My name is Caitlin Bacher, founder and CEO of Scale with Success®, and I’m on a mission to help course creators all over the world grow their business in a way that is profitable and scalable. We are sharing revealing conversations about what it really takes to scale an online course business to millions of dollars per year. Join us here to discover the tough decisions we’ve had to make, the biggest failures we’ve had to bounce back from and the learnings that emerged every step of the way. We are so grateful that we have the chance to share it all with you right here on Scale with Success®: The Podcast Built for Course, Creators. Let’s get started.
There’s really three big opportunities for the CEO to be focusing on where they should be spending their time, what they should be prioritizing inside of their company. And this question came from someone who said, you know what? I used to do a bunch of one-on-ones, I’m not doing one-on-ones anymore. Now I have a whole bunch of time on my hands, I want to make sure that I’m spending my time on things that are going to generate money for the company. What are those profitable things, activities, that I should be doing? And so the number one thing that you need to make some time to do, and this is the thing that everyone puts off and is like, “Well, it’s just kind of a soft, fluffy thing. I’m not going to think about it,” reminding yourself of and clarifying what your vision is, so that’s where do you want to go, what is the outcome that you want to create? Is incredibly important when it comes to sustaining growth over time.
So what happens to a lot of people is a lot of CEOs get so stuck in the weeds and I get it, especially when you’re scaling to your first 600K a year. A lot of times we’re in the weeds, we’re doing a lot of things. But what happens is sometimes we lose track of what it is that we really want to create and what it is that you want to create, that is where your goals come from and your goals are where your results come from. So a lot of times people find themselves kind of in this plateau or this income stuck point. And they’re like, “How do I fix this? Why isn’t this working? How come I’m not growing?” And when I ask them, “Well, what is it that you want?”They don’t know. Or it’s just really vague, it’s like, “I want to double my revenue.” It’s like, “Okay, well, what is the plan for that?” Well, “I don’t know.” Okay. So if you want to double your revenue, by when? Is that like a three year goal? For a lot of businesses, they talk about increasing revenue by 33% each year, so that over a three year period, you are doubling your revenue. Some people do it faster than that, right?
The idea is that you need to be getting really clear of where it is that you want to go, because that is what is going to pull you out of the muck when you’re in that spot where you’re starting to question everything, you’re trying really hard, you’re not getting a result. The best question to ask yourself when you’re in that and you’re just feeling like it’s hard to focus and don’t know what you should be doing, is to really get clear on the outcome that you want to create. What is the outcome that I want to create? And by when do I want to create it? That gets you out of the muck and into vision of what you want to happen and from there you can set the goals, because people are like, I want to make you a million dollars. It’s like, okay, that’s great, but in a month or what are we talking about here? So you want to make sure that you have the baby step goals to get you to where you want to go. And this can be as simple as every Friday afternoon you give yourself one to two hours where you are reviewing your product vision map, which we have in phase five, or maybe you are journaling on where you want your life to be three years from now.
And then the other piece that you want to be prioritizing is leadership development, now this is both learning and synthesizing the information that you’re learning. So whether you are signing up for courses or coaching or coaching programs or reading books or whatever it is, you need to prioritize that time. You need to make time for that learning to take place, and you also have to make time to synthesize the information that you’re learning. So one example of how I try to get that started for you guys is at the very end of each of the trainings that I do. I ask you, what’s your number one takeaway and what is your next step to taking action on this? Because, what I don’t want is what happens to a lot of course creators, they get overwhelmed with all the learning. So they’ll read a book, they’re like, “Ah, this was great.” Or they’ll attend a training or a workshop or they’ll have a session with their coach, but then they don’t synthesize it and they don’t take action on it. It’s really important that you make time, whether it’s on the Friday afternoon or whatever it is, to review your notes from whatever training you attended or workshop or book that you read and that you start to think about how you can apply those things to your business.
And then lastly, you want to give yourself time for strategic thinking. So this is time to identify problems and root causes, so making sure that you are not mistaking a problem for a symptom. So we talk a lot about this concept of the five whys. And if you don’t know what the five whys are, you can Google it. But the five whys it’s basically a method that a lot of companies use in order to help identify the root cause. If you’re not making sales, what is the root cause of that? That’s a problem, but we’re not looking to just solve the superficial problem, we’re looking to make sure that we are asking ourselves questions and getting to the root cause of why we are experiencing no sales.
The second step is to fully consider multiple solutions. We don’t want to go with the first solution that we think of because I guarantee the first thing that pops into your head is going to be a comfort zone solution, it’s going to be something that you feel comfortable doing. But the reality is that when we’re talking about doubling our revenue, it’s those way outside of your comfort zone solutions that you need to be considering. And a lot of times those have to do with process, policy or people.
So by process, I mean, what are some solutions that you can do not just something that you can just whip out and make a sale tomorrow, but what is something that you need to do inside of your sales process itself so that the sales process, which is always running, so that you’re going to be able to increase conversions there. That’s where you’re going to be able to have a really big impact, not just a one off tactic or quick thing that you’re going to do. When it comes to really scaling companies, we need to start thinking about what are some solutions, what are some change changes that I can make to my processes? What is a new policy that perhaps I need to create? And do I have the right people in the right seats to make these things happen?
And then the third piece of that is committing to a plan and moving forward, no second guessing. People waste so much time second guessing. So they’ll identify the problem and the root cause they look at all their solutions. They’re like, okay, great. So we’ve debated it all out, now we know this is good, the best solution, this is what we’re going to go with. And then sometimes the next day, sometimes a couple days later, they’re like, “Well, was that the best decision? Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen results yet. Should I be doing this? Should I not be doing this?” And your productivity just starts to tank, there is no second guessing. Once the commitment has been made, then your whole team is on board to move forward. Now, within that plan, there should be different milestones that you want to hit by a certain amount of time, because ultimately after you run the plan, whether it’s a two week plan or a four week plan or whatever the case may be, you want to be able to measure its effectiveness. And then you can go in and optimize the plan, tweak it, see like, well, why didn’t this work? Why didn’t this plan work? Do the five whys again on the plan, figure out what specifically about the plan was not working. Go in, make that change, run it again.
But the idea is that you are committing and moving forward and all your focus is on implementing the plan and moving forward, you’re not distracted by, “Maybe I should have gone with this other thing or, oh, should I really have done that? Or, oh, what about this other person’s idea?” It’s like that just wastes so much time.
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