Creating Leveraged Income As An Attorney With The Contract Shop Founder Christina Scalera

Creating Leveraged Income As An Attorney With The Contract Shop Founder Christina Scalera

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why Christina prices her contract templates on results (and how her pricing structure changed over the last two years.)
  • How she found her niche of creatives, including calligraphers, photographers, wedding planners, and coaches (and what her surprising top-selling templates are.)
  • How The Contract Shop’s Shopify metrics encouraged Christina to raise product pricing — and how that pricing change inspired her to add additional education to her products.
  • Christina’s smart method for creating content that reaches customers at different stages of business.

On this episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., Christina Scalera, IP lawyer and founder of The Contract Shop, shares how The Contract Shop started and how business evolved over the last few years by increasing prices, offering semi-annual sales, and creating solid informational content.

Want to hear even more smart conversations with small business owners? We release new episodes of Profit. Power. Pursuit every week. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

Price experimentation

I was really, really, really scared every single time I raised the price — and nobody noticed. Nobody wrote me an email that was like ‘you raised the prices!’” But I was horrified because I was like ‘nobody’s going to buy now.

— Christina Scalera

Raising prices is scary — or is it? Pricing is all about experimentation and seeing what sticks. As Christina mentions in this episode, she raised prices multiple times — and every time, sales never slowed down. Now Christina’s at a point where she’s comfortable with her product prices — but it was a two-year journey to get where she is today.

Sales and incentives

I’m a big proponent of a twice-yearly sales system. There’s two reasons for that. One because it’s a massive revenue generator. It’s dependable. At 6 month intervals, it’s something that people can tolerate. Secondly, and more importantly, not everybody can afford our templates at the price they’re at.

— Christina Scalera

The Contract Shop’s products range between $17 for the perfect email checklist to $1,499 for a bundle of multiple vendor contract templates for wedding planners, with her most popular templates ringing in at $455. Christina realizes that not every potential customer can afford regular pricing for higher end products so every year, she runs two sales: one during the late spring/early summer and one during Black Friday. She also runs these sales as a recurring source of revenue.

Content creation

I write blog posts in groups of 3. I write one to the core consumer and that’s usually the longer one. Then, I think about someone who’s a little more beginner — where are they at and what’s the issue they’re facing around this topic? Then I think about somebody who’s more advanced or has more years under their belt: what are they concerned about around the same topic?

— Christina Scalera

Christina cares about creating great content — and it pays off. “There’s zero trick: it’s just me being really passionate about writing and creating long blog posts,” she says.

So how does she create awesome content? She thinks about her topic and what each of her 3 customer types need to know. For example, they might want to know more about the client experience. The core customer wants to know how to create a great experience. The beginner customer wants to know how to find clients. The more advanced customer wants to know how to address client refunds. Ultimately, the end result is always to offer a contract to meet their needs.

Listen to the full episode with Christina Scalera to hear more about The Contract Shop, pricing changes and incentives, and behind the scenes of her content creation method.

Scaling a High-Touch Service-Based Business with Author Accelerator Founder Jennie Nash

Scaling a High-Touch Service-Based Business with Author Accelerator Founder Jennie Nash

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How Jennie scaled her high-touch, human-centered service business (and what mistakes she learned along the way.)
  • How she made a seemingly unreplicable service like book coaching… replicable.
  • What encouraged her to adjust the Author Accelerator’s initial pricing model from affordable and accessible to high-price and high-touch.
  • What Author Accelerator’s hiring process for book coaches looks like.
  • How Jennie moved from being a writer to a book coach and, now, an entrepreneur.
  • Why it’s 100% OK to say no to a creative idea (even if it’s a really good one.)

Today on Power. Profit. Pursuit., I jam with Jennie Nash, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Author Accelerator, a book coaching program that provides feedback, accountability, and support to writers so they can finish their books—and finish strong.

Jennie believes that people have a story to tell, whether or not they’re a writer. This belief is what transformed her career as a writer to book coach: to help people finally write that book. That excitement and passion eventually turned into a business. Despite being high-touch, human-centered work at its core, Jennie figured out how to scale the book coaching process and grow her team at Author Accelerator to over 25 employees.

Listen to this episode to hear exactly how Jennie scaled Author Accelerator, what mistakes she ran into, and her four requirements for all new employees.

We release new episodes of Profit. Power. Pursuit every week. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

On scaling a high-touch, human-centered service business

I really resisted it because I thought you can’t scale a high-touch, super human-centered system. Book coaching is so inefficient. It’s about the human touch. It’s about people’s hearts. It’s about their souls. I had this really deep aversion that the two things couldn’t connect. And he (Matt Sand, her business partner) kept insisting they could — and that I’d already done it.

Jennie Nash

It took years for Jennie to accept her now-business partner’s offer to scale her book coaching process into a full-scale business. Why so long? Because she didn’t see a way for someone else, like an employee, to learn her high-touch, human-centered process — and do it right.

But what Jennie found, once she said ‘yes’, was that it was possible: she could teach others her book coaching process. Scaling this business model wasn’t an instant success, as she uncovers, but more of a test-and-tweak-along-the-way to find the right model and pricing.

On how to hire, and retain, top-notch employees

This was the roadblock: I kept saying there is no way that we can get the level of talent that we need to scale this. We can’t get them at the price that will work. That’s what I thought.

Jennie Nash

Finding and hiring the right people was Jennie’s biggest roadblock to scale her book coaching business. But once she found a formula that worked, Jennie was able to grow her team to over 25 employees around the world. In the last 4 years, only 3 employees left Author Accelerator to start families, leave for their dream job, or start their own business.

So how do you craft a team that’s in it for the long run? Process. Process. Process.

Jennie determined what skills and personality type would thrive in the position — and she didn’t make exceptions. Everyone needed mechanical editing and narrative design skills as well as the ability to think strategically. They also needed to be nice and compassionate. This was a requirement. Even if someone had all the skills, if they weren’t kind, they didn’t make the cut.

This hiring process is so successful that Author Accelerator is launching a book coach certification program in 2018.

We’re really proud of the retention of our coaches and how we train them, the ongoing masterclasses, and oversight. In fact, we have become so sure of our process that in 2018 we’re going to launch a book coach certification program which is a whole other arm of our business. We had so many people who we didn’t hire ask how they could learn what they needed to know that we decided to do this.

Jennie Nash

On pricing a high-touch service

We made a lot of missteps, as every business does. We just completed year four and at the beginning of this year, we finally hit on the right combination of how to do it, how to price it, how to make it work, and we very quickly started to see a lot of growth. It was clear that this was the right way, the right system, strategy, and process. It was so exciting. Now we’re really starting to see that scaling happen.

Jennie Nash

Most business owners struggle with properly pricing their products and services. It’s not easy! After 4 years, Jennie found the right pricing for Author Accelerator — but it took many changes along the way. At first, Jennie wanted to offer an affordable program despite being a high-touch book coaching program. That pricing method didn’t work so they tried something else: high touch and high price and — it worked. Since then, they’ve seen a lot of growth.

If pricing comes as a struggle to you, consider this: sometimes it takes a few years to get it right. Focus on what you do well and how you do it — and don’t always look to competitors for your pricing inspiration.

Then, as Jennie says, ask yourself: “What is that I do that’s so different and special and good? And how can I take that and sell that?”

Listen to the full episode to hear even more from Jennie Nash, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Author Accelerator, on scaling a high-touch, high-price service.

The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Power of a Profitable Niche with Content Copywriter Jessica Mehring

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How niching your business affects your pricing
  • How niching can expand—not limit—your clients
  • Why expanding your network can be your marketing secret weapon

On this week’s episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, my guest is Jessica Mehring, CEO of Horizon Peak Consulting, where she combines sales-focused copywriting with content marketing to help IT, software and tech clients turn content into revenue. She’s also the creator of The Content Lab, where she trains content creators and copywriters how to get better results from their written content—while putting their careers on the fast track.

Like many business owners, Jessica at first resisted defining a niche for her business, but once she did she found it completely transformed her business. During our conversation, she shares how she’s created a profitable niche service for high tech and SaaS companies, how a niche affects your pricing, how her niche actually helped her find more clients and why her referral network is her marketing secret weapon.

Finding Your Niche and Increasing Your Revenue

When you are a generalist it is more limiting than limiting yourself to a niche.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica started out being a generalist copywriter when she left her corporate job to build her business full time. Even though all the experts said to niche, like many business owners, she resisted it because she was worried she wouldn’t get enough work, she didn’t feel like she had enough expertise in a niche to claim one and her favorite excuse: she liked the variety. Once she started working with her mentor Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers, who was also my guest on the podcast, the power of a niche started to sink in. Jessica ultimately combined her specialty for writing marketing copy for high-tech companies that she developed over years of freelancing with her natural affinity for high-tech work and voila! She had herself a niche!

Once she really clarified her marketing message to “I write marketing content for IT, software and tech companies,” there was no doubt what her niche was. Crystallizing this message really helped Jessica in her sales process and to pre-qualify prospects. It also allowed her space to really master what she does. Because she is a master, she gets really good results for her clients which opens the door for higher rates.

Niching Expands your Clients

When I got very clear about what I do and who I work with it completely transformed my business.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica explains in the podcast how niching expanded her client base even though many business owners fear that it will limit them. Because her focus was on serving a particular client and she is able to share with others in her network very clearly what she does and who her ideal clients are, it makes it much more streamlined to find clients. Jessica connects with her ideal clients by writing guest posts on sites that she knows they are reading and going to conferences where her clients or potential members of her network will be.

A Strong Network: Jessica’s Secret Weapon

An effective network is a two-way street.

– Jessica Mehring

Jessica’s network understands the work she does and what kind of results she gets and this network includes her clients, other copywriters that are part of her mastermind and those she meets online and at conferences, at Meetups or even at the coffee shop. She also maintains a robust file of copywriters that she knows personally. When a prospect wants work done that’s outside of her niche, she happily refers them on to another professional from her list of vetted copywriters because an effective network is a two-way street.

Tune in to the full podcast to hear more about the power of a profitable niche. Jessica shares her intake process and how she juggles her time and energy between Horizon Peak Consulting and The Content Lab. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss my conversations with thriving business owners who share their secrets to success every week.

Self-Publishing, Distribution, and Writing for Wealth with Author Joanna Penn

Self-Publishing, Distribution, and Writing for Wealth with Author Joanna Penn

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How the Amazon Kindle and ebook pricing made it possible for independent authors and entrepreneurs to self-publish and write for wealth
  • Why marketing, packaging, and pricing correctly can expand your sales
  • How mobile, audio, and the growth of the international market are the next opportunities for authors

Ever the entrepreneur, Joanna Penn, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and author of 26 books and counting, realized the potential to write for wealth in October 2009. That was when the Amazon Kindle launched internationally and lower ebook pricing allowed independent authors access to a much larger marketplace.

Ebook pricing was a revelation. When the Kindle came out, independent authors could price their books lower and still make good margins.

– Joanna Penn

Joanna’s entrepreneurial mindset quickly realized the potential to sell books digitally to people all over the world.

Online marketing, packaging and pricing

If you are going to publish online, you need to market online.

– Joanna Penn

In 2009, Joanna was miserable at her 9-5 job, so she decided to write her first non-fiction book. After self-publishing and self-marketing the book through traditional channels (PR, TV, and newspapers), Joanna had sold about “three copies.” At the time, she really wanted to tap into the American marketplace that was much larger than Australia’s, so her focus shifted to online marketing to reach those American readers. She ditched traditional media for anything with a clickable link; started a blog in 2008, a podcast and Twitter account in 2009.

Since “you can’t have a career with just one book,” don’t trap yourself into launching a website or social media channel for just one title. Chances are you will write another book, so make sure your branding can encompass this growth.

99 cents made the first Kindle millionaires.

– Joanna Penn

By 2011, Joanna had a number of books and realized that she could leave her miserable job because her income would grow based on the size of her audience and the number of books she had.

In the podcast, Joanna shares her insights about figuring out the right price point to get the highest number of people to purchase your book and why offering something for free to your audience is still very important to build your email list and give them a chance to sample your work to see if they like it.

Under her pen name for action/adventure thrillers, J.F. Penn, Joanna’s first book in a nine-book series, Stone of Fire is permanently free on Kindle. That freebie is like the cheese samples in the supermarket. You go in and try it. If you like it, you’ll buy the whole packet—or in this case, the reader will purchase the entire series or more books if they liked what they sampled for free.

Think of Amazon as a completely different ecosystem. Amazon’s algorithms will recommend your other books that are at a higher price point to shoppers when they show interest in your free book. This is why Joanna uses J.F. Penn for her action/adventure thrillers and Joanna Penn for her non-fiction writing—to fully leverage Amazon’s role as a search engine to get in front of the right audience without confusing the algorithms.

In addition, Joanna is adept at re-packaging her work to be more easily found on Amazon whether by adjusting titles, creating box sets or altering the categories she shows up in. If your book has gone stagnant on Amazon, look at changing the cover, the category, and keywords and putting some ads on it and you may restart the whole thing.

Growth of mobile and international marketplaces

Kindle apps on mobile. Audio through Alexa. Best-seller lists on Amazon. The digital transformation of publishing continues. Joanna predicts the next opportunity for independent authors will be international marketplaces, and a little foreshadowing, it might not be on Amazon.

You don’t want to miss a thing from my conversation with Joanna about self-publishing. Tune in to the full episode to learn more about how she repackages her work and what’s on the horizon for self-publishing.

Join us each week by subscribing to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes.

5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

Why do some businesses seem to “tip” over and over again while others never quite seem to break through? I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure that out. 

Often their businesses look identical on the outside. Many times, the difference boils down to a misunderstanding about what’s going on beneath the surface and how they engineer the success they achieve. 

You can’t possibly hope to recreate a business’s success by recreating what you see at the surface level. You’ve got to dig in and figure out what else is happening.

In this post, I’d like to reveal some of the actions that are causing big business breakthroughs for the entrepreneurs you’re admiring and how you can apply them for yourself as New Business Year’s resolutions—now, or anytime throughout the year. 

If you’re trying to engineer a tipping point or breakthrough in your business right now, you’re not alone. It probably goes without saying, but everyone I work with is in that situation: they’re ready for change. They’re tipping from part-time to full-time, one-to-one sales to leveraged sales, paying the bills to creating wealth, going at it alone to growing a team, moving from one business model to another to generate exponentially more revenue.

They each tell me, “I know what got me here won’t get me where I want to go.” And, I wholeheartedly agree.

What tipping point are you at? What breakthrough do you want to engineer for your business in the next year? Maybe you’re ready to break through to a new revenue threshold. You’re ready to hire a new team member. You’re ready to expand operations or roll out new offers. You’ve got growth on your mind and you’re busy putting the pieces into place to make that happen.

Here’s what is going on behind-the-scenes of the businesses that are constantly making it happen. What can you incorporate into your next plan?  

  5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

1.) Put boots on the ground and find new customers.

It might seem like your next revenue breakthrough is just a traffic-building tactic away. You’re probably regularly on the look out for new ways to get more eyeballs on your blog posts, Facebook page, or sales letters. Maybe you’re looking at running Facebook ads, or the finer points of JV webinars, or constantly building new welcome gifts to entice people to your email list.

But the most effective community builders and salespeople know that nothing beats putting boots on the ground to find new customers. Literally. They’re at conferences, hosting events, picking up the phone, and meeting with prospects.

It might be slow going but the results are staggering. These people land bigger gigs, sign better contracts, and create strong relationships with influencers that put them in front of hundreds or thousands of more customers in the end.

2.) Set prices based on goals and hard data.

Sales solves most business problems. Except, when it doesn’t. Sales can’t get you to your next business breakthrough if the prices of your products or services just make things worse every time you sell something.

Breakthrough business owners use hard data to set their prices. And, they set prices based on what they want, instead of what they have.

How do they do it? They figure out how much it costs to run the business they want (not the one they have) and they figure out how much it costs to live the life they want (not the one they have).

Then they break it down. How much can they reasonably sell? What does that knowledge lead to in terms of price points? Where do those price points lead you in terms of positioning? To have a big breakthrough, you need to think of price as a way to reach all of your goals—not just revenue.

Price tells a story that can position your brand, woo the right customers, and lead to big life changes.

3.) Decide to spend more.

I’m all for finding the leanest, meanest way to make your business run. But I’m so tired of hearing business owners always looking for a free solution to their problems.

You see, free solutions have a cost. Every time someone dials your conference line and hears, “Service provided by Free Conference Call,” they make a judgement about your business. Every time you can’t use an important feature of an app because you’re not paying for it, it costs you effectiveness and functionality. 

You’ll never hit a breakthrough that makes you feel comfortable spending more. It’s a decision you make that you are worth it, your customers are worth it, and your business is worth it. This kind of worth doesn’t come from revenue—it comes from intense focus on what the vision of what you’re creating.

4) Don’t try so hard.

Business breakthroughs rarely come from working harder. In fact, working harder can make your breakthrough far more difficult to achieve. Why? Because innovation doesn’t come from working harder, it comes from creative constraints.

Whenever you feel yourself pushing to make something happen, take a step back and reevaluate. What’s really going on?

  • Is there a skill you’ve avoided learning?
  • Do you need help from someone more experienced?
  • Is your current business model holding you back from earning more?
  • Is there a fatal flaw in your plan?
  • Are you avoiding the temporary discomfort of growth by relying on what you know (working harder)?

If working harder is your usual MO, put new constraints in place by answering these questions. Give yourself a limited number of clients to reach your revenue goal (price accordingly). Learn a new skill (stop spinning your wheels). Connect with a mentor (stop trying to figure it out yourself).

5) Take advantage of a solid support network.

Stop trying to grow your business in isolation. Stop waiting for others to catch up. Stop cultivating relationships that feel safe. There is no more pressing time to break out of your comfort zone than when it comes to building your support network.

You need to connect with people who intimidate you, use different methods, and work in different industries. You need people in your corner who are making things happen at the same—or faster—pace as you are. Sometimes, you need to pay money to establish these relationships quickly. That’s okay.

Other times, you need to make serious investments of time. That’s okay, too. Relationship-building has a cost. But the return on investment is incredible.

Stop waiting for people to come to you and start building a network that catapults your business forward. No matter how you choose to set resolutions (or not) for the new year, integrate these ideas and watch them transform your business.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. What’s your big business goal for the next 12 months? Click here and tell me—and please be specific!