There comes a point in your business where you need to ask yourself an important question.
Is this a hobby, a job or a business?
When I looked deeply into that question, I realised I’d been treating my business as a hobby for many years (even though it was going well financially). It wasn’t until I started working with my first business coach that I shifted my mindset and made some dramatic leaps in the business.
And by dramatic, I mean, I grew my business from six to seven figures in only four years.
This was an achievement in itself, but what I’m most proud of is that I achieved that growth while still spending quality time with my family, honouring my own needs, and only working an average of 30 hours a week.
In this episode, I’m sharing exactly how I scaled from six to seven figures in four years without burning out.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- My 4 Keys to Success (and how to implement them)
- How a mindset shift took my business to the next level
- How to design and build a business that is sustainable long-term
- Why staying in your Zone of Genius will help your business grow
- Why I regularly ask myself “What would Richard Branson do?”
Welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. I'm your host, Bridget Esslemont, intuitive business strategist and mentor. As the founder of Biddy Tarot, I turned my love for Tarot into an abundant seven figure business. The secret to my success? Making intuition and strategy my entrepreneurial superpower. Now, I'm inviting you to do the same. In this weekly podcast, I'll be sharing advice, tools and real life examples from some of the best intuitive entrepreneurs to show you how you can trust your intuition, align with your purpose, and create a positive impact through your work. Let's make it happen.
Welcome to season two of the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. In this 10 episode season, you're going to hear more about creating and nurturing your dream team with Angela Laria, becoming an authentic and courageous leader with Chantel Bruinsma, aligning your business chakras with Ashley Levy, showing up as the real you on social media with Taylor Ray, and slowing down so you can love up on your business and your life with Jules Parker and Jenna Black. Plus, we've got three special episodes with just you and me as we dive much deeper into these juicy topics. It's a real treat and I'm sure you're going to love it. So let's go.
Hello, and welcome to the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. I'm so excited to be talking with you today, just you and me, talking about how to scale your business from six to seven figures without burning out. In this episode, I'm going to be sharing a little bit about my journey plus what I feel are those real keys to success, to being able to scale your business and grow it without going crazy.
So, I started really my journey with Biddy Tarot when I quit my corporate job in 2012, and by 2013, yes, the year later, I'd hit the six figure mark in income for the business. In just four years after that, by 2017, I had reached seven figures in annual revenue. Now, here in 2019, I'm holding the vision for Biddy Tarot to reach $3 million Aussie in revenue by 2021. Yep, you heard it here first being held accountable. I wanted to share this with you because it is a reflection of the rapid growth that I've seen in this business.
While it has been rapid growth, I also want you to know that during this time I've been present for my family. I pick my kids up from school, I work less than 30 hours a week, and for the most part being a working mum, I'm able to stay calm and balanced. Throughout this journey I feel that I've stayed really true to who I am, and I believe it is so possible to be able to grow a highly successful, financially successful, organization while still maintaining you in that process, and still being true to you and your sole purpose and what you're really here to do.
So, today I want to talk about what it really takes to scale a business from six to seven figures without burning out, without going completely crazy, without ending up hating your business altogether. Today I'm going to be sharing just four of my secrets to success, really, four things that I feel have been incredibly important on this journey. My hope is that you will be able to take at least one little nugget from today and apply it to your business to support you in growing your business to that next level. So, just as an overview, here's what I'm going to be talking about. One, how I increased value without increasing my time. Two, how I built my list with qualified leads. Three, I adopted a CEO mindset, and four, I grew my dream team.
So, let's dive into this first one around increasing value without increasing time. Now, if you're in a services based business right now, then you know that there's going to come a point where you will max out, you have no more time that you can give, that you can trade for dollars. I came to this realization quite early on, probably around that 2013, 2014 mark, where I realized that services couldn't be the only thing in my business.
I knew that I needed to start moving towards something that would be scalable so that I could continue the growth of the company, and at that point the scalable option was to do online classes, like paid online classes, I was doing master classes and I also started doing online courses. The master classes were really a way for me to be able to experiment and try, "Okay, what does it look and feel like if I do a one hour class ..." I don't, I think the price was $29, and I could make a couple of thousand dollars on these one hour masterclasses. And I thought, "Fantastic, this is good. All I need to do is invest my time in preparing for the class and running the class, and that means I can scale up my income to a couple of thousand dollars for each of these classes that I create." And then I started thinking, "Well, that was really fun and people are enjoying this, so I'm going to start building an online course."
My first course was a five week course, How to Learn Tarot, and in that course I think it had about 20 people sign up. Again, I saw this huge opportunity to start to invest my time into building what was effectively a product and knowing that this product had a high opportunity for scaling. That all that I needed to do was create the product and then, if we can attract more people, that this product was going to serve in a really positive and authentic way, then that was a perfect way of increasing value without increasing time. So, I had these master classes, the online courses going on.
I still didn't quite lose my grip though on the tarot reading services that I was providing. What I tried to do was I tried to increase my prices, but I got to a point where it started to feel really out of integrity for me. I think I was charging around $300 an hour, US, for a tarot reading, and while I absolutely value what I could offer my clients, I started to feel that it became a point at which my clients were so dependent on the specific answers that they needed, it just started to feel really out of alignment. So, I made a call to stop doing professional tarot readings. I think that might have taken a couple more years, so maybe around 2016, I made that call.
That's when I really did focus on those online courses. In 2016 in fact, that's when we open up the Biddy Tarot community, our membership site, and it's been amazing to see the growth of that as well, because this is another example of how you can increase value and revenue without necessarily increasing your time. 2016, we started with about 20 members in the community and now, what are we? September, 2019 as I'm recording this, we have over 1500 members in our community and half a million dollars in revenue that continues to grow. This annual revenue, it's crazy.
So that's my tip number one, is increase your value without increasing your time. And yes, that may mean that you need to shift your business model. It may mean that you need to shift the way that you are expressing yourself and your work. It may mean that you limit your services to just a few, a handful of clients and you charge a solid amount of money that still feels an integrity to you and the value that you offer, but that frees you up to then start investing in things like online courses, membership, eBooks, and so on.
All right, the second key to my success is building my email list with qualified leads. Okay, I have a number of conversations with business owners and we talk about the importance of the email list and they say, "Oh, okay, yeah, I know I've got to do a free opt in. I get it. I've got this meditation that I made up a few weeks ago and I think it'd be great." I'm like, "Okay, it sounds fantastic. However, let's work backwards. Let's start with the thing that you actually want to sell and figure out what is the opt in that's going to attract the people that most want that product or service that you have to sell."
That is an absolute game changer. When people start to see that free opt ins aren't just about finding any old free thing that you've got that you think could be fun or valuable ... Fun or valuable, certainly important. However, if you want to be highly strategic and you want to be in that place where you can scale your business, then it's important to work backwards from the thing that you actually want to sell. So when we create our free opt-ins now, it is very strategically aligned. We think about, what is the product that we want to sell, and then what's the one thing that's going to attract the right people who will want to use this product and want to get value out of it?
So as an example, we know that a lot of our traffic comes through our tarot card meanings pages, and we know that people are looking for how to read the tarot cards when they come to these pages. So we offer a free keyword chart, and once you sign up for that keyword chart, you have the opportunity to enter our tarot program, Master The Tarot Card Meanings. It works beautifully. It means that we are attracting people who are interested and ready to learn to read tarot.
Now, the other thing with building our list, we're very lucky. Biddy Tarot, I think we're surpassed 6 million visitors a year to the website, so we have a ton of organic traffic. Not paid. Organic, free traffic. It is an absolute blessing. However, I know that that is not something that everyone has access to. So, if you're thinking about building your list, I would highly recommend paid ad traffic and Facebook ads in particular. It's something that we haven't done a lot of, but we're certainly starting to look at increasing our Facebook ads, and I would certainly recommend considering it for your business too, to really grow your list with qualified and relevant leads.
The other thing that we do with our list is we keep it very clean. By this I mean that if someone hasn't opened an email in three months, like no emails at all, then we remove them from the list. Of course, we send a couple of friendly emails to say that we're missing them and we'd love to have them back. But again, if they don't open the emails, we just take them off the list. So now we have, I don't know, 140,000 people on our list now, but we know that they're also actively engaged with us. While we could probably have had 300, 500,000 on the list right now, I love that we know that our people are engaged and interacting with us.
So, that's some of my advice around building your email list with qualified leads. Make sure you've got a strategically aligned opt-in, consider using paid ad traffic, so Facebook ads and so on, and keep a really clean list. You may not, like, you may feel a little bit frustrated that, "Oh, you know, it's not growing as fast as my friend's is," and that may simply be because you are just keeping your most active and engaged subscribers.
All right, so we've covered increasing your value without increasing your time. We've looked at how to build your list with qualified leads. Now the third sort of secret to success, as I've been reflecting on how he scaled Biddy Tarot from six to seven figures, is adopting a CEO mindset, and this is of course very personal to me. So, when I first started Biddy Tarot, it was all about just a little hobby I was doing as I was studying at university.
This is way back to 1999 when I first hand coded my website. For those first sort of 10 even up to sort of 12 or 13 years, even after I had left my corporate job, to be honest, I was still in that hobby mindset. To me it was just this fun thing that I was doing that just happened to be earning some extra money on the side. It really wasn't until probably about 2013 when I engaged my first business coach, and she really helped me to understand that I was the owner of a business and it was incredibly important for me to develop my business skills. So, it couldn't only be about me being a great tarot reader, I needed to be a great business owner. And that started to shift my mindset into this CEO mindset.
So what's that? What do I mean by a CEO mindset? Instead of being kind of the expert or creating a job for yourself, you start to step into this CEO role, which is, how do I build and design a business that is going to be sustainable in the long term? So yes, how do I be an expert and authority in tarot? You know, this is for me. But at the same time I knew I needed to build and grow a business that was going to be sustainable, and so I needed to invest in developing those business skills. It also meant that I needed to have a different mindset as I went about my tasks and activities and projects.
I would ask myself often, "Would Richard Branson be doing this? Would Oprah Winfrey be doing this? Is this what Beyonce would actually do? Would she actually say this?" And so, I would step into these roles of entrepreneurs and leaders who I admired and thought, "Right, like what would it take to be like them? And would they be getting caught up in customer emails that were about, I didn't get my download." Like I cannot imagine Richard Branson getting into those kinds of emails. This really just shifted, again, how I focus my time. Also, it helped me see that I would be supporting my business by actually removing myself from the business.
I can tell you in the last few years that has certainly been a focus for me. Little by little, I keep bringing on new people so that they can take more and more of the role that I have so that for me, as the CEO, the owner, the founder of my business, I can focus on holding the vision for my business, not getting caught up in day to day operational things. Because I can't offer my best value when I'm in that space. I offer my best value when I am thinking about vision and to some extent strategy. I'm even now having my team take care of strategies. So this is all part of the CEO mindset.
Something else that has started to become even more apparent to me is this concept around bootstrapping, and that bootstrapping will only serve you up until a point in time. So, bootstrapping is fantastic for you to get your business up and running, to stay profitable and as you find new sources of revenue and so on. So, bootstrapping might look like hiring cheaper virtual assistants from India or the Philippines for example, who can get the job done, may need a little bit of extra supervision, but will ultimately get the job done as you need it to. Bootstrapping might look like using free tools, such as the free Slack version or the free Trello version.
I'm kind of laughing because we've been using the free Slack and free Trello right up until now. I've been resisting it so much, I mean thinking, "Oh, why should I pay for something that's ultimately free?" And yet, I found myself having to do so many workarounds in order to retain the free plan. I'm thinking, "Hang on a second, we are a seven figure business right now. So why are we still in a bootstrapping mindset?" So, this is what I want you to know. Bootstrapping will serve you up until a point, and it's that CEO mindset. If you're adopting that that you all start to realize when bootstrapping no longer serves you or your business.
All right, so the final thing that I want to share with you today, and in terms of being able to scale from six to seven figures, is about growing your dream team. I have to tell you this has been pivotal in being able to scale my business from six to seven figures, and even from five figures onwards. So, 2013 was actually when I hired my first assistant onto the team. Since then, I've probably ... Goodness, actually I don't know how many people I've hired. What I do know is that now in September, 2019, we have 19 people on our team. So, it's grown from one person in 2013 to 19 people six years later.
The secret to success really with the dream team is to think about ... Right, it really is, what would it look like for you to have a dream team given what you have envisioned for the next six to 12 months? Who do you need on your team to support you in manifesting that vision? I tell you, I do this probably every six months or so and I make sure that my team is aligned with where we're taking the business. It enables me to see the gaps or to also see the aspects that maybe I'm working on that I'm not necessarily bringing my best game to and I want to bring in an expert.
So, it can start small, it can start with, "Right. I just need a helping pair of hands, someone who can answer my emails and schedule appointments in my calendar. All right, now I need someone to manage my social media account or just at least uploads and things into my blog or upload videos. All right, now I'm really realizing I need a content marketing manager ..." Little by little your team starts to grow and you start to feel that increased level of support.
Now, the reason why this is so important for scaling and growing your business in a sustainable way is that you can only do so much. I've seen it particularly with business owners who are earning probably around a two to 300,000 in their business, and they're reaching a point where, again, they're trying to grow the business. They're trying to get their head into the strategy and the vision, and yet they're still wrapped up in these smaller, day to day operational aspects of the business. They struggle because they can't get ahead. They can't move things forward because they're still stuck in the detail. That is when I believe it is absolutely critical to be building up your team.
Look, I totally get it. Sometimes it can be a little bit daunting because you think, "Well, where am I getting the money to hire these people?? That's where that bootstrapping model can come in. You can start with lower cost resources who may be outside of your country, or maybe even friends or people from your community who are willing to work at a lower rate because they support your vision. Then, over time, you can start to increase your reach in terms of bringing on more expertise into the business and not just a helping pair of hands, but more expertise into the business. That's really how you grow that green team, the dream team. I mean, of course, there's so much to growing the dream team, but I really just want to plant the seed here that it is such a critical factor for growing and scaling your business without you completely burning out as a result.
So, just as a quick recap, these four keys to success, or to my success as I've grown Biddy Tarot from a six to seven figure business in just four years, is increasing value without increasing time, building my list with qualified leads, adopting a CEO mindset and also growing my dream team. Now, if this resonates with you and you are looking at ways that you can scale your business from six to seven figures, then I'd love to invite you to join the wait list for my upcoming Intuitive Entrepreneur Mastermind. So, starting in early 2020 I will be curating a group of amazing entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their businesses from six to seven figures and who are really ready to take aligned action in doing that.
So, this is about blending our intuition with business strategy, because, hopefully you know by now, that is where I believe the absolute magic is. That is what creates strategic advantages for our business. So, I'll be leading a coaching and mastermind program with around 10 to 12 entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale their business while also keeping that connection and alignment with their soul's purpose and the core essence of who they truly are. Because I believe when we match these two together, we create so much success and I so want to support you on that journey.
So if this sounds like it is in alignment with you and you are currently generating at least a hundred K in your business per year, then sign up for the wait list. It's [email protected]/mastermind, that's B-R-I-G-I-T.me/mastermind, and join the list and you'll be the first to know as soon as we start opening up the applications for the mastermind. I really cannot wait for you to join me.
All right, thank you so much. I hope today has been super helpful for you and I can't wait to connect with you again very, very soon. Thanks and goodbye.
Thank you for joining me for today's episode of the Intuitive Entrepreneur podcast. If you loved this episode, please leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. It really helps to get the word out and, of course, I read every single comment. Now. If you're an intuitive entrepreneur with a desire to build a business fueled by purpose, passion, and profit, then you're invited to join me and an intimate group of female business owners in the Intuitive Entrepreneurs Mastermind. All you need to do is add your name to the wait list and you'll be the first to know when applications are open. So head on over to brigit.me/mastermind, that's B-R-I-G-I-T.me/mastermind. I'll see you there and bye for now.
Links and Resources Mentioned