The Successful Coach

Natasha Mitchell

How do you scale up your business?

What are the skillsets you need for scaling?

What kind of people will you need in your business?

The foundation for scaling is taking time to think about what you really want in your life and in your business, then designing your business around that.

Know what you want, map out the business, and make informed choices about how you change up your business model to align it better to your original goals.

You need to have the right people for the right job. Know what roles you need to have for your business to scale, and make sure you have those right people in them. Find people who understand your direction.

In this episode, you will learn how to scale up your business, the things you need to focus on, and the key skill sets you need to scale effectively.

A bit about Natasha:

Owner of Inspire & Drive. She’s always had a passion for the arts; dance, music, theatre, and fashion. A beautiful piece of art, dance, or music inspires her and makes her happy. That’s why she wants to surround herself with creative people. She wants to make business easy and fun so that people can focus on sharing their gifts and talents with the world and make it a more interesting and colorful place.

As an international business consultant for over 20 years, Natasha learned how to understand client challenges, remove barriers and help them to create the structure and plans they needed to help their business and teams run more effectively and efficiently.  She knows how to translate all of this so that it makes sense to creative entrepreneurs in small businesses.

She’s worked with wedding planners, photographers, videographers, authors, art teachers, and more, helping them to create and implement strategies and processes, get organized, build their teams and develop their leadership skills so they can step out of the day-to-day grind and focus on the big picture and creative vision. Her clients tell her she’s the perfect complement to their right-brained, creative approach. She would love to help people take things to the next level without sacrificing creativity, fun, and freedom. 

Where you can find them:
Website: https://www.inspireanddrive.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natasha-mitchell-1a67994/

Where you can listen to this episode:
iTunes
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Natasha Mitchell 0:01

Think really about what you want in life, and then start to design your business around that. Don't start with designing a business and trying to fit your lifestyle into that business because it just will never work for you.

Doug Holt 0:14

Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us. I have a very special guest today. I have Natasha Mitchell with us today, and she is a business strategy coach and the creator of the simple business method. Now Natasha helps creative entrepreneurs to scale their businesses with ease without having to sacrifice their sanity or their art. This is something I can relate to, having scaled many businesses. Natasha, thank you so much for being here.

Natasha Mitchell 0:42

Thanks for having me, Doug. I'm very happy to be here today.

Doug Holt 0:45

Great. Well, I'm looking forward to this conversation because we look at business, right? Once you get past the first hurdle, which is starting your business and getting things ready. Then everybody talks about scaling, right? How do we scale this thing without being a huge monster and a mess on our plate? And I've seen this happen time and time again. So tell us, how do we get started?

Natasha Mitchell 1:09

Yeah, I think I'm exactly sort of what you framed up there that we have this sort of fallacy perhaps that we need to scale and scaling means being big it doesn't, and we're going to talk more about that. But I think fundamentally, what I see with a lot of people when they're creating these businesses are called monsters, and I say monsters, because they are sort of scary, and they sort of take over and take control. And the foundational piece that I think is missing for people is that that jumped into their business with an idea, and they just started doing it. Still, they never really took the time to think about how this business would impact their lives or what they want in their lives, ultimately. We talk about that, and you hear a lot about, you know, the freedom business and or my case, talk about the simple business. People think, "Well, that's just not true. How can I have freedom from my business?" but it all does start with this concept of knowing what you want in life and then designing your business around that. We can certainly talk more about that, but that's sort of the kernel. Think really about what you want in life, and then start to design your business around that. Don't start with designing a business and trying to fit your lifestyle into that business because it just will never work for you.

Doug Holt 2:43

I love that idea, and that's how I've done it with mine. In coaching other coaches, it's very common that a coach has been successful in one career, right? Maybe it's business or something else. And they go ahead, and they make the leap, they're thinking about making the leap into their new passion. And then they're just ready to scramble and take anybody that will return a phone call, right? And they get into this fray, and they find themselves having conversations with people at five in the morning and missing family dinners because that's when their clients are going through. What are good starting points for someone who's saying, "Hey, my business is starting to grow, and I'm looking to scale it." where do they even start?

Natasha Mitchell 3:26

I'm glad you brought that up, coaches, because coaching is probably one of the most challenging ones just scales in my mind. Because a lot of the success of a coaching business comes from you as the expert and delivering that expert. And it's not always a straightforward job. Where you can just train someone else to do exactly what you do and you're very experienced, and there's some magic sauce that you have that I don't have. That doesn't matter how much you teach me; I'm not going to be used. So that's the first thing I would say about coaching but of course, this applies to any business. I think the first place to start is that whole classic of being called at five o'clock in the morning or being on call 24 seven, like that. That's a common thing. And in lots of businesses, I have a lot of clients in the wedding and event planning industry, and they struggle with the same thing. People just think you're available 24 seven, so you're not, and we know that. I think the first thing to start with is I like to do a road map of my business. I like the business model canvas as a tool by Osterwalder, and it's a nice tool, and I think that's a great starting point for people to see a visual firstly of everything going on in their business. We'll talk a little bit more about this later. But you don't have to do everything in your business. So the first step is getting a picture of what's there, then you can start making some informed decisions about what you will keep and what you will not keep in your business.

Again, now that we've started with knowing what you want your lifestyle to be, if you want your lifestyle to be I want to work, I'm just going to say nine to five, but it could be nine to 12, it could be three days a week, whatever that is. But if you want to work in those parameters and say, I don't want to work on weekends or in the evenings, you need to start designing your business around that. That's what I'm what we're sort of started with. If you don't know what that is from the start, then you're going just to allow things to happen. But when you are very clear and have that roadmap of saying, Okay, this is where I'm going to work, you know, when I went and where I want to work, and we talk about building a team later, but this is when and where I want to work. Therefore, this is the kind of service I can offer. When we start talking about the coaching industry, in particular, there's a lot of people like, "Well, I want to be drinking my Margarita on the beach in Mexico, work three hours a day" you can do that. But you can't do that working, for example, one on one with clients for $500 a month, you could do that if you said I only take three clients a year, and I charge each of them $100,000. Yes, your whole business model has to start changing. So the basic, the number one step, start with knowing what you want in your life. Number two-step is let's map out the business. And let's really see the roadmap and the pictorial view of what's happening now and then start to make some informed choices about how you change your business model to start aligning better to your original goals.

Doug Holt 7:16

I absolutely love this. Obviously are starting off with some visualization of some sort, maybe on the beach with a margarita in their hand. A good way to start thinking about these things and then laying out a strategy of how to get there. You mentioned something I thought was really interesting because a lot of people who are solopreneurs are running the business by themselves or maybe with their partner. When you bring on staff, that's a whole another monster that comes into the fray. How do you start thinking about that?

Natasha Mitchell 7:47

Yes, it definitely can be a monster. My background is big corporate, and working on big projects, and working in a lot of change management, HR training kind of field. So one of the things I bring to the table that is often overlooked, I think, for solopreneurs is this concept. Again, everything I am almost everything I talk about has a very visual element because I just think it makes it easier. It's hard to visualize an abstract concept of an organization and the structure of an organization. So one of the things I think a lot of solopreneurs overlooks, firstly, is having an organizational chart. And so really mapping out, again, what are the roles that need to be filled in the business and then looking at the right people to fill those roles, because again, as a solopreneur, sometimes what can happen is we get as we are scaling, there's always a point where it's like slow, slow, slow, and then the floodgates open. And you're like, "Oh, what am I going to do? I just need to hire some buddies to help me". But that doesn't help. You need to have the right people in the right job, firstly.

So having this organizational chart, and you know, you've mapped out now what things are going to happen in the business, and then you can have a chat of what are the jobs or the roles that you need to have. And then you can start bringing people in with the right skill sets to fill those gaps. And I don't want it to feel too corporate, but even if you don't do a full or chat, taking a pause and thinking about what are the activities that you want someone to do for you when you're bringing them on board. Then you know, there's a lot of considerations, you know, what is the chassis you want them to do? What is the budget that you have? Therefore, what is the skill level that you're bringing a person in at, therefore, how much time or Do you need to spend in training or upskilling someone to do that job? There's always a trade-off between the experience and perhaps the cost associated with the resource, and how much time you need to spend. So you need to sort of start, again, if you have the picture, and then knowing what you need to feel and what's a priority. And so how that impacts your business, then you can start making better decisions about who and how many people you need to bring into your team.

Doug Holt 10:29

I love that. How far in advance should someone be looking into the future in order to fill out this org chart?

Natasha Mitchell 10:38

Yeah, interesting. Well, I would say you can do it at a very early stage of your business. And when I say the early stages of business. We're talking about a business here that's at a level of scale. So this is a business where someone is already clear on the product and service they're offering, they're already clear on the, you know, the key audience that they're going to be delivering to, so this is not just someone's like, oh, I've got an idea for a business, I think this will work. I mean, this is a more established business, you know, at around sort of the, I'm going to say 50, to $60,000, kind of revenue and, and up. So as soon as you start operating in a more regular, consistent way, I would say that's the time to start building the foundation. So you can have this organizational structure very early on in your business. Your name might be in all of those boxes early on. But as they grow, or you have additional budget, then you can start bringing in the people to fill in the gaps. So I think that's the distinction that I would want to make. This is not about saying from a business perspective. I really can't afford to hire a person in. And again, there's always two sides to this, but I really can't afford to hire people in, or I can't afford a team of 10 people, or I can't afford necessarily a full-time person right now. But it gives you that vision of when you're ready and able to bring in someone that you're at that point, and you're not just starting to think about who do I need, and what do I need, that's all already in place. So I would say the sooner you can sort of creating that picture of here are the key roles in the business, the better. And as I say it, you might initially start with your name in all of those boxes, and then you can start to start to swap those out on a priority basis.

Doug Holt 12:49

I love it. So when you're thinking about I can imagine someone listening to this in the car on the treadmill, as this podcast comes through here, they're like, "Okay, I want to scale, and there's a bunch of things in my business. I'm just scared to give up. How do I trust the scaling process going through there?" What would you say to them?

Natasha Mitchell 13:11

I would say it is scary; I just want to address that first, it is scary. And things will look and function a little differently when you're not doing everything yourself; they just do. But I think the way to avoid it is a couple of ways to avoid sort of the big scary, the big monster, and minimize the risk. So I always think about when I'm giving up control over something. I really like to think about what's the risk of giving this up. For example, one big part of your business is business development, and you're a great salesperson, and you close people 100% of the time. That's, and again, this comes back to like doing some of the things you love and knowing what you're great at, and the sales and peace. If you're closing thousands or hundreds of thousand dollars in value, that might not be something that you are able to give up. But your social media, for example, writing some social media posts, could be something that you could give up. Because if one of those social media posts isn't quite the right image, or the caption isn't exactly as you would have written it, as long as it's not offensive but ignored exactly the way you've written it, then your business is not going to go under whereas if you gave up the piece of business that generates a lot of money, that's

Very heavy client-facing and you weren't getting any more sales, that's going to have a big impact on your business. So I do like to look at the risk of, firstly, I like to look at the risk of what I'm giving up. And the second thing I would say that can minimize that risk is when you're bringing people on, you've got to remember that people do not mind readers. They can't get into your head. So the more you can document your processes, and there are many different ways to document the process, you can have it written down, you can do a recording, there are lots of great screen capture recordings now. So there are lots of ways you can do that. Or you can either even train people on the job, and you've got to train people, you've got to show them what you want. And I think people underestimate that. And sometimes, even when they're bringing in a more experienced resource, they think, "Oh, well, that person knows how to do that." Well, they may, but they don't know how to do it, how you want them to do it. And if they don't know exactly how to do it, they need some instructions. And they need to know why it's important and kind of what the end result looks like. So there are a few tips. There's a lot of tips I know. But you know, there are a few things that I would think about. So think about the risk and decide whether it's something you want to give up. If it is something you decide that is not going to make your business fall over right away, then make sure you document and train people and just start small. It takes a little bit to exercise that muscle and start giving up control over the little things.

Doug Holt 16:47

Yeah, and having scaled several companies myself, I can tell you the communication when bringing somebody on is the area I think that's missed the most they were in the coaching world. We talked about communication, unmet expectations being the big challenges that business leaders faced. I've seen it time and time again, where they're expecting them to "You can't read my mind? What's going on, Natasha?"

Natasha Mitchell 17:11

Exactly and like, sometimes and again, you've had many businesses, I'm in business, and I've been in a corporate world sometimes you think you've explained yourself very clearly, and be like, "Whoa, well, I told you, that's what I wanted." Well, maybe you did, and maybe didn't, you've got it. Communication is such a big part of the success and such a big part of being a leader of an organization versus being just a solopreneur. And your business is a real leadership skill, and in communication, and without going into a rabbit hole of that some people understand directions very clearly, and just the conversation, some people need to see it written down, some people need to hear it. So you need to sort of be aware of that, and communicate multiple times, and do check-ins multiple times, and give feedback to people when things are not going the way that you want them to as well, right? Because someone makes mistakes, like, oh, they're terrible, they can't do that job. Well, maybe they just didn't know that you didn't like it that way. Or that wasn't quite the way it needed to be done. So communication is a whole other podcast.

Doug Holt 18:31

Oh, it's a series of podcasts. It's been a journey for a couple of decades of my study.

Natasha Mitchell 18:36

Yeah, we're always improving our communication. And you'll know when something falls down. You can then make decisions like did you not communicate correctly or is the person not have the right skill set to do that particular job.

Doug Holt 18:53

Certainly. Absolutely. And then scaling, you can always as a leader, I think you can look to see if there's a pattern, right? So if you have multiple people that didn't understand your directions, while the problem might not be them.

Natasha Mitchell 19:05

Exactly. You might want to look inside a little bit then.

Doug Holt 19:08

Yeah, absolutely.

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Well, one of the things that I find really interesting that you've done very well is you created an actual methodology, right? The simple business method. Can you talk a little bit? I know we're shifting gears here on the fly. But can you talk a little bit about one? What is the simple business method? And two is how did you come about formulating that?

Natasha Mitchell 20:26

Yeah, so it does sound like a bit of switchgear, but it's sort of the foundation of everything we've been talking about. So firstly, and what I'll say is, complex businesses steal your energy. And when people are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or run, it's typically because things in their business are too complicated. And that might, and complication can come about in a variety of different ways it can come because you don't have a process because you're reinventing the wheel every time. Because you've got too many steps in a process, like all sorts of reasons. I saw this time and again in the corporate world. And what I saw was multimillion-dollar projects getting stalled because there were so many levels of hierarchy and way too much complexity. So when I started working with entrepreneurs, I thought, the number one thing is people need to have a simple business. And not everyone has an MBA or a lot of business experience, they just have great ideas, and they want to implement them. So I want to make that really simple. So my simple business method is this. It's like no matter what your experience is. And if you don't know anything about businesses, three things, sort of three buckets that things fall into, it can either be a task or information that's related to self.

And that's a lot of leadership time management. It can be specifically related to the business. So that's all your strategy processes, or it can be related to the team. So that's how I like to look at a business just in terms of those three buckets. The second thing that I discovered, as I started working with a lot of my clients who are very creative people, so they're more like designers, artists, photographers, then they're not coming from a very structured environment. I mean, that makes them good at what they're doing. They can vision things; they're more abstract thinkers. So for that kind of an enemy applies to anyone. But for that kind of people, in particular, creating a business model that's very structured and very linear for them can often be met with a lot of resistance. And even though they know intellectually that that's the right way to do it, it's sometimes very difficult for them to apply it in real life. So knowing so, what I wanted to do is say this, one size doesn't fit all. So Doug, where you're at in your business right now, is not where I'm at in my business, and is not where a lot of the audiences are at in the business. They're all in different places. So if I came to you and said, "Oh, Doug, you want me to coach you?".

And I'm not going to give you the same approach that I would for someone who's just starting out. A multi-million dollar business looks very different from a $100,000 business or a $50,000 business. And the skill sets are different. So what this model allows us to do by having self business and chain, which is the simple method, it allows us to look in each of those segments of that model and say, What are the pieces under that? What are the tactics that are relevant to where you are right now? And we basically create an ala carte offering based on that. And so, and maybe that sounds simple, or maybe it doesn't, but the simplicity is this, that by being able to customize, and meet people where they are at and allow people the flexibility to move around, as and when they need to, you can actually move more quickly. And you can actually get more focused, and you don't have to focus on everything in the business that's not relevant to you right now. So when you focus and you're focusing on things that are very relevant now, knowing this and the bigger picture down the track, but you can focus on what's very relevant now. That takes away a lot of the stress and anxiety, and we can build a skillset around that and then sort of growing as you get more experience. Hopefully, that is clear.

Doug Holt 24:54

No, it is, and what I really like about that is, I know for coaching business leaders for over 20 years is so easy at the early stages, especially, is to get that what I call shiny new object syndrome. Right? Where you're starting down the path, we are so overwhelmed. And is it marketing? Is it funnels? Is it? Is it hiring staff? Do I have to hire a VA? Do I have to do all of these things to become overly complex? Whereas they have the skill sets. If they have a simple step by step process that relates to their business, it'd be much easier to be focused rather than just omnidirectional.

Natasha Mitchell 25:33

Yeah, and look like and again, I will; obviously, there are a lot of coaches listening to this. So they will understand this. In our coaching business, we understand that as we scale up, the way to scale up is to be able to do group coaching or some kind of online program. I mean, that sort of or charge a lot of money for your services, which is another business model. But what can happen there is because we sort of is getting bombarded with that every day, in every kind of communication, we see in social media, we immediately think I need to make a sales funnel, which is going to mean like multiple emails, it's going to mean, lead magnets are going to mean the opt-in page is going to mean technology, it's going to mean all of these things. And this is where sort of the coaching and this sort of more customized model can help simplify because, in the early stage, I could help people make a very simple sale, sales funnel that doesn't need all of that technology that still achieves what they need, but they don't need the big heavy engine and all of the team members that you need to run those complex, complex funnels, they don't need them right now. What they might need is to write three emails, three emails, or have a phone call with someone and create a Google document and put like three files in there. And that's how they deliver their course. The complexity and the burnout happen when you're at point a, and you're trying to do something that's at point F over here. And you don't have the resources or the knowledge to do what's that point F, and so let's meet you where you are. Let's focus on what's relevant for you right now. And let's build it up sort of piece by piece, depending on your knowledge, experience, interest, and what you want to be doing in your business.

Doug Holt 27:42

Something else, Natasha, that I think is a byproduct of your methodology is a lot of us fall into the comparison trap, right? Whether it be coaches or humans in general. But a coach, it's very easy to say, Well, I see Tony Robbins doing this, or I see another coach or Natasha is doing this, right. And then we try to emulate that person not knowing that you've been, you're way down the path of the journey further down than they may be. So this puts them it's kind of like placing them in the right path with the next right step in front of them is what it sounds like to me.

Natasha Mitchell 28:18

Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out, Doug. Because I think that's true. I think even though like the Tony Robbins of the world, and anyone who we consider a guru, I mean, there's lots out there. But it can seem a little bit demotivating or frustrating when, like Tony's out there, and I love Tony, but Tony is out there promoting something, and you know, 10,000 people show up to his webinar, just by Adams statistics, right? Like, if he converts, like 1% of that, it's already got like, 1000 people on it, you know, 100 people, whatever it is, on his call. Whereas if I'm not Tony Robbins, and I am like out there running the machine and social media and getting people on if I get five people onto my webinar, and my conversion is small, and I only get one person, and I'm like what I've done, I went through the whole sales funnel that Tony and Jeff Walker, and all those people, I went through that funnel, great, but if your list is not a million people, you're going to have a different result. And frankly, if your list is not a million people, if it's 100 people or if it's ten people, some of the structures around like a heavy sales funnel, can steam really. It can burn out your list, and if you've only got 100 people on your list and you're burning your list, that's a big deal.

If you've got a million people on your list and you're burned, some people like a list; that's not such a big deal. So, I mean, I think I think we are all seeing that a little bit. And I think in terms of what you, you know where we started, that is, you do need to set realistic expectations about where you are now, and that doesn't mean you can't stretch. But you may need to modify some of the systems and processes that some of the big gurus have out there that fit. I mean, it's not a modification of the model's work, but it's a modification that's right for you. And that's what I'm talking about in my business model. It's not one size fits all. And that's why sometimes when you follow the gurus, what they say doesn't work for you. And then you go, "Ah, that doesn't work. Let me try and follow a different guru and see if that works" you're going to have the same problem; it's going to keep repeating itself.

Doug Holt 30:58

Yeah. And I think, I'm actually speaking at an event with Tony coming up, and people don't realize you're communicating with him, you're also communicating with three or four other people at the same time, because there are so many moving parts. And we talked about scaling; if you're not ready to give up controls of your calendar and everything else, like Tony, has been able to do, you're not going to be able to scale, especially to that level. And that's why again, it's one foot in front of the other, you know, you don't get to bypass the shortcut, you don't get the shortcut, there's no cliff note version two, running your business.

Natasha Mitchell 31:32

Right, exactly. Even the gurus like you sort of pointed out an interesting thing Tony had to go through the pain of when he first started giving up control, but he did that. If you are not giving up control already, now, then, that's the first thing you need to work on. Tony has built a multi-million dollar business. So he has the financial resources to be able to hire all kinds of people to do all kinds of things for him. So he has the big systems and the big structure, and then 5000 emails and whatever. But if you're just you or me, Doug, or me, the case may be, writing 20 emails by yourself takes a lot of time. Writing one takes a lot of time and effort. So, you know, it's all relative to where you are at, again, you can sort of look at the structure of someone who's many, many steps ahead of you, and say, "How do I adapt that? so that it will be realistic for me", you know what, maybe I'm only going to be able to do emails, maybe my videos and not going to be as fancy and high tech as someone who's having a full-scale production, but do what you can within the realm of with the resources you have available to you.

Doug Holt 32:54

Yes, and you're making me feel very grateful and appreciative of my team right now. So I want to give them a special shout out as they go through this.

Natasha Mitchell 33:02

teams who can do any of the tech backend stuff are a piece of gold and worth all kinds of money.

Doug Holt 33:11

So Oh, yeah, absolutely. Going through all that, Natasha, I want to be respectful of your time; you're giving us so much information here. For those that want to learn more about you or the simple business method, what's the best place for them to go?

Natasha Mitchell 33:24

Yeah, so um, they can visit me at InspireandDrive.com. That's my website, and they can find all that out about me. And I have a free download there of the business and simple business blueprint and the simple business methods. So you know, people are able to have a look at that and start to think about how that relates to their business and perhaps where they are, and they can even create their own little ala cart roadmap from that download. So that's free. And I encourage people to have a look at that. And if you'd like to chat further, obviously, you can connect with me to have a discovery call as well.

Doug Holt 34:00

Absolutely, everybody, I recommend it. You're a fabulous person to chat with. Very down to earth, which I appreciate. Thank you again for being here. I appreciate you taking your time.

Natasha Mitchell 34:09

Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

Doug Holt 34:12

Thank you for joining us at The Successful Coach podcast. Please hit like and subscribe so we can bring you more great interviews like these. Until next time, have an amazing day.

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