I get a lot of non-speaking related questions from clients and audience members curious about how I structure my online business, how I leverage a team and continue to grow without working crazy hours.
So I’ve put together a series dedicated to online business over the next few weeks just for you.
In today’s episode, I’m sharing 4 key mental shifts that have allowed me to scale the digital side of my business. Looking back on my journey, these are the key insights that I attribute to my success so I hope these lessons will help you exactly where you are.
Grab the show notes and full episode transcript here.➡️ http://heathersager.com/blog/148
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Well, hey, friends, welcome back to another episode. I am thrilled to kick off a new series over the course of the next few weeks where we're going to be focused specifically around online business. Now, if you're a listener of the show, I know that you are curious around this whole online business thing, mostly you're here, most likely you're here because I teach you how to use your voice in this online space, whether that's showing up on podcasts or live stream, maybe you're wanting to speak on stages. But the central thing around the person who typically follows me has an interest in building some kind of presence online with a desire to build a revenue generating company online, whether that's through coaching, memberships, digital courses, group programs, whatever that looks like maybe a digital products, creating a business online where you are not working for someone else. And I wanted to do this series here, because I get a lot of questions around how I run my business, how my business has been have evolved over the last four years. And it's been a while since I did a here's kind of how my business works episodes. So over the next month or so I'm going to be taking you behind the scenes of my business, but also having conversations around different ways to run an online business because I think this is really important to address one of the most heartbreaking conversations that I have over and over and over again with business owners is business owners who do not actually have a business. And I don't say that in a judgmental way, by any means. I mean that they have a desire to have a business, but they're not generating any money.
And what I really want to bring forward with in today's conversation is for us to normalize the idea that, hey, if you have a business, it's okay that your goal is to make money that literally is what a business is an exchange of money and we need to normalize that that's okay. It's good that you have revenue goals. It's good that you have goals to support your life and your family through this thing that you're building. But I would imagine that if you're listening to podcasts, I would imagine you have big goals where you are chasing something. So I would imagine your revenue goal for this next year is bigger than last year, or you have some kind of goal around shifting who you work with, maybe you have, maybe you're a real estate agent and you're switching over to be a coach, or maybe you have a brick and mortar business and you're wanting to build an online program. You have some kind of shift happening. But there is some doubt, there is some lack of strategy or even knowledge around what does it really take to make money online.
Now for me back when I started my business, y'all know the story, if you're new around here, maybe don't know the story. I won't go into the full, full story but I used to, I was with corporate but I was in a very unique corporate world. I'm a corporate girl but I’m not a corporate girl. I work for an entrepreneur. It was a startup company. I was employee number 40 which sounds like a lo but we grew that company to about 200 employees. And we grew it, built it, sold it for a very nice chunk of change back in 2016. And I was on the, I was on the rocket ship of that company building. And the unique part about that organization is we were a small business, right, working for an entrepreneur and building up this thing, but specifically we worked with entrepreneurs so that was the niche that we work with. We work with entrepreneurs in the medical space. So I live and breathe business strategy for entrepreneurs. So when I decided after having my second baby in 2018, I did a lot of traveling and speaking while I was very pregnant with my second baby. When I was on maternity leave, I knew that somebody had to change. I could not continue to get onto airplanes, travel, speak and teach for someone else. Quite frankly, that's what it was. It was I knew that I was really good at what I did, I knew I had a lot of ideas. And I was ready for those ideas to stand on their own as my ideas not hidden behind someone else's brand.
So I had this idea, right, I did what we all do, which is we start getting stalked by some kind of Facebook ads, because we clicked on something and I stumbled across Amy Porterfield and Marie Forleo, and some other industry leaders, and I started digging into the content and had this idea of oh, okay, running a business. Okay, you can do it online, you could do it with a digital course. And I will tell you that when I first started, my business was consulting and speaking. So that's how I made my money, but specifically consulting so helping other businesses, speaking, so actually getting paid to speak for companies, and then I did do some coaching, too. But I very quickly realized that I was tethering myself to essentially other brands, that while it was me making money in the consulting speaking realm. I was still tied to other people's schedules. And I was still tied to making money from me working hours. You’re not gonna get paid for a speaking gig if you don't actually fly out and speak at the gig. So I realized I want to do something differently. But here's, here's the big thing that I wanted to point out today.
Creating a digital course, or creating a group coaching program which is what I have. That is not a business. That that one little thing, right. And I don't say little as to downplay it, like, my program is very large and I love it but that's not a business. A business is broader than that. And this is where I wanted to bring in today's conversation. I figured out this whole online marketing thing or thought I had figured it out. And I went to go launch the course and it didn't work. It flopped right on its face. I had to retool, but I started having these questions around, okay, I'm doing the thing. I'm creating the blog, I'm doing the live, I'm trying to do a YouTube like I'm venturing into the space, but something didn't feel right to me. I'm like, this can't be what it is. This can't be what it is. It can't be just like create a course, go live every week, email your list and bubba bombom, figure out Facebook ads, there we go. That to me didn't feel sustainable. And I don't mean sustainable from a like me continuing to show up and do that. Like I'm a hustler, I'll do it. I met sustainable around like, a business isn't just doing the want, like you gotta have, you gotta have a strategy for how you attract clients. You have to have a strategy for how you run the operations of your business. Like there's financial components here. Like there are there are other pieces at play, and I was feeling a little frustrated with myself. I was feeling frustrated with this, okay, I don't know. I don't, I thought I knew how to run a business because I had been coaching business owners to do it for 10 years. Here's the true confession. And then I realized, oh, my gosh, I don't actually know how to run a business. So case in point, I, yeah, I had to figure stuff out.
So I very luckily, serendipitously was introduced to my now business coach back in 2019. And he taught me right how to take the knowledge that I had in my head and the knowledge I had from running a business and translate it over into this online marketing space. My business coach is James Wedmore. You're going to hear me talk about him a lot over the next few months. He's launching his program coming up in June called Business by Design. And I will tell you, that program was the game changer for me. I'll also tell you that I am proudly an affiliate for that program this year and I'm putting together a bonus package for people who enroll through me. That's not the point of today's episode, what I want to do is actually showcase to you some of the biggest insights and lessons that I learned to help you on your business building journey. Okay?
Also very exciting. I hate to say this out loud, in case it doesn't happen, but I will 99% Sure, we're going to be having James on the show here in the next few weeks, so that you can hear directly from my coach and get even more knowledge and nuggets and wisdom. So that's what's happening here. So today's episode, what I really want to talk about are four of the lessons that I I had to adopt to make the shift from consultant coach. That's essentially what I was my first year in business, how I shifted from that from to really being an online entrepreneur of building a business that is more scalable, and it is not just me doing the work. So here are some of the things that stood out for me. So number one, I had to adopt this idea that I had to stop chasing, and I had to start leading, stop chasing start leading. And I might it might surprise you what I'm about to say on the coattails of this. Here's what I mean by this. There is a tendency as new business owners, especially in this online marketing world that we look to other people for direction. One of my clients, she calls this pulling everybody else's playbooks and an operating off of those. And what I what I learned in my business, thankfully early enough was running a business means that you actually have to be the leader, you have to be the one to navigate the difficult things, you have to be the one to make the decisions. I'll give you a really specific example of this. It means that you cannot go to a Facebook group and ask other people, what should I do, and expect a good positive outcome from it. What I, what I want to get out here is if we are delegating, or giving away our own decision making power, if we are downplaying our own intuition and our own ability to make hard decisions, we are not going to be able to effectively build businesses. So this is my first big insight that I want to share with you today. The question is, how often are you looking to others? Are you looking to your business coach? Are you Speak up to Level up members, how often are you coming to me and saying, Heather, what should I do? Which I love that you do that? And you know, what do I do my coach you. I actually ask you questions to help you figure out your next step.
I want you to think about if you're posting in groups of asking people for their opinions, are you taking their opinions as truth and moving them forward? And if so, are you really happy with the results of what you're doing? And I know I'm saying this, and it’s probably got your brain thinking a little bit. So let me just be a little more explicitly clear here. If you want to grow a business, you have to drive the car. You have to be the driver's seat, you cannot be on the passenger seat. And you most certainly cannot stay on the side of the road. Like to run a business, you have to be able to make decisions and navigate it when you don't know the information to make decisions. This was the most important thing. Luckily, I didn't do this very long. I'll give you the example of this. When I first launched my first thing online, I launched, I used a webinar to launch a live event, a workshop here in Portland. It was sanded my head sounded like a really great idea. So I use somebody else's quote unquote, playbook. I use somebody else's model for the webinar. And I felt so ridiculous, because I thought that's what I had to do right to be effective in the online space. I thought, well, I mean I know how to speak but I don't know how to do a webinar. So I got the script together and I felt horrible the entire time, because I was so out of alignment. I was talking in a weird way. It was like, it was like a equal to me having a French accent, which I'm really terrible at accents, if you don't know that about me. There was like me trying to speak for an entire hour in a French accent which was me using language that I wasn't familiar with.
That's what it was like, that was my realization moment of going, what the hell, I'm smart, I have good business sense. Like I have good intuition. What I need to do is actually look at the challenges and decisions faced in front of me and ask myself some reflective questions to figure out where to go next. The moment that I took the wheel and started driving my business was the moment that my business started getting traction. The moment that you step into the driver's seat, start making decisions, it's not about the right decisions. It's just the fact that it's just about you having the steering wheel and holding yourself accountable for whatever happens from that decision. Because then you can adjust and tweak and keep navigating. You can get back on course or you can change the course. Driving analogies really working for me here. But that's what the number one shift. And so I want to invite you, you've probably already had this shift for yourself. But I want to invite you right now, is there an opportunity where you are advocating to other people decisions, you're looking externally for what the next step is? And the question is, where can you take control back in terms of driving your own car? Where can you internally ask and say, where should I focus on here? What could this sound like for me? How could I do this a little bit more effectively? What are my options? Lay out the choices. Sure, seek perspective by trusted sources. That's important. But at the end of the day, I want you to drive the frickin car.
Insight number two that helped really make a big shift into growing the business that I have today. Number two, have a revenue model that you understand and know how you're going to make money. One of the big mistakes I see so often with online business owners is they think that they have to do all this work like, all of this traction, do all of these lives, all the blogs, all the podcasts, all the things before they have the right to launch. And I know nobody gives you the right to launch but there's this idea that I have to have X number of people in my audience in order for me to sell and I never believed in this and it has served me well. If you want to run a business, part of that is you need cash. You need oxygen to your fire. You have to ask yourself the question, how am I making money? And what does that look like as I scale it out? And what I mean by that is not like scale it out of like, how do I make a million dollars? Sure. Pen that out for yourself. Just curious, how much is your offer? Divide that by or take a million divided by your offer price. Let's say you have a $500 offer, and you pull it like, let me pull up my calculator here. You have a million dollar like that, let's say that's your goal. I don't know that's supposedly the goal that we're all supposed to have right? Million dollars divided by a $500 course, you're gonna need to sell 2000 of those. Like, that's the reality of it. And you might be like, Oh, that's a lot, or oh, that's actually not as much as I thought. You need to know your numbers, right? If you want to have an effective online business, we cannot operate financially as ostriches is that the plural ostriches? You know, I'm talking about an ostrich. They stick their head in the ground, and they're like, you can't I can't see you, you can't see me. A lot of people do this with their money. What we have to do is we cannot wear the badge. If I'm not good with numbers, I don't know, it'll all work out. You need to know, you need to know what is it gonna take for you to hit your revenue numbers. And maybe for you, that's like, I just want to make $10,000 this year. So just like it's a small thing. $10,000 is a lot of money. Maybe your goal is to hit six figures this year. The question is, do you know what it takes for you to get there? And I don't mean what it takes from like a like up with power perspective and hustle. I mean, like, literally, what does it take? How many of your offer, how many people like do you know the numbers? So number two shift for me and it wasn't really a shift. It was like the thing that allowed me to be successful and grow in my business. I've paid myself a salary from day one. I don't say that to brag. I say that because I didn't realize that was a rare thing. I did not know that people online aren't paying themselves. Friend, let me tell you pay, take a paycheck. If you're making money, you need to be taking yourself a paycheck, like, that's why you're creating the business, right?
what we need to start normalizing is the revenue numbers. And if this is something, it's uncomfortable for you, if you don't know how to calculate your numbers, don't worry, like don't put that pressure on yourself to have to know all these things. If you've never done it before, like, how could you expect to know how to calculate it? These are new things. It's okay to learn new things. But you do need to know, what is the revenue? What is revenue look like in your business? Number three, you have to have a way to generate an audience. Now, do you need a giant audience to be successful online? No. But you do need to know how will you attract people into your world? How will you find them? We're going to talk about that a lot more. And sidenote, let me give a shout out because this is one of those specific areas that I you know, I talk about this, right, because we talk about going out in other people's audiences and speaking, but my business coach, so James, he has an incredible mini course. And he's actually doing a challenge with it right now to help you get a lead magnet in place and get your first or next 100 leads into your business.
Now a lead is more of like a qualified prospect, not just people following you. So if you want to learn more how to do that, I'll put the link in the show notes specifically to that challenge. I'm going through right now, I already know how to build my email list, but I'm always learning new things. So I'm doing that right now. But number three, to have a sustainable online business, you need to have an engine that builds your email list. So if it's been a while since you've revisited your lead magnet, or it's been a while since you've been like, how do I actually capitalize on those speaking opportunities, like if you're showing up speaking, but you're not getting leads from it, it's time for us to look at that. So we've talked about you got to drive the car, we've talked about how you have to have a revenue plan, like you got to know about your revenue. And then number three, we got to have a way that we are growing our email list specifically. Number four, this is the last one I'll leave you on. This is a nice little shorty episode here primarily because one, I don't want to overwhelm you with a bunch of information. This was just a pep talk today to start thinking like an online business owner so that you can show up as the online business owner that you desire to. But also we're going to cut it short because my lawn care company just showed up and if you're hearing the lawn mowing noises, that's what's happening and I'm not gonna, I'm gonna we're gonna keep going, we're gonna keep going because that's the life of online entrepreneurs as part of working from home. But that is shift number four is you got to roll with the frickin punches. If you're like me, you might be going to winging it. I'm really great at winging it but I'm also I'm a planner by nature. Anytime I'm stressed out, I'm like, I gotta make a list. I gotta make a list. I got lists upon lists upon lists in my life. I like to plan. I like to think about the different scenarios I like to have a plan operated at but the one thing that I do really freaking well, that serve me on online business is my ability to go with the fricking flow. Go with the freaking flow because here's the thing, craps gonna break, things are gonna go wrong. And if you have this picture in your head around what your business needs to look like in five years and you're so precious with it. It's so exacting that if anything doesn't go according to plan, it's failed. It's not working. People hate me, my offer sucks, I have to get a job like, and I laugh because we all have these moments, especially ladies every month. We have a little bit of that moment where it's disaster strikes and it's all over. But what I want to get to hear is you got to loosen up the reins around what the journey looks like. Because if you are panties up in a twist, every single time crap goes wrong with your business, you are going to have wanted panties all the freakin time. Yep, that's what I said on the podcast.
That's the thing, like I'll give you an example of this recently. I have shared with my habit, I think I shared this publicly in the podcast last week. I've shared with my community that I'm going to be renaming my program. So Speak up to Level up, we are renaming the program. We've actually retooled the program, we're going to be launching it in the fall, which sidenote, if you want to get on the waitlist for that for my next group coaching cohort, heathersager.com/join. Link will be in the show notes in case for some reason that was not the right link. But the point is, one of the reasons why I wanted to rename the program was I've been thinking about it for a while, but quite frankly, I'm renaming the program because somebody else trademarked it. They're in the process right now of trademarking it. And yes, I know that I can fight it, because I have first write the program because I've been using this outwardly publicly for years. I was operating under the advice from a lawyer that it would be harder to trademark because we don't think it's the language around there. Anyways, I decided not to trademark it yet, and somebody else did. So I know full out that I could totally fight it and I'm not going to. So here's the thing, I had people like well, you could totally fight, I could. I could do that.
Here's an example of a stumble in business. Oh, crap, I didn't trademark Oh, crap somebody else is. I could choose to fight it and that is one very valid route, or I can choose to see this as a beautiful opportunity for me to do something new. And that's where I'm putting my time and energy. You see, for me, when stuff goes wrong, I get sick, which happened last week. The trademark thing happens. When my tech breaks in the middle of a webinar, things go wrong, I think, what's the gift? What is this opportunity being placed in front of me. And I know that might sound a little cuckoo town. But here's the thing, like, it's not that I'm this overly optimistic positive person, I am a direct my energy and what's going to serve me. I'm selfish, meaning that it's not going to feel good for me to stew in the annoyance or crap of being sick or having my day canceled, or somebody took my name or whatever other crap we can talk about. I'm not interested in that because that is a drag down line of thinking. And I am not in a position to be dragged down because I have really big goals that I'm chasing and they are out here. They are up there in the future. So if I choose to be tethered or anchored in the negative, why did this happen, why did it not work? What is this blank sheet? If I choose that I'm consciously choosing to put an anchor on my own capacity and I am not interested in that conversation. So that's why when something bad happens and somebody replies back to me like, Oh, I'm so sorry, like, that sucks. I say thanks so much. But I'm I'm good. Actually, I'm good. We're navigating here. What an opportunity we're taking here. Does it mean that I'm like, happy when crap happens? No. I allow myself to be like, well, crap, that sucks and now we move on.
Sometimes that process is going to be like a moment, some it's going to be like an hour, some it's going to be like a month, right, whatever. I'm not telling you how like to not be upset. I was having a conversation right now with my children. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be angry. And we have to figure out how to navigate things. We can't throw things, we can't throw punches, like, get used to pants, right unless we're gonna go screaming a pillow. That’s what we do as parents, right, we teach them how to feel and direct. As a business owner, you have to do the same. You choose what you do with the flubs that happen and the faster you can bounce back from them, the more that you can embrace them, the more resilient you'll become. The more resilient you become, the more success you'll find. And the more fun you'll have in the process. So this is it, this for me these were four, I want to, the whole point of today was I want to share with you what were some of the big things, right, it wasn't a tactic. It wasn't the, it wasn't the thing. These were internal things that I had to embody and adopt to allow me to successfully navigate and I don't see success because my business is huge and I'm an A player in this industry. Y'all I'm a tiny little show here on the corner of the internet that you and me every single week, friend, like, I'm not a big deal, and I'm okay with it. However, I love what I'm doing here. I love this thing you and I have every single week on this show. I love the audience that I have been able to attract on Instagram, the conversations we have in DMs, I love the community that I've built inside my coaching program that to be named whatever the new name will be. I love what we've built there. I also love the relationship that I have with my kids, spinning slow mornings of us talking together and making pancakes or whatever else before school. I love being able to go pick up my kid from the bus stop in the afternoon, and not working after 3pm. I love being able to get in a couple hours at a coffee shop on weekends. It's where I write my blog posts for my show notes from the show or how the life I have created through this business. I am so freaking in love with it and I want that for you too. And the funny part is, is not the picture that I had painted four years ago, when I wrote down my business and my goals. I'm not hitting the revenue that I quote unquote thought I wanted. I'm not doing the things or have the type of programs that I thought I wanted, those things may still become a reality. But I'm living a life and a business that I'm really proud of and I'm enjoying and I'm having fun and that's what I want for you.
So these are the four things that really were instrumental in me feeling aligned and excited about my business. Stepping into the lead role, I'm stopping chasing other people, I'm stepping into a lead role and asking myself those direct questions around how am I leading in this? How am I taking ownership of the decisions of my business. Number two, really getting clear of it's okay, it's more than okay to make money, you better be intentional with how you're going to make it you need to have a clear path for revenue. Number three, to grow an online business, you need an audience. Now you don't have to have 1000s and 1000s. I started selling when I had nobody on my email list my first group coaching program, I only had 136 people on my list. That launch, I know I've said it before, but that first launch was $24,000 yes to an email list of 136 people crazytown, right? But you need to have a way to grow your audience. Because if you are going to have more scalable programs, digital courses, group coaching programs, you will need to have people so you need to have that plan for how you're going to list build. But most importantly, number four, we have to be flexible. Building your own resiliency as an entrepreneur of stepping through the mud, handling crap that comes your way. The better you get at recovering, the farther you will go hear me the better you get at recovering from the stumbles ie. not allowing yourself to be anchored down, the farther you will go.
I hope this has got your brain thinking in a really great way not in thinking of like, Oh, now I gotta go do all these things. But I hope it's been freeing for you to go. Okay, what if it isn't about the next tactic or strategy or figuring out how to get my camera angled so perfectly. So I look great online. Let's not get distracted by all of that crap, we need to get really clear around what is it that we want to create so that we can make it happen. And as I mentioned, I'm going to share with you more and more about my business journey over the next month to help you build a business that you're really excited about, but also introduce you to the learning in the coaching that really helped shape how I view online business. But for right now, if you're hungry and wanting to get going a little bit more, and it makes things a bit tangible. I'm gonna encourage you to go ahead and jump into that free mini training, get your first or next 100 leads by my Business Coach James Wedmore. When you do that, you'll be tagged as a Heather Sager referral. As I mentioned before, I am an affiliate for the program. So when I do go to start talking about business by design in June, you'll be tagged to be able to get all my bonuses if you choose to join that program through me. But even if you don't, I want you to see the components of really what it takes to grow a thriving business online in your world. Like you have to create that picture for yourself. So we're gonna have a lot of fun over the next couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy it and fore sure if you enjoyed this episode of my random tangents and random lawn mower moments. As always, please please please share it, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from this real, raw and unfiltered conversation. Tag me in your Instagram stories @theheathersager, send me a love note. Tell me what's going on in your life and I'll talk to you real soon. Bye friends.