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Revenue down 50% – A look behind the scenes at my business.

What would you do if your revenue was down 50% in one year? It’s really not a great feeling and many people probably wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing that publicly.

But that’s exactly what is happening this year in my business thus far and I want to peel back the layers for you and share with you exactly what is going on. I believe in being fully transparent, and my goal was to always share with you the REAL truth about business and this is the real truth in my business right now.

On today’s episode of The REAL Truth About Business, I am sharing with you…

  • Why I chose to change my business model this year.
  • What lessons I have learned from this shift.
  • What you should look out for and be mindful of.
  • What the remainder of 2023 looks like for my business.

My goal is always to be completely and fully transparent with you sharing every aspect of the entrepreneurial journey.

______________________

Join us inside the #100CoffeeChatsClub if you are looking for collaborative partnerships and relationships to grow your business. The #100CoffeeChatsClub meets weekly on Wednesdays at 12 pm EST. Your first visit is FREE! JOIN ME AT THE #100COFFEECHATSCLUB!

If we haven’t connected yet – I would LOVE to chat with you! Let’s share a virtual cup of coffee and you can tell me all about you and your business.

If you are ready to create a strategic plan to scale your business – Book your 90 Minute Strategic Planning Power Hour

To learn more about customized 1:1 business growth support packages, visit our website or email michelle@michelledenio.com

Transcript

Michelle (00:01.206)

Hey, hey, how is everybody doing? Welcome back to the real truth about business. Today's episode, I want to kind of peel back the layers a bit and get super vulnerable with you and share a little bit more about my business this year and just what's gone well, what's not maybe gone so great and just some different things

Here's the reality is that when I restarted this podcast and named it the real truth about business, my goal and my intention is to always share the real truth, right? And part of that is to share my truth with you and to be open and to be honest and to share all of the different things that I'm kind of going through, that I'm seeing, that I'm dealing with from client perspectives and everything else. And so one of the things

really that I think is important is kind of to do these behind the scenes debriefs of where things are at and what's going well and all the different things and just kind of to give you an idea of the journey, right? That's the thing. I was having a conversation with somebody the other day and I've talked about this a lot and I keep saying it is that business is a journey, right? It's always gonna be a journey. There are going to be really, really high, high.

months, there's going to be some low times and there's going to be times where you're just kind of riding and you're sustaining and you're doing your thing. All right. And so there's going to be periods of time when you try and test new things and maybe they work really well. And then there's going to be periods of time where you test things and they don't go as planned. So anyways, um, one of the things that I really wanted to talk about this in this episode is just sales, right? So sales year to date for me.

I was trying to pull up my exact numbers here. Not that it terribly matters, but anyways, I was just trying to pull them up just so I could speak really again to the truth. All right, so because sales for me are down massively this year. I mean, really, really.

Michelle (02:18.042)

massively. And I know exactly why they're down. It's not like from a lack of... I mean obviously 2023 has presented its own challenges. I mean spending is down. We've talked about this. You can... but again spending is down yes or no. There's still people buying. I still see programs being sold out. I still see people doing launches. Again nobody's really sharing the behind the scenes of it. So we have no idea whether or not they sold one or they sold...

a hundred, right? Again, and that's the other thing you have to think about and why I think it's so important to be a little bit more transparent in this. So in general, my sales are down almost 50%. Right? And I don't know if it's quite 50%. It's, it's just under, but here's the thing. Last year, and one of the biggest differences is that I switched from a higher ticket, higher ticket, one-to-one coaching to a lower ticket offer.

the coffee club and the lead generation done differently bundle, right? I launched the coffee club in February and then I launched the bundle. And so these were more passive. I wanted to free up my time because, and I also had the accelerated business Alliance, right? And so when I set out my goals and my plan for the beginning of the year, when I did this in December, which again is why I'm really hesitant. And when I do business planning to tell people like

set annual goals. I think it's great but like one of my annual goals was to grow the accelerated business lines to 100 members and I've since completely revamped the accelerated business lines and that's not even relevant anymore. So again like annually last year it made sense after reviewing and seeing things and going through and looking at my time and schedule and different things I realized that wasn't what I wanted. So anyways my focus has heavily been at the time of this recording it's the end of July my focus has heavily been for the

on promoting the 100 Coffee Chats Club, which started out as a $39 offer, it's $55 a month now, and I've changed it. So we went from 39 to founding members, and then we did a big push where we were closing founding member rate, and then it went to 49, and it was month to month. And then I changed it to $55, still month to month, and then if you commit for six months, you got one month free.

Michelle (04:34.242)

But again, it's still only $55, right? And so I have told my clients over and over and over and over again that if you switch to low ticket, right, unless you have an audience of thousands, you're going to tank your income. And that's exactly what happened to me, right? Like I just told you, sales are down. And that's because I'm promoting a low ticket offer. Remember, last year I was promoting a $1,500 a month coaching program. Well, how many?

members into the coffee club do you have to get to replace one one-to-one client? Which again, but with that one-to-one client, I had meetings on my calendar every single Monday. I was having a lot of conversation in between. Clients were rescheduling. Like, there's a lot of reasons why I shifted. And so the other thing is though, is even though sales are down, if I look at the amount of time spent on meetings in my calendar based on...

that revenue number, right? So I'm not talking admin, I'm talking direct hours for Dollar Trade in the sense of like time spent on Accelerated Business Alliance meetings, one-to-one client meetings, and or the coffee chat, my hours is down significantly as well. So on paper, it looks like sales are down 50%, which they are maybe not, I don't think it's quite 50%. I'm just using that number because it's a round number.

But the hours I'm spending is about that too. So overall, I'm still making the same amount of money, per se, per hour, right? And so that's where I always like to look at is time. And I wanted to really scale my time this year. And so obviously, have I accomplished that? Not really. I mean, I've scaled my time. I've freed up my time. Let's use that. I have definitely given myself more space in my calendar.

However, I don't want to say I've scaled it yet because in my definition of scaling would be to be making the same amount of revenue Working the hours of working right now right now my time and revenue are still about equal and so That is one thing that you have to really think about and that's why I talk about different offers and you can scale any offer I'm not saying that I can't scale

Michelle (06:55.102)

my one to one, you know, I couldn't scale one to one. I'm not saying you can't scale this low ticket offer. I could continue to scale it and I'm going to continue to promote it. But here's a few things that I have learned along the way. And so I wanna give you a couple lessons. So number one, one of the things is, is with memberships, which I've known this, especially a low ticket membership such as this, anything, I consider anything under $100 low ticket.

So with a membership, they are very cyclical, right? An average membership has about a four month cycle, meaning people stay for four months and then they wonder and then they, if it's worth it, and then they quit. Now, I would say in general, I out beat that average because obviously I've created value, people like it, they stay. I would say most people that are currently in the coffee club have been in almost since day one.

So they're sticking around, right? Because I'm making sure that it's different every week, I'm creating enough value. The only people I think that have left have been simply a time I've had some people say they took full-time jobs. So again, like in general, the climate just looks different this year. So, you know, there's that to take into consideration. The other thing to take into consideration is that it takes as much time to sell a low ticket item

as it does to sell a high ticket item. All right, and you might think in all of these TikTok and all these reels and all of these like, you know, affiliate marketing things and all these things make it so easy. Like they make it out, like it is so easy to sell something low ticket. And then the reality is, is that it doesn't matter. The level of promotion is the same. So remember I said my time for dollar trade is about equal. If I'm being honest, my...

time for dollar trade, like the amount of time I'm spending promoting Coffee Club, following up with the people because remember people can come in for free. So I think I've had over 70 people come in for free that have not converted. And there's a multitude of reasons and that could be an episode for another day of like why they're not converting and just that there's a whole episode here on low ticket. But my point is that I'm following up even just today I sent I think.

Michelle (09:17.33)

eight follow-up messages to people that have attended like, hey, it was great to see you, would love to see you again. We're offering a summer drop-in right now because we're also seeing some of that, right? Like I have, we've got emails going out. So we're putting a ton of time and energy into email marketing for the 100 Coffee Chats Club. So again, like on the admin side, I'm actually spending far more time in my team's time trying to follow up on leads for a $55 offer, right? And so

versus somebody that maybe is looking for a power hour, right? Or, you know, a high, which is, you know, a $400 offer or a rapid fire coaching client, which is us, you know, anywhere from 500 to a thousand dollar offer. So again, it just takes, what I'm telling you is that it takes as much time as it does to sell something high ticket because the amount of followup is pretty much the same. You still have the people, the reality is,

people's buying behavior is the same, whether it's a $50 offer or whether it's a $1,000 offer. You're gonna have the people that are like, yep, I'm in, tell me what I gotta do, how do I sign up? And they just sign up and they're in, right? I had somebody reach out to me who I know is very much an action taker like I am, like I'm either in or I'm out. And she came once to the coffee club, she was like, send me the link, I'm in, and she signed up and she's been there ever since. Then you have other people that, you know, they have scheduling issues, again.

With membership, same thing too, it's level of commitment. This is a weekly thing. So again, I don't wanna get into all the different reasons about the low ticket. My point is, is that when you start to promote low ticket, I always tell my clients, be ready for your income to tank. Because again, if I'm selling one power hour for $400 and I'm selling coffee club for $55, that means I need to get eight people in for every one power hour.

Right. And so if we go back to the episode about conversion rates and understanding your pipeline and knowing where your conversion rate is and making sure you constantly have people in your pipeline, again, even at a 20 or 50% conversion rate to get eight, I've got to be talking to 16 people. And again, the life cycle, the sales cycle is still the same for most, for most part, like the average where they say, like you have to have seven to 12 exposures, that's still the same, whether it's

Michelle (11:40.562)

you know, a $50 offer or a thousand. And again, unless you have somebody that is like, yep, I'm in, I'm good, I'm ready to go, right? And they wanna try it, but for the most part, the sales cycle is the same. And so, why did I make this choice? Why am I doing this? If I knew, you know, if I'm telling my clients, memberships are cyclical, and I'm telling my clients that when you promote and switch to low ticket, your income's gonna tank, why did I do it, right? So, if I knew all of these things. One.

Because I always like to be a student of my own, right? Like I like to have data that supports different things. And I also, I really wanted to get this membership going. I really still feel very strongly about it. And it was something that I felt was a good opportunity and now was the time to do it. And I also planned for this. I had a cushion, I had a cushion saved up. I had an audience.

I had people ready and waiting for this offer, so I immediately sold my founding member spots. I wanted it to be something that once it was built, it's going to continue to build and continue to create word of mouth. It's done that. I've spent six months talking about it. I'm not going to stop talking about it, but it's time to shift, but it's also not going anywhere. It's established now.

There's people getting referred in, there's people finding it. Every week we have guests and I say, how'd you find it? And they say, I don't know, right? Which means other people are talking about it. It means that social media is working, right? Like word of mouth is working. People are hearing about it. They're seeing it. It's, you know, our marketing efforts are working. And so it takes time. And now I'm like, okay, I'm ready. Sales are down.

I don't feel, I'm not telling you that it's a well oiled machine and that if I stop promoting it, it's just going to keep growing. That's not, that's just what I'm saying. Like that's the reality of it. It's still going to require promotion, but I don't think it's going to require that same level of promotion, nor am I going to continue to allow my income to stay below the level I'm comfortable at for the level of.

Michelle (13:54.094)

promotion that's required, right? I have data now that supports and everything I try to do and everything I teach and everything that I try to share is that you make data-driven, educated decisions, all right? And the data now says that the sales cycle for the coffee club is the same as it is for a power hour or a one-to-one client. The data now says that it doesn't convert as well because it's a weekly commitment, because it takes time.

Right? People might not value networking. And so the data says it needs to be positioned differently. So we're working on some different marketing efforts, right? But the data also says that now it's been six months. There is a solid group of people that come every single week and they are referring other people to it. We know that the message is getting out there. I'm getting tagged when people say, Hey, I'm looking for a new way to grow my audience.

I'm getting tagged when people say I'm looking for somebody that knows coffee chats or can speak on that, right? So that's working. And so I'm not saying to pivot completely. And I think this is one of the mistakes that people make is like, they're like, okay, it's good, it's running, it's bringing in a consistent income. I can shift. No, I am fully aware that when I start to shift and promote something else because my business plan for the remainder of the year.

has some other offers that I want to get out there. It's getting into BizPlan season. I want to run a workshop, which by the way, there's a wait list for it. I'm getting so excited to get ready to put this new workshop out there about scaling time and money. More to come on that. I don't want to get into it too much. But again, there's just other things that I want to do as far as my business is concerned that are revenue driven, that are burnout driven.

Right? Because here's the other thing too. I mean, at some point you can only promote something low ticket for so long and still see your revenue numbers. And it's just math. It doesn't matter in order for me to be making, like I said, the same amount of money as I was in the previous year with all of those things working one to one. I mean, we're talking a hundred to 200 people inside the coffee club. That's not going to happen overnight.

Michelle (16:11.138)

That's not, I didn't have a list of 10,000 waiting for this offer, right? And so now I'm setting up some strategic partnerships. I'm getting on doing some podcast tour. Again, other marketing. I feel like the actual setup of the coffee club is a well-oiled machine. The weeks are, you know, the membership itself at this point is well-oiled. And...

Now it's where I can maybe take my foot off the gas a little bit and now focus on some higher revenue things. And so that's all I'm saying is when you're looking at lower ticket, you just have to be aware of what it's going to do. Just be honest with yourself. Every time. That's all I'm saying is this is not good or bad. I could look at my numbers and I could be super down about them. Right? I could look at it. But again, I'm looking at it from a factual, educated, data-driven perspective.

One, I put six months into growing something that is now created word of mouth referrals. Two, the amount of time on my calendar that's opened up because I don't have as many one-to-one clients and the amount of time I put into the actual execution of these low ticket offers is equivalent to the revenue coming in.

Right? If I look at the monthly revenue versus the monthly hour spent, not including some of the admin, it looks good on paper. Like the hourly rate is pretty impressive. And so that's the other thing you have to think about. However, it also, you have to look at it is like, is, you know, how much time and effort do you want to continue to put into it? Because the sales cycle is the same and promoting low tickets still takes the same amount of effort. And that's just what there is.

That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter. There are things you can put in place. There are always different ways you can market something. You can add it on as a bonus. You can add it on as an upsell. There's always a million ways to market something low ticket. But the beautiful thing about it is, is once they are there, once they are created and once they are working, then they can just continue to work. They can be bonuses for other programs. They can be, you can white label them in with strategic.

Michelle (18:27.598)

Partners like we talked about in that strategic partner episode, remember I was saying how somebody, another business coach does want to do networking, et cetera. I have other coaches that don't want to do strategic planning. So there's that opportunity, right? So I've got to get into what is working. It's working now, right? And so it's something that I can continue to promote. I can include it in my one-to-one offers. I can include it into the power hour. I can add on the lead generation bundle.

that can be included in every offer that I put out there. It can be used as a bonus. It can be used as a special if I need a quick cash injection, right? Like I can run a promotion on the lead gen done differently bundle if I need to, right? So once these things are created, they can continue to bring in revenue and they are a wonderful way to have an additional revenue stream that you can fall back on. But in the beginning,

And when you are first launching them, unless you have an audience of 10 to 12,000, you know, maybe not 10,000. That's just an exaggeration. I mean, I'm being, I'm really being crazy, but unless you have a large audience ready and waiting for a low ticket offer, your income is going to decrease. It just is factual numbers, right? Like it's just the way it is, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Right. Once they're created, that's the beautiful part about some of these low tickets.

offers is once they're created then they can be used to increase sales in your offers for other things. So that's kind of like one behind the scenes. I mean there's other things involved here that I could talk about as far as you know looking at you know expenses being up and having to really cut back on some of my expenses to support the growth of these lower ticket items. But

Overall, the whole point is that I just want everybody to know that I'm here. I'm going through it. I voluntarily tanked my income this year. I mean, I would have loved to think like, oh my God, it was going to magically grow. However, what I also want you to understand is my audience is up. Like I said, I'm getting tagged by people saying like, oh, hey, you should check out this group. It's amazing.

Michelle (20:46.562)

People are sharing about it. My audience has increased. My email list has grown exponentially because of the free trial, like people being able to come in as free guests. So they're in, now they're in my pipeline. They're opening up my weekly Sunday, what am I calling it? The Sunday morning brew. If you're not on my newsletter list, get on that. Like I'll make sure the link's in the show notes, but the Sunday morning brew is just my weekly Sunday. I want you to picture it like,

You know, you're sitting there with your cup of coffee. You know how old school you remember your grandparents like grabbing the paper. You know, I want you to open up my email and feel like you're just getting kind of an update for the week ahead. Like here's some things to think about. Here's ways you can take action. Here's something fun and new that I'm doing. Or here's something I think you should check out, right? So the Sunday morning brew, like that's grown exponentially because of these lower ticket items. I've got an audience on TikTok.

now, right? Because I've been sharing about this lead generation bundle on TikTok and different things. And so I've treated different social medias. I've gained a lot of clarity around who these offers are for and how they help. I've got the ability to add them in as bonuses, like I said. So just because again, I don't always view revenue as a success factor because I've freed up my time. I've been able to work part time on a contractor basis with

the dog trainer when we got Piper. You know, we got a puppy and we needed puppy training. And so it's allowed me to spend a lot of really good quality time training her and getting her set up for all different things and just being an amazing little puppy. Like she's been really, really good because I've had the time to invest into her. So those are the things that to me, you can't always see, right? These are some of the behind the scenes things that on paper, you just can't,

You can't see them, right? Like on paper, you don't see all of the money that I've saved putting into Piper's training because I've been able to work coincidingly with the dog trainer, right? And so that's where I'm saying revenue numbers are not the only measure of success, okay? And so it's easy even as I'm sharing this, like I was in a mood earlier, it's easier for me to feel like, man, Michelle, why did you do that?

Michelle (23:13.494)

Like things were going so good. I came off my best year in 2022. My best year, like why? Why did you do that? But ultimately like I did it for a reason. I saw a need. I feel very strongly about the power of relationship marketing. I feel very strongly about creating a space that allows people to connect. I love the connections that have been made. I mean there are so many success stories coming out of the coffee club.

And that lights me up too, like being able to see and hear those success stories is just exponential to me. And so there's so many measures of success. And so even just sharing this with you guys is making me realize like, yeah, okay, go sit in the sock. I call it sit in the sock. There's that's probably another episode, right? Just sometimes there's days that we have to just kind of sit in the sock of being a business owner.

And when you're having to make some hard decisions for financially, those are days I call sitting this up. But on the other hand, it's not the only measure of success. And so I wanna always be transparent and share those things with you. So I hope that you found this episode helpful. I hope that it gives you, again, I'm not sharing this to say like, oh, here she goes again, Michelle, you should feel bad, no, right? And it doesn't mean that

I'm not successful, right? I know some people say you shouldn't share your struggles or anything like that because people start to think that your business isn't doing well. I don't, I don't agree with that at all. I think, you know, this is just the journey. That's why I called the real truth about business. It's not good. It's not bad. It's not ugly. It's not any, it's just the real truth. This is just the journey. There's ebbs and flows. Some months we will...

you know, we're on high, but I'm still celebrating because I've learned a lot this year. I've grown a lot this year and that is amazing to me. And I've had time and space and freedom to think and be creative and all the other things. And so celebrate those things, but just understand there's a, you know, some other episodes coming here in the future about just different business models and different things. But if you do want to launch a low ticket, right,

Michelle (25:35.338)

Let's just make sure there's a strategy behind it. That's what's most important. When I launched this, I knew it was gonna take some time. I had the cushion, I had the buffer, I had the strategy, I had the plan of how long I was gonna give it to grow, I know what data I'm looking for, that's all. As long as you have a plan, that's what's most important. And so again, we can do that, we can set this up. I think there's so much power in having these reoccurring revenue streams.

I think there's power in diversifying your income and I'm here for it. So if it's something that you wanna do or maybe you're feeling like your income is tanked too, it's like, oh shoot, Michelle, I got myself in this situation, I'm promoting this low ticket, I'm getting known for it. Now what? Right, like let's look at it, okay? Always open, always happy to do a strategic planning session, power hour with you. You know where the link is, you can just hop on the calendar, you can book it, you don't even have to DM me, you can just get on my calendar.

there's spots open, just do it, let's talk about it. Or let's lay out the next five months of your year, right? Like if you're ready to lay out the next five months, if you're kind of, maybe you're feeling like you're in the same situation. And again, always my intention is to just share and say like, I'm sitting here with you, right? Like I never want anybody to listen to this and feel like I am in a better place, that I am above you, I have six years, I may have more experience, but that doesn't mean that.

anything I do is better or worse, right? We are all equals and we are all working towards different goals and that's what's important. All right, so this is a little bit longer of an episode than normal, but I felt like it was really important to give you that behind the scenes. And so if you have any questions about it, if you wanna pick my brain about it, you know where to find me, you know how to find me. And I'm here, I'm an open book. I don't have anything to hide. I don't believe in it. I don't feel, you know, what's there to hide? Business is business, all right? I'll talk to you soon.

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