Choosing your clients - Kristen Westcott - ep5

 

This week's guest:
Kristen Westcott,  Kristen Westcott Media

Choosing Your Clients Kristen Westcott ep5

Kristen Westcott is a business growth and systems strategist who has spent the last decade in the legal and education fields supporting leaders and students in the areas of goal setting, productivity and project management.

After recognizing her true passion lies in serving entrepreneurs, Kristen honed her skills as a Director of Operations. She quickly noticed that what was holding many business owners back wasn’t a lack of drive or ability, but a lack of foundational systems that could support the day-to-day operations of a scaling business.

These days, she spends her time helping online coaches, copywriters and course creators scale without the frustration that massive growth often brings. She's on a mission to help female entrepreneurs retain (or regain!) their sanity without losing clients.

 

In this episode ~

Kristen shares:

  • When she realized her client really wasn’t really a client at all 
  • How she gave herself permission to “fire” a different client and prepared her business for that shift in income 
  • How her VIP Intensives help other CEOs calmly lay out their next quarter 
  • Her Roadmap to Business Growth will walk busy entrepreneurs through the steps to bring one of your big ideas to life 

 

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Transcript

When is a client not a client? In today's episode, Kristen Westcott is sharing one of the shifts in her journey to becoming a profitable CEO.

It's time for the Becoming a Profitable CEO podcast and it's all about providing you with the tools to succeed on this ever-evolving business-building journey. My mission is to make sure you know you are not alone, that it is possible and that you, yes YOU, CAN do this. You matter, the world is a better place for having you in it, and your voice is needed!

I’m Teresa Cleveland and I believe we can all make a difference and that having a successful online business is one of the best, most effective ways to do that.

Let’s get to it!

Teresa: Hey, Kristen, welcome, welcome, welcome. I am so glad you're here.

Kristen: I am so excited to be talking to you today too, Teresa.

Teresa: You know, it's kind of amazing. I was just thinking a couple of weeks ago would have been a year since we were in San Diego together for Amy Porterfield, Entrepreneur Experience, I think.

Kristen: Can you believe it? It's been just a year. It feels like so much longer that we've known each other.

Teresa: I don't know about you, but I've been thinking lately, like, back to that and, you know, the drives in the convertible. You know, with the wind is blowing through our hair. Such a great time. I kind of go there like in those moments with everything else, because obviously I haven't been anywhere this year.

Kristen: I know. Well, I was just amazed at all of your knowledge of Coronado. It was the first time I'd ever been there. And I just loved having my own personal tour guide.

Teresa: Oh, that was so much fun. I love sharing Coronado with anyone and everyone, and especially you. We had such a great time. Yeah, it's my favorite place in the world this far, so I love to share it.

Thanks so much for coming on. You know, you and I could talk forever about a million different things. I would love if you would share something in your journey, whether it be the first hurdle or that first mindset shift or most recent one. Anything that you think could help somebody, another woman out there who is growing her business and, you know, maybe coming up against something. Kinda like what would you like to have known back then? What would have helped you? Because I think as women, we need to support each other. And I want everyone to know they're not alone, like so many of us have been there, too.

Kristen: So I have two big ones that come to mind and I'll be quick so I can share them both. The first is, if you recall, again, back when we were rooming together for the entrepreneur experience, I was dealing with a client or what I had called a client that hadn't paid my invoice in over a month. And they were, we weren't sure what our future was going to be together and whether or not I was going to continue to work for them. But I promised that I would stay on another month and help them with things and I wasn't getting paid.

And you kind of just, in your very Teresa way, said to me, that's not a client. Like you don't have a client. If they're not paying you, they're not a client. And so that was like a big mindset shift for me, because, again, like when you're early into shifting your business model or even like mid-way, if you make a business model shift where you're changing your direction or your focus, if you have people not paying you for the work that you're doing, then they're not actually clients.

And so that was probably the first mindset shift I had was like all this work that I was doing for this person was technically they still were not my client.

Teresa: That was so funny. But it is sometimes we get that experience from working with those people. And I think those people do show us what we don't want. Right? And I was just so excited for you when I saw that light go off like, oh, OK. Yeah.

You know, if you want to volunteer, I have a couple of, a couple of times a year I take on pro bono and the people don't even know it. I just reach out to them. I'll see them in a Facebook group or really struggling. But I see that they're really trying to make it. So I choose two people a year that I just reach out to to mentor. But that's definitely not how we build our client roster.

Kristen: Right. And I do the same thing now. Now that I have a full client roster now I'm actually, you know, selective about picking some people to help mentor, because I know that that is a really important part of growing an online business, especially for women to have other women role models who are doing what you're doing. And so I will if someone reaches out to me and says, hey, I'm really I really want to know how you got to where you are or how you're doing what you're doing, I'll say, yeah, let's hop on a coffee chat and I'll actually spend a few sessions helping them try and figure out their business model just because I didn't get to where I am today without the support of other women business owners. And I want to be able to kind of give back. But now I know specifically those are not clients. Those are people I'm mentoring.

Teresa: Absolutely. What was your second you said you had two?

Kristen: Yeah. So the second one was early in 2020 right before the pandemic hit. I was at this space where I had taken on too many clients is what it was. And so there was kind of that scarcity mindset there of, you know, what's going to happen, how can I pay back the debt I built up over the time where I... So your listeners don't know about me, but I'm an active investor in Learning and Teres and I have had several conversations about this where I invest in a lot of programs and a lot of courses.

And so I built up some debt. And so I was in this place where I was taking on more clients than I should have been in terms of number of hours I had to give to the work. One client in particular, we were just really not a good fit and I was dreading doing all of the work for this client. It was just kind of, I was complaining to my husband one day and he's like, "well, don't you run your own business?" Right? Yes.

And he's like, "So why are you working with the client that you don't like working with?" And it was just like, huh. That's right. I am a business owner. I can choose which clients I have to work with. I can like "fire" a client or whatever. I was back in that corporate mindset of like everything that came my way, everything that came across my desk, I had to do whether I liked it or not.

And so there was that mindset shift. That's right, like I am the business owner, I get to choose the people I work with. And if these clients are not a right fit for me and they're driving me crazy, that perhaps it's not a good relationship to continue with. And so I ended that relationship with that client right before the pandemic hit.

Teresa: I just want to jump in, I have a quick question there, because I know that when it happens - was it scary? Because, you know, let's face it, it helps pay the bills. What did you do like with that? What did that feel like and how did you work through that?

Kristen: It was scary. But basically what I did was I took a look at the other expenses that I had to see, what I could also offset in terms of expense load. And then I used that space that I was dealing with that client to start connecting with other people in the online space so that it wouldn't be as scary that I would have these relationships building in these connections forming. And that felt a lot better to me. It felt really good to know that I was laying the groundwork for future growth in my business rather than staying in this reactive mode where I was constantly worried about am I taking on enough, am I paying off the debt fast enough? That kind of stuff.

I started to shift into this mindset of this business isn't a corporate structure. This is something I'm building for long term growth. And I need to invest in that kind of a foundation so that it will be sustainable long term, even if that means it's a little bit scary right now. And that's a huge shift when you're used to coming from a corporate place where you get the same paycheck every week or every couple of weeks to being in that space of, OK, I need to let go and know that some of the things I'm doing right now, I'm not going to see the return on investment right away, but that it really is important to build strong foundations in your business so that it can sustain that growth when their business does take off.

Teresa: And that's one of the things I love about watching you and how you do this, because obviously we are there for each other and that accountability and everything else. And one of the things that I love is because, you know, my quick starts up there, it's a nine. And so I'm just like, oh, let's do it.

And you're just like, so let's talk about that. And you've got this calmness that you bring to things. And I've seen that through the testimonials on your website. And I've told you that for the longest time. Like when my business had a recent shift, I was just like, oh my God, I got to talk to Kristen. We connected. And there was just this calmness, like, OK, and it was very well thought out. And just the way your mind works, I love that about you that you do Look at the bigger picture. It's not just, OK, I'm just going to fire this person. Right? That you actually do look ahead and say, OK, what's that look like and how am I going to fill that space? So it's not just a knee jerk reaction. And I think that that what I've seen with you is it gives. It gives that sense of a plan so that you're not just like, "OK, I'm going to do this, but then oh shit what now what?

So and I love that you bring that to your clients and to your relationships and know one of the common themes, as I've been interviewing people for the podcast is community and being able to have that community of people, even if you're just starting out with one or two people that you can reach out to. And again, back to Amy's thing last year, that's one of the things that she said. When you're there for other people and you're pouring into them and being there for them, it's very natural then when you hit a roadblock to to be able to reach out and say, hey, I need some feedback on this, or, hey, do you know anybody who does X, Y, Z or I've got this new program coming out. Do you know anybody who would be interested? It's just community is so vital, especially in this online world.

Speaking of all your great qualifications and what you bring to the table, let's talk about that. Let's talk about who's your ideal client that you love working.

Kristen: Hmm. That's a great question. I really love working with ambitious female entrepreneurs, women that are driven out there to go and they have a mission or a purpose behind what they're doing. Because I believe that our business is really so much bigger than what we're doing on a day to day. And so the people I typically really connect deeply with are those who are coaches or online creatives like copywriters or website developers and designers. They're really working that one to one kind of model business model and are on their way to burnout or whatever, because they haven't put their systems in place that are going to really help them to grow at a sustainable rate.

Those are the people I really connect with because they are driven. They have a reason why their business is so important to them, but they need help. They need help figuring out like how to make that scalable when it's just them or maybe them and their virtual assistant. And they're still running into these roadblocks of I love what I do, but I'm going to quickly burn out because I'm putting in 16 hour days, seven days a week. And so then we kind of hop on a call and we connect and I help them figure out how we can put some of these systems and processes in place to really cut down on the number of hours that they are spending in front of their computer, in their office or wherever it is they're working,

Teresa: Yes and I know that you do the VIP intensives and things like that, is that that same audience that you do that for, where you just sit down and dump it all out and help them figure out? Tell us about that, because VIP intensives right now, especially with us being in our offices wherever we are. In the bedroom and the living room in our spare bedroom, whatever that looks like. And we're all alone. So it's like we're so close to it. It's corny, but it is that whole thing. You can't see the forest for the trees. So tell us about the VIP intensives, because I think that is something that really in different businesses, not just ours, but those are so vital to help us see it from a different perspective.

Kristen: Yes, what I was finding was when I was trying to do more of like the ongoing support with people, we would get on a call. We would talk for an hour or two hours. Then I would give them a list of things that they needed to kind of work on in between our calls. But they weren't able to carve out any more time in their week to actually do the things that I wanted them to put in place before our next call.

And so what I did was I shifted to this intensive model because it was much easier for them to just carve out a full day and really kind of focus in. And then we did it together, because if I give them certain things to do and they didn't quite know how to do it or they didn't have anybody to support them with it, or like I said, they just couldn't clear the time. Then they weren't getting the results that they were looking for week after week, it was taking them much longer to be able to get that system in place.

And so I shifted to the intensive model. And so I run a couple of different intensives and one, one is around like really planning out your quarter in a really streamlined, simplified way so that you're not trying to tackle 20 different projects all in one quarter.

But the other one that has been really beneficial to people is helping them set up their system. And so some of them it's a project management system. They don't have any way of tracking who's doing what, setting out timelines, really kind of visualizing the project. They're just kind of like flying by the seat of their pants as they go. And so we will sit down and actually build out that system, we'll build out project management after the project, really kind of start looking at all of the moving pieces.

And for some of them, it's smoothing out their onboarding that is taking up so much of their time. Like the back and forth and the emails and the payment issues and then getting, right now getting passwords. Yes, it's easy to share via LastPass, but so many people have two factor authentication on that you have to really be face to face with the client to be able to kind of do it simultaneously so they can tell you the code and you can log in. And so it's a lot of times it's been really smoothing that out. And they've been absolutely amazed how taking one day to sit down and tackle like their biggest project, their biggest roadblock, that's chewing up most of their time. If they block out one day and we do it together, how many hours they save off the back end of that for the rest of the week and the rest of their month because it's done, it's in place. They no longer have to think about this system because we've built it in their software with their contracts, their templates, all of that kind of stuff. So it is ready to go for them.

Teresa: And it's what works for them. I know over the years I've tried different things that "they" say we should use, and it's just like my brain just doesn't work like that. Even at The Purposeful CEO, we're going through this. It's great because it works. And you've been so helpful with that. Just really breaking down the quarter. And I love that you don't let me put too much on for the quarter. Right? You're like, OK, let's put this over here. Right. Because then you don't just you're not bossy about it. You just say it and it's like, oh my God, of course, because we do juggle so many different things.

If we didn't sit down and do that together, you know, I know it wouldn't happen. It would just be like, oh, yeah, yeah. Lisa my OBM said the other day she asked me about something she said because you've been pushing it out. And I said, OK, let's push it out one more time. And because I know you and I are going to be doing a strategic mapping soon for the first quarter. So but you're so good at that, just being like, OK, let's, let's not put too much in one spot because it'll never get done. It's not realistic.

And I think especially as women, because we do juggle home and work and kids or parents or whatever, the thing is that we do think we can do so much more than there is actual time for.

When you do this, how do you determine that? Is that like a pre-call where you talk with people and to find out what that biggest thing is?

Kristen: Yeah, so there's an intake form for me to kind of collect a little bit of their information and then we hop on a kickoff call is what I call it, and we talk for an hour or a little bit longer if needed. But I block off at least an hour for us to kind of really go through and talk about what their biggest struggles are right now, really for me to kind of get a sense of where they're at, what their offers are, what their big moneymaker is, which is sometimes why it takes a little bit longer than an hour because there's some coaching back and forth to figure out your biggest revenue is not always your biggest profit. Just because it's your most expensive offer doesn't mean it's necessarily your most profitable offer. So we dive into some of that kind of stuff and then we really look at what is the biggest challenge for them right now? What is either the biggest thing that's draining their energy? The biggest thing that's taking up all of their time, like, what is it? And then we have that conversation about, OK, is this what we want to tackle in our day together?

From there, once we've decided on that, then I'll send them another intake form or a follow up form, getting more details on whatever it is we've decided. So if it's their customer experience, then I'll ask them a whole bunch of questions about that kind of stuff. So I'm gathering a lot of that information ahead of time. And that second form will take them about an hour to complete for them to pull all of the details that I need.

I like to do that because then I'm prepped and ready to go. And when we dive in for the day, we're actually getting all of that stuff done in that day rather than spending the first hour, hour and a half of the day figuring out what we're going to do and then having them go and pull all the assets from their computer or their Google Drive. And remember, a lot of the people I work with are not organized. Right? So finding that stuff can take them little bit of time.

That's why it's so important to do that kickoff call, send them that form for them to gather all of the things together so that when we sit down the day of, we really just dive right in. And I have, of course, a framework or a process that we go through step by step.

Teresa: We all have processes whether we know it or not. That process, even if it's I work all day and then I collapse on the couch and pass out, that's a process. So many people I talk to, I don't really have a process for that. Well, no, if you're doing it, you have a process. It might be a messy one. And I love that you bring, again, that calm to it and that order to it.

And I'm sure they show up really excited because they know they're ready. Now, it's not that thing they've already worked through, probably the angst of, oh, my God, somebody is going to see this this hot mess that it is back here. It's like just the relief is in within reach. And knowing that you're working with an expert like you that can just think like that in that you're detached from it all. It's just like, I want to help you. You're not emotionally tied to it like we as business owners in our business are.

Kristen: Yeah, there's absolutely no judgment for me on what I'm seeing on their back end. I mean, I've had so many people be like, oh, I don't know if I want to show anything. And then we get into the call and they're like you're the first person I've shown this mess to and you didn't even flinch. And I'm like, no, because we're all like that just because we all appear to have it together at the front end, just because on social media, we all think we've got it going on.

Every single one of us has one aspect of our business that is not dialed in. That is a muddled mess. You know, you're not any different than anybody else. This just happens to be your area that we need to focus on fixing. There's there's no judgment there. And by the end of it, they're like, oh, that was so easy. Thank you for helping me.

Teresa: I think that's a great point, because we do we get out there and we say, oh, my gosh, she's got it so together. Tell me for those people who are just trying to figure it out, I know you have, is that your roadmap to- tell us about that? Because we'll put this in the show links, I mean the show notes, the links, because it's really a nice way to just start to look at it.

Kristen: Yeah. So I do have it's called your Roadmap to Business Growth. And I know there's so many road maps out there. I picked that because my husband's a mechanic. Right? So, like, cars are like just like a huge part of our life and a huge part of the way, I think. So there is a reason why I called it a road map. But nonetheless, what that does is it, what I ask you to do is I ask you to think of like a bigger goal, something that would take you about 12 to 18 months to complete.

And then what we do is through this guide, it's about fourteen pages long and we work backwards from that bigger goal to see, OK, what are the big milestones? What do we need to tackle each quarter. From there to stay on track or what we would need to do each month and then what we need to do each week? And I give you an example in there as well.

The best part about this roadmap is coming off the back end of it is actually a video series. There's eight videos that go along with it that actually walk you through each of the steps, going a little bit more detail than what you're getting in the PDF so that you can have, you can process it and work through it over time, over a couple of days. Rather than getting this PDF, looking at it going, I don't know where to start. And then it stays on your computer or your hard drive somewhere. There's actually a video series that you'll land in your inbox every couple of days that says, OK, today, take five minutes to do just this step and then we'll come back tomorrow and we'll take the next step together.

So even the back end of that has been built for busy entrepreneurs that maybe aren't quite sure what their next step is, its for me to help them break it down and go one day at a time through the process of figuring out how to break down that goal.

Teresa: And I'm sure they can reach out to you if it's just like, oh, I have like these five things I want to do and I don't even know which one to do first.

Kristen: Yep. It's as simple as hitting reply to the email and it comes right in my inbox.

Teresa: And you are so responsive. Thank you so much for sharing all of this great information because we are all there. I'm what, over 12 years in, a little over twelve years and it's just like, oh my gosh. I didn't realize back then how important this stuff is that, but since I've implemented in my business and reached out to people to help do these things,realizing that I'm too close to it. Like my business just took on a whole different level in the way that I get to make decisions now based on that.

So the people that we work with are so good at what they do, they just don't know what they don't know about the business end things. And that's OK. You can't know it all like. We can't know all the things about all the things, so this helps business owners do their thing better because now they they don't have to go on a feeling or oh, well, I think this or I think that, like, they've got it right there in black and white and then someone like you to help them through that process.

Kristen: And so people are scared of systems or SOPs. If I say the word SOPs, people start running. Right? Standard operating procedures they're like, what? And they run for the hills.

But it's really like you just said, it's your way of doing things. It's your routine. It's the order in which you tackle a project. It's as simple as that. It doesn't need to be scary or this monstrous mountain you have to climb. Right?

Teresa: Nobody freaks out when they buy the cake mix. Right? And they look on the back and it says, do preheat the oven. Here's your ingredients. That's a process. It wouldn't work if you put in the cake mix and put it in the pan and baked that and then took it out and put the eggs in. It's just a process. It's just the way it works in the right order so that you get the results you're looking for, which is a nice cake at the end.

It's nothing to be afraid of. I definitely don't freak out when we pull out the cake mix box. So it's like actually it's like, oh my God, thank God. I don't have to think about this. Right. I'm just going to do what it tells me and I'll be done. So it can be that easy in our businesses, if we let it.

Thanks so much for being here, Kristen. I want to ask you a couple quick questions. I always like to find out from my guests what has been your favorite vacation experience or destination thus far?

Kristen: Oh, that's a great one. So my husband and I went to Hawaii right before we got pregnant and had our children. And so that's probably for a couple of reasons. I love Hawaii. So we did a tour around all of the islands, like we took a cruise around all of the islands. My two favorite are Kauai and Maui. And so I would love to go back to either of those islands and spend some significant amount of time there

Teresa: With kids or without?

Kristen: I'd love to go without kids. When they're older, I wouldn't, I wouldn't hesitate to bring them. But right now, I mean, we've been over nine months together, all in the household. I would just love to do something without with the kids.

Teresa: Love ya but we'll see ya in a little bit.

Kristen: Exactly.

Teresa: Would you rather time travel or teleport?

Kristen: Oh, I've never been asked that one before. Is this a one time thing or like ability? I have over and over again.

Teresa: Over and over again.

Kristen: I'd want to teleport. Oh, my God. I could save so much time, I imagine. Like I live on the East Coast, right? So any time I want to go to San Diego or anything like that

Teresa: Hawaii

Kristen: Hawaii. Like the time change and the amount to go to the airport and wait in line and the board the plane and then fly there. And if I could just teleport, I would love that.

Teresa:
That does not surprise me as being your answer because you're just so efficient. In this world of becoming a profitable CEO, we're going to talk to quite a few different people. So what is the question that you would like for me to ask an upcoming guest about becoming a profitable CEO?

Kristen: Oh, you know what? I always love to know how other people keep those blinders on and don't get distracted by the next newest thing. Because the people that are most profitable are those that are sticking to a plan and sticking to what they know is working for their business, which is different from all of the other people out there on social media that are telling you what's working in their business. And so I'd love to know from them what they do to kind of keep that focus, to be able to really scale their business.

Teresa: Good one. I like that one, too. I'll be interested to find out. So what we're going to do with this is put them in a hat, a bowl or something. And then, as we have guests, we're going to pull that out and ask them. So since we're just getting started, I don't have one for you from someone else, but we may circle back. I'd love to have you back some time just to talk more about systems a little more in depth.

For everyone listening, check out the show notes. We will have Kristen's links to her Roadmap to Business Growth. And we'll have everywhere on social media that you can connect with her. Kristen, thanks again so much for being here. I appreciate you and the difference that you're making out there in the world for other female online business owners.

Kristen: It was my pleasure.

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Becoming a Profitable CEO. I'll be back next week but in the meantime, let's continue the conversation. Head on over to our Facebook Group at ThePurposefulCEO.com/Facebook and share your take on today's episode.

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