Hint of Hustle with Heather Sager

Zach Spuckler: Using a Challenge for Your Next Launch

June 21, 2021 Heather Sager Episode 102
Hint of Hustle with Heather Sager
Zach Spuckler: Using a Challenge for Your Next Launch
Show Notes Transcript

If you're feeling burned out (or super intimidated) with live webinars and are looking for a way to engage with your audience and launch your program to a group of engaged and excited buyers, listen in to my conversation with challenge pro, Zach Spuckler.

A 6-year online marketing veteran, who's generated over a million dollars from a launch-based business, he's been featured on top podcasts like EO Fire, The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast, The Mind Your Business Podcast, and The Art of Paid Traffic Podcast. 

And today, Zach is sharing his insights with you. Not only do we talk about how live challenges create quick wins and momentum to sales, we get real talking about transitioning from revenue-based goals to ones of impact.


If you’re loving this episode, please take  a moment to rate & review the show. This helps me get this message to more people so they too can ditch the hustle 24/7 life.


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Zach Spuckler  0:00  

I think it's more important that we let people self-select their goals and commitments than it is that we force an artificial completion rate to feel good about our stuff, right? Because I don't care how I feel about my stuff, I care how you feel about my stuff. That's way more important.

Heather Sager  0:25  

Well, hey friend, welcome to another episode of the Heather Sager show. It's me, Heather Sager and I'm honored to be your speaking coach here today in this episode. I've spent the last 15 years studying and building my communication skills to inspire and teach business owners and their teams from stages around the world. I've had the honor of speaking on more than thousand of stages on topics of leadership, premium brand positioning, sales, and of course communication. And now my focus is helping fellow online entrepreneurs become magnetic speakers, so they can make a bigger impact in the world while growing their income. This show right here was designed to give you a dedicated space each and every week to grow your skills and keep your big goals front and center. And if you liked today's episode, be sure to grab a screenshot and share it on Instagram and tag me @theheathersager so I can get you a shout out and celebrate the work you're doing. All right, let's dive in, friend. It's gonna be a good one. 

Welcome to another episode of the Heather Sager show. It's Coach Heather and today we have a sudden conversation with my friend, Zack Spuchler. Now I had the chance to meet Zach for the first time about a year and a half ago at Entrepreneur Experience. I share the story in the episode so I'll keep it brief. But I did not know who Zach was until I heard him step up to the microphone and ask a question at Amy Porterfield's event and people around me were whispering, oh, that's Zach Spuckler. And I remember going, am I supposed to know who that is? I was very new to the industry. I didn't know the who's who. But I learned very quickly that Zack had been around for a while. In the past six years, he spent over hundreds of thousands in personal and client ads, managing Facebook ads. So he's managed launches ranging from $3,000 to $300,000 and found really clear patterns that he's used both personally, professionally to create results. Results like the six figure info product launch for himself that was just over $173,000 to be exact and multiple six figure launches manage for clients. He talks about in the episode how he runs an agency side of his business, managing Facebook ads, and he also has a course based business. But more relevantly, Zach's been featured on top podcasts like Entrepreneur on Fire, the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast, The Mind Your Business podcast, The Art of Paid Traffic podcast. He's been featured a lot. He's known often as the "Challenge Guy." And the main thing is after making millions of dollars over the course of those six years from launch-based businesses, he's now focused on helping and supporting online coaches and course creators be able to launch more successfully for themselves, so he's really about sharing what works. I also love Zach's real talk. He shows up fully as himself online. We go into some, I mean in true Sager fashion, some side tangents. There are some juicy side tangents today. We talked about bumper bowling. We went on a tangent about nail polish, and designer's handbags, and diastasis recti, and I talk about how your stomach stretches after birth, although that has absolutely no relevancy to Zach, who obviously has never given birth. Anyways, we alk about it for bread, they give you a really good meaningful conversation, centralized, believe it or not around the idea of live challenges. But today, you're going to hear things like a three step recipe to make your next challenge successful. So what it actually means step by step, what do you need to do to create a live challenge and evaluate whether or not it's right fit for you. We're going to talk about why the idea of higher price points often means higher commitment, that's the conception of the space but we talked about how that's a little bit of a bogus concept and how we need to really understand that true value means keeping our audience audience at the center so we're going to redefine what value looks like. Zach gives you a little mini tutorial here around how to create a gap when it comes to problem solving in the selling process. So pay particular attention, you might want to grab a notebook for this one.

We also talked about how to recalibrate the ruler that you're probably using to measure your own success and goal setting in your business. We talk a lot about this idea that hey, the online space has this big narrative around to be successful. You have to be striving to be a seven figure entrepreneur. And that's not true, you do not have to generate seven figures for you to hit your goals. First, you have to start by actually asking yourself, what kind of business do you want? We go all over the place this conversation, but bring it all back to showing up in a really authentic way and making decisions that's in alignment with the kind of business and life that you want. So I hope you grab a cup of coffee and maybe grab a notebook. Be sure to give us a shout out on social media and screenshot and share this Zach's shares at the end of the episode. He's like on a mission to get some followers on Instagram. We all would love that. So take a screenshot follow us back. Enjoy this conversation with my friend, Zack Spuchler.

Alright guys, welcome back to another episode of the Heather Sager Show. I am thrilled today to be here with my friend, Zach's Spuchler. How are you today? 

Zach Spuckler  6:26  

I'm good. Hi there. How are you? 

Heather Sager  6:28  

Well, I'm doing good. We were just laughing about all the techie fun stuff that happens when it comes to working tech. We're making it work today with some backup options. Oh, okay. Zack, you and I met, It's been about a year and a half ago where we officially met in person. 

Zach Spuckler  6:47  


Heather Sager  6:48  

I am not going to assume that you remember this moment but it happened to be at Entrepreneur Experience at the bar at about 11:30 at night. We've had chat. 

Zach Spuckler  7:00  

Yeah, I remember. 

Heather Sager  7:01  

And I think it was so funny because that night I had no intentions of hanging out at the bar at that event. I'd actually gone back to my hotel room after the event. I took off my shoes, I got on my jammies, I crawled in my bed and I remember thinking, nope, I came to this event to network and meet other people. I do best when it's like with a cocktail in my hand at a bar so I got redress came down and that's the night that I met Bobby Klinck, I met you, and we've all stayed connected very well after the event so I'm very grateful that I got my tush out of bed. I forever remember that and I remember how kind and laid back and just very interesting you were. It's variety of things. So anyways, I'm very excited by audience gets to know you today. So why don't you share a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Zach Spuckler  7:52  

Absolutely. So Hey, everybody, my name is Zack Spuchler. My company is Heart SOul Hustle Hustle and we work with online businesses in both a course and agency capacity to help them scale up their digital course launches. That's the elevator pitch. 

Heather Sager  8:05  

That's the elevator pitch and pay particular attention y'all. Your practicing your elevator pitches is one of the reason why you listen to the show. That is a great example of a concise pitch and not the long winded like, here's my entire life journey to get to this podcast interview.

Zach Spuckler  8:20  

I was actually born in Cleveland on July 7 1993, which is great. 

Heather Sager  8:25  

It was a hot blistery day. Oh my gosh. Okay, so you mentioned when you talk about you have the agency side and you have the course creator side. This is one of the things that I find really interesting about your perspective. And for anyone listening who's not following Zach on social, follow. You've been experimenting with reels lately. I'm here for it.  

Zach Spuckler  8:49  

I'm having so much fun with reels. 

Heather Sager  8:50  

But I love because your perspective comes from both serving service-based providers and entrepreneurs at on that creative agency side. But also as the actual get your hands into the dirt figured out as a course creator yourself. Out of the gate, I don't know if you can play favorites but do you have like one area that you enjoy more than the other?

Zach Spuckler  9:13  

You know, it's funny. I enjoy both of them in a different capacity. So the agency side of things, it's fun because I can get a client and make like the cost of 10 courses in like 15 minutes on a sales call. Totally different ballgame than when I'm doing like a webinar to 150 people and I'm trying to scale up a product or I'm doing a low ticket ad. I love the service side of business because it helps me really understand what is working and not working from a launch perspective. But I really love the core side of things because it lets me experiment and have fun and be really uninhibited, like when I'm managing, for the agency we run Facebook ads for people. And so in that, I get to be a little creative but at the same token like results are on the line, so it's like high pressure. With the course is like, for the most part, you know, you can launch and breakeven and it's not that hard. And it just tells you like, oh, change your messaging, change your positioning, try a different webinar, try a challenge instead. So that side is where I guess, like, really have fun and like paint on a blank canvas. So I like having the intimate insider knowledge of being an agency, but I love the experimental side of being a course creator.

Heather Sager  10:24  

Yeah, I can see that. It's like that balance of being able to do both sides where it's the I think, like, this is a really weird analogy. But like in a NASCAR race, you have like the actual driver on the track versus the I don't know what it's called, like the crew chief, which is like the person that like, it's, I've been to one NASCAR race in my life but that's literally the extent of what I have. 

Zach Spuckler  10:46  

I grew up in the Midwest and any a NASCAR race. 

Heather Sager  10:50  

Yeah. You know, I think that quality, though is I think it's very entrepreneurial, right? I think a lot of people have an exciting time sitting on the sidelines telling other people how they run their businesses. That's like, that's fun and creative but if that's not actually your business, it could get a little distracting and exciting but I love you built it in. You mentioned your like your smaller, low ticket offers. I've noticed you talking a lot more about those this last year. Is that the project you're most excited about right now?

Zach Spuckler  11:24  

You know, I think, yeah, in a way it is. And I know, we talked briefly about this. But for me, you know, I noticed this trend in the online space where things have just gotten like astronomically expensive out of the gate for the average entrepreneur. And look, I tell people all the time, like, I'm not opposed to a high ticket price point. We charge five figures for ongoing coaching for one on one clients. We have multi four figure group coaching client offers. We have a course that we sell for 500 but we also have stuff that we sell for 37 bucks. And, you know, I think that one of the big messages we've kind of been fed, if you have been online for more than like five years, like five years ago, everything was like six figure this and six figure that and six figure coach and six figure course. And the markets gone a little more sophisticated and so some people now are like, Oh, it's the seven figure course or the seven figure secret. But there's also been this view in sophistication of like, Oh, you should only take on high ticket clients, high ticket clients, or higher quality clients. High ticket clients are easier to get. High ticket clients can be gotten, you know, without sales calls and you can still get them. And, you know, is it easier to build a million dollar business with 100 clients or 10,000 clients. And for me, you know, one of the things that I've observed is that a lot of that narrative is very self serving. And I don't mean that in a, like, it's self serving, in a bad way, so to speak, but it's only serving the creator, right? And if you want to create to reach more people, or grow your business, or build your brand, we all know that it starts with solving a problem, right? But like so many people with this high ticket, seven figure, do whatever it takes, this is the magic bullet narrative is that it serves the creator not the problems that creator should be solving. And so for me, low ticket has been a way to, you know, we've done not in a single year, I'm always really transparent about that. But we've done multiple seven figures since I've been online in revenue, right. And I've taken home probably about 30% of that, over the course of six years. Okay, so I'm not like this wildly, massively successful person, you know. I guess it really depends on where you sit. But you know, I'm not sitting here with like, a $10 million a year business making 30, 40, 50% profit. What my viewpoint is kind of like, what about this middle ground, righ? And and even more important, what about the people who are like, Oh, I want to launch a course or I want to run Facebook ads, or I want to learn this system but like, it's the chicken or the egg, right? It's like, do I invest in myself, or do I invest in my marketing costs, or do I invest in neither one and do everything organically? And I think up to this point and even currently, a lot of the message is like, oh, if you don't invest in yourself, then like, that's the mistake. And it's like, well, that's not really necessarily true. It's like, if you're barely making ends meet and you've saved up $1,000, buying $1,000 course, it may not be the best first investment, right? And so we kind of started in the last six to 12 months, and by we, I mean, myself and my team, we really started having this conversation about what is the narrative we want to have in this space. And for us, the narrative is like, we're done with a key marketing. We're done with high pressure sales. We're done with the automated webinars that are just happened to be starting in 15 minutes, even though it's like they're starting every 15 minutes. We're done with the stuff that doesn't feel good. And more importantly, we're moving into a phase where you know, full transparency when I started like income was the goal. Impact was not the goal for me and having made decent money and moving into  where I want to live now and buying a house and doing all these things, it's like impact has become a bigger goal for me. And so I would rather put my course in the hands of thousand people and do a little more work on my end, then to make the same amount of money selling a 1200, 13-1500 dollar course. And what I found is that the big narrative has always been like, oh, if somebody pays X amount of dollars, they're like, 10 times less invested than if they pay 10 times that amount of money. And yeah, I mean, I do see people that buy stuff and don't use it because it is cheap but I've also seen people take my $37 courses and make $20,000, make $50,000, launch their first course, get their first thousand email subscribers, cut their Facebook ads cost in half. And for me, it's like, that is like what we're ultimately trying to do. And, you know, again, I'm not dogging on high price points. I just think the making our information super accessible at the paid level is going to be a real contender in the future of online marketing, so that's my soapbox, I'll stop.

Heather Sager  16:12  

I love your soapbox. I'm gonna join you on the soapbox, because you know, it's one of those things that I think it's really easy when people aren't focused on the money piece. It's really easy to sell people. It's really easy to convince them. There's so many connections around how someone's offer can enrich someone's life. You just have to figure out the loose end that you're going to tie for them. It's really, really easy and a lot of people because it's easy, they do it. And I think this is the big conversation that I like, show up to talk about and selling is not bad. You have to make sure that you're you're taking in more than just like one pain point that an audience member has and digging into it. I am all high end right now so my business is all high end. And I'm having a lot of conversations with my team around how do we make things more accessible beyond the podcast. And one of the things that we do often is we actually tell people not to buy our program. A lot of really new course creators, they find the show, they referred by someone, and they hear me talking about getting your messaging down. And they're like, Oh, my gosh, I got to get my messaging down, I got to speak on stages, I gotta figure out how to speak on Instagram, I got to figure out all these things, and it just creates all these I should be doing statements. And so I'm so grateful that they reach out to me on Instagram to talk and when we go down to it, they don't have an offer yet. They don't have a sales engine. We should not be focused on scaling our business if we don't have anything to scale yet. So I usually like, no, do not, and what's funny is, half of them still join the program anyways and they fully support it. I find this and you probably seen this too. When people are honest and tell you that their program is not a good fit for them. I find that as a I don't know, like that, to me is a sign. I sometimes actually ask businesses like an outlandish question to see if they'll actually tell me I'm a bad fit or if they'll try to like, and their answer will help me determine whether or not I want to do business with them. Maybe that's weird. I don't know. You know, something that you brought up around this misconception that different price points determine different levels of action for the clients. I want to go there because that actually hooks to one of the big things I want to talk about today. And there's this conversation around trying to get more people in your programs to the finish line. I'm actually curious around your take on this. I'll share with you mine, because I hear this thing around like, like such a small percentage of people finished digital courses and how your goal is to get more people finishing your course, and I actually think that's a really bogus thing. I don't really care if anyone officially like my course I cared that they get what they wanted from it and get results from it that are they're happy with. What I see is every program, whether it's high ticket, low ticket, there's like this bell curve where you're always gonna have people who never touch your product on one extreme. And then on the other extreme, you're going to have your super users that literally consume every single thing you do, whether or not they get results that I mean regardless. But then you have all the people in the middle who pull pieces from it and use it to how they want. For me, I honor those aspects of the bell curve. I don't try to shift the bell curve by having people have this false sense of accomplishment by finishing a digital course. That's not my that's not my goal. I'm curious when you think about that idea of like people finishing things and taking action, what comes to mind for you?

Zach Spuckler  19:47  

That's a really good question. You know, for me, we have a large noncom completion rate and it's you know, it's probably due to the fact that it isn't really an impulse purchase price, but we also have a really healthy percentage of people that take courses and I look at courses, books, you know, audio books, podcasts, I look at them as reference material, more than I do as like a cover to cover movie or a story. And for me, it's like, you know, I bought a thousand course once because I wanted like one module from the whole course. It wasn't even a module as bonus. And I was like, that is worth $1,000 to me if I can get it to work. And so if that course creator was to come back, the person who created that course and say, well, Zack, you didn't finish the course. But I got what I needed so who cares, right? That's how I look at courses is more like reference material. And, you know, it's a double edged sword because it's also like, you do want to be a beginner, you do want to go through courses from a place of, you know, you can learn everything from a beginner's mindset, you can look at everything from a fresh perspective. But at the end of the day, sometimes you're not in a phase of your life, your business, your goals where you need to go through an entire thing. I've bought, you know, I bought email templates for launches, where it's like, this is great and all but I don't need 20 emails, I need two, but to solve that burning problem right now I'll pay a couple 100 bucks. So to me, it's more about are you actually solving the problem or need that the person who is finding that course is looking for is far beyond the importance of does somebody have a 100% completion rate, right? Because it's like, I'm not running a pass-fail college lecture. I'm running something that's to create a result. And for some people, that is, you know, we're actually launching one of our courses right now and I talked about this. I was like, you know, how often are we being told in marketing, like, this is your goal, six figures is your goal, seven figures is your goal, the house is your goal, the car is your goal. And it's like, maybe that's not even your goal, maybe your goal is to just sell your first course because you've been spinning your wheels for a year and you just want proof that it works and then you can like, believe in yourself again. That might be worth 500 bucks for some people and for other people it's not, right? To other people, it might be like, hey, if I don't make at least $2,000, this was a waste of my time. I think it's more important that we let people self-select their goals and commitments than it is that we force an artificial completion rate to feel good about our stuff, right? Because I don't care how you feel about my stuff, I care how you feel about my stuff. That's way more important.

Heather Sager  22:25  

Oh, my gosh, I love how you phrase that piece. This is part of my resistance to the overuse term of value, creating more value to people. Because what I find is a lot of course creators make value mean, what it like they find valuable, of course, people want this swipe file or of course, people want this extra module. These are cramming things in it with the perception of value. But it's exactly what you just said, it doesn't mean, the translation isn't what we think it is. It's what the end person does with it and what they want, like value with eye of the other person like they get to determine what's valuable and what's not. And I love that I love to just how you phrased that that was really beautiful. 

Zach Spuckler  23:09  

Thank you. 

Heather Sager  23:09  

Thinking about this, the connection of where I was going. I want to talk today about challenges. And where I think this kind of ties in is, well, we don't get to determine what people do in terms of completion of courses and the ultimate. I mean, they're going to determine what their goals are to get what they need out of our programs. I do think that helping people get into action is really, really valuable. I just think a lot of people struggle with just getting into motion. Challenges I've been hearing about them for years. I personally have never participated in any kind of business challenge. I've like, like I was telling you I've had like blinders on around, like following strategy, not owning strategies, but I I am really into health and like personal life challenges. My audience knows I've been doing this 75 Hard. I got crazy. I'm in phase one right now. So like, I have this realization of like, Oh my gosh, I am totally a challenge person yet I never considered doing a challenge in my business. So that was selfishly speaking why I wanted to have you today because, Zach, I know you love challenges, you teach challenges. A friend of mine just bought your 37 or whatever dollar, found it and she's raving about it. So anyways, talking about what is a challenge and can you share a little bit about your approach to why challenges might be a good solution for business owners? 

Zach Spuckler  24:39  

Yeah, so simply put a challenge is just content delivered to a client, followed by a period of sales. The reason I like to start there is because every launch mechanism is that exact strategy. The webinar is just content, pitch, sales. A video series is content, pitch, sales. A challenge is, content, pitch sales. The way that we do it is we do three to five days of focused content and as opposed to content that educate, this is content that inspires and activates. It moves people into motion. Okay? So every day for three to five days, you're basically going to send an email to people who register for your challenge, they have an action to take, you have them in a private Facebook community as well, where they're posting about taking that action. Again, inspiring and activating the rest of the community. You do a live video to kind of build trust. I know you're a big fan of live video, so we do live video to build that trust element. And then once we've kind of shown people that they can do the work, and that they can get results from the work, we'd give them an opportunity to work with us at a deeper level. So one of the things that I really love about this is that webinars are about convincing people that they need your content, video series about painting the picture of what people can do with your content and then positioning the offer, and challenges are about showing people what they can do because what a lot of people don't realize is there's really three objections that somebody is going to take when they come into your course. Do they believe in you? Do they think it's worth it? But most importantly, do they believe in themselves? Because one of the big objections that no amount of bonuses, testimonials, you know, great copy is going to overcome is somebody who is at a shear place of, yeah, this is great, but it's not possible for me. No price point is going to fix that objection. So what we do with challenges is we empower people to actually create their own momentum over a given period of time, and then say, look, you created this momentum. I helped you, but you did the work. Let's continue together. Here's an irresistible offer and then you move them into your course, program, or coaching.

Heather Sager  26:44  

Yeah, okay. I love this idea. And I mean, you guess I love lives. I think there's this belief that challenges are more work than webinars. 

Zach Spuckler  26:57  

Oh, for sure. 

Heather Sager  26:58  

The tech and stuff. Can you break that down a little bit? Because as you were saying that I'm like, oh, man, I have so many clients and people in my audience who want to do webinars, but they are stuck in the trying to get the perfect webinar framework and having resistance on this. Oh, my gosh, a challenge seems so much more like hit live and go messy session, but share share your perspective on that.

Zach Spuckler  27:22  

So here's the real tee. Yes, challenges are more work than webinars. However, highly conversional, highly forgiving. And so what I tell people is like, look, we actually run a program where we're like, you should use a challenge. We sell that program via webinar and we're actually reconsidering that because I don't love that to be honest. But a webinar is a lot easier and I happen to be in a very busy season in my business. But here's the caveat, a webinar is your success is contingent on your show up ability, your sales ability, and your your ability to influence people in a very minute timeframe. Okay, so the average person, like what we kind of get fed in the internet world is like, oh, follow this script, use this template, you will convert it five to 10% of your webinar. Well, that's all good and well, except what if you're nervous? What if you've never done it before? What if you mess up? We were just talking about this before we started recording? What if your webinar cuts out halfway through, right? If your challenge was to cut out halfway through, you would just like go live, or post in the group, or send an email. If that happens with your webinar, it literally can cost you thousands, ten thousands of dollars. Okay? So yes, it is more work. There's just no bones about it. However, at any point during the five days, if people get stuck or confused, you can address that. We did a webinar several years ago and I was so confident in this webinars, like this is going to kill it. That webinar tanked because 30 minutes in people were like, I'm lost, I don't understand what's happening and that is the worst feeling because there's nothing you can do. Now, fast forward two years, we did a challenge. We released our day four content and people went, I'm so confused, I don't understand. What am I supposed to do? That was at 9am, 9:30am, it was just me and one other person on my team at the time. I was like, what do we do? We kind of dialogue. We built a worksheet, shot a video, a live video sharing the worksheet. That was one of our highest converting challenges. Even though people got stuck and confused, we were immediately able to identify and overcome that. So it's kind of like you know, for lack of a better analogy. It's like going bowling. It's way easier to bowl with the lanes down. I forget what they call them. 

Heather Sager  27:26  

Bumper bowling

Zach Spuckler  29:42  

Bumper bowling, right? Bumper bowling is like a challenge. But you have to think yeah, there's more work. Yeah, you have to go up to the desk and tell the guy and it's awkward and you're like please put bumpers on. I can't bowl even though I'm 25, just put the bumpers up, right? Yeah, there's some front end resistance but like are you going to enjoy the process of throwing a gutter ball every single time or you're going to give yourself the advantage of a bumper while you learn? So I'm not anti-webinar and you know, realistically, I'm a marketer at heart. I'm sure I've written anti-webinar propaganda via email ads in my day, but I'm not avidly anti-webinar. I just know that the average person getting started with launching their course, with finding their footing is going to see way more success with the challenge. So yes, it does take a little bit more work. You have to show up every day for five days versus like, once for 90 minutes and then you can write emails from the comfort of your pajamas or in bed. Sure, it's a little different, but it works. And that's what I tell people it's like, yes, and take the advantage. Take the advantage while it's there.

Heather Sager  30:47  

Yeah. Okay. I love one of the things that you said, I can't remember the other word that you use, but you said that the challenges are more forgiving. Can you share a little bit about that? Because that's one of the things that, my audience is pretty split, right? Where we have some people who are like, they're listening because they're like, Heather helped me get over my fear of live video or recorded video or whatever the fear thing is. They're still dabbling a toe not fully committed that they're going to do this video thing. And then the other half is like I'm rocking it, but how do I get better? So just thinking about this idea of for like being forgiving, I think I know where you're going with this but I want to hear your take.

Zach Spuckler  31:22  

Yeah, well, when I say forgiving, what I'm really getting at is like, you've got to realize that every time you do something, there's a reaction from your market. You send out an email, they open it and click. You send out a webinar, they attended or they don't. And so with a challenge, there's just more touch points. And maybe it's just my very analytical brain, like, you know, a lot of stuff in business is very binary, either is or isn't, right? So did they show up to your webinar? Yes or no? Did they click your email? Yes or no? They open your email, yes or no? Did they watch your live video? Yes or no? There's no like, will Linda like, watch my live video with one eye open, right? Either she was there, she wasn't. So with all of that, with a challenge, you got way more touchpoints. So you have a daily email, a daily live stream, a private Facebook community. You can pay attention to who's engaging like on my webinar, it's hard for me to be like, Oh, look at those four people who talked and then didn't buy, I'm gonna go find them on social media and do a personal follow up. With a challenge, I can be like, oh, wow, Deborah posted every day of the challenge. She didn't buy the course, I'm just gonna follow up and ask her what she thought and see if she's interested, right? So it also creates this intimate environment for personalized follow up and we call it the scrappy principle. I think it's something that's really missing in the online world is like this principle. That's like, not every launch like even for us sometimes. It's not like you just send the emails and make millions of dollars. Sometimes you have to DM people, and post on Instagram and do a real, and do a live stream, and do a follow up, and do a Q&A, and check in with people and do one on one. And it's like, nobody really talks about that because a lot of the times the people that we look at, you know, and again, not a bad thing, just an observation is they're doing multimillion dollar launches with teams of 40 people and and 100, 200, 300, $400,000 ad spend. And then we're saying, well, why would I emulate somebody who has all the resources I don't have, and I'm not getting the same results? Because you can't get the same results without the same tools. And so when I like just to kind of bring it back to the original question is like, why is it more forgiving or why is it more flexible? It's ultimately because you have more opportunity to connect with your audience and you do in any other format. I know some people are like really pro, like the live video series really like a weekly Facebook Live in a private Facebook group. And I argue even then, you're still trying to get people to tune into a webinar and those are highly scripted highly conversional activities. A challenge is like if you can show somebody they can get results, prove you got them improve, prove to themselves they can do it and then make an offer. It's going to convert so much better than trying to hone your persuasion skills, 1, 2, 3 years into the game.

Heather Sager  34:10  

Yeah, yes, I think that's I call it the power of the head nod where anytime you're engaging with an audience, if you don't want to be surprised later when people say like no or they have no interest, it's because you never brought them along with you on the journey. People participate in the content in order for them to see themselves like working with you. So if you're not getting head nods, if you're not getting people to take action or see themselves taking action, you're not going to get results and I love that you talked about this the scrappy actions. I am like so a fan of this. I think a lot of times people want to rush in and I made this mistake very early in my career. I wanted to like rush to the like C-suite table and be fancy and have somebody fetch coffee for me. So I was like, I was above the stuff that I learned quickly. I adopted a mantra with my team years ago, this idea that everybody scoops to poop that it doesn't matter what level you're at, you participate at every, like in everything like corporate events. And if I was an executive, I would clean coffee if I needed to off of the table like we've all would do that, and translating that into this online space what I see a lot of times is people want to get to that magnificent seat where they don't have to do those things anymore and they just want sales to trickle in. And I think that this industry is just hungry for real human connection and when you like, reach out to someone in the DMs and follow up that hey, you noticed they had a question that didn't get answered and you just ask them questions and use the voice chat, like those little things, they matter and they build great relationships. And one of my goals that I find is my goal isn't always to make sales. Although I would love to make sales like hello, I love money, I want to grow my business. But I want people to associate me with helping people make an impact in the world and using their voice. So if that means they just get a little braver, if that means they mentioned me to someone else, if that means two years from now they work with me and I don't really care what that looks like right now. But I think we have to get a little scrappier and build real relationships for that to actually have an impact beyond just our wallet right now.

Zach Spuckler  36:21  

Yep. I agree. 100%. And I think, you know, yeah, it's all good and well, but even, you know, even even the big names have systems that scale that create scalable intimacy. I have a good friend, Amber McHugh, talks about scalable intimacy. And it's like, that's what people want, right? You can still DM some of the big names and they'll write back or their team will write back or somebody writes back or your acknowledge and that's really what it comes down to as challenges, this opportunity to connect with and acknowledge your entire audience of people that are interested in what you have to say.

Heather Sager  37:00  

You know, it's funny that you brought that up. This is a random example. But I'm in a, you're gonna be like, this is so not relative to me. I've had two children and part of what I've been working on lately is three years after having my second child, I'm trying to get my stomach back together. I didn't know that my abs separated with during child whatever, way an overshare. Anyways, I'm in an online challenge course right now called Ab Rehab to like, fix your mom stomach. And I bring this up because they're like, thousands of people in this Facebook group. And the creator of the challenge is consistently responding to every single question and comment within two hours. And I remember initially, I posted about this on my Instagram a while ago, I'm like, wow, she was like, so responsive to our ask. And then as I see it go, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, she's got a team scaling this personalized thing under her name and it's exactly what you're talking about. And I had this moment of going, wait, do I feel gross now knowing that it's not her? Or no, I'm actually totally okay with it because like, she's present of community anyway. Very weird, random example. Do you like feel there's this inner toggle like devil-angel situation that sits with a lot of entrepreneurs trying to figure out this thing right now? How do you not sacrifice your own integrity in order to make choices like that to scale? Because that does feel like I don't know.

Zach Spuckler  38:37  

This is so good. I think it goes even one layer deeper in that it's getting clear on what you actually want, right? So some people are chasing the metric that's been put in front of them by the industry, not the metric they want to achieve. Like so for us, we've been doing this for six years. Our goal this year is not a million dollars. This is probably the first like we've said this before, but I think this is the first year where it's actually hit me that I'm like, I'm actually not like quietly in the back of my head, like, but maybe I'm like, like, no, that's not the goal, not really on track for that. Our goal is to do 500 to 750 in revenue this year at a 20 to 30% profit margin. That's just our goal for the year. And for me, that's achievable without a team of coaches, that's achievable without somebody managing my social at this phase of the game. And so I always like to start by saying like, do you actually even want what somebody else is looking to do? I remember, I was in a mastermind and the person who ran it had like an in person team and it was like a team of 18 people and I was like, you know, for a really long time I was like emulating that person. I was like, but I don't ever have a desire to have an office. I don't really ever desire my team to be bigger than six to seven people. Maybe I like the idea of employing somebody down the road. Everybody we work with is contracted even if they're full time to us. Meaning we're their only client we work with. We don't break contract as promise. But, you know, it's like, where are you even trying to go, right? Then you can ask yourself the question like, do I have to do this to scale, or what's the most ethical way I can do to scale, or what do people ultimately want, right? Because it's like if what people want is to feel accountable and supported, then who cares if you have coaches, right? Because they're not looking for you, right? But this phase of our business, a lot of people come to me and say, like, Zack, I want to work with you because of you. Well, that is my x factor. And that's working really well for me and we are at a phase of our business in life where I'm like, I don't want coaches and that's not a goal of mine but I can lean into that. I don't need to get coaches and I don't need a social media team. And just a random side, I am such a opinionated person on social media. I don't think you need to be posting on social media every day. Every time I set myself a 30 day challenge on social media for like consistency, I fail it. My business is fine. My life is okay. So just as a little side note, if you're like, I'm going to outsource my social media, like, you can be pretty crappy at social media and just fine at business. And I say that, because that's where a lot of people start is they're like, I'm gonna outsource this or I can't keep up with that. And it's like, one thing that I always like to refer to, as my friend, Tiffany, who calls it hit hustle. She's like, there's just seasons of your business where you have to hustle. And like our internet marketing culture has two polar opposites of like, everything is easy, visualize your life and it will come. And then like, work so hard that the haters like remember your name. There is like a middle ground. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's hard. That's called life. There's ebbs and flows. And I know this is like, really like, where am I going with this? But all of this is to say, like, you have to figure out where you operationally as a business operate from. And that comes down to values, that comes down to goals, that comes down to you know, which side of the polar opposite that you're on, you know, some people disagree with me. And my thing is, like, look, I started my business by like, busting my, you know what and working 20 hour days sometimes and sleeping for hours and being young and 22 and I didn't have any kids. It's not really fair to come along and be like, it can be easy if you let it. Yeah, but it never, like, that's not how I started. That's not true, It can be hard. It can be resentful, you know, like, I don't know. Anyway, all of that to say scalable intimacy and the things that you do, it has to come from a frame of your goals, your values, and what feels good and what your customer wants. Like for me what my customer wants and this is just like if you listen to this, and you know me and you're like, that's not true, feel free to push back. But my customers like me because I'm very much like, opinionated, over the top big personality, been doing this for years and that's my X factor. And so it's silly to be like, well, I'm just gonna hire coaches to do all my work at this phase of my business. Could I retrain my audience or reset my goals, change what I'm doing? Absolutely. But realistically, my goal isn't to run a $10 million a year coaching business or course business, it's just not. And I think if more people had the nerve and I know that sounds a little verbose, but it's like if more people had the just like the where with all to be like, actually, I don't want what everyone's telling me I want. I just want this, like, that would be great. Some like, and I think the YouTube world is really good at doing this is like some people start YouTube because they want to just like, get it out there. Some people start YouTube because they want to make $10,000 a month, some people want to make $500 a month, some people just want people to buy their handmade stuff. It's like with online courses, we've conditioned us to believe that whoever we're following is the ideal, is the path, is the way to go. And it's like just get outside influences. Look at different people, look at what you want, and then figure out what you actually want because odds are it's not what somebody else happens.

Heather Sager  44:08  

It's such an important reminder like I am, no side tangents. One of my big things I talk about all the time to my community is this idea that if you're looking for scripts, if you're looking for fill in the blank templates, if you're looking for me to make speaking on stage is easier by telling you what to say. You're working with the wrong coach, like I'm not your coach because I think that the challenge a lot of people have is they're expecting somebody else to like fill in the blank for them, like insert your goals here, insert what to say here to sell here, insert what kind of product you should build here. We're all looking for the easiest way to do this and the reality is becoming an entrepreneur and having a successful business is not easy. There is resistance the entire way. You choose what that looks like, right? It doesn't mean it has to be like frickin daunting and overwhelming every day. But we have to consciously put ourselves in situations to use our brains. And whether that's figuring out how to put together your own talk, or how to do your messaging with some frameworks, or it's the challenging what your goals are, because you've been following other people's models. I think people would start feeling a lot more engaged and happier in their businesses, myself included, I had a bigger heart this last year. By actually questioning the goals that you write down for yourself, are they actually your goals or are they someone else's? I just just thinks it's so powerful and it's a constant reminder I think we all need because the messaging in this industry are so in your face on social all the time. We're always make decision around what to think and how to set goals. So yep, I love this. Okay, so back to the challenge thing, because I want to make sure we circle back to there and then we're going to wrap this up. Oh my gosh I couldn't I would but we got shit to do. Thinking about the challenge, like if somebody is listening to this, and they like that idea of going, okay, I get the the challenge technically might be more work but I love the fact that it's a little bit more casual, gives me a little bit more leeway and I love the analogy of the bumpers in a bowling lane. I think that's beautiful. And I think bumper bowling is way more fun. If somebody's thinking about that, what should they be considering / what should they do next, if they want to feasibly take on a challenge in their business?

Zach Spuckler  46:39  

Absolutely. So three super quick things, one, know the process. So the process is send a daily email, do a daily live stream, host everything in a private Facebook group, 1, 2, 3 steps. You do that every single day. You've got three touch points where you're connecting with your ideal customers who sign up for the challenge. Second thing, make sure you create demand for your program. The biggest mistake that I see people make with a challenge is they go well, I'm just gonna teach what I'm good at and people are gonna like me and trust me and buy my thing, and that's not how sales works. That's not how persuasion works. I'm all for you know, a good feel good moment, all for giving value. I write blog posts that are 5, 6, 7, 8000 words that outline my entire courses and I'm telling you do not do that with your challenge. You want to create what we call the gap. And the gap is basically the way that we describe this is what's called the PSP model, problem solution problem. So your audience has a problem, you need to solve that with some kind of solution, that's your challenge, but it needs to uncover a deeper problem that you're really working with people on. So Heather, I'm gonna use you as a fly by the seat of my pants example. Yeah, some people are like, I want to fill my webinars, I want to fill my webinars. Well, if Heather did a challenge called, you know, get the 50 perfect webinar attendees, right? We would refine the title a little bit. But we would call it like get your first 50 webinar viewers, right? And then she does this challenge, she's like, hey, I'm going to help you figure out your your opt in page and your thank you page. And you might be like, why would Heather teach this this has nothing to do with talking, or speaking, or clarifying your message. Because if you get to day five and people are like, I am ready to do my webinar, what the heck should my webinar be on? And then Heather goes, well, that's a great question. You got the people, you got the stuff. If you want to learn how to like craft your perfect webinar, come join me inside, you know, Perfect Webinar 2.0, whatever. So just be thinking next step. Now it doesn't always have to be that disconnected for lack of a better word. Sometimes we did a five day Facebook ad challenge. We'll set your first Facebook ad together in five days. Literally, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days in, they had a Facebook ad running. And then we said, do you want to learn like what's next, right? The new problem is how do I scale? How do I spend? What do I do with these leads? What's the next step? And so we were like, hey, come enroll in our program, Facebook ads management, and we'll give you this bonus, how to set up a basic funnel for all your new subscribers. It was like a total no brainer and we gave lots of information. We move people into action. They were doing the things we wanted them to do. They were experiencing real transformation and then they moved into it. So that's the second thing, make sure there's a gap. And then the third thing is have a sales sequence ready. Okay, so second biggest mistake, because I already said the biggest but I would argue they're both pretty big. Make sure that you're not doing everything in real time. So I can tell you as somebody that has launched both proactively, where everything's written scheduled copywriter, systems dialed in, those launches always go a million times better than the launches where I'm like, door closes in six hours. So today's email is why you should buy and now I'm going to stare at my computer screen and blinking cursor for 20 minutes. So it's okay if you're doing things in real-time. I would say 80% of people I work with, especially in their first launch, they're doing stuff in real time. You underestimate, what's that saying? You overestimate what you can do in a day and underestimate what you can do in a year. You will overestimate how much you can get done the two weeks before the challenge, and underestimate how much work the challenge itself is. So I always tell people write out your sales sequence or your content sequence in advance. In our program, we actually teach people to write their sales sequence the week of the challenge. So the reason we do that is because you're getting all this real-time feedback. And it's really nice to like, from a copywriting perspective to have the words of your audience in this massive Facebook group that you can just scan through and write emails from, total ninja copywriting hack. What I'm saying is when the card opens Friday, try to have as many of your Saturday, Sunday or Monday, Tuesday, if you're going to stay open, longer emails ready to go. Okay. So anything you can prep in advance for your challenge is going to be like the best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity. As somebody whose cart closes in four hours, it has two more emails to write during a podcast interview, I can tell you, it's a busy day. 10 out of 10, do not recommend. But you know, that is the reality, right? We prepped for the whole webinar in advance, we prepped our ads in advance and our sales sequence fell to the side. Knowing what I know now I would recommend doing it the other way. So yeah, so those are the big three things. Number one, know the flow. Number two, build the gap, and number three, prep your content in advance. 

Heather Sager  51:32  

Okay, I love this. I love this so much. Thank you for breaking that down. And I know you have you have a low ticket offer that helps people like step by step walk through this, where can they go? Where could they go find that? Because I know I'm going to be buying it because that little one you came up with but something's happening later this summer.

Zach Spuckler  51:50  

Yeah, so we if you go to toolkit.heartsoulhustle.com, we have what we call the challenge launch toolkit and it is a $37 training that walks you through how to map out your challenge, write your emails, write your sales emails, come up with your content, write your challenge flow. And also it has, I'm always really careful when I say this, it's got a Facebook ads Crash Course. So it's like a literally a 25 minute video on how we set up ads for a challenge. If you've never been inside the ads manager before, it will not solve all your problems in 25 minutes. But if you run ads, and you're like, okay, I really want to like learn the process. It covers that as well. It's got worksheets, templates, workbooks, some really awesome stuff in there. We hear from people all the time that it is a $37 offer that outweighs some of the higher ticket offers out there and we pride ourselves on that. And a whole little tangent is like we do that because we want people to love our stuff, love what we do and not feel wary investing higher to go with us down the road. 

Heather Sager  52:49  

Yeah. Okay, I love that. I love that we'll put a link to all of these things we're talking about today into the show notes. As we wrap up here is that because I know you got to go write those promo emails, any other words of encouragement for an entrepreneur right now who's maybe struggling to be, I'm gonna go left turn here for a second. Struggling to fully show up online, whether it's on video or just be a little bit bolder in their message. Do you have any words of encouragement for them?

Zach Spuckler  53:20  

Yeah, I do. Here's the thing, people are gonna judge you one way or the other so might as well judge you for just being the person that you are. You know, like, I'm somebody who I was pretty young when I started my business. For those that don't know, I'm out, proud gay entrepreneur. I was not when I started my business. I was 22 didn't come out for a couple years. I was already in my business. I already had very much like an established brand and a color palette and, you know, as closeted gays do, we like to downplay some things. I wasn't great at it. My whole family was not shocked when I came out. No one really was. But here nor there, what I have come into in the last, you know, few months, few years has been like more internal identity exploration and things like that. And unfortunately or fortunately just depending on how you look at it, like I live a somewhat public life. You start a personal brand and people just expect to learn and know things about you. People who come to my webinars are like, where's Ted? Where's Charlie? That's my dogs. People are like, oh my gosh, I started wearing nail polish recently and people were like, what color are your nails today? And it's like, you don't think about that but living out loud can really inspire a lot of people. There are like when I did the first post with like, oh my gosh, my nails match my really overpriced bag because I also have like a small obsession with collector or designer bags, a whole nother conversation. But I lost followers on Instagram. I live very wild life when I'm not just sitting at home in my pajamas, but it's like, you know, I lost followers over that. But my thing is like I would rather have followers who love me for the authentic person I'm being with where I'm not having to play a part. And I think that's really like, you know, will I paint my nails forever? I honestly don't know. But I'm doing it this week and it feels good to me and I think that's what's more important. The message is like, when we posted about pride month we lost followers. But then at the flip side of all of that, like we've gained followers through the process, right? So it's like, I just, you know, just be yourself because people are gonna hate on you either way. I had last last little tangent on thrown here. I had a YouTube channel that had nothing to do with business, like, none of my associates knew it. We built it up to like 3500 subscribers and then I just ran out of like the time and patience for it, honestly. But people used to say like, the meanest things. People would be like, you don't say it that way. This idiot doesn't know what he's talking about, oh, my gosh, you're terrible, just the meanest and nastiest comments which is totally YouTube, by the way. That's super huge. I do not get as many comments on Facebook. I almost said any, but that's not true, either. It's like people are gonna hate on you either way, especially as you create more visibility in your business. And so it's like, if people are gonna hate on you, let them hate on the real you. You know, it's like, you want to hate on me, that's cool. But you're gonna hate me for the person I actually am, not the person I'm trying to be online. And I'm really stepping into that more in the last few months. 

Heather Sager  56:19  

Yeah, I'd love it. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that. I actually didn't know part about your story. I didn't realize how young you were when you started your business., like, I have so many questions about that. We'll get into that. It's such a good message. I think there is a discovery process for every entrepreneur around how much of me can I actually be and people will still like me and then you start asking different questions. It's almost like as I approached 40, I'm like, I don't even care anymore what people think like this is me, but like you have to go through the process in your 20s and 30s, and I think it's the same as an entrepreneur so I think it's such a good reminder. Zach, you talked about your love for handbags and nail polish and all the things. Where can people follow your journey and all things business?

Zach Spuckler  57:05  

Yeah, follow me for all things business, funny reels, you know my dogs and then everyone smile, I launched a thing or two. Instagram, @heartsoulhustle is the best place to connect to me, or heartsoulhustle.com, if you're looking to reach out. We have our contact forms, basic outline of the stuff that we offer, podcast, blog posts, all of that. Heartsoulhustle. com, but @heartsoulhustle on Instagram is like I love connecting with people there. And I'm like one of those people who's like now quietly gunning for 10,000 followers. I've been at 7,000 for two years and I'm like, and again my business is doing fine. Just goes to speak to the stupidity of social media some days but I want that $10,000, so come follow me. 

Heather Sager  57:50  

Here's what we're gonna do. We are going to make sure you take a screenshot of today's episode, share it on your Instagram stories. Tag Zach and I. Let us know which weird outlandish tangent was your favorite today. Absolutely. #sagersidenote is definitely a thing. Okay, awesome. Thanks for being here, Zach. Everyone, thanks for listening today and we'll see y'all on the next episode.