(If you’re thinking ‘too long, didn’t read’ - TLDR - read these bullets plus the key takeaways below)
I’ve accepted that I’m a visionary/dreamer and not an operations guy - it’s just not my super power! I don’t let my team finish things because I’m on to the next.
Despite the clunkiness of how my business operates, we still did $500k year one!
We recently brought in an operations consultant who is helping us deliver on our brand of TRUST!
My objective is $2m in revenue for Emerge/Ascend
Our members have been essential in validating where we fall short and I lay awake at night making sure we serve them .. I want our operation humming YESTERDAY! But I have to be patient
Intent and grit can take you a long way. But the right people will take you over the top!
To get quick insights into my journey follow me on Instagram.
Be sure to scroll down to see key takeaways!
After almost two years since the birth of Emerge and Ascend, we decided to take a second look at our entire process and determine where we can improve member experiences. What prompted this, what I’m learning, and the lessons you can extract are the subject of this weeks’ newsletter!
HIRING AN OPS CONSULTANT
I have a great team in place and we’ve been plugging away at building Emerge and Ascend since day 1. Recently, I had the opportunity to bring in an operational consultant that I’ve worked with before and who is a very talented integrator. They have ZERO experience in the online education and marketing space, but I believe the underlying skill is what’s important in leadership and the industry can be learned.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how he could help but knew we’d figure it out. We agreed on a payment structure and I gave a single objective for this business - scale to $2m in annual revenue.
We did $500k in year one and we’re on track to beat that this year but not to the level I want. I have seen results for people in the time we’ve been in business and the larger we are the more impact we have. That was all I had for him.
He started diving into the business, structure, organizational chart, processes, customer experience, etc. I didn’t have KPI’s, very few processes in place, roles weren’t clearly identified and our communication in Slack was sort of ‘new topic, new channel’ and most of those weren’t getting used anyway. In the short time he’s been around, we’ve learned a ton about the gaps in our fulfillment for our customers and how clunky some of the onboarding and automations are. We may be in too many systems. We may have the wrong pricing model and structure for what we do. We may be at a disadvantage trying to manage two communities vs. consolidating to one.
This has been humbling and necessary. While we have a very good product that has very good results, it’s not at the level of great!
TALKING TO MY CUSTOMERS
In Emerge, I do a 4 week check in with members that signed up the previous month. This is around the time the course gets harder. OneSheets are getting written, people are running up against resistance and struggle. It’s a good time to understand how I/we can help them. Part of that is getting some feedback on their experience so far. The wins were amazing!! Themes included getting clear on their goal, getting ‘unstuck’ and making actual progress or even achieving something they’ve wanted to but haven’t had accountability and a process to do it, leveraging tools like our habit tracker, OneSheet, etc, the connections made with other members, the value of the weekly accountability calls and Millionaire Case Studies.
Some of the negative feedback was that some people weren’t getting the emails they should, the onboarding process was ‘clunky’, there are too many systems, the date/time for the accountability call doesn’t always work. The good news is that we knew all or most of this. The bad news is when you’re building a brand based on trust, fulfillment is key. And this was a gut punch for me. It was hard to hear but it needed to be heard.
#1: We have a growing business DESPITE my short falls
When you’re 37 or 48 or whatever and you’re thinking about creating a different life for yourself, often the thing that stops action is the fear of the unknown. For me, I wrote down what I thought would be a good outline for a course that could help people, some ideas for how that course would lead into a mastermind group and then put it together to the best of my ability and the help of my small team. Then we ran webinars, sent emails, talked to people and built a membership. Obviously, it wasn’t perfect and still isn’t - and may never be. But going through this process has shown me that if you have the right intent, you show up for people, you believe in your ability to help them and take action - that’s enough to start. You have to take action to learn what action you need to take.
#2: Be You and Hire The Rest - Early!!
If you have to take loans, write IOU’s, put it on a credit card - whatever you’re not meant to be in your business hire it out. And do it at the earliest possible moment. Right away ideally. Virtual assistants are a very cost effective way to get talented people on your team. However you have to, leverage others. Since bringing in this ops consultant, I’ve been able to be 100% visionary and lean into interactions with my members instead of worrying about the nitty gritty of operations. That’s not who I am. He told me the other day “I know Jamie Gruber lives in the future, so you stay there and I’ll worry about the present”.
#3: Ready. FIRE. Aim
This is my mantra. I learned it by observing entrepreneurs in Gobundance that I admire. Launching Emerge was the first time I ever did anything with an online course. Bringing in the ops consultant was done before having a clear set of objectives for him. It was a talent grab. Ready is simply your state of mind. ‘I can build a course’ - Ready. ‘I KNOW this business would benefit from hiring this consultant’ - Ready. Then FIRE. Do the thing you know you need to do. Before you were a parent, you had no idea what the challenges were going to feel like. You may have read about them, but no one can simulate not sleeping for months until you do it. Buying real estate is the same - you don’t know what you don’t know until you buy it - no matter how many BiggerPockets episodes you listen to. Decide and then act. You’ll learn what to aim at from that point and you’ll grow much faster as a result.
Tribe of Millionaires Podcast Episode
✯ Check out episode 227 with Keala Kanae. He talks about starting and scaling a business. I loved everything about his message.
Something Funny I Saw
Mark Normand on Instagram is hilarious to me. He does these call outs to the audience to give him a topic - like a juke box - and then gives his take. Check him out!
This Annoys Me
✯ Pizza has certain principles to be pizza. It must come from a place that ends in a vowel, it must fold, flop and drip grease down the middle, and lastly it must have something that people from the midwest don’t have in their pizza. It’s a key ingredient that seems to be lacking in any pizza outside of the northeast extended to MAYBE Baltimore. That ingredient .. is taste! The cardboard squares with ketchup on it that places like Jets or other wannabe ‘pizza’ places provides meet NONE of the criteria above. And anyone that thinks that meat pie called ‘Chicago style’ is pizza can simply unsubscribe. I feel better.
Lesson from Living Abroad
✯ I saw 4 dudes in a car with their hands holding a stack of plywood to the roof - nothing else tying it down. They lack resources here but are incredibly resourceful. Makes me realize how resource rich we are in the US and Canada which can diminish our ability to be resourceful. Combining the two makes you unstoppable!!
If you’d like to work with me and/or be part of my communities
✯ Join Emerge for our next launch you can get it for only $1495 (use code JAMIE for $500 off!!)
✯ If you’re a net worth millionaire, apply here to join Gobundance and my team will schedule a time for us to talk. It’s $10,000-$15,000 annually to be a member - the greatest investment you can make in your future!