Three, two, one. Hey everyone, Harry Whelchel here. Today, I have Kelly Riordan with me and we're talking about how Kelly went from zero to 30,000 a month in sales, in about eight months with her music studio practice. So Kelly, why don't I turn it over to you? Can you just introduce yourself to those who don't know you and just share a little bit about what you do?
Yeah. Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Riordan. I am a classical musician by trade and I started my own studio privately a few years back, but in the last 18 months or so I've started helping other people, initially totally by accident, to build their own studios until I started working with Harry and realized that I actually had a full fledged business on my hands. And so now I help other musicians to build successful full-time studios with predictable student enrollment process in addition to my own private teaching.
Awesome, that's cool. So tell us a bit more about your practice of helping these musicians. Like what do you feel makes you unique with your process and approach?
Well, one of the big things that I am really proud of is that my clients do all-organic marketing. So their outreach and their growth is non-paid, they're not running Facebook ads or Google ads. They're not relying on a monthly ad budget to bring clients in. That's one of the hallmarks of my program. And I really take pride in the fact that my clients are able to grow successful businesses to $7,000 to $10,000 a month organically and create really great livelihoods for themselves. The other thing that's pretty different about my program is that it's really intimate, my clients and I, I know a lot about their lives, which I really appreciate. I work with them not only on the business side of things, but on their mindset too. So, there's a really strong connection there and a really strong interpersonal relationship, but I'm happy to be able to help them with all of the big problems when it comes to running a business.
Very cool, yeah. It's funny, how much you can get to know people in this business and really learn all about it, 'cause it's often this stuff is so interrelated and tied up.
In personal life and mindset, like you said, and all of that stuff. Do you feel like your ... I mean, your background as a musician and having worked in a studio, do you feel like that has helped you a lot with being able to help others?
Yeah, absolutely. I use everything that I used to build my own studio in my client's studio. So when I look back at when I began my own studio, roughly two and a half years ago, I had my most recent relocation, but every time I've moved, I've had to start over from scratch. Pre-2020 music studios were not teaching lessons online like they are now. So, every time you move to a new area, it was from zero again. So, when we moved back to Wisconsin in late 2019, I wanted to make sure that I grew my studio organically. My husband is a digital marketer and that's what he does by trade and that's his day job, but I really wanted a business of my own and I wanted to make sure that what I built, we were engaged at the time, and he wanted to help so bad run ads, but I wanted to make sure I could do it myself and really feel proud of the work that I had done. So I backed him off on the Facebook ads and just took a ton of data for myself on what worked. I've lots of spreadsheets on your email response rates and all the things that worked well when I was doing my own organic outreach and what Facebook posts worked well for my business page and what didn't, things like that. And I get to share all that with my clients now and just take all that data, apply it directly to them, tell them where to avoid spinning their wheels and some places that I did. My own studio grew from zero to 40 students in about two and a half months. So, taking all that and applying it to theirs has been really easy for me. It feels very confident and secure because I know exactly what that looks like from their end.
How many times have you had to do that, in your own studio? It sounds like you've moved about four times.
You know, the one in Wisconsin was the biggest one, 'cause I'd just finished my graduate program. So I was, at that point, unemployed. I was out of school and it was just me. I wanted to make sure that I was working in music full-time, I didn't really wanna take a job somewhere else. A lot of musicians will go take a day job and it's really hard to get back into your gigging on the side. So, I wanted to create a sustainable business for myself. This is probably the fourth time now that I've had to restart a studio. It was just never that large before this.
Got it, that makes sense. Well, cool, let's go back to the beginning, when you and I got connected. What were you doing before we were working together?
Yeah, so I had my full studio. It had been full for about a year, a little bit less. I loved my teaching, I loved what I was doing and I had some other ideas. This is the middle of the pandemic, when Harry and I started talking, summer of 2020. I was happy with what I was doing, but I didn't feel totally fulfilled. I felt like I was limited in my own studio. I filled my max capacity and then I didn't really wanna be teaching group lessons. I wanted to find something else. So my original idea was to do an AP Music Theory course. And I was looking at using another platform to do this. They were gonna take 30% out of my total sales. I had to run it on their schedule and do all their marketing through their platform. At the time it was exciting and I started to do this work when I was-
What's so attractive about that? What's making you feel like this was the path and-
You know, there were two pieces of that. One, I wanted to work during the day and my studio it's in the evenings primarily. I had homeschool students and that has been a big piece of my income too, and that brings it earlier into the day, but most students want lessons after school. The other hard part about the studio is that once you reach your time limit, it's a lot of talking and it's a lot of focused half an hour, back to back, every single student has to have your full attention. So, you do that for four to five hours at a shot. It's a lot, and it's not scalable. And I wanted to find something that I could do in my daytime hours like grade 8 AP music theory homework that could serve more students. And at the time too, I had this great idea. Pandemic's hitting, a lot of people were cutting AP music theory programs from their schools. I felt like it served a need.
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Was there anything about that platform being alluring? I feel like there's a lot of things that dangle out like, "Oh, we'll do the marketing for you," and all that stuff.
Speaking of that, what was attractive to you as a new entrepreneur about that?
You know, part of it was that I was familiar with those platforms. When I was in college, I taught English online, so I was really familiar with having that interface and someone else schedules it for you and I'm not going to touch it. And it felt really familiar. And I think that was the first thing that drew me to it. The second thing that I was excited about was, "Oh yeah, they've already got students using their platform. They've had exponential growth in 2020 because of the pandemic, this makes a ton of sense." To be totally honest though, the more I dug into it, as a musician, we all have our strengths and not that music theory isn't a strength of mine, but as an interest, it's just not there for me. I'm happy to talk about it. it's very academic and I like those conversations with my peers, but as I was going through the material again, I was like, "Oh, I just don't know that this is something that I'm excited about working on and I'm gonna have a hard time getting myself to record material and put the content actually together."
Yeah, no, that makes a ton of sense. And did you ever feel like, I'm just curious, I feel like there's a lot of these platforms these days, both in coaching, but in other spaces where they basically say, "Hey, now you give us a big commission and we'll take care of the lead gen for you." And it sounds so nice, if it were in theory that it would work, but did you feel like that was actually going to be viable and realistic or the more you thought about it, you're like, "I'm gonna have to do my own work some to get leads and business."
Yeah, you know, I think number one, I was definitely gonna have to do my own work and I had plans for that, and that was part of the reason that I came to Harry initially was, how do I fill this class? But the other piece of it too, is that I preach to my clients all the time, you have to make sure that you're working with your ideal student, because it's a higher rate of burnout. It's just not nearly as fulfilling when the student that's sitting across from you isn't someone that you feel you genuinely can help or that you feel the most fulfilled and working with because the personalities don't mesh. On a platform like that, they're just dumping leads into your system and you have to work with whoever signs up for that.
Ah, I see.
That's not exciting for me. I want to make sure that the students I'm working with I actually like, because they're gonna get more out of me when I'm a happy, fulfilled, well-rounded teacher.
The same thing with my consulting and coaching. I wanna make sure that this is the right fit. And, I've gotten to a point in my lead gen that I'm very comfortable referring someone elsewhere if it's not the right fit. And that's a very, very comfortable place to be in, it's really exciting.
That's awesome, that's awesome. So, I wanna hear more about that in a bit. So, back to back end though, so okay, we had this idea for the music theory course. We were working on that. What else can you say about that? Were there any frustrations, do you have any confusions or doubts about the path that you were on?
I, more and more in the last couple of years, when I make a business decision, I want to feel settled. And when I say settled, it needs to completely resonate. There can't be any kind of uneasiness. Having anxiety is one thing, or like having excitement about something is one thing. Fear isn't bad, right? Sometimes fear is just excitement about something new and we mistake it as fear, but the more I started to work on this and I was reaching out to the college board and I was creating curriculum and I was reaching out to my old instructors.
A little action on it, yeah.
I took a ton of action towards this. I really did dive into it full force. And I'm proud of that, I'm proud that I fully explored it, but the more I explored it, the more uneasy I felt, and it should have been the other way. If it was the right fit, the more I explored it, the more settled it should have been for me, but it wasn't settled, something was wrong. And you know, you and I had talked very early on about this course and went through the whole idea and fleshed out this 30%. And that was one of the sticking points that you'd brought up for us is, why the 30%, what if you just moved it somewhere else? And then when I started to do that research and think about, okay, now I can do all of the marketing. That's where it clicked for me. I'm not excited about this, I don't wanna do the marketing for this. And I don't wanna go through a sales process for this because I just don't even like this topic enough and I'm not passionate about this topic enough to want to spend a lot of time doing this and lock myself in for a 12-month course with students on an AP class.
Oh, that's right, I forgot about that. It was like on a rolling basis, right?
You'd be committed for X number of right-
Yeah, the AP exams only happen once a year. So I'm like, I'm stuck until that's over. You can't bail before that's done. And that was really overwhelming for me too.
And you couldn't ... You felt like you had ... You could only have certain enrollment points where people could join and then ...
You couldn't keep signing people up. So there was like, yeah, there were all these structural issues that made it.
Less of a scalable model.
You know what's crazy too?
When I look back at this now, I looked on that platform about a month ago. There's four AP Music Theory classes.
At the time I was gonna be the only one and I was so proud of that. And I was like, "I'm gonna be the first one, it's gonna be amazing." There's four active right now that people can still sign up for. There's probably more going on at enrollments just over four. This was not unique, other platforms are doing this now. And honestly that platform enrollment, I'm still on Facebook groups, for teacher community on those groups and their moment is down.
If you were next to those other four, people would just be searching on the platform, "AP music theory."
And then it's like, how do they ... It's all commoditized, they just look at the other ones, whoever's cheapest.
It's real quick how they make the decision.
Yeah. Yeah, and I'm very, very thankful that that's not the route that I went. Not that it was a bad idea, it just wasn't the right idea for me and it wasn't something I was genuinely excited about. So, when we pivoted hard in a different direction, it was definitely the right call.
So with that, trying to remember back, where did you first hear about me? Was it through Isaac, your husband, or what happened there?
Yeah, so as I was doing my deep dive into this course, I was really excited about it. Isaac had, I think been getting some of your marketing emails and Isaac and Harry have known each other for a while. So, Isaac was getting some of your emails, seeing what you were doing on Facebook. And he goes, "I just think that we should sit down with Harry and just see if he has any input for us. And if there's any ideas that he has," by the way, Isaac's great at this, seeing that something is wrong and not just telling me something is wrong, guiding me gently in the right direction, which I really appreciate. So he brought up this idea. "Why don't we just sit down with Harry, see if he has some ideas for us, see if there's anything that he can see that we could get some feedback on and we'll kind of go from there." And we had long conversations about the course and what was going to happen. I think the day that we started working together, there was a conversation about this other option. Isaac had mentioned to you, "Oh yeah, Kelly has been helping other musicians move their businesses online."
Yeah, I think I ...
"And build their studios."
Did I plant that, or suggest that idea or maybe broach that subject?
Yeah, what happened was when the pandemic shut everything down, I started volunteering my time with my friends, my colleagues, people that I knew in the music industry, that my studio was still thriving. I didn't really give my students a choice to move online. It was, I have your money for this month, here's the Zoom link. And we just went with it and it was good, it was successful and everyone stayed. I also had a waitlist at that point, so the few people that didn't work well, I just subbed 'em out. Most of my colleagues were not in that boat or they were trying to pivot from performance focus into more teaching because they couldn't play anymore.
And I had been on Zoom calls for hours and hours a week just doing this for fun, connecting with my friends and helping them. And I was making little YouTube screen shares for people on how to use Zoom as a music teacher. I'd been doing that for months. And Isaac mentioned it to Harry in passing, that this is something else that I was doing for fun. And Harry goes, "Well, wait a second. Why don't we talk about that? If you're already doing that, what could that look like?" And that, to be honest at that time, it shook me to my core. I remember when we decided to work together, I got off and I bawled. I was just sobbing because I was like, "I don't even know what I'm doing, we talked about this idea, but it's brand new and I'm shifting." And it was terrifying in a really, really good way. Those were happy tears of, do I really believe in myself enough to take this leap? Obviously it all worked out.
Yeah, I could tell that you were very much yeah, you'd gone down that path, you'd taken a lot of action and it's totally normal. A lot of people do that. You have to be very delicate and thoughtful about how do you propose such a deep, surgical change to what someone's plan is.
And make them feel like they own it and not they're being forced into it and stuff like that. And so I was just glad that you were open-minded about that. And I think we talked a little bit and then maybe we had a second call.
And had some time to talk with Isaac about it all. and really.
Really get your head around it before we move forward with that. But, yeah basically, were you settled on making that change by the time we signed up, or were you still deciding that whether you were gonna do that change or not?
It felt a little bit like I had one foot in each place. I was trying to figure out what I wanted. I was starting to realize at the time that we officially started that the course wasn't really where my heart was. And at the same time, to be honest, working with other musicians, these are my friends and my colleagues. And there was a lot of trepidation for me about how this was going to be perceived. I've been doing this for fun and for free, and now I'm gonna start trying to monetize it and is that bad? Am I taking advantage of a community that I'm already entrenched in? There was a lot of hesitation for me. I was afraid to post on Facebook. I don't want people knowing what I'm doing, people that I know to know what I'm doing. And a lot of that, in retrospect, it's silly. Isaac and I recently got married and at the wedding, I had friends coming up to me and family that I haven't seen in a while, 'cause obviously everything's been shut down and they came up to me and said, "Gosh, it just looks like you're doing so many amazing things, we're so excited for you." And I was like, "Oh yeah, people that aren't musicians see my Facebook posts too, I forget about that." And now it's not scary, now it's actually really exciting and I'm proud of that.
But it took a long time for us to get there. And I mean, that's a huge part of what Harry's done for me is helped build up that confidence and reassured me that it's not nearly as terrifying as it feels.
Yeah, I just chuckled 'cause I know you, you've had such a big transformation around that and you've been sharing a lot of good content on your social media and posts and all that stuff. And yeah, I just remember back working through those hangups, some with you, and it's just funny, it's funny to look back at ourselves and think about how far we've come so quickly.
And what, what was such a point of friction, once you get past that and get over it, it's like, "Oh, that it's no problem anymore," and how much of a difference that is.
Can you share a bit more about that. What made you fearful or anxious, whatever you wanna call it?
About letting people know, people that you know, know what you were doing, what was that like at the time?
You know, the first fear that I had in this, to be totally frank is that I didn't want it to come across as predatory. That I am part of this community and now I'm trying to service this community and it feels, it feels uncomfortable because I ... In one part I know exactly what value I bring to the table and my clients get phenomenal results. I know exactly what I bring to the table and I'm seeing that grow. And at the same time, as I was starting all of this ... By the way, it took me about six months to ever post on Facebook and shockingly, when I posted on Facebook, I started getting more clients, like surprise, surprise.
One of your early posts was you talking about your story and I remember you coming to me and being like, "I got hundreds of comments on it," or something like that.
Well, it was crazy. I changed my cover photo, that was the first big deal. Harry was like, "What if you change the cover photo? What if we change the cover photo? What do you think about changing your cover photo?" And I really, really was resistant to that. And it was this fear of, when I say this is who I help, how is that gonna be perceived? And I took that leap. I think it was on a Saturday afternoon, I had sat on the cover photo design for probably two weeks. It was done, and Harry had okayed it, everything looked great, he'd given me really good feedback. We had a really good design, I felt confident in the design, but actually changing it was so scary. And so I sat on it for about two weeks and then one day on a Saturday afternoon, I looked at Isaac. I was like, "Okay, today's the day, I'm just gonna do it, whatever happens, happens." And worst case scenario, everyone sees that maybe I had an idea and it flamed out and that's okay too, people have ideas all the time. I think that was part of my fear is failing publicly.
Part of it, that's it.
If it didn't go anywhere.
I think a lot of people are afraid that like, "Oh, if I make this statement, then I'm in, I have to do this."
"What happens if I don't make this work, right, what are people gonna think?"
Do you remember, I think it was on our second call together, I asked you, "Well, what happens if I don't wanna do this forever?"
I don't remember you saying that.
I've got this weird fear of, I don't want to get stuck someplace.
And I think that was a part of the reason that the course felt unsettled for me. I don't wanna stick myself somewhere that now I have to be there.
Forever and ever, and ever.
And there's no option for me. And I think changing my cover photo felt like that, which is hilarious now because what my business looked like then, and what it looks like now is totally different. I don't feel stuck, it's evolving rapidly and I love it that way. But at the time it felt like this declaration that ... And to be totally honest, too, I, as a musician, like to only put out what is done. You don't put out works in progress, you don't get on stage and perform something that's not perfected to the best of your ability.
So, why would I put something out on social media that isn't done yet? It was still a work in progress.
Yeah, it's such a different dynamic. With a business, it's almost like a conversation with your niche. So, it's like you have to start the conversation and you put stuff out there and then they talk back to you and then you change what you're saying and you improve. You cannot have that conversation start unless you make the first move.
And you'll never get to that feeling of perfection or whatever if you don't put anything out there or you probably won't get to it in general, but you get my point.
That's super interesting.
And then look, I made that first Facebook post, I took a selfie of my studio when I finally got to come back in person and I put up a big, long explanation of what I'd done, my story. And it got 450 likes. And I had 25 people in my inbox asking what I was doing. And it was almost like ... It was overwhelming to be honest, so I was like, "Oh my gosh, people actually need my help, I knew they needed my help. I was already helping them before, but now they actually need my help."
I remember you saying that to me, and I could tell that that was ... You were like, "I'm not gonna able to handle this," but I could tell that you were a little shaken.
Oh God, now what I do?
Now I've actually got clients Harry, what do we do next?
Right. Can you say anything else about how you got over your nerves around taking action and just putting yourself out there more.
Yeah, a really big piece of it, and Harry did an excellent job of helping me ease into this too, was affirmations and creating a really solid foundation around my mindset. We've talked about this before. Coming from a musical background, you go into a lesson every single week for practically your entire life. And that lesson is a dedicated time for someone to tell you how bad you are at all of your stuff that you've been working on for the entire week. And not every teacher's like this. This is something that I have experienced, unfortunately, not all of my teachers have been this way. I've had some phenomenal teachers that have been warm and supportive and friends, and they're wonderful people. I've also had teachers who you go in and it's a direct count of how many mistakes that you made. And there was a little bit of almost emotional trauma around that, coming into an accountability call with Harry, where I'm trying to tell him what I'm working on and what I'm trying to do, but here's where my fears are. It's really difficult to open up on those things. And so Harry worked really hard to provide some really strong affirmations for me to base my own practice in that on. And I was able to incorporate those daily, which really needed to happen in order for me to feel more fulfilled. The other thing that ...
How long did it take, do you feel, like that daily practice until ... Did you feel there was a switch that flipped at some point? Or how long do you feel it took to really work on that?
You know, in end of January, early February, I decided I'm gonna say my affirmations every single day, twice a day, and I'm gonna get up, three or four days a week and I'm gonna go to the gym really early in the morning. And so Isaac and I did that together. We got up early, we would read the affirmations out loud, printed them off and had them all around the apartment. We'd read them, the entire sheet all the way down. And then I started to take ownership of them a little bit more. I would take those affirmations and I would find things that resonated with me that maybe weren't on that sheet. And I started to write them down. And that was a really big one is, I have a whiteboard on the door by my office and I'll write my affirmations before I go to bed every night. And I'll just do a couple of short ones, but it's really amazing when you're telling yourself, "I'm doing everything right." Or, "I have the Midas touch." Or confidence and knowledge and new opportunity flow to me constantly and find me constantly. When you're writing those things down for yourself and telling yourself constantly, and also pairing that with eating well and exercising at that same time, I felt like I was taking care of my whole self. And that's something that in grad school and when I was first starting my studio, I wasn't really doing, to be totally honest. I wasn't caring for all of me, I was just focusing on one thing. And what I appreciated about our work together is it wasn't just build a business. When I came to you with some of these mindset things, we talked about the affirmations and we talked about the fact that there needed to be growth there and opportunities for that and putting some of these things into practice, but within about three to four weeks of me doing that on a daily basis, in January I had no new clients, in February I had three, in March I had five. It just like took off from there.
Because we had that really strong foundation. And I also was able to take more work on because I felt more confident.
Yeah, and so it was like getting the mind right created space for you to take more action. And then because the action had to come as well, right, would you say?
Yeah. Yeah, and to be honest, too, during the pandemic, I think we all experienced that habit of, "Well, I don't have to be anywhere right away. My studio is in the afternoon," so it's like, "Oh, I'll just sleep in."
You know, or I can do that later. I'll just push that off later. Or we're gonna watch a movie tonight and I'm not gonna do any work or it's the middle of the afternoon and I have nothing else to do, so I'm just gonna kill time. I wasn't working on any projects. Even though I started to work in that course, it wasn't at my full capacity.
Yeah. Did you have any ...
But saying all those affirmations, you start to notice where you're not operating at full capacity and you find opportunities to increase that workload.
I see, yep, I see. And it's almost like a fog is lifted and you're like, "Oh."
"I need to do this and I'm not doing it." And then you just are able to do it more easily without getting in your own way. So, once you started getting some more leads and interests, did you have any hangups or concerns about just talking to total strangers and moving conversations more towards seeing if you could help them. Was that first connecting with strangers and stuff about your work?
Yeah, I felt more comfortable in the beginning talking to strangers than friends about the work that I was doing.
Kind of what we talked about before. I didn't want to rely on my network, but it was interesting, the first few calls that I got on. It's shocking when you actually ask people the right questions, how much they will tell you immediately, even though they're strangers. And when they're approaching someone that they want help from, they're way more willing to open up and share a lot of information. So, I mentioned earlier, my relationship with my clients is very interpersonal and very friendly, and it's not because they know a lot about me. It's because I know a lot about what they're going through. I am aware of those things from the first time that we meet and they will share a lot of that information right away. And having that experience where it is a total stranger and it's nerve wracking to get on that call with someone, especially the first few times, and present something that you've been working so hard on and that you want their positive response to, and you wanna work with them. It shifted really quickly from me being nervous to noticing that they were the ones that were nervous.
They were nervous too, yeah.
They want help and they don't know what to say. Sometimes people are trying to say the right thing and so when you dive a little bit deeper into what actually the problem is or what their actual goals are, when I asked them, "What do you wanna make in a month?" And they don't know, or they're afraid to say a number because musicians have been trained, a lot of us, starving artist and all that good stuff. They don't really have goals like that and so helping people develop those goals, I feel really in control now because I know what they can achieve and that's a lot more confident for me. So, it shifted really, really quickly. I would say the first 5-10 calls were nerve wracking and then from there, it really got comfortable.
And did you feel like, so once you got past the first five or 10 calls, did you then have more space to focus on what you're saying or not saying, doing or not doing to lead to better outcomes on the calls and stuff like that?
Absolutely, absolutely. And I find that there are more habits that I have now on those calls where ... Part of it, I feel more comfortable with my pacing. I used to watch the clock and think, "Well, we're not at this point in the call yet. We only have this much time set apart. And if I don't move on, then we're going to be late and I'm ready to do another call." And that was terrifying for me. How do I break here and move them to another call? And then I had to hope that they get on the next call. They always show up. It's the greatest thing, they always show up. Once you start talking to them and they feel listened to and heard and understood, they'll always show up to the next call. So, I recognize that leading with empathy and opening space to have those conversations that maybe they haven't even had with themselves yet.
Really opens the door to a strong relationship moving forward.
Yeah, I always say, you can't build too much rapport. So if you just err on the side of empathy, and building rapport and stuff, you're just making deposits into the relationship and people will keep wanting to work with you, take calls with you or talk to you or be in relationship with you. And so it's ...
Yeah, that resonates for me too. Nice, so tell us a bit about what sort of results have you seen in the last couple of months since we've been working together?
Yeah, so consistently, now we're doing about $30,000 in revenue in a month, and that's been pretty typical for the months where I'm working at ... You mentioned recently we got married, so we've had some months off too, which is wonderful to be totally honest that we're taking a lot of time off. We took some time off in October, some more in December. Right now I'm working with about 30 active clients. I have some clients who finish their initial program with me and they choose to continue because they want additional support or they've got other projects that they're working on. We finish one goal and they've got more goals, so we choose to keep going, which is fantastic.
How much have you had in sales this year, so far?
Total in revenue generated this year at about 130,000 and so far about 110 of that has actually been collected.
Cool, cool. So, thinking back, to where you were a year ago, what does it feel like to do 30K in a month?
Well, considering that was almost my entire income the year before, and my income was larger than that, but, I would say that's 70% roughly, mental math's not my thing, 60-70% of what I was making in a year. My income this year has almost tripled and that's shocking and scary in a really good way. And the growth has been exciting.
It leaps right, like a trampoline.
It is, when we first started, there's people in Harry's group that I've really become friends with too, that when I first wanted to start practicing sales calls, I was getting on weekly calls with people and having accountability partners and talking to ... Some people, I was meeting with Bryce every single morning for weeks for just a short call. And we would talk about those goals, or we would see other posts that were happening in the group from people that were doing those big numbers or Bryce would have a big month and I was like, "Well, if they can do it. I'm doing the same things, if they can do it, I know that I can too." And I just had to find the obstacles for me and what's in my way. And one of the big things, honestly, that came to pass, and this was a really difficult decision at the time, but I was teaching too much still.
I was still trying to balance the 25-30 hours a week of teaching and also running this business. And I was working 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., five, six days a week and I was loving it. I was not unhappy by any means, but man was I tired?
How much were you making from teaching a month, just ballpark?
Roughly about 6,000 a month in teaching. So, when we're talking about generating $30,000 a month in revenue month over month and so there's all of this recurring revenue now that's happening. I can have an outlook where even two, three months down the line, I've got twice that in recurring revenue that's gonna be coming in. That's, to be totally honest, it's life changing, it's life changing and to be able to hire and bring other people on and delegate work. That's something I've never been able to experience before.
But it sounds like what you're saying is that there was a moment where you realized that, to grow a bit more, you needed to wind down or put down the teaching.
It can be scary, 'cause if that's like, you're making six grand a month, that's a lot, if that's your main income. And so to realize there's some point where you have to focus, but then yeah, just speak a bit about that and how that all was interrelated.
Yeah, it was very overwhelming when that realization hit. The other thing is, my studio is my ideal student. My students that I was working with, I'd worked really hard to cultivate a studio that I loved and that I looked forward to seeing. And at the same time I was getting so tired that ... It definitely wasn't dread or anything like that. I love my students and I love teaching, but I was just so tired that being there, I was starting to notice they weren't getting my full attention or they weren't getting the very, very best version of me anymore. And I hit a point where I realized that it's not just about me, it's not just about what I want. I wanna keep working with my students, but if that's not in their best interest then it's time for me to move on.
And in July I cut my studio in about half. So, I significantly cut my teaching down, placed all my students with other teachers, made sure they were all in really good hands, did everything that I could on that front. But that realization only came ... I took several weeks off in June from teaching entirely and only worked on my coaching and consulting business. And when I did that, I saw growth and it was exciting. And I saw that, okay, I easily can make this income back. So, I'm not really at a loss, I'm doing fine. There's potential growth here. That was really reassuring. At that point I doubled our revenue for the coaching business in a month. I was doing about, usually five to six in new business in a month up to that point. Come June, July, August, I was doing about 10. And then in September I made the decision to cut my teaching down again and I brought in an assistant to help with some of my other background tasks. And at that point we tripled revenue to 30.
Yeah, so it's just I love hearing that because it bears witness to like how, if you would just focus and specialize, then you see more. But it's scary for a lot of people who have many different irons in the fire and they feel like that's safe to have a bunch of different tries ...
Right, if one fails, at least they've got something else.
Yeah, yeah, but it's-
But to be totally honest, I literally coach people how to build the studio. So, if I use a studio again tomorrow, it's not like I can't do that, I'm gonna be totally fine. But it is an emotional thing also because I really do love my students.
I sent those emails out and I made those phone calls and it was one of the hardest weeks of my life because I was crying so much because my students are crying and I'm crying and everyone's crying and I'm like, "I am emotionally overwhelmed by this," and at the same time, it still feels right.
Feels right, yeah.
It still feels settled, even though I'm sad to see them go. And I still have those relationships, those don't go anywhere. I'm still in contact with them. I still get to go to the recitals with other teachers, there's other opportunities for me to be connected to those families, but as a teacher, you form those really strong relationships and you care deeply for your students. And I just reached a point where caring deeply meant moving on from them.
Yup, yeah, so with that, once you freed up more of that time, where did you deploy most of that time? Would it be, I would imagine it's when it's marketing and lead gen, it was a lot of that.
Yeah, so I mentioned I hired an assistant who was doing what, 20 hours a week for me to help me with some of the lead gen. I would have her go and find posts for me to comment on, for example, or clean up my backend for my clients a little bit to do a lot of my numbers and organization, help me send out invoices, all that good stuff. That also freed up a ton of my time. And that allowed me to basically shift to just being on calls. Like my day right now, I don't have a lot of menial tasks between my work.
You're doing the strategy sessions, you're doing your sales calls.
And I'm on my client calls.
And that's my entire time. So, my clients get my full attention.
And they get a lot faster responses for me, which is really fantastic because there's not five or six hours a day where I'm in front of a student and I can't be responding. It also means that I get to just talk to people all day, which I really like, and I get to help people all day. So, it's been very fulfilling.
Cool. So, what other areas of your business or life do you feel like you've improved since we've been working on this stuff?
Well, and to be honest, I had this lofty goal when we first met that we hadn't even really talked about, but one of the big things that I wanted to do was pay for a wedding and make sure that I was paying for a wedding of my own accord. And, obviously with weddings, you have some help from family, but there were some things that I wanted to do for our friends and family to celebrate them that when we were initially planning, there's not any chance in a million years that I could have afforded, unless I was gonna take out a sizeable private personal loan. I take great pride in the fact that Isaac and I were able to do all of that, pay for that entire wedding in cash. And obviously with some support from our families too, but to do that entirely and to not feel like we made any compromises was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. We were looking at our honeymoon and taking time off, I actually get time off now. I get to schedule time away and I communicate that with my clients. And as long as that's done up front, there's zero issues. You know, everyone just wants to know what's going on and when you make that really clear, they're totally fine. And I get to have time away. With the studio, it felt like I was trading 100% time for money. If I wasn't there, I wasn't getting paid.
Right, per hour.
Getting paid per hour, yeah.
Right, and I try to help my clients out of a structure like that a little bit and give them more flexibility. But for the most part you're tied to actually physically being there. This past week with the holiday, like last weekend was Thanksgiving, we traveled and I just took my calls elsewhere. I closed the sales, not from home and I was able to go be other places and have that flexibility and that didn't exist before.
The other exciting thing about this, on a more personal note is, that Isaac and I get to work together on this and he does support and he's increasingly taking on more of the marketing and trying to do other things for me because we've reached this point now where we're starting to feel like maybe this 30,000 that we've done for a couple of months, time-wise, maybe we're starting to get to that capacity again and we needed to change things up and find a way to make things a little more scalable so we can get to the next plateau.
How do we grow to the next stopping point? But problem solving that together and working together has been a really powerful experience, it's been really strong for our relationship. The other thing too is, to be totally honest, I'm happier. I'm not stressed about income or I'm not even stressed about making sales. I don't get on every single call and be like, "This has to close," because the people that I want to work with and that want to work with me will find me, and it will be the right fit when it's the right fit. And the people that aren't the right fit, that's perfectly fine too. I work with people that I really truly enjoy, and that is very empowering and uplifting and it makes going to work every day so much easier.
I love it, I love it. And hearing you talk about that last piece about, be more relaxed on the calls and not being clenching your fist about trying to make every sale, all of that stuff. Can you speak a little bit about, what role do you feel habit and muscle memory play in having success. This is something I talk about a lot, and I'd love to hear your relationship with that and perspective on that.
Yeah, well I mentioned before I was getting on a call daily, it was someone to practice sales calls and practice the close.
And one of the hardest things, I think for anyone when they're starting, especially in sales, if they haven't done this before, from my perspective, even though I had been doing sales, I was closing people into my studio and I was doing that process. For whatever reason, that felt really natural to me; sitting down across from someone on the computer and then saying, "Okay, it's gonna be X amount of money. And this is how we're going to ... This is how we're going to negotiate all of those questions," that was not comfortable. That was really, really awkward and having someone to practice with, which by the way, just practicing with someone, makes it even more awkward, I think. So, pretending to be in a different situation, it makes it even more awkward. So, it was helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I would say something, I was like, "Oh, I just don't know if I like the way that that came out." I was able to refine wording. And not that I say the same things every single time, but I pretty much know what I like to say and what has worked well for me and what feels right and what feels true to who I am in that process as well. But also what feels true to who I am now is also what I've practiced. You know, it's not like I'm just coming up with them on the fly.
Right, and would you feel that ... We all come in and often, maybe English is our first language or we feel like we can communicate, but would you agree that there's a lot of depth to understanding how to have these conversations and where you kind of like ... And it's as you practice more and more, you can tap into those steps and see, "Oh, this is something that I did, and that's why that didn't go the way I wanted." What are your thoughts on that idea?
Yeah, yeah and I think some of it too is also finding moments to, not poke fun at the awkwardness, but to recognize there's someone like, "Hey, this is a new situation that we're in and we're having this new conversation," and trying to make that enjoyable. And the first few calls, I think I was ... And to be honest, I'm gonna be totally blunt about my own progress. I didn't practice before my first couple of calls. I was too afraid to practice. I was too afraid to get on with someone and make a mistake in front of them and get critique. That felt really horrible at the time. So, I don't recommend doing that because the first couple of calls were hard.
You got lucky.
Because I was ... Looking back and then I'm like, "Oh god ..."
Do you record your calls?
Kinda miffed, I miffed a lot to be honest. And I just wasn't natural because I had never been there before. So I was reading a script and not actually listening.
Right, not present.
And that's changed. But a lot of it too, is that when you do practice, you find opportunities then because it is normal for you. You find opportunities to hear what someone is saying and dive into that a little bit deeper, like ask a question that's not on your script, ask a followup question that they said something really interesting. And it's like, "I think I wanna dive into that more because I don't think you actually are telling me everything yet. That was very surface level," and leaving those opportunities open is really helpful too.
Yeah, and I think of what that practice allows you to do is you start to realize like, "Yeah, it's not about having this like robotic word for word thing." It's about ... There's milestones, there's sections of the conversation and you need to be able to move fluidly through them. And there'll be some improvising in each of those to probe and pull out and figure out what's actually going on. So yeah, what about this? Would you agree that the awkwardness that you felt and the uncomfortableness, it's not because you can't do it, it's because it's just something that's new, right.
Now, how would you feel, you'd feel really relaxed and at ease when you do these, right?
Yeah. I mean, look it's like riding a bike when you're a kid, you get on the first couple of times and you're super, super wobbly.
Yeah, just hanging on.
And it's really hard to get your footing, you fall down a whole bunch and scrape your knee a couple of times. And then by the time you get the hang of it, it becomes habit and now for the rest of your life, you can ride a bike.
You don't get nervous getting on a bike every time, right. You know that you know how to ride a bike. And I think that's how it feels when I get on a call. I took some time off from doing sales in October, 'cause we went and got married and then came back and that first sales call, I was like, "Oh yeah, I haven't really done this in a while." And it still didn't feel terrifying, it still just felt like habit. And actually I was really present, 'cause it was like, "Wow, it's really nice to be doing this again and having these conversations," I actually ... It feels funny now thinking back on how terrified it was for the first year, I really enjoy these calls.
I really like getting to know people and hearing what they're looking for and how I can help.
Yeah, and as you do it more, for every gaffe or mistake that you make, maybe you leave somebody and they don't feel happy about the call or whatever it is, the call doesn't go the way you want. For every one of those, there might be two, three, four, five, ten, where the person is so grateful for the conversation and once you get to those conversations, even if they don't move toward a sale, it's just really affirming and lights a fire and makes you just wanna keep working on this. Did you feel like that? Did you record your calls and did you, as you would work through the calls, identify maybe where you had bottlenecks and could then work on that bottleneck and then get to the next bottleneck in the conversation? Was that part of your process?
Yeah, initially what I was doing too is I'd get off a call and I would just write a couple notes to myself, like things that I thought went really well. I would try to positivity sandwich it, like, "Here's what I think I did really, really well. Here's something that felt awkward or didn't go very well or it wasn't well received and I gotta figure that out. And then here's another thing that I think I did really well." Because I don't want to just hammer myself.
And just make it super, super critical because it does diminish your confidence. So, then what I would do is I would find those places that I had written down like, "Oh, I don't think this went really well." And I would go back and try to find timestamps and I would watch those again. And I would also ... There's sometimes I just have Isaac watch it and say like, "What was awkward about this? Do you hear what I'm hearing?" I found a lot of it honestly was me not giving enough room for people to talk. I would hear something, I'd get excited, I would wanna help. And I would jump in a little bit too soon.
You have . You're wanting to help, but it's like, that person just needs to have some space to share.
And also to think sometimes, the dead space is fine. It doesn't have to be conversation the entire time, and that's a part of my personality and so hearing those calls and hearing where maybe I, for example, I'd say the price and then would jump right into the next thing right away and start trying to problem-solve ahead of them. Do you need a payment plan, do you need ... Jump in right away, that was weird and awkward and it wasn't well received. So, finding places to insert quiet, created a lot more perceived competence too.
Yeah, and I liked that, 'cause it's ... What it highlights is how often, how we say something or the cadence at which we say something is what's conveying a lot of stuff. They'll pick up on your energy. So, if you're nervous in your delivery, then they're gonna receive that and mirror that back to you and all that good stuff. So, cool. So let's see, thinking back to us working together, why did you decide to do business with us?
Yeah, well, at the time, honestly, a lot of it was a confidence decision.
I was looking at something new and I didn't really know what I was looking at or what the next step was. And it was very appealing to work with someone that had a process, had a plan, knew exactly what to do and in what order to do things, where to spend the time and also had a structure for me to fall into. People think that they like flexibility until you provide structure for them. And they thrive in structure, everyone thrives in some sort of structure. So, for my own business, I was flailing, I had no structure, I had no plan. I was making it up as I went. And it was very appealing to be able to just plug my ideas into something that was created and proven and duplicatable so that I could make that happen for myself a lot easier and a lot more smoothly. The other thing too is you guys were talking about ideas and we talked about this already a little bit earlier in the call. Harry never once told me what to do. And there's a lot of confidence in that, that you never had to tell me that maybe the course wasn't a great idea or tell me that 30% was a really large take and I should look elsewhere. You did a really nice job of helping me get there on my own. And I felt very in control still, I still felt like I was making the decisions, but that I had someone to come and bounce ideas off of that I really trusted. And also that had been where I am. And I think that's what's exciting about still working with you is that, Harry's business is always several steps ahead of whatever I have going on. And that's exciting, I wanna learn from that. And I wanna be able to learn from those, the successes and potential pitfalls and make sure that I'm getting there as fast as possible. That's always exciting.
That's awesome, yeah that's awesome. It's like, there's no other way to do it. You as an entrepreneur, have to feel a sense of ownership of all your decisions because otherwise, as soon as you hit some resistance, it's too easy to throw our hands up and be like, "Well, this wasn't even my choice, I'm gonna-
Right, right, yeah, yeah. "I didn't even want to do this. You told me to do this, this wasn't even my idea."
Yeah, do you feel like-
And you know, I think the other thing I just wanna mention quickly too, is that when we talked about initial goals, the initial goals were so small and I hear this on my own calls now and I recognize this now in retrospect, myself, that the initial goals were so small. What if I just had one or two clients or what if I was just doing all one-on-one calls or what if ... I had these really, really tiny little microscopic goals and those problems felt gigantic. And when your successes get bigger, your problems get bigger. And it's really helpful to have someone that you ... As a musician, I've taken private lessons my entire life, to have someone to coach you and to mentor you and to support those goals and also support the goals as they change and as the problems get bigger, be able to help you through those too. It's really important. Everyone needs a mentor, whether they know it yet or not. And it's important to have someone like you in this role in my life that I can come to when I need redirection or guidance.
Yeah, and just to clarify, you didn't have a bunch of business experience before this, right.
Oh god, no.
You had done running your own music studio, but basically you look at yourself as you identify as a musician more, right, would you say?
Even still, even still.
Nice, do you feel like you've gotten a good return on your investment?
Huh, yeah. And to be totally honest, that was one of the things that was scary too, is even just choosing to invest in myself; that was terrifying. I think there was a lot of my initial emotional response like that day was, "Wow, do I really believe in myself this much that I'm gonna make an investment and move forward?" Not only an investment, monetary investment fine, but the time investment of getting into something new and starting something new.
That's more important to me, and it's like the psychological commitment, that's like, "I'm gonna do this," right, which the financial investment helps make that stick.
It's really that simple.
Now it's like, "I have to do this, I've committed."
Right, it's so important though, to get that commitment.
Yeah I think, once we really dove full force. I joked too that we didn't really go full tilt until September, when I actually had more time to dedicate to this and that investment of time even has been coming back our way four times over at this point. It's remarkable to see the time that I was putting in at the beginning, come back so much stronger now in returns.
Yeah, and you're doing organic lead gen. So, you have to keep feeding that for ... Leads keep coming, but you feel very confident that you have the tools to go get as much business as you need as soon as you need it, right.
Yeah, what's wild is that it's very predictable.
I'm taking a couple of weeks off in December, so I've already got leads. I'm booking sales calls into late December, early January, so that when I come back, that's already there. Yeah, I get people filling out my form on my website pretty frequently now, which is wild, but that's also happening organically that I'm just out there enough and I'm creating enough content and I'm participating in the community enough and conversing with my niche enough that people know I exist, even if I don't know that they exist.
And that's been a really exciting change too. But it's very predictable.
When you have total strangers slide into your DMs and know a lot about you, that's a weird phenomenon.
Like, "I've watched all of your interviews already, when can we talk?" I'm like, "Oh wow." I'm really, really glad and also this is really weird.
So, remembering back to our last conversation, in the sales process. What do you feel kicked you over the fence? Do you remember?
I think it was the reassurance that you gave to not only my ideas, but the fact that you saw potential in them coming through successfully. When you are looking at doing something new, fully committing to it and believing with your entire being that it's going to work is difficult. And when I got off of that call, I felt so much more secure, that even though I still had one foot in, one foot out on a course and on this other idea, it didn't matter. I just knew that I had the structure and the support and that you truly believed that I could do whatever it was that I chose to do and we could make it happen. And that confidence from someone else went a long way.
And I wanted that and I wanted to have the same confidence in myself that you had in me at that time. And I think that was a large part of it, that there was just a lot of support in the structure. And also, just a lot of emotional reassurance and support that, "Yes, you have good ideas and yes, what you're looking at doing is going to be successful and you could absolutely pull it off," that was a big one.
I think the other final thing too is you just had a lot of proof. I knew it worked because I'd heard interviews like this. I knew there were other people that had gone before me. It was a very proven method. I knew that it was going to work well and I didn't have to worry about that.
Yeah, no, I love it. It's like a lot of what we do in sales. We're like counselors and we transfer confidence and one of the most important ones is like, yeah, confidence in the prospect. If you believe that they really can do what they need to do or have a good outcome if they work with you, whatever it might be depending on your offer. And so, yeah that's special. If you can sincerely transfer that confidence, in the face of the other person, not necessarily having that confidence themselves.
That's powerful because yeah ... It's totally normal to not have full confidence, 'cause you haven't done it yet, right.
You don't really know how it's going to work and there's not ... It's only once you say, "Yes," and get into it and then you start really digging in. That's when you can see all the dots get connected, 'cause there's just ... It's not rocket science, but there are a bunch of different things that need to get done, right?
Yeah. And you know, I think the other piece of that too, is that, confidence is one thing, but I think part of it was, I wanted to start with you because I want that confidence. The other piece of this is I need to fully commit to myself that I'm going to do this. And if I don't move forward with someone that can get me there, I'm gonna spin my wheels for the next year, trying to make something happen, toiling away. You're working in the dark on a project that honestly there's no way that I could be where I am right now, if I hadn't had that push. And I'm so proud of 14-15 month ago Kelly, for making that decision because it was terrifying at the time. Not because it was terrifying to start with you, you had all the confidence and I totally believed in that and I believed in you. It was really difficult to believe in myself.
And taking that leap was a really big step and a really big deal. And obviously it's led to some really incredible results.
Cool, well so would you recommend others work with us?
Hands down. Not a doubt that Harry has a phenomenal structure and program that he's got, a ton of proven results and experience, he knows exactly what he's talking about. The advice that he's given me time and time again, has been sound and has yielded great results always. The other really important thing that we've talked about is the support that you've provided to me. It's not just business. There have been a lot of other aspects that we've been able to talk about and to build competence in. And we've worked on building my whole confidence, not just my confidence on a sales call, but my confidence in my coaching, my confidence in myself, and that's been really impactful. So yes, 100% recommend working with you.
Awesome, well thank you, that's very kind. And I'm sure, you know we are working more with artists these days.
As you think about artists, who do you think we're especially a good fit for?
Well, as an artist in a different medium, a lot of us have this serving artist trope built into our mindset where we just want to scrape by doing what we love.
Yeah, if I could just make enough to cover my bills-
Yes, gosh, time and time again that's what I hear. I ask, "What do you wanna make in a month?" And it's like, "Well, my rent is X and so if I can just make that much money." "You only wanna make your rent, you have no other goals? You don't wanna buy a new instrument? You don't wanna travel for auditions? There's nothing else you wanna do?" And it's frustrating that that's built into our psyche. So, when you think about your own goals, for anyone that's listening to this, if your goals feel like they're just enough to get by, then I would really encourage you to have a conversation with Harry, because not only is there more for you, I promise there's so much more for you. You can have a thriving business and income and life in the arts that does not have to just scrape by. But the other thing that I think is really important is you have a skill and you have a passion and you're not alone in that, people want what you're offering. So if you feel right now, my goals are just enough to scrape by. And I just want to make this work, I need to make this work. And at the same time, I don't even know if anyone wants what I have to offer. If that's where you're coming from, then have a conversation with Harry because he absolutely can not only get you over some of these mindset hurdles and help you to see that confidence that people do want your work and your expertise, they do want to experience your passion and what you have to offer. But that there's also a lot more for you on the other side, when you truly explore that. I would say that that's probably most, if not almost all artists in that field are gonna have some of those struggles.
No, that resonates for sure, yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. There's definitely a lot of that in our space with artists ... It's been interesting over the last six months, I've seen, there's a lot of artists though, that don't really have ... They don't have necessarily that trope of really limiting beliefs about what they can do. But yeah, there is a mix, but I think you're right. If artists that don't ... If they're thinking just real small and they're not giving themselves permission to think a little bit bigger, it's understandable because they probably just don't know the path to how to do that.
We can talk about it and we can talk about what it looks like and break it down for sure. That's great, so why should someone listening take action right now?
Well look, you can toil away in the dark. You can try to try to make things happen on your own, or you can partner with a mentor who can get you there a lot faster. I said this before, as a musician, this is something that I am a little bit more comfortable with and used to, this is in my comfort zone, that when you are starting something new or starting a project, you need input and feedback. And so I would always recommend a mentor, but I think that if you have an idea right now and you have a thought or a dream or a goal, and you're trying to decide when's the right time, there is never a better time than now. It's not three months from now, it's not six months from now. It's not, well maybe next year when X, Y, Z is more aligned. We wait on these signs to happen. The only person that can actually make signs happen is you, the only person that can actually make that work for you is you. And so you have phenomenal support here in Harry, but you also have to take that leap of faith in yourself that whatever your goal is there, whatever goal you have existing right now, it's there for a reason. And if you don't take action on it now, you may miss the opportunity entirely.
Yeah, yeah. We all have 24 hours in the day. Our time just goes to what we choose to prioritize.
Yeah, if you unthinkingly think like, "Hey, I can't do it right now," it just means more like, hey, it's actually a conscious choice. You're choosing to not actually prioritize your goal. You're choosing not to prioritize making progress on this. For whatever reason, it could be fear, it could be anxiety. It could be legitimate constraints. But if you basically ... It's like the difference between ... A lot of people want something, but other people decide they're gonna do something.
And it's a big difference. If you just want something it's not gonna happen, but if you decide to make something happen, it's just a whole another level of commitment and then you'll make it happen, right, and you'll figure out how to adjust what you've got going on and carve out the time that you need to get where you wanna go.
And honestly, busy people, usually busy people are the ones that have the most success because they're used to being busy and handling a lot on their plate.
So if the concern is, "Oh, I've just got a lot on my plate right now, and I'm really busy," then this is the time, do it now because you are already a pro at handling all of that. Use that momentum that you have to move forward and don't put it off for another day because you really could be holding yourself back from something great. Honestly, if I had not made the decision 15 months ago, where I am right now, and you know what, I look at the freedom that I have scheduled right now and the freedom that I have in my income and the predictability that I have in my life. If I had waited into the three to six months for that and pushed all of that back, the goals that we just talked about that were accomplished just in the last few months, no chance they would have happened. I needed that push.
If you didn't have that job, you might have looked for ...
Oh my gosh, honestly, I'd probably still be teaching full-time and that's not a bad thing, but I would probably be where I am ... Now, I would be where I was in April, May, June when I was working 12-14 hour days. And I'm really glad that that's already over, I'm glad I didn't procrastinate on that. I'm glad that it's already over because I love where I am right now.
So what's your number one piece of advice for people that are listening?
Hmm. I think that I would tell someone who's on the cusp of a big decision like this, that it's okay to not feel done. It's okay to not feel ready. It's okay to not feel 100% confident in yourself. If you believe at all in your own potential, even just a little bit, then you need to take action and move forward. Whether that's just on an initial small goal of I'd like to sell my first painting, or if it's a much bigger goal of I'd like to have a thriving business, that's making me a full-time income. No matter what it is, now is the time, regardless of how prepared you are, don't let your own potential self-doubt talk you out of something that could be really, really, really good for yourself.
Yeah, no, yeah, exactly. It's like, even if you just believe partially in yourself and then you know that like you can come and ask for help and be in dialogue and keep engaging. If you just have those two things, we can get you there. We'll work on the mindset, we'll work on the confidence. We'll work on the tactics, but it's like, that's all you need. So, you just know that you can have at least some belief in yourself and you're willing to take action.
You can have a great outcome and just keep at it.
Absolutely, and on the other side is true happiness, when you know that you've worked towards goals and that your goals have shifted because you've already achieved the goals that you initially set out for. I'm not sure if you do this Harry, but I have a dream board where I take pictures off of Pinterest and things that I want, like vacations, a place that I'd like to go or lifestyle things that I'd like to have in my life. And I had a brand new dream board a few months before I met you, that nothing was done. And I'm literally sat down with Isaac last week and I was like, "I have to remake." It's the background on my phone, and then I have a physical version and sign and date when I check things off the list. To Isaac, I was like, "I think we need to redo this over the Christmas break because I'm out, I'm almost done with everything aside from things that I want to have happen a few years down the line, like buying a house or things like that. Yeah, I'm kind of checked everything off already, so I think we need to redo this," and that's a really good problem to have, but that's a side effect of the fact that I made the decision when I did.
And stuck with it, kept taking action. We talked a lot about the highlights, but it's not been all rainbows and butterflies-
Oh gosh, no. I keep joking about the fact that I cried at certain points. There were a lot of tears, there's a lot of stress. There's a lot of like, can I really do this? Am I actually doing this? Am I good at this? There's a lot of other things that have come in the middle of that, but ...
But you never gave up, you just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Well, and I think part of that too is every time I felt really, really low, I just came back to have my cup filled up again. I'd come get on a call and tell Harry, "I don't feel great about stuff this week. Here's all the stuff that's stressing me out. I don't know how to handle that." And at first I needed a lot of that hand-holding and reassurance and support from Harry. And it's exciting that when you and I talk now, I'm still asking for your advice, but I don't necessarily need all that reassurance anymore. Now it's like, "I know I'm gonna figure this out, but hey, can you help me get there faster?" And that's a huge shift from, "How do I, like can I do this? How do I do this, is this the right decision? What do you ..." I needed approval on everything in the beginning and now it's a lot more ... Bigger successes, bigger problems, we're shifting fast, which is exciting.
It's cool looking back where something that was like such a big problem and have you spent a couple of hours worrying about it or more. It's like, now if that came up again today, you'd just handle it, like your money would be a blip on the radar.
One of the really, really funny ones is I came in hot. When we first started talking with this, I was like, "You know what, I'm gonna immediately start a Facebook group for my clients," but also hearing, "What do I do about the fact that I only have one client?" And so, is that Facebook group a little bit silly? And I was trying to solve problems ahead of where I actually was.
People do this all the time. They create these phantom problems, right?
Oh my gosh.
Two or three steps ahead. Why don't we just focus on the thing right in front of you?
I know I got so stuck on this big gigantic idea. And I was like, "Oh, it's gonna be lifetime access. It's gonna be amazing." And I was like, "Well, what is there even access to right now, I'm just starting." Right, I'm just starting. I wanna just help one person instead of just trying to focus on the 50 people that are imaginary in my head. And I found the other day in my closet, we've got whiteboards all over the place. And I have in my closet, the dream board that I mentioned, that's printed and it's stuck up there. And I moved it because I was that couple of weeks ago, I took it off to go show Isaac like, "Hey look, I signed all this stuff. I think we need to make a new one." Behind that dream board was our chicken scratch of Isaac and I tried to sketch out my one-on-one program. That's been there for months. And at that time, that felt terrifying. It's only gonna be me and one person on a call. And then if they need me and do I have a Facebook group? At that time, that was for whatever reason so stressful. And I look back and I'm like, "Wow, that was a simpler time. That was not a big problem at all, it worked out so well, it flowed when it needed to, it grew when it needed to, it's evolved on its own," just let the business take on a life of its own. It's funny, you know exactly when it's time to make new decisions, you know exactly what it's time to move on from other things, exactly when it's time to hire. I just put my assistant on full-time last week for the first time, she's now up to 40 hours a week. And that decision, it was an easy one, I knew exactly when it needed to happen, it presented itself.
What's cool about that, once you've had a couple of those cycles of, "This feels like a big problem, I'll try it. Oh, it ended up being fine." And then you do it again and again, and then you just start to get conditioned and you're like, "Oh, okay." You just feel like, "I know I'm gonna figure this out, but I just don't know the exact details."
Right, right, well in the version of me that was in the closet, chicken scratching a one-on-one program on a whiteboard, probably honestly, probably in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep, I was so worked up about it. That is like an infantile version of what's happening now in my business and my life, who I am now and the confidence that I have. And it's exciting. And it's also I still really appreciate that part too. I'm glad that I was there, I'm glad that I was stressed. I was glad that I cared that much because obviously the caring that much has produced significant change.
Good point, yeah-
But I needed those stress moments.
Yeah, what was that?
I needed those stress moments. I needed those points in time that felt horrible because it makes the other side so exciting. I read somewhere-
It's a sign of caring, it's a sign that you care, basically.
Yeah, and I read a couple of weeks ago ...
You build tolerance or resiliency.
You talked about filling up your cup, it's like your cup gets bigger and you can just handle more.
Yeah, and the nice thing is when your cup is bigger, when a little bit gets skimmed off the top, and you're a little bit tired and stressed, you don't bottom out, you're not empty anymore.
You can just handle so much more that, I've got this reserve of confidence and this reserve of success and pride that, if I go a week without closing a sale, it doesn't annihilate me like it would have six months ago when I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm failing."
This isn't gonna hurt, right yeah.
Well, cool. Well, Kelly, this has been so much fun catching up. I love hearing about where you're at. I'm really, really excited for you, proud of everything you've done. And I can't wait to see what you do in the next three to six months, it's gonna be great. I'm sure there'll be more to come. So yeah, for anyone who's listening who wants to learn more about you, where can they find you online?
Yeah, you can find me at kellyriordan.com, Riordan is R-I-O-R-D-A-N. And you'll find a lot of information there, a lot of interviews like this one with my own clients on their successes and some information about what it looks like to build a private music studio.
Cool, all right, well hey Kelly, thanks so much, we'll talk soon.
From blog videos to productivity tools, student interviews and livestream Q&A's. Here you'll find resources that help you start and grow a wildly profitable art practice.