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Natalie Eckdahl

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S: This episode number 130 is all about growing your tribe and thus growing your business to seven figures and beyond. Our guest today is Natalie Eckdahl. She’s a business strategist and high-performance coach who helps high-achieving women entrepreneurs across industries and timezones build, grow, and scale their business while avoiding overwhelm. She’s also the host of the popular BizChix Podcast. Natalie, it’s so great to have you on the show.

N: Thank you, Stephan. I’m so excited to be here. Just love what you’re creating. Just love the content that you’re putting out there.

S: Aww. Thank you. I understand you’ve been listening to some of the episodes.

N: I have. I’m really enjoying them and the technical ones on SEO, I want that known in my business but I don’t want to personally know the details. I have a team member I’m now going to assign to follow your show and to listen to all the SEO topics.

S: That makes sense. Let’s talk about game changers, things that have really grown your business, transformed your business, especially from a marketing and sales perspective.

N: Sure. There’s been a few game changers in my business in the last year or so. I have a podcast as well. I host The BizChix Podcast and I have been hosting that for four years. I have learned so much along the way about what works and what doesn’t in terms of attracting my avatar to me, building an audience, building a community. I’ve really built an online community for women entrepreneurs.

S: And it’s quite a big community, right?

N: It is. It’s big but it’s not gigantic. I have actually created a Facebook group for my community but everybody in there is on my email list and everybody in there is, for the most part, a listener. Facebook will advertise your closed Facebook group to just random people that they think might like it. But, people do need to take that extra step to join my list to be accepted, so that filters out people. While I probably could have grown it to 10,000 or more by just letting any woman entrepreneur, any woman that’s interested into the group, I’ve kept it pretty tight. We have over 2000 members in there but it’s a very engaged community, very kind and collaborative community. We don’t allow any self-promotion in there and it’s really people asking for help and getting help.

S: Do you find that this community is something that you’re at all worried that you’re going to lose control of because it’s actually Facebook’s community and you have a space in that community. For some reason, Facebook shuts you down, shuts your account, shuts down the group. You’d lose it all so there are some folks who are more inclined to create that community on their own site, on their own membership site.

N: Yeah. This is a free group. I also do have a paid membership group as well that I chose to create on Facebook. The positive about kind of the strategy I followed for my situation is that I have everybody’s email list that’s in my community. Really, if Facebook shuts me down, I will just email everyone and say, “Hey, here’s where we’re meeting now.”

S: Are you grabbing that email address by having them fill out a few questions in order to join the community, is that how you get that?

N: They join my email list on my website. It does take a little extra time of our team to check and there are some people that have gotten in over time that are a friend. We do occasionally allow members to add their friends and people that they are kind of vouching for. There are several people, probably hundreds of people, in the group that are not on my email list. But for the most part, people are hearing from me in multiple ways. They’re listening to my podcast, they’re receiving my emails, and they’re in the Facebook group.

S: Okay, got it. Let’s go back to the game changers.

N: That actually is the first game changer in my business. I would not still be podcasting if I did not have the Facebook group. I did not start until I have been podcasting almost a year. I tell my community I podcast for them, that those are the women I’m podcasting for. I am monitoring the conversation there. I create content that I hear but they’re needing. Sometimes I’ll even create episodes where I let them call in and share their tactic on a particular strategy or maybe their favorite online tools. There’s a definite link between my podcast and this particular Facebook group.

S: That’s very cool. You would actually have stopped your podcast if you hadn’t had that group.

N: I would have because I wasn’t hearing from people and podcasting can be kind of lonely. You and I are having a conversation right now, but we’re not seeing who’s going to listen. In a sense, that allows me to see and feel who’s listening. Because it is filled with a group of listeners, they interact around my episodes. In fact, I just posted a new episode today. Just released one and the community is already saying, “Oh, my goodness! That was so helpful. That was just what I needed.” I’m hearing back and then sometimes will ask further questions, although engage in conversation around the content. It’s become really powerful, really powerful.

S: Such great encouragement for you. It’s motivation to keep going. You also have this feedback loop, so you know you’re heading in the right direction. You’re serving them in the way that they need it the most.

N: I am and back to the conversation about kind of building a property on someone else’s land, people are on Facebook. My community is spending time on Facebook, so the easiest way and most effective way for them to communicate with me and with each other is through Facebook. I feel really great about having it there. But the game changer for me in 2017 was taking a huge risk in my business and hosting my first live event for my community. I tend not to do things small. Probably a local meetup might have been a good first choice but instead I hosted a 2 ½ day live event at a hotel in Orange County, California, where I live. I ended up having community members fly in from 5 countries and 22 states.

S: Wow, and this was a paid event that you’re in?

N: It was a paid event, yes.

S: Can I ask how much you charge for it?

N: Yes. Not enough to cover my costs.

S: Oh no.

N: I knew that it would be an investment. I really was hoping for a higher attendance. I wanted 200 people. I thought I would get over 100 and I ended up having 65 women attend. It was a loss in terms of ticket sales but I also was selling my high-end mastermind programs and coaching packages at the event. It ended up all working out in the end and that’s why it’s become a game changer on many, many levels. But in terms of ticket cost, what we charged was anywhere, depending on when they made their purchase, anywhere from $500–$700 a ticket. For this year, people that were at the event could purchase tickets for $747 for our event that’s taking place this year in November for that amount, and then we sold tickets at price points of $747, $997, and now they’re currently selling for $1497.

S: That’s quite an increase.

N: Yes. It’s been an amazing increase and I was very fortunate that the women that attended the event first of all found it to be very impactful for themselves and their businesses. They were very prolific on social media. For the number of people I had attending, I think it felt to me like 400–500 people were attending because of the amount of social media that they didn’t and then their friends saying, “Where are you? What are you doing? Can I go with you next year?” We ended up having 60% of the people that were at the event buy a ticket on-site for our event this year. That was also just an amazing thing, that they valued the time they spent there so much that they’re ready to buy their ticket for the next year.

S: That’s great. This has been a game changer in that you have a new level of interaction with the women in your community. Also, it’s easier, I think, to sell people on high-ticket items if you have face-to-face time, right?

N: It is, and a number of different things happened, there’s so many layers to it. But I think at the core, my community got to meet each other and find out that they like each other. There were even moments where I was on stage watching, from afar, them connect and grow relationships. I actually had fear of missing out. I think I have the FOMO. I was on stage looking, gosh I wish I was in the audience connecting in the way they’re getting to connect but I’m delivering content. They really discovered that they enjoyed working with each other and helping one another. The kind of feedback I got is that everybody was so nice. We also gave time for implementation so they had time to actually work on their business. We’re doing leadership training for them, helping them to realize that they are CEOs in their business, they have this leadership role, and that it’s okay to be that leader. Many women are not socialized to be leaders and it can be uncomfortable for business owners to kind of own that role, build a team, and run the company. We were really giving them permission to do that. In terms of the masterminds that we offer, we were able to do two things. One, talk about the high-level mastermind, but also I have a mastermind for women business owners that have businesses that are at the six-figure level and beyond, and it’s a year-long program. I also have a program for women that have a five-figure business, between the five-figure and six-figure level. For those ladies, when I talk to them on a phone call, it can feel like such a big investment for their business. Because that particular program isn’t as lucrative for my business, I, in general, feel less incentivized to do those calls. However, at the live event, it was so easy to share about the program en masse. And then also for them to get the confidence and feedback by talking to other women that had done the program previously, and to also join up with someone saying, “You know, let’s do this together.” It created this dynamic that I just didn’t expect. I was really focused on selling to the high-ticket program. We sold way more of the five bigger program that I was anticipating. It was really exciting just to see one how that sales process work. I had in the past, experienced being at other people’s events, sharing great content and sharing very casually how people could work with me or how they could get more content from me. But there’s something really different about being in a room of women that really already know, like, and trust me. We deliver content that, they said, exceeded their expectations. To share the next step to work with our team was I think a no-brainer for many of them. I didn’t realize how successful it would be and all the different side benefits. I’m still feeling them in the business. It also had the benefit in terms of a game changer, just elevating me among other coaches and other people in my space because it is a lot to put an event. It’s a risk that event owners take and there’s a big upfront investment involved. It kind of put me into a different level in my industry.

S: Yeah, that makes sense. I tried to put on several events. One for SEO, Traffic Control is the name of that event. I will still do it but the last time I tried it, it didn’t sell enough tickets and I had to cancel the event. It was within the time frame that I could get my money back from the hotel, but yeah, you put a lot of money on the line. It’s very, very expensive. You could spend $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 even to put your own live event.

N: Yes.

S: That was one misfire or kind of failed event that I tried. The other one was Passions Into Profits, which was more personal and professional development-focused rather than SEO-focused. I did that with a business partner and that also we had to cancel because we didn’t have enough ticket sales. I’m a little bit gun-shy. It’s still on the list of things to do, but I don’t think I’m going to do a live event this year. I’ll probably do it in 2019.

N: Yeah, it’s a big investment and I think that you have to know what your strategy is coming out of it. I know that you sell a high-ticket product and even for you, having a smaller event with those ideal clients that are ready to just purchase your high-ticket program, that could really work for you. It’s definitely something not to take lightly and to know what you have to risk. For me, this event would not make sense to put on, especially in this first year. But last year when I was definitely going to lose money, this year I will break even. My goal really isn’t to have a lot of profit from the event. My goal is to, at a minimum, break even. But having a program that we’re selling on the backend, so to speak, really makes it worth it. I, of course, know and don’t expect everybody in the room to make a purchase, but many people that attend events are buyers. In fact, most people are. I was actually at an event last year and I was interested in the person that was running the event and in working with him. He actually didn’t offer a program that I was interested in. It was interesting just to think of my own buying experience and the different things that I can offer to my audience. I think that people that invest in traveling to an event and in buying a ticket to an event, in general, are people that invest in themselves. They’re interested in investing in a program or in an offering, and they’re ready. They’re often just ready to buy like they actually almost expect it, and they’re ready for the next step with the person that’s putting on the event.

S: Yeah. It’s like they invested not only their money but also their time. That time includes the travel time so they’re significantly invested already. They want to take advantage of whatever opportunity you have. They want to maximize that investment and they already have some cost.

N: They do, and I learned a lot too from the event. I say that was the other game changer. I learned that my audience has a hunger to learn. I tend to attract women that are highly educated. Many of them have a master’s degree. Many of them have a local service-based business, say they’re a chiropractor or they’re a speech therapist or they have some level of expertise. Not everybody in my audience is in the helping industry but there’s definitely a subset that are. In their training, they don’t really learn how to run a business. There’s a lot of money mindset issues that are kind of brought up with from their mentors and even told that it’s wrong to want to grow their business, make money and charge premium prices. We created this workbook. I had three other speakers also at my event and we all, together, created a workbook that ended up expanding in size. It ended up being like a 100-page workbook with 8 tabs. The women loved it. They also have their workbook. They will show pictures on social media of taking time away from their business to continue to work through the material in there. That was amazing to learn that, “Wow! My audience wants to keep learning,” and they’re an audience of people that have a growth mindset. They want to learn from myself and my team, and what else can we continue to provide them to help them learn. Some people in our audience wanted us to sell them the workbook directly. We chose not to because there were so many things that only made sense if you were at the event but there were pieces of it that we’ve been able to repurpose throughout the year. I’ve been able to use them as free downloads with my podcast, to create podcast episodes associated directly with that, to distribute pieces of the content directly to my membership group. It has a lot of benefit. There’s a lot of fun and work that went into the live event but we’ve been able to really do a lot with the content we’ve created for it and that was created at the event as well.

S: There’s a lot of repackaging, repurposing of what you’ve invested, in terms of your time and IP into that event. You said that you lost money into the event. Does that take into account the fact that you sold a number of masterminds?

N: No. It ended up being profitable. If you look purely at ticket sales, there was a huge loss. But if you look at all of the programs that got sold out of that and all the tickets that have come since then, I really feel like investing in this event has really just stratospherically changed my business. Even in terms of selling for the next event, I’ve done zero ads and we’re 75% sold out. It’s just organic people that are in my community that were wishing they could’ve been at the event and were watching it. We’re going to double in size. We’re capping it at 120 ticket sales for this year. At this point last year, I think I was just announcing that I was going to be offering tickets for sale and I didn’t start selling them until April. It’s been amazing to just sort of feel the momentum to see people buying tickets. Even in the community, there’s been people post in my Facebook group, “I’m thinking about buying a ticket to BizChix Live. What do you think? Should I do it?” It was amazing because literally, like 30 women responded with all the reasons why this one woman should say yes. As a person that runs the event, as the event owner, I was like, “We need to document these testimonials, let’s get these on our sales page.” It was really amazing. It’s really what we all want, other people to share for us. And she bought her ticket; so they did a good job.

S: Yes, they did. When you document these on your sales page, do you just screenshot them from Facebook and block out their names or you go and reach out to each person?

N: We reach out. Yeah, we reach out. In fact, we’re still in the process. We haven’t been able to add them in yet. It was a recent occurrence, but yeah, it’s something we ask our clients if it’s okay. Generally, people are really open to it. I think that part of having a podcast too is that people get to really know you as a person. I had someone I was interacting with on Instagram yesterday and she said, “I feel like I know you.” That was the first time we’ve ever communicated.

I think that it creates this sense of connection of friendship and people want to help my business grow. They have watched my business grow. I launched the podcast in 2014 and I had no audience. I wasn’t a blogger, I didn’t have an online business, I was not known online at all. Everything I built, I built from scratch. Some people have been with me overtime from the beginning, watching this grow. Even my business each year has significantly transformed.

S: Many of my listeners are not your listeners yet, but I have to say this that your podcast is amazing and it’s not just for women. I’ve listened to a number of your episodes. My wife listens to your show as well. In fact, you’re 75% full with this event. I’m going to make sure she registers for your event because I think it’s going to fill up pretty quickly. I think it’s going to be an amazing experience for her to be there.

N: I would love for her to come. Thank you, there are a number of gentlemen that was sent in. I so appreciate it and I love hearing from them and at the same time I know who I serve and I’m uniquely suited to serve is women. I speak to women. I used to, at the beginning, talk to I would say, I call my community BizChix, and I would say, “Hi, BizChix and cool dudes,” and if you listen to the beginning I’m talking to women and men. I decided over time to really focus who I was talking to who I wanted to work with. When I podcast—and this is part of my strategy—is I am podcasting to my ideal clients and to my ideal avatars. I’m creating content that I think will draw more of them to me. It’s been very effective and not something that I’ve always done. I initially started off interviewing and I did about 150 interviews before I realize that that wasn’t actually helping to grow my business. I was expanding my network exponentially. I was meeting people, amazing business owners across the globe and making those connections. But most of the time it was truly helping grow their business. I was featuring them. That was my goal, was to feature them, learn their story, share about them, and hopefully help grow their business. But I had to transition that because my goal from my podcast was to actually grow my business and to grow a business from it. I transitioned my content to doing mainly solo episodes which showcase my thought leadership and provide business trainings to my audience. I also do Honor Coaching Calls which showcase what it’s like to work with me and kind of give people a test drive of what that experience is like.

S: This switch from interview format to solo episodes, was that instigated or precipitated by a particular event or somebody giving you coaching in that regard?

N: I was in a wonderful personal mastermind and it was actually mastering that I put together for myself and it’s incredible. We’re together for about 1½ years from 2015 to mid-2016 and it’s so amazing because I’m still implementing ideas that were generated in that mastermind. That’s why I’m so passionate about the mastermind process, especially those that were professionally facilitated. From that mastermind, my mastermind friends were telling me, “Natalie, we want to hear from you. These interviews are great, you’re really great at interviewing and it’s definitely a skill set that you’ve mastered. But what do you think? What should we be doing with our business from your point of view?” To be honest, Stephan, when I started the podcast, I didn’t have a sense of my voice, what I had to offer, and what my thought leadership was. Podcasting has helped me to get confidence in that and to grow that over time. It was their encouragement and also watching some other podcasters start to do more trainings. When I started podcasting, there were a lot fewer podcasts and it seems crazy it was only four years ago. But I couldn’t find a podcast for women entrepreneurs. I think there was only one other one at the time. A few of us started at the same time in early 2014 and then there are so many choices now, which is wonderful. There are so many options. Most people were doing in interview format and very few people were podcasting, really sharing their thoughts, their business background, and their trainings. There weren’t as many people to model after. I remember that Kate Erickson who has a podcast called Kate’s Take and she’s part of the Entrepreneur on Fire brand. She was blogging for that brand and blogging for the company. She started just reading her blog as an audio blog. I thought, “Well, I can write a blog and read it.” It gave me confidence, so it kind of gave me permission to try that out. Over time, I’d shift to ‘I don’t just read a blog.’ I definitely have a very robust script which I primarily am reading, but I don’t think of it as a blog. I don’t think of myself as a writer or a blogger at the heart of things I love to podcast. I also enjoy doing video too but primarily I’m a podcaster. That is kind of how I got started. Then, the Honor Coaching Calls I heard some friends do it. They weren’t friends at the time. They’re very different now but I was fans of the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast and they were bringing on members of their membership site. They help people build online businesses and membership, and their focus, people on membership sites. They’re bringing members on air and coaching them on a struggle or two they were having in their business and I became addicted to listen to them. But that again also took me, I would say, about nine months to get the confidence to do it for myself because it felt very scary to coach someone on air and have the world listen.

S: Do you do these live as well? Were you Facebook Live-ing it, then the episode goes through audio editing, and then that gets posted whenever on your RSS feed, on your podcast, or do you just purely record it in advance?

N: They’re recorded. They’re recorded in advance so we can edit things out. I have occasionally had clients say, “Ooh, I mentioned a former employer and I’d rather not say their name on air. Can we take that out?” But for the most part, it is as recorded. I would love to do them as Facebook Live and that’s definitely something that is a goal for 2018 because you can’t get any more real. I’d rather not. We are live and whatever happens, happens. I think it be really fun to do that. I actually had someone again connect with me on Instagram yesterday and she said that she’s been inspired by my Honor Coaching Calls and she’s going to start doing some honor coaching on Instagram Live. I think there’s so many different possibilities now and I do believe that video connects you to people quicker, that they can get to know you quicker. I just know that for many people in my audience they don’t sit and watch a long-form video. The better way to reach them would be for them to listen to the full call through the podcast. But I think I could definitely catch the eye of potential new members who might watch for a period of time and then we could put them into a funnel through retargeting and trying to get them on our list and showing them how to listen to the podcast. There’s definitely a lot of opportunity there with Facebook Live and my video in general.

S: Just a key point that most podcast consumers are listening only when they’re not consuming via video. You could have a video format like a video podcast but you’re not going to reach people mostly that way. You’re going to reach them through audio only.

N: I think so in terms of who I am reaching but there’s potential to get that newer audience through video because it could be shared more on Facebook. I think on Facebook, I see people trying to share audio but I don’t think people are really engaging with it. I always kind of base things on my own behavior. It’s not something I really engage in, whereas if it’s a video I might watch for a bit and then that person could retarget me with something else that would be of interest, eventually get me to be a listener or to join their group or join their list.

S: Like with Libsyn or with Hani Mourra—Hani was on my podcast recently—having his plugin and placed to Repurpose your audio-only podcast into a video format, where you just have a moving audio waveform and a visual background to it, that’s not going to be very effective to post that whole episode onto, let’s say, Facebook. But if you take a snippet of it and do Facebook ads, that might work. Or to do a Facebook Live of you explaining the benefits and the key points of the episode, so they get a view of you and then you’re driving people to that audio-only podcast. That’s another way to do it.

N: Yes, or to do a training too. I did a training recently called The Fortune Is In The Follow-Up, about the importance of the follow-up process in the sales cycle. Say if I have six points in that episode, I could do a Facebook Live and say, “Just want to share…” I could add some value, maybe share one, two, or three tips and say, “Do you want to hear the rest?” Then point them to the podcast. I think there’s some things you can do to pull people to a different platform but I think it’s difficult. I think it’s difficult to get people from one platform to another, and I always find, in terms of growing the podcast, what works the best for me is people sharing it. Content that is great gets shared by people, just organically gets shared, and even showing people how to share. Recently, I’ve been posting the episode on Facebook and I’m suggesting people share it on Messenger. I’m actually telling them what to do, “If you want to share this with someone, share it in Messenger.” I think it’s usually shared on a person-by-person basis and less so like someone sharing it to their entire personal profile or within an entire group.

S: Yeah, that makes sense. Have you seen a lot of growth of your podcast through that means?

N: It’s something I’m newer at working on and doing that as a call-to-action. One of the things that’s helped my podcast the most is—I’m sure you’re going to love; maybe you’re an expert in it too—is iTunes SEO which I find to be different than Google SEO. Again, I’m not an expert but I thought about what I wanted to be found for in iTunes. That is the way, I hear back, most that people find me. People either find me through a friend recommending, or through searching on iTunes. Then the third way is a Google search. I’ve been featured in a few articles. I think there’s one in Inc. that shows up most often that people come through that one, and on Entrepreneur as well. Just ranking the best podcast for women entrepreneurs. Inc. has great SEO. It tends to pop up when people search for that and that has led people to find me as well.

S: That’s a great strategy, by the way, if you can get one of these ‘best of’ lists, one that’s really seen as a definitive source for the best. For example, I’m on the Moz’s Recommended List of top SEOs. I get a lot of inquiries from folks because of that list.

N: Yes and that just happened for me. I didn’t strategically make that happen. I definitely put it out as an intention of something I wanted to happen but someone was creating a list. A fellow podcaster—I think he was putting together a top five—he had a friend that was a podcaster and he was going to feature her and let her pick a few others. Mine was one she picked and we never chatted before. It was one of those good fortune moments that I’m very grateful for.

S: Awesome. You mentioned your iTunes SEO. There’s a great episode, by the way, on this podcast of me interviewing Daniel J. Lewis.

N: Yes. I followed Daniel’s strategies. They work.

S: Yeah, we geeked out on iTunes SEO.

N: Oh good. I will listen to that because I’ve heard him speak in person and I’m friends with him too. He’s a great guy. I’ve heard him speaking in person at conferences and then he has a wonderful blog post on it but I would geek out on iTunes SEO so I will listen to that.

S: Okay, awesome. He also has a community called Podcasters’ Society, which I’m part of. By the way, there’s another thing that you might want to consume and listeners too. It’s a Search Engine Land article I wrote about iTunes SEO and General Podcaster SEO Strategies To Implement. That’s a really great article. I’ll include that in the show notes.

N: Wonderful. Good. I think for all of us, wherever we’re creating content, is to really figure out how to optimize the platform that we’re on. If you’re on YouTube, what do you need to do to optimize that platform and get found? In iTunes, if you search for women entrepreneur, I’m going to come up. Female entrepreneur, I will come up. Women in business, I’m going to come up. I’ve been trying to be found for that for a long time. I tried to rank for a while as small business but I don’t think I rank for that. But it works. You have to really also think about—I’m sure you do this in your trainings—what are people searching for? What are the words people are going to put in? What I find when I asked people, “What did you search for?” They can’t tell me.

S: Yeah. They have no idea.

N: They cannot tell me.

S: I found it on the Internet. I can’t even tell you which site did they use because they don’t remember. Was it Google? Was it iTunes?

N: Exactly.

S: Was I searching on Stitcher? I have no idea.

N: Yes. You kind of have to figure out what they might search for and then try to optimize for that. I’m glad you had Daniel all the same. I’m excited to hear that. I was just at Social Media Marketing World. I was attending some YouTube sessions and learning how to grow a YouTube presence. A lot of it is about collaboration, a lot of it is about keyword usage, and being found in the number two search engine.

S: Yeah, it is the number two search engine. A lot of people don’t realize that. There’s so many low-hanging fruit tactics when you’re uploading video. Don’t just go with the default thumbnail, upload your own custom thumbnail, do a bit of keyword usage. You can find out what people are searching for on YouTube, not just Google, using Google Trends. I don’t know if you knew that one.

N: No. Writing it down. I’m taking notes here, Stephan. Google Trends.

S: Google Trends has a feature where instead of just choosing web search, which is the default, click that down arrow and then choose YouTube search and now you can check to see what’s popular and not popular with YouTube searchers. That’s fantastic. You want to upload a transcript of your episode, not just leave it for YouTube to do the automatic transcribing of your episode so you’ll get a boost from doing that. Foreign language translations, you can upload those as well. With the time stamping, that will allow people to watch your video with subtitles in their language. When they’re searching in their language for your keywords, you’re going to show up in the search results in YouTube. I’m just scratching the surface. There’s so many great things to do with regards to YouTube optimization. I do have a great episode on that. We’re going to some depth on that with Jeff Martin. That one I’ll include in the show notes as well.

N: We’re covering a lot of ground here, Stephan.

S: I know.

N: We’ve gone from Live Events to podcasting to YouTube and this is fantastic. I love it.

  1. I want to go back to masterminds because we didn’t close the loop on that one too. You got these two levels and I really want to explore that before we close out the episode too. We’re covering a lot of ground. Like I said, I’ll put the Jeff Martin episode link in the show notes. That’s YouTube SEO. We talked about iTunes SEO. Let’s move on to the masterminds and then if we have time, we’ll jump a bit into retargeting and how you’re using that in your business. Masterminds, why two levels? I never hear that. I often hear people offering one mastermind and that’s it. You can either attend my live event or you can join my mastermind, or you can sign up for my membership site, or consume one of my digital products. But, yeah. Why two levels?

N: Great question. I didn’t always have two levels. It was actually a discovery I made as I was hosting masterminds for my community. I started to notice that some people were growing their business more rapidly than others and I called them really high-performing women. They actually can be at different levels of revenue. But what I find is once a person—and I work with women, so I’m going to talk about women—once women hit the six-figure mark, there’s certain things that they have done and accomplished in their business, including mindset issues that they have tackled to get to that level, and they’re moving at a different pace. Often also, they are responsible either as the breadwinner of their home or a significant contributor to the family finances and their business has to bring home a certain level of income. At the five-figure level, there are many things you’re trying to figure out in your business, especially strategy. What is going to be the best strategy for your business? What is going to be the optimal niche for what you bring to the table? And what is most marketable right now? There’s a lot of trial-and-error going on, whereas once people hit the six-figure mark there’s less of that. They have usually mastered what is going to make them money. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to grow a team and how to be a leader and a CEO. Also, they might be adding then a new stream of revenue and that adds more levels of complication. They may have a physical location; they’re adding another location. I have kind of four levels of business that I see businesses walk through. There’s the startup level where it’s the beginning of a business. I really feel that coaching, working with a coach, or being in a group coaching program is best for the startup level. At the validate level, you are kind of validating your idea and you’re usually in that five-figure level. Once you go beyond that level, you’re scaling your business and scaling your team. Beyond that I call multiply, where you’re certifying people to do what you do or you’re adding locations. So many people start another business at that point. I have a number of people in my high-level mastermind that actually have two businesses. I just find that they are dealing with different things and it’s best that they’re in different programs. At the five-figure level, they meet every week because the biggest struggle is staying focused. At the multi-six-figure level, they meet twice a month. We also have in-person retreats as well and that’s a year-long program because they’re able to make that commitment. That’s why we separated them. We’ve been talking about the game changer things in a business, kind of as our theme throughout this. The game changer for my business, in terms of this other layer of masterminds, was just letting go of control and realizing that I could train someone else to mastermind in the way that I do it. I can have a program that someone else could follow, that other people could run this five-figure level, and that I don’t have to run that level.

S: It’s your IP but it’s a different trainer or facilitator.

N: Correct. What has been the biggest game changer really in my business—I feel like there’s so many since my live event; the live event was a huge shift—was I brought on a high-level team member to facilitate the masterminds. She is not just someone that’s hired for project-basis. She’s with me in the business, on my team. She is also doing sales calls. Many people in my five-figure program, I call it EliteChix. The high-level I call CEOChix and the five-figure level I call a EliteChix. Many people in the EliteChix level, I never had to call with. I never talk to them. They talk to Shelli, who’s on my team. We actually also just launched a podcast for her called Stacking Your Team. She has an expertise in team building. That’s another game changer is having someone else producing content for my brand. Shelli has been able to do sales calls and also she does strategy sessions one-time coaching calls with clients as well. I also have a third person that facilitates masterminds as well for me. It’s been incredible to build this team. I actually created an episode about this because I see so much talk about passive income in terms of digital products but I see building a team as a form of passive income. Like this morning, someone bought a strategy session with Shelli and it’s passive income to me. I’m not going to do that. That’s not my time that’s being used. It’s Shelli’s time and it’s income into the business. There’s profit and all the activities that other people are doing on my team.

S: What was that episode, so I can link to it in the show notes where you talk about this in more depth.

N: The teams as passive income?

S: Yeah.

N: It was Episode 302. It aired January 25th. Teams Are The “New” Passive Income is what I called it. We also don’t realize the people that are creating passive income businesses that are traditionally the digital courses, it seems that everything they’re doing is passive, that the income is coming in the passive way, but the business isn’t a passive business. There is a team behind that. There’s money going out. There’s work being done. The person is not just sitting on a beach 365 days a year.

S: I’m curious. What’s your pricing for these two levels, the EliteChix and CEO Chix?

N: Yeah. Right now, they’re $600 a month for the five-figure level and then the six-figure level ranges from $1500 to $2000 a month, depending on whether or not they add in some coaching time.

S: Got it. Okay, cool. Do they get to go to the live event for free then?

N: The year-long program they did if they chose to be part of the year-long program. I just really want to reward them for investing in themselves and in our program. It was a significant investment. But at the five-figure level what we do is we offered them a discount on the tickets so they were able to get it different than the published price. Still, it’s not the year-long program that they’re in so we need to still watch our profit margins too.

S: Yup. Got it. The personal mastermind that you were in where you got all these fabulous ideas, some of which you are still in the process of implementing, was that a paid mastermind?

N: No. It was a mastermind that I put together, so I hand-curated it. We’ve used my format and we actually refined my format in that program and they gave me input on it as well. I think it went so well because we did stick to a structured format and we didn’t just me and be like, “How are you doing? How are you doing?” We had specific times when we were focusing on each other’s businesses and we had a schedule. One of the things that I do in all of my masterminds which I’d love to share for anyone else that has them, is we track the goals and the wins that are shared. We create a spreadsheet where all of that is tracked and you know that what’s happening is being documented. It gives it a level of professionalism. We now have virtual assistants on all of our calls for our paid masterminds in their client concierge role. They do all of the documenting that goes on in a call so that the facilitators can just focus on facilitating, managing the group and the group dynamics, and aren’t worried about the process and procedures in the back end that needs to happen. That’s been a great addition to the business and the process as well. The personal mastermind was hand-curated by me and we followed my format. Everyone agreed to follow that. We actually rotated facilitation. Each week a different person facilitated in that group because I wanted to receive from that group and not be leading all the time. So we chose to do it that way and it worked out well.

S: That’s a great idea. I’m thinking of doing the very same thing that you did. You ended up stopping that or dropping out of that?

N: Yeah. We had different people that were ready to move on to something else. It was something we’re meeting weekly so it was a huge time commitment for all of us. I feel like, even for myself, that I had gotten everything that—not that we could have learned more from each other—but we had really taken each other to a new place in all of our businesses, and we’re ready for new input. We’re ready for different things. We’ve all stayed in touch. In fact, I was just talking to one of my previous mastermind members. We were on Voxer yesterday and she was sharing some great updates in her business. She has a huge podcast. It has I think two million downloads. That is really fun. When I put together all my masterminds, kind of like my closing thoughts on masterminds, is you’re really looking for diversity in thought. My masterminds are about creating new ideas for each other. When you study teams, what you learn is that the teams that are most creative, that come up with the most out-of-the-box ideas, are the most diverse. I try to pull people from different industries, different educational backgrounds, different locations, to create as much diversity as possible in thinking. It creates amazing brainstorming sessions and amazing creativity for people.

S: That’s awesome. I know we’re out of time here. How would people best get in touch with you or your team, to sign up for the event, sign up for your mastermind either of the two levels, or follow your podcast. Where should we send them?

N: Thank you. The best place is just go to my website. It’s bizchix.com and you can really find everything from there. I do have an episode for people that are wanting to create their own mastermind, like you, Stephan. It’s Episode 287 and it’s called Design a High Performing Mastermind. I published it in October of 2017. I also have a download associated with that that can help you kind of walk-through a process of putting together your own mastermind. I can’t mastermind with everybody and I want everyone to have the experience. I found a format and a process that works and want to show that. Have The Art of Masterminding Download. People can get it if they go to that episode. If you search masterminds and masterminding on my site, you’ll see a lot of things come up.

S: Perfect. Does that download include by chance the goals and wins spreadsheet template?

N: I’m trying to remember if it does. That’s a good question. I don’t remember.

S: If it doesn’t could you share that with me to share with my audience?

N: Yes, I will. I would love to.

S: Alright, perfect. We’ll have that in the show notes.

N: I think it does. Here’s what I will do. I will make sure that the download does have that and that will be the best way for me to make sure that that gets shared with everybody. We will all make a note for my team to do that. Thank you.

S: Yeah, you bet. Listeners, take advantage of this amazing resource or the podcast. If you’re a woman, go sign up for the event too. Even the mastermind because I think you’ll get a ton a value out of it. Natalie, thank you so much for being on the show. Listeners, thanks for listening. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak. This is Stephan Spencer, signing off.