Our guest today: Lauren Goldstein
Fondly known by her clients as “The Business Doctor,” Lauren Goldstein, Founder and CEO of boutique strategy consulting firm Golden Key Partnership, has been helping businesses scale more strategically for close to 10 years.
Her superpower is acting as interim COO to simply and effectively diagnose what is keeping a business stuck at status quo and then helping them strategically prioritize to bust through those bottlenecks. Melding her medical mind with her business expertise, her magic happens in the 2mm space of strategic microscopic adjustments that create traction and momentum in operations and team dynamics to move businesses from overwhelm to sustainable scaling.
Lauren Goldstein on founding Golden Key Partnership and scaling 7-figure businesses.m4a – powered by Happy Scribe
Feisworld podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics, nuggets you can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have none interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help Deep dove into topics such as freelancing, marketing, even indie filmmaking that would benefit creators like you.
Show notes, lengths and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now onto the show. Hi there, this is Fei Wu. I’m so excited to record this because for the first time in my household, my partner and my mom are not staying here. I don’t know how you guys feel about being a creative person now, not only in the 21st century, but, you know, it’s living the pandemic. So if you have children running around, you probably discover that it’s hard to manage your time.
Fine. It’s really tough to find a quiet time to do your work, such as recording a voice intro for your podcast. Well, as I’m doing this, I can already hear somebody coming through the door. But, you know, today I want to let you know that I have invited a lovely guest. Her name is Lauren Goldstein. I met Lauren Sommer, our mutual connection, Michael Roderick, who I’m also excited to bring on Feisworld Livestream shortly.
So with I said, who is Lauren? Why did I invite her to the show? Well, she is a maverick leader, business doctor, a strategist, innovator, problem slayer, consultant, speaker. There are a lot of titles associated with her and her work. She founded Golden Key Partnership and works with what she calls and refers to as a seven figure businesses solving complex business problems. So I’ve asked her to join me in breaking down the formulas she uses to build a successful business as a woman.
Specifically, what we need to get clear on the common mistakes most of the early entrepreneurs make. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you are seasoned a seasoned entrepreneur. But there are something I’m sure you can definitely gain from this conversation as well. So I feel really privileged to be able to connect with so many people. And you’ll learn lives in Texas, which I found out. I just somehow assume that everybody I interview are from the northeast where the Tri-State area.
It’s certainly not a case with her. And it just fascinating to understand different lifestyles and different businesses that people are running. So I’m really grateful that you are here. By the way, you may be wondering why is Feisworld podcast different these days? Why are you going live with everybody? Well, I’ve mentioned this on my show previously, but if this is the first episode that you’re listening, welcome. And I want to let you know how special it is to be a life dreamer these days.
And how I do it is I invite all my guests to simply join me on Zoom. Everybody’s so familiar with the platform now. Right? So I don’t have to explain another. I have to run so many tests. Everybody’s pro are using Zoom. So that’s where I decided to stick around. But I’m using what’s called a multi stream service, such as restring to broadcast to so many different platforms. And for me, those platforms are Facebook, meaning my Facebook page, my personal Facebook page, my Twitter account periscope, my two different YouTube channels.
And I also have a sort of an aggregator and iFrame player right on my website where you can see and witness all of this. So if this sounds remotely interesting to you, I’ll definitely come check out Feisworld.com for Livestream. I offer one to one consulting services to help people bring their content online. You do it once. You don’t have to wait four weeks for your editor to edit the show and it’s all out there. I’m so proud of this endeavor.
I really am so excited, not just for me and my show, but for you. And to check out the potentials that livestream will have on your business really without doing that much more work. I know that life dreaming is not the most popular thing, isn’t a household name just yet, but I think it’s really important for us to stay ahead of the curve and to, you know, to lead others. Maybe one of the things that you could consider is once you learn how to live stream of multi stream, you can invite your friends, family, maybe your colleagues, your mentors to join you.
Because once I notice, once people join you on the show, then whatever it may be, you may or may not even have a podcast. It actually encourages and promote other people’s vision services, but then allow them to see their future and the possibilities they could have where the life streaming so well, that’s plenty of introduction. And again, I want to definitely see you subscribing to the show. Check us out on Feisworld.com for Livestream.
And if you’re interested in other events and Livestream just like this before we hit edit button and then kind of launch the show on our podcast, we’ll visit Feisworld.com/events. And that’s where you can add these events to your calendar and join us live. So without further ado, please welcome Lauren Goldstein to Feisworld podcast and Feisworld Livestream. Hey, everyone, this is Fei Wu, welcome to Face World podcast Live, something that I’ve been doing since three months ago, because instead of producing post-production and worrying about all these things, I just decided that I want to go live very raw right here.
I have Lauren Goldstein’s welcome. Lauren, so glad you’re here.
Hi. Thanks so much for having me. And really, I’m jazzed about our conversation today. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Me too. I feel like I mean, in real life, I mean, this is real life. If you were to live in Boston, I would imagine us going to Starbucks coffee and just do this when nobody is watching or listening. But I think it’s such a privilege to be able to do this with you live so other people can sit in. Yeah. So let me do something really awkward. I never read somebody’s bio ever on my podcast, but I want to do this because I want you guys to hear what Lauren has written.
Plus I totally post the old bio. So this is an opportunity for me to correct myself. And we’re going to talk about the process of how you can approach yours and why she chose the certain words and and phrases. So here I go, fondly known by her clients as the business doctor. Lauren Goldstein, founder and CEO of boutique strategy consulting firm Golden Key Partnership, has been helping business businesses scale more strategically for close to ten years. Her superpower is acting as the interim CEO to simplify, simply and effectively diagnose what is keeping a business stuck at status quo and then helping them, helping them strategically prioritize to bust through those bottlenecks, melding her medical mind with her business, expertize her magic happens in the two mm space of strategic microscopic adjustments that create traction and momentum in operations and team dynamics to move businesses from overwhelmed to sustainable scaling.
Wow. All right. There we go.
Yes, that’s such a mouthful, but I still really love it.
Why? Why, why do you love it? Actually, a lot of could you dissect this for us? Because a lot of people are like, well, I mean, it’s overwhelming, but it took me 10 years to get here. I mean, has this almost always been the verbiage for 10 years? Did you change recently? What is the process?
Great question. No, this was not the original one when I started 10 years ago, and I think that’s a really great business lesson is I think sometimes when we start a business, we think this is it. This is what I’m going to do. And I’m just I’m going to ride this horse forever. And really, I think businesses are this living, breathing thing that change with you. I’ve changed as a person. I’ve gotten better at communicating and leadership and of course, my craft of consulting and really being that business doctor.
And so for me, I would say this bio changes. I wouldn’t say weakly, but it changes often because it’s like, oh, I could say that and a little bit better way that makes more sense or lands better. But the reason the reason I love it is because it kind of tells you who I am. It tells you how long I’ve been doing this. It tells you what makes me different. I mean, I don’t think there are very many strategy consultants out there that have a background in cognitive neuroscience.
But I do. And yeah, I just think it it does a really good job of painting a picture of how I can help you with your business and scaling.
So what would be the most recent change you applied maybe is just a couple of words and why did you change them?
Yeah. So for me, I think probably the things that I changed is that two millimeter space that was the most recent addition. And then actually the one that I’m looking at now, which we just changed like a few days ago, because our business is continuing to evolve and we’ve actually refocused on specifically operations and team like we’ve we we’re doing like bigger strategy. But those are really the sweet spots. And now I say, like the last line is where CEOs are no longer the bottleneck.
Teams are working cohesively and effectively, efficiently for maximum impact. And the bottom line of the business is constantly rising. So just like feel good things at the end based on client feedback that I’ve awesome.
Speaking of client feedback, I’m very curious about your origin stories because you do have a quite different story and past there. But could you maybe give us a sense for what you do for some of your clients and what is at the core of your business offerings?
Yeah, so the core is what I call a business break through. It centers around three main things. The first is the revenue cliff that a lot of business owners are not aware of its existence in their business. So we help them figure out where there is and also how not to let their business fall off to its death. That would be bad. The second is actually helping entrepreneurs and CEOs, specifically because I work with seven figure businesses, really make the shift from chief everything officer, where even if you have a team there, stuff spilling onto your plate, you feel like maybe you’re working harder than when you didn’t have a team to true CEO and that that that is a challenging transition to go from business operator to a business owner.
And I jokingly say when my clients are like a team problem or have a time problem, I’m like, I have a time problem. You have a team problem and you’re probably the bottleneck and it’s you. It’s not them. It’s they don’t love caring. But I’m a truth. I’m a truth teller. And then the last the last part that we focus on is the gap in your team, because a lot of times when you’re building a business, especially when you start, you fall into the trap of hiring people that are just like worker bees.
So they’re just doing tasks. And that’s great when you have people in the middle who have a plan that can run with you. But if you have a lean team of nothing but worker bees who I love, but they’re going to they’re going to suck your time and your energy and you’re not going to get as fast or as far as fast as you would like. And so we look at which of those areas is the biggest bottleneck and how can we create a a prioritized plan to create the momentum and traction to actually move you forward for not only more simple scaling, but sustainable scaling so that you can enjoy the things you want to do in life rather than worrying about know is your company going to run without you if you go on vacation for two weeks, are feeling like you’re just on a nonstop firefighting mission every day.
So in terms of these seven figure business, and I somehow that does hit me because I realize oftentimes I’m going after people without that level of revenue and sometimes it’s much harder to sell to people who are less established. So people are thinking like looking at you, you’re a young woman and you’re working with a lot of CEOs. What is the setup of some of the companies? Because I know that these days are a lot of like single or two person, seven figure businesses floating around, or are you currently in massive organizations?
What is what is the size like? And I also want to know what your day to day is like. Right. Like how you start these conversations.
Yeah. So first of all, I have great skin care. I’m not as young as I look, so I appreciate that. So my sweet spot is teams of about five to twenty five could be, could be a little bit bigger, could be up to 50. But you know it’s, it’s a lot of of like real estate brokers or wealth management or SAS companies, even some lawyers. Let’s see what other doctors I’ve worked with several doctors. And you know, you have those companies that are very lean and making seven figures.
And I love those companies. Those just those aren’t the companies that I work with because I’m looking to work with organizations that have more human capital that want to make an even bigger impact and are just having trouble managing all the moving pieces and the duct taped things. And the while we added this when we were in this stage. But this thing’s kind of holding us back. And so it’s it’s about getting all the moving pieces working synergistically together. And since my superpower is like, really, I can look at a business and be like, this is the problem.
So if you don’t have a lot of those moving pieces, I can see what the problem is. But you may not have, like, the resources behind you to really efficiently fix it with me.
And would you be providing those resources to some of these clients potentially? Or maybe your you can be hiring additional resources, knowing what the job descriptions need to be and manage that team. How do you fix that type of issues?
Yeah, so it depends on the level of engagement. Sometimes they just need a business break through and then they go and run with it. Sometimes it’s about half a year. And then other times I come in like an interim CEO, I look at what’s broken and what needs to be fixed. It’s really like locking arms with the CEO as kind of that interim second in command to actually dissect and diagnose their whole business and look at who they need to hire.
And hopefully during our time, what I actually do is look at where are their team gaps, look at their current team, who’s operating well, who’s not, and then ultimately figure out who they’re second in command is and help them bring that person on to take them to the next level.
Are you involved in the interview process as well? Potentially.
I mean, sometimes, but most often what I say is I could do the whole thing right? I mean, I’ve successfully hired for myself and others, but if I’m doing all the work and not actually giving you the tools and the training to do it, then you’re not generally going to get the people that jive with you. You’ll get people that jive with me but also fit with you. And so what I do is really get the CEOs educated on what the best team is to build around them, what kind of operations they need to support their long term growth.
And then I coach them like this is the only kind of coaching I do. I coach them on how to word their job descriptions to attract the right people, as well as because of my background in neuroscience. And also I’m a board certified and practitioner. I know certain questions that you can ask that will reveal. I know this sounds kind of shady, but it’s not shady. It reveals personality traits that will show you like, for example, if you’re hiring a manager.
And there’s three questions we can ask that will tell you if that person actually has what it takes to be a manager. And so it’s just it’s about like putting in the frameworks and understanding the process so they can duplicate it over and over and over again.
It’s not shady at all for people who don’t know this. And I’m not an expert. So an LP is neurolinguistic programing, very powerful stuff, very fascinating. And I was quite into it, I would say 10 to 15 years ago. And I feel like I need to get back into it. So much to learn. And by the way, I think especially for women, there’s so much you can get out of an LP. When you look at that as a community, I feel like there’s very male dominated, dominated still.
But I think women can gain a lot, especially if you want to be a woman in leadership or a woman who needs to influence a whole lot. So I definitely want people who are watching those right now. Some of you guys don’t have your own company yet. You’re where you’re like this one person operation. But we’re definitely going to get to that because Lauren doesn’t have a huge company to do what she does before we get there. I’m kind of I feel like I’m really curious for these five to twenty five person companies.
Still smallish for sure. I’ve interacted experience, consulted for a lot of these companies. What are some of the common things that you have seen? What are some of the two. Mm. Microscopic problems and solutions that you have seen.
Great question. So we think probably the top three things that I see are CEOs who are having trouble giving up control.
I’ve seen those.
Yes, that’s that’s definitely a shift. The other component is that there’s this this is going to be controversial, but there’s this like ever present, make more money, make more money, make more money. And a lot of times the operations that they have for fulfillment and customer satisfaction and all those things can’t support that influx of clients or customers or revenue. So it’s it’s making like the analogy that I use is there’s two types of Hoess. There’s like a garden hose, and then there’s the watering hose and the watering hose has like all these little microscopic holes in it.
And it doesn’t matter how high you turn up the water, it’s still leaking everywhere. And so that’s really one of the biggest things is making sure that the foundation is shored up, that there aren’t any leaks. That’s number two. And then I think the third thing is really understanding the team that you need to get to the next level, because to go back to what I said earlier, one of the biggest mistakes I see early entrepreneurs and even mid-sized businesses make is just hiring a lot of people that will just check things off the list rather than like figuring out what is the one or two things that somebody needs to have in this position to be just a star or a superstar and have their own plan and run with it.
And I think that’s honestly because of a little bit of a misconception about delegation. But also in schools, we’re taught that you should work on what you suck at. But that’s not like that’s not an efficient way to run a business. If you got into business because you had a great idea or you had a super power and you need to build a team around you that their superpowers are your weaknesses. And then you have this really amazing synergy and partnership.
Yeah, I’m not trying to hide my arms. I’m just getting a little cold in my office here. I love your analysis because it sounds like your delegation doesn’t mean patching what’s not working or finding people to simply check things off. Or sometimes I see that they don’t offer where they have to give very specific check, listen to news and to me, you might as well hire a certain type of virtual assistant for it. I have a huge respect for their strategic thinkers who are VCs, but I agree with you.
I feel like even though my company is quite small, it’s fairly tiny. I literally operate on a producer I cannot live without. Her bond was edited to produce a strategic thinker. All of that. I have a visa as well and Rose has been fantastic, but that’s it. And I and I, I work with another visa more recently for my mom’s work, my email addresses I’ve been designing and her name is on a base in Italy. Amazing.
And they’re very different levels and ages. And yet it was very important for me to tell them what my brand is about, the way how culture. And I want you to maybe talk about culture as well. For me, the phrase world culture is about enabling other people to put trust in them, not because somebody is twenty five automatically. I know more and you should listen to me. No, I hired you because I think you’re really selfish and really good at this.
And I always acknowledge like, oh my God, Ana, I never had a red bubble. That’s so cool. This is something I’m learning and I don’t know, like maybe at the beginning there’s a bit of a resistance of, wow, I thought I’m here to check off the list because I felt like I have to convince a lot of people that’s not what I’m about. And they’re like, well, wait a minute. But, you know, it took quite a bit.
Yeah. What do you think of this type of a culture and what I what I said?
Yeah. I mean, so there’s there’s two things, right. The first is setting that expectation for the role. I think one of my favorite quotes is unexpressed expectations are nothing more than premeditated resentments. You’ve got to you’ve got to get clear on what the expectations are. And then I think that recognizing there are people who cannot think at that strategic level who are just they just don’t have the skills to be that partner, to have the plan, to be the expert.
And that’s OK. It’s just knowing and giving yourself permission to hire people that are smarter than you. For example, for me, I own gold, a key partnership. We also have a family business. And I went on a hiring. Just a few months ago, because as one of the biggest things as you grow your business is business entropy, and that’s kind of what I help clear out is all the cobwebs and messiness and muddled mess. And and so I hired three strategic people.
And I know without a doubt that I heard the right people because they don’t come to me with problems. They come to solutions. And I almost always learn something every week where I’m like, oh, that’s cool. I don’t know if I do the right or my operations manager, Faith. I love her. She she comes to me frequently and says, hey, I had this idea on how you could get more visibility or let’s try this out.
And so they’re always coming to me thinking about how to grow the business because they’re vested and also they’re so like in it to win it because they’re in their super power and their flow, that it just comes naturally. Right. They’re thinking of things all the time that relate to their own a genius. And so it makes everybody level up and it gives me the opportunity to free my mind, free my day, be the captain of the ship, make sure the ships actually floating on water rather than trying to have to manage all these people and figure out what they should or shouldn’t be doing.
They tell me what they need me to add and then I let them run with their plan. And it makes for very happy employees. It makes for very happy work environment that’s collaborative. And it’s just.
Yeah, and I must say that now you’re sitting in your home office, and I think it’s easy to imagine that you’ve done really well. And I’m pretty comfortable with a transition during the pandemic. I mean, is my only assumption. Do you feel like you were set up for success based on the way that you’ve been running your business? I assume mostly remotely with help or or has the pandemic kind of their kind of consequences? I mean, which is true for everyone.
But what has it been like for you?
Yeah. So, you know, I’ve I’ve had an office in the past. I went fully remote, I guess four years ago with it in my home office, which is great. I joke that as an introvert, I know that’s funny because I’m on a B right now, but as an introvert, I was made for the pandemic. But yeah, we were. We were really. I’m very grateful that golden key partnership was in a place that we are an essential component to business and we helped a lot of our clients have it properly and weather the storm.
And in our family business, I’m actually very grateful for the pandemic simply because even though I have a world renowned consulting practice, the clients all over the world, my father sometimes doesn’t listen to me because I’m his daughter. And I have been saying that we had a certain concentrated risk in our business and that we needed to fix it. And he was kind of like a.. Whenever I hear you. But it’s not a big thing. And then, boom, covid hit.
And I was like, that was the concentrated risk I was talking about. Like, I’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure we were covered. And thankfully we were we were OK. But it was like I he needed that to kind of shed some light on. Lauren’s been whispering this in my ear for years. She was right.
I know. I definitely felt that with a number of my friends and colleagues and people I’ve worked with in the past. And by the way, what is your family business about? Like what type of industry is it in?
Yeah, so it’s a it’s a custom tack shop for horses, a raid in Hunter Jumper where we it’s a tough, tough we’re mostly in Southern California, but we shipped all over the world and have clients of the world.
Wow. So what what are some of the turkey or whatever these phrases actually mean? But what are some of the things that you’re able to pivot and and transition maybe for the family business? What are some of the things you had to do to make it work in this new norm?
Yeah, so the first thing is I had to look at where our weak points were. And we have we have a couple still one within customer service where it was just a few people that, like some things, got dropped in the cracks and things like that. The second was just in our supply chain, which is something actually we can’t control. And then the third was our our presence. So not being the best kept secret. So I went on this hiring spree and I also said I’d say we’re going to build a new website or redo this website.
We’re going to bring on like a true marketing manager. Katie, she’s amazing. I told her she can never leave because she’s just so great. And so, like, just even though it’s been a very successful business for 30 years, it is time to level up and and really start playing a different game to expand our backyard and the people that we can help.
That’s so exciting. Well, I had no idea. That’s your family business. I mean, yeah, I know nothing about I mean, do you happen to like do you ride horses? I mean, what do you part of your recreation or so I joke that I could ski and ride shortly after I could walk. My mom rode horses, my dad, grandparents, they all grew up riding. My grandfather played the ponies. My grandmother rode hunter jumpers, as did my dad and my mom.
So it’s in our blood. I don’t currently ride, but I am looking to get back into it here very soon. But yeah, it’s just it’s something that which actually is an interesting point about the more specific you you are and that you know what you’re looking for in a role or a team member, the easier hiring will be is like our industry is something that not a lot of people know about. And it’s also not something that you can just research on the Internet.
And so a lot of a lot of people that I was interviewing were like, oh, yeah, I can learn. And I’m like, no, it’s like it’s like in your blood or it’s not. And you understand our lingo or you don’t think it’s like a secret society. And so. Yeah, it’s very fun, very fun.
Mm hmm. I love that. So one thing I want to pivot to before we get there, you are in New York, right? New York City, Laurin. New York.
I mean, I’m visiting in December. I live in Austin.
Oh, you live in Austin. I don’t know why. Everything about you. I just assume I’m like the dark horse, right? Yeah. That’s going to be challenging here. Yeah. So you’re in Austin. Wow. That’s a very, very happening place. Last time we talked about a subject, kind of a sticky subject that a lot of people, especially, well, early and more seasoned entrepreneurs aren’t ready to talk about. And it’s painful, which is pricing.
You know, you and I were very open about this. And I admittedly speaking that, you know, for people who are starting out, they’re probably like, oh, my God, say you’re you’re making, to be frank, six figures. But I’m not multi six figures. Right. I used to be when I was doing more project management work without really transitioning into being an entrepreneur, doing the stuff I love doing. And then so I think a lot of people are just saying, like, I love doing this.
They’re clearly good at it. But like, how much do I charge? Like, it’s just a very ugly topic. And unfortunately, people don’t have anyone else to talk to. I mean, if they approach their parents, their siblings, they might not be entrepreneurs. They may be holding full time jobs and they can only give you so much data and information based on what they know. So you and I hit it off on this. So I want you to maybe be sharing with us how you know, how people should go about charging.
What like what is Value-Based mean? Like, why project is a project is an hourly like. Yeah.
Oh gosh, that is a that is a heavy topic. So I’m personally I’m not a fan of hourly. I think it serves purposes for for different things with my clients. I just find that we work better when we don’t have a ticking clock in the back of our minds. And also to that point. The the the higher echelon of companies you start working with, the more they value time over money. So a lot of my clients don’t take up a lot of time because they want to get in and they want to get out.
They want to get a solution to the problem and move forward. And so I get this question quite a lot. And the the the silly answer is like throw out a number and see how it goes. And I also think your your prices should should continue to go up. But the the analogy that I love to use in terms of pricing is it’s like a fable at this like production plan or something went down and they just they couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
And I called an expert who came in. He looked at it for like two seconds, scratched his chin when got to, like, this little he. Hit it in one particular spot and it all started working again and he scribbled out a bill and handed it to the the foreman and it was ten thousand dollars and he was like, ten thousand. No kidding. That took me like five minutes. And so he took it back, scribbled it out, wrote like five minutes and put like ten dollars.
And then it was like knowing what I know he said hitting the thing five dollars, ten years experience or 20 years experience knowing what thing to hit nine thousand nine hundred ninety dollars or something like that. And I think that when pricing that’s what’s really important to remember is it’s not the value in the moment, it’s the lifetime value. Like I know the business breakthroughs and bottlenecks that I do with my clients in terms of operations and team will generate them hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars of revenue over time.
And so if you think about it, you know, from like what is the actual transformation you’re helping them have, whether it’s a better life or a better business or more money or feeling better, like you have to look at that and then you just just test the market, see see what other people are charging, not to compare, but just to get some apples to apples sort of thing and then pick a number and then make sure that everybody is clear on why you’re different and more valuable than Jenny on the block.
Mm hmm. And one thing I think is what I have learned. I’ve been running my business, I mean, officially as an LLC since January twenty sixteen. So I am about, what, like fifth year in at this point. And one thing I want to remind people who are watching this now or later as a recording is that it really takes time and that amount of time differs from people, person to person, business to business. And for me, I started to really realize and exercise value based consulting.
I think more recently, I would say in the past couple of years before that, it was more thinking about here’s my hourly rate, how many hours can fit in the day throughout the course of a week. So it’s definitely more painful. However, it was easier to calculate, right? It was easier for you to sell an hourly thing and for you to be so high, touch a medium value like really high toge tons of emails. So I think what Lauren is also describing is that you could provide tremendous amount of value.
Let’s use some measurement, like without sending thousands of emails. Like I, I can imagine Invision already if you get into a Loren’s inbox, maybe their clients who you’ve been working with for months, if not years, who didn’t have to send you 18 or, I don’t know, a hundred emails every day, probably not even one email every day. Yep.
Yep, exactly. And I, I think that you hit the nail on the head because something really important to think about is like what kind of quality of life do you win. Right. So I have a business coach. I think every business owner needs somebody in their corner who can help them get out of their own way. But one of the first things we did is I took covid to as a chance to look at my own business and see where we could level up, what needed to go away, what needed to stay.
But she’s like, well, tell me, what are your days? What do you want your days to look like? How many new clients do you want? How much money do you want to make? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have? Because I really don’t think, as entrepreneurs said one day, I’m going to start a business so that I can have no life work twice as hard as I was working, doing whatever I was doing before and like go to the grave, haggard, exhausted, unfulfilled, like none of us said that.
So but I think we forget to intentionally plan what we want our business to look like and plan our life, our business around our life rather than our life, around our business. And for me, because it’s on hourly and I know that you can have a million dollar idea in fifteen minutes with me versus five months and stringing it along. I’m much more comfortable and my clients are much more comfortable having, you know, saying as you need them calls rather than saying we’re going to have a weekly call and we’re going to talk about this and this and this.
It’s more like I need you right now. Let’s talk about this. And then I can say, OK, I have this many slots on Tuesdays, this many slots on Wednesdays. These are when I do my breakthrough’s. If you want a VIP day, those are on Fridays. And it allows me to know what my week’s going to look like, what my day is going to look like, and it removes any sort of stress or uncertainty because it just flows.
Yeah, you mentioned vision and zones of genius, all those things, so I think the mistakes a lot of people make in order to go from to have their own business break through, not just with their clients, is the way that they talk about themselves, their business. And something that kind of stuck with me is that you talk about when someone thinks about their own business. Right? It’s not just think about, you know, like the vehicles that get you there.
It’s not talking about kind of the airplanes of this and that. It’s about the destination where people are arriving at. And I personally believe that the process does matter somewhat because I’m someone who likes to know, like I’m sitting in, I don’t know, a business or coach. Am I going to be comfortable? How many connections are there? But to a certain degree, but most mostly people care about that they’re going to get there and what you can offer them to help.
So, like, how do you like I’m going to use a normal example of someone who is not necessarily Breakthru business coach, but someone let’s say we have a lot of designers, UX designers, visual designers, website builders. So these people who believe they’re doing important but more mundane, sort of like how do these people go about positioning themselves so that their business ideas could be more compelling, so that they can charge more so that they don’t have to take so many clients to live a fulfilling and fruitful life.
So I love designers. And I think that the biggest thing that I can say is what they’re doing is bringing an entrepreneurial vision to life and creating a platform for their voice. So if you’re building a website or doing marketing collateral or logos like you’re building something that should hopefully stand the test of time, that’s going to be the entrepreneur’s personality come to life. And so, you know, I know with our website, let’s say it costs us twenty thousand dollars to build it.
It’s going to bring in probably millions of dollars because the designer that I’ve hired is the trusted expert to help me with UX, UI versions, bounce rates, all of those things. And so just like people hire me to bust bottlenecks and help with operations and team, they’re hiring designers to take something that they’re having a hard time articulating and putting it out into the world so that they can make a bigger impact. So you should definitely be charging well, what you’re worth, because the the asset that you’re creating is going to keep paying dividends over and over.
I don’t know if that answered your question, but it does. I want to dove in a little bit more because I know that, as you know there, it’s kind of a two part world, like a multifaceted type of question because we are asking people, doesn’t matter of your twenty five, forty five to rethink business, rethink how you package yourself like yourself as a product and people get it at the spiritual level they get is like, OK, everybody’s an entrepreneur these days, but how exactly do you do it and how do you actually talk about your own business?
Like that’s quite different than just imagining it. So the reality is a lot of the copywriters, designers are as freelancers are still building hourly because they’re kind of forced into that corner. Whereas something as you what you’re describing, I can also imagine entrepreneurs who want trusted resources to say that’s a you’re on a retainer, right? You’re on whatever. Twelve thousand dollars depending on the amount of work if I’m the only client you have versus one of many. So do you think that could be a business model that also works?
I mean, I, I think so. I think with some guardrails that could work for designers to kind of retain themselves, have built retainers around their businesses.
Yeah. So I’m going to say something very contrary and it’s controversial. I think traditional retainers are crap that was crappy about what’s the truth, help us define a traditional retainer or what’s what’s a crappy about it.
So a traditional retainer is where somebody pays upfront and you start deducting hours and eventually you have to refresh it. I find those to be very stressful. I feel they’re also not driven around value. They may work for lawyers CPAs, even though I think they’re also transitioning away from that model. What I do like is monthly investment. And you choose your own adventure because and maybe it’s I’m working with a different caliber of people, but I should not always be somebody being like, oh, let’s work on this or let’s work on this.
Like, I’m I do that. But I’m also a trusted advisor that when things pop up that I maybe didn’t know about or we didn’t anticipate that I’m there as a resource to not only help them earn money, but actually save money. I mean, that’s a lot of the work that I do is how can you increase your profit margins by not having all of these revenue leaks like don’t go spend a hundred thousand dollars on a marketing budget when you have this leak here that all that money is going to go to waste.
So I’m not a fan of retainers in the traditional sense. I am, however, completely in favor of monthly investments where they’re committed to you, you’re committed to them, and you are that trusted advisor in resource for artists. I know that might be a little bit. I just blew your mind or you’re like, this is impossible. But I think if you set the expectation up in the beginning, it can definitely work. And I think it’s also going to help them value your time more as crazy as that sounds, because you’re obviously not exchanging time for money first thing.
But that’s that’s my gut feeling about it. And I think honestly, when it comes to artists and design. Like things pop up, so if they know that they have a safe runway with you, then like post launch and that’s going to create a really awesome collaboration and trust and in relationship moving forward. Mm hmm.
I like what you said about this. And this is, again, part of a discussion, right? Like for everyone who’s watching this, it’s not like Laura and I have script something. I send her questions. She’s really responding to this kind of on an ad hoc basis. And I think there when it comes to businesses and I want to maybe speak to the way that I have been running my business and there are other types of businesses I’m really curious and building.
And I have a mentor who is very humble and said that he doesn’t really care about whether I mentioned him or not. So for us to keep him somewhat confidential, I have learned really a lot from him recently that he runs a Facebook ads kind of legion type of business for a very, very niche audience is what it comes down to. So he is very, very low touch, yet very, very high value. So low touch, meaning, you know, he could be exchanging 10 emails with his client who’s been with him since January.
It blows my mind for him to look at his inbox and realize, wow. And yet he is generating for every two thousand dollars that his clients spend on him on this business model, then he’s able to generate twenty to thirty thousand dollars worth of customers and leads. It was mind blowing and very little email. He’s sitting back, whereas I that’s not at all the way I run my business, as guilty as I am. I love the work, but it’s very, very high touch.
And honestly, I cannot say that, oh, you pay me two thousand dollars next month is going to be thirty thousand dollars in the bank for you. I don’t have that power yet. I’m sort of in the business of helping people build a body of work. There is a transition period. Yes, they’re going to get there, but it’s less direct like. So that’s kind of what I’m into and making transitions into. But it’s so fascinating.
I just find I don’t know, I just find business building a business, enhancing the existing one to be this topic I can get tired of.
Yeah. Can I, can I speak to that really quickly. Oh please. So I think we get stuck in the ahli being money, right, like I make my clients a lot of money, I also save them a lot of money. But when you can sell something intangible, you actually can charge more if you’re creating this body of work. And I think we had this conversation. I said, what you’re really selling is a legacy. And that is something that’s literally like you cannot put a price tag on that.
And so, yes, you could charge we obviously don’t be a dick about it, but we charge the value of what that’s going to be for the lifetime. And because everybody a disservice if you’re not charging your value and you’re not helping them see the value, because this is actually a really interesting paradox. So I have kind of a hybrid, high touch, high value business. First, you can have a business break through and then if you don’t want to continue with us, which most people do want to continue with us in that container as a trusted adviser.
But if you don’t want to run with it, with your team high five, it’s totally fine. Then we have a five month container and then we have a 12 month container. And then 12 month is really where I’m like your interim CEO. We’re locked arms. The highest paying clients I have take the least amount of time, like the lower clients almost always take more time, and it’s because when you start getting into the bigger numbers, you start attracting and working with people that value time over money.
And more often they value their own time. They’re not looking for something that’s going to be like six to eight weeks. They’re looking for something like to get in, to get out or to know that it’s a long game but still have that quick win. And so I think that that’s probably one of the lessons is when you start charging like Earth Non, do you attract higher quality people that value your work. You also start having a better life.
And my favorite part is you stop resenting your clients, because this is something that I do see quite often, is when you undervalue yourself and you undercharge and you have a client that’s just taking, taking, taking and you feel like you can’t get out from underneath them. And suddenly the scales have tipped for, you’re like, shit, I should have just a or I should have charged more. This is way more work than I thought. And suddenly you’re in this no man’s land where you’re just getting beat down like we’ve all had those clients.
You have far less of those clients when you start charging your value and you show them what your value is and why you’re different and how you’re selling the intangible. Because, yes, I sell, sell, sell revenue. But yes, I help my clients have more revenue, more profitability cetera, but I really help them be happier. CEOs have better teams like to live a better life. Those are all secondary games to what the primary one is.
So I think that that’s something really important to keep in mind, is we’ve all got tertiary and primary and secondary gains. So you need to address all of those and help your clients see that. And that’s our job really is to show them. The gap that they’re in, like you are here with this problem, you want to be here with the solution. And so there’s this gap and I’m the bridge to cover that gap and help you get there.
Can we talk about how to get better clients as well? I realize that you were talking about like more personal development and business and how we charge more how we get clear on our message. What are some of the things that we can do to get better clients? And if I may just add some specifics to that, as well as clients who are willing to pay clients who not just have a deeper pocket, but also appreciate your time, your value.
But in general, I sometimes see myself as well. But some of my colleagues going after people really without a lot of money and I think that create a lot of desperation. And, you know, if this is the way I say it is like, look, if this is the last five thousand, this is the last ten thousand dollars you have, I don’t want it for me. Like, I don’t want I don’t want it. Like, you’ve got to feed yourself your kids first.
Everything else should come as a priority, like how do we go get the right clients.
Yeah. So the first step I would say is you have to be really, really clear on who you can not only help but like truly help like I have in the scheme of things. I can probably help every business owner have some improvement, have better revenue, better profitability. Like that’s a broad statement, but pretty accurate. But I know that seven figure businesses in these five industries with teams of at least five to say 50, they’re the ones that are going to get the X 20 x 30 x one hundred X ahli, because I know what their problems are.
I know the solutions I have for them and I know what they’re looking for. And so if you’re, like, muddled about who you’re targeting and by the way. I did not get this clarity from day one. Yes, exactly, this time, yeah, I like it takes time and you fumble through it and you feel for it and you’re like, I think this is them. But then you’re like, oh, that really was. So it’s something that takes time, but you have to be really conscious about it.
So I think that’s the first one is really clear about who you’re serving and who’s going to have the best chance of success and then transformation. And then number two is so stupid, simple. You have to charge more if you want to have better clients like. There’s this really interesting paradox, right, if you charge too little, they’re going to be like, what’s wrong with this person?
I’m getting a discount.
Yeah, yeah. Like this is weird, but if you charge too much you like, who is this crazy person? So you have to find them like Goldilocks. But I will tell you that probably the I would say right around the five k like to work with me point from a few years ago was when my clients started shifting and it just it makes it so much easier because I can, I could say like if you don’t have the money like that tells me a lot of things about your business and your profitability, and it also tells me a lot of red flags about how I’ll be able to help you.
So it’s a really awesome way to filter out the noise and the tire kickers and the people that you could help, but probably either aren’t going to execute on what you give them because they don’t have the funds or the mental mindset or something versus the people that are going to take what you have super be super excited, value it and run with it until all their friends.
Yeah, I love the last point of very referable business is the way to go. And by the way, when you say five K or roughly that’s five a month right now, you and Project-Based. So I mean, when you I think there’s something to remind people who are not really in the retainer or your own entrepreneurial journey just yet. We do often talk talk a lot about the the lifetime value of a customer. So let’s say of Lauryn’s working with someone on an annual basis, like 12 months right there.
That’s sixty thousand dollars. Right. And then oftentimes you run these multi year gigs where they kind of repeated customers. So that’s definitely something to consider. This isn’t something that you work for someone for a year and you were able to get five grand out of it. Like that’s not what we’re talking about. So I think the clarity is huge. I think what I’ve been challenged a lot about and also when I talk to other people becomes really clear.
Whoever you want to serve needs to be very specific and very clearly defined. I think. Lauren, just again, as our repeated segment five to twenty five people in the company, seven figure. And so what she’s describing here is the customers need to be at a point, a that point is not a college graduate. That point is not whoever the customer is, define themselves or say I am a point. I think Lauren is perfect for me because then you’re in a situation that you can say, sorry, you’re not you really have to get to this point.
You think you’re here, but you’re not. And therefore, our partnerships may not be good. So can you talk about, like, pushing away customers? I can’t believe I just got to that point naturally. But like, did you how do you say no to customers? How do you like what how do you go about that process? Must be painful at the beginning.
Oh, it’s painful at the beginning. It’s painful at the beginning. If you’re not charging enough because you need every dollar or rain and you’re like, oh, you’re like in this weird, like desperate. I don’t I can’t afford to turn them away. But actually, I’ll tell you a great story. So this happened last week. Actually, I am. So my my price points have actually increased over the year. So they’re not just that five five case.
So I said I was talking to this this business owner who has a seven figure business as a team of thirty five, like all the all the check boxes. And it’s just like red flag after red flag after red flag and wanting all these guarantees and this and that. And not to say that I don’t guarantee my work, I do with the caveat of like I can’t do the work for you. Right. Like this is a work together. I’m a consultant, I’m a trusted advisor.
But at the end of the day, you’ve got to do your stuff. And at first I was like, well, it’s going to be a pretty sizable engagement. I was like, it’s not worth it. So I actually emailed and I said, you know, because we got off the call and send me some follow up stuff. And I really just sat with it for a minute. And I said in the email, you know, thank you for your time.
I’ve really thought about it. What I realized is that you’re looking for X. That is not what I do. I don’t think you’re at a point where our work together would really benefit you to the highest potential. And what I said, but essentially it was it’s not me, it’s you. And I just I it was it was such a relief. Right. Because when you got a client that really isn’t a fit for you, that’s trying to create something outside of your norm, I can tell you with almost one hundred percent certainty, it wreaks havoc for business.
It wreaks havoc on your mental fortitude, your work, your relationships, like it just has these toxic ripple effects. And it doesn’t matter how much money they pay. You like the cost of bringing that person on because it takes away the opportunity to work with the right person and a person that you love working with and they love you. And it’s just a happy, symbiotic relationship. And so I can tell you, after doing this for 10 years, I am like so quick to be like not a fit.
Like, you may have all the criteria, but there’s there’s certain aspects of a leader and a CEO that I look for that they have to have for me to work with them. And one of those things is quotability or desire to do better being a leading learner. Yeah. So it’s a tough it’s a tough discussion to have. And it sucks that I can tell you every time I said yes to somebody who I wasn’t fully aligned with, it was a shit show.
And I hated my life. And every time I said no, I got an even better client within a few weeks.
Yeah, I guess I agree with that. And then there’s certain instincts that you build over time as an entrepreneur. You just know it. So, for example, I’m someone who if you book a meeting with me, I’m there early. I prepare, I send those I mean, all the behaviors as a project manager. And recently somebody said, oh, I watched your YouTube channel. I want you to come speak to my group. And and then the person is like, but what do you do?
Show up the payment terms so that immediately I just like the ripple effect could be like, wow, this person, I don’t blame him because he doesn’t know me. But at the same time, it’s everything he describe as a potential that could happen is against my my core value. And this is something like I was so excited to speak in front of the group and now I’m thinking, you know, let’s let’s work it out. But obviously that’s a much smaller one time engagement.
If you are signing up for a retainer client, you really got to be careful who you choose in. Like you said, walking away is definitely not the worst option. So I know and we’re running a little short on time. I do want to ask one more question, because your business now is very mature after ten years, a lot of referrals, referrals in general. You don’t you probably don’t need to rely on advertising and all that stuff anymore.
But what about at the beginning? Like, if you were to take us eight years back, ten years ago, what did you do to actually build up the business when nobody knew or heard about you? Maybe not a lot of credentials. Maybe you are not a writer for Forbes or whatever. Fortune. Three hundred. You know, like what did you do then?
Yeah. So actually I’m in the middle of not rebuilding but next level building right now. And so the things I’m doing now are the same things I did then because I think it’s the curse of knowledge. The more you get in your business, the more you forget how you got there. Yeah. And I was very thankful for covid because they gave them time to pause and look at my own business and figure out like, where do I want to go?
Am I happy and fulfilled? Am I doing the best work? Like, what is that look like? And so if I go back in time, ten years and also right now the the thing I will say whole heartedly. Is I don’t do marketing in the traditional sense of cold marketing, I don’t believe that it’s really effective in building trust with the people that you want to work with. So what I do is conscious visibility and conscious connection with my network.
So what that does is it gives a certain amount of visibility that builds trust with people that might happen across me, but also when I connect with my network and tell them who I’m looking to connect with and what I’m up to and also see how I can help them. It creates a synergy, but also it transfers trust. Because if I have somebody like I’ll give you a proper example. Yesterday I posted in one of the groups that I’m a part of, which is a bunch of really kick butt entrepreneurs.
Said, Hey, does anybody know someone that can help me do an intro and outro video for my Golden Nugget weekly video series? And within minutes, I had a couple of people that said, you need to talk to Jen and then like everyone is like the best and the best. Right intervention. But because my friend Mike referred her to me and then a couple of other people commented, it was like in credibility, instant trust. And I think that’s the most important thing when you’re starting is looking at the quickest path to credibility and trust, which generally comes from your human to human connections.
And so I don’t recommend I mean, I can’t give business advice to businesses that nobody wants to take this with a grain of salt. But I don’t recommend running cold traffic ads or paid ads or anything like that until you’ve served at least one hundred customers. You have everything dialed in and you have like a cold funnel or pathway customer journey to walk them through. Otherwise you’re just spending dollars on maybe getting people that are right for you versus going into your warm connections, finding those people that really understand you, that can be referred to and like having those conversations and then once you’re on the call.
The best advice I got was from my mentor, where she said each call needs to have three. Like one of possible three options there, a connection for you that can connect to you and refer you to other people, they become a client or they link by something else, whether that’s one of my breakthrough business workshops or like a profile debrief, which is really entrepreneurs love that since you basically figure out what your unique entrepreneurial profile is and then that helps you figure out exactly the team you need around you and so that they sell like hotcakes.
And that way everything you’re doing is with a purpose, because I know it’s really easy to do all the things. And you should be on Instagram and Tic-Tac and Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook and you should start a group and an email list. And it’s like, holy crap, that is really exhausting. So I recommend going back to basics, connect with people. That’s where it’s at. And like for me, I know most of my clients are on LinkedIn.
So yes, I dabble in Facebook, but it’s not like consuming me. It’s just very it’s very methodical and thoughtful and that’s fine. But I know that was a long answer.
No, no, it’s perfectly fine. And definitely think about social media where you want to target where your people actually are and be very thoughtful or thoughtful about content creation and connection. So I think I know exactly which group Lauren’s referring to because I’m part of that group as well. So, yeah. So if you’re not part of a mastermind, you can create your own or you can be in search for a group of people who resonate with you, who understand who you are.
And I’m not talking about just family and friends. In fact, a lot of the times you do want to break out of your the proximity of your colleagues from work, the people who you’re already very familiar with, the more diverse, the better, in my opinion, and more international, the more interesting to so and I also personally find that running my podcast since twenty fourteen as well as starting YouTube last year, all of a sudden just Drouyn, a lot of leads, whether they’re good, good quality, naso, good quality leads, but still people are like ready to pay because they feel like they know me through my videos.
Yes. Really fascinating. Yeah. Eleven, eleven. Any closing statements Laura. How do people get to know you were so they connect with you. What do you prefer that connect with you is the best way to connect with me is probably through our website which is Golden Key Partnership dot com. I am on all the social channels if you want to send us an email at hello at Golden Key Partnership dot com. But yeah, I, I, we have some great resources on our website.
You know, anything from team assessments to quarterly planning. Yeah. We just, I put, I put all my good stuff there and if you follow me on social I’ve also started doing a Golden Nugget weekly video series where I talk about either a question a client has given me or busting the myth talks about what to do with toxic team members. Actually, the scheme, which was has been getting a lot of great feedback.
So, yeah, clearly it’s much needed. That just shows right. Thank you so much, Lauren. That’s been very fun. All the descriptions, the links are are actually there in the description of the video you’re watching no matter where you are.
This episode of the First World podcast is brought to you by Fey’s World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up and create a profitable brand phasor podcast team. Our chief editor and producer, Herman Silvio’s associate producer, Adam Lefort, social media and content manager, Rosta Leon transcript editor Allena Almodovar. And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Face World.
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