Welcome to another edition of the Solo2CEO podcast. Our guest is a certified life and money coach who has over 10 years of experience with entrepreneurs. Debbie helps you create the life you dream of, by supporting you in your business transformation and financial future.
An expert in her field, Debbie has spent years studying effective business practices and processes, and money relationships.
Let’s start the ball rolling and hear from Debbie.
What do you do?
I am a business coach and money coach for midlife entrepreneurs. I help my clients create consistent 10k to 20k months without burning out or sacrificing their families. I work primarily with service-oriented businesses. I work with coaches, copywriters, some translation companies, doctor’s offices, and dental offices in my business. I work not only in the US but globally.
Our business is here to serve our life; our life is not here to serve our business, so we have to make sure that we are putting our attention to the places we want to.
What is usually the reason why clients want to do business with you?
Many of my clients want to earn more money, and it’s really their goal. It is obvious that people go into business to make money, especially women in business. I am here to help people.
What do you usually talk about with your clients?
Coming from a financial background, I talk a lot about money, money mindset, and money blocks. I encourage my clients to focus on money because the way we assess and analyze the success of our business is through numbers.
Success in business is through money, and when you make money, you can take better care of yourself and your family. You can give more to charity, you can help other people. The more money you have, the more you can give and share and make a bigger impact in the world.
Can you tell us one money block that we can overcome?
One money block is that we are allowed to make money and we can set goals.
So many business owners are not setting income goas at the beginning of the year, and even 3-year or 5-year income goals.
A lot of times they deal with tons of offers and they do a lot of work to generate income, but they do not have focus. They do a lot of things and do not look at the metrics that would make a difference in their business.
They should think of the Pareto Rule – 20% of what they are doing should be generating 80% of their income because there are other things in the business that you need to handle, such as facing clients and generating income. You should really focus on income-generating activities.
What does it mean to be a CEO in your business?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid Many people are good at the thing we do, but never figured out how to be a CEO of our business. We just keep doing the things that are usual for the business, but we never think of ourselves as being a CEO and wanting to grow and make money.
Being a CEO means extricating oneself from the business. You have to take time out for strategic thinking. This is a much-undervalued skill set and way of delegating your time. Many business owners are not doing this.
You should also see if what you are doing has a return on investment. Putting time, effort, and focused energy into your work with low returns is not beneficial.
So what would you recommend to someone who is in that situation?
I recommend an attention audit. This is making a list of all the things that are taking and demanding your attention, and things that you are giving your attention to immediately.
There are things that you would like to give your attention to, but you cannot because of other things that are demanding your attention. When you are acting like a CEO, you have to give your attention to what is going to make or break the future of your business, rather than being reactive in the business. With that, it changes your business for the better.
How committed are you to making your calendar entries happen?
There are many things that we like to delay, putting things that are urgent versus important. So many times we are reacting to things that seem urgent but are not or things that are coming up that may be urgent in the business but that there is a possibility to delegate to someone else.
What would you tell someone who believes he is unorganized and that he can’t keep track of his business money?
For me, it is just a thought error. Most of us can manage addition and subtraction. It’s just a matter of giving priorities. Addition and subtraction are good enough. They can also outsource by getting a bookkeeper who will do the work for you.
If you are not going to measure your money, you will not be able to improve it. We are in business to make money.
Some business owners are just keeping track of their revenues and nothing else. What would you tell them to do to simplify the process of accounting?
I have worked with many businesses that have been existing for several years and have not filed taxes. So to create a profitable business you need to come clean and make your books of accounts. Gather all the information, and write down your income and your expenses.
Recording just the revenue for the business is not a good idea because the government will compute your tax based on your gross income only without considering your expenses. It is best to get an accountant who will take care of your profit and loss.
Another problem for many business owners is that they have money coming in and it is all going out on expenses. They don’t take their salaries and they have not saved money to reinvest in their business. Many of them do not put aside an amount for taxes, so when tax season comes around, they try to generate income quickly for tax payments.
At the beginning of a business, you don’t want to be spending too much because if the business does not work out you will find it hard to regenerate money to pay for it. So how do you calculate how much a person should be investing in his business?
Businesses are so different. The most expensive way to grow your business is by bootstrapping. We think we are saving our income by bootstrapping, but what we are actually losing is time, which is the only non-renewable resource on the planet.
None of us knows how much time we are going to be here on earth. So when you decide to keep yourself small, the people who surround you will be very limited.
What are some bad things that you have seen in business that you would like to reverse?
The answer depends on the business. But I would like to break down the business into four pillars: marketing, sales, CEO skills, and everything that is involved. You don’t have to do everything by yourself anymore as you did in the earlier days of your business. Part of your CEO skills is mastering money mechanics – bookkeeping, accounting, and money projections. As a CEO of your business, you have to be looking at your money – money mastery, time mastery, money mindset, and money mechanics. You might want to hire a CFO to help you with that.
One thing that holds people back is raising their prices. They want to keep their prices low to serve a lot of people and to help underprivileged people. This is a very noble thing, but you also want to make sure that your business is making money.
What are some tasks that a CEO should not be delegating?
Depending on the size of the company, having a CFO will be helpful in looking after your finances and explaining them to you. As the CEO you will be thinking about the future of the business, where you want to go, and where you want to take your business.
But you can’t just say since the CFO handles his task that you don’t have to look into it. You need to have periodic checks and quality control. Make sure that the numbers are making sense. Looking at your numbers could save you huge upset in the future. It could also help you make better decisions and provide you with valuable information.
How do you go about starting or growing a business?
Your self-concept or self-image is important when you are growing a business. You need to raise your image when you are going on your own. After that, market yourself to attract people.
What slows down so many businesses is that in the beginning, they are focusing on keeping their systems and processes clean even before they start earning. It is important to get clients and earn, even charging lesser fees. Your clients who get you for your expertise and brilliance will eventually refer you to other people. They will be your ambassadors, and you will build your business because of them.
So make money first, and then invest in your systems and processes. You are basically starting before you are ready.
How does one determine how much they should be charging for their services? When and how do you raise your price for services?
You can change your price when you start resenting the current price that you are offering. When you have established enough expertise and experience, and worked with enough people, there comes a point when you think the price you are offering is no longer enough.
When you know that your clients are getting amazing results with what you are offering them, then raise your prices. You want to serve your clients with energy and commitment, so there should be an energetic exchange between what you are giving and what you are receiving.
How do you determine your pricing? What are the factors that you consider to actually come up with the final price of your product?
First, you need to know what the market offers when you start your business. Because you are new, you might want to charge less than the prevailing price to attract people to get your service. When your satisfied clients recommend your service, and that message starts to spread, then you will be able to raise your price.
What advice would you give to people who are growing a service-based business?
The number one thing that stops people from growing into a multi-million dollar business is doing other things than being the CEO. We don’t want to upgrade our self-image. As a CEO you should look at your business as an owner whose job is to generate revenue and profits and pay salaries and other expenses.
I have five D’s that stop you from being the CEO of your business and making more money and more profits faster – delete, delay, delegate, discipline, and discomfort.
We have things that we are doing in our business that we don’t need to do, so we could just delete them.
There are things that I don’t do anymore as I previously did. It is because I have delegated these to my workers. When you are the CEO, you are thinking at a high level all the time, so you sometimes forget the little things, that is why it is important to delegate.
At the beginning of your business, if you keep running and hustling, and you don’t have that higher level of thinking that will help you grow your business, you tend to delete, delegate and delay things. Not everything that we think needs to happen now can happen.
Then there’s discipline. We have to learn to discipline ourselves to stick to our plans. But that doesn’t mean that if something goes wrong, we can’t change it. I guess discipline and discomfort go together. There are so many things that we don’t do because we are afraid to do them. You have to discipline yourself to feel uncomfortable.
What are your thoughts on delegation?
With delegation, the main challenge for people is that the trigger that makes them feel the need to delegate is the same thing that prevents them from being able to delegate. When a person needs to delegate, it is because he is out of time now. In the same way that delegating means hiring, and hiring takes time.
You spend time putting a list of the qualities that you need for the person who is going to do the job instead of you. One mistake in hiring is that employers think they need to hire people who are exactly like them.
You need to figure out what the skill set is that you need for your staff, and what the results are that you want them to create for you in your business. You should create standard operating procedures (SOPs) and manuals. You hire people and you train them. These activities take time.
But after that, you are able to increase your revenues because you spent time training your people.
I want to hear some advice for people who have already started their business and have at least 5 to 20 employees. What are some advice that you would give to these business owners in general?
Look at your metrics, and see where your profit is coming from. Try something and experiment to see how you can create an amazing return on investment.
Do not be afraid to experiment in your business, try out new things and see where it takes you. Some ideas will work and some will fail. Not everything works. Even big companies experience mistakes. At the end of the day, the only way you can have success is to take those attempts. Mistakes are mile markers towards success.
Before we end this podcast, how can people find you?
Visit my website https://debbiesassen.com/. They can also find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. I have a podcast called Mastering Money in Midlife. Reach out to me by email at email@example.com, and I’ll be happy to be in touch with you.