How Referrals and Relationships Create a More Profitable Business

How Referrals and Relationships Create a More Profitable Business

Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. I’m your host, Tara Newman. Once again, we have a guest on the show. I’m super excited. We have Meg Casebolt. Meg is my SEO person. Like we’re doing, I’ve explained to everybody, Meg, that my health is up and down and my energy is feeling particularly sensitive right now. The best way that I can be producing these podcast episodes is just to invite somebody who’s going to interview me and we’re going to have a chat about money.

Meg Casebolt: I love this idea. I also have a podcast and there are times where I’m very impressed at how often you do solo episodes because I’m an extrovert, and so I thrive on other people’s energy and their prompts. When I have to sit down and crank on a solo episode, it’s very draining to me, so I think this workaround that you’d come up with is awesome.

Tara Newman: I didn’t realize you were an extrovert.

Meg Casebolt: Oh, you’re right.

Tara Newman: No, I really didn’t realize. You’re about to hear our conversation between two Ravenclaws but I did not realize that Meg was an extrovert. I’m an introvert and becoming more reclusive by the day.

Meg Casebolt: I think there aren’t too many extroverted Ravenclaws. Maybe that’s why you thought because I’m such a nerd, because I go so deep on things, there’s an expectation of extrovert, but no, I’m very strong Enneagram 7. I am enthusiast all the way, so when I have to record solo episodes, it’s rough on me.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I just get ideas and I’m like, “I should just talk about this and then this is what I’m going to talk about.” But I tend to script them or outline them, whatever, and then I’m just like, “You know what, we’re just going to go with the flow and we’re going to have a conversation because that feels way easier.”

Meg Casebolt: Absolutely. Tara, I am so thrilled that you invited me on to talk about this because you and I are having all these private conversations about both marketing your business and lead generation in your business, but also one of the things that I love about the approach that you have to business is that it’s not just grow your business at all costs and get in front of the largest group of people humanly possible, so you and I have that in common where we’re like, “Get in front of the right people for the right reasons, and forget about the people who aren’t your people.”

I’d love it if we can start with getting them an explanation of The Bold Profit Academy as you would explain it and how that fits into the people that you’re trying to reach and what they’re trying to do with their lead generation strategies.

Tara Newman: The Bold Profit Academy, one, is something that I feel really passionate about. It’s my desire to democratize business education for women, especially in the online space because I don’t think there’s a lot of quality online business education for women. I think that considering where most women are in the revenue sides of their business, a lot of it is very pricey, potentially even overpriced.

The first layer of this is democratize business education for women, give them a quality learning experience with the mentor, the person that they’ve signed up to learn from because we’re seeing that, too, you think you’re going to come in and learn from the person and then you wind up not really learning from the person. Two, I have a real passion that learning is the way. There’s no hack. There’s not a cheat. There’s not a tactic. There’s not a secret. You have to learn some of this stuff for yourself if you want to be self-employed.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I think that’s something that a lot of the marketers out there are trying not to talk about is that there’s a certain level of critical thinking that needs to go into this that you cannot outsource. If you’re leading a business, whether you’re the solo person in that business or you have a team behind you, you have to come up with the frameworks. You can’t just slot your business into something that someone else created and expect it to work for you.

I think that’s true, whether it’s your business model or the way that you market, a lot of that has to be figured out through trial and error, and I don’t want to say self actualization as if we’re like the top of the pyramid, but that idea of knowing what works for you and what your goals are, because so many marketers out there are like, “Just grow and grow and grow” without saying, “What do you want your business to do for you? How much money do you need to make?”

Tara Newman: Yeah. We’re creating a lot of chaos out there. There’s this democratization of business education, there’s giving women a better place to learn and to have fun and to come together in community and learn together. There’s a lot around learning for women that has trauma associated with it, so how can we provide a learning environment that takes into consideration inclusivity and all the ways women, and people in general, have been traumatized by the educational system, which is why I think sometimes some of these courses that people buy are attractive to them because they can learn in hiding almost. But I don’t think I know there’s data that I know that courses are not effective ways of transferring the knowledge you actually need in your business all the time.

On top of that, it’s okay, let’s get women, let’s get female experts who have decided to earn income independent of an employer, whether you consider yourself self-employed, a solo-preneur, a business owner, an entrepreneur that you have chosen to earn income independent of an employer, let’s get you paid like the expert you are. If you love corporate and you have a six-figure salary, let’s give you a six-figure salary. Let’s get you better than what you are making at corporate. 

That is what The Bold Profit Academy is about, it’s to get paid like the expert that you are. In order to do that, you need to understand how to generate leads, you need to understand how to convert these leads into sales. You need to understand how to communicate the value of what you do and position yourself in the market and you need to know what the hell to do with the money you’re making. After you get it, you need to know what the hell to do with the money that you’re making so that you can pay yourself, build wealth, make smart money decisions about your business, pay off whatever potential debt you might have or back taxes (whoops, that happens). You can really get your money working for you.

All the strategies that we teach in The Bold Profit Academy are first of all, they’re frameworks so you’re going to take them and make them work for you, your personality, the way you like to do business, things that you’re really great at. But they’re going to be the most profitable strategies for your business, for any business because that’s often what’s not being taught in the online business space is profitable strategies. They’re teaching very expensive tactics in my opinion.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. Especially if you’re being taught that you need a funnel that costs ad revenue in order to sell a $27 product, then you have to do everything at scale. It’s a much more expensive marketing tactic than go, ask your next-door neighbor if they need help. Obviously, for all of us, it’s not in that local space but having those warmer leads of people who already trust us or could even be connected to us through our referral streams, you don’t have to go out and spend big bucks and apply mass marketing strategies to a small business. That’s not the way that small businesses have historically run.

Tara Newman: I know but this is like a big myth that’s now happening in the online business space is that women come in and they think that referrals or word of mouth is like a dirty word and that it only counts if it’s a lead that’s been generated through a hashtag, SEO, an ad, or something like that, and they don’t think to go where they have already connections and where there are already warm and even hot leads.

It’s also weird because in the online business space, there’s a lot of churn, there’s a lot of customer churn that you don’t see in traditional businesses. Traditional businesses have really grown and flourished through long-term business relationships. Again, we’re not seeing that, nor is that held as important or whatever. For some reason, it’s always about the new, the new, the new client. That’s really expensive.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. You know, I deal in cold traffic, I’m an SEO expert. That’s what I do is to try to get new people to discover you and warm up to.

Tara Newman: It’s important.

Meg Casebolt: But even in my own business, I think between 75% and 80% of my leads come from either business colleagues that are in my communities or design partners; people who are designers who are looking to do SEO on their websites, and therefore we outsource to them. Even those of us that are teaching how to get cold leads, most of my leads are still coming from warm referral sources, and that’s not a weakness, that’s a strength.

When I do get somebody coming in from SEO, I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool. Something’s working,” but that’s not the primary driver of business. Unless your business model is such that you are selling sponsorships or books or you need to really have a ton of traffic, it’s certainly not the most profitable way to get new leads for your business from cold because it takes so much longer in that sales cycle to turn somebody who has no idea who you are into a client versus if somebody says, “Hey, have you heard of Tara?” there’s that implicit sense of trust from somebody that you know.

Tara Newman: There are two statistics that really freak me out when we talk about this stuff. One is I’ve heard this range, between 50% to 75% is what I’ve heard this range, 50% to 75% of your leads are not a fit for your offer. That freaks me out. But then the other one that freaks me out—and I  always share this because I just want to temper, it’s like, “Can we just have a moment of reality?” Because I feel like we live in, if you’re in the online space at all, it’s like this real non-reality.

Then the other statistic is only 15% of your leads are ready to buy from you right now. Most of them need to be warmed up over a period of time, which is often why if you’re running a launch model, it’s so tricky because it’s like a churn and burn. You bring leads on, you’re trying to sell them or like in evergreen funnel, you’re trying to get them to buy in the first week or in this launch window and then they wind up burning the list out because they’re sending so many emails and people are like done, and then you gotta rebuild, or the business owner’s burned out and then they don’t send emails for a while and they’re not keeping those leads warm so when they go to launch again, it’s like, “Oh, we’re starting all over again.”

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, and you’re paying for those leads in a lot of cases, and then not actually generating them into clients. You’re not having that sales conversion. I don’t want to say it’s not the best way, but it certainly is not the most sustainable way to generate leads.

Tara Newman: In The Bold Profit Academy, I have a checklist of how to know when you’re ready for paid traffic. It’s not that I don’t think paid traffic is good, I just think you have to do some things first to be ready for it. I think you get to a certain point in your business, you get to a certain revenue level in your business, you get to a certain skillset where you know and you have confidence around converting the warm leads that you already have and then you can go and use paid traffic. But that’s not always the way it’s taught. I think women sometimes see it as a quick fix.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I think women, especially women business owners or leaders in some way, we’ve been socialized to not toot our own horns, to not ask for help, to always be giving. The Nagoski sisters wrote that book Burnout where they talk about human-giver syndrome and how we’re always giving-giving-giving and then the takers are coming in and just expecting us to be giving for free all the time without ever asking for reciprocity.

Tara Newman: We have a real reciprocity problem. Big time.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. It’s not even like reciprocity is the goal, it’s that they’re going to be people in your audience that are kind of leeches and they’re just going to hang out and watch your free stuff forever. As somebody who has a podcast and a YouTube channel and an email list, I know that there are tons of people who are following me who are never going to give me a cent.

I try not to spend time getting those people. I want to have the people who are interested, self-identify, come out of the wood work because they’re going to be those invisible people hanging out that are ready to buy, or they’re not ready now but they will be in six months, and so the content is a way to continue to nurture them so that when they are ready, they’re coming to me, not to my competitor. But recognizing that cold traffic doesn’t convert quickly.

Tara Newman: No, it doesn’t. It takes a lot of work.

Meg Casebolt: But may not convert at all. That’s to be expected.

Tara Newman: Yeah, I mean statistically, it may not convert at all. But I do think that we have a reciprocity problem big time and I think it’s about fair energetic exchange. Even if you’re somebody who listens to this podcast or whatever, listens to Meg’s podcast, leave a review. If you’ve been listening and you have taken something away or you have taken action even once, if you have the time to listen to the podcast, have the time to take a few minutes and leave a review, that’s it. That’s fair energetic exchange for me.

If you see a content creator and you’re using affiliate links, buy from their affiliate link. It’s not going to cost you anything and it may be drops a couple of pennies, dollars, whatever, in this content creator’s bank account. We have to support women making money, we have to support women and pay them and stop demanding free unpaid labor, especially from women. A lot of the marketers who teach this give-give-give, they’re men. It’s different for men. I cannot tell you this enough, it is different.

Women really have to be supporting women whether it’s through sharing content, whether it’s through leaving a review, whether it’s giving a referral, whether it’s buying from an affiliate link, or like I see people that use the buy me a coffee link, buy them a cup of coffee if you’ve gotten value out of what they have done because I am telling you, women are exhausted.

Meg Casebolt: Aside from buying from an affiliate link, but nothing else that you just said costs money. There are plenty of free ways to support other business owners that you value what they’re producing.

Tara Newman: And let’s face it, if you’re a business owner and you’re not supporting other business owners, think about that energy. Nobody is going to support you. I love when people go, “I’m going to start a podcast,” and I’m like, “Do you listen to podcasts?” They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “Why are you going to start a podcast if you won’t even listen to somebody else’s podcast?” “I’m not getting any reviews.” “When was the last time you went and left somebody a review?”

Meg Casebolt: When was the last time you asked?

Tara Newman: Or asked but even did it yourself. I want engagement and so I give engagement.

Meg Casebolt: And just expecting people to react to you without having that same behavior. Sometimes I’ll throw a link to something that I curated in my email along with what I’m creating. It doesn’t cost me anything to say, “Hey, I listened to this podcast Tara put out and it was really awesome. You should check it out too.” In the same way that referral leads are going to be received in a warmer way because they’re coming from somebody that you trust, you can curate other people’s content as a way of proving your own thought leadership. Especially Ravenclaws where we’re like, “Look at these nerdy things that we found.” But I actually think of a raven coming and bringing things into a nest and being like, “Look at the shiny things.”

People appreciate that. They want to hear what it is that you’re listening to and what you’re reading. People love when I give book reviews because they’re like, “Great. Now I don’t have to read that one because Meg did it for me.” But there’s something about sharing what you value, whether that’s a lead referral or the things that you’re listening to, what you’re buying, the things that you’re loving, people love that. So go write a review, share it with your audience. There are tons of ways that you can continue to raise your own profile and leverage what you love in order to get people to get to know you even better and trust you as a human. Because so much of the crap that we’re creating is impersonal.

That’s also a way that you can get yourself in front of other people that can support your network. If I’m sharing your podcast and people are saying all of this is relationship building. If you’re running a business and you’re not thinking about who you’re establishing relationships with, then you’re missing a key component of how you can grow in a sustainable way.

Tara Newman: I think that we’ve just given people the wrong idea, especially us introverts, we tell them, the internet tells them you just need a keyboard and you can just fire away links and you can fire away content. You don’t have to talk to anybody. You don’t have to do any discovery calls, sales calls, build relationships, or anything like that. You can sit on a comment thread on LinkedIn instead of getting on a call and meeting somebody and having a conversation and understanding what they’re going through.

Whether it leads to a sale or not, I’m always willing to get on a call with people and build that relationship because you never know what might come out of it. But we’ve really told people that they don’t have to do that. Just send them a link, they’re going to click on the link to buy. That’s not really how it works.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I have a lot of content on my website, because that’s what I do, and I get pitched by people all the time, cold pitches and emails, “Hey, we have the software, don’t you want to add it to your roundup?” Five, six, seven times, these complete strangers are asking me for something. If any of them were to reach out and say, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee? I’ll pay you for your time.” Or if they were to just go book a consulting call with me and say, “We’ve got this great piece of software, can we use your platform? What partnership agreement can we come up with here?” I would be there for it.

But this feeling of people just saying, “I deserve your attention. I am entitled to your audience. I am entitled to your work without putting in any effort to get to know you,” it’s symbiosis—no, that’s not the right word—it’s parasitic.

Tara Newman: It’s parasitic. It’s costly. I know there’s even a lot of women who would receive an email like that and be like, “Oh, my god, somebody saw my work and they liked it. They want something for me,” and so they’ll give to that person even though it’s not really a quality connection because I think women, especially online, feel like they’re screaming into a void.

Meg Casebolt: There’s something really powerful about wanting to be seen, acknowledged, and recognized whatever that acknowledgment is. We’re lowering our standards for what we expect because it’s just so exciting to be found and to be seen. I think that’s part of this social media, the ways that we’re using social media of just like, “Well, somebody liked what I said.”

Tara Newman: Yeah. There’s a lot of sex appeal to it.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. There’s a lot of instant gratification in it where I can go write a really incredible blog post that can bring me traffic for years, but it’s going to take years to get there. Versus I can go to Instagram and I can post a selfie of whatever I’m doing right now and I’m going to get likes from it in the next 10 seconds. There’s something exciting about that, being seen in the moment, especially in this isolated pandemic-y world, knowing that people are seeing you for whatever you’re doing even if it’s not valuable.

Tara Newman: Yeah. This is where I’m like, “Okay, likes and follows and comments don’t put food on the table. It costs a lot of time and energy to put the output like that.”

Meg Casebolt: That’s something that we’re not talking about is the emotional labor of social media, the time and the resources that we’re spending on that engagement with other people in hopes that they’ll engage back with us. Tara, you do a really good job of asking questions and polls and using it to develop conversations with the people in your audience. But if you’re just coming in and broadcasting and just using it as a megaphone versus a conversation and dialogue tool, then it’s not going to be worth the time and attention that you’re putting into those, it’s just you’re going to be yelling into a void, which is how we’re all feeling anyway.

Tara Newman: I think that’s where the wrong strategy costs you money and doesn’t make you money and why it’s not profitable. I think we talked about this on the podcast that I did on your podcast where experts who run service-based businesses are using influencer marketing tactics, and it’s the wrong strategy. They’ve paid to learn the wrong strategy and now they’re using it and it’s not working, so it’s not getting them paid. That’s when you show up on your Instagram with “Look at my life” or “Here’s what I want to talk about today” without having a clear purpose and without really positioning yourself as the credible expert who then has something of value to offer that somebody should get into a fair energetic exchange with you for.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I think so many of us are in the space of because we have a personal brand and our face is the face on our websites and on our social media, we feel like we have to share our personal lives as opposed to being a thought leader in the space and letting your face be seen as “this is the face of an expert.” We’ve been told that we should be authentic, vulnerable, and give behind the scenes because people want that.

People want that from the Kardashians. They don’t care what you’re eating for your breakfast. They only want it from the Kardashians. The Kardashians are shilling whatever the protein shake that they’re getting paid to show is their detox tea or whatever. You don’t need to give in to those tactics to prove that you’re a human. Instead, you can talk about what it is that you do that you’re really good at and let people find you for that instead.

Tara Newman: You know what’s interesting because people on my Instagram, I have this thing like if I put a post out and you don’t engage with me, I’m going to be gone for a few days. It’s a two-way thing. I’m not here to entertain you. I cannot be an entertainer. I don’t know what freaking wizarding house that is but it’s not Ravenclaw.

Meg Casebolt: Oh that’s the Hufflepuffs for sure. Those Hufflepuffs are out there dancing court jesters. Ravenclaws are like, “Where’s the research? Where’s my citation?”

Tara Newman: Yeah, so it’s not me. I put up the engagement post for a reason because that’s what I consider a fair energetic exchange and I will continue to give if you give to me. If you’re not going to give to me, I’m just going to go do something else because I’ve got more important things to do with my time. I’m already nurturing people in enough ways, I’ve got a podcast, I send regular emails, and there are plenty of ways.

Anyway, I ask people, “Why are you here on my Instagram” and stuff that or “What content do you want to see?” and they did say behind the scenes. They wanted to see how I work with my clients and they want to know how I think. The behind the scenes for them means my thought process for my strategies and things like that. Except that’s what people pay me for. To know how I think, to shift your perspective, yeah, if I have time, I’ll show up on Instagram and I’ll talk about some stuff.

A lot of times, it’s for me. I’m just testing messaging or content or something, or just wanting to get some research in. But for me to engage with you in a way that lets you into how I think and to shift your perspective so that you can get an insight, so that you can then take action in your business is what people pay me for in The Bold Profit Academy. Wanting to know how I work with people, you got to work with me. I don’t know how to demonstrate that in any other way other than how I’m already doing it.

I think we have to be really careful around where we’re placing our effort and attention because we’re in this whole “don’t charge for your time” like dollars per hour is a terrible thing, but count up how many hours you spend on social media, count up how many hours you spend creating content, and then balance that with what you’re making. Would you be better off working at Starbucks? I don’t know. You have to really consider the time that you’re giving out versus what you’re taking in because just because you’re giving doesn’t mean you’re going to receive. Working harder doesn’t guarantee you more money. As a matter of fact, the less hard I work, the more money I make.

Meg Casebolt: That blows people’s minds when they actually go and take a look at that. But it’s also what is the strategy that is going to get you the most return. We’re not tracking that in our own businesses. We’re going, “Well, everyone else is doing this so I should be doing it too,” as opposed to going back and looking at “Where did my last five clients come from? How can I replicate that success? What is the benefit that I’m getting from the different tactics that I’m using?” Some of that is trackable.

That’s where you and I come together, is where are my clients coming from and how do I track how they’re moving through my website and where am I acquiring new search traffic, and that kind of stuff that I geek out on. But a lot of it is invisible. Even when you have all those tracking mechanisms in place, there are going to be people who are listening to your podcast for a year, two years, or I bet there are a lot of people who are finding you now and then go back and listen to two years of your content and feel like they get to know you by that point.

You have no idea when they’re discovering you, how long it’s taking for them to go back into those back catalogs, which of those specific episodes they’re downloading because they see the title and they’re like, “That sounds something I would benefit from.” Recognizing that what you’re putting out into the world, if you’re setting it up in a certain way, can continue to be beneficial to you long term to get people into your world without you needing to be constantly hopping on one-to-one sales calls, so that when they’re ready, they can find you. But you don’t know who’s listening to your podcast.

Tara Newman: What’s happening is that people come to me a lot and they’re like, “Oh, I’ve tried so many different strategies I don’t know which one worked.” That’s a lot of what we do in The Bold Profit Academy is like, “Let’s help you figure out what’s working, dial it in, create a process and a system so that you can do it over and over and over again.” That’s part of the reason why the program is 12 months, it’s a year, because we’re doing that work and it takes some time to find trends and to find data.

I don’t want to give anybody the illusion that we can build a business in six weeks. I don’t want anybody to come in and feel like they have to take action, all the action, 10xing all the action. I like people to come in and feel like they have the space to breathe. People have said it’s like going for business therapy when they join. It’s not actually uncommon that women join and then crash for 30, 60 days because they feel supported, but they’re so exhausted. The curriculum there is intentionally designed for that. I’ve got a chronic illness. I run my business the way I do for a reason. It’s the most highly profitable strategies that are easiest on my energy. That’s what’s in there. It’s like the burned out business women’s haven.

We want to be training them to stop looking at the shiny objects and stop getting sucked into the noise. People tell me all the time when they start working with me, the noise stops because they found what they’re looking for. They can tune it all out. They don’t have to keep dipping back into the noise. Let’s tune out the noise so we can find the things that work, but so that we’re not distracted and we can actually look for the low hanging fruit because there is so much low hanging fruit for everyone.

You’re missing opportunities. You don’t know how to spot them. You are never taught or trained. You’re too busy being distracted by something that’s happening that’s shiny to actually go and then get good and take some time, get really good at creating those opportunities, creating those leads. Things like Meg was just saying, people come and listen to this podcast and I can see that my downloads are increasing but I can’t see who they are except I found a way to do that.

I found a way to take my content that people really love and that they find bingeable and to create opportunities on the back end for people to binge special content and for me to be able to see it. When they do that, I can reach out and be like, “Hey, we’re going to start doing this. We’re actually going to start offering little rewards for people.” Because, to your point, I want to pay attention to the people who are taking action, but I don’t know who they are unless I can see them in some way.

We’re tracking who’s taking action and we’ll reach out and be like, “Hey, listen, we want to give you a fist bump. We saw that you took massive action and here’s a reward for you for doing that.” There are ways that you can do it but you have to be really good at and be willing to look for things not in places that people are traditionally telling you to look for them because they might be wrong.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I love that you have those kinds of back end things that are trackable and you have automations probably set up to just flag you to reach out. It doesn’t have to be an automated outreach thing, it can be, “Hey, we noticed that this person finished this set of trainings.” You and I both use the same software called MemberVault that does a lot of this for us, and then can just email us and be like, “Hey, Tara, this person just finished this free training. Go, reach out to them.” It can give you that information so you don’t have to go in and look at the analytics all the time but you can still do that personalized outreach without needing to go track down those hot or warm people in your audience.

Tara Newman: Correct. Listen, doing the work isn’t as sexy as having things just magically appear overnight. Ads are great, they could be a quick fix, things can move quickly, but you have to know what to do with the leads once you get them in order for that to happen. But there’s really no quick fix. My husband said something to me that was super profound. He runs his own business. He runs a manufacturing business, very different than us with an easy peasy service business.

It’s funny because he’s very rarely online. He’s got a brick and mortar. He’s got a big team. He doesn’t have a lot of time for being online but a few years ago I remember him flowing down the rabbit hole of the bro marketing and the 10x everything Grant Cardones of the world, and him being really enamored by this concept of 10xing all the things, it didn’t go well. He said to me the other day, “I don’t have to make all the money. I just have to make enough money consistently over a long period of time. I don’t have to 10x anything.”

That’s really what’s true is people don’t realize the relationship between time and money, and how, if you’re going to be constantly banging up against time—when is this going to happen, how long is it going to take, I need it to happen overnight, this is going to be the quick fix—you’re never ever-ever-ever going to get to where you want to go. I can guarantee it.

Meg Casebolt: You’re going to be in that same boat of “I’m just trying all the things, and when it doesn’t work, I’m going to change it. I’m going to change it. I’m going to change it.” You’re never going to give things the time to breathe to see if they’re actually making a difference.

Tara Newman: It’s slow, steady compounding action over time. That’s the first thing that people say when they come to work with me. They’re like, “I have a really hard time taking consistent action.” It’s training people, giving them the habits. That’s how money and wealth is created. Whether it’s in your business or you work for somebody else, wealth gets created slowly over long periods of time taking consistent action.

Meg Casebolt: I think there’s a lot of us who see this online marketing as “I’m going to go buy a lottery ticket and someday this lottery ticket is going to give me a lump sum of $10 million.”

Tara Newman: Sometimes that works. We’ve seen it.

Meg Casebolt: That’s for some people.

Tara Newman: However, it is not sustainable. Usually, they hit it once. They have no idea what they’ve done, what to do with the money they’ve made, so they go and blow it. Or they’ve made all this money but there was no profit there and they’ve made mistakes. I’ve seen a number of them write blog posts about it, which I appreciate their transparency and their vulnerability. I hope that they’re learning as they’re going, but it’s also not sustainable.

Oh my god, somebody told me the best story. I love these money stories. When I say best story, I mean you’re going to be like, “What?”

Meg Casebolt: The worst, like “This is going to hurt your brain.” Unbuckle then, it’s good.

Tara Newman: This is exactly what people do in the online business space. Somebody told me that they have a client, they know someone—and I’m just going to try and change some information here so it’s not—that they make a million dollars a year, about $100,000 a month selling Beanie Babies—they’re not selling Beanie Babies, they’re actually selling something else but it’s just like Beanie Babies—on auction sites and things like that.

But every month, they put the exact same amount into buying inventory. Let’s take the LuLaRoe example. LuLaRich, if you sell $50,000 worth of LuLaRoe leggings but every month you’re putting $50,000 into inventory, you have zero. Then what happens is, at some point, people are going to not want the stanky cruddy LuLaRoe leggings and you’re going to have $50,000 worth of inventory sitting in your attic and you will be -$50,000 instead of positive however much money you thought you’d be making.

Same thing in the online business space. If you’re going to make $100,000 a month or whatever, that’s like $10,000 a month and it’s taking you almost $10,000 in Facebook ads, you have a big goose egg. Maybe it doesn’t take $10,000 in Facebook ads to make $10,000 a month but it’s pretty close in some cases.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, and I think as service businesses, we think, “I would never do that because we don’t have inventory. We do have overhead but we don’t have rent.” A lot of us have more lean businesses but we don’t treat them that way. We’re like, “I’m going to go invest in this fancy software or I’m going to hire a team of virtual assistants.”

It doesn’t just have to be Facebook ads that can eat into those profits. Especially, if you’re not pricing your products appropriately, then you can be making tons of sales, which feels a really good number, “Oh, I made a thousand sales this month of nine dollar products,” even though you’re doing that, then your customer service fees are going to go up, your processing fees. Everything that you’re doing, there’s an expense to it.

Tara Newman: I know a woman who is a service professional. She’s an attorney and she runs a real simple business. It’s just her and she charges. She bills her hours. She is somebody who is a lovely, lovely human being but is very introverted and socially awkward and has some social anxiety. I don’t know whatever she charges, let’s say $200 an hour, it’s drastically lower than any other attorney would charge, and she just does really general business type stuff. But let’s say she works 15 hours a week and she works 48 hours a month, and for the year she works 720 hours. That’s a pretty part-time work schedule.

All of her business is word of mouth referral, repeat. She charges $200 an hour. That would give her $144,000 in revenue for the year. But she’s got no overhead, she’s got no social media nonsense, she’s got no ads. That is profit. I would take maybe $18,000 out of that for taxes, it leaves her with $126,000.

Meg Casebolt: For working 700 hours a year.

Tara Newman: What’s wrong with that? Maybe she has some systems and stuff like that, but it’s not going to be anything at all. She’s definitely taking home six figures. She’s definitely able to contribute to retirement and things like that, and she has none of the stress. Why is it wrong to charge dollars per hour?

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, and if you know what you’re going to do with the money, she might live in New York City, and $100,000 a year isn’t enough to live on, or she might live in Kansas and you can have a really nice quality of life if you live in a low cost of living area. Like you said, if you know that you’re going to be taking some of that money and contributing to a 401(k), your Roth IRA, making the good financial long-term decisions, then you also have a plan for how you’re going to retire because that’s something that nobody is talking about in this space, it’s just year over year growth and reinvest in the business and nobody’s going, “Hey, have you set up your self-employed IRA yet? So that way you don’t have to do this until you’re 100 years old?”

It drives me crazy that nobody’s talking to small, especially women entrepreneurs. We have really limited financial literacy information because it was always a lot of us were like, “Dad took care of it. My husband takes care of it.” Then when we were in the corporate world, it was “The 401(k) is there for me and I just need to hopefully max it out,” and that’s all we were told. There’s not a lot of knowledge of after you get the money, how do you make it work for you long term?

Tara Newman: It’s really funny because I gotta tell you, after having these money conversations pretty in depth for a while now, there’s this one real challenge that I have. When I did the workshop that I did the other week, at the end I said to the women, “You got to tell me, did I meet you where you’re at? Did I present this too far ahead? Was this too elementary?” Because I’ve got really smart women, PhDs, master’s degrees, decades of expertise under their belt, rock stars in their traditional jobs, really accomplished women, and the money conversations are all over the map.

Even the business acumen is all over the map. I have people who say to me, “When you said this, I wasn’t sure what you were talking about.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, but I frequently give terms and definitions. “I’m selling you on terms and definitions, not the world’s most sexy thing, but you actually need them. This is what traffic is, and this is what a lead is, and this is when a lead becomes a prospect. This is when a prospect becomes a buyer.” Because we’re getting in trouble for not having this information.

When it comes to money conversations, I’m always trying to figure out what is the appropriate on-ramp for women. Of course, there’s maybe multiple on-ramps but what’s the on-ramp? I get a lot of women who just come to me and they’re just frozen and I’m in debilitating fear. Like, “Oops, I’m making money. By the way, it’s always an accident.” I said to them in The Bold Profit Academy last week, “My client’s making $15 million. It’s an accident. My client’s making tons of money, there’s not a plan. It just happens.”

But when you are a micro business, you need to know, you have to actually have that more dialed in than if you were a larger business that’s maybe been around for 30 years, and legacy clients are just calling you out of the blue all the time and you don’t have to maybe do as much proactive selling, it’s very, very different. They’re like, “Oops, I’m making money but I’m debilitated in fear and I don’t know what to do with it. I feel irresponsible. It’s confusing,” and it is.

Meg Casebolt: Even if you go Google, I remember googling this in my business when I hit that tipping point of making consistent income month over month, I remember googling how do I know how much I’m supposed to pay myself. Is this a percentage? Do I need to set a salary for myself? How do I decide what that salary is? There’s nobody out there. Eventually, I had a CPA that was like, “Here’s how much you need to pay yourself,” and we set up the S corp, we did all the things.

But when you’re in corporate, somebody says, “Here’s how much your value is. Here’s how much we’re going to give you month over month,” but as somebody who’s self-employed, it’s like, “First of all, how do I pay myself? Do I just transfer it from one bank account to—and hopefully we have two bank accounts—do I just transfer from my business account to my personal account?” I did that for years.

Then finally, I put myself on payroll and I figured out what I should be paying myself every month, but I didn’t know even what that number should be. Profit First helped with that. I could say, “What’s the percentage allocation that I’m talking about here?”

Tara Newman: The extra details.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, it’s so much more than a service business needs sometimes because I get 30%, 50%. It was so overwhelming. I think that I have a pretty good grasp of financial literacy and there was still a lot of self-doubt creeping in going through this process of, “Well, what if the money isn’t in the bank account next month?” I just left money in my business bank account because I didn’t feel comfortable paying myself unless I really needed it. There’s a strange transition that happens.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think too, for women, they don’t always understand what the purpose of their money is at home because they’re not having a collaborative conversation around what those financial goals are. When I asked on Instagram about your financial goals, I got revenue numbers. Those aren’t financial goals. Financial goals are why you would need the revenue. We got a lot of women over working for money that they may or may not need based on “What are your financial goals?”

Meg Casebolt: If you think your financial goal is to buy a house, but what you’re working for is to buy a yacht or buy a second house or whatever, you’re going to be burning yourself out when you don’t need the money, or you’re just investing in the wrong things once you get the money because you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing.

Tara Newman: I think women also have been conditioned to see their money as extra, as the icing on the cake, as not important. There’s also a whole host of my clients that have come to work with me thinking their husbands were the mad scientists behind the finances when they realized they actually didn’t know what the hell they were doing. She winds up being the mad scientist behind the finances, which is actually in the data, that’s what the data shows. It shows that women care way more about most aspects of their finances, long-term goals, planning for retirement, health care, college savings, all that stuff, than the men.

You have a woman who’s lying awake at night wondering, “Are we saving enough? Are we planning well enough? Do we have enough?” We’re leaving it to the men to decide and they don’t care as much as we do. They’re sleeping fine. That’s a real big disconnect too. When you have your own business, you have the greatest tool to create wealth in the hands of women who don’t quite understand the power and the magnitude of what they have and what they can create. That’s really what I’m trying to wake women up to and help them build the confidence around that and be excited about that; be excited that they have those opportunities and that they can make those changes.

At the workshop that we did around what you need to know about your money to build your wealth in any economy, they were obviously like, “Nobody’s teaching this.” Because we’re starting with the true end in mind and we’re building a business around that true end with the runway to get there. Nothing in your business has to happen overnight. It has to happen over 5 years, over 10 years, over 15 years, over 20 years, but you have to be able to stay in the game. You’re not going to do that with the strategies that they’re giving you online. You’re burning out really fast. You’re exhausted.

Even I get fatigued and I need to take a break. I’m able to do that because I’ve built these things in. We’re having these more real conversations. What’s interesting is what pops up for folks. The differences and the beliefs that we have around retirement, the beliefs that we have around wealth, what we think generational wealth is versus what generational wealth actually is, or why might you want to build generational wealth. It’s really interesting to listen to these conversations because a lot of women are interested in “what’s my legacy”. This generational wealth thing is really popular right now.

Generational wealth starts with knowledge, literacy, then your ability to go and teach that to the next generation. It doesn’t start with money. I’ve had a couple women who happen to be in Canada who have said, “Why are you working so hard for your children? Why are you looking to leave so much money behind?” Listen, we all have different perspectives. You get to do whatever the hell you want to do with your money and you get to work for as much or as little money as you want. That’s the whole point of following my framework is you get to decide that for yourself.

But for me, we don’t live in Canada, we don’t have good social support. I’m really considering what social support my kids might need, not when I’m dead but even when I’m still living because my husband and I have 100% privileged, 100% had advantages but have also worked really, really hard for what we have to provide basic lifestyle, to provide more than enough so we’re not worried about what’s coming. I want my kids to not have to do that to be honest. I don’t necessarily want them to be spoiled.

Meg Casebolt: But security is different than spoiled.

Tara Newman: But I also don’t want them to feel they’re working with the hounds of hell at their backs that they have to earn-earn-earn. We have no idea what our economic outlook will be in our future. I’m not saying that to be catastrophic or doomsday-ish at all. I’m very much a realist. Starting now, as given in as much runway as I can is how I think about it. I am looking to leave something to them, or to be able to provide for them later in life.

You and I have had this conversation where women start businesses out of necessity. One of the reasons why you started your business was because of child care. You were like, “This doesn’t make sense. I don’t have enough money to pay for child care and work. I’d be negative.” I was at that really weird salary where I was making too much to not quit but not enough to really thrive with paying for child care.

I watched my friends, who came from more affluent families, be able to stay at home, or had spouses that could support them or were in a position where they could make different choices. I was not in that position at all. I had to work. Or I was watching friends who had parents who were willing to reschedule things to take care of kids. Maybe they were working shift work and they took a different shift; I didn’t have that either. I just remember the immense pressure. I’m going to cry.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, I can tell. You get wrapped up in this, but there’s this feeling of you need to take care of your own. The social safety net is not there to help you with it and so you have to make hard decisions in the moment. For me, that hard decision was I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here. I’ve never run a business. I never wanted to run a business.

I consider myself a very reluctant entrepreneur because I wanted to go run a non-profit. I wanted to go save the world. I had these very lofty goals about what I wanted to do and the financials did not line up for me in that way. I didn’t know how to make these systems work for me and the systems aren’t built to work for us as the middle class. We could really get off on democratizing the business education piece here if we want to.

Tara Newman: Ugh, we really can, which is why building wealth is to me, especially for the middle class, is so important because I’m thinking to myself, “What if my daughter does want to have children?” We still don’t have a way for women to actually take time off and be with their children, then I’d be able to provide that.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I have a child who’s on the spectrum. There are things that he may not be able to do as an adult. Knowing that when he’s so young, it’s like, “We have to start to plan ahead for that,” which is that he may not make what is considered a successful income due to his disabilities and limitations. That’s okay, we can help provide for that now. We can plan for that now but we can also get him the resources that he needs, which some of which are out-of-pocket expenses.

Tara Newman: That’s a whole other conversation for those in the US, is the cost of healthcare and stuff.

Meg Casebolt: One thing I wanted to come back to is the way that women approach financial goals being different than the way that men do, and the way that impacts our families and our communities. I’m coming to this from the perspective of having a master’s degree in community economic development. The thing that I studied was giving microloans to women in the developing world and seeing what happened. What happened was if you give money to men, the men hold on to the money or they spend the money for themselves. This is not just me generalizing things.

Tara Newman: I will absolutely tell you that my husband has not considered my daughter taking a leave to have a child, in the early stages of her having a child, not because he’s a jerk but because it’s just not in his thinking.

Meg Casebolt: It’s just not socialized into them. What they found—this was in the 1990s, the study was started in Bangladesh and they have been replicated around the world—but the idea is if you give money to men, it will not impact a larger community. If you give money to women or you give a goat to a woman, it doesn’t even have to be money, if you give resources to women, their families, their extended families, their communities all improve because women’s financial goals are not always self-motivated, which is really important but also a little bit detrimental to the women, because if they just took the money from the milk from their goat and they went and took care of themselves the way that some of the other members of their household would, they would probably be better off but it wouldn’t impact the community.

Those are the financial goals that we’re talking about here with legacy, with investing, with wealth generation, with thinking about the future and not just “How much money can I put in this bank account? How much money can I invest in my stocks this month?” It’s bigger than that. When we are simultaneously saying “I want to help others” and also saying “I don’t deserve to make money because I’ve been socialized to believe that I have to give for free and that my value is not there–”

Tara Newman: Women will make money and then give it all away, which I see. This obsession with making an impact and not really understanding what that looks or what that means and then just believing that it’s all about giving everything away.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, and now there’s a lot of pressure to be like “I’m going to offer sliding scale services for people for marginalized communities” or “I’m going to have a bunch of scholarships.” I’m all for using that for inclusion. I am not for creating more work for yourself when you don’t have financial stability because you feel indebted to an idea that’s out there.

Tara Newman: Oxygen mask on first. It’s about having enough. You decide what your enough is. Then once you have enough, you can then start to talk about more than enough. I get called out a bit, usually from the dudes in the online space, around the fact that The Bold Profit Academy is there to help you get to $250,000 in revenue consistently year over year because when you’re there, you can bring home six figures in pay based on the Profit First methodology .

They’re always like, “Well, isn’t that limited thinking?” I’m like, “No, that’s reality.” Let’s get these women to make six figures year after year after year because that’s when they can put their oxygen masks on, and then they can start to go for more than enough. I’m not saying that’s the only amount of money you should make, I’m saying when you get to that point, you get to make some decisions around what that looks for you and your desired personal freedom and how meaningful you feel about your work and the purpose that it brings you and all those other things. But let’s get to a place where we can take care of ourselves first because then when we can do that, then we can give.

That’s my biggest concern right now with women small business owners. What we’re seeing in the economy, the economy is a little rumbly-tumbly. I’m not speculating that we’ll have a recession but there are some pretty good signs happening, and again, if that happens, it’s not catastrophic. You’re already going to be in it for six months before you realize you’re in it because we need two quarters of negative GDP before they’ll even say it’s a recession.

Meg Casebolt: What did Josh Lyman say in The West Wing? We don’t use that word, let’s call it a bagel. We don’t even want to use the phrase recession, it’s just a really dry bagel.

Tara Newman: The Great Recession was 18 months, this is not a long period of time. I’ve been talking about this on social media and I said that it’s turbulence. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. You might feel a little sick in your belly. You might need a barf bag but you’re going to be fine, we’re going to land safely.

My thing is we have to make sure that we are positioned. I know that the news is scary. I know that every other day, something’s happening to zap your energy, but we have to find ways to keep going. We have to keep taking steps. Stop even looking at what’s happening today and focus on three years from now. Because here’s the thing, we can’t stop spending money. We have to go out and make more money so we can continue to spend because that’s what’s going to keep small businesses going.

Small business owners making money and spending money with small business owners is what’s going to insulate and protect that economy. Then when small business owners, particularly women, make money, what do they go and do? They go and make sure that the population who’s the most affected by the recession and inflation have food, gas cards, and clothing. They’re going to go to their school and they’re going to be like, “Hey, do you know families who are in need?” They’re going to go to the local food bank and say, “Here’s a check.” Because that’s what they do.

Meg Casebolt: They’re going to take care of each other. That’s what women do, we take care of each other.

Tara Newman: That’s what women do. We have to continually—and I said this on my stories this weekend from Instagram—we have to keep making money, we have to keep thinking “I’m going to make more” not because that’s greedy but because you literally need to just keep making more. That is how this works. If you hit $100,000 in your business one year, you have to then go make another $100,000 the next year. You don’t get to stop. The balloons are actually not going to fall from the sky and celebrate that. The reward is you get to do it again and again and again. This whole concept around making money is just a thing that we have to go and do.

Meg Casebolt: It’s like The Biggest Loser, how they were like, “You’re going to lose 200 pounds.” Whoa, then the balloons fall from the sky. Guess what, the next day, you still have to eat and you have to choose what behavior you’re going to take at that point. There is no end point for most of the important things we do in our lives. We don’t breathe and then we stop breathing because we breathed enough. Everything needs to be sustainable. If we can normalize the idea of something like consistent revenue and consistent small growth, not 10x, maybe 10%.

Tara Newman: I have never worked in a real business environment that actually promoted growth the way I see it promoted online. I worked for a CEO seven percent. That’s what he wanted, seven percent growth on operating profit every year. He knew if he had seven percent on operating profit every year, he could maintain the workforce, he could offer bonuses, he could give raises, he could do all of those things. It was interesting because it didn’t dawn on me until literally 20 years later just the other week why, I think, he was choosing seven percent because he was thinking like an investor.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah, that’s what you get out of the stock market on average.

Tara Newman: That’s what you get on average from the stock market. He came from a very wealthy family and he had other revenue streams. He was on advisory boards. He had his stocks. He had his dividends. He had his properties. He had all these things, so this business was just one more investment in his portfolio. Therefore, it was seven percent.

Mike Michalowicz, when he was on my podcast last year, he’s talking about how we have to stop thinking like CEOs and start thinking like shareholders. This is what he means: in your portfolio of revenue streams, in your portfolio of investments, how are you using all of your investments to create income for yourself? Not solely relying just on your business but using your business to fund these other asset classes so that it’s not the only way that you’re continually making money, that you have other passive ways to make money that are not info products with a funnel, because that’s not actually a passive income product.

Meg and I can go on for hours here, so what I want to wrap us up with is that if you’re tired right now, I totally get it. I’m tired too. If your health feels like it’s in the shit, I get it. Mine too. If you’re like, “Tara, but I have money trauma and money stories,” I get it, so do I. If you’re like, “The system, misogyny and the patriarchy,” I get it. What I really want to encourage you to do is to think about what you want your role in society to be and how your small business is going to help you with your role with your financial goals, with your role in society, and to stop thinking about “How can I get clients today?” I understand that’s important, I totally do.

But now is the time to start thinking three years ahead, and how is what you’re doing today setting you up for continued growth and success three years from now. Because if you’re just taking action for today, you’re only ever going to get today. If you don’t pick your head up and look for the path forward and get in spaces that are going to challenge the way you think, that are going to help you see what that path might be to give you clarity and perspective on that, that’s really where you need to be focusing your time and your attention and not on the shiny objects.

I also want to just say, I know there’s a lot of folks right now who might even be feeling apathetic, like why even bother? I am in the same matrix as everyone else. I have had my moments. I’ve had my moments where I’m like, “Why am I even doing this? Why am I even bothering? What is the purpose of all that?” I really want to bring you back to your original intent around why you started a business. What were you looking to do at the very beginning that you’ve most likely forgotten about because your brain’s been hijacked by the noise? Come back to that original intent.

I hope that this conversation provides some level of motivation for everyone to really get out there and to think about “Where can I be making more money? What is the purpose for the money that I’m making?” How can I use this to first, put my oxygen mask on, grow wealth for myself for a lot of the reasons that Meg and I shared with you, and then once I have that, once I have enough, how can you use your gifts to make more to support the social causes that you want to support? That was word salad.

Meg Casebolt: No, I loved it because there’s so much in there. Thank you so much for letting me come on and interview you, which was really just an extension of what our boxer conversations are where we rant at each other every day about this stuff. We just made it public this time

Tara Newman: What’s one thing you want them to take away from this conversation today?

Meg Casebolt: I think not getting so stuck in the day-to-day and not getting so stuck in the marketing strategy of the month, and thinking about what is the way that you want to grow and why. For me, the way that I want to grow is relationships and leaning into those, and not getting so stuck in what my metrics are, even though that’s what I teach. Recognizing that everything can be a tool but you need to find what works for you and your business, your life, and your goals and ignore the stuff that isn’t valuable to you.

Tara Newman: I feel that’s really an alignment with the name of your company Love at First Search.

Meg Casebolt: Yeah. There are going to be people who find you who don’t want you and you can’t cater to them. But if there are people out there who are searching for you and they find you and they’re immediately enamored with you, find a way to turn those people into your clients. I think Seth Godin calls it your minimum viable audience. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You are not running for president.

Tara Newman: You actually don’t need that many people. You don’t need as many people as you think for sure.

Meg Casebolt: They said for a while it was like you need a top thousand, but now some of the researchers are coming out and saying, “You really just need a hundred.” Let’s talk about this, if you had 100 amazing people, how would things change? Think about that as part of your business strategy, not the hundred-thousand million followers, but if you had 100 ambassadors who were helping you and supporting you and you could help them, what would that look like? Reframe it.

Tara Newman: Yeah. Meg, tell people where they can find you. You have a podcast, you have a YouTube channel.

Meg Casebolt: I have all the things, all the ways you can find me. I don’t always practice what I preach. You can find me over at You can search for us on YouTube at Love At First Search. I also have a podcast called Social Slowdown. That’s all about ways that you can market your business without being dependent on social media. We’re not anti-social, we’re not like, “You have to get off social media. You have to eliminate it from your life.” We’re about setting up boundaries that feel good and recognizing when you want to be in a relationship with people on these platforms and other ways that you can connect with people that don’t require you to be on this hamster wheel.

Tara Newman: Right. Just feeling you don’t have to be there 24/7. You get to take a break.

Meg Casebolt: And setting your own goals, values, and boundaries in your marketing in the same way that you do for your business.

Tara Newman: Yeah. Thanks, Meg.

Meg Casebolt: Thanks, Tara.

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