Need ideas on project management strategies for your online business?
Listen in on how we help today’s guests deal with project management to get more work done.
Joining us this week are Rebecca and Dan Dekker, an inspiring couplepreneur, who took the calculated leap and succeeded online.
Rebecca is a mother, wife and PhD-prepared nurse researcher with years of expertise in reading research, evaluating and then summarizing it. She is also someone who had personally experienced both the wonders and horrors of childbirth.
She had joined the Flip Your Life community because she needed the support to push through and succeed online and had been featured on the show early February 2016, where we shared our insight on how to transition from a launch model into a recurring revenue business.
She had created evidencebasedbirth.com, a place loaded with tons of unbiased childbirth-related research content that’s paired with a supportive membership community, that aims to help educate families before they go into the hospital system.
Managing the finances side of the business is her husband, Dan. He has an MBA and uses his expertise to allow Rebecca to focus on creating content and serving her members.
They have close to 300 members and are looking into developing a plan to manage their growing community.
We’re going to share our personal take on how to effectively delegate tasks in order to get more work done as well as dive into “The Open Hand Philosophy.”
You seriously should not miss this!
You Will Learn:
- The advantage of being ad affiliate free
- Launch model vs membership model
- Delegating: How to let it go and still get more work done
- Project Management: Managing expectations
- The Open Hand Philosophy
Links and resources mentioned on today’s show:
- Rebecca’s First Member Call
- Jeanette Stein’s Success Story
- Jeanette Stein’s Website
- Evan burse’s Website
- Why we HATE the affiliate launch model
- How to work together, without KILLIN’ each other
- Flip Your Life community
- Flipped Lifestyle Patreon Page
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moments:
Today’s Can’t Miss Moment is buying furniture for our new house. Before, anytime we’ve ever bought furniture, we’ve been married almost 13 years now, and anytime that we’ve ever purchased furniture it’s usually been some type of clearance set, we’ve always been super budget conscious.
We get things that we kind of like, but mostly that the price is right. It was kind of cool this time, because we were able to go in, and kind of get things that we really wanted.
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
Thank you for listening!
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post.
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
Jocelyn: Hey y’all! On today’s podcast, we catch up with Dan and Rebecca and help them move their health membership forward.
Shane: Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams.
We’re a real family who figured out how to make our entire living online. And now, we help other families do the same. Are you ready to flip your life? Alright. Let’s get started.
What’s going on, everybody. Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. It is great to be back with you again this week. Super excited because we’ve got another success story, and we’re going to catch up with someone who has been on the show before, and see how they’re doing now about a year later in their online business. Our guest today is Dan and Rebecca Dekker. Guys, welcome to the show.
Dan: Hey, thanks for having us!
Rebecca: So happy to be here!
Jocelyn: Yeah, it is awesome to have you guys. We love all of our customers and all of our clients, but I especially love our Kentucky clients.
Shane: That’s right. We have our fellow Kentuckians in the house. They live in Kentucky.
Jocelyn: Let’s face the facts, y’all, there are a lot of people doing online business in Kentucky.
Shane: No, there are not.
Jocelyn: Or at least, if there are, we have not run into a lot of them yet.
Shane: And it is also fun, too, because we actually got to come up to where you guys are and eat lunch with you the other day. We actually got to hang out in person outside of a live event outside of a business thing. It was just, “Hey, we are in town. Let’s go get something to eat.”
Dan: Yeah, it was funny to see your faces after listening to your voices so much.
Shane: You know, somebody one time sent me a message. I got this weird message on Facebook at two in the morning. I got up the next morning and I saw it. It was like, “I was walking through my house and I thought somebody had broke in. I didn’t know what was going on, but somehow the play button on iTunes, I heard Shane Sams in my house.” He was like, “I heard this deep voice, and I was like, ‘What is going on? Somebody is inside my house breaking in.’ And I realized that somehow, it had just played your podcast.” He was walking around his house with a baseball bat looking to beat my brains in or something because he thought the Flipped Lifestyle people online– we invaded his house, and we were like, “We are changing your life. Get over this.”
Rebecca: I see your picture on the website, but it is always upside down, so it’s really not like seeing people, too.
Shane: That’s true, I never thought about that. Maybe people don’t recognize us sometimes when they walk by us at live events, you know? That’s because we’re not upside down. Guys, catch up a little bit. You know, Rebecca, tell us a little bit about where your business was around episode 78. Just a real quick reminder, you know the elevator pitch of what you do. Then, tell us what’s happened since then in your online business.
Rebecca: Alright, so I run a website called evidencebasedbirth.com where I make research evidence on different childbirth practices publicly available so that families can educate themselves before they go into the hospital system. When I talked with you a little over a year ago, we had just officially launched our membership so everything, all the content on the website is free to the public. We do offer a membership where, if you are a professional in the field, so if you are a childbirth educator, nurse, or a doula or a midwife, you can take continuing education classes from me, which pretty much everybody needs for their licenses and certifications. Also, be part of the community with me, talk with me, and pick my brain about different things. We do live monthly trainings as well.
Shane: Tell everyone quickly, what is your background, what makes you the expert at this field?
Rebecca: Yes, I am a registered nurse, and I’m also an advanced practice registered nurse. I have both my Masters and my PhD in nursing. When I talked to you all over a little year ago, I was still working as an assistant professor at a university. I taught nursing students. My field wasn’t specifically maternal health. I actually was really more focused on research. I’m an expert in reading research, and evaluating it and summarizing it.
Shane: We come into the community, we start getting this thing together, and you’re kind of like, “Hey, I think I could lead people to do this stuff,.” And you create this membership. What happened after you launched?
Rebecca: It was kind of funny. I launched in, I think it was October 2015, was kind of like the date of launch, just to my list. We got may be about 150 members right off the bat from the people who subscribed to my email list. I closed the membership down. I did not let new members in for about three months while I worked on refining everything. I did kind of a public launch in January 2016 We gained more members than. I did a couple of a small price increases. In the fall of 2016, I increased the price from $39 a month to $49 a month and we gained about 120 new members at that time as well.
Shane: That is unbelievable to hear. I love it when people come in, and they’re almost right at the very beginning, because you know, you may have content, you may have some followers, you may have this now, but when you tie it all together, and we see people open the doors, what does that feel like? “Oh, 150 people joined.” “Oh, 150 more people joined.” I mean, what does that feel like when you’re going through that?
Rebecca: It is definitely humbling. I think it is validating. My model is little bit different than what you usually teach. You usually teach, I know, to start with a product, and build your audience along the way. I spent several years just providing free value to the public where I wasn’t selling anything, and I did want the website though to become self-sufficient, so eventually I knew there was going to need to be a way to bring in money so that we could support our costs because there are a lot of cost with running the website. It was kind of magical. All these people joined, but I already did all the hard work up front. I spent every article that I’ve ever posted on the website has taken hundreds of hours of my time, years of my life, it is my blood, sweat, and tears that I’ve given to the public for free. It is definitely validating to have all these people basically say thank you for the work that you are doing, and then want to be part of the membership as a way to give back.
Shane: There is nothing like seeing people vote with dollars because that is when you know that it matters to them because they are putting their money on this. It’s so funny, your story reminds me, it reminds me so much of Jeanette Stein, the algebra teacher who created this membership, and now has hundreds of members buying her lesson plans. Not because of the content or necessarily the structure that you are offering, but it is because you guys went through that couple years of doing everything, building your own niche, trying to figure out how to reach more people, not necessarily with just, “I’m going to make a buck tomorrow.”
It was like, “I’m going to build this, I’m going to serve people, this is my passion, it’s what I believe in, and I need to get this to people.” Then, once you kind of just said, “Okay, let us just look at what other people are doing to monetize. Let us take action, organize it a little bit, and then figure it how to sell it,” all the pieces do kind of magnetically click together.
Jocelyn: And I think that, we do say to do your product first, but the reason for that is because most people are very impatient. I think that if you have patience, and you can build that audience up, it is even better when you go out there.
Shane: Oh yeah, when you’ve got people, that reminds me of someone like Evan Burse who came to us, and he is at the cartoonblock.com. We looked at his stuff, we were talking to him, and we were like, “Okay, well, what have you done?” He was like, “Well I’ve had a YouTube channel for four years.” We are like, “Really, do you have any subscribers yet?” “Yeah, I have 400,000.”
Jocelyn: We were like, whoa!
Shane: He’s making no money. He went four years, and was making a couple hundred bucks a month, 800 bucks a week. We were like, “No, no, no, no, dude, don’t talk anymore. Watch this: A-B-C-D, put this together, bam, go sell it,” and lo and behold, we have a $30,000 launch, you know? I think that I just want to highlight here for everybody that is listening, it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time to become an overnight success and that is what I think you guys realized once you launch everything.
Rebecca: One of the things I loved about it, too, is having the membership be our model, our business model. We don’t have any advertisement on our sites so we really don’t have conflicts of interest. When I write it about a topic, I’m just writing about it. I’m looking at the research in an unbiased way as possible, I don’t have any conflicts, no agenda.
Shane: That’s what we do, too, at Flipped Lifestyle because if I’m a supporter of a certain tool, you can be an affiliate, you can recommend things. But If I’m just all in with this one person, like endorsing them, that does not let us be objective. For some people, Infusionsoft might be the right tool. For other people, Aweber might be the right tool. Depending on where they are. For our sponsor of one company or the other, we can’t go outside of that. I think that is what you are saying with the research.
Dan: In our industry, too, there are so many opinions on every side of the topic that one thing we did early on was just say, “We’re just going to be on the side of the science. We’re going to look at all the research, and that is going to be what we support, no matter what it says.” It actually has been interesting to see the surprises as people Rebecca puts things out. They almost don’t believe Rebecca would think that because they think she has a certain opinion on topics, but, no we are just about the research. I think that is one reason that Rebecca is so respected in her industry, and gets the attention and support she does.
Jocelyn: Exactly. And I love that. So Dan, tell us a little bit about your role in the business. Because I guess this is not exactly typical of what we normally run into in this industry. Usually, there is usually one person still working full-time while the other person is doing online business, or even like one person is doing an online business, the other person is doing online business, they don’t really work together, but you guys do work together. It is like us, but different. What are each person’s roles? What are you doing behind the scenes and things like that?
Dan: Just a background briefly, I actually quit my job first mainly because we were having childcare issues, and we couldn’t find someone we like to watch our kids. Three years ago, I quit my job to start watching the kids full-time but as an accountant and I have my MBA too, I’ve always done the money stuff for our website. So I actually quit first, and I don’t really put in nearly as many hours as Rebecca. It is still her full-time thing, but watching the kids to my full-time thing.
Shane: And you were doing all the accounting and money and things like that, and I think what is amazing about y’all story because that is so atypical to what people think about online entrepreneurs, or how couples work together, or even society.
Jocelyn: Just what society thinks you’re supposed do.
Shane: But what I love about you guys, is you just said, “What can we do to make ourselves successful? How can we look at the big picture personal life? How can we look at our business? What am I good at? What are you good at? You’ve created the life for yourselves that fits all your skills, you’ve got roles, you put everything aside, and said, “This is the best thing for everybody so we can build the life that they want.”
Rebecca: Yeah, we have 10 independent contractors now. He does payroll for all of them. He does all the accounting, reports, and financial analysis and it’s just been awesome having him. He does that kind of part-time, when the kids are at preschool.
Jocelyn: And just knowing you guys, I know, Dan, that you have things that you kind of like to work on, too. I think it is hard sometimes like having a real driven personality, like you want to do all the things because we’re like that, too. I respect that you are kind of like holding back right now, because you know that you want to move this thing forward. I think that is awesome.
Shane: Yeah, that takes a lot of discipline, and that is the huge mistake that most couples and spouses come to us that are making. I know it is a huge mistake because I did this when we first started. Everybody wants to convince their spouse to do what they want them to do, or to start an online business. When you get into this game, and you guys are kind of like, hey, we’ve got something that is rolling a little bit, or building audience. It might be able to be monetized, what would it look like to let this thing, what if we were disciplined, what if we were focused and we built this, and it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted later, and you build this amazing system where you can work together. We always say, how to work with your spouse without killing each other. That is life and business. You all figured it out, and I just wanted to congratulate you guys for doing that because that stops a lot of people online.
Rebecca: I’ve felt really, really blessed and fortunate that, well, I married Dan, he was also my best friend. It was really cool that the good news that I really haven’t said yet on this podcast: so a little over a year ago, I gave my notice at my job so that I could do Evidence Based Birth full-time. So now, not only am I pursuing my passion, full-time, I get to serve the people that follow Evidence Based Birth, and visit the website, but I also get to work every day with Dan, and when the kids are in school, we share the same office, we get to go out to lunch together, we get to exercise together, and it is just like, I feel like our lives have completely changed for the better.
Shane: That is awesome.
Jocelyn: Exactly, that is what we are all about. I love that.
Shane: Yeah, I’m very emotional. I’m a dude who cries, okay? I cried a little bit. I don’t care. I’m still a man. It hits me in my throat, and I get a little tear in my eye when I hear your story or anybody else’s story like that that is like, “Man, we did it, we quit, and regardless of how we structure anything, whatever we did to make it work, it was so hard and we put it all this effort. But man, it was worth it.” It is just amazing to hear you guys say that. So congratulations, guys. For all your success. Let me back up one step here, why did it help to get involved in our community? You came to one of our live events, Rebecca, in Chicago. Why was that like a differentiator? I’m not trying to get you just to brag on us.
Jocelyn: What happened since you have been with us?.
Shane: Yeah, why did that help you get to the next level?
Rebecca: I primarily joined because I was looking for support and just this kind of community because I felt a little bit lonely. I was self-taught. I’m a researcher, I’m constantly learning. I’ve been in academia for many years. It was pretty easy for me to go out and self-educate on these topics. But when I really wanted was kind of more inspiration and community as I got closer and closer to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. That is primarily why I joined.
Shane: I remember a specific light bulb moment with you, where we were talking about the value of what you are providing in your prices and things like that. You knew what to do. That is what I always think about when I think about Rebecca Decker. “She knows what to do. She just want somebody to say, ‘Yeah, I did that and it worked.’ You are a researcher. You want to go find out what worked. Basically, by surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs, you kind of empowered yourself to go do that. It is not always just, “I need the A-Z road map to success,” because that does not exist. It is just putting yourself in that situation where you become the average of the people you are hanging around. I think that that’s what you needed for that.
Rebecca: Right, and I wanted to come to the Flip Your Life live event in Chicago. I just quit my job literally on June 30, was my last day, and I think your event was the first week of July. It was an awesome way to just jump either headfirst or feet first– whichever– into the life of being an online business owner, and just getting to hang out with you guys, and get your advice was awesome.
Shane: Yeah, we did that same thing. When we quit our jobs, the day after, you’re suddenly going, “Oh, what did I just do? What just happened?” Then, you’re like, “Okay, now what happens next?” We did the same thing. We immediately signed up for a live event a couple months later. It seems like every time that we get into a funk, or we kind of backup a little bit, we do that. We are like, “Okay, we have to go somewhere and get surrounded by entrepreneurs. We have to get into the community more, just be there all the time because we need that energy. We know what to do but we do are not doing it so we need something to drive us to take action. I think that is an amazing part about being in a community, is that you have that. You have access to that. I don’t know how entrepreneurs do it if they just try to do it all by themselves, because I don’t think it is possible to do that.
Dan: Another thing relating to you guys before we joined the membership, Rebecca was already listening to the podcast, and right when you guys decided to start your memberships site, you talked about it on a podcast or somewhere, and so Rebecca was out of town, and I get this text message, “Go listen to this podcast, I want to do this.” We were in a launch model before that.
Shane: And that is hard. Tell everybody about what do you feel like the difference is in the launch and the membership model? I know what podcast you’re talking about because we went to a live event in Asia. We flew back on a 12 hour flight, we planned on switching our entire business from the launch model to the membership model, and the first thing we did to kind of get our thoughts together was we recorded a podcast to tell everybody why. We were kind of all in, people. What is the difference? How do you feel when you see the membership model versus the launch model? We’re not talking about opening and closing your membership. What is the difference with continuity and just that next sale mentality?
Rebecca: Well, first of all, your podcast is really helpful because it help get Dan’s buy-in. We still made big decisions together when it came to the website because I really lean on his advice, with him having his MBA and being in charge of the accounting and stuff. To me, it was like, we are doing this. What I tended to say is, I’ll be like, “We’re going to do this.”
Rebecca: Anyways, I got his buy-in at least. I think there are two differences. One is obviously the continuity for us, like being able to predict revenue because we have staff to pay, and expenses. The other part of it is our customers and just have such a better relationship with them because I feel like I’m in it in the long haul to support them, and I’m investing in it myself and my time in them and vice versa like they’re investing their time and money, and so I meet every month, I do a live training with them, and I get to see them growing and learning. We have a community where they are always learning. It is good for both the customers and for us. But the reason I didn’t do it is because it took me so long to switch. Because I heard that it was too much work, and I think I’ve talked about this with you before about how it is actually less work switching to the membership model. It is a different kind of work. And it’s more in line with me because I’m very much like a servant leader and so being able to constantly serve my members really is fulfilling to me. It’s just a really good fit.
Shane: I think it is like controlled work. Don’t you, Jocelyn? Not so draining, and it is like you are in control.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I think that it is work that you do more often, and then we get into our community every single day.
Shane: Like, more consistent, basically.
Jocelyn: And the launch model, it is more like hot and cold. You’ll work 80 hours one week, then you work five hours the next week. But to me, I just like that slow and steady kind of approach more than just like killing yourself for a couple weeks, and then being off for a while.
Shane: Also, the most rewarding part that I’ve discovered is it keeps you going as an entrepreneur. We all go through peaks and valleys, but you might be having a bad day, but then one of your members has a great day. You help them do that. Then, it is like, “Man, that is what I’m doing.” Whereas if you are just throwing product out there to make as much money as possible, sometimes, you don’t get that, and you are not really helping people because they don’t have that support.
Dan: For me, with the membership model, the problem with the launch model was just you never know what money is going to come in after that. It is more of a piece of mind thing. I remember, I was talking to somebody, and he was like a plumber or something, and he said, “I’m always two weeks away from being unemployed. I never know what I am going to be doing after two weeks. I’ve got jobs lined up, but after that I technically have nothing.” Usually, stuff comes in, but for him he was always kind of a couple weeks away from being unemployed so, that is how the launch model is on a bigger scale. You launch something, and then after that, there is a sea of nothing until you come up with something else.
Jocelyn: It is just a lot better model for us definitely, for sure, and I think for you guys, too. You guys have done awesome things. We are like super proud of what you have been able to accomplish. It’s just amazing. I know a lot of people are going to listen to this, and be like, “Wow, they are super awesome.” Tell us right now, what are you struggling with at the moment, and how can we help you get past that?
Rebecca: Yeah, probably the number one thing I am struggling with is how to do it all, which never goes away. I’m pretty good at time management, and balancing and prioritizing. One of the things we did with Evidence Based Birth about nine months ago is we did go through a re-branding process so that our website presence and our brand could kind of match the prices that we are charging, and also just to look more professional when total strangers or doctors stumble across our site.
We’re really happy with how we’re slowly going through the website, and revamping the different pages. But one of the things we do is, we have these 12, what we call signature articles that are basically reviews of literature that I’ve written for the public that I’ve spent and hundreds and hundreds of hours on. Some of them are as long as 40 or 60 pages, single spaced. You can read them for free on our website, but if you want to download the PDF, you can pay $20 to download the PDF. Then you have permission to print it and share it with whoever you like.
I’m just overwhelmed by these research articles because they are so huge, and they all need to be updated. Well, not all of them, but probably about nine of them need to be updated. We’re hoping to update four or five this year. But then, they also need to all be put into the new brand format with the PDF. I do have the first one. We’ve finally got a draft and a template of how they are going to look. It is just going to be a huge job to take these massive documents and make them look better because they look really not that great right now.
They have the old logo, and they are kind of cold, and they just look like Word documents. I guess, my question is, I know I can tackle this problem. I just need some help and encouragement breaking it down into steps because I have a lot of VAs right now. I know I could pass it off, but then somebody has to manage the project and if it is me, it is going to take forever because I have so many other things on my plate.
Shane: Let us look at this from a general perspective because I think that everybody eventually hits a point where they are like, “Oh no, I’ve got to create a huge course, or I’ve got to update a huge piece of content. I’m actually doing this right now with everything in Flip Your Life. I was actually up until 3 AM last night recording content. I’m redoing every single thing. For most people who aren’t in the community, how it works, Jocelyn is the backend person, the systems person handling emails and automation and things like that.
I usually do the trainings and, that is kind of how we just split up our workload. I was the same way. I was looking at this massive project that we wrote down on paper, and I was like, “If I tried to do this all by myself like I did it the first time, it can take hundreds of hours. What I had to do was basically say, “What is the thing that I should be doing? The only thing that I should be doing?”
Jocelyn: And for you, it is figuring out what is wrong in the research, and fixing it because VA’s can’t do that, or not easily.
Rebecca: I did hire a research assistant to help me do that.
Shane: Okay, okay.
Jocelyn: Okay that’s good.
Shane: Okay, to me, you are going to have to do what I did. You are going to have to hire a manager, because that is the choke point. You don’t want to manage this. You have systems in place to do it, and you can figure out where you might have holes. We are having PowerPoints created for this, so we had to go hire a temporary VA for the next couple of months to create slides, and things like that for these audio files that I’m making. You are going to have to hire a manager. It might be a temporary thing, just to get you through this project.
You may just go find a project manager, and say, “I’ve got a three-month job, this is what it is going to entail, I would prefer this kind of experience, if you have anything health-related, whatever,” but you are going to have to delegate that thing. And I think I hear a struggle with that because you’re like, “This is my business, I’ve always managed it.” That is the scariest thing to let go of, is when you create another you, even in a temporary minute.
We do that, too. We’ve actually interviewed people like this. We call it an executive assistant, or whatever. It doesn’t have to be someone perfect. You are going to have to hire the manager. You said it out loud, this is the problem, so that is where you’re going to have to address this problem, does that make sense?
Rebecca: Yeah, I guess the thing that scares me about it, we just added four part-time decisions this past month. Dan and I have been talking about like when the it gets to the point where we grow too big, I don’t want Evidence Based Birth to become this massive. You know, this task needs to be done, but I don’t want this to become a big company. I want it to stay small, and manageable.
Shane: Here is a good analogy for this: when we blow up a balloon, okay, we may want to decorate for our kids were at the party. So we blow up a balloon, we don’t make them like the biggest balloons ever sometimes. Sometimes we need medium-sized balloons. But there might be one or two places in the chain where you need a full-sized balloon. Like my team, that I created for this podcast/course/massive thing. We just literally expanded by four VA’s, too.
I had all of our editors, and all of our text people, we hired an extra transcriptionist, and extra PowerPoint person, and extra thing. Our team all of a sudden looks huge, but I know that that is going to end. This is a sprint and I told our team that when we met. When I met with the people who will be managing this project. I said, “This is a sprint, this is going to go away, we are all going to go head down for the next 30 to 90 days, and get this done.”
But then these other people are going to go away. This is a sprint in your business. It doesn’t have to consistently stay big. I don’t think you hire a full-time project manager. You can go hire people that freelance, and do this and come in and managed teams for a moment, and then you can retract that to a more content level. It is just like consolidating your gains once you go on a big campaign.
Jocelyn: I feel your pain. I know what you are saying. I have realized throughout the past four or five months that one of the things that I just really, really dislike is managing people. I just don’t like doing it. The thing about it is nobody can meet my standard. Nobody comes close to meeting my standard, I’m just going to be really honest.
Shane: Except me, baby.
Jocelyn: Yeah, right.
Shane: I made the grade, I’m just saying. Twenty years going, you know what I mean?
Jocelyn: So, yeah.
Dan: You got the ring, at least!
Jocelyn: Anyway, yeah. I feel you. I know what you are saying. That is something that is really, really hard for me to do. It is hard for me to let go of control, and I feel like that is kind of what you are saying here, is that right?
Shane: And it is also scary I think, most people are like, “Man, I really got to trust someone to take something over. How could I possibly bring in a contractor for a project that is so important?” But remember, they don’t have to rewrite articles and do that. They just have to manage people, figure out organization, keep people on tasks, and then you can change it afterwards. As long as you are clear with your expectations going into this, just get a project manager to work this out.
Rebecca: Yeah, I think you’re right. And I like your thought about how, it’s a time-limited project and it’s not like I have to hire a project manager to go on forever, at least not right now.
Shane: Yeah. We have our main people that we have on this project are the web person, our main webmaster, and we have our, she is like our content manager. She does anything that involves like text or images. Then we have another person full-time that works for us, and he does audio and video. When I met with him last week, I said, expectations. I want this done by this date. I don’t care how many people we have to hire to get it done by then. I don’t care how much we have to invest, here is the budget. Right?
Go hire these people. Tell them it is temporary, but tell them that it is going to be within this time frame so they have steady work during that time. We actually were looking at all the things we were going to do, and we needed two people making PowerPoints, or we weren’t going to be able to the deadlines. I just let the team make that call. I don’t care just get it job done. I want it over fast so that we can go back to our normal lives, and work our 10 hours a week or whatever. Let’s sprint, get this done, and then retract.
Rebecca: I do think I’ve become kind of– what do you call it– a stop gap, or the person plugging the productivity because everything, all the decisions have to go through me, and I’m the one managing everyone’s time, and asking for updates, and delegating. Earlier, in our business journey, I was also the plug or whatever you call it for customer service.
Shane: Like the logjam basically.
Rebecca: The logjam, yeah. Definitely, having people to take over certain parts of the website has been a huge help for me. Even in the last month with adding on new people, I have definitely felt a lot less stress about my role.
Shane: You can fragment this, too, a little bit. This is an exercise to help with a control issue. We tell people to do this when they have a huge project and they may have to hire project, and this is true for everybody listening; I don’t care what stage you are at. You don’t want to, “Oh I don’t want to hire a webmaster to design my website.” Well, don’t. Hire a designer, and make them go away in three weeks. This is how you run a business. You’ve got to bring people in sometimes. But, take all the tasks on Post-it notes that are going to be done in this job, write them down, figure out who is doing what already and then, group them and maybe you hire like a couple people. You were going to manage combing through the documents, you’re going to manage getting the documents on the thing.
That does not feel like you are turning your business over entirely to someone, but it still creates many project managers, and maybe, now at least you only have to deal with two people, and you don’t have to deal with 12 people to do the whole thing. We just learned this with our housekeeper and personal assistant. We had that combined, and we’re actually splitting that job up now to where we only have a person who does housekeeping, and we only have a person do personal assistant. We thought we needed to delegate all that away, which we did, but we realized, we looked at all the tasks, and they didn’t align with each other. So we grouped them into two groups, and now we’re going to go have two people do that part-time instead of one person do that full-time. I think that is what you are looking at here, it’s just turn over the management.
Dan: I like what you said about budgeting because we are doing okay, but we’re still not financially where we were before we quit our jobs. There is always that hesitation when I think involving money. I think that is a good idea is to set a budget for what we want to spend for this and then as long as we stay within that budget, I think we will be more comfortable hiring the people we need.
Shane: I think that is why it would be better to do this with a couple part-time people managing two parts of the job, because you can get a little bit better work right.
Jocelyn: Okay, well I hope that that was helpful for that. What else can we help you guys move past?
Rebecca: Like you said earlier, I think you said, “Rebecca always knows what to do. She just needs someone to tell her to do it.” If I say, we need to do this, will you just say, “Yes, you need to do that?”
Shane: Yes, that is exactly what we will do, every day of the forums, you just go post, and I will be like, “Yup! That’s it. Good one. Hit it.”
Rebecca: The second thing we need to be told to do is just get a better handle on our statistics, so we just downloaded Chart Mogul, which is what we’re going to pilot out to measure our memberships and churn and all that, and so can you tell us real quickly to make sure that we do that?
Shane: You need to totally use that analytic tool to measure your churn. If you do that you are going to have a lot better understanding, and make more money. You should totally do that like right now.
Dan: That’s been really bothering me because we kind of know these numbers, but it really bothers me.
Rebecca: Well, we don’t.
Shane: I know, I know.
Rebecca: It doesn’t give you those numbers so we don’t really know how many members we have, actually.
Jocelyn: I think that you can have so much data that is almost like a little overwhelming. I feel like you can never have a good enough handle on that, so that is good. Just know your numbers, know where you are, know where you want to be and then that also helps to be able to put all those other people in place when you start wanting to hire people. You sort of know where you are going.
Shane: I’ll tell you another tip here, too, just because we see this so much in our business and everybody else’s. Anytime I start looking at something, and think, “Man, I didn’t do our money on the right day,” or, “Man I’m a day or two behind on looking at my stats from that last ad campaign. Anytime I feel like I’m losing the big picture of our statistics, I know I probably need to go hire someone. We all have that mentality: “Man, do I want to spend more money on these people, or do I want to keep that money?” But it is that Open Hand Philosophy. You really can’t afford not to, because if you don’t go hire that person to do this sprint, and free up your capacity to understand your churn, then eventually, your churn is going to go negative because you are not paying attention, and you are not going to have money to hire the next person to do the next job.
Rebecca: So, you are saying hiring that manager frees up our time so we can pay attention to the stuff that other people cannot, we can’t delegate.
Shane: You have 168 hours, that is all God gave us every week. There’s only two ways to get more out of those 168 hours. The first one is to prioritize what is the most important thing in your business.
Jocelyn: And I feel like you guys are probably already doing those things.
Shane: Exactly. And the second thing is, you’ve got to go buy other hours that God gave to other people. That’s it. And if anybody tells you otherwise, it is just not true. You have to be able to do that. Investing in these project managers is going to pay ROI and not just in more traffic, more sales, but more understanding of the things that only you two can do.
Jocelyn: It is also like what we talked about before. If you are not sure about it, take baby steps. Hire them on a temporary basis. If you see that it is really making a difference, and it is really working out, and you are able to put more of your time into the things that really matter, then, keep them on full-time. If not, then go back to the way it was before.
Shane: That is the thing. I’m going to quote Sun Tzu. I’m about to get philosophical today on the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. A little art of war running in here in this nook.
Dan: Too late in the podcast for this.
Shane: I’m telling you, this is big-time right here. I’m telling you, as a football coach, I read that book because it is really great for strategic games, and things like that. But one of the things in there says, “Management of the many is the same as the management of the few.” But the problem is, most people are like, “Well I now have 100 people in my team so I’ve got to manage oh 100 of them.” They don’t say, “Wait a minute, why don’t I managed 10 people, and each of those people have 10 people. That is kind of where you are at.
Jocelyn: I just read a book recently, I can’t remember what the book was called but I was looking for some books for our book club, and it said that each person is only capable of managing up to seven people. Once you get seven people, then you could expand your team to 49, because those seven people could manage those seven people that is how you– what is that called?– One of those math words.
Shane: Multiplied, exponential growth.
Shane: There you go, exponential growth.
Jocelyn: That. You know, it’s in math.
Shane: It doesn’t work. Basically, if you will just apply the rules of the Kevin Bacon game that everyone is 7° apart, then you will be able to run a successful online business.
Jocelyn: Alright y’all, this has been a great conversation. It is things that we don’t always have an opportunity to talk about on the podcast, so it is really exciting to go through all this stuff with you, and try to help you figure out all these things out. Unfortunately, we’re about out of time for today, but before we go, we always ask people, what is one action step that you plan to take based on what we talked about here on the podcast today?
Rebecca: I think that right after we get off this call, as long as our kids are still occupied, we will sit down and talk about the project management position and see and it just kind of brainstorm how we are going to make that work.
Shane: Awesome, if you need any help, just post it in the forums, we can go back and forth on some questions, and will figure this out. We will get that stress off, and we will take this thing to the next level. Okay? Thanks for being on the show, guys thanks for sharing with everybody, and we just love you guys. You guys are doing so good, and I know that it is just the beginning, and you are going to do great things going forward.
Dan: Thanks, we are so glad to be here.
Rebecca: Thanks, guys.
Shane: What a great call from one of our Flip Your Life community members. We would love to have you in our Flip Your Life community as well. If you’d like to become a member of the Flip Your Life community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife, and we can help you with your online business, too.
Jocelyn: Alright, next we are going to move into the Can’t Miss Moment segment of our show, and these are moments that we were able to experience that we might have missed if we were working at 9-to-5 jobs, still. Today’s Can’t Miss Moment is buying furniture for our new house. Before, anytime we’ve ever bought furniture, we’ve been married almost 13 years now, and anytime that we’ve ever purchased furniture it’s usually been some type of clearance set, we’ve always been super budget conscious.
We get things that we kind of like, but mostly that the price is right. It was kind of cool this time, because we were able to go in, and kind of get things that we really wanted. I’m not buying like a $10,000 couch or anything because we have two little kids and that does not really make sense, but we were able to go in and find things that we actually wanted that corresponds to the decor that we are going for instead of just looking for the perfect price.
Shane: My favorite part about this trip was one, we actually bought a king-size bed. When you’ve have two little kids climbing in bed with you every night, you desperately need a king-size bed. We are upgrading from a queen to a king.
Jocelyn: And in our other house, a king-sized bed wouldn’t have even fit in the bedroom.
Shane: No chance. I don’t even know how big that room was, but if you put a king-size bed in there, it would have went wall-to-wall, and you would have had to climb off the end, to go to the bathroom. We were in the furniture store, Jocelyn had pretty much the couch that she wanted to pick out, she had this furniture for the bedroom that she picked out, and we have a breakfast nook in our new house that kind of juts out and you can see 180° view of the lake basically. We’ve been really going back and forth on what we were going to put in that space, and there was this amazing, big, awesome 8-person old country table, it looked like the paint had worn off of it. I had that real weathered look. It was just perfect for what we wanted to put in the breakfast nook, and I was like, let’s buy this, and the whole set. We just made that decision, and we didn’t even have the look at the price. We did look at it to make sure that it wasn’t crazy, but it was awesome to be able to say, I want that, we saw it and we went for it, and we picked it for our breakfast nook. I can remember times in the past, saying, “Man, I wish I could buy something.” And this time it was, “No, we want this, it’s perfect. Let’s get it.”
Jocelyn: We’re also going to be hiring a designer, like in interior decorator which is something I’ve always wanted to do, but just have never done it for one reason or another. I’m really excited about that as well. As soon as we get some of that decor finished, we will take some pictures for you guys, and put them up on the site.
Shane: Before we go today, we like to close every single one of our shows with a verse from the Bible. Jocelyn and I draw a lot of inspiration and motivation from the Bible, and we just wanted to share some of that with you. Today’s Bible verse comes from 2 Timothy 1:7, and the Bible says, “For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid but it gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” Take that power, take that love, take that self-discipline, get out there and build something that can not only make your dreams come true but can’t help other people as well. That is all the time we have for this week. As always, guys, thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, and until next time, get out there take action, do what it ever it takes to Flip Your Life. We will see you then.