I always tell people about the time I danced on stage at the Sydney Opera House, but I wasn’t being paid to dance – it was one of those many adventures of life. We were at a concert and the band said everybody is dancing in the aisles and you’re standing up on your seat. Why don’t you come up on stage? And I was like I am not going to pass up this opportunity. And that’s actually how I approach life and business. If there’s something that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, I’m going for it. So I wouldn’t say it led to me teaching entrepreneurs but it’s my approach to life.
What did lead me to start my business was this – I was in corporate America for what I like to call the dirty dozen – about 13 years. I wanted to do my own thing but at the time I didn’t have an idea for what that might be. So I bought a franchise about 12 years ago. The purpose of the business was to help people buy and start franchises, which sounds a little multi-levelish but it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time educating mostly corporate people on this is what it takes to start a business. You can buy an existing business, you can start a business from scratch or you can own a franchise. I spent 7 years speaking and helping people find and start franchises, wrote a book on how to buy a franchise, started the largest franchise expo in the Midwest because I was living in Minnesota at the time.
Then I hit a wall. After I wrote my book I was like well now what am I going to do. I can keep helping people get into business, but it was becoming a bit of a yawner for me. And writing the book stirred up some additional creative juices. I really felt this need to create. So I had this restlessness going on and I was watching all of my clients that had created and started these businesses struggle with sales. You buy a franchise and theoretically everything is dished up to you in a box. You have the company name, you have the logo, you have the business systems and processes – basically everything is spelled out for you and all you have to do is execute. But the one thing I saw my clients struggle with even though those things were done, is they struggled with selling. And I was like,I can teach them how to sell and so all of these things were converging at the same time.
I walked away from that business to start The Biz Truth and created a sales training program for service based entrepreneurs.
So, be a franchisee or be a solopreneur business – it’s different for everybody and that’s the beauty of it. Actually that’s a big part of my message today. Don’t do it just because other people are doing it. There’s not a one size fits all solution for people out there.
For someone who is looking to be self-sufficient and wants to create something or do something on their own but doesn’t necessarily have the ideas or take the higher risk – and franchises are actually just as risky as starting your own business, although I don’t think a franchisor would admit that – but if you screw up, the stakes are a lot higher because you’ve paid a lot of money to get into the franchise – so it’s different for everybody. I really think people that are cut out for franchising are great at towing the company line and are great executors but don’t necessarily feel inclined to do things their own way, because they’ll be really unhappy if they’re stuck in a business model where they have to do things a certain way. And so it’s great for a lot of things and I think there are certain franchises that are good for investments. It really it depends on the situation.
For someone who wants to start something from scratch it’s usually because it’s born out of a passion you have around a certain topic, or for helping a certain group of people, or there is something bubbling up inside of you that’s driving that creation. Because I’ve done both, because I’ve owned a franchise and because I’ve started businesses from scratch, I know the difference between what those two felt like for me. What was great about starting a franchise for my first business was that it got me going. I learned a lot about business and metrics. I learned a ton from that business without having to create everything and create all of the marketing that went with it. That was all done. I paid for it dearly but it was done for me for the most part.
Starting my own business, that was really when I felt like I wanted to give birth to something. I really felt that need to create. Although I had done that to a degree by writing a book on how to buy a franchise while I still owned one, it wasn’t enough. I felt like there was something that was more expansive – a bigger message I wanted to share. I didn’t even know what it was at the time. I think it has evolved. That’s the other thing – we are always evolving as entrepreneurs. Where you are today does not mean that’s where you’re going to be tomorrow.
My initial message was you can sell, and you have to because if you’re in business you’re in sales. So that was my initial message. That’s what I started TheBizTruth on – that you have to do it, you don’t have an option. So I created a sales training program around that, I did private coaching, I did live events, I did all sorts of stuff around sales training. And what I realized as I got even more in my groove on doing this training is people would come to me with the same story – Carolyn, I don’t know how to sell. But I started seeing them differently.
Part of the reason people didn’t know how to sell is because they had a crappy business model. So I thought gosh, I spent 7 years helping people figure out the right business model for what they wanted their business to do for them. And I played a hand in the launch of over 100 businesses as a result of that, and I helped even more people stay away from franchises because that wasn’t the right thing for them. It was very natural to bring in the business model design into the sales training and so those two started coming together.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to simplify this for people because what I’m really known for now is helping entrepreneurs make sense of their business and how to do it. What I recommend now is having the entrepreneur look at the four D’s of business model design. The first D is Declaring what you want your business to do for you. The very first thing is why do you want a business in the first place and what do you want it to do for you? The reason for that is because if you’re not clear on that why would you even bother? We all know that running a business isn’t always a cake walk. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that can go into it so you darn well better set it up so that it serves you. So that’s the first thing.\
The second thing then is to Define what do you want your business to do for other people? And so first, what is it do for you? A lot of people think that sounds so selfish. You know what, get over yourself. So that second step is defining what you want your business to do for others and that’s getting really clear on who are they and what value do you deliver and what are you taking a stand on your behalf. That’s where the noble part of you can come in.
Once you have those two things really nailed down you come into the Design piece. This is where you come to decide how to package and price your services based on what you’ve declared you want your business to do for you and what you’ve defined it does for others. It starts making those decision points about what am I going to offer people? What’s that going to look like? How is that packaged? How is that priced? Where should I start? That really helps you design it and I’m talking a really great high level framework for how to do this.
The fourth D is Do. Okay so now you have the first three D’s down. Go out and do it. And like I said earlier, everything we do as entrepreneurs is constantly evolving. So if something changes in your life, let’s say you get pregnant, you have things going, you have everything designed the way you want it, your clients are happy and then you get pregnant. It’s like – woh, I’m a solo entrepreneur – how am I going to manage with another kid in the house? What do I want my life to look like now? And what do I want my business to do for me now? What’s it going to look like then? How do I change how I deal with people in order to accommodate that? So this can be a regularly evolving thing.
I have a free present around this very subject for Paycheck To Passion subscribers – it’s so good! If you go to TheBizTruth.com/4D, I do have a cheat sheet that walks you through that declaring what you want your business to do for you, defining who you’re doing it for, starting that design and then giving you some tips on how to go about doing it and what the repetition looks like of how you do it so it really gets you started with that process. So it’s very visual. It’s basically a one page map of looking at things – only the essentials into how to go about doing this for yourself.
I have a very big range of people that come to me – I do have some people who are just getting started. So for example I am working with a woman who is in my Evolve Accelerator who cured herself from cancer without going through chemo or radiation or anything like that. She did everything naturally. She did everything holistically and she wants to teach other people how to do it. So in her case she has an idea of what she wants to do and who she’s doing it for and we need to roll up our sleeves and buckle down on designing that business and making sure that she has her marketing strategy and sales strategy down. So that’s somebody coming with the idea but she’s unclear on how to bring it to life.
Then I have other people who have been in business for 20 years. They’ve been doing what they’ve been doing for a long time. But they hit a point where they say “I can’t keep doing business this way I want to leverage my time better – I want to make more money – Or – I feel called to share X with people – What does that look like?” It’s those two extremes and everything in between. What’s interesting is that we’re human and as entrepreneurs we always have ideas. We always have something new. So when you talk about this whole paycheck to passion thing, just because someone has been in business for a long time doesn’t that they don’t have a new passion that they want to profit from.
Where most people do wrong in their businesses is they copy what everybody else is doing thinking that’s what they should be doing. I think that’s so dangerous, whether they’re copying from a guru or they’re copying from a peer because it doesn’t work. It doesn’t take those first two D’s into account for sure. It’s fine for an experimentation standpoint. You can say well that worked or that didn’t work. Or this part I like but I didn’t like that part. That didn’t feel true to me. But how much time do you have to experiment?
Favorite Book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Favorite Resources: Evernote; Infusionsoft
Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest? Click here to download it.
And check out her live event in New York on Nov 7th – True 2014 – for women entrepreneurs – Details and registration can be obtained at thebiztruth.com/true/
Guest – Carolyn Herfurth – Founder of TheBizTruth.com
Carolyn Herfurth has walked on fire, danced on stage at the Sydney Opera House – and before founding The Biz Truth nearly 5 years ago – played a hand in the launch of over 100 businesses.
As a business and sales mentor, she’s obsessed with helping small businesses and start-ups like you gain self-trust so that you can do your business – and live your life – your way.
Her ground-breaking Evolve Accelerator, live events and private coaching supplies women entrepreneurs with the tools to generate immediate income and momentum – and equips you with the know-how to build a long-lasting, sustainable business that is fun and profitable for you.
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