Have you ever wondered what it would look like to change your business model?
Have you imagined taking a huge pivot in the way that you are delivering your products, programs, and services?
How much time would it take to get where you wanted to go?
These are the questions one of my Sweet Spot Strategy clients were wrestling with, and in helping her find answers to these, I was able to draw A LOT from my personal experience.
So I knew it would be a valuable episode to share the behind the scenes of my journey — taking my business from 1×1 consulting to primarily group consulting and online courses — and share why it took as long as it did, the lessons I learned along the way, and maybe some controversial, counterintuitive insights that I’ve gleaned along the last decade.
2:45 The honest truth about those people whose online businesses seem to be overnight success stories? They’ve been at it for years, going to school, previous careers, and likely in earlier iterations of their own online business.
3:45 My first step into entrepreneurship and online business wasn’t at RachealCook.com, but at The Yogipreneur which was launched in 2009. And before that? I had been consulting with small businesses and startups since 2004.
It’s not been the fast track to success. It’s been the long, slow and steady track to success.
5:00 When I officially left my consulting career in 2008 – it took me about a YEAR of trial and error and yes – lots of soul searching – to get clarity on what my business could be.
6:18 Because I had been working with small businesses and startups for 5 years before I went out on my own, I had a network of potential clients to pull from! So I started simply by offering hourly strategic consulting and strategic planning retreats for small teams.
6:45 When my yoga teacher, a studio owner, asked for my help in turning her studio around, I realized, “Oh…I can apply what I know to these small, solo, owner-operated business!” It seems obvious now but for me at the time, this was a huge revelation!
7:34 Starting with a narrowly defined niche as The Yogipreneur was huge for my business because in 2009, there were maybe 4-5 other people specifically offering business coaching and consulting to this rapidly growing industry.
8:23 Being the first in a niche made it much easier to stand out! People started to find my content through search, I was invited to speak for big yoga teleseminars (back when we dialed into conference call lines) and referrals came in quickly. It was easy for me get started booking 1×1 clients.
8:59 Then… I found out I was pregnant with twins! And I realized that I needed to shift to a retainer model so I had more consistently monthly revenue. From 2008 to the beginning of 2011, my business was 100% 1×1.
11:32 During those years, I was mostly focused on making enough to cover our basic living expenses. I didn’t even think about growing to the 6-figure mark until my twins were about 1 year old and I was free from the newborn stage.
13:45 But still, as a new mother of twins, my time was limited. And 1×1 work alone simply couldn’t support the new expenses we had as parents in the time I had available to work. So I rebuilt my model calendar, did the math, and found the time to support up to twelve 1×1 clients to create my baseline revenue.
14:43 I planned my model calendar to alternate client weeks (6 clients per week). And because it was only taking 6 hours of calls per week to provide my baseline revenue, I could use any remaining time I had on marketing and creating what would become Sweet Spot Strategy.
17:54 The summer of 2011, I launched a free three-part video training series to promote my new online group program and brought 25 people into the first round. Game Changer!
19:25 The results from 2011 – I broke 6-figures of revenue with about 75% 1×1 clients and 25% online group programs.
20:10 The following year, I grew the business revenue about 50% over the year before by 1) raising my 1×1 prices while working with less 1×1 clients and 2) launching my group program 3 times in 2012. That was the year my business was about 50/50 1×1 vs. online group program.
21:33 2013 was the year that I hit multiple 6-figures and was able to pay myself a $100K annual salary. It was also the year I had my third child, which was the nudge I needed to drop down my 1×1 clients to about 30% of revenue and my group program was 70%.
23:00 By 2015, I dropped all my 1×1 work completely and the business was 100% online programs.
25:00 I quickly realized how much I had underpriced my 1×1 consulting services when I was starting out – so over 4-5 years they went from $2,500 to $10,000 for 6 months of consulting and coaching.
26:54 I also realized that I wayyyy underpriced my online programs! So I went through the journey of raising the prices from the beta launch price of $697 to the current price of $2997 over 8 years. Now it’s priced for profit and includes the costs of a team to support the program.
29:00 It also took me YEARS to grow an audience that could support the growth of my online course business. There weren’t Facebook ads when I was getting started! So I focused on organic marketing strategies to grow that list.
32:12 And finally, my business needed to pay me a liveable income! So I didn’t pour all of my profits into Facebook Ads and I felt more comfortable keeping 1×1 for those years because it ensured that I would always have a paycheck for myself.
So there you have it, friends!
I’d love to hear your insights and ahas from this episode – take a moment to screenshot the show and share with me on Instagram @racheal.cook or leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
Listener Shout Out!
Today’s shout out goes to an Apple Podcasts user with the username Vegeater, who left this review:
Thank you so much for taking the time to review my podcast! It’s listener reviews like yours that help me spread the word about the show and get this message in front of more amazing entrepreneurs just like you!
The CEO Retreat’s Almost Here!
Thanks again to everyone who participated in last month’s giveaway. I want to let you know we still have tickets available for The CEO Retreat – a 1-day strategic planning event focused on perfectly planning the next 90-days for your business.
There are a few seats left for BOTH the in-person retreat happening in Richmond, Virginia on September 20th and the Virtual retreat happening on September 27th. If you’re interested in attending, I would love love LOVE to have you join us. you’ll want to check out
If you know that you need to get your plan on paper, if you know that you need to surround yourself with other amazing supportive and intuitive women entrepreneurs, if you know that you need to turn your big picture into check-off-able action steps… the you will want to join us! Find all the details at RachealCook.com/CEO-Retreat.
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