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Last Updated on September 14, 2022
Are you ready for sustainable success? If you’ve been struggling with a lack of consistent income or growing while paying yourself, then it’s time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen.
Do you feel like you’re one failed launch away from your business not surviving?
Sadly, so many women’s businesses are in ‘entrepreneurial poverty’. What does that mean exactly?
The keys to overcoming entrepreneurial poverty?
That’s exactly what we’re covering in today’s episode! You’ll learn how to plan for your business to be an asset that creates consistent income–not something that you simply just operate and bootstrap.
My guest today, Racheal Cook, is an award-winning business strategist, host of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, and best-selling author who is on a mission to end entrepreneurial poverty for women. Over the last 10 years she has helped thousands of female entrepreneurs design predictably profitable businesses without the hustle and burnout that doing #allthethings inevitably accomplishes.
In fact, Racheal is a sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, marketing, and productivity and has been featured by the US Chamber of Commerce, Forbes Coaching Council, Female Entrepreneur Association, and more. Her real passion, though, is supporting savvy, soulful women as they implement the strategy, systems, and support to uncomplicate their business so they can work less and live more.
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.
There are so many historical, social, political, and economic reasons for this. Here are a few: women tend to be less confident to do the same job that their male counterparts do. Women sell themselves short in comparison to the worth of their time and energy, which compounds the problem where women do not go for the opportunities available to them as often as men do, further dispersing the issue of unequal pay and opportunities. Women also receive much less outside capital than men and try to bootstrap their businesses. There’s also a lot of stigma around money and women tend to not talk about money or be as educated about it.
One simple thing we can do is talk about money with your friends, your daughters, your parents, and your colleagues. By having those conversations about what you are making, how much you are paid, what your rate is, etc., you’ll see what other women experience and can compare. While this may seem rude in the beginning, it helps to have everyone be aware and on the same page. It also encourages women to know that they can set their rates higher than they think they deserve because often they are shortchanging themselves in comparison to the men in their field. By talking more about money, you encourage women around you to develop their relationship and understanding of money. This skill teaches women what they are actually worth, not what they think they are.
There are legal ways you need to protect yourself as a business owner. When you get started, it’s likely that you’ll need to set up an LLC, or maybe an S-Corp. If you are not set up as an LLC or some corporate structure, someone could sue you and go after your personal assets (which includes your house, your retirement savings, and your investments). If you set up the right structure, then it protects your personal assets, and that’s super important. You also may be paying more than you need to in taxes if you’re not set up properly.
Kate Kordsmeier 0:00
Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome
back to the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host, Kate Kordsmeier. And today Ooh, today's
Today we've got Racheal Cook in the house. She's the host of the promote yourself to CEO podcast. She's a best selling author and award winning business strategist. And she is on a mission to end entrepreneurial poverty for women. So over the last 10 years, she's helped 1000s of female entrepreneurs design predictably profitable businesses without the hustle and burnout that doing all the things inevitably accomplishes. I feel like we are two soul sisters because her real passion is supporting savvy soulful women as they implement the strategy systems and support to uncomplicate their business so they can work less and live more, which is exactly the same as my own mission. So we get into some really juicy stuff. In fact, towards the end, there's something that I feel like doesn't get said enough when there's all this talk about doing it scared and powering through. And so if you're struggling to really show up in a real way, make sure you get to that part, it's really important. If you have been struggling with a lack of consistent income, or growing while paying yourself, especially if you're the breadwinner, then this episode was truly tailor made for you. We're also going to talk about planning for your business to actually be an asset, not something that you simply operate. And one of the things that I love most about Rachel is that she is so evident space, she's sharing all kinds of stats and research to back up everything that she's saying, which I feel like in this day and age is something that is sometimes lacking. So I'm really excited to share this interview with y'all. Without further ado, let's go talk to Rachel. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalists turned CEO of a multi six figure blog in online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity, and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts 1000s and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm, and sushi connoisseur, Kate Kordsmeier.
Hey, Racheal, welcome. Thanks for having me, Kate.
I'm so excited to chat. We have Angie Trueblood in common and she was on the show. We were just saying, um, like months ago, years ago, I don't know what time is anymore. But I'm so glad that she connected us. And I'm so excited to chat with you about entrepreneurial poverty, especially with women. This is such a real thing that I can so relate to. And I know so many people listening can tell.
Racheal Cook 3:12
Yes, I'm so excited to dive into it. Because I think this past year has shown us just how fragile a lot of businesses are, and how something like what we've all experienced in the pandemic. It's not only shaken the world of traditional work where we saw so many women leaving the workplace, but it has really shaken the foundation for a lot of women business owners. Yeah, yeah,
Kate Kordsmeier 3:37
it's kind of scary. And if I think too much about it, sometimes I get really raging mad about it. That's not a great place to be. Although I know sometimes anger is like what we need to spurred change. But let's back up and give everybody kind of your story. Tell us who you are. And then let's dive into to this topic.
Racheal Cook 3:59
Perfect. So for everyone, if you are meeting me for the very first time, or maybe you've known me for a while and you came over to just hear about this conversation. I have been in the business space for a long time I started off in corporate consulting, which I think is the path most MBAs go to they either go to finance, or corporate consulting. And a lot of us get there and then realize it is a machine designed to grind you into absolute nothingness. Yeah. And that's what happened to me. I was in the corporate consulting world. I was driving between Atlanta, Georgia and Washington DC seeing clients in person on the ground. They were considered small business clients, but by that definition, it meant they had less than, like 200 employees, and they were making multiple millions of dollars. But at that point, I was completely hitting burnout, which is a story I hear for a lot of women we get into these career paths. We've checked all the boxes, right? Like we've done all of the good girl things we were told to do, we went to college check, got the master's degree check, had a great salary check, bought our first car check, got married to the handsome husband Check, check, check. And then you realize you're miserable. And that's it. And I found myself in my brand new Toyota Prius, on the side of i 95, coming back from a client in Washington, DC, and I had my first panic attack. And I literally thought I was dying. I was like, Oh, my God, I am 26. And I'm going to die on the side of the highway. And I didn't know a lot, it wasn't part of your checklist, part of the checklist. And it got so bad that in the summer of 2008, I had 10 panic attacks in 10 weeks, I had never experienced this. And I went to my boss and I said, I am scared that I am going to hurt myself having these I don't know what is happening. And so I took a medical leave of absence. I went on disability Short Term Disability for three months, and kind of went through the accelerated track of therapy and coaching and counseling. And what really happened was I ended up on a yoga mat. And I've always been a yoga practitioner. But I found the studio that I absolutely loved here in Richmond, Virginia, and I was on my yoga mat every single day. And my teacher, Arlene and I became very close. And she became my like de facto life coach, basically my yoga teacher, my life coach. And she said to me, she was like, you know, I know you're really questioning going back to consulting. And what will happen when this is over? Do you think you can help me with my business? At that point, she had been in business for like a year, year and a half, and had opened it like many women entrepreneurs do because she loved to teach yoga, because she loved what she was doing. And she wanted to create a space and a community around it. And I was like, Oh, it was like this huge lightbulb moment for me when I realized, Oh, I have a very unique skill set. And here is this business owner, who otherwise would never have access to a consultant like me, because it was not targeted towards owner operated business owners. And if she were to go to the local SBA, or the local score group, or you know, local Chamber of Commerce, those people didn't really understand what she was trying to do with her business. It didn't fit. And so I was like, intrigued by that. And I said, Okay, Arlene, let's see. And I started asking her all these questions like, Can I see your p&l? What is your occupancy rate? Like? What is your How many people do you need per class to breakeven per class? What is your profit margin, and she was just like, ah,
Kate Kordsmeier 7:54
I've never thought about any of this before. I
Racheal Cook 7:56
never thought about any of this before. And that's when I was like, This is my opportunity. That was my opening. And that was all I needed to say, Okay, I'm not going back to corporate, I can help business owners like this, who are people that I really care about? They're doing work that I think is super important. And they just need someone like me behind the scenes to help them have the bigger, you know, strategic questions answered, so that they could move forward. Because the reality is, and I start, as I started doing the research, I saw this more and more. Most of these owner operated businesses were opening and closing within a matter of two years. And they didn't have the support, they needed to move forward. And the biggest reasons is, a lot of them were self funded. And because of funded, they were often putting themselves at high financial risk, they really couldn't take I mean, they were taking out everything from their 401k they were borrowing against their house. These are not people who had money available to dump 10s or hundreds of 1000s of dollars into a business. But they were so passionate, they were doing it anyway. And if that business didn't succeed, then they truly were at square one again. And that was really scary. And so as I just got to know her and started helping her with our studio, we took it from being something that was not profitable to something that was super profitable within a few months. And because that was such a small community, like a lot of small communities. She had other friends who were yoga teachers who are paying attention and they were like, what is happening? And so we hosted the very first workshop together. And I started explaining marketing and I started explaining financial basics, and I started explaining business strategy and the things they should be thinking about. And that led to me starting my business, just taking that opening and walking right into it. And so fast forward, we're now on your, what is this? 13 and unfortunately Arlene passed In 2009, unexpectedly, I'm sorry, but she truly is the person who like kick started this whole journey for me, she put me on this new path and gave me the opening. And I'm just doing my best to continue the legacy she had, which was to help women especially, to become happier and healthier and do things that are in alignment with our purpose. So that's kind of how I started. And these days, I am not just working with yoga teachers I have, as I've gone on, attracted a lot of like hearted entrepreneurs, women who believe in yoga or holistic health and wellness, or who are creative entrepreneurs, all women who have a mission bigger than them, they are doing this not because they're trying to, you know, have mansions on the beach or drive a Lamborghini, but because they're trying to make the world a better place. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 10:56
Thank you so much, what a powerful story. And I can relate to so much of it. I also struggled with panic attacks. And like you, I feel like, you know, mine was very much my body's screaming at me that you must stop doing what you're doing. It's not working. And when you finally do stop, and listen, it's like, the I was gonna say, the floodgates open. I don't feel like that's the right analogy. But it's just like, Oh my gosh, that all these other opportunities show up that are so much more aligned and feel so much better and work so much better for you and your life. So I'm glad that that was the trajectory that you took. And I know in the moment, I'm sure it felt like you were dying. And yes,
Racheal Cook 11:40
absolutely. I was like, I'm having a heart attack. Is this supposed to happen in your twin? Right? Yes, I
Kate Kordsmeier 11:47
can. So relate to that. And I think a lot of women listening, even if they haven't had the full blown panic attack experience can, you know, at least relate to the way that I'm working is not working. And like you, I think that's one of my biggest missions now. And it's something I've gotten clearer and clearer on, especially this last year as well is wanting to help women create a business that works for them. Like, you know, we're all set up the patriarchy has been going on for 1000s of years, like we are set up to work for men. And that is not
model isn't really serving anybody at this point. But at least of all, women who are still responsible for raising their kids and maintaining their household and also running their business. And it's a lot and I think women end up feeling like they have to choose one or the other, like I can have a business or I can have a family or a life. And I just want I want to give women the opportunities like no, you can have both, and it doesn't mean that you're burning, you're you know, grinding it into the ground every day in order to do it.
Racheal Cook 13:00
Absolutely. And that's why when I talk about entrepreneurial poverty, I see this happening in so many different ways. For women, especially, we have the financial aspect of it, where generally women owned businesses are just not earning what male owned businesses are earning. And if you're a woman of color, the statistics are even lower. So out of all of the small businesses in the world or not in the world. In the US, I should say the stats I have her US based mostly. So all of the small businesses in the US, women owned 44% of them, but we only make 4% of small business revenue. Wow, that is not make any sense to me. Like why is this? How Why? Oh, that's my question. Why do you Why is it and I think when we start breaking it down, there's so many factors at play here, right, we're less likely to go after capital, men are much more likely to go after outside investment, whether it's taking out a business loan, or finding outside investors, women get way less investing, we're much more likely to bootstrap family and friends, credit cards, take out all the debt on ourselves or just try to fund it as we go. We're much more likely to do that. And why do you think that is? I think there's an education gap there. We often don't even think that we can get it and we never try. We also women generally don't talk about money. And men do if you're in a room full of male entrepreneurs, they are talking about where they got funding, they're talking about, oh, this SBA loan is available. Did you go get this? And I just don't see that happening in the rooms that a lot of women are in, they're not talking about this. And there's a lot of stigma around money. There's a lot of money mindset, things that women have that I don't think men experience as much. And that puts us at a huge disadvantage.
Kate Kordsmeier 14:58
Yeah, for sure. Not to mention just that women are told that we should be able to do it all ourselves. And like that message definitely permeates into business as well. Like, it's not just that we should we shouldn't have like, you know, house help or cleaners or, you know, that's another child care and things like that, like, we should be able to just do it ourselves. And then I'm sure then you start a business and you think, no, I should just be able to do it myself. This is what I've been told my entire life.
Racheal Cook 15:28
Well, there's a great book, it's probably in my backpack here. I think her name is Valerie read Dr. Valerie read. Yeah, she's got on the show, patriarchy stress disorder. And I love how she talked about, you know, when you think about the role of money with women, we were only recently able, as late as the 80s was when we had permission to go get a business loan ourselves. Which is so effing infuriating. Which means when my mom had her business, my mom was a business owner, she could not go out and get a business loan until the mid 80s. What are you kidding me? And only a decade before that? Can we even get credit cards?
Kate Kordsmeier 16:10
Right? So I feel like there's there's
the missioning that we're fighting so
much conditioning, and then there's even still like people who I'm thinking like, and even in my own life, who are good people, but they think a women make less because they you know, they're they just don't ask for what they need. And it's like, well, why
aren't they asking? Like, let's
not like don't blame the first symptom go back further than that. It's not just that we're too dumb to ask or, you know, like that we don't know, it's all of this conditioning that's been going on
Racheal Cook 16:46
forever. It's what I've heard termed the good girl syndrome. Like we're told we should be grateful for what we get. Yes. And that is our that is our conditioning is to just anything you get, be grateful. don't negotiate, don't ask for more. Don't seek out more. Whatever you get is good enough. But this is just perpetuating the entrepreneurial poverty. Because what tends to happen is not only are our businesses undercapitalized, which means they're growing slower. We don't have the resources, we need to hire team, we don't have the resources we need to invest into our infrastructure of our business. But then we end up paying ourselves less. So. As of I think it was the Amex 2019 women in business study, they said only 12% of women on small businesses were breaking the six figure mark. So there's a lot of people out there who are like, why are we talking about six figure business, bla bla bla, you know, what if your business isn't breaking six figures, you are lucky if you're taking home $50,000 a year? Yeah, in most areas of the country, that is not enough of a salary to support a family. And even if you're a dual income household, that is really hard. Like there, the research is showing when you add up what it really takes to live a comfortable lifestyle in this country, and also be able to pay for health care, which is rising exponentially put aside money for your retirement pay for college rising exponentially. I'm in the process right now of helping care for my elderly parents, it's six figures a year to have a parent who needs full time nursing care. So we have to let go of some of these money stories, because a six figure business is not a six figure income. And for most of us, if we're leaving the corporate professional world, then we need to replace that six figure income.
It's not the equivalent, like you said, okay, in my corporate career, I
made $120,000. So now I just need a business that makes $120,000 it's like no, in order for you to still bring home $120,000, your business probably has to make like 250 Plus, because there's a lot of expenses and taxes and other things that are happening before you're paying yourself. Exactly. And if you want to take home 120,000 Plus, you want to fund your retirement, right don't have a match anymore, you got to create your own match. Plus, you're going to go out and pay for your health care, which is generally more expensive. If you're not in a huge group program. Like those types of things start to add up. So suddenly, Twitter and 50 isn't even thinking big enough. We need to think bigger. If you want to have a team who's supporting you, then we need to think bigger. And I think a lot of women have been told to play smaller and to keep stay safe. And they're also just aren't a ton of examples. People for us to follow like this is the biggest challenge I've had in my own entrepreneurial journey. Once you break that first level, you know, you hit that first six figure mark, and we're kind of told that six figures is the end game and I'm like, No, that's just The first milestone towards a long term successful business. And there's just not many women to follow. If there's so few, only 12%, who are making above that, only, like 3% on the million dollar range. And we aren't seeing enough examples of what it looks like and what it actually takes. And it leads to other types of entrepreneurial poverty, it leads to time poverty, because we are spread way too thin. And we have especially seen this over the last year, like how many of us had to completely overhaul our day, because now we have kids at home, we have our spouse at home, everybody's at home. Yeah, everyone's home all the time. And it's like a three ring circus trying to pay attention to your business. Plus, keep the kids virtual schooling. Plus, your husband is now not understanding like, just because I worked from home doesn't mean I can stop everything to do virtual schooling, you actually have to participate in this scenario. It has led to a lot of women feeling like I don't have any time to really do the things I want to do to move the business forward, but also to do the things that I prioritize in my life. And the only way that we can get more time is going to be to hire other people, which requires a bigger business requires us thinking bigger about our business. And I remember when I started hiring people on my team, I was really nervous about that. Because I felt pressured. I felt this big pressure that like, Oh my gosh, this family is now depending on me to provide this paycheck. Right? And that felt big and scary. But once I realized, oh my gosh, if I can hire this person for 30 hours a week, that means I went from just my 30 hours a week to now we have 60 hours a week of people working on this mission. Oh, wow. Now it doesn't feel as hard. I'm it's not feeling like it's all on me. I have people who are supporting me. And that's the only way that we can exponentially get more time. It's not to just be as productive as possible, right? Because there's a limit, right? productivity will only take you so far. And again, the research shows that once you hit about 35 hours a week, you are pretty much tapped out your brain is not going to work as well. You're not going to be as creative, you're not going to get as much done. There's like a point once you hit 35 hours a week where we have limited return on the time that we're putting in, right. So we have to build in that support. And if we don't then it leads to the other major component of entrepreneurial poverty, which is lack of energy.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:48
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Racheal Cook 24:15
And I know you've talked about this, Kate, we are in the middle of a nother epidemic of burnout. Yeah, massive burnout. And this is one of the biggest reasons I think women end up giving up on their business, or they feel like it's just too much to try to grow beyond six figures is because they they equate growing the business with working harder. Right. And it's not about that. Exactly. It's not about working harder. If we don't figure out how to build our business in a way that I always talk with my clients. That is creating assets in the business that then do the work for you. If we can do that, then we won't be able to grow and then everything will depend on our efforting. And if everything is depending on our efforting, well, then what do you do when I mean, these are things that have happened to me in the past month, your kid gets sick and wants you to stay home and watch movies with them because they don't feel good. You get a call from your mom who's in her late 60s, and she fell and needs you to meet her at the ER, because now they've got to do X rays and make sure she didn't break her head. Like this happened to me in the last month? How do you keep up with all of those things? If you don't have energy reserves to do it? You can't. And chances are, each and every one of us are going to have something that's going to require the energy of doing things that aren't related to business. And we can't do that if we're tapped out if we're burned out. We're not going to have those reserves.
Kate Kordsmeier 25:47
Yeah. Okay, this is so important. And I'm so glad we're talking about all of this. And my first thought is, you know, yes, this is exactly why I actually created the program that I just launched this past month. We're recording this in March. So I'm not sure when this is going to air yet but the incubator because it was exactly about this energy reserves thing, and that growing your business does not mean working harder. And so one of the ways that I teach how to do this is by using evergreen funnels, to sell your things stop live launching, stop having to I love the way you said like more effort in no step effort in your business. Like you can create these things that happen in the background on autopilot without you having to be there really ever, but certainly not on a day to day basis. Certainly not having to show up live and plan all of the you know it, there's so much that goes into live launches. So this is one of the ways that I think is kind of a solution to this burnout issue. But I'd love to hear what you think some great like, how can we build up these energy reserves? What does that look like?
Racheal Cook 26:54
Yeah, it's so funny, because this past year really drove the point home to me, and I don't know if this happened to you in your community. But I found that I've always been talking about prioritizing self care to my clients, because I find women generally don't we generally, you know, we don't do it until we are like, totally hitting the floor exhausted. And we need to like tap out. So I've been talking a lot about this this year to the point where my clients, they're like you're the self care CEO, all you tell us to do is like go rest and prioritize rest. We're talking so much about burnout and the impacts of burnout. And I think there's a lot that needs to happen in order to make sure you don't get to that point, right. So the first thing is, we have to start looking at our business as a whole and make sure that there's infrastructure in place. But I often find is people who are only focused on one aspect of their business, and they're not thinking about the other areas of their business. So often, we're focused a lot on, we hear the most honestly about marketing and sales we hear the most about, here's how to grow your business, you're going to do all this marketing, you're going to put this system in place, you're going to have like evergreen, and launches and funnels and all these things. And those are great. But those alone aren't enough. We also have to think about what does our operations look like? How are we going to effectively deliver what we have promised, right. And this is where I see a lot of bottlenecks happen for a lot of businesses, they get the Evergreen engine in place, it's going really well. But then they end up with bottlenecks on the operation side, because they're overwhelmed with too many clients, right. And we have to remember that for each client relationship, there is an increase in overhead, even if it's a scalable offer, even if it's a self study offer, you will still have people emailing you in asking questions, you're still gonna have to take care of each of those clients. It might not be as much as if it was a one on one product or service. But even then Customer service is more service is real, and it can make or break your business. And if you're constantly finding yourself, where your team does not know how to handle these things, without asking you, they keep coming back to you to make decisions or to say how should we handle this? How should we handle that? That is a major operations problem. Right? That means then there's something maybe in the delivery of that program or product that needs to be fixed. It might mean we need to train our team better and stop defaulting to like outsourcing for $10 an hour to answer questions in your inbox and actually get someone who's going to be a useful part of your team and can take that role on 100% and answer 90% of right farming. It's
Kate Kordsmeier 29:49
almost like the difference of contractors versus employees where I always really prefer working with employees who are like full time team members because they are involved in it. aspects of the business. And so they're able to answer questions in a way that somebody who's just contracted out 10 hours a week, whatever it is, they're not attending your team meetings, they don't know what's going on in the back end. So they get questions. And most of them they're like,
Racheal Cook 30:15
I don't know, they don't know what's happening. Right. And that's one of the problems I see with especially the rise of like online business is there's been this whole four hour workweek, you know, mythology, and it is mythology, I just want to be really clear, it is mythology. If your team is all individual, people who aren't communicating to each other, then it's going to lead to them all communicating to you, and you having to manage all those people. And that's another huge challenge we run into as we as we grow our teams is that we think, Oh, I'm gonna hire this person and this person and this person instead of free so much of my time up, but then we end up frustrated because oh, now I've got to manage all those people. Yeah,
Kate Kordsmeier 30:56
I made that mistake. For sure. Right.
Okay, great. This
is gonna be awesome. I hired a copywriter, I hired an Instagram person, I hired a customer service person, like I hired all these people. Now I don't have to do all this stuff. Problem solved. And then it was like, slow your roll. Now they're all coming to you at all hours, day with questions and decisions. And I realized, like, now, yes,
Racheal Cook 31:18
I've delegated the work. But I'm just like the decider. That's all I do all day is make more decisions and answer questions. So then it was like, Okay, now I need to hire an operations manager to come in. And they're going to manage this team, because I can't do it and, and grow the business. And it's, it's not even just the management of it. It's making sure those people have ownership of their role, right. And the clarity, is there around what is the vision for the business? What are we actually doing? Like a lot of those questions get answered if they truly feel ownership, and they truly understand what you are focused on. But that's something that often I find we as the CEO, as the founder, it's all up here, right? It's all in our brain. And we don't communicate it very effectively to everybody else on the team.
Kate Kordsmeier 32:07
And if it's so hard to download your brain to your team, it's,
Racheal Cook 32:11
it's so hard, but it is a skill set we all need to embrace. So my red flag for this, and you might see this outside of your business. My red flag for this is if you're hiring people and firing them very quickly, like if you are churning through virtual assistants, then chances are it's not about them being wrong fit. It's about you not knowing how to lead them. If you're churning through designers, or copywriters, or anybody in your team, and you're just like, they're not getting it. They're not giving me the work. I want blah, blah, blah, and you're just constantly churning through people. Chances are the common denominator in this whole equation is you. And it's time to look at your leadership. And are you actually looking at, okay, how am I setting these people up for success? Do I have an onboarding process? Am I providing training? Are they really able to get to know the business? Do I have these things in place? I remember, I kind of was against these at first because it felt so corporate and had been so burned by corporate, I was like, I'm not doing any of these things. But then I sat down, and I actually created a whole onboarding training for my new team members. And there's a really great book, I can't remember the name of it, but they talked about the Netflix culture deck. And that was like, Oh, this makes so much sense to me. So I started putting together just like, I would create a training for an online program, I created a training for my team. And I said, this is who we are. This is our mission. This is our vision. These are our clients. And I shared all the information, all the stats about our clients, here are the programs, here's each program and what it is what it's about, go read all the sales pages, go view the whole program, get familiar with it, here's our core values. And here's how we act them out. Here's all of these different components that were in my head. And until I actually put it all in one place. And literally just acted like this is a training for my team, just like a training for my clients. Then it became Oh, I can get them up to speed so much faster. And they felt more confident because they're like, Oh, I understand what we're focused on what the priorities are, how we are to show up as a team. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 34:28
And it is kind of painful in the beginning, because you're so desperate for the help and you just want them to get started and like just okay, just hit the ground running. But it's so much better when you take even just a week. But
Racheal Cook 34:42
ideally, you know, like 90 days of doing this and not that you have to wait 90 days before you give them any assignments but like that you're still onboarding them and training them and that's the slow startup. So that like, what's the expression like slow as smooth Smooth as fast. Yep, exactly. And these are the things that I find a lot of times we don't want to pause and do, because it feels like what should I just throw them in? No, if you just throw them in, you're gonna start churning through people, again and again. So a huge area that I think we have to think about as we're growing the operation side, the team side, there's also a lot of financial things we need to be thinking about, if you don't have a good financial and legal team, especially once your six figures and beyond, like that needs to become a priority. Because at that level, there is more at risk. You know, and I have had this happen, I'm sure you've had this happen, you start to experience, your first client who takes the program you ran and then decides they're gonna go run the exact same client, the exact same program, I literally had to send a very strongly worded email to a former client, who had literally ripped off my entire SEO retreat verbatim. And I found out that she was selling it and I was like, nope, we're not doing this. I'm not playing games with this. This is my intellectual property, this is my asset. But if I didn't have the right legal protections in place, then I'm not really able to pursue that and make sure that my intellectual property is being taken care of. Right? Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 36:22
Yes. And so when you say having a financial and legal team, I assume and correct me if I'm wrong here. These aren't necessarily full time employees. These are usually people like you have a lawyer who you tell me how you would recommend this, this setup for people
Racheal Cook 36:38
who are like, how do I get a team like that? Yeah, this is the stage where I have a, an agreement with my lawyer, I'm on retainer. That way, I can ask questions and get feedback, and they review all the things, all the terms and conditions, all the agreements, please stop swiping agreements from your friends, that will not protect you. And this is a pet peeve of mine, when I see people in like a group, and they're like, anybody have an agreement for an independent contractor or VA, I'm like, please don't use the thing you took off the internet, because it might not hold up. And if it won't hold up, then it's worthless. Right? So those are, we need to have a lawyer on call. And luckily, there's a lot of lawyers who, because of Honestly, this explosion in small businesses coming into the world, there's a lot of people now who are like, yeah, just put, I'm on retainer, you pay me a flat rate for the year. Here's what you get for that. And it makes it really easy to work with them. Same thing with a great financial team. I have somebody who is a CPA, but he really serves as my CFO, like, I can go to him and we talk quarterly, he's set up all sorts of things in my business to make sure that I'm paying myself and taking advantage of all the different tax savings, I can take advantage of making sure I'm structured correctly. I'm always surprised when I find people who are starting to make money in their business, and they're still operating under like a sole proprietorship, a DBA. They've never actually gone out and set up an LLC, or they might even need to restructure an LLC filing as an escort. Yeah, if those things are over your head, and you're hearing me say those and you're like, What is she talking about? These are legal ways that you can protect yourself. So that if somebody, let's say, you have a client who's upset, and they decide to sue you, if you are not set up as an LLC, or some corporate structure, they can go after your personal assets, which includes your house, your retirement savings, your investments, but if you set up the right structure, then it protects your personal assets. And that's really important. You don't have the right tax set up, then you are likely paying way more in taxes than you need to. And there's a lot of things that we can be doing that minimize how because small business owners pay a lot in taxes. Yeah, it's just the way it is. But you can pay yourself in different ways that will make it more lucrative for you. And then you're not having such a huge tax bill at the end of the year. Right. You never know if you don't get the right people on the team. And, again, this is the mindset thing. You have to be willing to just ask questions and not feel like Oh, I feel so embarrassed that I don't you're not a CPA, you're not a lawyer. Just ask the questions like, Hey, I don't understand this. Can you explain it to me? And honestly,
Kate Kordsmeier 39:34
I've never had anybody judge me for asking the question. In fact, usually when I ask questions, yeah, my fancy CPAs and lawyers and everybody are just like, wow, that was like, most people don't ask questions. Like, I'm really impressed. And I'm like, oh, because basically I just told you that I'm ignorant about this, and you're impressed. So that's a good lesson for me to like, just ask the question.
Racheal Cook 39:58
Yeah, I find that there's a lot Have, especially for women, it comes back to that whole Good girl syndrome, right? We just feel like, well, they're the expert. I shouldn't question anything, I should just go along with it. But if we aren't going to question things, then we won't really understand if we're getting a good answer if it's the right strategy. I've even found, I mean, so many times I've talked to women, I have several clients who come to me and they're like, we start talking about their financials, we start looking at their p&l, and they're like, well, I don't understand this. And I don't understand that. I'm like, have you talked to your CPA? Oh, they're not very proactive. I only really talked to them once a year. And I'm like, I'm on, get a new one. Because these are people you should be in constant communication with, especially around big decisions in your business, especially when you're looking at hiring someone, especially when you're looking at a big investment into your business. We need to have those people.
Kate Kordsmeier 40:59
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sometimes you don't even have to have your business revenue grow. It's just restructuring the way that things happen. And I mean, I am a big fan of profit first
Racheal Cook 43:01
and me too super fan.
Kate Kordsmeier 43:04
And I have friends who like this past year, one of my really good friends, she was in debt, she had no idea like she you know, it was like, I don't know if my business is gonna make it. And she started working with a profit first coach. And lo and behold, without her business making any more money than it's ever been, she got out of debt, she's paying herself more, she's putting more insane, like she didn't even need more money, she just needed to do things differently with the money that she had. And it was amazing to see the results that came from just doing things differently.
Racheal Cook 43:38
And I think this is so important for women to understand. And again, this is why the money convert, we need to just have more money conversations about understanding how these things work. Because statistically, there's something like 44 45% of us are the breadwinners for our families. So our ability to go out there and pay ourselves really well directly impacts whether or not you're gonna have to take out a loan for your kid to go to college, or if you're going to be able to make sure they graduate debt free. Yeah, they're you're able to go buy the house you want to buy or if you're gonna have to do something smaller because you're not able to show that you make enough money to buy that house right.
Kate Kordsmeier 44:25
On the flip side, though, I do just want to say a lot of people listening might be brand new to business, maybe you've not even made $1,000 yet, do not rush to go out and file as an LLC or an S corp like get, you know, have somebody that you can talk to about these things, but I do see people like the first step that they want to do before they even like publish their first blog post is file an LLC and then like, kind of putting the cart before the horse a little bit there.
Racheal Cook 44:54
Yeah, I agree some of these things. I tend to see this with people who are super conservative and cautious. Financially in general, like they, they're very risk adverse. And I would say for those of you who are risk adverse me too high, I don't want to lose anything that I'm creating or building or saving for. That said, I do think when you're first getting started, your biggest priority just has to be not only making that first $1,000. But putting yourself out there, because what I tend to see happen is we get started, and we'll use all these things to play like we're doing business, yes, aren't actually doing business. So how does this show up? When I started, my business just showed up, I was talking to people, they're like, I'm getting the perfect logo, I'm working on my branding. I'm getting certified, and some extra training of some thing that totally unnecessary. I'm taking all these online courses, I've signed up for this extra certification. And all of those are things you know, cool, those will all come in time. But those are not actual barriers to getting your first client for your first 10 clients
Kate Kordsmeier 46:02
totally and tinkering with my website. My sidebar isn't perfect yet.
Racheal Cook 46:08
Yeah, you don't even need a website to get your first 10 clients. I'm just to be as clear like, and I have seen this over and over again. I know people who've gotten their first 10 clients, they have no online presence, they have nothing you know what they have? They have their email, they have their phone. And they're willing to use those two things, to start getting in touch with people and saying, Hey, here's what I'm offering. Can I help you? Or do you know someone I can help. And that is such a simple, simple first step. But it like I have a client right now, I just recorded an interview that went live on my podcast. And she came to me, she lost her business in a divorce, starting completely over in her 50s. And she came to me and she's like, I know what I want to do. I know what I want to offer. I have no audience. I don't, I don't really know the first steps. And she had 30 years of experience in corporate she had a great network to tap into. So I was like, you need to tap into that existing network. Because if they aren't the perfect client, they will know the perfect client, yes, just start talking with them. So she started using her LinkedIn profile, which previously she had never really thought about. But she said the minute she changed her description on her LinkedIn profile, and then started posting, she started using her LinkedIn, like a blog, or did posting content on there. And talking about what her topic was, what her expertise is, she instantly started having a point of connection and conversation with people who became clients. And in six weeks, she made over $100,000 in booked revenue last by starting to tap into the people she already knew. And the cool thing about that is that, like you said, the people that you already know, they want to help you they you know, they want to see you succeed. So even if they're not right for whatever it is that you're offering, they're more likely to say, you know, this is doesn't fit for me, but I know somebody who would be perfect for this. And I think this is where we I think a lot of people are nervous, because we've all had the the direct message from Facebook, from someone went to high school with, he's like, hey, girlfriend, I want to let you know what I'm up to these days, you want to have coffee, and then they're going to talk to you about, you know, the MLM that they've joined. There are better ways to do that, for sure. But I think that's what turns a lot of people off. They're like, I don't want to pitch to my family and friends. And I'm like, No, no, you're not pitching to your family and friends, you're not pitching to you know your network, you are letting them know what you're up to. Right? If you would send these people a Christmas card, if you would invite them to your wedding, if they were to get a baby announcement, why would you not tell them about this exciting new thing in your life, which is a new business that you're launching. And here's how they can support you. They can connect you with people who might be a good fit for what you are doing. They can introduce you to people who could be great collaborators are great JV partners. Those are things that they're happy to do because they want to help often like nine times out of 10 they want to help if you tell them the most effective way to help you.
Kate Kordsmeier 49:25
Yeah, one thing that's coming up for me too, as we're talking is that you know, a lot of the reason that we are we're doing the busy work to make us feel like we're working but we're not actually showing up. I think a lot of it does come down to not feeling safe to show up not feeling confident to show up. And so I don't I mean, there is some aspect of like sometimes you just got to, you know, grit your teeth and bear it and just power through. But I also think and this goes back to patriarchy, stress disorder that you mentioned, like there's healing to be done and there's things that you can do to take care of yourself too. heal your central nervous system to heal any trauma that you have, whether it's big T or little T, and that that's really important to that. It's not just like, just do it anyway, do it scared, like, there is some of that. But I think it needs to go hand in hand with like, figure out what you know, tune in, why is it? Why don't you feel safe? Why don't you feel Why do you feel afraid to be seen or to talk to your friends and family even about your business?
Racheal Cook 50:29
Yeah. And I think this is one of those things where, you know, it's baby steps, it's, it's the practice, if you are feeling scared to even send that email to even make that call, then we need to just take a little bit at a time, remind ourselves that these people generally want the best for you. None of us start our business and then jump on to like a TED talk stage immediately. Right? Generally, we're all working our way up to that. And reaching out to people, you know, does feel scary, posting things for the first time on social media, it absolutely can feel scary. I tend to be a you know, just rip the band aid off type of person, like, let's just do it. And what is my incentive for doing it aside? That they might actually say, Yes, I will. I'm totally not about bribing myself. I'm gonna be honest, if there's something I'm resisting, I will think about, is there something I really want, that I want to do or experience or have? Whatever, and I will make that my goal. Like when I do these 100 emails out to people in my network? That is a big deal. It feels a little scary to me. When I finished that, I am going to book myself a massage and a facial. Yeah. And then I just kept
Kate Kordsmeier 51:51
doing that you're rewarding yourself for it's not the result of what happened. You know, it's not that you've got 10 clients, it's that you've pitched 100 people.
Racheal Cook 52:01
Exactly. So I use, I use Bing myself quite a lot. I love it. Sometimes when I'm in resistance, or avoidance about something, it works, it works. It works for me. Also, this is where having an accountability partner or coach can be really helpful. Right? This is one thing I see with my clients in my inside the CEO collective like they're in small group masterminds, and they will cheer each other on. And it's that group, camaraderie that really helps them break through, like the internal resistance, because everybody else is like, you can do it. You've got it. You've got these little cheerleaders in your pocket, right early there to support you. And when you don't do it, they're like, okay, what's going on? How can we help you?
Kate Kordsmeier 52:45
Yeah, totally. That's why I love like group coaching programs and masterminds and things where there are there is this community element to it. So important. Okay, one of the other things you mentioned, I know we're coming up on time here. So I want to make sure we get this in is about hiring this support. And that you mentioned like you really can't, it's not about productivity, sometimes you just need an extra set of hands to get things, you know, moving forward. So what do you say to women who maybe they've even hit the six figures, but they're like, I don't have any extra money? How am I going to pay for this support?
Racheal Cook 53:21
Yeah, we got to shift the mindset there from I don't have the money right now to if I hire this person, how much time does that free up? And where am I going to put that in revenue generating tasks. And I think about this support on my business team and support in my home support team. So when I started my business, I knew that I would need support at home, that I would need help. Also, I had twins about a year and a half after I started my business. So I got pregnant, really soon after, and then surprise twins. So I knew I would need support. And I was like, Okay, if I'm going to have a babysitter come here three mornings a week, and it's going to cost me 200 bucks a week, $250 a week, whatever it was, what do I need to be doing to make sure I can make that money. So it turned out, it was only like one client, I needed one client in order to pay for having a babysitter. Oh, that was easy for me. I can go after and do that. Same thing with hiring people in your business. Like sometimes there's investments you want to make, whether it's someone on your team, I know there have been times where I'm like, Oh, I really want to work with this coach, like, who has a specific expertise that I wanted. I really want to hire this one person to work on this project, and have just looked at it and say, okay, it's gonna cost me 5000 or $10,000. How many clients do I need to get? How many things do I need to sell in order to do that? If it's someone on my team, that's going to be an ongoing expense that I'm literally like, Okay, how many more clients do I need in order to cover that and then Stay focused on client generation, like on getting people in the door and selling. And often it's not necessarily that it's gonna take a ton more time. It's just more dedicated time. Right? Totally.
Kate Kordsmeier 55:12
Yeah, totally. Okay, love it. Rachel, this has been such a good conversation, I could talk to you forever. We'll have to have you back on another time. So in the meantime, where can everybody find you and learn more about what you're up to?
Racheal Cook 55:25
Yes, my favorite place to hang out online is Instagram. So if you enjoyed this conversation, I would love to hear from you take a quick screenshot of your podcast app and share it on your Instagram stories. tag me @Rachealcook tag @Katekordsmeier, let us know what your biggest aha or insight was. And I'd love to hear more. And you can also find me on my website, Rachealcook.com, and I've put together a special incentive for you to come check me out. I have a business growth checklist. No matter where you are in this business journey. There are certain things that you probably want to make sure you have in place infrastructure wise so that it is sustainable and scalable. And you can find that at Rachealcook.com/sws.
Kate Kordsmeier 56:08
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Racheal Cook 56:10
Thank you so much for having me, Kate.
Kate Kordsmeier 56:17
Wait a minute.
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.