5 Questions Small Business Owners Can Ask if Your Offer Feels Out of Alignment

5 Questions Small Business Owners Can Ask if Your Offer Feels Out of Alignment

I am nervous and excited because we’re talking about something super personal. I’m pulling back the curtains of how I’ve been evolving my business over the last two years or so. But really, in the last six months, we’ve made some enormous decisions that have really impacted the business. I know that based on the feedback I get over on Instagram, people are really interested in knowing how I think about things and what goes on in my brain. This really is what I’m sharing this week. It feels very personal and it feels very vulnerable to share that.

One of the most frequent comments that I’ve been hearing is that 2022 has been off to a rocky start. 

I feel you. I’m with you. I hear you. My 2022 has had a very rocky start. At the end of December, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and started some treatment for that. It didn’t work. Then at the end of the year—I think it was the day before New Year’s—I wound up with COVID. I had a very long run of COVID. For my family, they were in and out of it in a few days but for me it had taken weeks. Apparently, COVID and Lyme work really well together in terms of little virus bugs. That activated my Epstein-Barr. 

My health has been a huge challenge for me since the year has started and just the energy, in general, has felt super weird. If you’re like the energy this year has felt weird, yes the energy of the year has felt weird. Lots of people have felt like they were off to a rocky start, we’ve already been depleted.

We’re low on capacity. That’s just the truth. If you’re feeling this, you’re not alone. 

At the end of last year, I stopped running my Mastermind. I have run this Mastermind for, probably five years. It’s meant to have a retreat in it because I really do like going on retreats but I am not ready to be hosting any retreats right now for a multitude of reasons. I stopped running the Mastermind. I decided not to take on any new one-on-one clients and go all-in on The Bold Profit Academy. We created a new offer, The Bold Profit Academy Plus.

I believe the rocky start that everyone is feeling actually started before the New Year. It started in the fall, probably even before that. I think for a lot of what women, micro-business owners, self-employed women, it’s been coming for a while now. As I was starting to go through applications for the Mastermind last year I started to notice a dramatic change in language that people were using. 

Women were showing up beyond exhausted and their capacity was very low. 

Resiliency fatigue had set in after these two years. Our ability to navigate relationships and business has just really started to feel hard. But it wasn’t just that. 

Whether I was speaking to a brick-and-mortar business owner or an online business owner, the story was the same. They had overspent on marketing and the ROI just wasn’t there. Lots of middlemen, or middle women, or middle people in the ad space had promised an influx of clients from various digital advertising options but didn’t deliver.

Ramit Sethi, I appreciate him. He will tell you that nobody wants financial literacy. Nobody wants to buy financial literacy which is why he named his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich. But an overwhelming amount of women have started telling me just that they want to increase their financial literacy so they can make better decisions in their businesses but also start to take control of their futures. 

They’re realizing that yes, they have beliefs about money, they have stories about money that have come from generations, that have come from society, that have come from experiences in their own life, and at the same time, they know that this is something that they need to do for their legacy, that these are the things that they need to be working through right now. By the way, most marketers that I speak to do not understand you. They do not understand the women that I work with like Ramit. Nobody wants to buy financial literacy and yet I have throngs of women showing up to me talking about financial literacy.

The final point that women drove home to me was that they weren’t reaping the monetary rewards of running a business. 

Meaning, they aren’t paying themselves enough to make the effort they’re putting in worth it. We are starting to see a huge shift away from aspirational feel-good messaging that doesn’t actually put dollars in bank accounts. I’ve watched as large segments of women not be able to really put up with the demand of self-employment and return to working for an employer. The ones who have kept the proverbial doors to the business open are starting to wrap their heads around the fact that they don’t need another marketing tactic. They need someone to help them navigate the huge learning curve, blind spots that will help them seriously earn income to support their lifestyle, and build financial security for the future.

Over the last couple years, I’ve heard stories of women who’ve spent $30,000 on branding that didn’t necessarily move the needle on revenue. Tens of thousands of dollars spent on marketing tactics, hours upon hours, creating content, and feelings of failure as the output. The work output doesn’t match the financial input. If you total up all the money you spent on marketing, on courses with web celebs that don’t give you real accountability or support, or coaches who were just Marie Forleo copycats, here’s what you could have had. If you spent $40,000 on these things—by the way, I have clients who have spent way more than $40,000 but I’m being conservative.

Maybe you’ve spent less but I’m being conservative here—if you spent $40,000 on these things, then over 30 years, if you had instead invested that $40,000 into, say, the total stock market index, because let’s just be easy about it, over 30 years, you would have received $305,000 in passive income. $40,000 put in one time, if you had the $40,000 to put into these courses, things that didn’t work out, you let it sit for 30 years and it compounded over time, I used a 7% average, you would have had $305,000. That’s truly passive income.

You don’t have to market for it. You don’t have to create content for it. You don’t have to do anything for it. I’ve also been told countless times that a lot of you want to work with me but you just need to get your revenue up which I understand. I totally do. As a matter of fact, one woman in my email today actually phrased it really great. She’s like, “I think I have this the wrong way around.” She’s thinking, “I need to get my revenue up and then I’ll work with you.” But she knows that if she works with me, then her revenue would come up. But she’s having a hard time trusting herself around making these decisions. I didn’t talk to her directly. I’m assuming because she has made mistakes in the past because she has probably invested in things that haven’t panned out which has created feelings of distrust for her, which again, is really, really common. I hear this over and over and over again.

These are the reasons, this is what I’ve been hearing, this is the data I have gathered to make the changes that I’ve made in my business. It’s not without risk on my part. When I shut down that Mastermind, I shut down multiple six-figures of income. Do I think I’m going to make it back? I actually do. I think I’ll be fine. I’m not worried. It’s uncomfortable. I have moments of fear but on a whole, I’m not worried because doing this—it’s a very bold move—puts me right in my wheelhouse. It puts me aligned with my purpose, aligned with my values, aligned with my mission. It’s truly making me feel enthusiasm around my work. It’s making my work feel more fun. It’s making my work feel more joyful.

As much as I’ve been listening to what all of you have been saying, I’ve also been listening to what people are saying who I don’t want to work with. 

That’s really what seeded a lot of this is people showing up looking for me to help them with something that I don’t want to help them with. When you’re thinking through evolving your offers, don’t forget that sometimes, we have to go through the stuff that we don’t want to do, the stuff that feels not right to us, the stuff that we want to completely reject to find what we really want. 

A year ago, I had a call with a woman who started the conversation by saying she was an energy healer and wanted a seven-figure online business but didn’t want to do the work. She didn’t want to do the strategy. That moment really shifted a lot for me because that made no sense to me. This is not about the person. This is about the situation because she’s not the only one who believes this or thinks this. But for my 20 plus years in business, all the businesses that I’ve worked in, all the businesses that I’ve started, that’s not how this works at all. That moment shifted for me, “Am I going to contribute to the big lie or am I going to take a stand for the truth?” 

That was my line in the sand. That was my moment to say, “I need to open my mouth, sound the alarm, speak my truth, be honest, transparent, and start to really be clear about what I think people realistically can accomplish in the time frames that they’re looking to accomplish them in.”

Let me give you an example. I had a woman who joined The Bold Profit Academy and told me that she wanted to go from $150,000 to $500,000 in a year. I said, “Hey. Listen, I think you’re amazing and I think you’re doing amazing work in the world. I can’t wait for the day that you’re making $500,000 in your business. I don’t think you can do it in a year. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in you. Anything’s possible. But what I would rather see you do is grow 20%, 30%. After you’ve grown 20% or 30%, see where you are in the year then see what’s working, do more of that and see if that will lead you closer to $500,000.”

In our society today, in our culture of small business where we fetishize hyper-aggressive growth, toxic positivity, and misappropriate the law of attraction, that’s scary to be a dissenter like that. 

That’s scary for me to have a dissenting opinion even though I know it’s largely the truth for many of the people who are in my audience and listening to this podcast. I had to start to be willing to dissent to be a dissenting voice. When you choose to go against the grain, to go against the system, that will trigger all of your stuff because that’s what has happened to women over the years, how they’ve been persecuted, chased after, burned at the stake, all the things for being different, for speaking out, and for going against the grain. This hasn’t been done lightly. It is not done easily.

It still requires a lot of my energy and capacity to do these things. I have friends, colleagues, and peers who are very ensconced in the online business industry and at the same time, they’re in my DMs cheering me on. At the same time, they’re in my DMs telling me I’m right, telling me what they’re seeing, and really holding me up as I go there, and as I lean into having a different message.

I’m not teaching online business tactics I never have but I’ve been more and more clear about this that I teach business fundamentals. I say, “Hey, I’m a basic bitch. I teach the basic stuff. The stuff that works for all businesses.” It doesn’t matter what technology you use to make your business more leveraged or easier to run as long as you understand the foundational pieces that most people blow by to obtain quick results that are no more than a vanity metric. I have no interest in helping people have seven-figure online businesses.

I want to help experts with a proven track record for getting results leverage their years of experience so they can get paid professionals.

I’m here for people who have qualifications. I’m here for the women who want to do transformational work, are committed to getting their clients results, who want to be present for and witness their clients make progress. I am not here to build some Rube Goldberg internet contraption that pumps people through their programs like a sausage factory. That’s not what I’m good at. That’s not what I find fulfilling. That is not the work that I want to do in the world.

I want to help service providers find that sweet spot between personal freedom and financial independence. You don’t need a seven-figure business to build multiple seven-figures in personal wealth. I just showed you how you can turn $40,000 into $350,000 in 30 years. You can do it quicker if you put more money in, if you paid yourself more, if you understood how money worked, if you understood how time works. That’s really what I want to teach people. You need to make money, keep money, and make smart growth decisions for your business. The steps are simple. Your beliefs about money, what it means to have a beginner mindset, and your willingness to delay gratification in a world obsessed with overnight success, that’s not simple. That’s what we’re fighting against. It’s going to take more than me to take a stand for that.

What I did was decide on the job that needed to be done at each stage of somebody’s business and tailor my programs accordingly. The first stop for every woman is to pay herself, pay herself six-figures, and start building a financial future. This is what growth looks like. Call me silly but I don’t think learning how to do that should break the bank. It can’t be free. My time, my team’s time, quality programs do cost money to run. 

For two years, this has been nagging at me. While it’s not my place to make assumptions about what people can afford, what they value, and what they will pay, as a Profit First consultant, I do understand what investments are profitable and what would be an appropriate investment at various revenue levels. What I find myself doing the most on assessment calls is helping women regain their trust in their decisions and showing them where money could come from and mapping out how they would get the best return on their investment inside The Bold Profit Academy. Once we walk through the numbers in a very honest and transparent way, they can easily make the decision, and in that process, they start to restore a level of self-trust they haven’t had before.

Now, if someone wants additional support in the form of hot seats and implementation calls where we go deeper on the topics to accelerate results, that’s what we do in The Bold Profit Academy Plus. 

We have The Bold Profit Academy and The Bold Profit Academy Plus. Anyone who’s earning $500,000 or greater in revenue can work with me one-on-one on specific growth projects like upgrading and scaling their sales process and sales coaching. I focused more on sales consulting, as a fractional chief growth officer for businesses with revenue above a million dollars and executive coaching. I’ve brought executive coaching back into the mix because people are really looking for that right now in larger organizations.

Between this work with the companies that are way over a million dollars and my personal investments, I’m able to thrive financially and price my programs in a way that I feel democratizes business education for the population I’m most passionate about: small business owners, women small business owners. This allows women to keep more of their money while getting a quality program. 

This is also why you shouldn’t copy other people’s pricing. Do you see how specific my pricing is to my skills? If I didn’t tell you I’m doing executive coaching and consulting in larger companies, you would never know that and you would think all my money is coming from The Bold Profit Academy, and it’s not. Obviously, that would be my dream. It would be my dream to not have to go into these larger organizations, do this kind of work anymore, and to only work with women small business owners but that’s not where I am right now.

In order to democratize business education, in order to help women small business owners keep more of their money, I have to go and do these other things right now. That is fine. For sure this has felt strange to price myself a bit lower than what comparative programs have been selling for to see people selling programs like mine for a lot more money, to see people who have my skill set with $100,000 programs, and $100,000 coaching packages, but I could not sleep at night if that is what I was doing. I really want you to hear how individual and personalized these services and offers are to my value system, my principles, and my morals.

Now, I’ve had people that have told me that they won’t join my program because it’s not expensive enough to make them show up for it. 

But that’s precisely what I feel is wrong with the culture of online business education. We shouldn’t have to charge horribly high prices to get people to show up. Instead of using price point to get people to show up, we are truly engaging people in that program. We’re providing real coaching opportunities for them and implementation opportunities. Every other week, we do a coworking call where that’s an hour on your calendar mapped out where you’re coming with accountability to do your highest priority work on your business.

We’re orchestrating this in a slightly different way. Not only have we structured the price point to be profitable but we’ve structured the strategies we teach to be the most profitable and effective growth strategies a business can use, especially with how volatile big tech is right now. You should be able to grow your business agnostic of technology, not mattering what technology you use because you have foundations, processes, and systems then the technology gets wrapped around that. 

As long as you understand what a sales process is and you’re clear on how you generate leads, you can do that with or without technology. You can do that as technology changes because you have a process and you have a system. We teach mastery at spotting opportunities that are right in front of you. You’re all missing stuff that is right under your nose, you are blind to it. You’re too in the weeds of your business. You are not confident enough. You are not seeing your own value clearly enough and that is what we help you do; mastery at spotting opportunities that are right in front of you, looking for overlooked buying signals, and how to categorize your leads so you know who are the best people to start conversations with.

Most of you are spending a lot of time with people who are never going to buy from you. 

Instead of rewarding the people who aren’t going to buy from you, it’s fine if people aren’t going to buy from you but they’re nice and they’re kind, that doesn’t make them bad people. But if you have x amount of time in your day to grow your business and to make sure you’re getting paid, we want to be rewarding the people who are engaging. We want to reward the people who are actually interested. We’re going to go into our offer creation cycle in Q2 which is focused on increasing your profitability, structuring your high touch service so you’re not over delivering but feel really good and in integrity with what you’re delivering. We’re going to either raise your rates or we’re going to pull out your time to make the most effective use of your time and the most profitable dollars that you make.

We teach you how to create an aligned sales process that feels fun and enjoyable—yes, it’s possible. I promise—we teach you what the heck to do with your money no matter how much you’re making, no matter what the economy, and no matter what your beliefs are. We’re going to teach you what to do with your money. By stepping away from certain types of work, it has freed up time and space with my team so that we can regularly review the program and make continuous improvements that enhance the user experience.

Like our new onboarding process where we aim to help you recoup your investment in the program in the first 30 days. No promises, but I am trying like heck to work with people to get that done. We do that by showing you how to plug your money leaks and where to repurpose the money, finding those invisible leads and a simple framework for increasing your price even if it scares you. We start you with our very own tracking system. You make sure you either start paying yourself or you give yourself an increase.

We have a spreadsheet that helps you track your CEO pay. It shows you everything that goes into your CEO pay and starts to give you a place where you can actually see that increasing over time. We’re rolling out new components to maximize your results all the time. I have a fun idea for a new onboarding workshop that will show you exactly how to create that sweet spot between personal freedom and financial independence. Because I truly believe that smart women deserve quality learning experiences that meet the caliber of their intellect. 

Now, I want to pull this all together for you in case your offers feel out of alignment for you or in case you’re listening to this and you’re like,”Okay, Tara. That’s great for you but what about me?” I don’t actually think you’re saying that. I think you’re cheering me on to be honest because you’re all ready to see a culture shift in the space that small businesses are operating in. It’s unhealthy and in order for us to really create thriving small businesses, each of us, we need to do something about this culture of hyper-aggressive growth. I’m choosing to believe you’re cheering me on.

I’m also choosing to believe you’re all going to share this episode with the people in your life who need to hear it. 

Here are some places to check in when your offer feels out of alignment.

What purpose does your business serve in your life? 

Too many people are telling me their financial goal is x amount of revenue. That, unfortunately, is not a financial goal. If you’re not sure what your financial goals are, then you’re going to want to join us in The Bold Profit Academy

What are your values?

I’m going to tell you, I surveyed the women in The Bold Profit Academy to figure out what we want to improve about the curriculum that’s coming up around Offer Creation and I’m so honored and proud to have these women in that program. They are all women who want to serve their clients. They want to be with their clients. They like hands-on work. Of course, we’re looking for ways to make things a little easier, a little more efficient which is absolutely possible. But these are women who are navigating, doing depth work, being there for the transformation, wanting to do transformational work even if their profession is transactional.

Even the accountants in the group, they’re there for transformation and they’re operating in a world that is telling them that that’s wrong and bad. They’re operating in a world that’s telling them one-on-one work is a burnout, that working with people one-on-one should be automated, that we’re seeing people join programs where they want to be mentored by the person and they’re being passed off onto coaches. This is really courageous for them to take a stand for doing their most meaningful work in this way. That’s my opinion.

Are they reflected in your work?

Don’t let people tell you that you’re wrong or bad or it’s not right to do it that way or it’s not scalable. There’s a lot of stuff that I do in my business that is not scalable.

Let me tell you something, I make good money so you can do things that aren’t scalable. You can do things that are high-touch and still be profitable. As a matter of fact, I think you’d be more profitable if you did it that way. That’s just an opinion of mine. I feel like I can prove that out maybe one night with some Scotch around a fireplace. 

What are you willing to do differently to get a different result? 

If you’re not going to do something differently, you’re going to keep getting that same result. What are you willing to do differently to get a different result? Now, this is a great time to join The Bold Profit Academy

I’m offering a free CEO Pay Road Map to help you see how you can make wise money decisions that allow you to invest in yourself and get paid.

It’s time for you to give yourself a raise. 

Even if you’re not quite at the revenue place where you feel you can give a raise, I think you can and I think I can find you a 10% increase within the next 90 days. If you’re a female expert running a service-based business, you might be just a few simple steps away from reaping bigger monetary rewards. 

What we’re going to do in this CEO Pay Road Map

We’re going to take a look at your revenue to see what businesses of your size typically allocate to CEO pay. We’re going to uncover the number one money bottleneck that’s restricting your cash flow from flowing into your personal bank account. Not just your business bank account but your personal bank account. We’re going to identify what’s possible in the next 90 days and beyond with a few tweaks and changes to your strategy.

Then we’re going to develop a simple way for you to increase your wages in the next 90 days because listen ladies, nobody is going to close the pay gap for us. We need to take control of our own financial goals and it starts with paying yourself a salary that is commensurate with your experience. 

If you’re someone who is like, “I’m terrified of money. Money has a debilitating hold on me. I don’t trust myself around money. I’m a penny pincher,” whatever your stuff is, you’re the person who I actually want on that call. I have had the most success with women like you. Make sure you book that call with me. Let’s chat it through. Let’s get you feeling responsible and confident with the money decisions you’re making.