ve got to push her to this edge and this edge to figure out where her creative boundaries are. And she’s like, “I don’t really resonate with anybody in my market.” And I was like bingo. Okay.
So then we went in a totally different direction, right? And she was so excited and enthusiastic about that, because she doesn’t really feel like she fits in over there, and the truth is, she really doesn’t, but it was this whole discovery process. So then we go to have fun and say, okay, so if you got to pick, where do you want to be? And I think people forget that, too. Like, it’s not just about talking to an expert or a coach or a friend and saying hey, you know, this is what I want, help me create that, what do you think, right? I’m sorry, what do you think? Tara, what do you think I should do? What do you, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, right? What’s your advice? The truth is you get to pick.
Tara: Absolutely. And daunting. But awesome.
Monaica: It is, yeah.
Tara: All right. Let’s pull back a little bit, because I could go way down the rabbit hole with you with this … with this particular topic. We could talk about this all day. So I want to … I want to come back to as you’re starting your business again. What kind of misconceptions did you have about starting your business and maybe what kind of misconceptions have you had in growing your business?
Monaica: Okay, well, I think probably the biggest misconception is like I have this public mentor. I mean, he was known in some spaces, authors, coaches, you know, all these other things. He was a protégé of Bob Proctor, and so I make a lot of money for him. I make a lot of money. He teaches me sales. It was the scariest thing that I ever went through in my life to learn how to sell and influence people, right? And … but I learned I actually was pretty gifted at it. I didn’t know it. He just kind of helped me uncover that. I think that’s true of probably a lot of people?
At any rate, so I decide it’s time for me to go out on my own, and that was perfectly fine decision. I mean, it was scary in its own right, I weighed the pros and cons, and anyway, I left, and I started to do my own thing, which was consulting at the time, and I just kind of thought, well, because I was in these inner circles meeting with all of these high profile people, the clients will just come, and the clients they did not come, Tara. They just … they just like didn’t show up. I’m like why aren’t people knocking at my door, I don’t understand. What’s going on here? Don’t you guys remember who I worked with? You know, you make a couple calls, and it just doesn’t happen like that. Like there’s a whole new hustle that happens when you shift gears in a business, and it actually took me a while to accept. That, and then once I did, I was like oh my God. Like, let me tell you what I actually did, Tara, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, and I don’t know if this is that big of a deal, I just don’t think I’ve ever shared it. I didn’t really work for like a year. I was just like yeah, I’m just gonna let it like morph into its own thing, and like … like let the universe direct me, or what … I don’t know what I was thinking, but like at the very least, I should have kept my feet busy, like, doing something. Like go get a job at Starbucks. Just stay in it. Do something. I didn’t do anything. Partially because I didn’t have to, right, for that year. The pain wasn’t there. So the pain’s not there, you just kind of like yeah, do what I want, right? Or the motivation’s not there. I really thought it would just manifest all by itself, and it just didn’t. And so I get down to a year, and I’m like okay, I really … I haven’t done that, and then I had to learn marketing, and there’s a difference between sales and marketing, and I didn’t understand what the true difference was.
Tara: Can you talk about that difference? Because most people don’t.
Monaica: Yeah, I mean, so I thought I could write some emails and I can convert. And to this day, if you give me an email list or a leads, I don’t have problems converting leads. I have like an insanely high close rate. It’s like 86%. It’s like ridiculous, right? People think that I’m lying. Or I’ve had men, and not knocking on men at all, it’s just the only people who have accused me of lying have been men up until this point. But … but like who do you have to email to? Where’s your list? How did you build that list? That’s all marketing, right? Like, it’s getting out there. It’s running ads. It’s figuring out how to do it. It’s figuring out what your niche is. It’s … I mean, it’s like oh my gosh, marketing is this whole ‘nother Universe, right? And for awhile, it was like I’m just going to go gangbusters, and I’m just going to do everything, and you know when you do that, and you make those kind of decisions … when you’re trying to grow a business, which is the second part of the question you asked, you really do nothing well. Or not … even if you’re able to like kind of like C level it, like I’m getting a C in marketing, nothing really takes shape that quickly. Like if you were to just really narrow your focus, and go I’m just going to do this one thing, and I’m just going to dominate it.
Since … since that time, what I’ve learned is that I always have five things in the hopper. If I have three, it’s still a little dangerous to me, because I used to ride out the waters of the ocean on my silver bullet, right? So when I say focus on the one, focus on one, get it up, but then get two and three up pretty quickly, and four and five, right? And so I always take this five-pronged approach. When I’m working with a client or when I’m working on my own business, because I can’t totally know if something’s going to over perform or underperform. Like, I could think I have the best darn opt-in and like this video’s going to be amazing, right, and like nobody wants it. So what do you do then? How do you handle that? Well, I don’t want the silver bullet. That’s too dangerous for me.
Tara: Yeah, absolutely. So let me ask you … so you’ve essentially got like plan A, B, C, D, E, right, if you’ve got five things in the hopper.
Tara: When do you, or do you ever pull back on one of those things? You see it’s underperforming, or you see something, one of the other things is way over performing. When do you choose to narrow your focus, or do you choose to narrow your focus?
Monaica: Well, again, I credit … you know, you get into college, and you’re like, oh, this is all, like, worthless. I mean … you know what I mean? Like, I’m not going to use this stuff. Western Civ? How am I going to use this out in the world, right? Well, who knew that I would be studying Seneca some day on my own as a little hobby? I don’t know. Anyway. Anyway. So I … what I … what I learned, and again, it was in these upper level psych classes and some of the statistics and things is that, you know, you can’t just pull back after like a week. Like, you’ve got to give some things some time here, or it’s not going to work. I’m not talking about, okay, obviously, you just spent $500 on Facebook and it’s not performing, like let’s give it six months and let’s just keep wasting money. That’s not what I’m talking about. If it’s just glaring, that’s so in your face, well, you need to pivot right away, right? But … but do you actually pull back and just stop Facebook? No. You just pivot, right? You just start tweaking. Can I get … I always tell clients, and they … then they sound hopeful, because they’re like, oh, I want a 50% conversion rate. I want a 67% conversion rate, because you’ve written landing pages that have converted that high. Well, yeah, but look, I’m looking for the 1%. If I have a 1% conversion rate, I have something to work with, Tara.
Monaica: If I have 0, I have nothing to work with, right? And so sometimes, you have to accept that that’s part of the journey. Pulling back entirely is just when it’s obviously glaring, right? Like it’s just not working. But otherwise, I like to let things germinate for 90 days to 6 months. I mean, you can’t go heavy at PR and get turned down twice, and this has happened to many of my clients, and they’re like, well, I’m just going to, you know, not invest in PR anymore. Why? Like it’s … there’s nothing hotter that’s going to give you more oomph in your business than PR. It’s like the most undervalued marketing strategy ever, right? Like, it’s going to take awhile, so you’re going to get turned down, but like, you know, it only takes once to get into Marie Claire or CNN Money, and I’ve been featured in both of those, right?
Tara: Awesome. All right. Let’s … let’s talk specifically about how you’re generating revenue right now, because I want to make sure that people understand, you know, how your business is actually set up. So what are all the ways that you are currently bringing in money into your company?
Monaica: Well, lately, I’ve been inventing new ways, and it’s been working, so I encourage anybody who’s wanting to invent new ways of earning money in their business to do so. I … most of what I do is this brand sales positioning. Okay? So again, those words for me are synonymous in the marketplace. They should be. People should be teaching it that way, although they’re not. I learned how to merge creative with strategic, right, and layer in all that revenue. So the main way that I make money is by building these incredible sales platforms for people, or launching these incredible brands out to the world. There are other ways, then, that I realized … I got burned out on consulting, Tara, and I was like, uh, I’m just going to do this process, because if they would go through this process with my entire team, me being at the helm, right, but then they get to touch some of the other team members, they are going to come out so much further on top, which is the truth, but then I wanted them to be done, and I realized that the clients are always going to come knocking again, and really, like, that’s where your true revenue is.
I mean, again, we have high-end programs, but the money is in the repeat customer, and so it’s been an unraveling for me, because I consulted for so long that my company in August will turn 3. It’s not even that old, right, and we’ve done well in less than 3 years, but these clients are going to come back, and you need to be able to service them, right, with something that gives you joy, or in … is … and provides value for them. So while I just wanted to be a brand identification company, and you know, do some copy writing and launching stuff, what I realized is that I really needed to move into brand-building, because we are very skilled at that. I’ve run national campaigns many times, and so we do copy writing, we do copy editing. Like, if you just need sales conversion editing, right? And that was something I kind of fought, but then I realized how beautiful, like, if they want to write their own copy and become skilled at sales copy, they should, but maybe they just need somebody to come in to edit it for higher conversions. Okay, cook, we can handle that, too, right? We can do that high-end brand platform. I also, lately, started pitching these strategic sales and marketing plans where I just come in for 90 minutes and I leave and I develop a plan for you. You know, we talk for 90 minutes, I leave, I develop this incredible plan for you that you can ride on for the next 6 to 12 months. People are loving it. It was a total test. I didn’t know if I could sell it and they would buy it, but they totally do. And it’s easy, easy, easy work for me. It’s like drinking water, and it really gets them going. Those are really the core things.
And then my husband has a design company where he does a lot of like sales page, landing page, web development and design, right? And little Facebook design stuff, just all of that, and so because we’re married, I get to refer him a lot of business, and he gets to help me out with a lot of cool clients, and we get to work together, and so then we’ve got that income coming in, right?
That’s mainly the core ways that we generate money.
Tara: Okay, that’s … that is perfect. That’s exactly what I needed. Now, you mentioned your team. Can you tell us what your team looks like right now?
Monaica: People are usually surprised when I tell them this that our bench is now about 19 people deep.
Monaica: They’re like, “What?” I’m like yes. They’re like, “But you have a brand new company.” I’m like I know. But there’s a genius behind it, and it was because of another mentor who taught me this, and he … he’s a really credible guy. He sold his last company for half a billion dollars, Tara, and he told me two things that changed my life, and one of those things was don’t ever have people step out of their genius. Ever. He has like twelve companies now that he owns, and he’s like in his mid-70s, okay, and I’m like don’t ever let people step out of their genius. He’s like, “Yeah, like the Toyota way.” Like just pile people down, like a VA, with a bunch of skills that they don’t actually have and get them to develop it. No, no, no, no, no. You keep people in their genius all the time, 100% of the day. So like video guys does only video. Audio guy does only audio. It’s not that video and audio … I could probably find one guy to do both, it’s just that we found two guys, and they’re amazing at each one, and so we just keep them there. Copy, storytelling, Kyle, he does just that. I could give him other things so he could earn more money within our company, but I don’t. So I think it’s really important, and this way of doing business has never failed me. Like, in fact, people are so happy, Tara. You know why? Because they’re in their passion, they’re in their gifting, and it doesn’t mean that they can’t pursue other things. Like, I’m totally pro them doing that. I have the most incredible project manager in the entire world. Like, I love this woman. I would be drowning if it were not for her. She has an ROTC background, she has a Master’s in Leadership Development, like, she’s incredible. Like, I’m so lucky to have her, right, and she … that’s her gifting, but she wants to try lead gen, because she has an interest. Well, then I let her play, because I don’t know if something else is going to spark, but her core … we have other lead gen things that we’re doing, so it’s not like I’ve let her like step out of her genius, but the distinction is she’s playing, and that’s okay. You know, I think it’s okay to let people experiment, because our company has been built, the way I wanted it designed, was that if you put … it’s an us company, not a Monaica company, and if you put value into this company, it should output dollars to you, right?
Monaica: So the more value you add, the greater amount of, you know, money you’ll make here.
Tara: I love it. It sounds like you guys have a real value for flexibility, too. Personal flexibility, team flexibility, structural, flexibility. Would you say that’s true?
Monaica: Yeah, totally. I just … I don’t want people to feel handcuffed. I don’t want them to get up … you know, we don’t become entrepreneurs to like hate our jobs or our businesses, you know?
Tara: Yeah. Absolutely. So the clients that you work with are high-performing clients, and they’re not the kinds of people who get wooed by content marketing or email marketing necessarily. You know, they’re busy people, right? And they don’t … they’re not going around reading your blog, maybe. So how do you … how do you, and how does your team connect with the right people for your business?
Monaica: Our business is 99% referral. I tell people … is it okay to get a little cheeky here?
Monaica: Okay. I tell people, you know, I should be in this to make money, right? Of course, I’m in it to impact the world and change the world, because our clients, 100% of them are doing incredible things in the world and impacting the world in a good way. That goes without saying, but what I really, what like really gets me going, Tara, is like I’m a total whore for testimonials, okay?
Tara: I love it.
Monaica: Like … like, I let clients know I am here to help you have an extraordinary experience. I am so good at that courtship piece, and being able to carry it through the entire time. I took the Five Love Languages, and I broke it down, and I know this is an unconventional way of talking about how do you get clients, right? But I … but this is the truth. I broke it down, and I was like how can I incorporate each one of these five love languages into our business, right? For our clients. Because I want them to experience me being all in, because I want my client to be all in, right? And so they start having such this incredible experience that they’re like holy cow, then the referrals come, and the start talking about you. You know, let’s give them something to talk about. That’s exactly what we do, and I’m just really good at doing that, and … but I’m always trying to like up level that in a bigger and bolder way. I would say almost all of our clients end up becoming good friends. They’ve invited me into their homes. I get packages on my doorstep. I don’t … these are unsolicited packages, and then I get this text like, “Did you get your gift?” And I’m like what? And like I got a soda machine in the mail, and it’s like epic. It’s like amazing, and my kids are like oh my God, I got a soda machine, you know, and I’m like, I know, this is awesome. You know, they’ll send me flowers. I’ve had them send me organic, like, grass-fed full frozen meals that were like a couple hundred dollars, you know. Like just ridiculous stuff for them to reciprocate. It’s just a beautiful experience when you can do that, and they just … they naturally want to send clients to you, because the people that these influencers hang out with, well, and everybody, right? But their circle, like they want to share that, and they want those people to have another incredible experience, right? So if you can create the extraordinary for somebody, you’re going to get referrals.
Now, that will only take you so far, and it’s pretty … it’s passive. Like not a lot of control in that. Like you can’t … kind of hard to anticipate. I mean, you can look at trends. Like, oh, I might get 10 referrals this month. That’s not likely for us at this point. I mean, that would be a whole lot, because we don’t really serve that many people over the course of a year. You could look at trends, but there’s no real control in that, so at the same time, I’m being a smart business woman by saying how can I actually go replicate some sort of funnel experience that would be extraordinary. Not like totally douchey. You know, like, and I’m a funnel girl, right? I’ve created a million of them, but like I don’t want to just take people through the tripwire and to this and to that and blah, blah, blah, blah. Like how can I just blow it out of the water so that I can maybe draw in these clients? And it’s just barely starting to happen. They’re not coming into our higher level package, but I can … I’m quick on my feet, and so I have designed a lower level package that’s still really incredible, and this is literally within the last 90 days, and that’s selling really well, almost every time. So it’s happening, but I would say that it always goes back to creating extraordinary experience for somebody.
Tara: I love that. I love that. I love the idea, too, just to kind of back up for a second of translating the Five Love Languages into a way, like giving … having that as your structure for creating your client experience or your funnel experience. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. So can you talk a little bit about how you divide your time between being the executive of your business and actually providing client services? How much, you know, on an average day, you know, how much time are you spending on executive functions, how much time are you spending on client services, that kind of thing.
Monaica: Well, I have another mentor helping me out with that one. Seriously. And he’s incredible. Okay. So I would say that at this point in the business and my career, I am head lead of creative. Nothing goes out the door without me seeing it, looking at it. I am, you know, my creative team is amazing, but like to give you some perspective, a client never knows this. Maybe I should tell them. We’ll go through 80 to 90 concepts before I finally pull the trigger on the one, and we never tell the client the other 89. I only give them the one concept that I said this is your brand and this is what we’re running with, right? And so I can kind of like make my team mad, because they’re like why don’t you like that, and I’m like, it’s not the one. I mean, you know, there’s a little bit of, like, kind of a romantic Mad Men thing going on, right? Like it makes you feel really cool when you think about it if you’re not letting things be sleazy. So there’s that piece. So I would say 60-70% of my time is actually being spent in creative with clients every single week. Maybe it’s closer to 60, because I’m also lead sales person, right? I mean, I am the strongest sales person on our entire team. No question about that. So I need to pick up all of that. And my mentor defines the creative and then the salesperson and then the CEO all differently, and that’s just the way he’s defined it. A lot of people will kind of merge CEO and sales in one, and that’s fine, too, but for me, he separated the three of them, and then I would say maybe 10%, I’m 5-10% spending on business development. I’m trying to change that, but what I have to find, and I have to be really particular, is a person that is like a me on the creative, right? Like we can really get into it. So I’m kind of like trying to bring my best friend, one of my best friends over. She’s a documentary filmmaker, and she does … she’s done some filming for some of our clients and she and I could do this together. She’s just like really busy, always on set, like traveling the world, so there’s that problem. But I think that if … what I’m learning to do is delegate up, right? So my tendency is Monaica can just take on the world and do everything. Well, I can’t. I mean, that’s ridiculous and it’s not effective and I’m six months pregnant, so that’s not really going to work out. But if I can really empower the team, and people talk about it, you know, like what the hell does that mean? But like really, really, really, really put people in their genius, and then have that expectation of leadership, like I … not in a rude way, not in a mean, bitchy way, but like in an I expect you to figure this out, because I trust you and I believe in you, and you know what, I bet you can do a better job than me. And every time I let the reigns go and I have that conversation, like I bet you can do a better job than me, they always do a better job than I could have done.
Monaica: So some of that executive stuff, like, actually gets taken care of, which is nice. Like giving the reigns to my husband when we were doing this whole transition into Scrum, which I don’t know if your audience knows about, yet, but you can have a whole show about that.
Monaica: Right? Like I gave him the reigns as Scrummaster, which is like not a glorified project manager, but like a … he has a really important job. Well, like, I kind of wanted the job, and I’m probably going to be pretty good at the job, but you know what, Andrew can, he’s actually going to be better at the job when I really step back from it, and he’s been great, and it’s given him a leadership opportunity. So that executive stuff he can handle.
Tara: Yeah. So it sounds like, you know, and I suffer from this, I guess it’s a problem, it’s not really a problem, it’s a quality problem to have, right, where you’re just good at a lot of things. Like, it sounds like you’re good at a lot of things, right? But you have this, you have this value for genius, for being in the zone at the same time, and so it sounds like what you’ve started to recognize is well, yeah, you could be the Scrummaster, somebody’s going to be better at being the Scrummaster than you are. Just because you could be good at it doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone else out there that’s best for it, right?
Monaica: Yeah, there’s a lot of that. I mean, and that comes with some humility, you know, too. Like, hey, let’s not get your ego involved, Monaica. Not like you really have to. And like you really have to trust people, and … and I think that when you have, as so many creative do, I’ve found … okay, you may think this is, or maybe you agree, I don’t know. We naturally value excellence, and when you want to show up in the world, like you know you can dominate something, even if you’ve never done it, and you usually can, because the underlying value is excellence. But like give that to somebody else. Like you don’t have to like try so hard all the time, Monaica. Like … like, yes, I’m trying to reconcile that whole genius thing within myself, and it’s been an unraveling trying to figure out where am I actually best suited, and the truth is, I may find out it’s actually sales, and it’s not in the creative development, although I’m very gifted at it.
Monaica: I don’t know. I’m … I’m willing to look at it over the next year.
Tara: Yeah. It’s a really interesting process, I think. You know, wherever you’re falling, whatever decisions you’re wrestling with in terms of, you know, where you’re putting your attention or where you’re finding out what your genius is, I think the process for it is really interesting.
All right, so as we start to wrap up, I wanted to ask you about your side projects, because as we were doing research on what I wanted to talk to you about, I … my assistant just kept kind of uncovering all of these domain names that had your name attached to them, and so I’d love to find out more about that. You know, how are … you know, what part of you are you spending on side projects, or you know, other businesses? How does that affect your day-to-day, your week-to week? What does that look like for you?
Monaica: Okay, so full disclosure, I’m not really supposed to be quote/unquote working on my side projects, and I know that we’re in like the same group with, you know, same group of people in this two group mastermind. However, I can’t get it out of my system, and you know what, Jaime knows I’m going to do exactly whatever I want to do.
Monaica: So here’s what happened, okay? Quickly. Five years ago, six years ago, I’m with this client, we’re at the Oprah show thing trying out in Georgia. She just wanted me to be in Atlanta with her. I wasn’t doing it. Hell no. I’m not going to go try out for Oprah’s show, like OWN. I don’t know what I’m doing. What would I do? I’m just there to support her, and like, anyway. So what happens is I get this idea, and it was Mommy Breadwinner, and it was something that was so reflective of me. I’ve always been the breadwinner. I thought I was going to marry a brain surgeon. I did not marry a brain surgeon. It still shocked me years later when I realized I did not marry a brain surgeon. I don’t know why that was so hard for me. I was not intuitively one of those women, although I wanted to be, that was like, oh, I want to just let my husband stay at home, and like, I don’t really want to take care of the kids, and I wanted a career. I wanted that stuff, but like I really wanted to be a mom, so that caused a lot of issues with us. Full disclosure, right? And so it took us a long time. We’ve been together for 15 years. We’ll be married 13 in July, and so it took us a long time to really get past that, and for me to realize that there are different seasons. I may not always be the breadwinner, but I’ve got to start taking control of my life. I’m not … I’m also not victimized by this, right? Like well, if he would make more money, I could stay home, or if … because you know, I’m not really a stay-at-home kind of girl. Like I get bored, right?
Monaica: Like I spent four hours on Sunday making a freaking alphabet box for my three-year-old that’s epic, mind you, right? It’s like total Montessori and epic, but like, you know, I get really bored, and so what was I going to do? And I know that there are other women who are conflicted, and I know that there are women that are not, they’re just like owning it, and that just wasn’t me, and I’ve also had to accept that. So where’s that balance? And how can, you know, and then I had to kind of decide what was I going to do, and so I tried to do a little bit of Mommy Breadwinner stuff, and then I just let it go, but I just couldn’t let it go. And then the only publicity I’ve picked up is not because I’m like an awesome brander. Like, apparently, the marketplace and publicity, they don’t care about that, but they care about me being Mommy Breadwinner. And so I thought, you know what, there’s something to this, and I just can’t let it go. I’m getting some market confirmation out of some of this. Like I recently, like, just got this plan together. I bet we spend, I bet I spend 10 hours on that a week. That’s not a lot for a side hustle. I’d like to spend more. But I just want to be … I want to teach women how to create more sales, and of course, we’ll drop in some sticky lifestyle content. It’s my experiment, and I never gave it my full. I never gave it my all. Now, 10 hours might feel like the all, but I’m investing a whole lot of money in this, as well, and a lot of time. Time that I’ve never invested before, right? So 10 hours is actually quite a bit for me to invest in a side gig. That’s not maybe all in, because I’m all in in the other business, because it’s the only thing that’s making money for us, right?
Monaica: Like Mommy Breadwinner is not making money, yet, but we just relaunched it. Like, I don’t know, less than 6 months ago. Money fixes a lot of things. Sales can fix an awful lot of things in your life and your business. And it’s okay, and how can I help women get okay with that comfortable … and get into that comfortable spot? And also not make them feel like they are doing something wrong. I think most women have been taught by … most successful women salespeople have been taught by men who have been taught by men. And again, this is not a male/female top thing. Like I’m not bashing them. I love men, okay, but those tactics don’t work for women, and they have this other, like, overwhelming intuitive thing that’s happening, and they have to listen to that if they want to be successful and make money.
Tara: Love it. Love it. Well, Monaica, what’s next for you?
Monaica: Well, a baby.
Monaica: That’s really my focus. I mean, I’m trying to hustle and do all these crazy things before the baby gets here to see how much time I can take off, right? So that’s what I’m working on right now. And then I want to blow this out of the water. I mean, of course I do. Have you heard me talk this whole time?
Monaica: I’m super motivated. Actually, I’m finally ready to kind of step outside, behind the people, and I think I’m ready to come out publicly, just to say, yeah, you know, I’ve done some really cool shit, and you should maybe know about it.
Tara: Love it. Monaica Ledell, thank you so much for joining me.
Monaica: Thank you.
Tara: Find out more about Monaica and her team at TruthHacking.com. My guests next week are husband and wife duo, Jason and Jody Womack. I speak with Jason and Jody about the importance of offline relationship building in an online world, the unique challenges of wooing corporate clients, and what they do to create momentum when even they get stuck.
That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., a CreativeLive podcast. Download more episodes of this podcast and subscribe on iTunes. If you appreciate this kind of in-depth content, please leave us a review or share this podcast with a friend. It means the world to us. Our theme song was written by Daniel Peterson, who also edited this episode. Our audio engineer was Kellen Shimizu. This episode was produced by Michael Karsh. We add a new episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit. every week. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you love to listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode.