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First, let’s just recap quickly on what we covered last week to set the context and frame the examples I’m going to share today. It was a taking stock episode, because I wanted to refresh the point of all this leveraging stuff. As entrepreneurs and high achievers, we’re constantly pushing ourselves to grow – to learn, to build, to earn more, to be more productive, to be better. And it’s pretty bloody exhausting, isn’t it?!!
This is exactly why we seek the holy grail of being able to earn more, work less, yet grow fast. And for most, it’s a real tension between those things. Leverage across various parts of your business, holds the key to finding work life balance and avoid entrepreneurial burnout.
So we revisited those themes and the different ways that leverage can ease the load, fuel our sense of joy and fulfilment and give us the freedom we seek through entrepreneurship.
And that’s why we tackle leveraged business topics across mindset, marketing and money models and hope to give you insights that can lead to some amazing breakthroughs for you and your business.
The biggest bottleneck in the business growth trajectory is for experts who are working one-to-one with clients. It’s usually great income, as we’re working at the top of the tree. Yet, over time that intense, high-end work can take its toll, especially with the added pressure to keep bringing in new clients or keep existing ones happy.
With all the affordances and shifts in using digital tools, digital spaces, digital marketing and online delivery, let’s look to alternative ways to attract and work with clients.
So with the backdrop of what we’re aiming to achieve for our own work-life balance, working smarter not harder, I’m sharing a couple of examples of how entrepreneurs are tackling how to transition client work to a group program.
Because strategic change is not something you just flick a switch, it takes a bit of planning and a degree of mental adjustment.
From Done-for-You Consulting Projects to a Done-With-You Program
The first case study, if you like, my first client example, is a super successful consultant whose used Linkedin to become the hunted not the hunter – she has people coming to her regularly asking to hire her. It’s all done-for-you services. She comes into the company, she creates and runs the project, they get a great result.
The question was how can she increase her consulting income without taking on more clients, because there’s only one of her. But really the question is, what leveraged business strategies would allow her to do what currently feels impossible: bring in a dependable income delivering results to clients whilst avoiding burnout and without adding more 1-2-1 clients. That was the success goal.
So we looked at everything that’s going on in the business:
What’s the business, what’s her expertise, who does she serve, what does she love doing most …
How does she currently get clients, what’s the process for that, how well is that working, who helps her …
What does she deliver, how it is delivered, how often, how long – i.e. what’s the outcome and what’s the vehicle.
The first solution is simply to put up her fees up, but there’s a ceiling on that.
The next is to streamline how she works with clients, so she runs those projects more efficiently and saves time.
And the third is to create an online course so she delegates some of the onboarding and education done working with the project team to a self-directed model. So she’s only doing the part of the project that requires her high level input.
And finally, we looked at outsourcing much of the admin, marketing, project management and building a team.
Sustainability and scalability. That’s the plan.
Doing all these things, she’s easily able to earn 3-4 times what she’s currently doing working to capacity. It takes a little effort to set it in motion, but that’s the strategy.
However, it STILL has her working full time in her business and it STILL means she can’t stop. Because it’s her ONLY stream of revenue and fewer clients paying more model means that risk isn’t spread as well.
So let’s add in another model, building on the DIY course and make that a low-end product in her marketing and sales process for a hybrid ‘done-with-you’ consulting service. So she only does the high-end ‘done-for-you’. We transition the amount of time she needs to spend IN the business, and she does more time ON the business, building teams to take care of marketing, sales, delivery.
So that’s one example. Here’s another.
From Personal Coaching to Guided Program + Group Coaching
I have a client who is at the early stage of transitioning away from 1:1 to 1:group. The halfway place is to move to a 1:few model. An online course is the vehicle for that, and we’re blending in group sessions and a hint of 1:1, at least in the first instance and evaluating closely people’s experience – call it ‘user testing’ or learner experience to get to the right blend of modalities and feedback from her as participants move through from start to finish.
The key thing there is that we want them all to achieve the outcomes they want, the results that the program promises, but we’re human and we learn differently so what things do we need to put in the mix to make sure everyone gets what they need and has a great sense of enjoyment and satisfaction, enough to tell others and write glowing testimonials.
And on both those examples, we’ve gone back and forth on pricing. You don’t want to undervalue your expertise or time to deliver the program, yet you also don’t want price to be a barrier to entry, especially when you’re testing offer-market fit.
The best solution there is to manage expectation. Something like:
Because this is the first time we’re running the program in this virtual format, and we’d really like to be able to ask you lots of questions and get you feedback as a participant, we’re offering an introductory price that’s going to be no-brainer to say yes to.
So in that example, we were looking to transition away from intense one-to-one coaching where there’s a ceiling on how many clients you can take on, even assuming you’re working with them as efficiently as possible. We spent a fair time in the first month of our work together clarifying the ideal client avatar, the transformation and the mechanism for helping them.
And then the focus was really on program design and workflow in terms of outreach, enrolment calls, and onboarding people into her programme.Next round, we’ll look towards monitoring participants’ experience and putting a consistent marketing process in place to build up regular cohorts. But first, we wanted to make sure her offer was good and people were signing up.
And this is how I work with clients: business review, strategy and planning, followed by implementation support. That’s the process I go through with every client in the Leveraged Business Accelerator – we look for the best leverage points, I help you get clarity, confidence, coherence.
I look at goals, assets, skills and processes
I look at how the business runs
I look at how the business feels for you
I look at positioning and messaging
I look at the offer and sales page
I look at the marketing strategy
I look at the end-to-end customer journey
I look at the delivery model.
And after this review, I share the findings: strengths, weaknesses, likely bottlenecks, potential barriers, areas for improvement, priorities for change. And we come up with a strategy and a 90-day plan to accelerate you towards the end goal, the picture of success you want, the leveraged living picture we painted earlier – the big vision for your business and life. It may take one round, it may take 3-4, but over each 90-day action plan we put together, you will have made a massive leap forward.
If you want to understand more about the power of a 90-day business planning process to get things done, then you can listen or read the article/podcast episode on that.
Are you ready to get the clarity you need and get to work on the right things that will make the biggest difference?
You don’t need to decide anything, just make the commitment to yourself to explore the changes you know need to happen. And let’s talk.
You can do one of two things:
1. You can dip a toe in the water and submit a question for the podcast Q&A with Dr Jay via the form or a voice message. Easy, no pressure, and I’ll get in touch.
2. You can book a free strategy discovery call with me, and let’s talk it through where you’re at and where you want to be. We’ll do a quick fire review and identify the gap, so you have more clarity what you should be focusing on.
I’m happy to talk more about the Leveraged Business Accelerator programme if that seems like a good fit for what you need support with. It’s low pressure, I don’t do “sales” calls, it’s a consultation, and it’s high-value. So we do have an application process. (Normally I charge for these digital roadmap sessions, so this will be a mini-version and it’s complimentary.)
So if you want to get rid of that dreaded burn out feeling, or avoid entrepreneurial burnout going forward, and if you want to earn more, work less, grow faster … this is the journey we can go on together.
It’s easy to apply, the link’s in the show notes – simply go to jayallyson.com/isuccess/LBA to find out more and apply for a free consult.
OK, so …let me now share a broader list of the kinds of strategic objectives that I’m working on with clients right now. Have a think, do these resonate for where you’re at and what you need to focus on too?
- Finding clarity, confidence and cohesion
- Reaching the right people and building relationships
- Creating a compelling offer and making sales calls
- Focusing on your best content platform for consistent marketing
- Developing efficient workflows for efficiency gains
- Tackling barriers to scalable revenue models
- Building business resilience for long term sustainability
- Mindset work and self-care for long term health of you & your business.
Creating Leverage Builds Your Business With Steel not Straw
All of the above strategic objectives fit under one or more of the five pillars for leverage, they’re what enables you to work in a consistent, dependable and sustainable way to ensure long lasting business success. You want to end up with a business that makes you money, AND makes you feel good, right?
What we’re doing with all of these leverage strategies is building our business architecture with steel rather than straw. If you know the story of the Three Little Pigs, you’ll understand the difference. When the big bad wolf (aka circumstance) comes along and he’s going to huff and puff until he blows your house down, you definitely want some strong walls in place!
Well whether it’s covid-19 or some more minor bump in the road, focusing on the fundamental machinery of your business, which includes taking care of YOU, then you’re going to create a business that’s built not on straw, wood or even brick, but one built with STEEL!
Running a successful business while also juggling a full client load, family responsibilities and other normal day-to-day pulls on your time that pop up in life and work, that would be impossible if I didn’t have well-defined business workflows to rely on.
I can’t say I LOVE planning, but I LOVE the benefits of planning. That feeling when you’re clear, confident and committed to a plan of action; and that celebration when a plan comes together brilliantly. You can’t beat it, right?!
At the same time, we can end up beating ourselves big time to get to that end benefit.
Having a plan can feel super liberating, but the process of planning is quite often more like wading through treacle!
Are there times when I work well under pressure of a deadline? Yes, but quite frankly I prefer to manage things so I don’t have the stress. Are there times when I feel up against the wall with too many things to do in any given day or week? Definitely, but again I’m a huge fan of workflows, time blocking and have learned the importance of self-care.
Creating Leverage to Fill Your Freedom Tanks
The whole purpose behind the leveraged business concept – is to create that balance between working in your business, on your business, and how it fits into your life.
This brings me right back to what drives me, the pursuit of leveraged living as I call it. I started my consulting business because I wanted more freedom, to be the one calling the shots, to be my own boss, to be financially independent. I wanted to avoid feeling a constant stress and strain. I avoid push energy, as one of my client calls it.
And I love that even with all I have going on running the business, producing content, marketing our programs and working with clients, I still mostly make time to do the things that make me happy and fill up my tanks.
What’s fills your tanks? For me, it’s a walk in the countryside, or driving to the coast, catching up with friends (virtually now of course), conjuring up fun recipes, doing puzzles, binging on a new Netflix series, spending time with my family, reading. I’m never bored, there’s always lots to choose from come rain or shine, as a way to relax and enjoy life.
So I hope these examples of consultants and coaches I’m working with help reinvigorate the overarching purpose for the leveraged business theme as well as sharing the reasons why I deliberately mix things up across our content plan. Because there are several pieces to the puzzle for leveraged business success and especially in how to transition client work to a group program.
If you actually listen to the intro for any given episode, you’ll have heard we’re all about helping you make the mindset, marketing and money model breakthroughs that brings work-life balance into play. And layered onto that, some topics are strategic, others are about operations; some are focused on getting clarity, others on packaging and scaling.
And a question I get asked a lot from busy business owners who want more leverage, and who, as the podcast subtitle says, want to earn more, work less, yet grow faster, is this.
With so many different points of leverage across my business, what should I focus on?
The answer is a little nuanced, but essentially, it depends on where you’re at in your business. There are very different challenges, problems, pressures at different stages of business, so the source of “stress” (if you want to label it as that) is different and the solutions are different.
Starting up, doubt, fear, imposter syndrome etc – stress, sleepless nights
Prioritise working on your self-belief, a lot of my clients starting a business feel they’re creating something from scratch, negate all of their decades of experience ‘in the field’.
Others simply are switching and think the ‘old’ stuff is no longer ‘worth’ anything in the ‘new’ space – working in your genius zone, finding that inter-section and drawing on your past professional and personal expertise and success.
Middle phase – things are going well, but you’re working really long hours, pushing yourself because you’re super motivated to keep growing. At some point, the cracks are showing, but you don’t want to show weakness, because that’s like saying somehow you’re not coping.
Many of us have had the added challenges of pulls on our time away from the business, working from home, having the family or spouses around, home schooling even.
AND, it can feel super frustrating when you can’t get on with what you want to do next in your business.
At the same time, the lockdown restrictions have also offered a huge opportunity to take stock, to rest, reflect, to plan and strategise, to reconnect with people. When do we ever usually have, or give ourselves, that opportunity???
Many of my guests on the podcast have remarked on significant shifts forced by the covid-19 situation, in what their clients and customers are feeling and needing:
Andy talked about zoom fatigue and empathy.
Tara noticed how much people are rethinking their lifestyle.
Anna talked about visibility and reach.
Becca remarked on how more people are starting a business.
Gaynor shared how much situations can fuel your determination to overcome adversity.
Selina talked about businesses pivoting to virtual models of working.
Laura said we’re all craving connection.
As we move forward with these topics, I’ll be diving into some of the big challenges associated with pivoting, transitioning and scaling – the kind of strategic change I help my client’s plan and implement. Feel free to get in touch with me and let’s find out how I can help and how we can work together to build some amazing leverage into your business.
Til the next time, all the best.