July 2018 Archives

4 tips to lower your refund rate

4 Tips to Lower Your Refund Rate

Refunds and chargebacks are inevitable in business, and it’s hard not to take the requests personally.

This is why it’s helpful to have someone else handle them!

Not only are the requests a little uncomfortable, but chargebacks are a surefire way to hurt your merchant account reputation.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your refund request rate is as low as possible and stop the chargebacks before they even happen.

In this episode, I dive into 4 tips I use in my own business to reduce and, in some instances, eliminate refunds and chargebacks.

Be sure to check out the Business Strategies section for more tips like this.

 

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Video Transcript

Hey, this is Julie here. Today I want to talk about how to lower your refund rate and virtually eliminate all chargebacks in your business. Sound good?

Refunds. There are just a natural part of a business, right? It’s pretty normal for at least 10 percent of people to say, Hey, I want a refund.

If you’re really good at what you do and you deliver a great customer experience and you’re really good at setting an expectation that can be met, your refund rate probably will be less, but how do you ensure that your refund rate is as low as possible and that you stopped getting or don’t get any chargebacks.

And we all know that chargebacks are terrible on your merchant account reputation.

So the first thing that I really encourage you to do is to make sure that all of your order forms are decked out with very, very clear expectations on what they are purchasing and what the refund policy is.

When someone asks for a refund and it’s outside the boundaries of what you identified, you need to have a strong backing.

So don’t just hide your refund policy so they can’t find them. Show them with checkboxes. Look, you agreed to this. Here’s the refund policy. It’ll make your argument so much stronger.

But secondly, when it comes time to refunds, you want to understand what’s really going on, what is actually happening.

And this may seem completely counterintuitive, but when someone asks for a refund, do you need to validate their reasons why?

And you think, well, but their reason is crazy and maybe it is. Maybe it’s completely unreasonable, but if you don’t validate it, they will never hear what you say next.

So the validation at the beginning is a way to get them to hear what you’re about to say.

So it could be something as simple as, I’m so sorry that you’re having a bad experience. I completely understand your frustration.

That may feel really uncomfortable to say another reason you probably should have an assistant do it instead of you because it’s hard.

You take it personally. When people want refunds. Validate them.

Then that hopefully will diffuse the situation enough that they can hear what you’re going to say next.

And what you’re gonna say next is you’re going to hold your boundaries while creating a good faith effort. And what I mean by that is show your willingness to move a little bit.

Maybe they’re failing on their payment plans because they don’t have money and they want a refund because finances are tough.

Say to them, “I completely understand your frustration. I don’t give out refunds on payment plans, but I know you’re in a tight spot. So here’s what I can do for you.”

Pause their payments for 60 or 90 days. Give them a breathing room. Tell them that you’re going to let them pick up where they left off, show them something, whether it’s a free gift, a free offer to try to get them to see, oh, well, maybe I should give this another shot.

Ultimately, you’re going to have pain in the butt customers, they’re going to be rude. They’re going to demand refunds even when it’s outside your refund policy.

That’s ultimately a really personal decision. I’ve chosen to give out those refunds when it’s really, really obvious that they are not a customer that is ever going to want to buy from me.

And the reason I do that is because chargebacks are going to kill your merchant account. I promise you it’s not worth it.

What I have done in my business to ensure this doesn’t happen too often is to tell them, listen, this is outside the refund policy, but I’m going to go ahead and give it to you, but I want you to know that this is on one condition.

And that one condition is that you are not allowed to buy anything from me again because you’re breaking a contract and I’m going to let you out of that contract because I’m the bigger person.

Don’t actually say that, but then explain to them that they can never buy from you again because that’s not fair. You need that person out of your life away.

Sometimes customers, if you have other products that they’re interested in, that’s enough for them to think, well, let me renegotiate and then go to the negotiating table. See what you can work out for them, try to show that you care about their success.

Those are my tips for reducing refund rates and getting no chargebacks.

And I know the best conversations happen after the camera stops rolling. So if you have any questions, comments, feedback, or criticism, put them in the comments below because I read everyone and for more videos like this, you can go to Juliechenell.com. I’ll see you next time.

Planning is Sexy

Episode 15: Planning is Sexy

In this episode, I dive into the psychological thrill of planning and why it triggers so much happiness in us. And what inevitably follows after the planning is done.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie. I hope you guys are doing amazing. I had a funny thought the other day as I was coaching a bunch of new business owners, entrepreneurs and I realized that planning, the act of planning is actually quite sexy and then the act of implementing is not. And so I wanted to kind of look at what happens psychologically in those two activities and how once we understand that about ourselves, we can then kind of adjust our perspective and our mindset to make sure that we’re really making progress in our business.



I want to tell a story and it’s not even really that exciting of a story except that I have noticed over and over and over again. You know, that I work with Russell. Now. I kind of got the idea of the whiteboard when I saw Russell. I remember a long time ago seeing Russell writing on a whiteboard and some advertisement and then you started to see lots of people do the whiteboard thing, right? The flip chart, the ads, you know, scribbling that kind of like mad scientist genius, you know, just writing the secrets of the world on this whiteboard. And it’s super fun to watch and it’s also super fun to do. And I realized after getting a bunch of whiteboards and doing this, this kind of thing, there is some massive adrenaline rush, at least for me. Maybe if you’re not creative, you don’t feel this way, but the thrill of a big giant whiteboard in front of you and the idea that whatever you want to create, whatever you want to plan is just ready.

It’s like the universe is waiting. And so it’s super sexy, super fun and everybody loves a good planning session. You know, for some people they like the science of planning. They like thinking about the dates and the lists and the to-do’s and how are we going to do that.

For others of you, the part of planning that you might love is the creative side, the strategic side of planning. Kind of like, how you’re going to conquer the world or dominate this market or whatever. I see that with Russell. Russell doesn’t want to look at spreadsheets and timelines and dates, but he does want to create on the whiteboard. Whereas if I was hanging out with James Freal maybe on a whiteboard, we’d be doing a little bit more like the science of the plan.

Anyway, no matter which way you do it, it’s sexy to say. It’s like so much fun to plan a new business. Plan, a new product. The sky is the limit. But with every high comes a low. And I think one of the things that I’ve noticed in coaching is that so many people mistake the high in the plan as the universe’s way of telling you that this is going to be amazing.

Now it may, in fact, be amazing, but don’t be fooled. You’re just on a high because planning is sexy and planning is fun and planning ignites the imagination and the adrenaline and the dopamine and all those kinds of things. And that’s why you feel that high right now. It may be an awesome idea and it may make you millions and may suck as a terrible idea and you may hate it three months from now. So don’t mistake that feeling you have when you’re sitting in front of a whiteboard and you’re so excited as the universe’s stamp of approval that you’re going to feel amazing about this forever because you probably won’t.

And in fact, the thing that’s funny is I can sit with somebody and do a plan and just see them light up and be so excited and then when it comes time to execute that plan, all of that thrill and happiness kind of starts to dwindle, right? Because what happens when you execute a plan, right? It’s like when you pour water or water spills, it’ll find every crack, crevice, rabbit trail it can find. So you have obstacles, you have rocks, you have mindset blocks, you have real life butting up against what your dreamy whiteboard plan was showing you.

The actual execution of the plan is not nearly as fun as the planning of it. And this is exactly the way making babies happens, right? The thrill of having sex and making a baby even in that first flush of pregnancy. And some of you, if you were happy pregnant, maybe you felt that all nine months where you just felt amazing. But then the actual carrying out of raising a child is the most freaking hard thing to do in the entire world. And all of that happiness at some point on that road just completely goes away.

However, when you are no longer happy about raising your kid or you’re just struggling, you don’t ever doubt that you’re going to do what you’re going to do, right? You’re going to take care of your kid anyway. That if your kid was in trouble, you would jump in front of a bus. And yet when we take our thrilling plan off of our whiteboard and then go to execute it, we get so squishy and we’re like, ah, I don’t really feel excited about this.

Maybe you know, maybe this isn’t the right thing. Right? And then what do we do? We go back to the whiteboard. We erase it. We start again. We get a high or like, oh, this is it, this is amazing. That first plan wasn’t my plan. This is a better plan. Right? And we get so excited, right? And we’re like, and again we think, oh, this feeling I have right now I’m planning is the sign that this is the right move. And then we go to execute. And what happens? That feeling goes away, right?

The high dwindles down and we go to execute it. It gets hard and sticky and all that didn’t quite work, right? What do we do? Maybe I’m just, maybe this isn’t right. Maybe I need to think of it. Maybe I need to pivot and again and again and again, we do this.

Guys, we do it in relationships, right? We fall in love with somebody. We get the rose-colored glasses of love. We get so excited, right? And then people get married and then that dwindles down. And then they feel like, oh, I don’t know if I really love you anymore. They start to doubt themselves. They start to think the grass is greener on the other side. We all know it is not greener on the other side. It is not greener on the other side. That’s the truth.

But our emotions tell us this, and so we then we break up, we go find a new love. It’s amazing, it’s high, and we think, ah, okay, this is right, and then eventually it fades. And so the advice I have for you in your business as your planning, I think that we all deserve the thrilling, the thrill of planning. And the good news is in a business you can have the thrill of planning.

Every time you have a new product or a new campaign or a new service or a new this or that, you do get to do it again, right? It’s like falling back in love with your spouse again. Right? You get to, you get to enjoy that thrill. But don’t mistake the emotion for, for the planning as the emotion you’re going to feel about the plan as you execute the plan because you will then think you’re on the wrong path and I guarantee you that anything worth doing is hard and anything worth really truly doing is going to come with moments of wanting to quit.

And so when you say, I don’t know, how do I do this? When I’ve lost my motivation? One of the things I often say to myself, I’m not the prerequisite for doing something is not figuring out how I feel about it. It’s doing it because I said I was going to do it or I know this is what I need to do. Motivation has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the ability to see beyond the immediate pain or difficulty of that circumstance.

And so, you know, I tend to make fun of the, some of the woo-woo culture and I don’t mean to in a mean way because there’s a lot of things about that culture that I agree with. But I think that “it doesn’t feel in alignment with me” bologna tricks us into just like everything is just by a whim and a feeling and that’s what toddlers do. That’s not what adults do.

So if you find yourself in the execution of the plan, not feeling the thrill you felt when you were planning, that’s normal. And don’t wait for motivation or some lovery cupid to come out of the sky and get you excited about what you’re doing because it’s hard work.

Sometimes what I have done is I’ve felt this feeling of like I’m in something and I’m like, you know, 80 percent in and I have lost all thrill, excitement, motivation. I know Russell does this too. He has great ideas and then he loses that feeling. He has learned how to push through anyway. I have learned how to push through anyway. You know, he’ll make the joke of like, oh, there’s so much pain associated with finishing. And I was like, it’s so true. It’s like the ideas, so much fun, but the pain associated with actually finishing the plan, executing, doing what has to be done.

The difference between people who can actually finish and people who can’t are the people who can actually finish, don’t necessarily have more motivation. They don’t necessarily have more emotion. They don’t necessarily have more dopamine in the brain. The only difference is those people know that they can’t wait for a feeling. They know that there’s pain associated with it and they don’t look at that as an alarm bell that tells them to stop. They look at it as, oh yeah, this is exactly what’s supposed to happen at this point in the game.

And so I’ll leave you with this little story. I had a client, she was getting ready to, you know, build this funnel again. The plan just ignites this emotion is so fun. Right? And then as she executed, I didn’t hear from her for a while and then finally I heard from her and she did exactly what everyone does at this moment where they doubt themselves. The emotion is gone. They find all the holes, it gets sticky, it gets hard and they want to quit and they’re instant thought is, maybe I need a new plan.

It was like, if you know that that’s exactly what you’re going to hit, then you can tell yourself when it hits you’re like, oh, this is the moment. This is the moment where the pain associated with finishing begins. This is exactly what’s supposed to happen. That means I’m doing the right thing. And you can trick yourself into recognizing that the pain associated with finishing is actually a sign that you’re doing the right thing and to not use it as a flag to turn back but to keep moving forward even though it doesn’t feel good. All right guys have a great day. Appreciate you all. Talk soon.

If you’re ready to create, grow, scale your online business, you can go to createyourlaptop.com/podcast and get a free plan on how you can get started today.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU PLATEAU IN YOUR BUSINESS

What to Do When You Plateau in Business

You started a business, gained some success, and are now at a plateau. What do you do to get to the next level?

Stalling out doesn’t have to be a permanent state. Get the momentum going again by first figuring out where your plateau stems from. Is it…

– A mindset?
– A skill?
– Your network?

In this episode, I discuss 3 reasons you might be at a plateau in your business, and tips to get unstuck to rise to the next level.

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Video Transcript:

Today I want to discuss what happens when you start your business, you have some success and then you plateau. How do you figure out what’s wrong and how you can get to the next level.

Alright so everyone has experienced this in business. Maybe you experienced it in dieting, in life, we get some momentum, we start to get success, and then everything just sort of stalls out. And how do you figure out how to get off that plateau?

I know in business I had a plateau because I believed something about business that was incorrect. When I got started, I thought that the number one thing I needed above anything else was skill. And skill is incredibly important, so I sought to learn the skill. I built the skill, I built my business and I got momentum.

But I plateaued. I couldn’t break a ceiling. I was making $2,000 to $3,000 a month and I couldn’t get past it and I didn’t understand why because I was really good at what I did.

The next thing that I learned was that skill actually is not the number one predictor of success in an online business. You know what is? It is marketing that skill.

The skill is cool, but the marketing of the skill is a lot better. And when I made that switch and I started to see marketing as more important than anything else in my business, everything changed, right? And my business started to grow and not only that, but I started seeing my customers’ businesses the same way.

It was great that you’re good at health coaching or it’s great that you’re good at knitting or horseback riding or home organization, but the marketing of that thing is going to get you to the next level.

Now I hit another plateau once I had skill and I knew that the marketing of the skill, the next thing was why couldn’t I seem to get past $20,000 or $30,000 a month? What was holding me back? And it was because I didn’t realize that in business your network is your net worth.

And I know we talk about that. We say that saying, it sounds really cliche, but the reality is is if you have the skill dialed in and you’re pretty good at marketing, you’re just not hanging out with the right people.

I’ve paid a lot of money just to hang out with the right people and it makes a huge difference because relationships act a lot like viruses. I’m actually sitting here, I’m recording with my videographer Dallin and you know what? Dallin was a friend of a friend and because of that strategic connection, it becomes almost an exponential virus that all the people I know he now knows.

And so you need to get in the company of the people that you want to serve or the people that are already serving the customers that you want. Get to know them and start to build that network.

I have a friend, his name is David. He runs the Internet Marketing Party. Super, super nice guy. Really awesome. Very successful. And he built his entire business by developing strategic relationships and understanding the value of a really powerful network.

So if you are hitting plateaus, the first plateau is probably related to skill or expertise. Do you have something the market wants?

The second plateau might have to do with the fact that you’re obsessed with the skill instead of the selling of the skill.

And the third plateau might have something to do with the fact that you’re not hanging around the right people. So go join a mastermind. Go Join a group coaching community, our program. Get yourself some new relationships.

I know the best conversations happen after the camera stops rolling. So if you are experiencing a plateau in your business, let me know in the comments below. And for more episodes like this, you can go to Juliechenell.com. I’ll see you next time.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Facebook Ads

Episode 14: The Emotional Rollercoaster of Facebook Ads

In this episode, I dive into the hilarious reality that most people think they are the “only ones” that feel stressed when running Facebook Ads, when in fact – we’re all on exactly the same rollercoaster.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie hope you guys are doing awesome. Today I want to talk to you about the emotional rollercoaster of Facebook ads.I have a lot of students and clients that are running Facebook ads and it’s so funny because they all talk to me and they all say the same thing and they all think they’re the only one feeling this way. So I thought, you know what? I’m just going to lay this out there and kind of level the playing field because Facebook ads are totally a rollercoaster.

 



First. I want to preface this by saying it doesn’t really matter how much money you’re spending in Facebook ads. For anyone who is only spending $30 a day or $30,000 a day, it’s still the same emotional response happens. I think the first problem with Facebook ads are there’s almost this mythical magical quality to Facebook ads that people think once they turn a Facebook ad on, everything is going to change in their business. And I’ve actually seen this happen where people turn ads on and then they immediately stop or they sort of kind of get lazy with the organic methods that they’re using because they feel like, oh, well, you know, traffic is running. That’s going to do all the lead generation for me. I can just kind of sit on my butt a little bit.

And the reality is that you should never be dialing down your organic traffic efforts. Never. Because no platform is really… nothing about this business is really as passive as everyone wants to make it out to be. When you start running Facebook ads do not stop any of the organic methods whether you’re doing podcasting, YouTube videos, blogging, Facebook groups, whatever it happens to be. Don’t dial it down because you turn ads on and you think, oh, well now I have ads.

The second misnomer about Facebook ads is that you can just turn an ad on and just let it run, right? And so I find people stressing out when an audience that was working, all of a sudden the cost of that audience, when they’re trying to generate leads goes way high. Or an ad that was doing amazingly well starts to tank and I get these frantic Voxer messages that say “well I had a great lead cost and now it’s so much higher and I don’t know what to do.”

And the reality is that Facebook ads are a full-contact sport. There’s always new audiences, the new ad, creative, new copy, different ads, whether it’s messenger ads or its image ads or canvas ads. The people that you pay when you pay a Facebook ads manager…I know you might hear from other gurus, “oh, this is the best job in the world has become a Facebook ads manager. You just throw up some ads and you push a few buttons and then you let it roll.”

But the reality is the reason that Facebook ad managers get paid as well as they do is that they’re constantly assessing ads, creating new ads, setting up different types of retargeting ads, looking for audiences. It is an active-active game.

So not only is it untrue that once your ads go on, you can just stop doing any organic lead Gen, but it’s also true that when ads go on, you have to actively and consistently manage, update, refresh, and create new ones.

The next thing I wanted to just say is that a lot of people, because Facebook ads are so easy to set up, right, the anybody can just log into their Facebook account and set up an ad in five minutes and throw $100 at something, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to set up. They’re not necessarily easy to be successful at.

I want to paint this analogy for you. Imagine back before ads on the Internet and all that kind of stuff. How did people advertise? Right? Radio and TV commercials. Especially with TV commercials, the barrier to entry was kinda high, right? You needed a well-produced video. We have all seen the horrible commercials, so you needed a highly produced video. You also needed a connection at a TV station you needed, and then you would hand your creative to an expert who would then put it on the channel. Right? But now we’ve been tricked to think that because the barrier of entry went lower, that the skill level to do it well is also lower. And that’s not true because in fact every time you put an ad on Facebook, you are competing with enormous brands like Pepsi, like General Mills, I’m just looking at all the things in my office right now. I keep talking about my deodorant. You are competing with these huge brands that have enormous budgets and entire teams that are working on the Facebook ads.

And so that’s your competition. And so don’t let Facebook fool you into thinking because it’s easy to set up an ad, it’s easy to be very good at ads because it’s not. It takes practice. So I think all of these things kind of play into this emotional roller coaster because we have unrealistic expectations from the start.

I will say that every time I turn on a Facebook ad, I feel a little bit like I’m going 200 miles an hour around a corner with one hand on the wheel. And the more money you spend per day, the more anxiety-producing it is. Because I’ve been spending about $1,500 a day on ads and when I make sales that equal that amount, I feel really happy. If there goes a day where I don’t make sales because not every day is the same, I feel a tremendous amount of anxiety because I feel like I’ve just thrown $1,500 on a blackjack table and I lost it all. Right? And so God forbid you to have two or three days like that, you can, if you are not ready for it, you’re going to panic.

So this is the classic thing that I see with my students and clients. They finish, some sort of sales funnel and they’ve been laboring over the sales funnel. So there’s so much relief and excitement that the funnel is done. There’s also a ton of trepidation at turning on the ads, right? So that’s the first emotion you might feel as like, “Oh God, what if this doesn’t work?” That’s always the fear is after all this time and energy birthing a sales funnel, if this doesn’t work, I’m just going to die. You’re not going to die. But that’s how it feels, right?

If you get over that emotional hump, then you actually set up the ads and then you turn them on and there is a little bit of an adrenaline rush there because they go into pending review and you feel like, okay, all right, here we go. Right? You’re in the car, you’re in the rollercoaster, you’re buckled up, you’re ready.

So then if the ad gets approved, you’re so excited. Right? If the ad doesn’t get approved, but that’s a whole different roller coaster. Maybe we’ll talk about another day. So the ad gets approved. You’re super excited, but you’re also nervous because you’re spending more money than you felt comfortable with because a lot of us thought, oh, I’ll just spend $30 bucks and make $300 until you run into someone like me or other teachers that are like, “no, you actually got to spend a grand here in the first 48 hours to get some good data,” and you’re just like, “oh my God.”

So you’re spending 100 bucks a day, let’s say. So you’re nervous and you’re checking your ads every three minutes. Now you’re forgetting the fact that Facebook doesn’t really know your customer very well, doesn’t really know your funnel, and it’s going to take time to optimize and if you’re not spending enough money to give Facebook the juice in gas, it needs to find your customer, it’s going to be a very, very slow roll. And then you’re going to obsessively…Then this is where the obsession starts to come in where you start to check, check, check, check, check, like every five minutes if you’ve gotten a lead or you know someone has opted in or whatever it is you’re trying to do.

The funniest part is when you do get leads right away or you get a sale right away, the high is so high. It’s like that first lead, that first application, that first sale is just like all the angels in heaven are just pouring down on you and you just feel like you can do anything. And it’s pretty common. It’s happened. You know, I’ve seen it both ways, right? Where people get sales right away or a leads right away. And then people who just kind of drags on and on.

But what happens is usually after that first initial rush, because let’s face it, if you, if you’ve done any kind of organic visibility stuff, people are going to see your ad and know who you are. And I always see, like when I first released a campaign, I get a kind of a rush of, of leads and sales and I’m like, Whoa, it’s amazing. And then silent. And then all of that, initial stuff just kind of slowly, it’s like a slow downhill. And then your anxiety goes up and up and up and up. And it’s like, what do I do? What do I do? How do I change it? Why is that not working? It was working, now is not working. What do I do? You know? And it’s like this frantic panic.

And I see this happening again and again, so many people do not have the stomach for Facebook ads when they start, they have no idea. You know, when you invest in anything like, especially cryptocurrency and everyone’s always like, oh, just you better have a strong stomach. And we’re like, Oh yeah, I’m strong.

You invest in the stock market. Oh yeah, I can ride the lows. It’s fine. I’ll hold. It’s exactly the same with Facebook ads. It’s like you make a when you make a sale, you get a lead, you’re high, and then it starts to, the ad starts to fatigue or the audiences get colder and harder and people are just not converting as well. And you have to figure out what’s wrong with your funnel. And the panic. It’s like I’m spending money. People don’t have the kind of stomach they think they have, even though they promised themselves at the beginning of this that they would spend a thousand dollars just to test their $500 in and they’re panicking.

And it’s, okay, I remind you, you said you were going to spend a thousand dollars just for data and testing. Why are you panicking? And so, the psychological rollercoaster that happens when you invest in the stock market or you invest in cryptocurrency is the same exact psychological response in Facebook ads.

So if you are struggling with Facebook ads and you’re struggling with that high and that low, I would encourage you to read up on some of the psychological mind exercises that people have to do when they invest in the stock market or cryptocurrency or things that are volatile because it’s the exact same mechanism.

It is very normal for you to have good days and bad days. You have to look over the month or maybe at the minimum over the week, not per day. And if you’re on a diet, you watched the scale day by day. It’s like you have a good day. If you’ve lost an ounce, you have a horrible day. If you’ve gained an ounce, it’s the same thing with Facebook ads, don’t look, just walk away.

And my biggest, my biggest piece of advice for people who feel completely thrown by the emotional rollercoaster, that is Facebook ads. I will say to you this, decide what you’re going to do before the ad goes on. How much are you going to spend and what is the stake in the game? And then don’t waver from it because that’s the biggest mistake. It’s like, oh, I’ll see and know how much are you going to use? How much are you going to invest? And then do that and don’t look. And if you really, really struggle, you may just need someone else to manage your ad account a because they’re going to have a stronger stomach with your money, then you will.

So I hope that helps. I hope for any of you who feel like, “gosh, my ads fatigue so faster, my audiences run out. That’s normal. For those of you who feel like, gosh, it was so…I had such a good run at the beginning and then things started to fatigue. That’s normal. For people who are like, oh, I was making a great return on ad spend when I was at $500 a day. Now I’m at a thousand. I’m not making any more profits. That’s normal. That’s called the painful art of scaling Facebook ads. You are normal. This is a full-contact sport. Anybody who tries to tell you that it’s very passive and that you can just sit on the beach and role in millions of dollars while you know you’re one little Facebook ad just churns out money for you is lying. It is not true. All the big people making millions have an entire team and this is their active job constantly. Don’t give up your organic methods when Facebook ads. Don’t get lazy. And just remember, we’re all on the roller coaster together. I’ll talk to you guys soon.

If you’re ready to create, grow, scale your online business, you can go to createyourlaptoplife.com/podcast and get a free plan on how you can get started today.

$1M in 6 Months - Julie's State of the Union

Episode 13: $1M in 6 Months – Julie’s State of the Union

In this episode, I peel back the curtain to show people what’s going on inside my business. Where does all the money go? I’ll dish all the inside scoop of how $1M in 6 months shakes down.

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Hey everyone, this is Julie and today I want to give you a little bit of a behind the scenes in my business. I’m going to call this the state of the union. July 2018.



All right, so it is six months into my business. We’re halfway through 2018.

This is nuts because 2018 started yesterday. I wrote a blog post the other day about how my business is doing and I thought that I would share it with you all because I think it’s very easy to wonder what the numbers mean when you’re looking at experts, mentors, gurus out there who are sharing, you know, their stripe screenshots. They’re sharing, you know, gross revenue that, and it’s, it’s really hard to see like, well, what does that actually translate to in dollars and cents?

So my business in 2017 did about $1.2 million. The prophets were pretty, pretty good. Uh, they were around 800,000 of the one point two, which is actually pretty good. That’s like insanely good. In fact, the profit margins were probably a little too high. It was evident that I was not hiring out as much as I should. And, and taking on a lot of working in the business instead of on the business.

And when you’re, when you’re building a business, especially an online business, it’s very normal for you to work in the business for a long time and then eventually transition out to working on the business. That’s a hard transition for me because I have been an actual implementer, executer type personality in my business, so to take my hands off the wheel and to just be kind of the CEO and visionary was very difficult.

And so you could see that in my profit and loss in 2017 because I was working a bajillion hours and making a ton of money and keeping a lot of that money but also pretty exhausted.

So in December, I began working with Russell Brunson and ClickFunnels. And so this forced my hand in terms of how do I really create a business that I’m not in, in the day to day, but still, I have ownership and vision of and do the things that are in my zone of genius and let everything else happen.

So, I was a little nervous that number one, my profit margins would tank. I was also nervous that by diving over into ClickFunnels and Russell that like my, I was afraid my business might suffer and I didn’t want to suffer. I wanted it to grow and I thought, is it possible to do both?

So the really good news is that the profit and loss statements for my business show great profit margins and growth and I just wanted to kind of give you a little behind the scenes of what it actually means for a business that’s making anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000 a month. So right now my business name, my actual entity name is Pipe and Lime Media LLC. We have seven people on our team, three of them are full-time employees and four are contractors it costs us anywhere between 20 and $30,000 a month in salaries, payrolls, and retainer fees such as to kind of give you an idea of what it costs to run a business of this size. Now for six months, we came in around $58,000 shy of $1,000,000 in a six month period, which I am super proud of.

Given that I wanted to double my business, I wanted to hit $2 million in this year and I am on track to be close to $2 million, which is so exciting. It’s kind of a bummer, I can’t say I made a million dollars in six months, but I’m $58,000 shy. So for all intents and purposes, I think I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll still call it.

The profit margin of the business is sitting at 49 percent, which means of the $941,000 I earned in 2018, $470,000 of it is profit. Now that profit margin is after all expenses and that does include my current salary and my current salary for a six month period was around $100,000. So if you were to take my salary and wrap that into the profit margin, the profit margin would actually be higher. So I’m very, very, very proud of that. But a lot of people ask me like, alright, you’ve made 940,000, you’ve only kept 170. Where is all that money going?

And so aside from payroll and labor costs, which are my big costs. One of the biggest things that I spend money on is advertising. I do extensive amounts of Facebook ads to get visibility and brand awareness, so we spent a $100,000 in Facebook ads since the start of 2018. And Facebook ads are amazing and I recommend that you use them in your business. If you’re not using them in your business, you be crazy because they are definitely the most lucrative way right now to get access to 2 billion people on the planet.

So we spent about $100 grand and facebook ads. By the way, when you joined my digital marketing program, I give you an, a complete, and comprehensive course on Facebook ad strategy that’s in there. The other thing is event expenses. We hosted our first mastermind in April. I support about 56 entrepreneurs in their business and I do the VIP mastermind intensives. The live ones here in Connecticut and that cost us a little over $30,000 to pull that off. And we have another one coming in October. And a lot of travel. I had done a lot of traveling back and forth to different conferences, speaking gigs, things like that. I’m also heading to Kenya here in a few weeks, which is amazing. So all of that cost a fair amount of money.

So that’s where most of my profits went and that’s why I’m sitting at about 49 percent. So super excited, but a lot of then people are like, well, what do you do with all that profit? And I know that a lot of people think, well my gosh, $470,00 in six months is a lot of dang profit. In fact, I’m just whipping out my calculator now. If you divide that by six months, you’re at about $78,000 a month, right?

And you’re like, what do you do with that? Well, unfortunately, half of that goes to the IRS. So at this tax bracket, I am getting royally screwed in taxes both at the federal and state level. I’m in Connecticut, which is not a very business-friendly state. So I have to pay 50 percent of my profits to both federal and state. So that leaves me with that with about $235,000 left.

Typically what I do is I take that $235,000 and I’ve been taking about 30 percent of it and that 30 percent I’ve been keeping in the business. So that’s about 70,000 just stays in the business account. And that is there for emergencies. Sleep well at night, if I have a bad month from a, from a profit standpoint because my machine is so big, it’s got, three full-time employees. It’s got four contractors, got all these, these things in motion, I can’t just let that well run dry, right? I can’t just take all that money and run off to the Bahamas.

So when you take the $253 and you subtract the $70,000, you end up with about $180,000. And what I have been doing with that money is pretty much sticking it in a place where I can’t reach it. Right now my salary that my business pays myself, plus what I get from ClickFunnels is more than enough to cover the bill. So all that money is actually going into investments and long-term savings where it will help me down the road. And so is my goal for the next five years to continue to basically save all the money that I can to help my kids with whatever education they want to pursue.

Also to build up a comfortable in savings trajectory so that I can retire someday day. Not have to work as hard as I do. It’s really not very sexy. We did take a couple of Nice trips. We went to Disney World and that costs a pretty penny and when there’s a family of six. So we do fun things like that. We also got some new furniture for the house. Spent some money on redoing our basement, things like that. So some longterm investments really trying hard not to piddle the money away on, you know, fancy clothes and super expensive vacations that are just as fun as the less expensive vacations.

Anyway, that’s kind of what’s going on behind the scenes. Just so you know, I want to. I always want to be transparent about the numbers because I think it really helps people to understand that when you’re making that kind of money, even though one online business doesn’t have overhead, doesn’t have a physical location, where you think, oh my gosh, you’ve made a million dollars in six months, that means you have a million dollars. Well no, I actually have around $180,000 and even at that level of 180, that’s still a very profitable business and so it kind of just sets the perspective so it’s amazing.

I try to give as much help, feedback, advice as I can inside the Create Your Laptop Life membership group. If you’re not a part of that yet, it is $50 a month and you can come and you can ask me all kinds of questions about finances, strategy, online, business, all that good stuff.

So I want to leave you with this. I wrote this on my blog and I want to read it to you now as I’m about to sign off. And basically, I sat down. I thought if I could go back and tell my pre-business self what to expect when building a multimillion-dollar business. This is what I would say to the Julie three years ago.

I’d say, “Julie, you’re about to go on the wild. This rollercoaster ride of your life. It will be the most thrilling, fulfilling, maddening thing you ever do and knowing your personality and your drive for security and certainty. It would be good to recognize that no matter how hard you work, no matter how many backup plans you have, there’s really nothing certain about starting your own business and you’re going to need to learn to love the ride. The process. Even when there are huge dips and morale, mood, money. Tell yourself, you know what? It’s only because of the down that you can experience the high. It’s absolutely 1000 percent a part of the process. Always teaching you course correcting you and giving you the ability to appreciate those times of growth. So go into business for the mission, for the impact for the life-changing results you can bring to the planet and don’t expect a crystal ball and certainly don’t expect to feel comfortable and don’t think that things will be settable and forgettable and don’t think you’re some anomaly when you feel like you have no idea what your finances are going to do in three years, six or nine months, because you will have to be your own best advocate, your own best critic, cheerleader, and confidant. You will find that some of the most amazing people on planet earth and at the end of the day, no matter what happens or how it happens in your online business life, you will never want to go back to your old life and once you start, even if the hard times get really hard because building a business is truly the way to change the world.”

I hope that was helpful for you guys. Have an amazing day and I’ll talk to you again soon. If you’re ready to create, grow, and scale your online business, you can go to createyourlaptoplife.com/podcast. And get a free plan on how you can get started today.

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