Today’s podcast features Kelly Ruta, part of our Case Story Series. Kelly has worked one-on-one with me, and we are chatting about real-world reasons for doing this work. Kelly was a clinical psychotherapist for 20 years. About eight years ago, she left the field and decided to work to fill a gap in the “online” mindset coaching industry while serving more and differently and being more profitable. Instead of a mindset coach, she calls herself an owner/CEO development strategist and helps people remove obstacles and take action in their businesses. It’s not her first time on the pod, so let’s dive right in.
Chronic Illness and a Pandemic: Kelly’s Background Story
Kelly has had some atypical results, but they are consistent with her experience. Her business has been operating for eight years, plus years of consistent marketing and a deep level of experience, and unfortunately, she just hit the spot where she needed help.
In 2015, Kelly was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MECFS) after a nasty bout with the Epstein-Barr virus. It was quite severe, and she’s been dealing with it for the last eight years. Things had gotten better until the COVID pandemic hit, and despite her best efforts to avoid people and stay home, she caught the original strain in July 2020 and then again in July 2022. It became impossible to keep up with the activity.
Kelly wanted to continue to serve at an expert level and did not want to take a significant hit in her revenue. She remembered what I always say, “it’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.” But looking back, she remembers being frightened, not just about her own health, but about the many other people dealing with long COVID. It was time to rethink the model, and that’s when she turned to me.
The Factors That Brought Us Together
Kelly was in search of a partner, someone that she could trust. She gives five main factors for using to work with me:
- We were a personality match. She loved that we were both from the Northeast because we shared a communication style and instant connection.
- I’m very direct. I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade. Maybe it’s that east coast directness, but it really worked with Kelly.
- Kelly is constantly managing chronic illness; I also have experience and understanding in that realm.
- She liked that I reminded her that no change needs to last forever, but I operate in with agility, grace, and relative speed when making necessary transitions.
- We both have experience in the online coaching space. Many people overcome something difficult and then turn around and write a course for others on how to do the same. There are two completely different skill sets, and not everyone is an effective coach. Kelly liked that we shared the same thoughts on this.
For Kelly, this was a six-month decision process, and towards the end, she was thinking about burning down her business. That’s when I can step in and tell her to hand over the matches.
Results of the Intensive and Returning to 1:1 Coaching
When Kelly and I started working together, we focused on what outcomes she needed and wanted. Not just financial outcomes like revenue and profit but also downtime, off-time, and doctor appointment availability. Kelly needed to focus on calming down her nervous system. The biggest tool was simplification. She had no energy for overcomplicating anything and needed things to be simpler, especially when dealing with brain fog and fatigue.
Groups require a different kind of energy than one-on-one coaching, and they also require additional costs. Kelly needed to work through her issues with one-on-ones from her therapy days. Originally, it felt like a step backward for her. After a trip to the beach to collect her thoughts, she decided to move forward.
We focused on the idea of balancing what you’re selling with how you are going to deliver it. Kelly shifted to sell to larger businesses and support a much different CEO going forward. Within 30 days, she had sold $70,000 worth of services. She started by connecting with the people already in her orbit and was surprised at how many people were looking for one-on-one coaching. The pandemic has caused some group fatigue.
Kelly really had to work through her perception of moving backward. There’s a push out there for courses to reach thousands of people. Could she be helping larger groups? But, after making the transition, it was obvious there was a need for this, and she could be incredibly helpful. Her business brought in revenue, and everything was simplified to the point she could effectively manage it.
Moving Forward With a Simplified Version
Kelly worked with me to determine her core market. She’s the right fit for someone shopping for the lowest price or the best deal. Her ideal clients are looking for high-quality work. She could wrap up the groups and move forward with one-on-one coaching. She filled up the openings on her calendar by maximizing the lead generation process. It’s important not to overlook the leads you already have.
Once Kelly worked with her first few new CEOs, she expanded and included a second offering. The feedback was that these leaders took so much from her expertise but did not have the bandwidth to pass it along to their teams. Kelly created a two-day workshop followed by six months of coaching and opened just five slots. She kept it manageable for herself and even pre-sold $104,000 into this year.
Kelly has created a curriculum based on a book, using the incredible documented research and honing in on the business side of the advice that she’s an expert at. I’ve had similar luck with my book clubs. I hosted one free online book club discussing a book I respected and booked $60,000 of services because of it.
And if you get hung up on sales and marketing, as we’ve mentioned in our conversation, remember that sales are two things – the skills, tactics, and strategy of selling and working to get past the internal resistance to using those skills. Women naturally have more emotional intelligence, which is an incredible sales tool. Put it to use.
Where Kelly is Today and Some Parting Wisdom for Listeners
Kelly is about eight months post-intensive, so I asked her to give us a quick summary of where she’s now. Here are the positives:
- Kelly has found the space in her life to read more on long COVID. Specialty clinics that she has reached out to have no openings for new patients, so she is learning about different off-label things to try. She is finding some relief from symptoms and feeling good about using her research skills in this manner.
- Income and profit have not missed a beat for Kelly.
- Kelly and her family took an international vacation at the end of last year!
- She is still managing a pipeline of sales and work into 2023.
- Her workweek is still over four days, and she doesn’t see that ever-changing.
In any transition, there have been some challenges. There were team members lost due to their own life changes or the restructuring of the model. But Kelly has had some tremendous success with the work she has put into her business and making it simpler.
There is a complex cycle that exists where you need to make money to spend that money to get health care and make improvements. Kelly was able to get out of that cycle. It’s important to recognize that we are not all in it equally, and some people have stronger support systems than others or extra people to care for.
Kelly acknowledged that she faced fears on conflicting sides. On one side, she was afraid to invest her money to work with me, but on the other, she was afraid of what would happen to her business if she didn’t. In most cases, when you don’t take action, things get worse. If this sounds like something that could benefit you today, check out The Bold Profit Academy.