14 Apr April 14, 2020 – ReputationDefender Rich Matta and Young Money Tracey Bissett
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internet can be a nasty place and are just trying to balance that
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Rich Matta is currently the CEO of ReputationDefender, the largest and most prominent firm in online reputation management and digital privacy for consumers and businesses. Through ReputationDefender, Rich helps individuals and businesses remove and adjust old personal information and adjust inaccurate and damaging Google search results on their names. As a data privacy and online reputation expert, he regularly consults with high-profile individuals, executives, public figures and businesses. Rich came to ReputationDefender from Support.com, a leading provider of cloud software and services for technology support, where he was a key member of the early founding team that grew the company to a $100M run rate by 2013. Previously, Rich also held multiple leadership and executive roles in product management and engineering at SupportSoft and Deloitte Consulting.
Tracey Bissett – Founder of Bissett Financial Fitness and Young Money with Tracey Bissett – Read interview highlights here
You can start your coaching business as a side hustle, especially
if you are still trying to validate your idea.
Tracey Bissett, Founder of Bissett Financial Fitness, is an accomplished professional with 20 years of experience in the financial services industry working directly or indirectly with personal, commercial and corporate clients to help them achieve their financial goals. As President and Chief Financial Fitness Trainer, Tracey works with clients to help them understand and improve their level of financial fitness with a goal of increased confidence using their financial skills so they can be successful in their financial life. She works with people of all ages, focusing on youth and young adults, as well as engages with companies and not-for-profit entities in various capacities including one on one coaching and contracts focused on financial services and risk management assignments. She is also the founder of Young Money with Tracey Bissett Podcast where she goes behind-the-scenes of all the money matters with need-to-know tips, money-making demystified, and special power-player interviews.
Highlights from Tracy’s Interview
One of the main things I see is because people start their businesses because they’re really passionate and good at whatever their products or services are, a lot of them are kind of putting their heads in the sand around the numbers. They wouldn’t necessarily have any training around financial statements, cash flow management, all those kinds of things. Instead of leaning in to learn more about it, they really just think that it should work itself out or I’m not going to focus on that part. So, I either see people ignoring it completely, or they’re doing too much delegation to their bookkeeper or their accountant and not keeping accountability for the numbers. My wish and my goal with what I do is to really take the mystery out of the money so that entrepreneurs can spend more time on what they do best, but do it with a proactive way to manage their cash flow so they can be using money as a tool to grow their businesses.
Your assets, liabilities, and your equity in the business, they do add up. But I would say if you’re first getting started, the balance sheet is probably not the financial statement you want to start with. Where I would want you to spend your time is to focus on your profit and loss; so how much are your sales and what are your expenses? Because typically, when I work with entrepreneurs, we find out that firstly, they’re not getting paid, which is a problem and not why they went into business. Secondly, we typically find that they’re not charging enough for their product or service. So, it leads to those other issues. The other thing I really want people to focus on is cash flow and managing that cash flow. Because you can have all the sales in the world, but if nobody pays you, you’re going to be out of business very quickly.
You can use a single sheet for financial things. It can have cash in the bank at the top, and then projected income and projected expenses for the next month, and then what you’d end up with at the end of the month, and across the rows you can have all your expenses. That’s a great place to start with as a beginner and that is absolutely going to help you. The fact that you can make it up on your own format, I think that’s wonderful. What I’d encourage you to do, even before you hire someone else, is to try to forecast out a couple months into the future. Even if you’re doing the next six months on cash flow, I think it’ll put you in good stead because then you can see if you’re going to have a problem. So, if it looks like your sales are going to dip, what can you do to increase your sales? If you want to add a new employee and you’re going to need to get some more funds, who can you talk to in advance to get the funds to hire that new employee, or a new machine or whatever you need for your business? It’s a simple Excel spreadsheet, so go out there and get that done.
The first thing you want to do to determine the sales price is figure out how much does it cost you to deliver your product or your service. You’ve got two kinds of costs that go into it. Firstly, what are the things that you have to spend immediately to deliver? So, if somebody is doing a service for you, how much is their hourly rate; inclusive of any vacation or any benefits that you’re providing them with? If it’s a product, what are all the costs of everything that goes into it? Secondly, you’ve got to think about what is your overhead and add in some component of that too to put it in. Then certainly you also want to have a little bit of a profit margin. That’s kind of the piece you do on your own to figure out.
Then you’ve got to take a look around the market and see what will the market bear in terms of pricing. Is your product or service superior to someone else’s? Because you don’t need to always be the lowest cost provider of whatever you’re doing in your business. If you provide more value, if you do offer a superior product, charge for it. It’s all in how you communicate and the messaging that goes around it. So, you’re coming at it from two sides. Certainly, if you haven’t changed your prices for a while, there probably is some room to move unless you’re selling something that’s really a commodity where the price keeps coming down. But if you’re providing any kind of coaching service, any kind of professional service, there is room to move where customers are not going to balk at the price.
The third piece is really mental and being confident in the value that you provide, and communicating that in your message clearly so that people can feel that you believe that you’re worth it. That’s I think the hardest part, because the other stuff is numbers and you can research it and you can be totally logical and rational about it. But when it comes to yourself, you may have those doubts or insecurities that just pop up, and that’s the one that takes the longest to probably put into practice consistently.
I think that entrepreneurs and everybody should be focused on what’s in their budget and what can they afford. Don’t put yourself in situations where you’re going to put your financial future at risk, whether it’s your business or personal. But at the end of the day, you have to live with your own morals and your own ethics.
I was a banker for a long time with TD Bank in Canada, and also in the US. I spent 16 years working in the areas of commercial lending. So, I helped entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes get access to financing, the lines of credit, mortgages, and loans. I also worked in risk management, so I improved all those transactions for pretty much every industry all across Canada. The bank was going through some downsizing and some restructuring, so my role was eliminated. I had a really fair severance from the bank, so I took some time to think about what did I want to do with quite a few years that I have left to work. So, I thought about what are all the things that I’ve really enjoyed in my lifetime. I have loved supporting and working with entrepreneurs and companies. I really get excited learning about all the different businesses. I’ve been extremely passionate about financial literacy or financial fitness, as I call it, and a lot of my volunteer efforts have been in that space. I thought, what could I do and bring to the market where I could combine all of those things and build a business where I could continue to support my lifestyle at the lifestyle I was accustomed, because I wasn’t looking to not get paid from my business.
I started a business financial and I’m the Chief Financial Fitness Trainer. I work with young adults as well as with entrepreneurs, really to take the mystery out of money. The first six months, I was figuring out what to do. One of the best things that I did is that I found different groups of entrepreneurs to build out kind of a support system. Most of my friends were in corporate, so I didn’t really have people I could go to with my questions, and that’s really important when you’re starting out. I did have a business plan, and part of my business as well as doing corporate consulting. But I figured, what could be three different revenue streams that I could build out and start tackling all at once. One of them was the teaching, so I’m a part-time professor. I found a course to teach at two different educational institutions. That was the first piece.
Then I got myself into the consulting roster for the Business Development Bank of Canada, which is really the bank for entrepreneurs, and I deliver financial training for entrepreneurs directly. So that was kind of my second piece. My consulting was there as well.
I’ve also been building out individual programs and individual coaching. I started a podcast, Young Money: the advice show for young millionaires in the making, and it’s really grown from there. In the first six months, there was a lot of uncertainty. I was an expert at the bank in terms of the things that I knew how to do, and now as an entrepreneur, I’m responsible for everything and expert at only one of them. So, I took some training courses and reached out to new connections to try to get the support I needed to get going. There was lots of learning. It was fun and exciting and stressful, all at the same time, but I’m really glad that I made that decision in 2016 to start the business.
I’d say I was probably having negative cash flow for about nine months, because I was doing a slow and deliberate growth. I had the benefit of my severance, so it was within reason. I think for anybody starting a business, you got to plan for at least six months. If you really legitimately think it’s six, based on your numbers, you just need to account for everything if it takes longer and it’s slower than you think it’s going to be, so tack on another three to six months. Then you could be up to a year, depending on how quickly you connect with your target customer. A lot of times when you’re starting out, you don’t have your message honed in as well as you should; you’re still working on your offerings and you’re validating them in the market, so you might need to pivot a little bit to land on the exact right thing, and that’s okay. But you need to have time and cash to be able to support that.
I think your initial cost depends on what you’re coaching on and if you need some certifications. For me, I did take some training, so you have to consider any cost of a certification. If you’re going to be something like an executive coach, those certifications can run you $20,000-30,000, so that would be one big cost right off the top. Depending on how automated you’re going to be, you’re going to be spending some money on that. If you’re going to start up a significant marketing asset, like a podcast, that’s going to run you quite a bit as well. So, I would say anywhere probably between $50,000 and $100,000, and it could be a little bit more depending what else you’re doing. But you should be prepared to make that investment with the confidence and the belief that you can make a go of it in the market. You may want to test your idea early and validate it with the customer who you think will be ideal in the beginning, to see if there’s an appetite for it out there. Certainly, in the coaching space, there is room for everybody. If you’re good at it, you’re certainly going to get customers if you get yourself out there and do some marketing.
In an effort to minimize the risk, you can start certainly it as a side hustle. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, especially if you’re still trying to validate your idea to figure out exactly what you think is going to work in the market. Do it at nights, do it on weekends, and acquire some customers. Even if you acquire them without them paying, they can become testimonials or references for your future paying clients. So, I don’t see any harm in starting it as a side hustle while you still have the certainty of your full-time job. Build it slowly and strategically, get a plan together. Try to figure out who would be your highest value connections, what would be the best moves you could be making? So, if you’re spending limited time, don’t be spending it on the things that aren’t going to count as much. Make those bigger moves and get those bigger initiatives rolling that you need to really maximize your efforts in the time that you have.
I would say if you can be filling bigger groups through corporate, that’s where you’re probably going to make the most return. But generally, that’s not where you’re going to be able to start unless you’re coming out of a really senior role from your corporate environment. Usually, it starts with who do you know in your network, who can refer you, and then you build up those one-on-one opportunities. But the biggest ROI is going to be in the bigger groups where corporate is paying you because they have more money.
In terms of pricing these big events, there’s never been an easier time probably to find out what’s going on in the market. Certainly, you can join Facebook groups that are filled with speakers and you can be getting intel from around the market; even around different industries, in terms of what they will pay. So, you can go in well-armed by gathering some information. The other thing is, when you’re having those conversations, two important questions you’ve got to ask are, what is the budget and who’s going to be making the decisions? It’s really important because you might be spending a lot of time getting to know someone who ultimately isn’t going to make that call, or three people have to make the call, so you should be expanding your reach in terms of who you’re talking to. Be confident in your ability. Having some market intel will allow you to ask for an amount that maybe makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable in your stomach, but allows you to ask for a little bit more than you’re probably expecting. Then just see where it goes from there. It’s usually a negotiation and people are not quickly just going to necessarily say no and walk away, so be confident and armed with market intel, and then go forward to try to get the best price you can.
Even with the situation of the market right now, I think that I’ve been seeing a lot positive activity online. I know that coaches are trying to be there and fill the gap in terms of saying, let’s keep sales going, let’s keep continuity going in your business. But certainly, for smaller to medium businesses, it’s imperative that even in this time of crisis and everybody panicking that you do move forward and serve your clients. With technology, we don’t need to be in person to do it. We can be the calm in the storm. There still is value in promoting your services and delivering your services. I have been hearing a lot of the smaller companies finding that their sales are down a little bit as people panic, but if you can show the calm and the value of the fact that during this slower time, we can equip your staff or I can help you get ready for when things come out of this, I think that you will continue to be successful.
Best place if you want to reach out to me is on LinkedIn. Look up Tracy Bissett and you will certainly find me there. I would love to leave a gift just to help everybody get their heads around money, so I’ve got a Money Meeting Agenda that you can download, so that you can just get started having a weekly meeting with yourself or if you have a business partner, to focus on the important stuff. You can download it at “cashcoach.biz”, and that’s a Money Meeting Agenda to get you started on the right foot. It’s something you can do today, and if you’ve got a little bit of time in your business, why not get started today?