How the "5 Ps of Alignment" Affect the Success of Your Business, with Annemie Tonken - Rick Mulready
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How the “5 Ps of Alignment” Affect the Success of Your Business, with Annemie Tonken

November 9, 2022

The word alignment gets thrown around a lot and it can have a lot of different meanings. It’s really near and dear to me personally because I’m always striving to do things that are in alignment with what I deem important, especially my values. 

Today on Art of Online Business, I sat down with Annemie Tonken, a former Accelerator member in the photography space, to talk about what she calls the 5 Ps of alignment and how they can affect the success of your business. 

Annemie has been a professional photographer since 2010 and is now a respected educator, speaker, and podcaster focusing on business systems and strategies that help creative entrepreneurs run profitable, sustainable businesses they love.

She’s the host of This Can’t Be That Hard, a top-rated weekly business podcast for photographers, creator of the Simple Sales System, which is used by thousands of photographers worldwide to create in-person sales-level income and service in an automated, workflow-friendly way, and co-founder of The Family Narrative conference.

 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What the five Ps are
  • Understanding your preferences 
  • How to build parameters into your offer
  • How to get your products in alignment
  • Why your pricing matters
  • Tips for getting the policies in place
  • Signs that your business is out of alignment

 

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Annemie Tonken’s Links: 

 

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Transcript:

Hey, my friend Rick here wanted to jump in real quick and share some really cool news with you. So I get questions all the time about my accelerator coaching program, and I wanted to let you know I’ve made some big changes to it recently, including I’ve added access to 230 minute one on one coaching calls with me each month. And when I did this, a lot of the members were like, Are you sure? Like, Are you cool with this? I’m like, Yes, I’m announcing it and I absolutely love it. And so if you’re interested in one on one and group mentorship to help guide you to the next level of your business through things like clear systems, creating an effective and efficient team and a growth focused strategy, then I want to invite you to hop on over to Rick Mul radio forward slash accelerator and fill out the short application right there. It’s application only. So just go to Rick Muller, dotcom forward slash accelerator, fill out the short application there and look forward to getting your application. Let’s dive into today’s episode. 

One of the first signs that things can be out of alignment in a situation like that is that the money starts to trickle down to like, Oh, wait. I’m not hearing from anybody anymore. Or like, my leads aren’t coming in the way that they should be coming in. And when you start to see that. Your initial instinct is like something outside has changed. But really, what can what what the issue may be is that your preferences and parameters have changed. And so all of a sudden the things that were working before aren’t working for you anymore. Conversely, it can be that some sort of external thing has changed and then you need to start thinking about those like, Well, is the offer that’s out there right now, is it calling to different people? 

What’s up, my friend? Welcome to the Art of Online Business podcast. Great to have you here. Thanks for hanging out with me today. So the word alignment gets thrown around a lot and can have a lot of different meanings. It’s really near and dear to me personally because this is something that later in my life I’m always trying to do things that are in alignment with what I deem important, especially our values. And what I want to talk about here today on the podcast. And joining me to share her expertise on this is Autumn Tonkin, and she is a former accelerator member and she is in the photography space and she’s been a professional photographer since 2010, and she’s the podcast host and educator at her company called This Can’t Be That Hard. And she creates educational resources for photographers on the business side. She also is an actual and an actual a photographer as well. And what she really teaches in her business a lot for her students is this whole concept of alignment. And she has a concept called the five PS of alignment. It’s been really interesting. She finished up an accelerator just at the time recording this about a month and a half ago. It’s been really interesting over the past 13 months or so in working with her to see the journey, her own personal journey in her business, which you’re going to hear about here today, going through and making sure that she is in alignment with these five PS, which you’re going to hear about to begin the episode here today. 

She breaks down what these five PS are, why they’re important, and then sort of midway through the episode, we transition into actual example. I share something that I don’t think I’ve ever shared here on the podcast before, which I’ll talk more about in the next episode. But we also talk about her specific journey and her journey of alignment and where when she first joined Accelerator, things were not in alignment, even though she was doing really, really well in the business financially, things were off. And so we talk all about that and break it down today. So whether you are just beginning in business or you’ve been doing your business for a long time and been very successful, quote unquote, maybe financially, this is going to be really helpful for you because if you’re feeling like that something is off, something’s missing, it’s very likely that you’re out of alignment. So let’s go talk about it. Let’s go hang out with Adam Tonkin. Ami, welcome to the podcast. How are you today? 

I’m so good. Thanks for having me.

Absolutely. So I haven’t seen you a little while. You were a member of our accelerator program and we’ve been chatting here before we hit record and I said we could talk about so many different topics that would be beneficial to my listeners, but I want to kind of focus on one area where I know that you’ve been growing a lot and what you teach in your business and really how you try to run your business and again, teach other other people through your business in running their business. And so it’s all about alignment. 

When you say the word business. 

Yes, we’re trying to get we’re trying to cram that as many times as possible. 

Yes. 

And it’s through alignment. And so, as you know, very this is a topic that’s near and dear to me in hopefully we’re doing things in alignment with our values, etc., etc.. We’re going to take a little bit slightly different approach here today and I’m excited to dive into this. So before we do, let’s have you introduce yourself to everyone listening right now. 

Sure. Hi everyone. My name is Adam Tonkin. I am a family photographer based in North Carolina and I now am an educator. I teach photographers how to run profitable, sustainable businesses that they love, sort of focused on the business side. And yes, as Rick mentioned, I was a member of accelerator. I love that you’re you said we could talk about anything. One of the things now that I am through my accelerator year, one of the things that I miss the most is that just like constant deep dive, the ability to kind of have those longer form conversations about the push and pull of running an education business or an online business. And and so, yeah, I wish we were here to talk for hours, but I am very excited about our alignment topic because this is one that is near and dear to my heart for sure. 

And you you and I are very, very similar in that. You’re like, you’re very impatient. You want you want to get through something very quickly. Right. Yeah. It’s like, let’s not stretch this out for two days. It’s like, Hey, let’s have this conversation in an hour and we’re going to get the point across. So that’s what we’re going to do here. It’s not going to be an hour, but we’re going to dive right into this whole topic of alignment and the importance of alignment in your business. So when it comes and people can have different definitions of that term alignment, how do you define that and not only for yourself in your business, but how you teach your students as well? 

Yeah, so alignment is something that I feel like it’s one of those buzzword type things that gets tossed around. And you’re absolutely right. You can define it 100 different ways and but it’s a soft enough term that I feel like people will just be like, Oh, make sure your business is aligned. And one of the things that when I was coming up through the ranks as a photographer, I would hear that thrown around and be like, Well, what does that even mean? And so from the get go, in my education business, that has been something that I have. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about teaching about. And the way that I like to talk about alignment and the importance of alignment is like if you think about a jar, right, that has a lid, a screw on lid, and you screw on the lid and it doesn’t quite go right, like the, the, you know, the whatever they’re called are misaligned. 

We’ll call it a thread threads. 

That’s the word. I knew it was in there somewhere. So if the threads aren’t threading properly, you can feel that. And not only can you feel it, but if you turn the jar upside down and it’s got water in it, it’s going to it’s going to leak that it won’t function properly. So in business, not only does your business not work right, you’ll feel those kind of sticking points, but your clients can tell as well. They’re like the person who’s fiddling with that jar lid and they’re like, This is this business is not working right. And it’s one of the main things that will scare someone off from a business is if they sort of like come into your world, however you find people out there in your marketing and it seems to them that something is off. They may not be able to like put their finger on exactly what it is, but they they’ll get scared off really quickly. So it’s one of the foundational things that I teach photographers that they need to really examine in their business, and I give them this like framework to do that. So I’ll I’ll if it’s okay with you, I’ll jump into that. Really. Hopefully I can talk. 

Absolutely.

But yeah, so I call it the five P’s of Alignment and I say the first two that you need to talk about and think about and sort of identify for yourself are your preferences and your parameters. So your preferences are everything from like how many clients do you want to serve? What kind of kind of an experience do you want to provide? How do you want to handle all the different parts of that experience? So you can sit down, even if you’re a brand new business owner and you can kind of map out this dream business. And though a lot of the pieces of that are your preferences. But then there’s your parameters. And parameters is like, This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the things that you have or need. And I generally talk about parameters in three different ways. So you have your time parameters like, is this a part time job for you? Is a full time job? Do you do you have are you going to work only on the weekends? Like how how is your time availability? And then there’s your resources. And resources are everything from like, I don’t know if you want to be a podcaster, like to have your podcasting equipment and do you have whatever, but it’s also specific skills that you have. So like if you’re really great at writing, that’s one of your parameters. If you happen to own a like a studio, that’s a parameter. And those things are really good to kind of keep a running list of because you can build parameters into your offerings, you can kind of make yourself that’s one of your points of differentiation potentially. There are lots of good reasons to keep a running list and they change over time. So parameters are are rather your resources are are kind of a fun one whether or not you have a team as a parameter. 

Before you go on to the before you go to the next one. Sorry to interrupt. How do we build those parameters? What’s an example of building the parameters into an offer? 

So I’m going to go with what I know when you are a photographer, One of the one of the sort of examples that I’ll use for people is, for instance, there are a lot of birth photographers out there who are also trained as doulas, and so that’s a birth support person in two different capacities. And if you have that cross training, you have you’re sort of like the double threat, right? Like you can build yourself as I’m going to give you this this offer that you can’t compare me with Suzy down the street because she’s not also Abdulla. So it’s that is an example. Does that make sense? 

Yep, absolutely. And I didn’t know that. Doulas double as birth photographers. I actually had no idea. And that makes complete sense. 

So it’s like the cross the cross offer. But I mean, it could be any number of other things. So there’s lots of room for creativity there. And then the third area of your parameters. So you’ve got like your time, your resources, and then you have your money. How much money do you want or need to make? Like that’s a hard stop and you have to figure out what profitability looks like. So once you’ve got your preferences in your parameters that then there’s like a little pause and you have to decide based on those things. Okay, great. So what kind of a business can I or should I run? And if your preferences are that you want to have this like extremely high touch, bespoke experience, rich kind of an offering and you can figure out a way that the parameters line up with that, then you’re going to go for like low volume, high end business model, right? 

Mm hmm. 

The opposite could also be true. You could be like, Nope, I just want to kind of turn and burn people through. And that’s how my needs are in terms of my money in my time. And so I’m going to set up a high volume, low end kind of a business. And then there’s like a million stops in between, right? There’s there’s the whole spectrum. But those are very different businesses. They they come across differently to the public. They are going to attract different kinds of buyers. So you want to make sure that whatever you land on there. Everything else is built around that. And I always say you have to talk about these two things first, because we are in business for ourselves because we want to have a business that we control. So your preferences should really be your North Star that everything else is based on, and then you have to deal with reality. So once you’ve kind of got that set up, then that’s then we’re on to our next three P’s, which are your products, your pricing and your policies. And so those three things need to be in alignment. And I don’t have to go into detail. I’m sure everybody can kind of get a sense of this, but like I always like to use the example of a fast food burger joint can be super profitable, make millions and millions of dollars and be around for a long time. 

A few come to mind, and then you can also have a super high end, fancy white tablecloth steakhouse that is wildly profitable and makes lots of money. They do it totally different ways. They appeal to I mean, a high end place is going to appeal to certain people. A low in place is going to kind of appeal to everybody at some point or another. I mean, we all have to stop and get a burger on a road trip or whatever. But what doesn’t work is the sort of model that’s all messed up, where you walk into the restaurant and you walk up to the counter to order and then you see that everything on the board is $50 and you’re like, Wait a minute, where am I? And then maybe there’s some like fancy farm to table, high end restaurant. And if they’re priced really low and they’re the stuff that they’re selling isn’t all that great. I mean, you might go into a fancy, cheap restaurant and be like, Well, this is fun, but it’s a it’s going to shut down because they’re not going to make ends meet. And then, B, even if they somehow were run by some like trust funder who was like, Whatever, I’m just bringing farm to table to the people you would have somewhere deep in your brain.

Your brain would be like, Huh? So if they’re charging me $3, but this is supposed to be from like a local farmer, What are they paying that local farmer? Like, how how does this work? Right? So it it’s actually it comes down to a trust issue where when that alignment is off, when the threads aren’t threading, then you have a problem in your business. So if you can audit. First your preferences in your parameters and then get into like, are my products are the things that I’m offering in line with that is my pricing in line with that? And are the policies that I have in place. Like if you’re super high end, you need to be really available to your people. You need to make all these kinds of things that go in their favor versus if you’re low end turn and burn, then you probably don’t have like a one month guarantee return policy. Sure. So that’s kind of the nuts and bolts of what what I teach. And in terms of when it comes to alignment does that I just spit so much out. 

Yeah. So we’re going to unpack all that because there’s a lot there’s a lot there. So just, just to recap the five real quick preferences, parameters, products, pricing and policies. Yeah. Wood. I think I know the answer, but I want to ask you, where would values of our business fit? Would they be within? I would go to preferences, but they could also be in policies. 

Absolutely. Actually, that’s a really good point. I too was going to say 100%. That’s part of your North Star. Like your values in your business should be one of the very first things that you consider when you’re setting up your business. If you were running a business and like I don’t know how and something was way off with your values, you would be doing a terrible job selling your product. You wouldn’t believe in it, right? So it really does need to be baked in. But on the other end, yeah, like your policies, you could, you could use if you have a value based. Area of your business that is really important to you and you kind of want to make sure that everyone who comes in to your business and everything else also aligns with that. Then, yeah, I think that you would also kind of bake that into your policies. Yeah. 

I’d love to share. I mean, you’ve been sharing some examples there. If if it’s cool with you, I’d love to have you take us through your own journey. I mean, the past 13 months or so when you started an accelerator and I’m not saying that you figured out the alignment of your business during that time, but I also know that you’ve been working really hard on this and you do feel really good about the education side of your business right now in that it does align. Yeah. So can you kind of take us through that? So like, so what’s been the journey here and sort of where are you right now with it? 

Yeah, well, it’s funny because I, I actually really, I really do feel like the last 13 months have kind of been an eye opener for me. We get so close to what we do and what we teach that sometimes I feel like it’s really hard to get that perspective and say like, Wait a minute, here I am. So this is this is where I found myself. So I started Accelerator in May of 2021 and what years and now? And, and I came in and I had had a lot of pretty quick success with my online education business, which I had only started a year prior to that. And I was quite frankly, like all the pieces were everywhere. I had one part time VA type employee like it was. I was trying to do all the things all the time and it was and I’m still running my photography business. So it was like, there’s a lot going on. I knew I needed help. I knew I liked you. I was like, He seems like he can help. I’ll just do that. It was a great, great choice. But the one of our very first conversations that we were having, you know, I think you just get on this treadmill where you’re like, okay, I’ve found my mentors. I’m I’m chugging along. I’m like, checking off all the boxes. My business is going, well, the money’s coming in, but I am at wit’s end. And I kind of came into accelerator thinking like, I need help figuring out how to hire people. 

I need help figuring out some of the tech stuff. So that’s what I’m here for. But in I think it was our very first one on one coaching call you, I was talking about this offer that I was trying to like hustle to put together in the business, and I had already like announced it on my podcast. I was like, Well, the baby is going to be born. I just have to figure out how to make it happen. And and it was it was like this massive friction point, like, you know how it is when you it’s the opposite of flow. Like every time I sat down with a task to get that particular product put together, I was like, I don’t want to. And so I would find anything else to distract myself and not get it done. And so the date was getting closer and closer and I was getting super stressed. And so I was talking to you about like, Well, I just have to get this done. I have to get this done. And and you pulled out your signature recline and you were like, What if this were easy? Why do you have to do this? You are the boss of you. And and so we had this conversation and I’m I’m never great at like processing stuff in the moment during those conversations because I’m like, I have this list that we have to touch all these agenda points but that. 

I have to get through all this. Yeah.

How much time do you have? Okay. And so we got off the phone and I was like, Wait a minute, I my photography business is perfectly aligned. It’s like this well-oiled machine that is working so well. But what is happening for me in this business right now is exactly what I teach people about with this alignment. So I was like, I’m not in alignment in my education business. The number one, my own preference is for kind of staying on one topic, which is actually alignment is something that I have always talked about and I teach about. But sales and like the profitability side is really the main focus. And the course that I was telling you that I wanted to roll out was this marketing course and I was doing that because I felt all this pressure, like my students were constantly coming to me and saying, like when you know, Oh, I need to know how to market my business, I need to know how to market my business. So I was like, Well, they have told me what they need. I’m going to create this thing all right, But I don’t want to. And as soon as that kind of clicked into place, I went right back to the studs in my whole education business and I was like, okay. I think it’s really important that when you are brand new, you have to kind of like you don’t know what you’re doing, so you like take somebody’s model and you glom onto that and it’s you’re just kind of you sign up and you do the thing that they tell you to do. And I think that that’s a really good plan. However, unless that person happens to have exactly the same preferences and parameters as you, you’re going to build a different business from them. And so somewhere shortly into the mix, you have to like hit pause, turn around and make sure that your alignment is is in place. And so that was really what that conversation with you did for me. 

I want to just unpack that part that you just said just there, just for a second where. We have no idea oftentimes what’s going on behind the scenes of the people that we are learning from listening to a podcast, you know, whatever it might be, because and so we’re like, Oh, we want to that person seems like they have it all figured out, but you have no idea that that person is, you know, crying in depression every week because of what their business is doing to them or what have you. From the outside, it looks all successful. But, you know, truly behind the scenes to what we’re talking about here, they’re not in alignment. But yet we try to create the outward look of that business and try to mimic that without knowing the the alignment issues. 

Yeah, absolutely. 

You brought up something there also that made me think that I see this a lot in in accelerator is. People apply and they come into the program and very similar situations to you where they maybe fairly recently started out, maybe a couple of years. I mean, there’s a mix, right? But there’s there’s some people that just a couple of years into their business and they have done extremely well in the business, but they haven’t. But they’ve gotten to the point where I remember the conversation that you and I had. You were working all the time. Yeah. You had your photography business. You had this this side of the you know, in the education business. I remember you were working in the evenings, like you were just working all the time. And it was I’ve saw I saw really great success very quickly in terms of revenue and so forth. But it’s like, wait a minute, this is not making me happy, right? So it’s like, now what do I do with it? And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. So for somebody who, regardless of whether they started a year or they’ve been doing this for ten years and you know, they’re doing six figures plus, and what are some signs where they might be out of alignment? Yeah. What are some things that might be happening that they might not be seeing? 

Yeah. So let’s take the example of somebody who’s been in business for a while. I think that we all kind of. So if if we get to the point where we are lucky enough to be successful enough to kind of hit our stride and we’re doing a thing, you get into a pattern and that pattern can become a rut and. Maybe you insulate yourself from the sort of stress of feeling a rut, like if the money is coming in and whatever, that’s all good. But really, one of the first signs that things can be out of alignment in a situation like that is that the money starts to trickle down to like, Oh, wait, I’m not hearing from anybody anymore, or like, my leads aren’t coming in the way that they should be coming in. And when you start to see that. Your initial instinct is like something outside has changed. But really, what can what what the issue may be is that your preferences and parameters have changed. And so all of a sudden the things that were working before aren’t working for you anymore. Conversely, it can be that some sort of external thing has changed and then you need to start thinking about those like, Well, is the offer that I’m that I’ve got that’s out there right now, is it calling to the same is it calling to different people? Like am I is are my marketing efforts reaching the right audiences? Are they in alignment with with me? So I think that just keeping an eye on your your revenue or your leads can be a really clear indicator. 

But then the other one is really sort of a personal satisfaction. What I was talking about before about if you have something in your business that you are doing that doesn’t need to get done anything that has to be done that you don’t like doing, that’s an outsource thing. But if there’s something in your business and offer that you have or something that let’s say that you host a podcast and now you find yourself just dreading every day that you have to go in and like come up with a topic or interview somebody or whatever that dread, which is like, Hey, burnout is coming. That is a that is also a sign that something’s out of alignment. If those if that’s no longer serving you, the best thing that you can do is be proactive about changing it up, restructuring so that you stay in alignment. It’s going to keep you happy and it’s going to keep your ideal client audience happy.

I want to go back to. Your example here in just a second. As you were talking there, it reminded me so I used to have a program called FB Ad Manager where I taught ad managers how to create an ad management business. And there were three different audiences for that one offer. There was the person who didn’t know Facebook ads. And when I say Facebook ads, I also mean Instagram ads. There are the people that didn’t know ads and wanted to start a business because they saw the opportunity. There were the people who knew ads, saw the opportunity and wanted to start a business. And then the third audience was they know ads. They already have an agency, but now they’re looking to scale. And so it was a $2,000 program, and I had it for probably two years. I want to say maybe not even that year and a half, I think. And we did about three quarters of $1,000,000 with that, with that one offer. Wow. And then I stopped it. Yeah, I shut it off. I got away from it. And people were like, Why would you do that? That’s a lot of money. And it is. I’m not questioning that at all, but it didn’t align right anymore and it was hard to turn off that revenue. But at the same time it felt amazing to be able to do it for that reason that, you know what, this doesn’t align with where I’m going, Right? And I essentially. Gave everything that we did for that program and how we launch it, etc., to an accelerator member at the time. And they went and did it and they just crushed it too. So it was it was the right offer for the right person, but it just no longer aligned with me. So it wasn’t the right offer for me anymore. 

Yeah. No. And knowing you, we were and you said at the beginning like we both like to get things done. I mean, that’s a very cumbersome sounding model. It’s doable. Yeah, but it’s trying to speak to different audiences about, you know, and obviously Facebook ads, management changes constantly. Like that’s a that’s something that requires constant and total attention and whatever. And you are you’re a strategy thinker, not like the. Yeah. So that makes perfect sense to me. 

Yeah. And, and thank you for saying that but that’s the reason why was because I’m like I want to do bigger picture strategy and yeah having an ad source was like Jane does every you know at that time it was like once a quarter not like today where it’s like every two weeks. Yeah. So, so having that marketing, getting the requests for a marketing course or a program and you planning the launch, I remember that conversation. I was like, Well, why do you why do you have to do it now? And that’s one of the biggest questions I asked people is, well, why if you’re feeling pressure to do it, like why? And you’re still going to do it. Maybe push it out, right. Even two weeks, Right. To give yourself that breathing room. It’s almost like and I’m not saying this was the case for you, but it’s almost like people need permission, even though, like, you don’t need my permission. Right. But if I it’s like and this same thing happens for me too. But it’s that. Oh, what if you did? Really? I can do that, right? You know, we had a recent conversation in the Accelerator Facebook group about social media, and I asked the members, I said, Why do you do social media in your business? I recently did an episode here on the podcast about you don’t need to do social media in your business to grow your to grow your business. 

I’m saying business to get a lot. And, you know, one of the responses was because I feel like I have to and I dread it. Yeah. And so I dug in a little bit with that person, and I said, Well, what would happen if you didn’t do it? And even though they were typing, I could tell the energy to shift it from their response. Yeah. And they were like, Oh my gosh, I would just free up so much brain, you know, brain space. I would get so many more hours back per week. I would hang out with my partner more, etc., etc.. And I’m like. Do that? Yeah. What could you do with that? Freed up, you know, emotional. Because I know that this person, when they were going to be doing social media, it’s like, Oh, I dread this. An energy drain, you know, and all that. So again, an alignment issue here where it’s not in alignment for this person. And my my challenge back is like, why do you need to do it? 

Yeah, 100%. But I will say like that person and I don’t know if they ended up, you know, shutting off their Instagram account or like they passed out on TikTok. Yeah, but it’s one thing to talk about it and be like, yeah, I could. But it really I mean, I think it should be acknowledged how brave it is to actually. Make that choice, like to turn off a three quarters of $1,000,000 stream of revenue and be like, Yeah, actually I’m going to I’m going to head in a different direction. It’s brave. Some might call it stupid. 

But I get called that a lot when I did that. Like, what are you doing, you idiot? That’s three quarters of $1,000,000. 

Was that old? Like, it’s ballsy. It’s stupid, but ballsy. Yeah, exactly. The I think that it is brave and. And it is. We should be smart about our decisions and not just, like, go, like, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Like, dig in when the when the decision has big ramifications. Yeah. However, at the end of the day, whether it took you two days to turn that business off and like give it to somebody else, or whether it took you two years to like off board yourself from that and onboard yourself on to something else because you couldn’t just like turn the spigot off. I think that knowing that it’s not working for you, it’s out of alignment for you, and then recalibrating where you’re heading is so, so important because I don’t care how much money you’re making as an entrepreneur, if you end up burning out, the spigot will turn off like you will not be able to continue if you are not staying true to what that those preferences and parameters are. 

And you were heading in that direction when I first spoke. Yeah, exactly. So you were getting all this all these requests for a marketing offer, teach us marketing. And you’re like, okay, cool. They’re asking for this, which is very common, right? We’re like, Oh, you’re asking for it. I’m going to do it, of course. 

Right?

But then you realize that, you know what? I don’t really want to do this. So kind of what happened next at that point. 

Yeah. So, yeah, I came into accelerator thinking like, I need help with my time management and I’m for that. Yeah. No, I mean, yes, but I also needed really to go back to this idea of like, okay, great. Now I know how to create an online course. I know how to run a podcast, I know how to do all this other stuff. Now it’s time I have graduated. Accelerator was basically like my entry into Accelerator was my graduation from the beginning of my business and I feel like I there was like this maturity that came over the course of that year. So I really started to look at like that exact set of five things is, ah, am I set up properly based on my preferences and parameters and then what are the products, how do I need to price them and how do I need to set up the boundaries around everything from my time to everything else in my policies. So yeah, so like long story short, over the course of that year, you helped me take what was a live launch model online course into Evergreen, my second course also into Evergreen. So now I have these two large ish evergreen products. Since then I’ve created two smaller offer type products, but that’s it. 

I have a four product business. I now have one, two, three, four, five, five employees, plus a podcast editor. And like, things are chugging along. I mean, obviously it’s still we’re in the messy middle. I’m sure I have not achieved enlightenment as an entrepreneur entirely, but this is a business that I could see running for years. And I knew when I came in that like, this is not a sustainable thing. Like, what I’m doing right now is great, it’s exciting, whatever. But as soon as like the honeymoon phase is over, this is going to crash hard. And so, yeah, I’m just super grateful that that aha moment happened early enough that I was able to kind of course correct and get. Get everything into alignment. And I’m still like to this day, the minute that an idea pops into my head and, you know, I’m an entrepreneur, like everyone listening, I’m sure I have 1000 ideas a day and that’s my number one. Like, wait a minute, is this is this an alignment with my preferences and my parameters? Like, does this fit the model? And if it doesn’t, then that is a great idea for somebody else. 

And I want to add add to this and ask you a question about this on me, but I want to add to this for everybody listening. A great. Thing to be thinking about whether you’re just starting the business or you’re further along and you’re maybe making some bigger decisions in the business, is are you creating the business to sell at some point or are you making it to generate cash? And that dictates because those are two very different things, that dictates a lot of how you set up the business, how you run the business, the team process, all that stuff, right? Would you put that into preferences? 

Probably because I think that that’s one of those things that generally speaking, if you are building a business to sell, you know that right from the get go. Like that’s, that’s kind of one of the the North Star decisions that you would make in a business. 

Are you where it’s where you’re at in your business right now cash flow or. Potential to sell some. 

Cash flow. I am the although I don’t know, there are some licensing opportunities in what I do because I have this sort of unique not sort of unique. I hate it when people put modifiers on unique. It is. It is unique. I have a unique. 

Yes. 

Process that I teach that is now trademarked and all that good stuff. So it’s one of those that like in theory, I could sell that. But at this point of the business it’s yeah, it’s I enjoy I mean the education part of it is super fun. 

And before we wrap up, you mentioned you. Teased that you have two evergreen offers. Can you kind of just share how well they convert. 

Because your. 

Conversion numbers are ridiculously. 

Good? Oh, man. Well, I have my primary evergreen funnel converts at about 14%. 

And how much is the offer? 

1,009.97. Yeah.

So I just want to repeat that for everybody. Thousand dollar offer. Evergreen Funnel converts at about 14%. Is it a webinar? It’s a webinar, yep. 

About 14% on 1000 offer. What about the other one. 

And the other one? I don’t I and this was actually another thing that you helped me with was that I felt like I was I had two kind of different places that I was. I couldn’t figure out like where to send people. And so you helped me streamline that. So now the second product is really it’s available to anyone, but it is primarily sold to the people who have already come through the first product and the conversion rate from the people who already have. My first product is about 50% and that’s the price is also 50%. So it’s a $500 offer. 

50% of the people who go through Autumn’s first offer convert into this next offer at a $500 price point. Yeah, I love it. Build I mean, you know, create a create a really solid experience for people and then they’re much more willing to buy from you. 

So and it all aligns right The products you just mentioned product. Being clear on what the promise is, what the actual offer is, the benefit, etc. who it’s for, the pricing. And this is so good. I think that, you know, you’ve been mentioning in the photography space, but obviously this is relevant for anybody running, running their business. And again. 

Yeah, sorry, I was going to say it was another thing that I that I loved and now miss. I’m basically like working myself back up to rejoin Accelerator. But it was one of the things that I really loved about being an accelerator was the breadth of businesses represented and learning about all these other businesses. I have only ever I mean, I was in health care before I went off, before I started my photography business. So like I have no entrepreneurial experience prior to that. And so it was super fun and interesting to just kind of like nerd out on the businesses in different fields. I feel like that is, yeah, I could I could totally talk business stuff all day long. 

I wish more people and just as you were saying that, I was like, I’m going to do an episode about that and take different scenarios, different types of businesses and say, okay, this person is doing this type of thing over here. Completely different niche to you or niche to you. And this is how what you could do with it, right? Most people don’t. They tune out, they’re like, Oh, this person is in the photography space. This is nothing. This is irrelevant to me. And then they just go do their own thing, right? Oh, this person in the teaching space, you know, selling these resources, that’s irrelevant to me. Like, No, absolutely not. Like, oftentimes the best ideas come from other completely different types of businesses, different niches. I mean, it’s the whole reason my very first podcast was called Inside Social Media, and I interviewed big brands like Red Bull and McDonald’s and so on and talked about what they were doing in social media. This is back in 2020 12. But I was interviewing these businesses to share what they were doing in social media, but how small businesses could take. 

Those. 

These ideas and do them on their scale. 

That’s brilliant. 

That got lost. One of the reasons why I stopped doing it, one of the many, but like that got lost so often because people are like, Oh, I can’t. I could never do what Red Bull’s doing. I can never put a person up in a satellite and have them free fall down. You know, that big stunt that they did years and years ago. But it’s like, well, wait a minute, you’re missing the point. Like, what can we learn from that and apply it to our own business? And I think that’s such a powerful, powerful thing that I just wish more people would look at.

I got asked recently on actually on a different podcast. Do you consider yourself to be a creative first or a photographer first or excuse me, a creative first or an entrepreneur first? And I think she thought I was going to say entrepreneur because she because I would say I’m an entrepreneur before I’m a photographer, even though chronologically that’s not the way that it worked. But I was like, actually, if you’re if you’re if we’re going to use the specific words creative and entrepreneur, I’m a creative first. And I think that your whether you are a photographer or you teach something that is not at all in the quote unquote creative space. As an entrepreneur, one of the best qualities that you can nurture in yourself is your creativity, your ability to think outside the box about whatever. We’re all creating solutions for stuff, right? So like, solutions require creative thinking and to stay in that, I never I mean, don’t tell my photo friends, but I like almost never listen to other photography podcast. Despite the fact that I’m a total podcast junkie, I listen to other kinds of business podcasts because I get inspiration and in my photography work. I don’t I mean, I follow a lot of photographers, certainly on social media and stuff, but when I’m looking to get inspired from an art perspective, I look at cinema or paintings or whatever, because it’s too easy to get into the like, Oh, am I doing exactly what they’re doing? But if somebody is doing something different, all you’re looking at is the good ideas. 

Hmm. Yeah, I like that. And just to add to that real quick, I recently did an episode here on the show about one of the best growth strategies that very few people are doing. And the point of that whole episode was giving yourself time and your calendar, what I call like CEO time, just to be thinking. Yeah. Because when you’re working nonstop and you’re doing all the things and you’re not going to you’re not allowing yourself to you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to come up with those ideas, be creative. And so when you can put parameters in your in your business and starts to streamline it and give yourself that time, that’s when you can be intentional with trying to come up with ideas and looking at just like you just sit on a me is like looking at other other niches and seeing what they’re doing and learning and all that stuff. So I love this topic, as you know. Thank you for bringing it to this episode here on the podcast. Where can people connect with you? You’ve got podcasts, you’re doing amazing things in your courses, in your business. What are the, what are all the places? 

Yeah, thanks. So the podcast is called This Can’t Be That Hard, and it is primarily targeted for photographers, but there’s lots of if you are interested in listening to other kinds of business, it’s a good one because I do focus on the business stuff and then yeah, everything is this can’t be that hard dot com at this can’t be that hard All the places. 

This can’t be that hard. Yeah. I link all the links up of stuff here on the show notes for today’s episode on me. Thank you so much for coming on the episode. 

I really appreciate it. No, it was a pleasure. It was. I, you know, I cheated and got to chat with you for an hour again. Super fun. 

Hey, you’ve just heard a lot about my accelerator coaching program throughout the interview here with me. So if you are interested in applying, if you’re an established online course creator, a coach, or maybe have a membership program and you’re looking to scale your business and your impact while working, this is super important. While working no more than a 25 hour workweek in your business. So if you’re looking to streamline, you want my eyes on your business, reviewing, doing all the things right now, need to do some hiring, get your team in order, get your systems and processes, your marketing, etc. Then accelerator is for you. Two different things you can do. Shoot me an email. Let me know what’s going on in your business. Rick at Rick Radio.com is my personal email. Shoot me an email or go over to our accelerator page on my website and you can learn more about the program right there. Go to Rick Multi-car forward slash accelerator. All right, my friend. Thank you, as always for taking the time to tune in. Do not take your time and attention lately. So thank you for coming to hang out with me Until next time, my friend. Be well and I’ll talk to you soon.

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