In this episode Dana is chatting with Racheal Cook, a green smoothie enthusiast, restorative yoga advocate, and award winning business strategist who believes entrepreneurs can grow their dream business while living their dream life, right now.
Tune in to hear them discuss Racheal’s journey through entrepreneurship and motherhood, how she’s navigated creating a sustainably profitable business herself, and how she works to help other business owners do the same!
“My journey of being an entrepreneur and a mom kind of happened simultaneously, without meaning to.” (1:55)
Racheal started her career in financial consulting after receiving her MBA in college. She was newly married and working 75 hours per week which meant she only got to see her husband on Sundays (and even then she was basically passed out from exhaustion!)
Three years in, she found herself completely burned out and ready for a change.
“It got to the point where I was burning out and I was looking around going ‘Ok, we’re newly married, we want to start a family….how is this going to happen?! I can’t do that if I’m working like this, it’s just not going to work for me.’ It just wasn’t the life I wanted.” (2:29)
So, she left her career and decided to take a 3 month sabbatical to figure everything out.
“I really had no idea what I was going to do for my career, but I knew that I wanted to start a family, knew that I actually wanted to have a marriage and not just see him on Sundays when I was actually conscious.” (3:14)
What Happened Next
At that time she’d been seeing a yoga instructor almost daily to get her health back on track and recover from the burnout she’d experienced.
Her yoga instructor knew the situation she was in and expressed her need for help running her business. She was struggling with her business model and needed the kind of strategy and expertise Racheal had to offer.
“It never had occurred to me to that point to work with really small businesses – like solo entrepreneur businesses where it’s just one person.” (3:50)
All of Racheal’s former experience had been with working startups or what were considered to be small businesses, but really had anywhere from 50-100 employees. She realized there was an opportunity to market and share her skills with smaller, solopreneur businesses.
She began working with that first client, got a website set up, officially “started” her business and worked mostly one-on-one by referral….then she got pregnant!
Life as a Boss Mom
Just six months after starting her business Racheal discovered that she was pregnant for the first time, and a month after that she learned she would be having twins!
After her doctor told her that she would need to be placed on bedrest, Racheal had some decisions to make about how she would continue running her business.
“Ok, I’ve got to figure something out here if I’m going to be on bedrest and then have to take care of two tiny people. How is this even going to work?!” (5:03)
At that time (around 2009) business was just beginning to really take off online and she recognized the opportunities there were to leverage her skills and technology in the online space.
“It’s been amazing to work with people online because now I’ve got clients all over the world, which I never imagined, and I’m able to do it while I’m home with my 3 little people.” (6:34)
Racheal and Dana discuss the many benefits of being a work-at-home mom, like being able to still get work done and be productive even if you’re home, in your pajamas taking care of sick babies!
Racheal also mentions that she grew up with two entrepreneurial parents and she remembers that there was a lot of shuffling back and forth with scheduling, trying to find babysitters, and making sure everyone was where they needed to be, doing what they needed to do.
“The nice thing about this business model that I’ve set up for myself is, I’m able to shut things down at 2:30 and go pick the kids up off the bus and there’s no question about who needs to shuttle kids around because I’m available and it’s really, really flexible.” (9:55)
Infusing Your Passions & Gifts into a Focused Business Model
Now Racheal provides business growth strategy for consumer-facing small health & wellness businesses. She is passionate about working to restructure her clients’ businesses to work efficiently and sustainably in a way that benefits both the business owner and the clients.
“Suddenly the value just shoots through the roof and now they’re able to work so much more efficiently, and work less, which is what they all really want. They can work less, earn more and get a life!” (12:22)
Dana and Racheal discuss how many people seem lost when it comes to really knowing what their business model even is, and how people often get stuck on the first superficial level without going deeper.
Questions business owners need to ask themselves are, “What am I offering? How am I going to sell it? What’s my marketing strategy? What’s the big picture and how does it all fit together? Are all the pieces of my business supporting my end goal, as well as serving my clients?”
Dana suggests that business owners are sometimes afraid of digging deep to really get to the meat of what their business should look like. She thinks brainstorming for your business should be tumultuous and uncomfortable (like a storm) or you’re not going deep enough.
They also discuss the common practice of basing your business model on what others in your industry are already doing.
“The problem is, they don’t know if that’s going to work for them, if that’s actually going to pay the rent for the space they have, they don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes.” (15:41)
This is why it’s so important to build a solid foundation yourself, based on your unique passions, gifts and goals for both your life and business.
Navigating Seasons of Transition
After a few years of running a launch-based business model that worked well, but was running her ragged, Racheal recognized that it was time to make some adjustments.
“It is so time and energy intensive that it’s like you disappear from your life for a solid month. I wish I could say there was an easier way around it. (20:03)
She has since moved away from a launch-based model toward an evergreen model, which has helped her create sustainability for the season of life she’s in with her family. She and her husband also worked really hard to map everything out so they could bring him home from his job during that season.
When it comes to knowing when and how to navigate seasons of transition in your life and business, Racheal recommends to keep things simple, and take everything one step at a time. Don’t rush it!
“We took our time, we planned it out, we really wanted to make sure our ducks were in a row.” (37:05)
Staying Focused & Consistent
Racheal also shares that she is a big believer in slow, steady, well-thought out consistency being the key to making things happen sustainably in business. It’s common for business owners to want to move quickly – especially in the online space, always trying to create something new or launch something new, one thing after the next, after the next.
“I think a lot of people overcomplicate launching and creating because they think they need something new all the time, and I’m like ‘No you don’t! You need one awesome program, you need one awesome offering, one system that you can rinse and repeat because you’ll make it better, your clients will get better results, and it’ll be easy for you to continue to duplicate it and run it again and again.” (41:31)
Dana and Racheal agree that beginning by working with clients one-on-one can really help business owners figure out what their main core offering should be. After working with several clients, you’re in a great position to move forward in leveraging a proven system you’ve created that has worked with your one-on-one clients.
“Take your time! You don’t have to rush because if you rush to throw something out there hoping that it’s going to be the magical launch, chances are you’re going to be pretty disappointed on the other end.” (44:44)
If you can get results for people one-on-one and you have a process and a journey that you take people on, you’ve got something that will really work long-term.
Referenced in the Show:
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