Hi, lovely ones are welcome to episode number eight. The business numbers that are not spoken about. This is a conversation that I’ve wanted to have for years if I’m honest.
It’s a conversation that I think really needs to be had because there were years where my numbers in business didn’t reflect the numbers that I was hearing about in other podcasts. It really warped my sense of what’s normal and what can be expected. And so if you’re in a position where you’re putting your work out into the world where you’re selling to your audience, then I really want to contribute to you in a meaningful way to give you some numbers that can help to, I guess, normalise your expectations.
So, in this episode, we’re going to get real, because the numbers don’t lie.
But before we do, I’d really like to shout out Ali Devo who commented, a beautiful review. She said,
“I knew these podcasts were going to be awesome even before listening to a word. Now that I’ve listened to, I know they are a must listen for everyone. Dr. Rebecca feels like the loving best friend that sits and holds your hand when you need some help. could listen all day long.”
Thank you so much for that review. Ellie. It means the world to me and for all of you that have left reviews, please note I go and read them all and they simply made my day. So, if you have a chance after you listen to this episode, jump over and leave a review because it really helps this podcast to stay here.
So, let’s start with numbers, real numbers that is not fake numbers. And actually fake numbers is what I want to start with, because that’s not necessarily true. I’m not saying that other people are broadcasting fake numbers about their business. But what I am saying is that they’re not telling the full story. Where this conversation starts is probably in my car, believe it or not, when I’ve been driving around listening to other people’s podcasts. And for those of you that have followed me for a while, you know that there has been a change in the way that I practice psychology.
I’ve gone from a clinical practice where I spent about 15 years seeing clients. And during that time, I had a very successful practice a six-figure practice where I didn’t do Any marketing or advertising for a long period of time, because I had really strong relationships with my referrers. But because of a decent episode of burnout, I had to leave clinical practice and essentially re-establish myself in the way that I practice psychology.
I broke my own heart doing it, I need to be honest about that, too. I had to walk away from clients who I cared about deeply and whose progress I cared about deeply.
I had to walk away from our referrals who had inspired me because of the work that they were doing as doctors to look after their patients and I was no longer going to be a part of that. And that’s where, you know, they’re saying that you can miss something that you don’t want back or really rings true for me. Because I Miss working one on one with people in that deep way. But I don’t want it back because I just know it’s not right for me now.
The contribution the I’ve made in one to one clinical practice has been made, it’s finished. And so essentially, I’ve spent the last five years re-establishing myself in terms of how I can use my skills to now practice psychology in a different way. But that means that I’ve gone from a very successful profitable business to one where I was supported by my wife for a very long period of time. Well, I tried to wrap my head around online selling and how I could make my contribution in a meaningful and impactful way to the world. Essentially working over the Internet, and that’s an entirely different ballgame. A different ballgame that I had no idea about.
When I first started just know I essentially did everything backwards.
When I first started, I wrote the course that I was getting to sell without even having an audience without even knowing what the problems worried that my audience was facing all the things anyway, that’s another, that’s another episode in itself, the mistakes that I’ve made. But what I want to talk about is once I had some idea of what I wanted to do, which was to essentially take my knowledge as a clinician, and my knowledge about psychological topics and ability should translate that knowledge into accessible language for you, as you listen to this, and create courses that were affordable and easy to do for people that were time poor and out to make a meaningful difference in their own lives but were essentially struggling with various things.
That’s when I started to listen to podcasts of people doing similar things. Because when you don’t know how to do something, I’m a true believer that podcasts can be a really great way to get access into the mind. Have leaders in that field doing the same thing. And oftentimes you can access really good free information, which helps to move you forward. And so, I was listening to podcasts where guests were being featured that had launched their own programmes and had six figure launches.
First up, you know that we’re talking about these amazing levels of revenue. And what they never talked about were the expenses. And what they never talked about were the hours that went into those things. And so, for a time, I actually had a completely warped expectation bank in my head that I drew from about what to expect when I started selling online.
And that led me to a place where I put in all this work and then considered my results to be failures or less than or somehow not good enough and it made me doubt it. thing that I was doing and the value of my work, because my results in my numbers weren’t reflecting what I was hearing other people talk about.
And now that I’ve been doing this for a number of years, I wish I could tell my previous self myself of a couple of years ago, that those people I was listening to, weren’t telling the full story. Because the full story isn’t necessarily as sexy as saying that you had a five or six figure launch first up. And so what I want to do today, for those of you that are my creators, entrepreneurs, women and men out there making a huge difference in the world by selling to your audiences, to help them solve whatever problems that they’ve got is.
I want to tell you the truth.
I want to tell you the truth about my numbers, so that it can help you to develop realistic expectations for your numbers, because I don’t want you to be stopped in your tracks like I was simply because you’re actually not hearing the whole version of a story.
I had the pleasure of hearing a gentleman called Chris harder speak in January, this year 2020, as I’m recording this, and Chris often says that,
when good people make great money, they can do great things.
And I truly believe in that money is incredibly important. Because when you care, when you are deeply invested in doing something in the world that is actually going to make a difference to other people, to animals to the planet at large, then money makes a huge difference to what you can do and what level you can do without.
So yes, we are absolutely going to talk about money today. But what we’re also talking about is time, hours, weeks, years. And then I’m also going to talk about something that you perhaps might not have considered and that’s the numbers resulting misalignment and finding alignment. I’ll explain more as we go through. And then finally, the last category of numbers that I’m going to talk about relate to emotional impact. Because that counts to, you can’t do what you’re doing in the world without thinking it’s not going to have some kind of impact on you.
And I think it’s really important to be able to find a way that your business is not just sustainable financially, but it’s sustainable for you emotionally, practically and mentally. So, let’s start with money, though. Hey, because that’s what most people think. And that’s certainly what I thought a few years ago when I was listening to those podcasts about the money results. So where are we going to start?
I think I’d like to start with my first course that I developed because I want to tell you the truth about that. The first course that I developed was happy habits. Some of you may have followed me since happy habits times. And if you have, I love you. I love you dearly because you’ve been with me for a long time. And you’ve then witnessed firsthand the evolution of not only my brand, but my voice as a writer, my voice as someone with a platform and my voice in terms of what’s actually authentic to me.
How that’s evolved over time has been incredibly meaningful to me. And it’s not always been comfortable. But what happened is when I left psychology, sorry, let me say that again. When I left my clinical practice, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. So instead of, you know, kind of leaving my safe job, or my safe business that had a very healthy recurring income, I shut the doors because I was so burnt out and walked away with absolutely no plan on how to move forward. Now, I probably I could have done that in much less risky away.
But unfortunately, I’d let myself get to the point where the emotional impact on me had been such that I could no longer ignore it. And then what that left me with, was a blank space,
A blank space of what on earth am I going to do with my life if I can’t practice psychology by seeing clients each and every day? So, I came up with the idea that I might write a course on positive psychology techniques, which I still adore positive psychology techniques, and I think that they can make a huge difference to mental health. And that’s exactly what I did.
I researched the course. And I wrote the course very focused on creating an amazing course. But the way that I did it was with absolutely no knowledge of how to sell online. So I have to laugh out loud when I think about this because what I know now, versus what I didn’t know then it’s just remarkable.
You know, very steep learning curve. But I had no idea that there were platforms where you could host your own course. And so, I paid about $25,000 to have a customised website built that actually measured people’s results as they went through the programme and gave them feedback scores and those types of things. And a whole series of other finicky things that occurred in the creation of that hosting platform being fully customizable.
And I think that was the first time that I really realised that the numbers that I was hearing from other people weren’t matching my numbers at all. And then I made the mistake of having no audience to sell to, so I didn’t test my product. I had no idea of whether or not the product had been validated. I was just going on what I knew as a psychologist is being really helpful techniques, but that doesn’t mean that you can necessarily find them the audience that needs your techniques right then and there.
And so, after spending $25,000 on this website and all the things that went with it, I still had no audience. And so I spent about $1,000 on an Instagram course. And I managed to create an Instagram page that had a large following in quite a short period of time. But that didn’t mean that it translated into sales. So we’re talking about money going down the drain, to essentially produce an audience that was based on a brand that I was hiding behind. And this will be important when we get to misalignment. And so I was left with his course with no professional copywriting no professional graphic design.
I’d spent all the money that I had to spend on it on the website alone. Websites alone do not sell products. And so here I was feeling incredibly foolish because when it came time to sell that course, in the years that I had it open, I’m not joking when I tell you that I probably made no more than about $5,000 in sales. And that was over a number of years that I had that course open.
And I say that because there’s a lot to be said, for spending the time to engage with your audience and work out who you’re talking to before you develop a product and actually put it out for sale online. It’s a much more complex business than developing something that’s amazing and then hoping that people will find it. Now, when we’re also talking about money, I want to talk to you about my other course launches because I did go on to learn a little bit about being online and particularly being able to navigate social media and I manage to step away from happy habits, and I started putting work out under my own name.
And the first course that I developed to put out under my own name cost me $17,000 to develop. That includes the assistant I had helping me at the time. It includes copywriting graphic design, the platform on which the course was hosted and a whole series of other smaller expenses that go into the development of course, nobody talks about how much money it costs to host and maintain, let alone create and develop in the first place.
An online course if you do it to the standard that I tend to do my things true. Now, that course, because again, we’re talking about the course that I was launching while still listening to those podcasts where people were talking about revenue and not profit when I first launched that course, it made $17,000 but I’d spent $17,000 creating it. So, I was still behind the eight ball. Yes, I had an asset that I could then sell over and over again. But you can understand that I didn’t even see the $17,000 income because
I felt like I was a duck, constantly scrambling under the water just to keep up with the outlay and the expenses.
Now, there might be some of you that are incredibly financially competent. And I’m certainly not going to sit here and say that I’m any kind of financial expert. I’ve educated myself along the way. I’m not averse to risk. But I still didn’t understand all the expenses that would go into selling online.
So then that was, that was actually really disheartening, I considered that, that launch must have been a failure because it didn’t match the $120,000 launch that I’d heard about this person talking about as her first launch, or even the $65,000 launch that I’d heard another person talking about who was a yoga instructor, I think she was. And here I was thinking, I just made $17,000. But I spent $17,000 on it. Nobody talks about that bit. And while we’re on the subject of money, I also want to add that over the years I’ve spent about $10,000, educating myself, in courses, in mentoring in coaching and those types of things. I actually wouldn’t take back $1 of that, because it’s all been really valuable. But then it’s also left me with the business that needs to be run. Now, when you run a business, there are ongoing expenses.
And I can tell you that just in descriptions alone for software. And for other tools that I use to manage online. I have $15,000 worth of subscriptions annually. Nobody talks about that either. I just want you to know what goes into this. So when we’re talking about money, I think it’s rare for people to talk about profit alone, net profit. That is they might talk about gross profit, but they don’t talk about the expenses actually involved in this stuff. And I want you to understand what goes into it so that you can be realistic with your own creations and your own offerings, because it costs money. And that’s okay.
It costs money to create really high-quality things.
Yes, there might be cheaper ways to do it. Yes, there might be cheaper software out there. But after all these years of trying different things, spending money on things that Don’t work or don’t work the way that they need to. I now have these expenses. And I’m actually pretty happy with it because it makes things smooth for me. Now, they’re just my expenses in subscriptions though that doesn’t include all the assistance that I have with my team and it doesn’t include ads and things like that.
What I want you to know, though, is what you might be hearing in other podcast episodes that talk about these huge launches is just the sales alone. Now let’s talk about numbers involved in time. There are thousands of pieces of content that I have produced for free over the years.
Thousands upon thousands of Instagram posts, blog posts, these podcast episodes now. pieces of content that I’ve offered you for free that might be useful that you can download Thousands and thousands of pieces of content. And then there’s the thousands of hours that have gone into producing that free content for you.
Not to mention, the eight years of study the 15 years of practice and the five years that it’s taken me to create something sustainable, and how I practice psychology. Now, when we talk about numbers, people don’t necessarily talk about the number of years that it’s taken them to get where they are either.
Patients, lovely ones. It’s taken me a lot of wrong turns to get here as well, actually wrong is not the right word.
It’s taken me a lot of different turns, I would have to say to get where I am, but it certainly hasn’t happened overnight.
Now I want to talk about numbers when it comes to finding your alignment. And by alignment. I mean, what works for you in business? What works for you in life, what works for you in terms of the message that you’re trying to deliver, or the difference that you’re trying to make to your audience.
So, in terms of misalignment, to come to a place of alignment, I went from psychology to flying listen to episode number one, I think it is if you want to hear that story, psychology of flying back to psychology, again, to working for the government to being in private practice for a long period of time to leaving private practice altogether, to starting happy habits and hiding behind a brand and not using my own name, back to private practice, and then back into the online space, but this time under my own name, to finally spend a couple of years working out what my voice sounded like and who I really wanted to work with in terms of my ideal client that I was trying to work with online. There are A lot of redirects there in that path, you don’t have to decide on exactly the direction that you’re going to go in today.
And I want you to be able to leave room for it to be imperfect First up, because if I hadn’t have started happy habits, I don’t think I would know much at all really about how I operate today. I think making all the mistakes I made with happy habits, and even with my first couple of lunches has gotten me to a place where I really prioritise efficiency and effectiveness and sustainability, as well as flow and ease.
So when it comes to misalignment in the beginning, I honestly think that we often have to come up against some walls or some obstacles that don’t work for us to be able to make decisions about what will work for us.
I also had, or have had, up until this point about four different attempts to find an assistant that really fit me and fit my core values and fit my business and my business core values. It’s taken a while to find the right people to surround myself with. Please give yourself room and space for that as well. It’s hard to find the right people that fit you. There needs to be time and space for that to occur. It doesn’t always happen on the first go. It’s also taken me I think, at least four years in this online world to get to a place where I’m satisfied with my work life balance.
Now again, if you’ve follow me for a while, you’ll know that I really hate the word balance. I use that as a phrase that we can all relate to and all know of, but I don’t like the word balance at all. And in fact, I actually don’t have balance so to speak. It’s not like there is an equal amount of times In all my different life areas, what I’m talking about when I say work life balance is that it’s taken me about four years to work out how much work I can usefully expect from myself each day in terms of hours.
I’m not the most mentally energetic person, because the work that I do requires so much mental energy, I can’t expect myself to work for a solid eight hours a day. I don’t sit down and write for eight hours, I may sit down and write for two hours and then work for another four hours doing other tasks that don’t require that same level of creativity. But it’s taken me a long time to accept that that’s the way that works best for me, and to therefore adjust my expectations as a result. And it’s also taken me 18 months to work out that live launches and for those of you that are not quite sure what I mean by live launches, what that means is that a course or a product is Open for a certain period of time, and then it’s closed.
I did four live launches in a year in 2019. And it almost killed me psychologically. And I think that’s because I’m largely an introvert and to be pushing from a sales perspective, and all the moving parts that go on behind that so many times in the year just drained me to the point where it was no longer enjoyable, and I didn’t feel like I was being authentic. So we actually shifted to an evergreen model evergreen means that the product or the courses are open all the time.
And they just take along in the background, and that has meant that I have so much more energy reserved to be able to serve my community on a day to day basis. This is how I can sit here and create this stuff for you that I’m passionate about because I want you to know the behind the scenes, I want you to know the truth of what it looks like to be out there trying to make a difference in the world.
But I couldn’t have done I couldn’t have released this podcast last year because I just simply didn’t have the energy leftover. So it does take time to know yourself and what works for you and what will be sustainable for you in the future. And then the other numbers I wanted to talk about is the emotional impact. Now in the years that it’s taken me to work out how to develop a sustainable business online, I have spent countless days and nights worried about money. Now, I don’t advise worrying, it’s completely useless. But
as someone with a history of anxiety, I can fall into an overthinking loop
or a kind of a knot a thought pattern, knot where I just go over and over things, particularly things that I don’t perceive I have a lot of control of or things that I’m trying so hard at to the point where it becomes forceful and they don’t seem to be working. So there was a lot of time spent worrying about money until I was able to allow myself to do things differently. Because that’s the thing, once you start doing things in a more aligned way, then they’re not hard anymore. They don’t require the same level of force. And then there’s the number of times that I’ve considered throwing the towel in.
That’s been quite a few I’ll be honest with you. When I’m think convinced that I must somehow be spending way more money than everyone else’s spending on online business. I just figured that I sucked at it. I just figured that I was really bad at it. And everyone else knew what they were doing. And I didn’t and for some reason, it wouldn’t work. For me. That’s actually bullshit. It’s just that nobody talks about the fact that it costs money to run this kind of business and to create amazing products that make a difference to other people.
So in the process of figuring that out, there were a number of times that I just thought it would just be easy to throw the talent in. Get a job. I’m sure I’ve had that conversation with my wife, Lyssa at least four times where I was dead serious about it. And she talked me off the proverbial ledge and encouraged me to keep going because we never knew what was around the corner.
This is the thing with businesses, there’s so many places of uncertainty, there’s so much unknown until there’s not.
And that place where you get to understand what your business looks like and how it’s going to be sustainable might just be around the corner. And then there’s the number of people that I was surrounded by that didn’t understand what I was trying to do and didn’t have faith that I could make it happen. And therefore, you know, often encouraged me to go and get a real job and by real job I mean, a safe nine to five job where I was employed.
And to this, I really want to say.
It’s so important to have people around you that understand what it is that you’re trying to do, because they can make the difference between you continuing and you giving up.
And then the emotional impact of believing numbers that actually didn’t exist by listening to those podcasts. I would love to go and interview those guests in those podcasts and ask them how much it cost them to create those programmes in that time. And I guarantee you that the number we would be talking about, at the end of the day that they really made from those launches would be very different. But it’s not all negative.
The reason I tell you this lovely ones , is because I want you to understand the truth and to have realistic expectations. These numbers, although I’m telling them to you in a way that has been uncomfortable for me to live through, have actually created such beauty in my world. They’ve created a life that I love living. They’ve brought me meaningful connections and amazing sources of support. It’s amazing the number of Instagram friends that I have that I dm almost every day and yet we’ve never actually met in real life.
These numbers have created a vessel through which I can create an impact and contribution to the world. They’ve given me the realisation of dreams that I’ve had since I was a little girl, particularly the dream to be a published writer that I didn’t think would ever happen. These numbers have given me a shift in my life away from having to work so hard that I’m exhausted at the end of the week and have nothing left to give the people that I love. Instead, I work from a place of abundance of energy, and I only work from that place when I have that abundance of energy and when I don’t I rest,
no one else is the boss of me, which is pretty fun.
These numbers have given me possibilities, opportunities, and choices that I never truly believed would exist for me. But I just stuck with it long enough to discover that it’s actually entirely possible. And not only entirely possible, but it may happen faster than you expect. The thing is, you just can’t give up. So in summary, lovely months, please stick with it. Give yourself the space to adjust and adjust and adjust whatever needs to be adjusted. seek out help and mentoring. People often know what we need to do when they have an outside perspective far better than we know what we need to do.
Don’t be afraid to throw your full self into it. And you know what? Make your own numbers My numbers may not be your numbers. But I guarantee you that believing other people that are just throwing out fancy numbers that seemed too good to be true, they probably are too good to be true. So let’s be realistic about it. But what I would do want to say is a lifestyle that fits for you. That allows you to show up as your full self when you’ve got the energy to and it’s sustainable for you and your family and the people that you love is entirely possible if you give yourself the chance. I just wanted to tell you the truth behind it. But if you’re having difficulty sticking with it, then I’m betting what’s happening is probably a combination of overwhelm.
Yes, I’ve been there and very likely self-sabotage that’s showing up for you. And lovely ones, I don’t want to see you trip yourself up, or continue getting in your own way. Instead, I want to show you the process that I use to overcome my own self sabotage.
That’s right. Psychologists do it too. Oh my goodness, I think self sabotage is the most human thing that we do. So I want you to go to RebeccaRaycom.au/free. That’s free F double E, for my free one hour, one-hour training on self-sabotage, please lovely ones. I don’t want you to have to give up on the impact that you’re out to make on the world. And it’s free, so there’s no reason not to. And it includes an exclusive discount to my full self-sabotage course, but that’s only for registrants of the masterclass.
So get on it. It is time for you to be able to create your own numbers and make your own impact on the world.
Lovely ones, thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray.
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I’ll catch you next time.