Episode #71 The Entrepreneur's Journey

July 1, 2021

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You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 71.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. The all inclusive podcast that teaches mindset and business tools. We'll help you rise as your authentic self. Be unshakable with your emotional freedom and unstoppable in achieving any goal and living your purpose. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. If you want to put your mental health first in life, relationships and business, you've come to the right place.


Hi, my strong friends. Hey, are you starting to get inspired? Are you coming up with ideas for how you can help other people in this world? You have a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspective that's going to be able to help so many other people.


I was inspired this week. I got to work with a corporation. They are developing a program that they can go out and help people in the community with. Now I help all sorts of people. I love helping entrepreneurs to create their new programs, but there's another term I want to introduce to you. This is called an intrapreneur. An intrapreneur is someone that already works within a company and they create an innovative product service or program. They go through the same process steps to create their programs as an entrepreneur does.


There are a lot of things that we could do together, whether you're an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur.


Today's topic is the Entrepreneurs Journey. Back in episode number 64, I went over the Coach's Journey. This includes all of the struggles that they went through and how they want to turn around to help the next person. One of the very last steps in that journey was creating a business. Now, again, if you're an intrapreneur, it may not be a standalone business. It's a subset within a larger business.


Today's topic is going to be the entrepreneur's journey. So this is basically how you go and you create that whole business or subset within a business. On the web page for this podcast episode, you'll find a graphic that will lay this out nice and easy, so you can reference it at any time.


The entrepreneur's journey contains 10 steps and is connected in the middle by mindset. Because mindset plays a huge part.


You noticed that during the coach's journey, there was a lot of mindset shifts that needed to happen for someone to get all the way through struggles, to a point where they were on solid ground, their struggles had been resolved, and now they're able to help other people.


During an entrepreneur's journey, mindset stuff pops up all the time. I can speak from experience. The number of mindset self coaching models I've had to do along the along the way has been a huge amount. It's seriously a great skillset to have. In your entrepreneur's journey, there's all of those tactical things that you do as you're building up your business, your programs, your services. But the mindset part always has to be there too, so that you can keep going. Otherwise, it's just going to pop up as huge mindset obstacles that are going to keep you from making progress on your dream.


Let's jump right into the entrepreneur's journey for today. I'm going to just give a high level overview of the 10 different steps. In future episodes I will get into more details on this. And of course, if we're working together, I'm going to help you through all 10 of these things.


STEP 1: Test the Waters & Get Noticed


The very first thing is to test the waters and get noticed. When I first started having the urge to help people, I was really curious if anyone would be interested in what I had to say. I needed to test the waters. You don't just decide one day, okay, I'm going to start a whole company, a whole program and just do it without testing the waters first. I mean, what if nobody is interested in anything you have to say? So of course you need to test the waters and get noticed.


When people know there's someone who can help them, that's going to set you up for success in the long run.


I first started doing this back in 2017. I started blogging. Blogging is a little bit easier to do than doing something as big as a podcast. A podcast takes a lot more technical skills. A lot more time. The investment in a blog was a lot easier for me because I could just sit down and write it at any time. I could edit it as much as I wanted to, and then put it out there. I also created a Facebook business page. It's different from a personal page. And there's a lot of reasons why you'd want to do a business page. We're not going to get into all of those details today. But you'll want to have one of those.


I tested the waters with blog posts just to see if anyone was interested in this? And then depending on what the reaction would be, I'd know if people actually were interested. It also helped to pay attention to the different topics. Not all topics resonate with people. The ones that do, you know are the ones you can spend a lot more time on.


How would you test the waters on what you have to offer to the world? Would you want to do a blog? Would you want to just do some social media posts? You might even just want to get out and start talking with people. Now, if you're an introvert that might not sound like the best thing to do. So find something that works for you, where you're at in your journey right now, and just start testing it and see if it resonates with people.


STEP 2: Explore Industry Business Models


The second step is to start to explore the industry business models. I help a lot of coaches, healers, and educators, to understand all of the different business models. A business model is more than just a product and service. It includes all of your publicity, how people would know you, your infrastructure, your marketing, your sales, all of that. And the sequence you do things.


One of the ways that helped me the most when I started out is to pay attention to the other coaches in my space. What were they doing? What things did they have? Like books or programs, podcasts, all of that. I didn't understand the industry at all. I didn't know all of the pieces. I didn't know about sales funnels or anything when I first started. I just spent a lot of time studying what other people were doing, trying to find out which ones I liked, which ones I resonated with, and trying to learn as much as I could about them.


Write down notes on all of the pieces that they have in their business. Try to make sense out of it. Now, of course, if you and I work together, I'm going to show you how all of those pieces fit together. How all of the flow works so that you can build yours business faster and easier.


First just start exploring what are those business models? What are those pieces? What parts do you like? What would you want to consider?


STEP 3: Branding, Website, Legal & Bookkeeping


Step three in the journey is then to decide that you actually want to do this (start a business). Then you start thinking about branding. This is usually the very first part where people make their first stamp in the world. They decide on what name they want to call their company. If they want to go under their own name versus a fictional name.


Next is to start looking at the possibility of doing a website. Now you don't have to do a website when you first start off. But a website is definitely something that you need for a full lifetime established business. If you're an intrapreneur, a website may also be something that is very helpful for you. When I was a corporate business coach, I worked with each of the different functional groups within the corporation to create their websites. That made their products and services very well known and also educated on the process to initiate to get help from that group.


If you're not ready to commit to a website just yet, you can leverage social media. You can use Facebook business pages. You can use LinkedIn. You can use simple things. I mentioned, I had that blog. I started with a free website from blogger.com. I didn't have to put any money out. It was already set up to take blogs. I didn't have to do much in the way of figuring out how to build a website.


Have some way for people to know how to find you. It's like your virtual store. If you're at a point where you have funds, where you actually want to have a physical location, you could do that too. At this stage in the game, you're probably starting off a bit more conservative, and then advancing it as your business grows.


At this stage, you'd also want to look into all of your legal stuff. What legal structure do you want for your business? I chose an LLC so that I had legal protections built in. It keeps all of my personal financial stuff separate than my business financial stuff. You can find out a lot about the legal structures through your local, small business administration.


You'll also want to figure out a bookkeeping system for yourself. That could be a simple Excel spreadsheet. I would highly recommend that you have a separate checking account for your business then for your personal. It'll make doing taxes a whole lot easier.


So that's step three. You have branding with your company name, or you brand under your own name. You have some type of a website. You've figured out your legal structure and you have some kind of bookkeeping setup.


STEP 4: Client Research


Step four is to do some client research. I know when I started, I just wanted to help everybody. But helping everybody ends up being really, really hard because you're going to be switching tasks so much. Your messaging is going to be all over the place. If you're doing anything like a podcast or blogs, each of those might seem like they're all over the place if you don't know exactly which clients you want to work with.


Ask yourself who are they? What demographic are they in? What do they have in common? What types of problems do they have that they'd actually want help with? And if you're in a business where you're trying to earn money, make sure that the people also are willing to pay in order to solve that problem. What are their dreams? Is that something that you can help them with? Is that something that they're willing to invest in to have your help for them to achieve their dreams?


You'll also get to do a whole lot of experimenting. As you're working with different people, you can start to record down: What did you like about working with them? What did you not like about working with them? You're going to find that people are at all different levels of their journey. Some you will feel equipped and ready to help them. And some where you're not. You get to decide what is the right fit for you. If we're working together, we'll go into a lot more detail on that one.


STEP 5: Product/Service Design & Build


Number five in the journey is figuring out your products and services. This is why you need to do your client research first. If you start off first with building a product or a service, and then going out and try to sell it, you're going to have a lot harder time selling. People might not have that problem. Or they don't have that dream. Or maybe they do have that problem or that dream, that they want your help with, but they're not willing to invest money in getting the help for themselves. That puts you as a business owner in a really tough spot. You want to help, you have everything there for them, but as a business owner, you need to be able to make some revenue too.


Go out, do your client research first. Make sure that you're developing a product or service that people actually want, and that they're willing to pay for.


During this design and build phase, you'll also want to consider how much of your time and resources will go into building it, maintaining it, and running it day to day. You'll want to build out some processes with that. Make sure that it fits into your lifestyle.


A scarcity mindset can take over so much when you're an entrepreneur. You think that you have to do so much for everybody, but you might be over committing. Factor in all of the activites of business into your schedule. It's more than your product and service. There are a lot of other activities that you have to do to keep it going. Make sure that you don't burn yourself out. You need to be nice and calm and refreshed to be able to be there to serve your clients the best way possible.


When we work together, we also use a Google calendar so that we can create a vision of what your ideal workload would be and build in life with that. As an entrepreneur, the great thing is, you're in full control of your own schedule. You get to pick and choose what days you want to work, what hours you want to work. And if you want to build in time for you to go and do things to enjoy life, you get to do that. That's where that whole design is really important.


STEP 6: Client Connection


Step number six in your journey is client connection. I'm sure you've been on the flip side of this. We've all been customers of somebody's business at some point. This could be going to a restaurant. It might be going to a bookstore. Could be any retail establishment. It could be your healthcare professionals. Anyone we've been customers for. All of those different industries.


Think about the ones where you had to spend your money on their products and services. What was it about them that made you decide? Yes. I want to work with them. Have you ever experienced one where you almost felt like you were a family member and they made you feel like they really cared about you and your wellbeing? It's probably because they started to learn stuff about you. They knew your name. They knew the things that you were struggling with. They were more than happy to help you. They may have even given you some value ahead of time. They're giving you a result, helping you with some of the small stuff first, before they even ask you to pay for their services. They might even remember things about your personal life, like your spouse's name or your kid's name or your pet's name. You might have visited them several times before you even made a purchase. And when you walked in, they greeted you by name and they remembered things about you. That's called connection.


When you get really skilled at creating connection with other people, it makes it so much easier. When they're ready to invest in your products and services, at that point, they already know you. They like you. They trust you. And they know that they can get results with you because you've already helped them.


Developing your skills at client connection is really important. You might also want to keep track of what were all of those different activities that you did. Because sometimes we spend a whole lot of effort, a whole lot of time with different people, just to find that in the end they say no. You get to decide at what point would you want to scale back? Remember you're in business so that you can have a viable, sustainable business. Sometimes you will have to scale back on some of that connection. But know that connection is definitely the key to having a successful business.


STEP 7: Experiments to Develop Capability & Skills


Step number seven contains all of the experiments that you're going to do, to develop your capability and your skills. Imposter syndrome is huge. Any time you're developing something new, that you haven't done before, you may thing why would anyone want to work with me? I've never done this before.


Or even if you have been doing it for a long time, all of those doubts and insecurities can still pop up. Tech stuff always pops up. There might be potential clients that have worked with other people and they're saying "Are you going to be as good as them?" or "I didn't get any results with them. How do I know I'll get results with you?" All sorts of doubts can pop up. Your confidence will shake. You'll be worried if you're able to do things.


That's where we work on your experimental mindset. Every time you do something, it's just an experiment. It's not that binary pass/fail. You're not either a success or failure. It's always about learning and growing. We all have the capacity to get better in everything that we do. It doesn't mean that we start off totally awful, but we have to be willing to start somewhere.


Even if we've never done anything before, or done this specific thing before, we have to be willing to be bad at it at first.


We can learn what does work, what doesn't work and what we would do differently next time. Everything in your business is an experiment. All of your processes are an experiment. Your products and services are an experiment. How you show up as a service provider is an experiment every time. When you get into that habit of doing some evaluations afterwards, those lessons learned: what worked, what didn't work and what would you do differently next time, it's going to help you to always move forward. You're always going to be developing your capability. You're going to get better and better and better every time.


Your products and services will evolve over time. I just want to share with you about the software industry. You see this with your phones all the time: all of the updates that you keep getting. I used to work in research and development in biotech industry, developing software. We had a whole process. We had all of our user requirements: All of the things that were a must have, a nice to have, or a delighter. Delighters are things that people would get super excited about, but they'd still buy your product or service, even if it didn't have that. It was just like that cherry on top.


We'd keep that requirement list. We would also keep a bug list. That would be anything about the product or service that didn't work, that customers were calling in complaining about. We'd keep that too. We knew that there would always be a new version to our software. We'd always go back. We'd have it on a regular cycle of every six months to one year, depending on which software it was.


We would go back. We'd have all of these things gathered. And then we would start planning the next version of the software. We took it from being good software to being even better software. We we always had to scope the work. If we tried to make it perfect, it would have taken us five years to get something out the door.


Each time you just make it a little bit better. Every six months or a year, they get the next best thing. And then a year later, they get the even next best thing. When you're developing your programs, know that there are evolutions. You can always do some version control.


You're always collecting that feedback. Same thing with how you show up as the service provider. If you're a coach, keep stock of what are all of the things that you felt that you did good at. Or that you could use some improvement on. Ask your clients for feedback too. When I first started developing my coaching skills, I didn't have any formal training. I was there in the corporate environment. I was used to doing a whole lot of the stuff, but when they said you have to be a coach said, okay, so where's my training on how to be a coach? It was just silence. It was like, well, you're just going to figure it out. What? So I had to go and learn on my own through books and watching other coaches.


I was honest with my clients at the beginning and I said, Hey, I'm learning how to be a coach. And eventually you're going to be a coach too. That was our arrangement at the time. I asked them to give me feedback at the end of every session. I also asked them to be open to receiving feedback of them as a coachee. One of the things that we did at the very beginning: we established ground rules. What are all of the characteristics of a great coach? And what are all of the characteristics of a great coachee? Because in a relationship like that, you want it to work.


Coaches need to be effective. Coachees need to be coachable. If they're not, how are they ever going to get their results? It's not up to the coach to get the results for the client. The client is responsible for their own results. Therefore they need to show up and be coachable by their coach or with the help of their coach. When we had those ground rules set up at the end of every session, we would do a little lessons learned with each other. What worked, what didn't work and what would we do differently? We'd take turns, giving each other feedback.


Learning how to love feedback is its own skill all unto itself. If you have a hard time with feedback, that might be an area that you want to do some mindset work on first, before you get into any type of experimentation. Because that's where you're going to find your gold with your experiments. All of the feedback and your lessons learned.


STEP 8: Routine Processes


Alright, so going on to step eight in your journey: your routine processes. Now this is pretty far down the line in your journey. You might want to start doing this sooner rather than later. It is one of the things that I noticed with some of the newer entrepreneurs that I've met. They're going so fast. They're trying so many different things, but they're not writing down what they did. They're thinking, oh, I can just manage it all in my head. This was the same mistake that was being made when I worked in corporate. I was a business process coach. I always helped people to flush out all of their processes. It usually started because there was a lot of conflict or a lot of confusion about what to do. They never stopped to actually write out all of their steps. They might've had an SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).


If you're a brand new entrepreneur, you don't even have that. So flushing out your processes. What are each of those steps? What are the details in those steps? What are all of the templates that you might need? The tools that you might need? The sequence of events that make sense? Eventually you'll tweak those so that you can really optimize your business so it can be super easy to run. But if you haven't even started documenting it, that's going to make it really, really hard. That's where step eight comes in. Defining all of your processes, getting it into a routine cadence. At first it can feel like pulling teeth. It's a lot of documentation. It's working ON your business instead of IN your business. Doing that work doesn't result in signing a client immediately.


As a new entrepreneur, we're kind of worried about revenue. We just want to get out there and try to get clients. But if you don't have your processes down, you're going to forget all of the stuff that worked. Along the way, you're throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Some of it is going to stick, and you're going to want to do those things over and over again. If you never wrote it down, you'll forget how what it was. Set yourself up for success, write down your steps as you go. Even if it's just chicken scratch on a piece of paper. It's better than nothing. Eventually you're going to want to have this officially documented, especially if you're going to have other people that are involved. You want to have a business that you're building for life.


You want a sustainable business that can keep going, that you can start growing and turning it into a very viable company. All viable companies have processes, especially routine processes. Eventually you're going to know it so well that you probably won't ever reference these. But there's gold in there. As you want to grow and scale your business, you always will come back to those processes to look for all of the opportunities. That's number eight: developing all of your routine processes.


STEP 9: Marketing, Sales Funnels and Advanced Website


Step number nine is when you've tried enough stuff. You've found a few things that work. You're like, yep, these are the things that I want to keep. Here's all the stuff I want to get rid of. Step number nine is now developing your final sales funnels. This is how you're going to get all of your clients to come into a sales pipeline. There is a specific series of steps that you would take them through. These are repeatable. They can be refined over time. They help you to get very predictable in your business metrics. Then, how are you going to do the marketing around that?


This is also when you would get into more of the advanced website features. If you had just started with a very, very general website at the very beginning, at this point, if you have chosen a website platform that can handle the more advanced stuff, that's great. Otherwise at this point you would be transitioning to a different type of website that could handle all of this. Now, a lot of people don't want to invest in website platforms that cost more. I personally invested in Kajabi because I was picking something that could handle my business for years and years to come.


I did not want to reinvent the wheel and Kajabi made it so much easier. I didn't have to worry about figuring out different plugins or how to connect different things, how to figure out email marketing. Everything was built in there. So it gave me an education as well as having all of the pieces connected, having all the tech. It had tech support, which was so great because I had so much to learn. You might want to decide to pick those more robust platforms earlier in your journey. But if you want to wait until at this point, when you have generated more revenue and it makes more sense, that's okay, too.


So step nine is where you're figuring out all of your marketing, fine tuning it, getting all of your sales funnel going, having a more advanced website. Now you might be thinking "Gretchen - marketing, isn't that back at step number one with the getting noticed?" Yes and no. In step number one, the getting noticed, yes, is a type of marketing. You're going to be doing some social media marketing or something where you're putting yourself out there. People are seeing you, that's just the surface level of marketing. There are so many other things that you can do that are a lot more effective. There's also the concept of marketing one to one versus a one to many.


In the early stages, you'll be doing a lot of organic marketing and talking with individuals one-on-one and helping them. You'll spend quite a bit of time with each of the people that may eventually become your client. Further in the journey, when your business is ready to start growing and scaling, you're going to want to use some marketing options that can do a one to many. Where you're only spending a few hours, but they're high quality hours, delivering a ton of value to a lot of people at one time. When you do that, you have a lot more clients coming into your programs. You also have to have your infrastructure built to handle that many clients. So that leads us onto the final step.


Step 10: Automation & Scaling


Automation and scaling is where you're really going to depend on the processes that you've built. You're really gonna depend on the sales funnel and your advanced website so you can do all of the automation. You can do a lot of things by batching and scheduling things so that it runs on autopilot. There have been so many days that I was so grateful that I had a lot of my automation in place. Because life comes in sideways. Sometimes people will pass away in your life and you have to go to funerals. You might need to decide, on a dime, not to do business for a couple of days. You have to step aside and go and do the things in life.


With automation, your business is still running. It never missed a beat. None of your clients ever knew that you weren't there because you have all of the automation going in your processes. You'll also want to consider contingency plans because there are some things where you do show up live. If you have contingency plans already built in, that's already taken care of in case you do have those emergencies.


You'll also want to be able to take vacations. Being an entrepreneur does not mean that you have to work every single day of the year for the rest of your life. Why would you have left your cushy corporate job, where you just had to work five days a week, to step into something where you work every single day of the week, that doesn't make any sense.


Set yourself up for success. When you are starting to do all of the automation, it makes your business so much easier to run so that you're working less days with less hours and having a much bigger impact.


Mindset Throughout


This doesn't happen overnight. This journey takes a while to build all of those pieces. That's why you have to manage your mindset. So again, that (mindset) is right there in the middle. Scarcity mindset - thinking there's not enough clients coming in. There's not enough revenue coming in. There's not enough clients in the world to come and use my products and services. All of that's going to pop up for you. You're going to think there's not enough time in the day to do everything you need to do. Or to learn everything you need to do. Those are all just mindset obstacles.


That's why you got to take a pause, use your mindset self-coaching tools or have a coach help you through all of that mindset stuff. If you get into any of those anxiety swirls, which all of us do from time to time, I mean, that's just part of it. Work stress is real. Both in the corporate world and as entrepreneur. Work stress is from all of the anxiety, all of the worry. If you can get yourself calm, which you can, if you have mastered your mindset tools, you can get yourself calm. And then all of the pieces that you need to do in your business, will be super easy for you to do. You don't have this whole mindset storm in front of you. So make to incorporate that in your entrepreneur journey.


Review: 10 Steps of the Entrepreneur Journey.


Step 1: Test the waters and get noticed. See if people like what you have to offer.


Step 2: Explore the industry business models so that you can figure out what parts of it you would like to incorporate into yours.


Step 3: Branding, your initial website, your legal setup of your company, and any of your bookkeeping stuff.


Step 4: Client research - find out what they need and who you like to work with.


Step 5: Designing and building your products and services that people will actually want to pay for.


Step 6: Client connection skills and figuring out your processes that work for you and your business, and actually gets you clients.


Step 7: Experiments to develop your capability and your skills. This is also where you might be doing revisions on your products and services.


Step 8: Developing all of your routine business processes.


Step 9: Figuring out marketing in a way that you can market to a lot of people with a small amount of effort. Your sales funnels and your advanced website.


Step 10: Automation so that you can scale and grow your business and have it successful for the long haul.


A lot of information was packed into this episode. Again, this is just high level. In future episodes, I'll go into more details on each of those. I help people with all of this, whether you are an entrepreneur or if you are an intrapreneur. Remember entrepreneur, you're out there doing your own thing. It's your own business. As an intrapreneur, you're an employee within another business and you're developing an innovative product or service offering. I am more than happy to work with both of you. I get so lit up, helping you with your journey, designing all of your new stuff, helping you through all of your experiments and helping you to put your mental health first, by resolving all of those mindset obstacles.


When you're ready to start exploring your options. I invite you to go to my work with me page on my website. That's www.myfreedomgrove.com/workwithme. There you'll find the various ways that you can work with me either one-on-one or in one of the Unshakable memberships. I have one for women and one for men, because mindset issues might get a little personal. I want to make sure that you always feel safe to talk about all of your stuff.


I hope this was really helpful. Remember on the website page for this episode, you'll be able to see a visual of the Entrepreneur's Journey.


I look forward to discussing all of your dreams with you. Have a great week. I'll talk to you soon. Bye bye.


Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove podcast. I hope this podcast provided you some relief and some inspiration. If you know somebody else that can benefit from this podcast, please share the link with them. Together. I know we can make a difference. To access more podcasts and offerings, please visit www.myfreedomgrove.com. Until next time, take care of yourself. This world needs you.


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