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Learning From Others

Nov 16, 2020

Today's guest is an internationally recognized and award winning entrepreneur, Certified Money Coach, and advocate for women’s economic independence.

She's here today to help level-up women business owners and tell you why you're worth more so you can bring home more.

Please welcome Debbie Page.

  • 0:33 - Debbie Page's Background
  • 4:08 - Debbie's Work
  • 6:39 - Quantities
  • 10:29 - Just Keep going
  • 14:01 - Raising Money

Contact Info

Debbie page. Thanks for jumping on learning from others. How are you? I am doing great. Damon. Thanks for having me. This is going to be fun. Yeah, you bet. So, uh, this'll be fun to talk, uh, because you know, largely w w your area of expertise is obviously finances. Like if the opportunity to explain more about that in a minute, but I'm excited for you to kind of bring, uh, uh, a real emphasis on the women's side of things.

And so that'll be fun to dive into that. So Debbie, welcome learning from others. And question number one is. What is your area of expertise and what are we going to learn from you today? Ah, yes. So I am the leading authority on cashflow and profitability for women business owners. And I guide them to understand how to keep more of the money they make.

And, uh, you know, when women make money and have money, we changed the world. And I don't think that's a bad thing. No, but why would anybody want to keep money? Yeah, I know what, like, are aren't we supposed to just like work really hard and toil and trouble and then like start all over again? Yeah. Yes, exactly.

Well, okay. Question number two is opposite. What do you suck at? Oh, yeah. So I suck at asking for help. Um, it is my Achilles heel because I somehow landed on the planet thinking I could do it all myself and I don't know anyone else who's ever struggled with that ever. Yes. Well, you're pretty unique then, because I think a lot of people do struggle with that.

It's it's, I've said this before, when I talked to the guests and ask them that second question. It's always interesting to see, um, you know, Just how we're all human. So we have these guests that come on and they have these big areas of expertise, but it's always like the little things that you would think are pretty obvious that they say, no, I'm not so good at it.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that's the, that's the kind of big life one and you know, that's not just attached to business. And then, um, I would say like, just as the human one, um, I am not a crafter. Like I feel during this time in particular, like I look out on the interwebs and across all my social channels and.

You know, people are figuring out, you know, how to. We've wool from acquired in their backyard and they're making hats and sweaters. And, you know, I, um, you know, have a bunch of craft stuff that I've acquired over the years and haven't completed a darn thing. So is it, why are you acquiring it then? Is there a, is there a to do list that someday you'll revisit it?

Yeah, I think that's it. And I also love the idea of, um, you know, of crafting, you know, whether it's sewing or, you know, I don't know, widdling or woodworking. I don't know. I love the concept of it because especially, I think. For those of us who were type a hard chargers, you know, there's this, you know, outside interests.

Um, and I have tried to plug into those outside interests for a long time to find my Zen. Um, and the two places that I find mine and are in the kitchen and in my garden. So I think perhaps, you know, at the ripe old age of 50 it's time to say. Perhaps you don't need to search anymore for your craft. Like maybe have it know, I can actually relate to that.

I think the word that comes to mind for me is romanticized. So I have like these romanticized ideas of, uh, you know, taking an old camper. And rebuilding it to its glory or, you know, something like that. And then just over time, I think I'm one step ahead of you though. Debbie, I have checked out. I still have, I still have the romantic ideas of it, but I'm like Damon, you're an idiot.

Don't even, don't buy that thing. We don't do it. Yeah. It's going to end up becoming a yard car and your neighbors. Aren't going to appreciate that and yeah, exactly. Exactly. All right. So Debbie, you are master. Of finances, a certified money coach. Um, you've done all sorts of cool things. You start at businesses.

So let's start with, um, let's kinda, let's, let's elaborate on what you do just briefly and then reverse engineer from there, like how you got there. So what's your elevator pitch when you tell people what you do. Yeah. So I work specifically with growing businesses that are at a stage where they feel like there's more month than money.

Um, they love what they do. They would do it for free and quite frankly, they feel like they are, and they see the top line sales numbers. Um, But the bottom line profit number just doesn't seem to be in alignment with how hard they're working. And so I get in to there yeah. Business with them and teach them the things that they should be looking at.

Cause let's be really Frank Damon. I have yet to meet a business owner who started their business because they knew how to run a business. Everyone I know who starts a business it's because they have a passion, they found their purpose or they've. Feel they have a really unique skill set to solve a problem.

And so that can take you just so far, and then you either wake up and go, Hmm, something's got to change here or whoops. You know, that was a bad idea. And you know, you're out of business. So I want to meet them before they have to make that decision to go out of business. Is there a recurring, you know, like a common denominator in why people kind of how you illustrated it, they may have.

Good gross numbers, but the net is just not there. Is there, is there a reoccurring reason? Yeah, the number one thing is, uh, obviously the expenses get out of control pretty quickly. They don't, they're not clear on why they're spending the money, the way that they're spending it. And then. If they've spent a little time digging into that, they fall into this trap of, you know, most of what you're you hear in the business world as well.

If you want greater profit profit, you need to sell more and you need to spend less. And what happens oftentimes is they cut their expenses to the point that they can. And they get stuck in this. I don't know how to sell more. Like I can't scale. I don't know what the next best step is to take in order to get there.

Uh, and so I helped them understand like where you can look inside your business. That's different than just, you know, top line sale number that they're actually pieces inside that you can take, look at an influence, which will drive that number. So it's more than just one thing at one time. And does the answer to that usually equate to increase quantities of sales or, you know, maybe comparable quantities, but increased dollar amounts of those same quantities.

Yeah. Especially for women. Uh, it's a, it's a two part thing. The first is typically a female business owners are not priced appropriately. So products and services are incredibly underpriced for what's being offered. And so the, uh, pricing. That they've chosen in relation to the cost of that product or service is making them broke.

And so if we can get in there and help them see that, that's the first thing. And then the second thing yeah. Is it's about volume. It's either. We need to find more people to sell to so expand the markets and create a different, different revenue, streams or channels, uh, or figure out how we can sell to the people who already love them.

A new line of product or service instead of going out and finding more people, just getting the people who already love them to invest again, is, is the light is the lower pricing for women due to market opinion or self valued opinion, self value, do opinion and yeah. Self value. Absolutely. You know, the, the women are helpers and nurturers by nature.

Again, big, broad brush stroke, everyone. You know that we are, we are helpers and nurtures. And so. We, um, have been sort of imprinted, I guess, if you will, that you know, you do, you do enough know, do good work and you would do it for free and you know, don't, don't raise your price too high. Cause then you might not, uh, you know, attractive clients.

And when one of the first questions I'll ask a female business owner is tell me about your pricing model and how you came up with. What it is that you charge for your products and services. And the answer usually starts with, well, I took a look at the market. Okay, good market analysis. I like where we're going here.

And I evaluated other people in my space and what they were charging. And then I figured because I didn't have as much experience as they did. And this is where the self worth comes in or haven't been added as long or, or, or whatever the rest of the story is. Um, I decreased my rate by 25%, 30%, whatever that number is so that I could attract business now.

And build up my base and then raise it at seven point in the future. Well, the problem is, you know, they've priced themselves their products and services to the point that it's not sustainable and they can't support themselves in their family. So what's the answer to that problem because on one side you can kind of appreciate where, where they say, well, I need to get my feet wet, but then at the other side, then they, they set their benchmark and their values.

So how do you. Meet in the middle. Yeah. So I want them kind of like what we're talking about here. I want them to reverse engineer it. I want them I've yet to talk to a female business owner who said, well, I started by figuring out how much money I wanted to make. And then I calculated out how many units or how many people, well, I would need to sell or serve in order to get there.

And then, you know, began like calculations from there. So I want to start with the, what do you need? You know, what do you need? What do you want? And then let's, let's figure out how we're going to get you there. So I have a question, you know, you said a lot of people that you work with started a business out of passion, and then they realized, well, I'm a business owner and you know, things are different.

So, um, I often tend to think that some people get too scared or over-prepare. Um, do you agree that. Not always, but more often than not just start, like get the thing, get the thing going. And because if you plan, it's all gonna change anyway. Oh my gosh, absolutely. I, when you asked that question, I immediately think of.

A female business owner, who I connected with a number of years ago and her, I, you know, connected with her and the networking circles that, you know, business events in the area. And, you know, she was so passionate about what she was doing. And she was talking about these investments that she was making of these.

And this course she was taking in the website. She was having built in the app that would supplement it and all these. And I was like, wow, this is really impressive. And I would always ask, you know, so when are we launching? Like, when are you launching? When is this coming out? Like, I'm really fascinated by what you're doing.

It's like, well, we're still in development. We're still in development. Well, 18 months later, she was still in development. And, you know, she had called me and she said, you know, Debbie, I've gotten myself into a jam and I was like, you want me to think? And, um, she said, I've invested over $150,000 and I haven't even started.

Yeah. And I was like, Ooh, you know, and this is an example I saw of, you know, too much of the, getting ready to get ready. And I do think that, you know, as entrepreneurs, one of the things that makes us really solid is our willingness to do it ugly and figure it out as we go. Um, and oftentimes like in her case, you know, as we talked, it became clear that what she started to create.

Wasn't going to solve the problem that really existed. And now she's, you know, 150 grand into this thing that she's likely gonna have to scrap. Um, and I just, I want, I want entrepreneurs. I want business owners to just be willing to go out and do it ugly and figure it out as you go and to constantly be evaluating.

What's your next best step. Um, people will, you know, your customers and clients will be. Very forgiving and understanding in your willingness to show that you're working to meet them, um, and to solve the problem that they really have, not the one that you think that you need to solve for them. Yeah. Did, did, did this person ever come to that realization too?

And if so, how far into their hundred 50 ground? Uh, she never launched. Yeah, she never launched it just, it became, at some point it fizzled out, you know, maybe a few months after we talked and she just put it off to the side and that was it. Um, and unfortunately I think that in there. Was, you know, quite a bit that could be salvageable if she had been willing to do that.

Um, but for some reason it didn't, and maybe it was just the overwhelm of, Oh my God, like I've gotten this far and it's not what I thought it would be in this. The other thing too, I think for, for women business owners is kind of this, you know, what you were talking about with your, you know, restoring your camper, ban the romanticizing of what this is going to look like, and then you get into it and recognize, Oh, this is nothing.

Like, I thought it was going to look like, and then being willing to adjust for that. Do you find that, uh, so this person that went in 150 grand, did they also raise money or kind of like a two part question? Did they also raise money at, or did they self-fund it? And the reason why I ask is kind of. To come full circle to the, just start comment.

Because a lot of times I talk to these, you know, early entrepreneurs and they say, well, how did you do this? And what do I do next? And I want to do this thing, but I, I need to raise money. And it's so bizarre to me that now we live in a entrepreneurial culture mindset where it's like, raise money, raise money, raise money, instead of just.

Do it game go. Yeah. Those, uh, those people at Nike had it figured out a few years ago, like just do it that way. Yeah. It, you know, that is the answer. Um, she's self-funded, as I recall, the vast majority of it, and then family had put in some money, um, on the development side for the app, but, you know, she was self-funding, she was pulling money out of her own retirement, you know, from a previous corporate gig and it just never happened.

That's crazy. All right. So why women, Debbie, why the focus on helping that segment of a business owners? Yeah, so early in my coaching career. So I've been coaching full time since 2011. Um, I. Ha I fell into a bit of the trap where I knew I wanted to be on the business coaching money side of things with small business, um, and was open to working with men and women.

And what I found within the first like year of doing that, um, was that my male clients wanted to arm wrestle me. Um, every time we were in session. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I tried that, that, you know, it doesn't work, you know, kind of arms crossed sort of like, you know, come on, come at me with some new idea. And I was like, I just don't have time for this.

Like, I really see where the opportunity is. And, and either we're going to be in this, you know, kind of shoulder to shoulder walking this path together. Or we're not like you're making a significant investment in your business to want to arm wrestle me so you can go do that somewhere else. And I noticed that my female business owners were really thirsty for, um, conversations that involved education.

Um, and practical application and creating stuff. Some of them processes that they could lean on, you know, kind of in a wash, rinse and repeat pattern, and they were thirsty to have a conversation and to learn in an environment where there was no shame. For what they didn't know. There was no guilt about choices that they had made up until the time we started working together.

And when I got clear on that, I was like, this is the population I want to serve. You know, I can only work with so many people. So I want to work with the ones who really want to do the work. Yeah. What do you have any. Success stories or interesting moments of growth that stand out more than others. Oh my gosh.

You know, I think back over the years, um, I think about a woman I worked with a couple years ago who owns a, uh, agency, a marketing agency, and, you know, she had really good, multiple six figure revenue. Profit was. Okay. Like nothing to seize that she was paying herself, which was a huge win compared to where a lot of people are when I first meet them.

They're not even paying themselves, quote, unquote technical. Um, and so, you know, yeah, we talked about it and she said, you know, my profit, isn't where it's supposed to be. I've known you for a long time and I need to figure this out. And she was willing to do the work. So. We figured out where there were some bleed points.

Um, she navigated those really well. Well, and went in, you know, the precision, I think of a surgeon and took the advice and the guidance and really stayed true to those numbers, uh, eliminated those expenses and then trusted me when, and when I. Carefully approached what I had identified pretty early on as a sacred cow, which was a whole bunch of people that she had working for her.

And she was doing a great job of supporting them in their lifestyle. But in my opinion, they weren't. Uh, producing or performing at the level that they should be for the money she was paying them. And, um, so it was kind of a classic case of, you know, let's get the right people on the right seat on the right bus.

Um, and once we moved that around, you know, at the end of the year, her profit went up by, you know, 60 some percent and her revenue actually stayed flat. So we focused on all the things internally and just by cleaning that up, um, she was a lot happier at the end of the year. How do women hire? Is, is there also a common denominator in there where women business owners maybe tend to hire family and friends more than outside talent?

And does that cause conflicts? Yeah. I don't know if it's so much that they hire family, but, uh, women, business owners are inclined to hire people who they like, um, who are like them. And they, you know, yeah. She, you know, she, or he is, it's kind of like me and, and I take it, I have a contrarian position and say, you know, having made this mistake very early on in my career, um, I don't need to like them.

I need to respect them. I need to be able to have a congenial work environment, but I need to hire the best people. For the best role, you know, at this time, you know, in the growth of the company. And when, you know, and I'm not saying like, don't like the people who work for you, but, but becoming clear that these don't necessarily these people aren't going to become your friends.

Right. And that I think for women is really hard because again, we're pleasers again, broad brush strokes, um, you know, we're pleasers and we want people to like us and we want to like all the other people. And I think that. To a certain degree, you know, some healthy contrarion, um, staff members actually make a really healthy organization.

Yeah. Bring a different, uh, you know, set of skills and opinions that can, you know, everyone can learn from. All right. So I'm a woman business owner. Debbie, when should I come to you? Yeah. Oh yes. The grand grand question. So I don't specialize myself in early stage startup. Um, that's not my skillset with the caveat, um, unless if you have already been a business owner, so if this is a new venture for you, then I'm a great.

Then I'm not the best partner for you. Um, I would want you to work with somebody else who specializes in that early stage startup where my sweet spot is, is somewhere between 18 to 24 months into the growth of a company or beyond. Um, but the typical triggers are 18 to 24 months. They've gotten about as far as they can go with their passion and purpose, and they're recognizing that in order for it to sustain, they're going to need some outside support and really.

Someone to guide them, you know, as I was guided, uh, to understand how to be a CEO of a company, because being the practitioner and the worker, which in particular for women is how most women start their businesses. Right. They were working somewhere doing the thing, and then they started their own company doing a similar thing.

And so you have to learn how to be a business owner and, and to understand, you know, the story that the numbers are telling you. So that's the first point is 18 to 24 months is a great time for me to meet a business woman. Who's growing her own company because she's recognizing that there's more ahead of her and she's not quite sure how to get there.

And then the second step is somebody who has been in business for quite a while. You know, this could be five years, 10 years, 15 years, or even longer, but is wanting to scale in a new direction and need some guidance, uh, in order to consider how to do that and potentially is positioning their business to sell.

And so there's a runway that we all need to consider when it comes to selling our business. You know, you could wake up today and say, I'm gonna sell my, you know, my organization. Um, but if there weren't some strategic actions taken over the previous two years in particular, to make sure that the books are clean and tight, that the systems and processes are documented, um, it, it potentially will devalue the business.

So that's the second place that, that I really enjoy working with people. Okay. So miss 18 month plus business owner comes to you and where do you start working with them? Yeah. So the first thing that I want to understand is, you know, the, the business model itself, uh, you know, what is, what are the sources of revenue, uh, for that business?

And. What are the marketing and sales processes that they have in place. So that's the first thing. And then the second thing we do an analysis of, you know, their financials, you know, since inception. So if it's 18 to 24 months, I want to go back two years and kind of see what, where the money's going, what they're spending it on.

Um, what the, what the cash flow process is like, what are the rhythm of. What's the rhythm of business as I consider it. And so once we understand what the marketing and sales process is, what the rhythm of cashflow is, then we can put together the plan on, okay, what is the next best step we need to take?

And usually it's a, it's a couple, three month process of cleaning things up. So things have been a little loosey goosey, as I like to say. Uh, and so it's the first step in, you know, training them up to be CEO of the company. So we're going to start having regular financial meetings. We're going to really announce the sales process and the marketing mechanisms that they have in place and start to do some.

You know, evaluation on, who else do we need to bring in? Because I certainly, you know, don't do all of that. And so we need to figure out, you know, who's, who's the next conversation that we need to have. Is it a marketing agency that we need to bring in and then, you know, put together the plan and. You know, I've always been a, you know, let's put together a 12 month plan and then back into this and work at it in rolling 90 day increments.

Because I think business owners make a lot of mistakes. They, if they do an annual plan, uh, they do it somewhere towards the end of the year, January 1st, they wake up and they start commenting on the plan and then they never look at the plan again. And I want business owners to be looking at it at our rolling 30, 60, 90 days, so that you're constantly able to adjust for whatever is changing in the environment.

Um, you know, it's the yeah. Somewhere I read or heard, you know, the analogy about, you know, when you're, um, you know, when an actor, it goes into space, you know, it's not a straight line, you know, to get to the moon. There's a, there's a, a series of. Constant tiny micro adjust Smiths that are made in order to keep them on the path to get to the destination.

And that's the piece that I want entrepreneurs to understand is that it is a series of tiny micro adjustments that you're making. All the time in your business and right now where we are historically more than ever, um, microplaning is something that I want businesses to understand, uh, that to try and follow your 12 month plan right now is probably not a good idea.

Um, we need to be able to make adjustments more quickly, you know, as the environment continues to change around us. And is that kind of the average length of time that this process is, is usually scoped out as like a 12 month kind of thing. So I start with my clients and say, we need, we need a 12 month commitment.

It's gonna take us a full, you know, travel of 12 months to get, you know, some of the bigger objectives in place. Not that they're not going to start seeing results. Early, um, and feel, especially for women, it's, there's a feeling that they need to have that. Okay. Yeah. This is the right investment that I'm making in my business, but it takes a year to get all the way through the process that I use.

And for me to make sure that this isn't just a one and done thing. I want these to be skills that these women have for the rest of their business career. Now many of my clients stay with me much longer than a year because we go to the next level, we pursue the next thing. Um, some who rotate off after a year, want to stay with me on a quarterly maintenance basis and say, look, you know, I want to do, you know, a quarterly CEO, CFO summit down, and I want to go through my numbers and I want to go through the data.

And I want to make sure that I'm still, and the protocols that we, that we set so that I can keep this business, you know, running to the, to the success that we've created. All right, Debbie, as we get closer to wrapping up, I got a, uh, a less business oriented question. I hear you sipping on a drink and it sounds like there's ice in there.

And I read that you like wine. So I'm thinking it's not wine cause there's ice in there. It's not, it is not. Um, yeah, so it is, uh, I have been introduced to cold brew coffee. Have you done cold brew coffee yet? I have, yes. Okay. So I was a little bit late to this party. Um, I, uh, I was down in Portland visiting a good friend of mine who is a real coffee, officiant auto.

And I was like, what is this thing on your counter with this, this whole contraption? And we went to the, you know, local coffee roaster in her community and. Fast. And it was like, what is this? And then last summer I was, you know, what is this nitro cold brew? This is amazing. Uh, and so, yeah, so now I, um, am, am a morning cold brew kind of gal.

And I have a Burr grinder, which is this whole thing I didn't know, existed. And this. Patient 24 hour process to let the beans just mellow and water. So yeah, that's what I'm doing. So, so you go all in, you don't just do like a French press and put it in the fridge kind of thing. Well, so here's the thing. I could have done that, but I didn't have a French press.

And so somewhere in my moves, my French press had gotten lost or broken, or I don't even recall now. And so I thought, well, you know, Why not. So I actually, a friend of mine, uh, sells Tupperware and last, uh, last fall, Tupperware came out with this little cold brew contraption, and I thought, okay, fine. You know, I'll support her.

And I hadn't taken it out until, uh, until probably three months ago. And that's when I, I got hooked. I just went and Googled Tupperware called brew. And it looks like that it's like some Kara kind of thing. Is that what you got going on? That, that is it. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. Yeah. It sits in the fridge and does its thing.

And then I have my, do you have, do you have like, um, Glasses and cups that are for certain things. Like I have a very specific cup that I like to have hot tea in. I don't know what it is. It's the shape of the mug and it just works. Well. I have one glass that I like to have my cold brew in because it's just the right height and it works.

Do you have things like that? Um, probably not as detailed as that, but I get it.

You know, I had, um, I had, uh, a coffee mug that one of my employees gave me a while ago and it says world's okay, boss. Thanks guys. Well, Debbie, I appreciate your time. You've been a pleasure. I want to give you the last few moments to put out your contact information or let listeners know how they can find out more about you.

Well, thanks for having me Damon. I really appreciate it. Best way to, you know, stay connected is, you know, go to my website,, Debb I E P a G Uh, I'm on social media, Debbie K page consistently everywhere. Instagram, if you want to see what I'm eating or cooking, crafting. Uh, and then I think, you know, for women business owners who are listening, I have a private Facebook group.

Called the women's business profit lab. And it is a community that I've curated over the last five years of nearly a thousand women business owners from around the world where we talk about, you know, ideas and best practices for business. And every Wednesday at 9:00 AM Pacific, I do 30 minutes of free coaching, uh, based upon, uh, what the community has requested.

And we do that in, you know, 12 week rolling increments. So. It's a lot of fun, great people, great resources to get to know. So I'd love to connect with listeners. Very cool. Thanks for throwing that out there. Debbie page. Thanks for jumping on learning from others. Thanks for having me.