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Episode 239: Systems To Scale Your Online Coaching Business, Part 2 with April Beach and Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook SweetLife Entrepreneur Podcast April Beach

This episode is for those in Phase 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 of the Lifestyle Entrepreneur Roadmap™ Not sure what Phase your business is in?

 

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Who This Episode is Great For:

This is for those of you who’ve nailed your first offers and you want to scale.

Summary:

Predictable systems are what makes the work flow. Systems to scale, systems to grow your team, systems to manage your marketing, client facing systems, and more… 
 
This 2-part show with systems scaling queen Racheal Cook makes understanding how, why and when to create systems within your business, simple. There was so much business IQ delivered that we broke this show up into 2 parts, so be sure to tune in to both for the full effect in your profit. In detail we discuss, scaling versus growth, the 3 systems every business needs and why you don’t need to try to do everything to create a profitable online service or consulting practice.

At the end of this episode you will:

  1. Learn the difference between growth and scaling
  2. Understand why the best sales start with subtraction
  3. Gain confidence that you really don’t have to be everywhere online to be profitable

Resources Mentioned:

 
 
 
 


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Full Show Transcript:

You’re listening to the Sweetlife entrepreneur podcast, simplified strategies to grow your service business and launch a life you love faster with business, mental and entrepreneur activator, April Beach. You guys welcome back to two of the systems that scale show here on the Sweetlife entrepreneurial business podcast, we have a very special guest Rachel Cook. And if you missed episode number 238, please just pause it here.

You can come back to this right after you listened to episode number 238, because I want to make sure you don’t miss any foundational parts of what we’re talking about today. I want to make sure you leave with a whole entire clear business picture on the systems that you need to scale your business. Today’s guest is our returning expert. Racheal Cook. She’s an award-winning business strategist who believes entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be so complicated.

And over the last decade, she’s helped thousands of women entrepreneurs designed predictably profitable businesses without the hustle and burnout. And Rachel’s work has been featured in places like fast company, us chamber of commerce and other resources online. And she is an Amazon, Amazon bestselling author of the fire and up and focused challenge in your business sweet spot. And when you tune into last week’s episode,

you’ll hear that I have been a huge fan of Rachel Cokes for a very long time. So this is a very special treat for me personally, to be able to bring her on today’s show so that you can learn her amazing simplified strategies to scale your business. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about the importance of following systems and creating systems for your business,

including marketing systems, sales systems, and customer-facing user experience systems for coaches, consultants and service-based online businesses. So if you are at the point where you are trying to scale, you’re struggling to scale and you know that the systems part of it is the missing piece. Then this is the episode that you need to be paying attention to of course, partnering with last week’s episode,

number 238 and all of the show notes and everything we’re talking about today can be found by visiting sweet life co.com and simply click on the podcast as well as all the places where you can connect with Rachel tap into Rachel’s amazing challenges. The ones that initially connected me to her over eight years ago in so many other places where you can learn from Rachel directly.

All right, so let’s go ahead and dive into today’s show. Now let’s jump to the next area of systems that companies need to have in place to scale. Yeah, we had talked, I the earlier about, you know, each time you add a new offer to your business, you have to make sure you have a marketing system, a sales system,

and a customer experience or a delivery system for each offer. So you almost need to do an audit of your business and figure out what are the things that you’re doing in each of those that are working and what aren’t working. Because often I find that we’re doing things because we feel like we should do them or that’s because how everyone else does it or how the industry says to do it.

But if we pop the hood and take a look under there, we realize, oh, maybe this actually doesn’t work that great for me. So thinking about marketing, I’m always thinking through the framework I mentioned before the marketing pieces attract, engage, nurture, so attract getting it in front of brand new people. Who’ve never heard about, you don’t know who you are,

what you do, what your brand is about. Engage is getting those people to kind of raise their hand and go, oh, I’m interested in learning a little bit more. I want to connect with you and learn more about what you talk about, what you have to offer. And then nurture is actually building the relationship and helping them to build that know like,

and trust so that they are like, oh yeah, April is the person I want to learn from. Or April’s the person who’s going to solve this problem for me. And then I’m ready to have a conversation about what the thing is that I’m buying from you. If you don’t have a clear idea of what your strategy for each one of those is going to be,

it tends to be throw spaghetti at the wall marketing, right? And that is the biggest waste of time. And this is where I see so many people burning themselves out. They create these ideas of all the things they think they need to do all the places they think they need to be, but nothing works together and pulls people in a singular direction.

So for example, in my business, my number one attract strategy is doing interviews on podcasts. See, And you guys are all gonna follow her after this and eat up everything she puts Out. So interviews on podcast is my number one strategy. How did I realize it was my number one strategy? I actually went back, looked at my last 10 or 25 or a hundred clients.

I pay attention to where they came from. And if 80% are coming from podcast interviews, then I’m going to do more podcast interviews. And I intentionally designed systems around it. And when I was able to, I hired someone whose whole role in my business is to pitch me for podcast interviews, because we know that it drives results. So we’re putting a system in place we’re tracking it.

We’re adjusting when we realized this one thing is working really well. Once I do a podcast interview, what happens? Well, I’ve already mentioned the fired up and focused challenge, which one is one of my best performing engaged pieces of content I’ve ever created. So it’s free value where people can come get into my ecosystem and learn more about me and how I operate once they do that.

We’re nurturing them with our podcast, promote yourself, CEO. And every week they’re getting more content along the same types of topics as the fired up and focused challenge and what we’re talking about now. So it’s all very congruent. It’s keeping people on a similar learning path. So everything is mostly audio because we know if they like podcasts and they like podcast interviews,

and we want to make it really congruent for people to access all the content that I’m sharing. It’s all designed to travel with them. And that system is just rinse and repeat for us rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat you. Won’t see me add much complexity to that. I might do experiments here and there. We’re going to drag you on clubhouse.

Well, And that’ll be a fun experiment. Like I am. I’m always open for experiments. When I have the bandwidth to play around with them. I find that there are certain things I could take away from my business and it would not impact the bottom line. I could go silent on Instagram and it would not change the revenue I bring into my business.

But if I go silent on my podcast, it will absolutely change the revenue I bring into my business. Right. So you have to know what actually works for you and be able to track so that you can make those smarter decisions. And it follows that 1, 1, 1 rule, like you just need one thing in each thing and make sure it makes sense for your people.

So that’s kind of a marketing system is what is your attract strategy? Where are you sending them? How are you engaging with them? And then what’s your nurture strategy? How can you make sure that all of those things are very symbiotic. They’re all working together in this really easy to manage ecosystem. Now, as the CEO, it doesn’t mean you have to be doing all of those things a hundred percent by yourself.

Your goal should be to have other people who are helping you deliver those things, because the most important thing for any business is consistent marketing. If you turn off the marketing, it’s like driving your gas tank down to empty, and then hoping you’re going to go somewhere. You’re just not. So if you’re starting to feel like you’re on a content hamster wheel and you’re exhausted and you feel like I don’t have time for this stuff,

then you had to hire some help and have team to help you with that. So I have team that helps me with every part of that. Literally the biggest part of my role in all of it is to sit right here in this chair with this big microphone and talk, everybody else handles all the other moving parts of that. All I have to do is sit down and talk,

which makes it sustainable. So if you can answer those three things, you will have a marketing strategy that becomes scalable. And if you’re willing to keep it simple and instead focus on the quality of what you’re putting out there, instead of the quantity of places you are on, you will see amazing results. Hmm. I love that. And I think that’s important for our listeners to hear as well,

you know, especially with so much push to, to be everywhere and do all the things. And I really, it’s just so important in, in fundamentally proven and Just think about everybody points back to, we talked about Gary V and how he’s like be everywhere. Do all the things. If you follow him long enough, you’ll realize he has a team of about 15 to 20 people who all they do is follow him around all day,

record everything coming out of his mouth and then repurpose that into tons of content. So he is not doing that on his own. He has a massive team that is producing at that volume. And his play is as an influencer. He has to be everywhere because that is his approach is widespread messaging. That’s not everybody’s approach. So if your approach is you have a very specific topic,

a very specific niche, a very specific person you’re trying to talk to go deep. You don’t have to be shallow and playing on the surface level, trying to reach as many people as possible. You can go deep with a smaller group. Well, And I love that you said that too. And I think that this will resonate quite a bit with our audience as well.

Is it? You said something. I think I wrote it down here, somewhere in my, in my notes, but you said that you’d rather be, you know, incredibly significant for a smaller group of people than superficial and barely making an impact to thousands and millions. And I think that that is really an important differentiator because it is a different business model.

And I think that maybe even starting there, if you guys are listening to this and you’re like, oh, you know, which, which approach do I really take? Listen to what Rachel said and think about what aligns with what you want to do, your significance, your impact, and frankly, your, your business model in your, your life.

I mean, listen to the show, you guys know me, we’re always talking about building, you know, really the life we build the business, you build life. Like, what do you, what do you really want? And so building a profitable business with a small audience is done all the time again and again and again and again. And so I think that that is maybe the first step as our listeners are thinking through what you said for you guys to think about,

you know, how does this really fit into, you know, really what I want my big picture to be, who do I really want to be in this space? And how does that align with how I see myself in my significance? And so I really appreciate that. You said that. So we talked about scaling with teams. We talked about scaling with marketing.

I really, your simple marketing three-step system is amazing. And then the third area that you were going to share with us today is scaling through your customer experience. Yeah, yeah. That I love this too, because I feel like no one talks about customer experience. Everybody is so focused on the brand new people coming in the front door that they forget about all their clients are losing out the back door.

And the reality is most strong, successful, sustainable businesses. It’s not about the one-time sale. It’s about the repeating sale. It’s about the lifetime customer value. And these are things that I feel like no one talks about these days. But if you look at any traditional business model, which is the world I come from, they’re always looking at who is their customer and how are they getting those people to continue,

right. Customers. So retaining them as customers getting repeat business from them, getting rave reviews from them, getting referrals from them and just having those people continuously engage with them. And if we change it, our perspective there, instead of putting all of our effort on the front end and into putting it behind the scenes and how we take care of our clients,

it gets a customer for life versus a customer that’s one time. And I think this is a huge differentiator for a lot of people. If you think about the research shows that it’s seven times easier to keep an existing customer than to go out there and buy a new one. Well, we know right now that there’s more noise than ever before. Ad costs are going up.

It’s harder to break through than ever before. Our industries are becoming more saturated. They’re becoming more sophisticated. Taking care of your people is one of the simplest things that will help you to stand out. And it does not mean that it needs to be complicated or it needs to be expensive. It just needs to be thoughtful. So a huge piece of this is actually thinking through the delivery of what you’re doing.

And this is like the bare minimum, the delivery of your promise and your product program or service needs to be thoughtfully done and not just thrown together at the last minute. And I’ve seen this happen so many times, especially in this online world where people are so focused on how big the launch is that they forget that on the back end of those launches is upwards of a 10 to 20% default or refund rate.

And the reason that is so high across the industry is because the customer experience is terrible because there’s no follow up with those clients because they buy something. And then it’s like, thanks for your purchase. And they never hear from that person again, there’s no personal attention given. So this is one thing where we want to scale deliverability in a way that brings back the human touch to business.

And I think we’ve gone so far in the direction of automation that it’s been to our own detriment. Like the idea of everything should be evergreen. Everything should be automated. It’s left a whole lot of people right now who are saying things like, I don’t want to buy another course, right? I didn’t open this course. I didn’t complete this course.

I didn’t get as much value as I thought I’d get out of this. But if we do a few things differently, they would have a different opinion and a few simple, simple things. You can do one, you can continue doing the automated things like you should have some sort of email delivery reminding people to go in and use the thing. They just bought coaching them through it,

answering questions, highlighting cool things going on in the community that is like the bare minimum that is highly scalable. But then do the things that don’t scale because the things that don’t scale or the things that are memorable Heights, this is one huge thing. We forget that some of the most amazing businesses in the world will still pick out a few people to send amazing experiences to they’re still upgrade people’s experiences.

And that’s how we end up with these customers for life. So one of the things that we do, I mean, these are just little things. One is we actually track our clients progress through our programs. And if we see in our coaching platform that we use that they’re getting stuck, or they’re not moving forward in their plan that we’re tracking with them.

If they’re not responding, if they’re hiding, we proactively reach out and we’re like, Hey, what’s going on? Right? And half the time they’re surprised. They’re like, hold on. How’d you know, and it’s like, well, we can tell that you haven’t logged into anything. We haven’t seen you on any calls. And so we’re concerned,

are you okay? How can we help? And to some people, that’s all they need. They just need that little nudge. And sometimes it opens up a whole like, oh, I’m stuck or I’m having a hard time and we can get them back on track and deliver the promise of our offer. But if we let them default into overwhelm or I don’t know what to do,

then they’ll fall off. And there’s another customer who feels less than happy about the experience they had with us, as opposed to a customer. Who’s like, oh my gosh, they actually reached out and checked in on me. Right. It’s just bringing that human approach. Right. And, you know, and even small things like you were saying, writing like a handwritten card and dropping it in the mail.

And we were talking about this. And one of our programs is where identifying where that places, where people can, whether it’s the hardest work in the program or the part that’s not fun and doing that phone call then. And, and I think that, so it’s really interesting. Again, there’s a certain need to have a, a higher level perspective on the evolution of online business to have this conversation about,

you know, being in this space for a good deal of time. So I actually speak about this often on the show, but just for our listeners that haven’t heard that yet. There’s an evolution of like courses like the, we’re talking about where we used to do these like huge courses and set it and forget it. And evergreen, huge launches and people ate him up and he was amazing.

And then like 2015 came along, 17 came along and now we’re to the point where only 6% of people are completing online courses. And I love what you said, it’s doing the things that don’t scale. It’s doing the things that actually matter. Like, okay, if I’m a teacher and I’m actually trying to teach people and not just sell them into my big launch,

what do they really need from me? And I love that you share that you guys do that because you, that those are the things that separate the oil from the water. When we’re talking about businesses that really, really delivering a transformation to their clients and their students. Yeah. And this is important if you’re delivering a transformation, you just have to know that the industry has shifted away from the automation,

the evergreen, I know that’s what everybody’s selling right now because they made their money on it five years ago. But right now, what is getting those clients stick around. And like, we had a 90% renewal rate of our program this past year, 90% of the people who took it last year, renewed again this year. Okay. And you guys,

Rachel has a year-long CEO program. We’re going to make sure you know about, so this isn’t like joining us for, these are people that have worked with her for a year. 90% of them are like, I want to stay with you. They want to continue. And they’re either continuing in the same program or they’re upleveling to work with my team in a higher level one-on-one way.

And when you start looking at it from that different lens, it’s like, does it make sense for us to send a handwritten note? Yeah. Does it make sense for us to say, Hey, do you want to come to Richmond for just a small peer mastermind day? Here’s some people who live in the area, let’s just send them a quick invite.

Heck yet, does, does it make sense that we ship out books and print planners and all these things that five years ago, people thought I was crazy when I was mailing out little bundles to my clients. And I’m like, but you don’t understand. These are the tools that I think will help them and they get it. And they’re like, it feels like Christmas because no one gets that stuff.

So it’s not about sending a gift. That’s just like a fun thing. It’s about how can you make this experience thoughtful? How can you show people that you’re really committed to the result that you’ve promised them? Does it mean that if you see somebody struggling, you offer to jump on a quick 15 minute call. Yeah. I mean, this past year we have gone through new babies.

We have gone through miscarriages. We have gone through divorces. We’ve gone through weddings. We have gone through movies across the country. We’ve gone through spouses, losing jobs. We went through the global pandemic. We went through a crazy election cycle. We went through all sorts of things. And at the end of the day, it’s the commitment to saying,

you know what? As a team, it doesn’t take us a ton of extra time each week to sit down and go, Hey, who could use a little extra love and check in with our team of mentors, check in with who’s running our communities and say, who could use a little extra something from us? Do they need a little email? I’ll send video emails out to people.

Do they need a little extra love? Do they need a reminder? Hey, we’re here for you. Those are the things that stand out compared to just feeling like another number on a list that paid, you know, a couple of thousand dollars for a program. And that program designer, celebrity, entrepreneur doesn’t know who you are, right? It’s a whole different experience.

Does that mean every business needs to be as high touch in their approach as I am at this point, no, you don’t have to be at all. You can definitely scale up lower price point things and have a more hands-off delivery of it. But I think this is where you have to know your purpose and the work that you’re doing in the world and how you want to do it.

There’s no right or wrong. I’m just giving a different perspective of, I would rather work in a really meaningful way. Go really deep with people have clients who work with me for a few years at a time. And then they come around and tell me the things they’ve been able to do. You know, like my husband quit his job and is working with me full time.

I was able to take two months off this summer and the business kept making money. I was able to hire people in my team to deliver my course. And all I have to do is show up a couple times a month. Like those types of things are really exciting to me because it does give them back the freedom and the life that they really want.

And I love how you design businesses. And that’s why I’ve followed you for so many years. All of these really, I don’t want to say common sense because they, they aren’t common unless you’ve gone through the process of seeing what else is out there. But fundamentally we’re teachers, we’re, we’re coaches, you know, we’re we’re teachers. And especially if we just compare it to like how our kids,

third grade teachers are to them, you know, they’re doing these things are trying to figure out all the ways like to make them laugh and make them happy and make them, you know, do all these things. And granted it’s totally different situation, but as teachers and as people that people pay us money and they trust us to help them. Yeah.

I love the way you engineer your programs. And I love the way that you explained that customer experience. So we talked about a lot, totally to break this episode up into two episodes. This might be a, two-parter Going to be a two-parter. You guys are recording it Now, not a plan, but this will be a two-parter if you know,

I think that what is so important, what I want people to take away. In addition to all the things you should see, all the Rachel Cook quotes. I have that written down on this paper. You guys, you’re a scale is about adding and it’s not, no scale is not about adding it’s about subtracting. I can’t even read my own writing.

What comes easiest to you is most often your greatest asset. I mean that you are gold. You’re like just gold or gold. I have like five quotes in my chicken, scratch written here on my paper. You know what I want you guys, listeners, you know, every, every show we want to give you proven processes, trainings, tactics,

and strategies that you guys can take to the bank, but it doesn’t mean you should take every one of them, right? We have shows and all these different topics, but why I’m so excited to have Rachel here is because of the fact that if you are designing a, like, Rachel does, like I do, you know, family, how frequently we work,

how often we work, the capacity in which we work simple is always better. And it doesn’t mean that it’s the right way for everybody, but it is very, very profitable. And it’s very tempting to make things really complex. It’s really tempting to make things complex. So I really want you guys just to like, take a deep breath as you’re listening to these now,

two shows and put them on repeat, make sure you’re following Rachel. And the first and the first episode, I, you know, we, we sent you to go do the fire up and focus challenge. So hopefully you did that. If you’re listening to part two of this, go back and listen to part one, take a deep breath and just,

and just be like, this is doable. This is smart business. This is taking what you were saying, traditional business and applying it to the online landscape, which not very many people do. Looking at those metrics, referrals in, you know, lifetime customer value, things that are very important to look at that again are oftentimes missed and not discussed in the shiny world of the online coaching space.

Go back and listen to this episode of repeat, just absorb. And then we really want you guys to reflect in what aspects of what Rachel talked about today, that you could be implementing into your business because it’s not about adding it’s about taking away in the simplification in order to scale in getting away from the grind, the more, and really coming back to the key factors that are going to increase profit and decrease time and capacity is such an important,

there’s so many lessons in gold that, that you share today. Rachel. And so I appreciate you being here so much. We’ve talked about a lot. Thank you so much. Thank you for coming. You know, tell everybody, you know, in the end of this episode, day time that we’re spending together, what do you think that you know about yourself as a leader,

through this process of what you’ve done? What do you, what do you feel like that you really love of how you grown as a CEO in this space over, you know, over how long have you been in business over a decade? For sure. Right. I mean, Yeah. I think I started my business in April of 2008. So it’s been awhile.

It’s been awhile. I would say, you know, the biggest thing I’ve come to love about myself as a leader is that I’m continuously willing to be uncomfortable. I think as a leader, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable and to be able to sit in discomfort, which does not make leadership sound too appealing. But what happens when you’re willing to sit in the discomfort,

when you’re willing to sit in the discomfort of coming up against your own inner critic, coming up against your own imposter syndrome, coming up against your own resistance, being willing to look at the different sides of yourself that maybe you really don’t want to look at. That’s where the leadership growth has been for me has been when I’m willing to sit in that discomfort and lean into it and push myself through it.

Because often for me, the leadership parts that have been the hardest have been the one about the parts about surrender and letting go of control and getting out of the way and trusting that I am hiring amazing, amazing, smart, brilliant women who also have a gift. And who also have things that they’re here to leave the world with. And I’m providing them an amazing opportunity to make an impact within the scope of this container called my business.

And if I’m just willing to continue leading into my own discomfort and stop trying to control the heck out of everything and let other people do great work, too, we’re going to do amazing things together and it’s going to be incredible, but I can only do that if I’m willing to push myself out of my own comfort zone. And right now that comfort zone is learning how to rest.

It’s tracking my sleep. It’s taking intentional time off and not feeling like the urge to jump in and start a new, a new thing because what I really need right now is rest. And I really need time off. And sometimes as an entrepreneur and as a leader, it’s hard to really fiercely protect that thinking time, that recovery time, but it’s so true.

The more higher up you get in your career and your journey as a leader, the more you need to protect that so that you can come back to your team and really give them everything you’ve got. Everybody’s just kind of gone nodding their head listening. Yep, yep. Exactly. Free to aware. Can besides we said it in what will now be the first part of this episode?

I really highly encourage all of our listeners to follow you. I, like I said, I’ve done it for years. I have my team follow your stuff. You’re very, very smart. And the way you teach is very understandable. And so I appreciate you consistently showing that you have consistently shown up. And that says a lot, that says a lot.

So, so we appreciate that. Where can people find you The best place to find me is going to be on my podcast, promote yourself to CEO. We have an episode going out every week, all about how to scale a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout. So I’d love to see you over there. And of course, we talked about the fired up and focused challenge.

You can get the full 10 days@firedupandfocused.com it’s available on demand and absolutely gratis. So go dive in. Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for all your time and, and making this a two-parter cause there was so many things. I just, anytime you, anytime you’re talking, I’m like writing it down. If I know our listeners so much appreciated getting to know you,

if they don’t know you already as well. And so all of the show notes will be available for you guys@sweetlifeco.com, click on the podcast. We’ll have everything there, all the resources that Rachel said and how you guys can continue to follow her as well. Thank you. Thank you very, very much. I really appreciate finally getting to meet you face to face after all that you have poured into our company from your knowledge and wisdom over the years.

Well, thank you so very much for having me. It was such a pleasure. Okay. Thank you so much for sticking with us. That was amazing. Rachel is one of my favorite people and now you know why, again, don’t hesitate to follow Rachel, reach out to her and connect with her. And of course, Rachel and I are also connecting on clubhouse live in all the places that you can find her and tap into the solution she provides can be found by visiting Sweetlife co.com,

simply click on the podcast. And thank you so much for listening to this show. It’s because of you guys that we’ve been named the top 50 moms in podcasting, and this show is going on our fifth year. Really, really appreciate you guys and appreciate you sharing the show with your friends. Have an awesome day and I’ll talk to you next week.