Ep #202: How Not To Spend Your Business’s Money with Mark Butler

Do you have any idea what a reasonable amount of money is to start a coaching business? What about to keep one running?

This was heavy on my mind as I created my brand-new program, Elevate Your Income, focused on turning revenue into actual income for you, the coach.

So, who else but my former CFO Mark Butler to have back on to talk about what we should be spending our money on, but way more importantly, what we shouldn’t.

This is the conversation I wish someone would have had with me, in earnest, when I was a new coach.

The doors to Free to Paid Coach are officially open! If you’re ready to learn the foundational concepts of confidence that get you from being a free coach to a paid coach who makes six figures and beyond, join us right now!

What You’ll Learn:
  • Why the phrase ‘Know my numbers’ could signal chaos in your business
  • Why your business decisions should be as exciting as watching paint dry
  • How thinking about your hard and soft skills can influence your approach to coaching
  • The powerful concept of ‘What am I hiring this thing to do?’ to aid in course purchasing decisions
Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 202 of The Confident Coaches Podcast. The one where we’re going to talk about how to spend your business’s money. All right, let’s go.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.

All right, coach. I’m really excited. We have a repeat guest today. The single most popular episode that I’ve ever done. It was the episode that I did with Mark Butler towards the beginning of this year, um, it, he continues to get messages. I continue to get messages just all around. It’s a life changer episode.

So, this was a follow up conversation that I invited him on, because as you might have heard on the podcast recently, what I really believe now is that I have experienced online business for over 10 years, and what I. Do not see enough focus on, it doesn’t mean nobody else is focusing on it, but I’m certainly not seeing it is basically, are you the business owner benefiting from your business and in order to do that, how do you like, what’s a reasonable amount of money to be spending in your business?

Because I can tell you. I was not spending reasonable amounts if you consider that. I essentially was spending almost everything that came in, and so Mark Butler was my CFO. I let him go. We both agreed I didn’t need to use him anymore. He is the CFO. He provides backend budgeting and bookkeeping. Chief financial officer services for a variety of life coaches of all sizes and service providers.

And he’s seen some things and he has a, like, he’s a great person to talk to. So, I talked to him. I think you’re going to love this episode and I’m going to stop talking so we can dive in. Before I do that, I do want to add, there’s a couple things that Mark brings up that I’m not a hundred percent on board with and we’ll wrap up.

I’ll see you on the flip side. I’ll just add, drop in a few more notes at the end of the conversation. Okay, coaches, I’m super excited to bring back, uh, quite honestly, I don’t know if Mark knows this, my number one most popular episode in all of 200 episodes. Bye. Was our first interview.

Mark: Holy moly. I know I’ve had messages about it.

Have you? Yeah, not a ton, but that doesn’t ever, that’s very rare for me.

Amy: Yeah.

Mark: So good. I’ve had some messages about it. Yeah.

Amy: Yes. So, if you all don’t know, I have brought back Mark Butler, who was my CFO for a good. Two or so years before even he said, like, listen, you don’t need me, you should probably let me go.

We had so many transformational messages. Our conversations I should say all last year that really helped me one of many things I’m not going to like no offense. It’s not all to your personal credit, but like so many so many things help my brain kind of pick up and look at my business from a completely different point of view.

And a lot of that came from the 1st interview. If you all have not heard my 1st interview with Mark, it came out sometime in January, February ish. I honestly don’t remember. We’ll put it in the show notes. Um, that was more of a philosophical conversation, but as I’ve been working on my new program. Which is an 8-week program, not a big, long mastermind and the whole point it’s called elevate your income.

The whole point is to help coaches who are making money market and focus on their business in a way where they’re, they’re building a business. That’s going to create an income for them and. Turns out it’s so many interesting things. I’ve learned two things, a whole lot of coaches and entrepreneurs don’t actually have a grasp of like basic verbiage, like sales versus revenue versus profit versus income.

And having a lot of conversations that like basic glossary of terms, as well as, as I was doing research, there also doesn’t, there’s not really any industry guidelines specifically that I could find for, you know, expected startup costs for new coaches. And expective, like, once you’re not new and you have an existing business that makes money, like, what can we expect?

What should we expect in terms of how much revenue we’re bringing in versus what our expenses are? That’s and this, this is the word that I think is going to be like, that’s reasonable quote, unquote, right? Because what’s reasonable for you might be reason. Might not be reasonable for someone else, but I just feel like we, we don’t know a whole lot of things.

And a lot of that is because we. You know, our, our idea of what we should be spending has been skewed in a lot of different ways. So, I wanted to have you on. And say, hey, let’s have this conversation so that coaches who are listening can actually start looking at their numbers from not just. How much do I need to sell to hit a revenue goal and win an award?

How do I need to set up my business so that this is actually providing me with a livelihood that I love and that I enjoy? Yeah, so right out of the gate, what’s the first thing that comes like, let’s go ahead and just go ahead and get started.

Mark: Oh, well, you know how I. Like I say, I’m always like one sentence away from a 10-minute monologue.

Amy: I’ll bring you in if it goes too far off,

Mark: we need to keep me in check here. I’m the problem, right? So,

Amy: uh, I don’t agree. You’re the one, you are a big key that helped me go. Holy crap. And I’ve shared this on the podcast before, but I want to reiterate it in this. I was making 425, 000 6 percent profit.

That’s not good. Now that did include, I mean, I was paying myself a salary of 60, 000 a year, but after taxes that came to 4, 200 a month, I I’m sharing that because I want people to know I was making 425, 000, but Amy and Trey Lada were making 4, 200 a month. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, yeah. And we can speak to that. I want, I want to speak to that.

I want you to start me because I want you to guide me in terms of, are there technical pieces that you want us to cover?

Amy: Yeah, let’s start there with, okay, what are the basic numbers that new, new, both new and existing coaches should be paying attention to in their business? What’s revenue versus what’s profit versus what’s income?

Mark: Hmm. Okay. Um, so revenue is the money that comes in from the sale of products and services. The end, at least in our world in, you know, in, in other kinds of businesses, revenue actually means a lot. It could mean a lot of different things, but in the world of coaching and course sales and retreats and the stuff that we and our people tend to do, revenue is the money that comes in when a customer pays me.


Amy: which is a little bit different than just sales, right? Because of this I might sell a 10, 000 coaching package, but if I’m giving them five payments of 2, 000, my revenue that month is 2, 000, not 10, 000.

Mark: Oh, okay. Uh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good for you to sort of cue me in that way because I, I tend, I tend not to even think in these terms, but, um, yeah, you will have coach, you’ll have people in the industry.

Sometimes I think there’s sometimes I think there’s deception, uh, intentional or unintentional, but when they talk about money, they talk about, they talk in terms of, of what people have committed to pay them versus what people have actually paid them. And, um, So, when people speak in these terms, it’s usually like, on a sales page.

So, uh. My advice as a side note would be if a number is on a sales page, ignore it. And that might sound too cynical, but it just is like, no, that number is not useful to you. If it’s on a sales page, it’s not useful to you.

Amy: I would. Yeah. Yeah. I’m, I’m with you on that in terms of, first of all, I think, and this is not necessarily where I was looking for a conversation to go.

So, I’ll steer us right back. Also, I think it’s the number of the coach. And it’s not talking about a bunch of case studies, even more reason.

Mark: You know, what’s funny is after you emailed me, I thought, okay, I got to have, I got to keep my, I got to have some guardrails here. I have got to keep myself on track. I actually thought, wait a minute. I there’s a part of me that wants to do an industry podcast where I only talk about the industry. As though I need another podcast where I do 10 episodes and then disappear, which is my pattern, but, but bringing it back to revenue, the easiest, the terms that I hear most often in our community are booked revenue versus collected revenue.

Okay. Yeah. Those may not be technically correct, but they’re a function. They’re useful in our conversations. Yeah. Okay. If someone says, oh, well, I had a. I had a 60, 000 a month. Then the question is, oh, so did you book 60, 000 or did you collect 60, 000? Yes. And depending on their, uh, wiring, depending on what they’re trying to persuade you of in the moment or persuade themselves of in the moment, they’ll say booked revenue or collected.

Uh, some people never bother with booked revenue and that’s my tendency. I don’t ever care what I’ve, I don’t ever really care what I’ve quote unquote booked. I want to know what got deposited in my checking account.

Amy: Yes. And I do think most people, at least that I’ve interacted with have focused on what they’ve collected versus, uh, but I think this is also why there’s been a hesitation towards having, allowing people to have payment plans or sliding scales, because particularly in business coaching, a big marketing tool is income claim marketing.

And it’s like, let’s say I signed 10 clients at 10,000 apiece, but that’s 100, 000. Launch quote unquote, but I’m giving people payments and I’ve actually only collected 20, 000 and it’s just sexier to say 100 than it is 10 or 20. and so I think this has been a big reason too, but there’s been a big argument against offering payment plans, which I mean, I think payment.

Mark: that’s wild to me. I didn’t know that. And that’s why.

Amy: Okay. Again, not the point, by the way, I think this is going to happen about 27 more times.

Mark: The thing is, we can’t talk. We’re going to talk about some definitions, but the definitions are contextual to our industry. And our industry is freaking weird. It is really weird. I mean, I love it. I love it like I love a family. You don’t have to get very far into a family before you’re like, whoa, that family is not what I thought it was.

Amy: What a great analogy.

Mark: There’s some weirdos and some crazy stories in that family. Every family. And I do feel that way about the industry where I’m like, wow, we are so people think we’re weird and they have no idea. I have no idea.

Amy: What a great analogy. Yeah. It’s like looking at your family go out. Yeah.

And don’t sit next to the weird uncle over there.

Mark: Where’s Uncle Jim? Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Just yeah. He can’t come here. Yeah. So, these are contextual to our, to our industry into what we do and how we do it. And. Yeah, it is sexier to be able to say I did X, Y, or Z, but as a buyer, now I’m, I’m, I’ve been in this family, this industry since about 2007.

So, I read copy differently than I did 10 and 15 years ago. And as soon. And, and also, I’ve been behind the scenes. So now the numbers aren’t really numbers. They’re, they’re, they’re usually they’re copy.

Amy: Yeah. And I love that point. Numbers are let, they aren’t numbers on a balance sheet as much as they are copy marketing points.

Yeah. Yeah.

Mark: I will never forget one of the sorts of them, one of the main moments where I just kind of clicked in for me was I had a client. And I, by the way, I think of her as a good and well-intended and ethical person. This was years ago. No one, I don’t know that anyone in your audience would even whoever they might think I’m talking about.

I promise you; I’m not talking about that person. Um, and I happened to be on her email list, and I got an email from her talking about her quote unquote seven figure business. Well, I’m her bookkeeper, and I was like, huh, seven figure business, uh, nope. And then I thought, oh, she’s talking about lifetime over the life of her business, which by the way, doesn’t bother me if there is that one explanatory phrase added to that number.

Right. So, I see a number given in a persuasive context. I pretty much ignore it and I want to go back to whatever else is going on in that persuasive context. I want to look at principles. Yeah, I want to look at everything else. I know about the person making the offer. I want to look at the free content I’ve consumed.

It’s all going to be much more about a feel and about. Um, my understanding of who they are and what they intend and how they go about their business and the number. I just sort of like, I just sort of sweep it aside. Yeah, but booked versus collected. That is revenue. Now. Profit is what’s left over after you get the revenue, and you spend money.

So, the revenue minus the money you spend on whatever is called.

Amy: So that’s your expenses, right? So, we’re talking about everything you spend to run your business is expenses and profit is what’s left over.

Mark: That’s right. And expenses, people are like, well, what’s a business expense? Well, frankly, in the coaching world, its coaching, it’s coaching and travel and virtual assistants and ads software.

Amy: Yeah. So, when you are a, well, and before we get that, I also want to know the difference between business profit and personal income. This is where I noticed most of the clients I’ve talked to this past summer, as I’ve changed my, it’s not even like I’ve changed my language.

I just remembered that I was. I was in corporate marketing in the business world for 10 years. I know. Yeah. This is how we talk about these things is the difference between business profit and personal income. And most people aren’t, most people don’t know what the difference is. So, and so how do you approach what personal income versus.

What is business profit?

Mark: Uh, this is where I think I, because I, because of what I think I understand about the intent of the question, I, I sort of deviate from the technical answer. Um, and so what, if I’m coming into a business, if I’m, if I’m working with a coach and I’m looking at her numbers. I am going to look at business profit, and then when it comes to personal income, I’m going to look at the amount of money that she withdrew from the business and put into her personal life that I want to know that number.

Now, she might do that through a formal payroll service. She might do it through a periodic withdrawal from the business account. That’s called a draw or a distribution. I’m going to look at those numbers and I’m going to say, okay, well, you’re, so you’re taking X dollars per month, roughly out of the business and you’re using it in your personal life.

I’m calling that personal income. That’s not the number that we use for taxes. It’s not, that’s not so much relevant to taxes. What’s relevant to taxes is business profit. That confuses people very much.

Amy: Yes. Yes. Business profit is taxed. Personal income is taxed. Those are two different taxes.

Mark: Depending on how you’re structured, personal income is, uh, depending on how you’re structured, most of us are structured in such a way that the number that’s on our profit and loss, the amount of money left over after business expenses in the business will be combined with money we get from our day job, our spouse’s day job, rental properties, whatever else, it’ll all be pulled together and that will be taxed.

Yeah. So, when I’m doing calculations with clients and we say, well, what do we need to be ready for in terms of taxes? I don’t look at the amount of money they withdrawn from the business because that doesn’t, it’s not relevant. I look at the amount of money that is on the profit and loss statement and say, okay, you’ve got 100, 000 in profit.

Whether you took it out of the business or left it in the business, usually, depending on your structure, most of us are structured in such a way that we will pay taxes on that 100, 000 plus other income in our household. Yeah, and if we only withdrew 20, 000 from the business that year, not real, that’s not relevant to the tax.

Question. Yeah. It’s the 100K profit on the profit and loss statement.

Amy: Yeah. So, when you have a new coach, who’s so excited, they’re going to start their new coaching business. How do we gauge how much money we should be spending to get our business off the ground? I mean, I know that it’s arbitrary.

I know that it’s all relative. Um, you know, I, I, I agree with you that, you know, I. Well, actually, I want to offer to you that, you know, I, I was sort of, I started coaching in 2013 and certified in 2016. It really wasn’t until 2018 that I made having a coach a primary expense. And so, I feel like there’s a, I just feel like there’s a large lack of information expectation, um, on like, what should coaches be spending money on versus, and how do you gauge.

If it’s and these are all relative terms, right? How do you gauge what’s too much, right? How do you gauge what’s spending too much money before you start seeing, you know, before you start seeing any kind of, you know, before you’re going from the red being in the red, which is you’re spending more money than you’re making and being in the black is spending, you know, less money than you’re making.

How, how, how do we gauge any of that is really the conversation that I think is most. Helpful here. And the thing is, is I know there’s not an answer. So how can we help the coaches out there tap into what’s expected and tap into their comfort level, I guess, for lack of better words.

Mark: The hard for me, the hard reality of my opinion is that what you just said is true and we have to sit with it and accept it and it is that there is no answer that it is our desire for an answer to those questions that don’t have answers.

Gotcha. That causes us all the mental anguish and heartache because now the, the way we approach this conversation also depends largely on business model. So, if I have a goal to be a one-on-one coach where my primary product is conversations delivered in person or on zoom, you know, an hour at a time, a day at a time, however, where we structure things.

That’s a business model. If I have a goal to have courses and retreats, stuff like that, that’s a different business model. So, there’s a different conversation, right?

Amy: So, like, as a, like, I can just tell from that, if you are doing a straight one on one business model, your expenses off the top of my head are significantly lower than if you’re running.

They’re 0. Yeah.

Mark: This is really dissonant for people. Yes.

Amy: Tell us more. How can it be 0?

Mark: It can be 0 because a conversation does not require anything else. I can sit in my living room. I’m on 1 chair. The client’s on the other chair. The client came over to my house. They spend an hour there. We had a conversation, and they paid me X dollars for that conversation.

They leave. There’s no expense.

Amy: I know some brains are breaking right now because that sounds wild. There

Mark: there’s no expense. Yeah. Now. I promise not to go too far into the philosophical weeds here, but I believe that because we all grew up in a Western education system, who told us from age four or five, that there was an adult in the room who gave permission who validated.

And said, your work is correct. Your work is incorrect. You can go to the bathroom. You can’t go to the bathroom. And then we spent the next 12 to 20 years in that model, depending on how far we went with our secondary and postgrad education. The thing that we learned most there was that someone else has to give us permission to do a thing.

And then they have to tell us whether we did it right or not. Yes. And that is why I believe so many people, I would, this is just a guess, but I, it’s my hypothesis that it’s, it comes close to a hundred percent of people that when they say, I’d like to be a life coach, they think I have to go get a certification.

I have to go through a training and knowingly or unknowingly they’re saying I need the adult in the room to tell me what to do to give me permission to do it and then to tell me whether or not I did it right. If I somehow persuaded myself that I don’t need the adult in the room to do anything for me, my cost, my startup cost for my coaching business just went to zero.

My financial startup cost just went to zero. My time cost is going to be high, but that’s high anyway. But my financial startup cost just went to zero because I don’t need anybody’s permission. One of the biggest criticisms of the life coaching industry is that it is unregulated. In fact, I’ve been sort of making my way through some different sort of online forums and stuff these days where, you know, being angry at life coaching is sort of having a moment and these places are fascinating to me.

I like can’t get enough. And one of the things that comes up is, well, the industry needs to be regulated. If it were regulated, some of the bad things that we observed wouldn’t happen. That’s ridiculous, by the way. But it comes from our belief. That there needs to be an adult in the room. The adult needs to give us, tell us what to do.

Give us permission to do it and then tell us whether or not we did it right. If we let go of that, because we’re operating in an unregulated industry. Right. And my startup cost just went to zero. Now we have separate conversations about what is ethical. How do I know that I’m, that I’m helping and not harming?

Yes. Are there ways to get support and knowing that I’m helping and not harming? Yes, yes, yes. Yes. And if I have someone over to my house and they sit in my living room for an hour and we have a conversation, and if, if my one guiding principle is that I don’t tell them what to do, pretend that I know better than they do, but I listen to them and I reflect back, here’s what I’m hearing you say, how’s that working for you?

If I’m keeping it at that level, I’m giving them great service and no certification or training was required to get me there. So that’s where if we’re talking about what startup costs, startup cost is zero. I don’t need a website. I don’t need a business license. I don’t need a certification. I don’t need, I don’t need any of it.

I don’t need a plane ticket to a thing that’s across the country. I need to invite someone over to my house and have them sit in my living room. And then I have a conversation with them at the end of which they say, you’re a really good listener. Thank you for listening. And I say, you’re welcome.

That’s great. If, if that could be our starting point. Then every other conversation or every other, uh, thread we pull on as it relates to spending money in a coaching business is going to become clearer.

Amy: Yes. And it becomes smaller choices like, well, I don’t actually want to have people sitting in my living room talking.

So, uh, I’m going to go the zoom route. So let me add zoom and that becomes a choice that I’m making as opposed to an obligation.

Mark: Oh, beautifully said. And even in the Zoom decision, we can say, oh, Zoom. So, do I want a Zoom subscription? I do think I want to be a virtual or an online coach. I think I want to use Zoom.

Um, now before I decide to use Zoom, am I sure that FaceTime isn’t the tool or WhatsApp? Yeah. Yeah. We’re just pausing. Right. We’re just checking in like, oh no, actually I don’t really want my primary phone number to be the place that, you know, I’m going to go with zoom. Well, do I need a premium subscription?

Well, if I don’t do a premium subscription, I can only have 40-minute calls. Well, maybe I only want to do 35-minute coaching and we’re just sort of making our way through these decisions from a place of agency instead of from a place of some sort of perceived obligation or hurdle that we’re required to clear based on what’s quote unquote normal.

I love how you frame that. We’re evaluating, what am I doing? How am I doing it? Are there, are there expenses associated with doing it differently? Yes. And then we’re evaluating those expenses on their own merit, but never pushing.

Amy: Yeah. So, then we’re also thinking about, you know, this is also the conversation about, well, how do I get people in my living room in the first place?

You know, I, you know, how do I go about doing that? You know? So how can we do that? What are the, I guess, what are the, like, the, the 0 expense to moderate expense levels that we could be considering there? Then, obviously, the 1st, 1 is just talking to people that are already in your life. Attending free networking events.

Mark: Yes. So, um, I think this is where we could go. My, my tendency would be to say, okay, now let’s talk about strategy. Yeah, yeah, you tell me if that’s our intent and if it is, I’ll go there. But what I would want to maybe what I want to say instead is. What I observe in our world and our little family, our little community is.

A person bumps up against that question. Okay, but fine, Mark, get people in my living room, whatever. Who am I going to invite to my living room? And then our mind goes blank and then our fear surges. Yes. And then we go looking for an answer. And if there’s one answer that I think has been at like thousands upon thousands of courses, want to sell you the answer to the question of how to get somebody into your real or virtual living room.

Yes. And once we start to go down that path, actually things start to get blurry. They start to get a little bit fuzzy about like, wait a minute. I started down this path because I wanted to talk to somebody on zoom or in my living room or at my office. Where am I now? I sort of fell down this rabbit hole and does the, does the thing, does the offer I’m currently considering actually have anything to do with the thing that I said was my original intent?

Amy: Yes. So, like all the variety of courses that are out there that tell you, you know, and I, I offer one Free To Paid Coach, like that’s an, it’s a, you know, that’s one of my offers. How I, what I’m hearing you say is having that gut check or that stomach check of like, is the thing that I’m looking at actually solving the reason I started looking for something outside of myself in the first place.

Mark: Yeah. Does this thing address the fully considered, thoughtfully defined problem that I’ve decided I need to solve? Yeah. And, and what is the evidence I have that it will do that and what are the risks I have to take in order to find out whether it does that? And that’s where a conversation about price comes in, where it’s like, if someone says, if I say, well, I’d really like to have a coaching client.

Someone said, I can get you a coaching client.” It’s like, maybe you can, maybe you can. How much does it cost to find out whether you can? And then they tell me the price and now I have to do a, a reasonable sort of. Risk calculation and be like, well, I think you’re probably right. You can probably help me.

But if, but if it actually doesn’t land with me, how much money will I have spent? In order to find out that it actually wasn’t helpful to me. And what else could I have done with that money? What were the alternative uses of the money that I gave you in pursuit of that one client? So, we have to slow down.

We have to actually evaluate that. What I think I observe in the, in the industry is that many of them, especially course sales, this is sort of like courses, uh, course. It’s like, I think people often buy those to try to get themselves from inaction to action. Yes. And I have very little evidence that that happens.

Amy: Well, and to, to your point before I started investing it, you are correct. I have a, we’ve used the term graveyard before that people love. I have a graveyard of courses that I bought from 2013 to 2018 because this is the thousand-dollar course that’s going to actually, this is going to be the thing. And then I don’t take the course.

I only did it kind of half ass. I, because I was thinking that the purchasing of the course was going to be the thing that spurred me into action as opposed to, I’m going to take this action. What skill am I lacking that someone can teach me or what skill do I want to get better at that? Someone can actually teach me, but I’m doing the thing, whether they teach that to me. Or not.

Mark: So, in my opinion, a well purchased course would be one that improves. The result I get from the action I’m already taking.

Amy: So good.

Mark: Yes, not one that gets me to take action where I won’t because getting to taking action is a purely mental game. Yes. So, if the course is offering to solve anything other than the mental game and my desires to get into action, that course is not going to solve my problem.

Amazingly course creators. Get very frustrated by the fact that people buy their courses and then don’t use them. But if I take that course creator to their sales page and I’m like, hey, do you see this line in your sales copy where you use the phrase, everything you need, you’re the one who put that on the sales page.

It’s not everything they need. Your tactic about Instagram or podcasts or whatever, if they’re not taking action, they don’t need any of that. They need to, to figure out their fear and start taking some sort of action. Yeah. And then they need to, maybe they need to add in the tactics that you’re offering about social media or newsletters or ads or whatever.

But I think there’s a lot of times where all that’s really happening with course purchases. Is that we’re giving ourselves an out from the hard work of dealing with ourselves, and we’re giving ourselves the dopamine hit of putting our credit card into a sales page and ask me how I know, right?

Amy: I was going to say, I’m like, first of all, mark, I did not bring you on the podcast to attack me like this, so I personally attack, right?

Mark: Yeah, no. Ask me how I know. Yeah. I have a vivid memory of the last course that I purchased, and by the way, I think it was probably a totally adequate course, and after I bought it, I thought I, I actually started to do it and then I thought, um, you did that thing again. You did that thing where you buy a course because man, that webinar was, the sales webinar was really good.

And then you got into the course and you’re like, oh, I already know most of this. And it doesn’t actually solve my problem. So, it’s not the course. In that case, I don’t blame her in the slightest. Right. That was the last course I ever bought. Some people get amazing value from courses. They’re heavy implementers.

That is not me. I want to own that. Like, right, right. This isn’t an indictment of courses and course creators. It’s an acknowledgement that it’s not always quite what they say it is. And if you have my wiring, you should never buy a course at all. Yeah.

Amy: Yeah. And I think that’s a really great point of, I mean, it’s what you just said.

What, what is the purpose of me investing this dollar amount? Like if, okay, if, if. And I think this is, and I think this is whether you’re a brand-new coach or whether you’re a coach who’s already started to bring revenue into your business. And you’re just kind of thinking about what your expenses should shouldn’t be is looking at each of these things and really saying, why am I spending this money?

What is the goal? And maybe you have a better phrasing to look at what, what we should be asking ourselves when we’re considering spending our business’s money. This

Mark: is the phrase I would use. It’s not mine. I’ve cobbled it together from other sources. What am I hiring this thing to do?

Amy: What am I hiring this thing to do?

Mark: What am I hiring this mastermind to do? What am I hiring this course to do? What am I hiring this one-on-one coach to do? What am I hiring this virtual assistant to do? What am I hiring this ads agency to do? Sit with that question. Your first answer may not be your real answer. Sit with that question.

What am I hiring them to do? If your first answer is easy. If it’s like, why am I hiring this Facebook ads manager? Well, because I want leads. That’s why I’m hiring them because I want leads. You’re not done yet. Mm. Yeah. Tell me more. Well, why am I hiring them to do that instead of hiring some other thing to, to get me leads?

You won’t have to ask yourself very many questions before you uncover either fear. Yeah. Or confidence. And if you uncover confidence after serious inquiry, then sprint full steam ahead. Yeah. But if you uncover fear, then the honest, the reality is you’re hiring the thing to paper over your fear and have you make you not have to deal with yourself.

And it’s going to fail without, with no exceptions that will fail, no exceptions, it will fail. But if after that inquiry, you’re like, well, no, I’m hiring this Facebook ad manager because I’ve compiled real evidence. That, that, that those Facebook ads will be the gasoline on the fire that’s already burning.

And I do not want to incur the time or financial expense of figuring out how to do it myself and then doing it myself. So, I’m going to be the Y CEO and outsource. Yes. There are very different scenarios, and they have predictable and different outcomes. Yes.

Amy: Why am I purchasing this thing? Is that because I genuinely want to bring this thing in because this will save me time or and or it will teach me the skill that I have determined I want to sharpen?

It’s very different than I need leads. I don’t know how the hell to get leads. I’m freaking out. So let me spend 1, 500 a month on an ads manager who’s going to do it for me.

Mark: Yeah. And when you go about that in that particular case, when you go about that in a hurried way or in a fearful way, what you find out is that the ads manager then comes to you and says, okay, well, what do you have?

What are your assets? What are we? What are we advertising? How do we know that what we’re going to advertise and what we’re going to advertise will be successful? And then you’re going to be like, wait a minute. I thought that was your deal. You’re the advertising. And the honest ads manager in that moment will say, no, no, no, no.

I’m gasoline on a burning fire. Right. The thing that starts the fire in the first place.

Amy: Again, with you assaulting me with your truth.

Mark: Amy, I mean, that’s you and like a billion other coaches. We all do this to ourselves.

Amy: I’ve had that literal, literal words, but I have had that conversation of like, no, I do the thing.

You, you’re providing me with. Like, no, you’re providing me with those answers. I’m just going to like, put it into action for you. And I’m sitting there going, Oh, what?

Mark: Yeah. You’re like, oh, but wait a minute. No, you were supposed to solve all my problems. You made my friend rich. Yeah. Aren’t you going to make me rich?

Like, well, your friend actually like crawled through the manure for two years, figuring out the thing that I could then scale up with these ads. Yeah. Yeah, so it’s what am I hiring this thing to do? And then, the emotional signals that we really, I think we really need to lean on our, our fear and sort of a sense of being rushed.

Anytime we’re making a decision. Anytime we’re making a financial investment and our emotional state is fearful. And we have a general sense of I need to hurry up. I promise you; we’re making a decision that it’s not 100 percent that we’ll regret it, but it’s, it’s, um, it’s more likely than not that we will look back on that decision and say, oh, that wasn’t quite the thing.

Was it? That wasn’t, that’s not really what I was trying to do, but I was scared. I was in a hurry, and I saw my friends doing something and I just didn’t want to fall behind. So, uh, great business decisions are often so boring. They don’t require a ton of emotion, like activation energy. Yes. They’re just like, oh, this is the clear next step.

Um, and it’s not that I’m, it’s not that there’s zero fear whatsoever, but it’s like, yeah, I’m a little nervous about this, but it is the clear next step.

Amy: Yeah. But, and actually it’s funny because I, when you, you said that I am thinking about. Again, how, how we have seen, and I think there was a, there was a point where I even contributed to this as the seller of coaching, not just the buyer of coaching of like.

Getting people so hyped that they bought in, right?

Mark: And you were told that that’s your job, but not, not only is it’s like, but that’s also what you need to do. And it’s what you should do.

Amy: Yeah. So, like when you’re saying great business decisions should be boring. There’s a piece of my brain from like 2019, 2020 going, wait, we’re supposed to be like great business decisions are.

You know, full of emotion and, and, and yes, this is the thing that’s going to be the thing that solves the problems and the hype around. Yeah.

Mark: And I, and, uh, what I’m about to say goes too far, but barely. So, I want to frame it that way. Okay. The more hype involved in the decision, the more likely it’s a bad one.

Now, my asterisk on that is that we, you and me, you and I both have stories and we both have people in our audiences who would say, no, no, no. I had to really have, there had, there was a, I made a decision that required a ton of activation energy. I really had to get myself into an emotional state to make it.

And it ended up being one of the most important decisions of my life and one of the best decisions. I believe you and I agree with you. We’re speaking more to sort of principles and averages here, where if a thing requires a lot of glitz and a lot of hype and a countdown timer, if it requires all of these things to get people across the finish line, to get them across the decision line, I at this point in my life am stood back 50 yards being like, no, I’m good.

Amy: And, and I do think you are touching on, you know, as I have. You know, over the past 18 months, slowly looked at the marketing techniques that I’ve adopted that do require or do encourage, you know, FOMO or, or, or hype or glitz. And as you extract those from your business, making sure that you’re also deciding what.

You know, what tools are you going to use to sell instead? Like, if we remove the FOMO and the hype, what’s taking its place? And what’s taking its place is usually. Your word, you know, it might be, might feel a little bit boring. Yeah, it might feel a little bit more, you know, if you can’t catch us this round, guys, it’s totally okay.

There’ll be another round coming.

Mark: Can you, can you imagine, can you imagine it’s, it’s so funny that we can’t imagine this on a sales page, but imagine a sales page where somewhere near the bottom of the sales page, somewhere during the, like the application form, the checkout form, the person said, By the way, we’d really love to have you join us right now.

Yeah. Um, but if you don’t, uh, we’re going to do this again in September.

Amy: Yeah. Well, it’s funny that you say that because I’m building the elevate your income sales page right now. And I’m like, is it going to be really weird if I say, I’d love to have you right now. But like, if you’re buying from Grasby energy, this is not the best line.

And don’t worry. We’ll come back around. Keep following me on my like, like, I’m like, am I it’s so funny because it’s that it’s that previous. Conditioning in my mind, arguing with the new miss that I have spent, you know, 18 months unpacking and figuring what takes place. And they’re like, having this conversation with each other ahead of my shooting myself in my foot.

If I’d be like, it’s totally fine if you don’t buy right now, or I’m going to, I’m still going to be here. But like, if this is the work, you’re ready to do it and this solves the problem you, you want solved, then come see.

Mark: me. Uh, my answer is that in, in, uh, if you look at it through a certain lens, you actually are shooting yourself in the foot and good for you because I actually wouldn’t use shooting myself in the foot, but it’s sort of like, am I maybe, am I maybe reducing the amount of money I make in the short term because it feels more aligned with, uh, uh, a set of standards that I try to meet.

That I’ve called my ethics. I also am optimistic about the fact that in the long run, it will lead to, uh, what I would call brand equity and a longer term, more sustainable, uh, income stream. And I believe it will lead to word-of-mouth marketing. Yeah, where when you’re not around, people will talk about you and they will say things that sound like, yeah, I think a lot is really great.

And, um, I really appreciate how she just sort of like, doesn’t bring any pressure to her sales process. So, I followed her for like three years before I finally jumped into the thing. And I kind of wish I would have started sooner, but anyway, I just love her, and you should check it out. I think those conversations are more likely to happen when we, when we turn down the pressure in the sales process, but it takes a lot of courage and patience to do it and to go against the grain in that way.

Amy: I’m 100%. With you right here, and I don’t know that that was maybe it was a conversation specifically that we’ve had in the past. Maybe it wasn’t. But when that seed was planted and what as I’ve, you know, kind of, um, you know, stepped outside of the circles. That, you know, I’ve been in for years and really seen, like, different ways of, of, of, of marketing and.

And of course, not everything I learned from corporate marketing is good. That’s

Mark: a whole other conversation. It’s good to know. Yeah. It may not be good, but it’s still good to know. Yeah, yeah,

Amy: yeah. It’s still good to know of just the, um, you know, and of course, you know, we, we switch this conversation momentarily from like how you’re selling your coaching versus whether or not that’s money you should be spending, but it is something to, you know, to, too.

Mark: But it totally relates. And the reason it relates is. That, um, again, I think the industry is sort of having a moment where people are using the word scam a lot. And I do think that people have, there’s a lot of cases where we’re seeing like, oh, that person may not, they’re just not treating their clients very well.

I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think they’re treating their clients very well. But 1 of the things I’m observing is that we know about the psychological principle of anchoring. Yes. We know that if I tell you, if I reference my quote unquote million-dollar business, you’re more likely to spend more money on whatever thing I’m trying to persuade you to buy.

The reverse is true though. I think many of these business owners are as anchored as their, as their prospects are. So, they will redefine reasonable for themselves where, and it’s one of my favorite things. I find it endlessly entertaining when I have a client who will be like, so anyway, I’m going to charge XYZ for it.

And that’s just a no brainer. And I’m like, oh, it might be a brainer.

Somebody could be a brainer, like, and they’re as anchored as their prospects are. And you know what? I think they; they should be in this industry. We are weirdos inviting people to be weirdos because we look at the world at large and say, you’re not doing any better. We want to try something else and we’re weirdos and we’re going to try it.

And I think when that’s what we’re observing and sometimes it can go to a point where it’s like. Yeah, that person I, uh, I came across the thing today. It just made me giggle. Somebody is charging like a hundred grand for a single day of coaching, and I cannot stop giggling about that. But people are like, oh, unethical, something, scam, bad, and I’m like, uh, no, no guns are being held to anyone’s head.

If somebody is charging a hundred grand for a day of coaching, just sit back and laugh. That’s a fine thing to do, but they’re as anchored as we are. So, we have to, when we come to decisions about what money am I going to spend on my business? We have to ask ourselves, what am I hired? What problem am I hiring this thing to solve?

And for the price that is being asked, is it my most efficient alternative?

Because if it’s not my most efficient alternative, then why am I spending that money? If I’m looking for information, we live in the age of YouTube and, uh, Google, of course, and GPT. I know. So, there’s like never been a time in history where information answers to questions was more accessible. Now that we still have to curate, we might have to, you know, chat GPT, give some stupid, wild answers.

We have to sort of muddle through the junk, but that has to be part of our calculus. Because it’s silly to assume that just because we paid somebody 297, 000 or 1, 000 or 25, 000, that just because they’re asking for that money means that they have solved our problem more efficiently. Then we could solve it on our own.


Amy: Wow. How do we, so here’s a, here’s a question because I mean, obviously all of this comes back to people’s comfort levels, but like, how can we, how do we gauge efficiently? Like, you know what I’m saying? Like what questions can we ask ourselves to figure out like, is this an efficient use? Of my time or money, like, I don’t know if I’m asking the right question, but you are asking the right question.

Mark: And here’s the here’s the boring answer that I would say the vast majority of people will be like, that sucks. I’m not doing that. And it is to be more patient and to run our own experiments as a way of establishing a baseline. So, for example, if a, if a new coach came to me right now and said, I need to figure out how much to spend.

No, that’s not what they do. Here’s what they do. I’m going to join this mastermind. Should I? I get this question, you know, many times, several times per year. Do you think I should do this thing? That’s such a bad question. Stop asking it forever. What I want to say to them is. What baseline understanding do you have of your skills and the time and energy that it costs to generate an individual success?

So, I would tell anybody, they’re like, I want to join this thing or do this thing or whatever. I’d be like, cool. Have you, have you tried to have, I would, I would sort of propose two hundred to them. I would say, go have a hundred conversations. Before you spend any money and go create a hundred pieces of content.

Oh, I like that. Yeah. And they’ll be like, about what? And I’ll be like, exactly. Who am I going to talk to? And what am I going to write about? Exactly. Well, that’s why I’m skipping this. I’m going to join this course because it tells me that. And I will say, and I’ll muster all the base that I can. No, it won’t.

No, it won’t. Meaning, if you won’t attempt a thing, it doesn’t matter what they put in the course or in the mastermind or whatever. If you prove to yourself that you will attempt it. And deal with the terrifying void in your brain as you think about what to do and how to do it. You’ve already won.

And then any course paid join, you’ll just be accelerating the thing that You’ll have proven yourself that you actually want to do the work enough that you’ll start doing the work. Yeah. People spend tens of thousands of dollars on programs only to discover they don’t actually really want to be a coach.

I know. And that’s okay for them to not really want to be a coach. It’s also okay for them to spend tens of thousands. Some people spend tens of thousands because it’s fun and they like it. I’m all for them and doing that. What I hope to help some people avoid is I was scared. I was lonely. I didn’t have any support in my household, and I read a sales page and I paid tens of thousands of dollars.

And boy, was that not what I thought it would be. And boy, now do I really dislike myself. I don’t like that. I want to, I want to help as many people as possible. Avoid that. Yeah, but I think.

Amy: you’re bringing don’t go ahead. Go ahead. I think you’re bringing up a really great point of doing. Experimenting with the thing that you think that the course coaching program, whatever, what you think it’s going to do for you try experimenting with its 1st to see.

Like, I think, I think it does a couple of things. I think first of all, it shows you that you’re going to do the thing because you’re right. The purchasing of the course or the, or the whatever, isn’t necessarily going to be the thing that has you do it.

Mark: No. And again, I always want to acknowledge there’s other sides to my stories and another side here could be, I might be a person who has a high, I’m high agency.

I’m highly willing to take action. And I buy a course and the course actually, uh, lights just enough of the path in front of me that I start taking steps forward. I want to acknowledge that I’ve experienced.

Amy: that. I’ve experienced that too. Yeah. My most recent course was, was that like, it, it, it, not everything in it was completely new information.

A lot of it, I w I kind of was, are I like, I, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But I got just enough new information that I was like, ah, those were like the missing pieces in my mind. And I immediately have put the course into action and I’m immediately moving forward. And I’ve had plenty of other courses where I was.

Oh, my God, I haven’t signed a client in so many months. Click. Yes. Yeah, and

Mark: I have the same story, by the way, where for all the courses in my graveyard, there are two courses in particular that I can think of. Both of them cost 300. That one illuminated just enough of the path that it helped me to build a skill that has now been fundamental to the success I’m currently experiencing.

It’s in my bookkeeping business. Um, I paid 300 for that course. I did not complete it. I probably did 40 percent of it, but that 40 percent unlocked me enough that I was like, oh, I finally have momentum here. So, I want to acknowledge that. I don’t think that cost 10, 000. Mm hmm. I don’t think it costs five and I’ll just I’m just given my bias.

Now. I think that costs in the hundreds of dollars because the alternative, by the way, is free podcast and YouTube videos and they are very functional substitutes for many, many of the courses that people end up buying. So, I want to acknowledge that it’s not that courses are inherently dead, bad or dumb or no, it’s just.

Why am I buying this course and, and am I willing to get into it just enough that maybe it does unlock something for me, but that hundred conversations, a hundred pieces of content thing I think is really going to, it’s going to show people where the gaps actually are, uh, people who have already built skills in another life in a corporate life or, or whatever, or they’ve built a network in a corporate life.

If they’ll go down a hundred conversations, a hundred pieces of content path, they will have a full coaching practice. Even and then, by the way, I hope they go by, uh, courses and coach and coaches and to accelerate and to enjoy all of it to enrich all of it. Yeah, um, people who don’t have prebuilt networks and skills from a previous project.

Amy: that you’re going right where I was.

Yeah. That was, you’re going right where I was like, so what about the people who don’t have that already built in?

Mark: They’ll start going down the path and say, I’m going to try to have a hundred conversations and I’m going to try to create a hundred pieces of content. They’ll get two or three conversations and two or three pieces of content in, and it will start the parts that stick for them will become clear.

And then they can figure out how to hire solutions to those problems. Somebody could tell me, I Mark, I have no idea how to have the very first of those conversations. Okay. And then I will say, great, go to Google and start playing with different search queries, go to chat GPT and start playing with different queries for how to have a conversation.

Also, a side note, I almost hesitate to do this because you just never know quite what or who you’re endorsing, but I am reading a book right now where I think I would, I would like to put this book in everyone’s hand. Okay. I just don’t know exactly what comes after that book. So

Amy: I’m nervous. Okay. So, knowing that Mark does not know every single thing about what is possibly associated.

And, and I think you’re like a side note to your side note. I find I’m doing this more and more and more. I really like this thing. I don’t know everything about this person.

Mark: Well, because we’ve all been burned. That’s too strong. And it’s too much of a victim view, but we’ve been sort of like, oh, this isn’t quite what I thought it was.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Like, I don’t want to send people in that direction, but I’m reading Alex Hormozi’s book, a hundred million dollar leads. Okay. And the portion that I have read so far, I’m like, man, this is, it’s not a silver bullet, but it is a clean, well formatted view onto the very basics of how to get myself into conversation.

Okay. Okay. And for that, I’m like, I found myself wanting to point people to it and say this thing he’s saying about definitions of leads. Definitely. I like his definitions, but you know, again, as I say that I laugh because one of his main things has been we give everything away for free and we make our money by investing in businesses.

The implication being we don’t sell anything. Well, then why am I seeing transactions in my client, my bookkeeping clients’ accounts where they’re buying stuff from him?

Amy: Oh yeah. So, I do appreciate it. So, I do appreciate, I do appreciate that. Um, because you did actually bring up somebody specifically who I actually did a real tick tock of like a re a real slash tick tock with my, with a lot of his tactics, but I think you’re, I think you’re also calling out the, uh, my, my general thing of, um,

two things can be true at the same time, two.

Mark: things can be true at the same time.

Amy: I believe that he endorses a lot of tactics. I would not recommend to my clients ever using it because they tap into the FOMO. They tap into them, but wait, there’s more. It taps into the, you know, yes,

Mark: totally, totally agree

Amy: with that.

And also, it sounds like there’s something that’s in there that you have found incredibly helpful that you would suggest other people take a look at. Yeah.

Mark: And it’s a, it’s a great microcosm of the whole industry. What we’re saying, because I totally agree with what you’re saying and what I’m saying can also be true.

Both of these things can be true at the same time. And I do trust the people in your audience and my audience to take what’s useful and leave what isn’t because even I’ll watch him on YouTube or I’ll watch him in different places and he’ll shift into that mode. And I’m like, oh, here you are. Yeah. Here you are doing the thing where it’s like the tactics, the tactics are there that I wouldn’t have.

I’ll never employ them again. Yeah. I’ll never employ them. But in this book, I find myself thinking, and if I really had the courage and the attention span, I should be writing the book if I wanted to exist, but it gives these clean definitions of what it sorts of, what is marketing? What are leads? How do I get myself into a conversation?

And I love what he says about, he has this thing where he talks about counting in hundreds. Mm hmm. And he’s like, we’re all, we’re all guilty of, um, not doing enough volume in pursuit of the same, of the thing we say we want. So if I say that I want to be a one on one coach and I say that I’m going to have a, you know, one conversation per week, the Hormozi perspective on that would be no, no, no, no, you need to be sending a hundred messages per day.

Now that’s absurd. And I will never, not a single day in my entire life.

Amy: Yeah, he has also he’s also endorsed the work until you absolutely like, you know, you just kill over dead. Yeah. You’re either working out in the gym or you’re working period. And I’m like, oh yeah, that doesn’t really.

Mark: work. Virtuous

Amy: activity.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m like, yeah, that doesn’t work for me. And it’s funny. I actually use, uh, 90 is my number. Uh, cause I, I’ve been using this, you know, 90 minutes a day. Um, I didn’t even know why 90 was the number that I loved, but, uh, uh, coach, uh, our, uh, And I’m not going to, she’s not a client of mine.

She’s somebody in my free community said that we actually, it’s a human cycle, ultra DN cycles, you know, we sleep in 90-minute segments. We work in 90-minute segments. So, so like I’ve been focusing on, um, you don’t know this. And by the time this episode comes out, we will have been done with, um, but it’s going to be a part of my programs of if you focused 90 minutes a day in client.

Income generating activity versus non income generating activity, how much farther now? It doesn’t have to be 100, you know, talk to 100 people, but in 90 minutes and, you know, 3, 30-minute segments where you get up and walk around, but you are having a conversation and creating pieces of content that are engaging with people.

Your business would be amazing and are you building that into, and I think, you know, if we kind of like pull, pull our way out, you know, pull back to where you started from where, you know, I asked you about, you know, how can people gauge, how can people even gauge if you, if everybody just started there, then you could start to see what, like, okay, like, I find that this part of.

Yeah. A hundred conversations and a hundred pieces of content or 90 minutes a day or whatever tool tactic you’re going to apply. This is the thing that I keep finding I’m bumping up against. And, and I, I, I’m Googling, I’m YouTubing, I’m, I’ve, I’ve, you know, listened to 20 of Amy’s podcasts or I’ve, you know, binged by the way, everybody should binge marks.

What, what’s the podcast that you did for like 10 episodes? 10

Mark: episodes. Yeah. The beautiful business podcasts.

Amy: The beautiful business podcast. Yeah. Highly recommend that podcast, everybody. I love it. Love it. Love it. Um, I did that, but I find that this thing here. I don’t know how to improve. Like, I think that’s what you mean in terms of figuring out what things going back to your question.

Why am I hiring this thing to do? What am I hiring this thing to do? What are the things you need to hire out for?

Mark: Yeah. Yes. And Over time, if you’ll engage in what you’re saying about 90 minutes a day, when I was after reading her Moses thing about like 100 something per day, I said to a coach friend now, I can’t remember which coach friend I said, what’s crazy to me is I feel quite certain that if we, as coaches would do 1 unit of outreach per day over a period of months and years.

We would be, our practices would be full forever, but I truly believe that very, very, very few of us, me included, because I’ve never done this engage in one productive unit per day of activity.

Amy: Yeah. I mean, I came up with this partially for myself because I was like going back to the whole reason why I brought you on here, which was I have spent so much money on running my business and all of these years past.

And when I’m thinking about it, I don’t want to replicate everything that I’ve done in the past to create this business that provides this income that makes mine and Trey’s and my children’s lives what we want it to be. Uh, maybe I should start doing these basic things rather than what I’ve done in the past, which is hire that out and hire that out and hire that out.

When that’s how I spent. Everything that I made.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Um, there, I just think that there’s this, if I, if I want to sort of bring this back down to sort of like, well, okay, well, what would a listener do right now? How would a listener evaluate their next spending thing? Um, I would, I would 1st of all, want to remove any of the sort of pressure that they feel about, um, quote, knowing my numbers.

In a coaching business, there are so few numbers to know that if you’re even using the phrase, no, my numbers, it’s a pretty strong indication that some amount of chaos has worked its way into your business. And in the form of, uh, I’ll be very specific actually, cause I’ve seen these enough times that I feel like it’s reliable.

Very often people say, I need to know my numbers. What they’re actually telling me is. I’ve kept signing up for programs, and I’ve kept opening new credit cards to do it, and I’ve used personal credit cards, and I, there’s, there’s this, this chaos has resulted from my desire to keep saying yes to the next thing, and I don’t know how to unpack it, and I, the way I phrase it is, I need to know my numbers.

People who have beautifully boring coaching businesses don’t need to know their numbers. They never think about their numbers. Because there’s nothing to think about. They’d be, their, their conversation with them sounds like, them sounds like this. Yeah, so anyway, my calendar’s pretty full. I take on about one client per period of time, month, whatever.

They’re like, and um, I have my coach, I’ve been working with my coach for two years. Super helpful. I do have an assistant. She does some technical things for me. I pay her about 300 bucks a month. So anyway, is there something else I need to know? Nope. There’s nothing else you need to know. You are thriving.

So, people who want to quote unquote know their numbers, it’s usually because some chaos has come in and they’re trying to figure out how to extract themselves from the chaos. So, I want to say that. I also want to say, um,

money doesn’t solve a high percentage of the business problems that we ask it to solve. And the offers that were, that are often being made in the industry. In their very nature, don’t solve the problems that we want them to solve, or that we claim we want them to solve. They do, they do, they’re more likely to solve a sense of belonging, a sense of togetherness, a sense of like purpose or something, but they don’t, they don’t put, they don’t put clients in your zoom room.

And weirdly, there’s, I almost see like an inverse correlation between what a program, like the price of a program and what it actually does in the business.

Amy: Tell me more.

Mark: What do you mean? Well, a 25, 000 mastermind on average doesn’t do anything except big exception here. If I join a 25, 000 mastermind and my clients like, and my prospects from that mastermind and they hire me, then the 25, 000 mastermind is in very real terms, a marketing expense.

in my business as a bookkeeper and as a fractional CFO for coaches. I would get huge ROI from joining 25, 000 masterminds. There’s no doubt in my mind, but it would be entirely because it puts me in the room with my prospect. So, there’s a great, there’s a very compelling reason for business coaches to join 25, 000 masterminds.

It’s a, it’s a strategic thing to do. I don’t blame them for doing it. But the average, if somebody’s like, I’ll be a life coach, I’m like, cool. Don’t ever join it. You don’t ever need to join a 25, 000 mastermind. That’s not what they do. So, there’s, this is where I can wander over into cynicism and I don’t want to.

So, I try to put myself in check. And I, what I say to myself is if a person wants to be a successful coach, what do they lose if they don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on things like masterminds? And I, and my answer is I don’t see that they lose.

Amy: anything. Well, that’s an interesting way to a different question to ask yourself, you know, first of all, what am I, what am I hiring this thing to do?

Does this put clients in my zoom room? That’s going to be my new, it’s going to be my new coaching question I throw out and my, my own clients, does this put clients in your zoom room? And what do I lose by not investing? And being honest with yourself, because I think, I think the way we’ve traditionally phrased that question is, what are you going to lose by not being in this room?

Right? Like, as opposed to no, like, no, legitimately, yeah, but no, really, but no, really, like, what, what do I lose by not being in this room? Is this, is this, is that list real? Is that list legitimate? Am I okay with that list? Like, looking at it from the other side of the question that I think we’ve traditionally heard that question asked.

Mark: I’ve been on the other side of this so many times now, Amy, that I have my own answers to what’s being lost. And it is something. It’s fun. Yeah. Like, camaraderie. Camaraderie. Friendship. Friendships. Amazing friendships are built in those rooms. Um, maybe, maybe collaborations. If you, if you find a good fit there, there can be amazing collaborations that come out of those rooms.

As we said already, clients can come out of those rooms. You can argue, you can argue that a real mindset shift can happen in those rooms. I would argue that’s a very expensive mindset shift, depending on your business model, um, that, that I might need to look for a more efficient way to achieve that mindset.

Amy: shift.

Yeah, because I think that’s like, it’s, it’s legitimately listing. What do I legitimately lose by not being these not by not. Investing in that and being in a room like that, making a list of that, and then asking yourself, is there a more efficient, a more cost-effective way for me to create the same thing?

And I don’t think there’s a pat answer there, but I think that’s the question to ask. That is, I love that idea of like, you’re being honest of like. Okay, if I’m not in that room, I lose access to this. I, you know, don’t have the, the, this and, and some people, some people might be totally fine paying that amount of money just to have a great group of friends that they get to see and fun, exotic locations or whatever, like, yeah, they’re

Mark: the, they’re the people for whom.

The 25, 50, 100, 000, whatever it ends up being, the 10, 000, because there’s different prices, they’re the people for whom that money does not meaningfully impact other areas of their life. Right. Where I think the industry is having a little bit of a moment right now, maybe, is in the fact that there seem to be people who are making those investments when the alternative uses of that money actually matter in their life.

Amy: Yeah, the alternative uses of that money are, you know, paying mortgages, kids, food, you know, life expenses. Yeah, they’re mad.

Mark: They’re like, what the heck? It’s supposed to do a certain job in my life,

Amy: right? So, I love that idea of thinking about, you know, when, when we’re thinking about what our expenses in our business are going to be so that we can actually create an income, we’re looking at what we’re considering investing in and asking ourselves those questions.

And I think legitimately saying, if I don’t spend this money, here’s what I will do. Here’s what, you know, here are the things that I think I’m going to get that I won’t get if I don’t spend that money. Is there an alternative to that?

Mark: Have I experimented with alternatives

Amy: have I experimented with alternatives instead of whipping out credit cards or maxing out credit cards?

I, you know, 1 of the 1st, super expensive rooms, you know, the 1st time I ever paid 25, 000 dollars. Um, I used an inheritance. For my grandmother, you know, but sometimes I look back and I’m like, Oh,

Mark: all tuition. Yeah.

Amy: I’m like, well, kids, I hope you get scholarships.

Mark: No, see, no, no, no, no. But the thing is, and the reason I’m not cynical and the reason I’m not hopeless is if we zoom in on a person’s story at any given moment, it can, it can look like. But if we zoom out, we can say, wow, and, and I think I’ve said this to you before, but I think even in your case, where I think you’ve shared with your audience, like you sort of had a reckoning with, like, I’m evaluating some of the decisions I’ve made in the past.

I’m trying to evaluate it. Honestly, I think, and I hope you’re also saying, actually, there was a lot of good in, in those experiences for me. It’s part of me becoming who I am. Um, I don’t think there’s any reason for you to sort of like, you know, condemn past you for, for, for past decisions. And that’s why if somebody comes to me, they’re like, well, I joined a 25, 000 mastermind.

I’m not going to be like, I’m going to say, how was it? Tell me all the best bits of it. And if they say, I’m trying to decide whether to do it again, I’d be like, okay, cool. Well, can we have a conversation about that? Yes.

Amy: Let’s have a conversation about that decision. Yes. 100%. And, and to your point, one of the, um, since we’ve worked together, I don’t actually know ’cause I don’t think we’ve had a conversation since then.

I have, uh, was diagnosed this the year with a D H D that explains so many of my financial choices in the past.,

Mark: I think you did tell me that. Yeah.

Amy: Um, so, uh, and I, I have since joined a, a very, very reasonably, uh, co, uh, uh, priced, um, A D H D coaching circle and. What you just pointed out was the last thing that the coach gave me to coach on, which, which was reconciling the investments that I’ve made in the past that I would not necessarily make again.

And also, to hold those two things that are true at the same time, that there was a lot of good there. I did experience a lot of things I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. And also, there were things that I didn’t need to have to have experienced. And both of those things can be true at the same time and really.

And so, I, I think that’s a good part, a good thing to include here as, as, you know, as we wrap up and, and, and coaches are thinking about what the hell should my expenses be? By the way, the, the, the too long don’t read on that is there’s no number. There’s not like 25. 35, 15%. There’s no set number for what your expenses should or shouldn’t be because they could technically be zero.

So, there’s the answer to that question. But I think the other one is a lot of people are going to be listening to this because they don’t want to replicate what they’ve done in the past. And I think the first step for, of overcoming that fear is, you know, having a coaching session with someone or with yourself or multiple, however long it, you know, how many ever you need of reconciling those past.

Financial decisions that you’ve made, and we have had that conversation. I remember that was a really important conversation about that. I needed to hear of, to not beat the crap out of myself for past investments, where I was scared, and I was in a hurry. And I was thinking that I needed the permission of somebody else.

Like all of those things that we’ve said in this episode, make sure you’re not purchasing from. You know, the hundreds of thousands are, you know, you know, it’s six figures of investments that I’ve made from that level of energy and not beating myself up about it. Because what happens then is then I just start to even doubt whether or not I should spend any money at all ever because yes, yes,

Mark: and I don’t want people to lock themselves down in fear. It’s like, no, figure it out. What, what problem am I trying to solve? What experiments am I running? How does this expense factor into that experiment? And I will go forward. I think the thing that I want to say last as we close out, Amy is, um, the reason I refer to it as a family, cause I, and I refer to the industry and all of its goofiness and quirks.

Is that it also has so much greatness in it and me, I’ve sort of looked at myself and thought, why is it that I always end up in these weirdo worlds and communities of people who are like, you know, it’s just like just on the border of really nutty. And I don’t have a perfect answer for why I’m always finding myself in those rooms, but I’ve stopped resisting it.

I like them. I like the rooms. And I really think about coaching as a, coaching as a practice, coaching as a, as like as a modality to help people. And I just could not believe in it any more strongly. Yeah. And I think about the fact that I love coaching. I have my own one on one coaching clients. And what I’m realizing is I don’t, I don’t want to make room for tons of coaching clients in my life.

And I had this realization where I thought, oh, I want, I had this realization that 99. 9999 percent of all the coaching that ever happens will be done by someone who isn’t me. And I want to facilitate that. Like, I want there to be more coaches. I want them to be happy. I want them to thrive. I want their clients to get new results.

I want to send them referrals. I’m full for all intents and purposes. And the indicators are that I always will be full of, you know, sort of normal ebbs and flows in a, in a business. Well, if that’s true, and if I still can walk down the street and run into out of a hundred people that I know, a hundred of them would benefit from the support of a coach.

I don’t use the word need because I don’t really believe in needing a coach, but I believe that a hundred percent of them would benefit from the support of a coach. And less than 1 percent of them are currently getting the support of a coach. And that’s a problem for me. So, we kind of have to, like, I kind of want to sweep away some of the industry nonsense and be like, don’t forget all humans could really benefit from the kind of support that you’re capable of giving.

So yes, become the person who can give it and give it.

Amy: So good. Mark, as always, I think our conversations, by the way, I love that. And I don’t think I was wrong. We could have gone off on 27 different tangents, but we managed to have a pretty cohesive conversation. I love the questions that you, uh, have shared.

I, and I going to encourage my listeners to, um, and I’ll make sure that they are on the show notes so that you don’t forget what they are. Focus less on percentages and, and, and computations and more on understanding what skills you want to sharpen. What helps you accelerate what you’re already going to do?

What is this thing that I’m hiring going to do for me? And that if you’re doing that, then your expenses will always be quote unquote reasonable and in alignment. I really think. Yeah. Mark, how, how can people connect with you? You

Mark: know, they mostly can’t

Amy: and it’s, I know, by the way, I’m going to tell you all right now.

Mark is hard as hell to get ahold of. I just

Mark: got an email the other day and I get about two or three emails per year where people are like, hey, I hope you’re not dead. This one was like, Hey, lucky me. I figured out how to send you an email and they just sent the nicest email about the beautiful business podcast.

Um, I, I would love for people to listen to the beautiful business podcast. It’s got nine or 10 episodes. Yeah. I think there are another nine or 10 brewing. We’ll have.

Amy: to see. Yeah. He’s not on social media. Don’t tag him. He won’t get it unless, unless you’ve changed.

Mark: I have like a monthly conversation with myself about where I feel like, no, I really want to share some things on Instagram.

And then I go about my business. Yeah.

Amy: What’s your website?

Mark: I don’t have a, I mean, I have mark butler. com. It’s the one that I had when I was Brooke CFO all those years ago.

Amy: Yeah. Yeah. I noticed that cause that’s where I first went to see,

Mark: just sort of a rolling trash fire. Okay. It’s just, we just can’t quite seem to get it together over here, but that should give hope to people because I also did just say I have a full and thriving coaching practice.


Amy: Yeah. So basically, I’m telling you, there’s no way you can get ahold of this man and yet he’s doing fine.

Mark: I’m doing okay. Uh, listen to that. I, I’m really, I think there’s something in the beautiful, uh, beautiful business podcast that I, uh, I’ve had such great feedback on it on both sides. I’ve had feedback where say, where people say, I really agree with the, the way you’re approaching this.

And it’s really helpful to me. It’s unlocking some things for me. And I’ve had people say. I actually don’t agree with very much of what you’re saying, and that’s been very helpful in terms of clarifying my own approach, my own strategy. Yeah, I love that too. I’m thrilled about both. Yeah, I love being able to share that with people, and, and I, and I do hope that some, in the not-too-distant future, there’ll be a few more episodes there for people.

Amy: Okay, all right. Sounds so good. Well, Mark, thank you as always for being here and bringing your insight and your, uh, I can’t remember how you phrase it, but you’re potentially controversial opinions that could go too far down rabbit holes that I think I absolutely love going down rabbit holes with you.

I hope that this was incredibly helpful for everybody and, um. Thanks for being here.

Mark: Yeah, it’s fun to catch up with you and I’m so grateful to be able to chat with your audience for a few more minutes. While we’re still recording, I, I, I can, um, and you can take this and use it however you want, but at a hundred dollars per, like at something like a hundred dollars per session.

It’s very, very difficult to arrive at a total revenue that is likely to move the needle in your personal life. So, at a hundred per session, it, you know, that’s kind of an internship phase where you can be making some money, but it’s probably not really going to move the needle in your, in your personal life.

By the time it trickles down to you, the number seems to be somewhere in the, and this will blow some people will 300 per session range. Yeah. Where factoring in, um, sort of simple overhead, like website expenses, maybe, uh, a VA that’s a couple hundred bucks a month is sort of just deal with administrative tasks that you just don’t want to touch.

Um, and maybe a coach for yourself, or maybe a couple of courses per year, maybe a mastermind per year in the 5, 000 range. Yeah, I did 10, 000 range, the 250 per session price will probably support all of that and put a put something in your pocket. If you can fill in 250 per hour practice and for me full is like, you know, 810 sessions.

Per week 25 to 40 sessions a month. Um, and then, you know, from there you get into like 500 per session and at 500 per session. Um, yeah, those things, things open up some like, yeah, it’s like, oh, okay, this is a, your kind of are like, I can now make a pretty good living.

Amy: Yeah, I actually did a calculation. Uh, and I haven’t looked at it again to figure it out, like, I think I came out around.

Yeah, it was in the 500 plus or minus range of, like, in order to create what I actually wanted to create and factoring in. You know, I’m factoring in how many hours a week and I really wanted a week and whether, you know, factoring, whether or not I was actually, you know, booked the entire time and all of that.

I think I went in. Yeah. It was in like the five to 600, 000 or no, no, five, not 500 to 600, not thousand, but 500 to 600 range in there. And at first, I was kind of like, Oh yeah. Factoring in and I’ll be looking at my expenses again to decide, like, I’ll be applying these questions to my expenses. Again, to kind of reevaluate those.

And so that number may change, you know, but I’m building in like paying, you know, 25 percent in taxes I’m building in, you know, uh, being able to offer some things for free, right? So, if I’m offering, if I’m offering some things for free, like scholarships or et cetera, building that into my business as well, as well as building in, um, uh, you said, well, you know, this word I’m blanking on the word.


Mark: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I, your, your sort of budgeting exercise, their forecasting exercise, I think is probably pretty solid, pretty reliable. I think it will hit some of your clients pretty hard when you say, well, actually making a decent living kind of starts in the 500 per hour range. So, yeah. If that’s the job you’re hiring your business to do, you’re going to have to wrap your head around that.


Amy: I actually, the way that I, as I was thinking about how I was going to coach this, teach this, I actually, um, included a, that’s, that’s the number that we’re shooting for in the future. Yeah. And now we’ve got it. Yeah, where we’re going to end up and I actually included a calculation, but here it is at like, 50 percent or 25%.

I love it. I love it. So, what like, start at the 25 percent number 100 percent like, yeah, let’s start there and then just know that within, you know, 3 ish years. And of course, 3 years seems a little arbitrary as a number 2, but that’s where we’re headed. Yeah,

Mark: I like it a lot. I think that’s I think what you’re describing is just about as good as this sort of exercise can get.

Yeah. And I also think it does a beautiful job of illustrating how if a person is in that 100, 150 per session range. And then they do say, well, I want to join this 25, 000 mastermind. You can show them sort of the fundamental disconnect between those two things. Like a 25, 000 mastermind is over 150 sessions at your current price.

Yeah. That’s like, you’re really, it’s going to make your business look less successful than it actually is. When you spend that kind of money that way, because if you, if you can just keep them in that thing of like, no, I’m sort of in this phase where I’m in the 100, 150, 200 per session range, if you can keep them there and, and continue to give them evidence that they’re succeeding,

they’ll, they’re going to create something. Amazing. Yeah. But if they then burden that project with these huge expenses, it’s going to be harder for them to maintain confidence. And we’ve seen it over and over and over again. And

Amy: once again, you have assaulted me with your truth.

Oh, there he goes again, people. Yeah, so that was so that’s part of also part of me. Remember I said the last course I took; you know, I already like it. Okay, think about what you want to take home, you know, that’s your personal so you have to think about what your business expenses are. So, you have to, um, you know, kind of work backwards, so to speak, of where you want to end up.

But it was when I was really, it was the conversations this course talked about in terms of, uh. You know, well, how many hours do you actually wanting to work per week? And you’re not necessarily going to be fully booked. So, you know, assume, you know, and you’re not necessarily, they’re not all going to be coaching hours.

So, when you’re actually factoring your hourly rate, it’s not just like, well, I want to bring home 5, 000 a month. So, I need to sell X number of packages. You can kind of work your way backwards. And then even when, you know, the course brought me to that number, but then I was like, yeah, but that number is going to freak the excuse me.

Well, you know, I cause that number is going to freak the shit out of most of my clients. So let me add them, here’s what that number looks like at 75, 50, 25%. Let’s start at those numbers, knowing that we’re going to work our way up. And now you’ve just added. Yeah. Well, you’ve just added another layer of when you’re considering expenses.

What’s that hourly rate that you calculated? How many hours? Not, and so what I think we’ve normally done is how many clients do I have to sign to pay for that we ever admit, but I think I like even better the question, how many hours do I have to work to pay for that?

Mark: Yes. How many hours do I have to occupy?

Amy: Yes. That’s a great

Mark: question. And that is actually the lens through which I look at my business right now. It’s sort of like, well, what, what, what number of hours per week am I occupying? And am I happy with those tradeoffs? And

Amy: So, there’s another great question after you’ve calculated approximately what you want your hourly rate to be.

The funny thing is, this is 100 percent what I have done with my husband when it comes to whether or not he’s going to do the house project or he’s going to hire out for it. I’m like, how much money do you make per hour?

So, the fact that I just figured out that what the Jedi mind trick I’ve been using on my husband for 10 years. All right, Mark. Thank you so much. You’re awesome. Bye.

Okay. Again, once again, thank you so much. I hope, I hope you have a better sense. I hope those questions that we talked about help you with decision making when it comes to spending money. As I mentioned, there were a couple of things that Mark mentioned that I, I agree with him, So I agree, uh, you know, the coaching industry is, there are, there, there are no, it is an unregulated industry.

There are some bodies who have taken form as, as, as the standards, but, you know, when it comes to. Rules there, there really are none. And when it comes to legalities, believe it or not, pretty much almost everything is legal. Now, obviously the, the FTC might have some things to say. If you are legitimately saying you are going to get this and then you don’t deliver it, one of the things that I wanted to note is he is correct.

You do not have to be certified at all in order to be a coach. And I would offer. Then I know a lot of not certified coaches who are doing genius work in the world. And I know a lot of certified coaches who aren’t great coaches. Licensure and certifications and months and even years of practicum and study do not necessarily make you better than someone else.

And I really do want to elevate the industry here and hold us to a higher standard than is required. And this is where I would invite you to focus on the hard and the soft skills that you are bringing to your coaching business. The things that you do have experience of are going to be a part of it.

Of your coaching. So as a, for instance, if I wasn’t certified, I, you know, do have a degree in business as well as over a decade working in the business industry. So, talking marketing and business strategy is not hard for me to do. So, I do invite you to look for those things. If you are uncertified to look for those things that you can pull from your experience in your life and bring those to the table.

And at the end of the day, I do agree with Mark that a great coach is great because they can hold up a mirror for their client. I would say that the other thing, and I even addressed it in there. Not a fan of Alex Hormozi. We will not be linking to him. And I just think it’s a great conversation to keep in mind in terms of.

People who have a lot of problematic stances might still offer some really good stuff. And this is a conversation, I think both of these things are actually separate podcast episodes, but I want to offer a lot of the work that I have done in the past three to six months is holding space for something that’s really good in my life and changed my life for the better.

Also. Brought me and led me to experience things that I shouldn’t have had to experience and to hold space for both of those things and that’s what I want to offer to you when it does come to, uh, that recommendation for Alex Hormozi that he may have some. You know, nuggets that might be the thing that you needed to hear.

And also, he has also put out a lot of things that I find incredibly harmful and are doing quite frankly, a lot of damage. So, I just want to offer that. And I do love that even Mark was like, I don’t, I don’t know, you know, I haven’t vetted this person. So, and I think that’s just like a great thing to remember.

Right. That for most people, it’s very rare. You’re going to a hundred percent agree or a hundred percent disagree. I think where the gray area becomes is how do you keep space for something that has been extraordinarily beneficial, but also along with that is going to come something that could be incredibly harmful.

Again, conversation for a different day. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think of this episode. What did it stir up for you? How are you going to put some of these questions into practice so that we can set you up for a business where you, the business owner, the person running the business is actually flourishing in your business because it’s bringing in.

The income. I do also want to note one more thing. I know. Sorry, keep coming back to this. Um, a lot of the, the work that Mark is referencing is from the book, The Prosperous Coach. Now, in my free Facebook group, um, and we might actually run this as a podcast episode. Now that I think about it. Last month, I am doing monthly book clubs.

Uh, this month’s book club, by the way, is going to be on Rachel Rogers’s, um, We Should All Be Millionaires. Last month was on The Prosperous Coach because it is a very common, everybody should read this book. And we kind of break down the good nuggets that are in that book. So, we do highlight, I like go down a list of like the things that like really helped me.

And also, there’s some stuff in there. That I would, I, and I, we talk about it in that, in that book club from August of stuff that I’m like, Eh, didn’t really age well, or maybe would have been fine in 2013, but we know better. Or I think probably one of the biggest problems with the book is it’s just coming from an incredibly privileged standpoint of, uh, two white men with tons of access to people at executive levels, which…

Not everybody has. So, I think we might actually drop that as a, as a podcast episode. So, if, uh, you are not in Play More, Sell More, stay tuned. And if you are, you can actually go listen to that recording. It is available in the group right now. But I did want to note that too, because a lot of what Mark is sharing actually comes from that book.

And there is something really beautiful about an incredibly simplified business where you have very few expenses. And everything is just about filling your days with conversations. And if you were to do that, you really would have an elevated business and an elevated income. All right. I can’t wait to hear your feedback, your comments.

And I mean, I just can’t wait to see what you create and all this beautiful, elevated business. I’ll talk to you next week.

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Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at www.amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

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