Create Your Laptop Life Podcast

Ep. 89 Can You Afford A Big Purchase?

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, what’s up? This is Julie, today I want to talk to you about making decisions. Specifically about making decisions about big purchases. Now, whether this is in life or business, all of us have opportunities to make big purchases, right.

Whether it’s, “Should I take that vacation? Should I hire that coach? Should I do that mastermind? Should I buy that house?” It is hard to make decisions about whether or not you can afford something big, because we all don’t have a crystal ball of what’s going to come in the future, what kind of contingency plans we need, what’s a safe amount, your risk tolerance. There’s just so many caveats and variations.

And I’ve been thinking about this because I’ve been sort of on a money bender here, talking about 2020 and money advice, and now Alex and I are house hunting. And the question has been sort of thrown around, “How much can we afford for a house?” Now, keep in mind that in 2016 I made $325,000 and it’s now 2020 and I made $2.2 million. So there’s a big jump between, in those last 4 years. And the last time I tried to buy a house, we got preapproved for a $400,000 mortgage. At the time in 2016 that seemed really high. It also meant that when we did buy a house, which was at the time, $350,000 a 20% down payment was everything we had. It was, I believe I had $80 or $90,000 in a savings account. And we had to put down $80,000.

So we had like $10,000 for closing costs or that kind of thing, and it was a lot of money. It was a lot of what we had. I haven’t done anything like that since 2016. Now, there’ve been a few big purchases I’ve made, investing in coaches, masterminds, travel experiences, purchasing Club 33 for my family, which is the most ridiculous non-financially savvy purchase you can imagine. But I have not really had anyone from the outside come into my life and my world and say, “This is what you can afford.” And keep in mind that when a mortgage company, or a coach, or a financial advisor says, “This is what you can afford.” What lens are they looking through it for? So that’s important to ask yourself.

So we went through the preapproval process again, and we were preapproved for a $3 million dollar home, which completely caused a whole identity crisis moment for me, because I could not imagine living in a $3 million home. It took me a minute to grasp that that’s how far I had gotten because I had just been sort of focusing on my customers, focusing on my clients, delivering value, putting money away and living within my means. So to be told, “You can afford a $3 million home.” And then going on realtor and zillow and looking at what $3 million homes can do, created this gap for me of like, “That’s not who I am. But that’s who they’re telling me I am.”

Now, another thing I want to just make mention here is that mortgage people, they want you to take out a big loan. So I’m aware that just because I can get a $3 million loan, doesn’t mean I should. So a lot of us have these kinds of experiences in life. So here are 5 questions that I recommend you ask yourself when you’re trying to make a big purchase. Home, business, otherwise, it doesn’t matter.

The first question is, can you afford the initial investment? Can you pay it in full? Can you pay it over time? Do you put it on a credit card? Now, the reality is that for each person that risk may be different. So for some people, putting something on a credit card is not a bad decision because they know that the ROI and the return is going to be there. for other people who are more conservative, putting it on a credit card is not going to feel right, it’s going to cause them a lot of stress, they’re not going to be able to focus, and then it’s going to reduce their performance. So you need to make the decision, what does “afford” mean to you? The risk gets higher obviously, but that’s you know, different strokes for different folks.

So asking myself this question, paid in full, paid over time, paid on a credit card, can we afford the initial investment of a $3 million home, the answer is yes. Do I want to spend that kind of money? No. But of course as life would have it, Alex and I found a home, it’s listed at 2.2 million and so I was crunching the numbers. Can we put 20% down on that $2.2 million home? Yes we could. It would be about $450,000 down. So we could afford that, and we would want to put 20% down so we wouldn’t have to pay primary mortgage insurance.

So the second question you’re going to ask yourself when making a big purchase is, can you afford the ongoing investment? So if it’s a mastermind, maybe the initial investment is $5K and then the ongoing is $2K, can you afford that? And that really boils down to a percentage. And you can find percentages for every benchmark ever, again, it’s very personal. But you know, for home buying for example, they say that your mortgage should not be more than 30%, and your mortgage should include your taxes and your insurance. It shouldn’t be about more than 30% of your monthly budget. So if you’re thinking about a mastermind, that percentage might be different.

So for us, I was like, “Okay, 20% down, $18,000 a year in taxes, insurance, that would cost us between $8 and $9,000 a month at $2.2 million. And I bring home between $30 and 40, that puts us right at that percentage mark. So okay, we’re okay.”

Then the third question you want to ask, what are any additional costs associated with the investment. So this is, these are like hidden costs. So if you’re in a mastermind or coaching, are you going to need ad spend, are you going to need to hire people, are you going to need additional tools? You want to ask yourself those questions. Not because you want to be a Debbie Downer, but because you want to just know. For us we need to know, closing costs are going to be $30,000. It’s probably going to cost us $50,000 to hire movers and to buy some new furniture, because that house is big. So we need to think about that. And then we also need to think about things like, how much higher is the electric bill going to be? Do we need to hire stable hands and lawn care people? And all those expenses, you just want to think about them before you a big decision.

And then you get to do the fun questions. The questions that are really important because between time and money, time is far, far, far more valuable. What are the ongoing benefits of your investments, and can you get the money back in some way? I always like to do the benefits one first, and try to think of non-monetary benefits, because we can always come up with ROI type stuff, but what are the non-monetary benefits? When I think about people who’ve joined my mastermind, they don’t see it until they’re in it, but things like “Oh my gosh, when that happened and shit hit the fan, I didn’t quit because I had a coach and I had a team behind me.” Or, “I got a new referral relationship, I got a connection. I got an open door that I couldn’t have gotten opened on my own.” Things like that you know, really do have a monetary ROI but not at first glance, but are incredibly important.

So sit with your benefits and then ask yourself, “Will this help me create new money, saved money, or found money?” and new money is you know, new customers, new revenue streams. You know buying a new home isn’t going to create new money for us unless of course we were going to rent out an in-law apartment or something. Saved revenue would be things that are now more efficient. So let’s say you joined a mastermind and that coach helps you avoid mistakes and lost opportunities and not hire people that are going to cost you a lot of money, so saved money. And then found money, which means making more with what you’ve got. Getting your customers to spend more, buy more, that kind of thing.

So, you know, obviously for us personally, real estate is a pretty safe investment over time. Of course you’ll find plenty of people who say otherwise, but most of the wealthiest people on planet earth own real estate, so there’s that. In a worst case scenario we might not get all of our money back. But we could at least get our original investment back. So if we put $450,000 in, we probably would get it back, even if we had to sell. So you know, you want to ask yourself that question.

And the last question you want to ask is, “What stage of life or business are you in right now? And is it conducive to what you want to do?” and this is really the time/money question. And I’m reading a book called Die with Zero, it’s a very good read. I will warn you that if you are a spender be careful reading it. I am not a spender, I am a saver, so this is really helping me to see how important it is to not over-save.

Anyway, the question for us is like, “Well, if we’re not going to buy a big farm now, when are we?” We’re not going to buy it in our 60’s, so if we don’t do it now, it’s not going to happen. So I’m sitting with the idea of, am I okay living a life where that never comes to fruition. And if I say to myself, “Gosh, I’d be really sad if I didn’t get a chance to experience what that was like.” Then that’s my answer. And that ultimately kind of trumps all the other ones, because you find when you have that question before you, it’s sort of that life or death question, you find your decision making completely changes. You just can’t live there 100% of the time because otherwise we’ll all just spend money like it’s going out of style.

So those are the questions when evaluating a big purchase. Can you afford the initial investment? Can you afford the ongoing investment? What are the hidden costs of the investment? What are the benefits of the investment? Can you get the money back? What is the ROI? And what stage of life or business are you in right now and is it conducive to what you want to do?

Lots of people have been asking, and by the time this gets published, I’m sure we’ll have a bigger update, we decided to go ahead and put an offer in on the home, we will see what happens. We did not offer $2.2, we offered considerably lower, so they may reject our offer. But it has been a really fun exercise, and quite an identity shift to start thinking about these questions. So I appreciate you all, talk to you soon.

Ep. 88 My Best Money Advice for 2021

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie, happy 2021, sort of. It seems like 2020 has bled into 2021. But nonetheless, we are still here, we are still standing. Today I want to talk about my best money advice for 2021.

I did a kind of state of the union recap, and a lot of people wanted to thank me for that, because I shared more realistically my numbers, what it looks like in the backend, so to follow up, I wanted to give you some really practical advice about how to think about your revenue in profits now.

So this is going to work for anyone who makes $60,000 a year or more, and that’s actually exactly when I started this habit. I remember it really clearly, I was starting to exceed about $5000 a month regularly, now the habit is like second nature.

So step one, get a bookkeeper. This will be a lot easier if you do that. And if you really, really don’t want to pay a bookkeeper and do your own bookkeeping, my bookkeeper who is now my CFO, Emily Volz, she has a course called Automatic Bookkeeping. It’s like $27 or $37, it’s totally worth it. She’ll help you get set up with Quickbooks. So whether you hire or you do it yourself, you really need to be able to see your monthly profit and loss, which really is necessary for the rest of this work.

So step two is to start paying yourself a salary. This is sort of based on the Profit First Model, if you’ve read that book. If you’re an LLC, this is going to be kind of pretend because in an LLC you don’t really have a salary, you don’t put yourself on payroll, but we’re still going to earmark it and act as if you are. Now if you’re an LLC electing to file as an S Corporation, you will literally put yourself on salary. So it can be done pretend wise if you’re an LLC or a Sole Proprietor, or you can just do it on payroll if you are an S Corporation.

So everyone asks, “How much should I pay myself?” and really only you can answer that question. But pick a number that you can start at. So for example, if you’re making $5000 a month gross, maybe your salary will be $1500 a month to start. If you’re making $10,000 a month, maybe the salary will be $4K. This exercise is very important because as you grow, and I think this happens with a lot of business owners, when they first start out they think, “Oh, I make $5000 a month, I keep $5000 a month.” And what we need to do is train our brain to see the gap, because the gap will only grow as you grow. So you’ll be stuck with a lot of disillusionment if you don’t get that under your belt. $5000 a month business is about a $1500 a month salary. $10,000 a month business is about a $4000 a month salary. So that’s kind of how you work it.

Now step three is to make a plan with any of that extra profit. So depending on how much you’re making, after you figure out your personal salary and your expenses, there might not be anything left. That’s okay, but the goal will be to have additional profit at the end of the month. So that’s the goal that we’re working towards.

But with whatever you have left, I recommend you do the following. You’re going to set aside 30% of your remaining profit and put it in a tax savings account. Now, I know that’s painful to do, but please trust me on this. And once you start making more money, over $300, $400,000 a year, you’re going to get to put more in, like 40%, and I won’t tell you that I put in 50%, but I do. And I don’t usually need to use all of it, but it is my cushion, because I am in a high tax state, I also have employees in other states, which forces me to pay state taxes in other states as well. So when you add that all up, its pretty bad.

Okay, so then with the remaining 70%, you’re going to want to divide that again. And this is what I do. I take 70% of that remaining amount, and I put it into my personal investment, banking accounts to use for whatever Alex and I wish. The remaining 30% will go into a business savings account. And that money can be earmarked for a Mastermind, an event, a new project, a new hire, etc.

So if you look at someone up in the 6 figure a month range, so let’s say an average monthly revenue of $150,000, I am going to say, $150,000 a month is you know, it’s over a million dollars a year for sure. It’s close to two million dollars a year. So a salary for that kind, let’s put it around $250,000. So that’s going to leave you with an average monthly net profit of about $70,000 left if you have good profit margins. So I would split the $70,000 in half and I would put $35 into the tax account, and the other $35 is going to be divided again. That $35 is going to be divided into 70/30.

So that means out of $150,000 in revenue I’m getting a salary of about $10,000 a month, and I’m also getting a distribution of about $24,500. Then I have $10,000 saved in business and my taxes put aside. Now this is all creating a system whereby I am not struggling with cash flow. I have my tax money growing, and if you want to put that in some interest yielding account or invest it so that at the end of the year, or quarterly, (you should be paying your taxes quarterly so you don’t get a fine), then you have all that money set aside, you’re not worried about it. You also have a salary and a distribution that you’re taking, which is what you live on or invest with, and then you have business savings which allows you to make decisions not out of scarcity, because you have a savings.

So I understand that for some people that kind of walk through this exercise with me, they’re kind of like, “Wow. So you really only see about $30-40,000 a month when you’re making $150,000? That’s awful.” Now, that will feel awful if you’ve been operating in the world view, the false world view, which is the number that everyone tells you they make per month is the number that you actually keep. So what I’m trying to do through my email list, through my podcast, through my posts, is change that paradigm. So that people stop thinking that a six figure month means a six figure monthly salary.

Once you get used to it, and it’s way easier to get used to it when you’re making less, you won’t see numbers the same anymore. So now when I see a hundred thousand dollar launch, I’m proud, and I’m happy, but I have real expectations of what that money does. And for those of you guys that are just kind of like, taking the pill and waking up to this, it’s going to feel hard. But trust me, if you start when you’re making less, it won’t hurt as much when you’re making more.

You know, when I see at the end of the year, okay, my gross revenue was 2.2 million, that’s amazing, I’m super excited. I already know what 2.2 million kind of funnels down to in my pocket, so I’m not living for the high that I think a lot people live for when they’re looking at attaining those big numbers.
So I had a former Digital Insider who’s now making multi-million dollars a year reach out to me and say, “Thank you for teaching me this lesson about money, because it kept my business running smoothly during Covid because I had this foundation.”

So you can do this no matter what your numbers are, trust me, you will thank me eventually. And really the person you should thank is my accountant, who helped teach me this habit 5 years ago, and it is now allowed me to create wealth in ways that many influencers who grew quickly cannot. I appreciate you all, talk soon.

Ep. 87 2020 Recap + Takeaway

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, oh my gosh. I meant to record this podcast at the end of 2020, but here we are in 2021. This was going to be sort of my 2020 recap report and takeaway, and it’s now January 11th. But I’m recording it on January 11, who knows when you’ll see it. But nonetheless, I’m here to talk about the year of all years.

I have to say, I did write this on my blog and I’ve been procrastinating a little bit on recapping 2020, and I think I feel so much conflict because this year brought so much stress and trauma, and crisis to all of us. But in the midst of it, there are so many gifts and lessons that I’ve learned about myself, my relationships, my business, that I don’t really know what to think about 2020.

And 2020 is also the year that I finally stopped keeping everything about my life and business in silos. You know, I was given the advice that you never, ever, ever want to talk politics or religion in business, and I think I held onto that for a long time, and 2020 was really the year where I finally broke free from that. And I have a few reasons why. I think one of the big reasons why I struggled to find my voice was because I was working in an organization and company that has values that are very different from my own. And it has taken me a long time to come to grips with how much of the real me I was suppressing in order to fit in a role that I was in.

You know, I have nothing but warm feelings and respect for the people over at Clickfunnels because they have been critical to a lot of my knowledge and expertise and visibility. So I just want to honor them in that, but there is a real thing that happened to me when I became a part of that company, representing that company, that my voice kind of went dormant. And that’s because my voice is in direct contradiction to a lot the things that their voice is in. So I left in 2019, but I think it took me 7 – 8 months to really feel my way back into the world.

So for 2020 I started talking about politics, the election, Black Lives Matter, the Coronavirus, and then I also started talking about fun things like plant based living and eating and gardening and birds, and all that kind of stuff.

So this year was interesting because I lost thousands of followers, in fact, I’ve culled my email list in half, and yet, my business is still growing. So I know there’s a really important lesson in there. It obviously sounds really cliché, but it is the stay true to yourself mantra and to continue to deliver value. And your business will be fine, no matter how dorky or unpopular your opinions may be.

So that’s sort of a big overview of some of the significant changes that have happened in 2020 personally and what you’ve seen publically through all my channels and my email list.

Now financially 2020 was a great year. For my revenue in 2020 it was 2.24 million dollars. And my net profit was 1.4 million. Now that is an enormous success, and also a really important lesson there, which is that my revenue in 2019 was 2 million, my revenue in 2018 was 2 million. So I know that 2018, 2019 I was working with Clickfunnels, so it was very hard to be a VP and run a business, so you can see sort of that stagnation of revenue growth there, because I’m not superwoman.

So this year was the first year, 2020, which was a crazy year, where I didn’t have any other obligations. I wasn’t working at Clickfunnels. So you can see that I went from 2 million into 2.2 million. Now that may not sound like a lot of growth, that may not sound exciting, but I have trained all of my clients and students to celebrate all wins. And the reality is that 15% growth year after year is actually excellent in the real world. 30% growth is amazing. And it only seems to be in the internet marketing world that people think that 100% growth is the only kind of growth that you can have.

Now to go from 2 million to 2.2 million is not quite even 15%. So I only grew, whatever, 8-10%. So I’m like, “Okay, what do those numbers actually mean? What do they actually say about what happened in 2020?” because you can’t just look at the numbers, you gotta look below them. And again, another reason why people spouting revenue numbers is not helpful. So a couple of things changed. Number one, I stopped promoting Clickfunnels as an affiliate in 2020, which means I’ve lost a lot of revenue, by no longer doing that.

Now, I still am getting some recurring revenue, but my Clickfunnels affiliate was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So this was a big sort of change for me. I stopped selling my create your laptop life membership. I had you know, about 700 or 1000 people in a $50 a month membership. I sunsetted that so that I could work on this new project, FG Society with Cathy. I also stopped selling TDG, that was my $2000 program.

So basically, I stopped selling everything except for Digital Insiders. So when I look at my revenue and I say, “Okay, I stopped selling most of what I’ve been doing, and I still grew by 8-10%.” That’s a sign that it was an excellent year. Right, because I mean that’s awesome. It means doing less but making more, which is what everybody wants. Now if you look at my net profit in my business, which was 1.4, the thing is that that is my most profit year to date. So even though I only grew by whatever it is, 8%, 9%, in 2018, 2019 my profit was less. So all in all 2020 has been my best year yet.

And that is despite the pandemic. I had a bunch of lost income due to people who couldn’t afford to pay because they were losing clients, you know there’s that ripple effect. So I did set up a scholarship fund for those people, so I absorbed a lot of that cost. So there’s just a lot of things that happened. And so I’m really, really proud of these numbers because of the story that they tell.

And a bunch of people asked, they said, “So does this include Funnel Gorgeous?” because a lot of you know that my personal business is Digital Insiders, but I co-own Funnel Gorgeous with my partner Cathy Olson, so people are like, “What? How does that work?” So I just wanted to kind of share that, because I didn’t really share it in my blog post.

So the 2.2 million that I earned in 2020 includes my post-net after tax FG distributions. So basically whatever Funnel Gorgeous makes, after the expenses, after we figure out the profit, then we cut 30% off for taxes, and you pull that out, and whatever distribution I get, and the distribution Cathy gets, that is included in that number. It turned out to be somewhere around 6 or 700 thousand dollars, right. So maybe a little bit less, I’d have to go back and check. But my point in telling you that is just to sort of create an accurate picture. And then my point also is to say that if I were an internet marketer who is trying to wow you with my pizzazz-razzi numbers, what I could have done is take my profit and my revenue from my business, and then taken out the distributions, and then just instead talked about my gross revenue at Funnel Gorgeous. And I could be like, “Well look, it was like 1.7 million in my business and 2.2 million, or whatever it is in Funnel Gorgeous.” And I could 2.2 and I could add 1.7, and I could be like, “I did 3 ½ – 4 million dollars this year.”

Now that would technically be a true statement and what would that number show? It’d be like, “Oh my god, she doubled her business. She went from 2 million to 4 million.” And that would perpetuate the lie that it’s easy to just double your business when you’re up at these high numbers. And I think a lot of people, it’s not sexy to say, “I went from 2 million to 2.2 million.” But that’s $250,000, how many of you listening would love to have a $250,000 a year business. How many of you have a $250,000 a year business and work so very hard? But that number doesn’t feel big at that level.

So this is what I’ve been trying to do, and you’ll see in my upcoming podcasts, that I’m really trying to kind of beat this drum to change the conversation around all of the stripe screenshots, and revenue numbers and all that kind of stuff.

So I have a state of the union address on my site, I recommend you read it. I’m kind of giving you the highlight, I went through and tried to figure out how many podcasts did I do, which I was probably super inconsistent with, as you guys know, how many blog posts, where I got to speak, how many emails I wrote, what kind of presentations I built, where I donated, what I was able to do with raises and bonuses for my team, and most importantly how much I was able to change my lifestyle so that I wasn’t burning out.

So that is the story of 2020 and I am incredibly grateful for everybody who has purchased from me, spoken about my business, followed, sent an encouraging word, I really value all of you. And I just thank you for being on this journey with me and if you have enjoyed my very inconsistent podcast, and you would leave a review, or share it, or tag me on Instagram, that would be amazing. Guys, let’s make 2021 a different year than 2020. I appreciate you all.

Ep. 86 Adventuring in an RV (Personal Update)

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

What’s up? I’m finally getting around to a little bit more of a personal podcast episode today. I wanted to talk to you about my big adventure across the country, sort of how that came about, what I thought, some of my takeaways from it all.

It was really my first trip since March, when this whole Coronavirus quarantine thing hit. So I thought I would just kind of give you a little behind the scenes of what’s been going on in my world, and it’s also sort of my excuse for why I haven’t been podcasting.

So back in the summer my Digital Insiders were really hankering for an in-person visit, the Coronavirus had kind of waned a little bit, sort of, in certain parts of the country. And I started to think, “Okay, maybe we could get together safely.” But as luck would have it, of course we saw that summer surge, and that just wasn’t going to happen.

So I was really thinking hard, well how can we safely meet? What can we do? And I knew immediately that whatever we had to do would have to be outside, and in order to be outside together for multiple days you need to have great weather. I didn’t want to have a lot of rain and bugs, heat, humidity or super, super cold. So I started looking around for climates that have very little rain and great temperatures, and sure enough the only one that works in October is the high desert. So basically a million miles from my house here in Connecticut.

So I reached out to Julia who is in Digital Insiders and I asked her about the area, because she’s in Colorado, only a couple of hours away from that high desert area, and I said, “Is this a great place?” And she said, “Oh my gosh, yes. I’ve been here.” She actually traveled in an RV and lived on the road for two years, so she knew everything there was to know about that area.

So before I had too much time to talk myself out of it, I had booked this giant group campsite in Moab. And it is 33 hours from my house, driving time. And not only that, but it was going to be a dry camping experience. There would be no water, no showers, no electricity. There would be drop toilets, so that’s a plus. And here’s the kicker, no cell service.

So I booked it, I didn’t really think much about it, and I told everybody, and everybody was super excited, and we had about 45 people reserve immediately. And I said, “Bring your own food, bring your own shelter, we will be outside the entire time so it is a safe venture for everyone and no one feels at risk.” And that was that.

I really didn’t think about it much until about two weeks before the trip. Thankfully, thank God, my husband was thinking about it, because he had all the tools, the camping tools. But about two weeks before I thought, this is nuts. I was a little scared, we had never, Alex and I had never driven an RV, rented an RV nothing. I mean I’ve done some dry camping, but man. We were going to bring William, who is my 5 year old, and we were going to try to, I was going to try to work on the road, and school on the road. I just started to get a little nervous. And I made the mistake of Googling, to kind of get some RV tips, and realized pretty quickly that we had been extremely over ambitious in our estimates of how far we could drive.

So we decided we’d leave on a Wednesday and arrive in Utah on Sunday, we would camp from Sunday to Thursday, and then we would drive home Thursday and be home by Sunday, which makes it about a 12 day trip, roundtrip. So it was crazy. And I’m here and alive to tell the tale. And if you follow me on Instagram you probably saw a lot of the highlights. I’m not going to lie about 3 hours into the trip, realizing that an RV is nothing like a plane. I had all these grand visions of being able to work and school and cut vegetables. And about 3 hours in I realized, “Oh, no, no, no, this is not that. This is like a ride at Disneyworld, and I am about to vomit all over my son because I’m so carsick.”

So thankfully I figured it out and I didn’t vomit, and I also didn’t work. I mean, I did my Voxers, but I really wasn’t able to do much else. So it was kind of an unintended consequence of 66 hours of driving over 8 days, was I had a lot of time to think. And it was glorious.

I don’t think I would have willingly put myself in that situation ahead of time. But it was what it was and it ended up being the best thing for me. So one of the advantages I say that I’ve found out about RVing is that, especially when you get carsick and you can’t really do much, is that it gives you an incredible amount of time to reflect. There’s nothing to do, you’re on the open road, you look out the window, talk to the people you’re with, and it was so good for my mental health. In fact, despite the fact that it was an incredibly exhausting trip, I came back more emotionally and mentally refreshed and calm than I have in a long time.

4 days in Moab with Digital Insiders was incredible. We had a fantastic time. Basically we all hung out in the early morning hours, it was chilly in the desert, but it was amazing. Had tea, coffee, talked and we all sort of scattered, did our own thing, whether it was hiking or crazy, life-risking UTV drives along Hell’s Revenge, and then we’d all get back together in the evening, have our dinner, be around the campfire, talk, sing, hang out, and we did that for 4 days with no cell phone service. So it was just a lot of connecting with the people you’re with. And I really, I do recommend if you have never gone off the grid, that you try.

I will say that I did drive, 5 or 6 miles each day to go get my twitter updates. But that was just because we were in Moab right as the president was getting sick, so it was very hard not to know what was going on. The drive home was crazy and if you decide to take a road trip, do not do what we did, which was think that we could do a 12 hour drive in one day. A 12 hour drive is actually a 16 hour drive when you include stops, sanity stops. So that day was brutal. On the way back we left Moab on Thursday at 10am, we arrived in Kansas around 9 pm. The next morning we left at 5:30 in the morning, around 5:30 or 6, we left Good…I think it was Goodland, Kansas and we made it all the way across Kansas, all the way across Missouri, all the way across Illinois and into Indiana. We arrived in Indiana at 1:30 in the morning.

We also had, we lost two hours because of two time zones, so it was really like 11:30. But still it was about 12, it was a long time. And then we woke up in Terre Haut, I think that’s how you say it, Indiana. We stayed there in the morning just to try and get our bearings, and we drove until 9 pm just to get to Pennsylvania, slept at a truck stop for about 5 hours, Got up at 3 in the morning and went from Pennsylvania home. It was crazy.

So the moral of the story is that you should go off the grid, you should try RVing. You should not try RVing across the country as your first RV trip, thinking you can do 12 hour days, that is nuts. That’s where I’ve been and I would encourage you, if you are a leader in any kind of group community, look out for your people. It has been a very, very hard year, it is hard to not see people, figure out ways in which you can do it safely, and ways in which you can still get that much needed connection. Because we desperately need it and we’re heading into a rough fall and winter, there’s no doubt about it.

So whatever you can do in the next several weeks to connect with the people that you serve and connect with your students, go ahead and do it. Because even though it’s hard and crazy and very inconvenient, it is always worth it. Talk to you soon.

Ep. 85 A Planning Breakthrough

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie. What’s up? I hope you’re doing amazing. Today I want to talk to you about this new, it’s not really a new way, but it’s sort of like, I have these ideas and then I like aerate them, and reiterate them until they start to really work in my business.

So today I want to talk about a planning modality that has been working really well for me.

Now a quick back story, a lot of people think because of the level of productivity that I have that I am super organized. And I am organized, but I’m very organized at a macro level, not a micro level. In fact, if you saw my desk right now, you would see just how non micro level organized I am. I should take a picture. But I organize at the macro level because this is what allows me to do incredible amounts of work in a short period of time. Because I’m willing to ignore extraneous, unnecessary details, and I think this is where a lot of people get messed up. I see all kinds of organization products on the market, and they are so detailed and comprehensive, and that’s awesome, and entirely unsustainable.

So I’m constantly an advocate for macro organization, which allows you to still have some disorganization. So I’m trying new things all the time to try and see what works for me. So I just did a Q4 planning meeting with my digital insiders, of course I made this cool spreadsheet. And one of the insiders was like, “Every time you do a planning meeting, you give us a different process.” I said, ‘I know. Because I’m trying different ones because not everything works for everyone all the time and anybody that says they have one system that fits all people is lying.”

So I, but I love this one and I actually think I might stick to this one. So I introduced this idea back at the end of, oh my gosh, what year is it? 2019, when we did sort of an end of year workshop in Funnel Gorgeous. It’s this idea of promotion, process and production.

So in a business you have three different types of activities, you have promotional activities, which are related to outward selling of your services and products. So put that in promotion. You have process based activities, which are things you just do every day, whether it’s fulfillment, customer support, operations, just things that happen day in and day out to keep the business running. And then you have production, and production is the word I use that are project based, right. You’re building your funnel, you’re not going to have to build that funnel every day, so it’s a project. It has a start and an end. You’re building a new course, you’re building a new customer support system, whatever it happens to be. They’re production project based.

So I like to think about my business and my life in these three modalities. So I made this spreadsheet where I have three, so let’s say, we’re coming into November here, so there’s a November calendar for promotion, a November calendar for process, and a November calendar for production. Three calendars, three tabs. What I do is get in my brain, “Okay, what am I promoting for November? What is the focus?” Well, I know it’s black Friday, so the focus for us is going to be to open Funnel Gorgeous Society. We opened it in May, and now finally it’s almost finished. It’s actually finished, and now we’re ready to sell it to the masses.

So my promotional focus for November is FG Society. So then I think about, “Where am I going to promote? How is the prelaunch, the launch, all of that stuff?” I just make notations in my calendar, then I move to tab two.

Tab two is process. What are the things that are happening in November that I just am on the books for? So I put things like all my milestone calls for Launch Gorgeous and Funnel Gorgeous, all my audits for Digital Insiders, all my Voxers for Digital Insiders, the fact that I have to create YouTube videos and I have to record podcast episodes. I have group calls for Digital Insiders, I have hot beats, I have blog posts to write. I have content to create. So all of this stuff that I’m doing on an ongoing basis, I put there. Now, you could do it for your entire business if you wanted to, all the ongoing things. You know, customer support, social media ads, etc, etc. I don’t actually do any of that part of the business, so I didn’t put any of it in my calendar, just because I didn’t want to clog it up. Okay, so that’s tab two.

Then I go into tab three and I think simply about what projects, what things do I have to get done? Now the production calendar is often times related to the promotion because I know, for example, that I’m going to be promoting Funnel Gorgeous Society in November. So that means I need to make sure I have my funnel ready. So project wise, production wise I know I have to write sales copy for Funnel Gorgeous Society, I know I have to create webinar slides, I have to write launch copy for that promotion.

But there’s other production stuff happening, because I’m in the middle of creating brand new Launch Gorgeous curriculum while I’m teaching it. So I know I have a couple of phases I know I have to prep for. And I have a few other projects that are not related to promotion, or you know, they’re just operational. So we’re working on some software stuff. Those things are project related.

So what I’m doing in each of those three tabs is I’m not trying to think of everything. I’m just trying to think of what do I need to promote? What are my every day responsibilities? And what are my projects?

The cool part about it, is that tab four curates all of them. Now, it curates all of them so that I can quickly see, “Oh wow. So on November 18th I’ve got a promotional thing to do, I’ve got a process thing to do, and I also slated a production. Well, that doesn’t make any sense because I’ve already got a promotion and a process.” So I go and rearrange it.

Now, some of you might be saying, “Why wouldn’t you just do that all on one calendar?” You can, but I think that the ability for the brain to just stay focused on just one type of activity is going to make it better. So if you don’t want to use spreadsheets, you could go into Google Calendar, create three Google Calendars, one is promotion, one is process, one is production. Turn all the calendars off except for one, and start writing in all the activities you want to do for, you know, you’re promotional period. Then turn that one off, go to process, turn that one off, go to production. Then turn them all back on and see what you have and what it looks like.

The reason I love this method is because a lot of people when they’re doing their quarterly planning, they’re always planning promotional things and project things, and then forgetting the process. They’re forgetting the things that they’re already on the hook for, and then they inadvertently over commit and can’t meet their goals.

So that was something I just taught in Digital Insiders that has been really powerful. And I’ve modified it actually now, so that in the weekly meetings with Funnel Gorgeous I have, yes, you guessed it, a spreadsheet. And in that spreadsheet I’m asking questions, our agenda is promotion, production, process, you can do it in any order.

So what we do is we say, “Okay, what are the things that we’re promoting this week?” and we go through, you know, look through our coaching, our courses, our templates. Then we go to production, we say, ‘Okay, what’s currently in production? What do we have to produce this week for coaching, courses, and templates?” and then we look at process. How are process based things going in customer service, coaching, courses, and templates?

So in this way, you can see at any given moment what’s happening, let’s say from Funnel Gorgeous Society from a promotional aspect, from a process aspect, and from a production aspect.

So this is a very macro way to look at a business. Obviously it doesn’t account for everything. But it allows you to get a quick handle on what you’re doing. And it also makes sure that you’re not overly focused on promotion and then everything is falling apart on process, or overly focused on process, forgetting to market, or overly focused on projects, then promotion and process fall by the wayside.