Momentum Podcast: 591
Interview with Molly Keyser
by Alex Charfen
I'm excited to bring Molly Keyser back to our podcast today. Molly is an off the charts creative that runs a one of a kind company, helping boudoir photographers build businesses. She's actually been our client twice. She was with us for a year a while ago, left for six months, and came back. I want her to share her story, what changes she's made in her business and tell you how she's more creative now than she has been in a very long time and having ideas she hasn't had in a while
Molly Keyser has been our client twice. Yes, you read that right: two times. She first came and had amazing results with my program, went on her own, and returned 6 months later willing to learn again, but this time with her business on a whole new level.
I invited Molly as a guest on today's podcast because she has an incredible amount of experience on how to run a business—now in two different stages of growth. Molly is an off the charts creative that runs a one of a kind company, Boudie Shorts. She helps boudoir photographers build profitable businesses. Let's hear the massive results she has been having in her business and how our systems have helped her be more creative than she has been in a very long time.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: This is the Momentum Podcast. I'm excited to bring Molly Keyser back to our podcast today. Molly is an off the charts creative that runs a one of a kind company, helping boudoir photographers build businesses. She's actually been our client twice. She was with us for a year a while ago, left for six months, and came back. I want her to share her story, what changes she's made in her business and tell you how she's more creative now than she has been in a very long time and having ideas she hasn't had in a while.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Molly, I'm really excited to have you on the podcast today. Thanks for being here.
Molly Keysey: Of course. Always fun chatting with you.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, no. I'm excited to bring you back. We recorded a long time ago. It's funny, right before we hit record, we were talking like, "I'm pretty sure we've done this." There's going to be a podcast number one and then this is going to be a massive update because it's been so much time.
Molly Keysey: Yeah, a lot has changed since that last episode I'm sure.
Alex Charfen: We should have gone back and listened to it. Just real quick, Molly, let's share with everybody what you do for business.
Molly Keysey: Yeah. My business is called Boudie Shorts. Let's just all let that sit for a little bit. What we do is we help photographers profitably offer boudoir photography to empower the women in their communities.
Alex Charfen: It's coaching. It's showing them how to run... Basically you have a business showing other people how to set up a business and run a business.
Molly Keysey: Yeah. I mean, we help people that are already photographers or are just interested. We help them learn how to take photos, build a profitable business market, get clients, get their dream studio, like everything all around in our signature course, Boudoir Certified.
Alex Charfen: That's awesome. I love how you do it, Molly, because boudoir is like it's... There's so many different directions you can go with it. For you, it's about empowering women. I have a boudoir photo of Katie on my wall in my office that she got from me for my birthday, and it's like my favorite picture of her. I have to not look at it when I'm according a podcast because now I'm super distracted, but I think that what you do and how you're helping people, it's making a huge difference.
Molly Keysey: Thank you. Yeah. I've talked with Katie about her experience. She loved doing her boudoir shoot. I mean, that's exactly why I love it. I've done hundreds of boudoir shoots myself and I understand like the big huge impact it makes on these women's lives. I figure the next step up is if I can help more photographers impact more of these women that's like the next level of impact.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, it's awesome. That's why I'm so excited our team's helping you scale your business. Let's get into an update. The last time you were here, it was a long time ago. I think it's been about a year. In the last year, just give us a little bit of an update. Where is your business gone from and where is it now?
Molly Keysey: Oh my god. I don't even know where to start. Honestly I feel like in the last year, the biggest thing that has changed for our business is the structure and how it runs and me personally. I don't know. I feel like we have like this big explosive growth. We didn't have a lot of the right pieces in place before. It's just such a big question, you know?
Alex Charfen: Let me narrow it down to some details. How many members did you have a year ago? How many members have you had now?
Molly Keysey: Well, this is actually interesting. We actually have less team members, but we're making more money. Our revenue actually hasn't changed that much, but our profit margin is much better. I feel like a lot has changed just, like I said, in terms of my growth as the owner and also getting really clear on what I want. For me, the biggest thing that we've done is hire the right operator and that only happened beginning of December. I mean, we've made the most growth just since that time. I think that was really our biggest missing piece was having the right operator.
Alex Charfen: Well, let's talk about what... Molly, you and I, we worked together for about a year. You had installed the systems. You felt like you had what you needed, and then you came back six months later. You left our program and then come back six months later. What happened in those six months? What was the problem that came up that you were having that brought you back?
Molly Keysey: When we first started working with you, our business was only like I think 600,000 a year. Now we're having anywhere from 125 to $150,000 months. At this point, it's really just a matter of building our sales team, which the operator comes into play with that. But what happened in those six months? Well, like I said, I've grown a lot as an entrepreneur. I'm going to say something and you're either going to be like, "I relate to that and that's me," or you're going to be like, "That's not me," and then you're probably later going to realize that that is you. I don't know. The type of personality that runs a business that is an entrepreneur is typically probably like a DI or an I on the DISC profile. I feel like it's very easy for us to honestly get an ego.
We build this community of people that loves us and they're constantly telling us like, "You're so amazing. You're so brilliant. You know everything." I feel like it's really easy for that to get to your head. I don't know. For me, I just thought like when I did your program the first time, I was like, "Oh, I know what I'm doing now. I don't need this anymore," because I had done it for the year that we were in it, the first year. What's funny is like what I didn't realize at the time was that yes, I had gone through the program and grown a lot, but just like in your Billionaire Code, every single level that you take, you need a new level of help that you guys provide.
Even though I felt that feeling of like, "Oh, I've learned at all," which is in a sense good, but really it's like I had learned it all for that level. Over those next six months as we continued to grow, I really realized like, "No, I still need this content. I just need it now for the new levels." Does that make any sense?
Alex Charfen: Oh, it absolutely makes sense because... Well, I share that with people often. I share that the difference between what we do and what most coaching organizations do is that as people's companies grow, they need more from us, not less. If you're teaching somebody marketing, once you get them up and running, they really need a lot less help. When you're teaching somebody how to scale a business, as you're successful in showing them how to scale, they need more help. It just makes sense that that's what happened.
Molly Keysey: What's crazy too is it's like I'm sure you guys have probably had realizations like this, but I'm sitting here teaching my students certain things and every once in a while I'll catch myself like, "Oh my gosh. I'm not even taking my own advice." I realized that I had a lot of students that they would join our program or our upper level program and they would do the exact same thing that I did where they would be like, "I don't need this anymore. I'm good. Peace out." Like ego would get in the way honestly. Then they come back, they're like, "Oh, I need your help." I do feel like it's sort of like a natural thing to have happened, but I think as entrepreneurs we have to be aware of that and not let our ego get in the way.
We always need to be furthering our education and growing. Also, the other reason that we came back too is that I realized that I didn't have what I needed to properly train my operator. Like how am I going to train an operator if I'm not an operator or I'm not an expert at operations?
Alex Charfen: Right.
Molly Keysey: It's like the course is great for two-fold, it's great for helping you as an entrepreneur, but also for helping and training your operations person.
Alex Charfen: Let's talk about... It's Diana, right? Let's talk about Diana, your operator. She's been with you since December. Just share with everyone what it feels like when you finally find the person who fills the role of operator, who can put you in the passenger seat. What has that been like?
Molly Keysey: Oh my gosh. Honestly, my biggest thing I have just been asking, Alex, is like, how do I keep her?
Alex Charfen: How do I not break this?
Molly Keysey: I don't feel like I'm worthy. She's just amazing. I think that's how you know you found the right person when you no longer feel like... Before I hired her, I felt like exactly how Alex describes when you have the team on your back and you're like climbing up this hill and you're doing everything. How many times have I said to myself, "Oh, it would just be easier if I just fired everyone and did this myself." I've probably said that a hundred times.
Alex Charfen: On some days, maybe a hundred times before breakfast.
Molly Keysey: I actually don't 100% believe it because I haven't actually done that, but now that we have the right operator in the right position... She loves your program by the way. I was really nervous like, "Oh my gosh, what if she has like a different way of doing things and she doesn't like this system?" You know what? She did have a different way of doing things, but she still loves the system and she integrates it. She absolutely loves it. Yeah, it's no longer me carrying the team up on my back. Today I actually got to focus on marketing and the things that I enjoy to do. It's a huge relief and it just feels really great.
Alex Charfen: Has Diana taken over running meetings?
Molly Keysey: We have somebody on our team run our huddle, our daily huddle, but Diana does all of the... She does the one-on-ones, 30-day assessments.
Alex Charfen: What about your quarterly and your monthly and all your planning meetings?
Molly Keysey: She is just finishing those lessons. I've been running those, but she will be taking those over like any day now.
Alex Charfen: Okay. Awesome. I want to bring you back after you're in the passenger seat in meetings because one of the things... I'm so excited for you, Molly, because what comes next is now... Let's just show with everybody. One of the running conversations you and I have is about creatives and about artists, right? We both consider ourselves artists and we just show up in a very weird artistic way where there needs to be a business and a team and other stuff involved with it. But as a creative, I want you to see the difference of being able to participate in a meeting rather than lead a meeting. Because leading a meeting is... For an operator, it's actually a strategic activity. An operator is looking at everyone, they're getting the inputs, they're understanding what's happening.
For an entrepreneur, it's an overwhelming tactical activity that is unnecessary.
Molly Keysey: Oh, for sure. Yeah. She's really excited to run them and she wanted to watch me run them first, which I think makes total sense. But I'm really excited because I can feel tension in a good way that like she's excited to take that over. I'm excited for her to take that over.
Alex Charfen: That's so cool. Molly, if you had to say like where have you felt the most improvement in the time that you've been back in our program, what is the biggest change for you with having Diana? For you personally, what's the biggest change?
Molly Keysey: Not having chaos. Her forcing me to make database decisions and be organized and not constantly say squirrel and change my mind all the time, it's a work in progress. I am a true creative. If I ever thought I wasn't a creative, like oh my God, because having her on the team just really shows me... I was trying to do the operations myself, and having her in that role, it really shows me how creative I am and how I should've never been doing the operation. To be totally candid, I read her 30 day assessment today, which blew me away. It was so much fun to read it. One of the things she wrote in there though was how she's like things change really quickly and she's like, "I feel like I'm like a three out of 10," and she's like, "Molly, I feel like you're like a 10 out of 10. You're constantly changing."
I was like, "Whoa, I need to reel that in a little bit." The biggest change I think though, the biggest thing, again, less chaos. She's been meeting with the team members. Their performance has improved incredibly in the last like 60 days. They all seem way happier. Our huddles are like... The huddle alone is complete night and day. People used to show up, they almost look scared, like what is going to happen on this huddle? It's going to be more bad news. Even though she's not the one running the huddle, the fact that they're all getting those one-on-ones and the 30 day assessments, I didn't have time to do all that stuff, and they feel heard. They're sharing their ideas. Their ideas are amazing. I'm learning to ask people, what do you think is the best solution, and letting them solve the problems because they have better answers than me most of the time.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. Well, what does that feel like as somebody who really would like... I think you and I are very similar. It's interesting. I've created a lot of systems and structured to run businesses, so everybody thinks that must love systems and structure. I'm a creative. I would rather have no schedule, but I know that it just doesn't work.
Molly Keysey: Alex has a literal like canvas that he painted that he sent out to all of his members. If you don't think Alex is a creative, think again.
Alex Charfen: I mean, I feel like I'm off the charts creative, but I've also realized I have to exist in a world where I have outcomes that I want. It's all about systems and structure. For you as a creative, what does that done for you as far as like creativity and being able to do what you want to do?
Molly Keysey: Off the map, I've had more ideas in the last month than I've had like in the last year, but now I write them down and I organize them. I'm not just like talking. I'm trying. I'm not perfect. But right now on my whiteboard, I have four different ideas for different funnels, which a year ago would have been a bad thing. We weren't ready for more then, but we're ready for more now and that is so exciting to me. For the last year, I felt like I'm a prisoner in my business because I've been trying to do the operations and grow the sales team and do all that on my own. That's not my zone of genius. I should not be doing that. Now that I have Diana doing this, this is her zone of genius. She has experienced building sales teams and managing and all of that.
I've been able... Just the other day... Actually today on our huddle, I came up with this really cool marketing idea and to me it was like nothing. I didn't even think it was that cool. Diana was like, "Wow. You're just so creative it blows me away." That's how I feel about what she does. It's night and day honestly.
Alex Charfen: I love hearing that, Molly. I'm so excited now. I have a question that I've been wanting to ask you for a while and now I'm like this is the time. Shortly after you and I first met, I remember you told me something like and it was something like, "You know, what I really want this business to do is just give me enough money so I can sit on my back porch and read books all day," or something like that. It was something very... I think I'm paraphrasing and probably not getting the quote right. Do you remember saying something like that?
Molly Keysey: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like something I would say.
Alex Charfen: The last time you and I hung out, that energy was gone. It's now about a movement, and it's about this business you're growing, and it's about you can see way bigger things and way bigger numbers. What changed?
Molly Keysey: Well, I think I got a taste of that freedom and I was sort of bored. I still love freedom and I value having my schedule open, but what I've realized is I don't want to not work. I don't want to just sit on a porch and do nothing. I want to have the freedom to create things. I mean, the fact that I didn't think I was... I don't know. I've just really have noticed recently how much of a creative I am and how much happier I am when I am creating new things. Like I said earlier, the fact that the last year I've been trying to be the operator and build our sales team, I was miserable. I was trying to be something that I'm not. I mean, I don't want to sit on a back porch. I just want to have the freedom to be able to create and use my zone of genius to grow the movement for sure.
Alex Charfen: Molly, to all the creatives... I know I said it was one last question, but man, you just opened up so many different loops from me because here's this thing that's taught in the market, that if you're a creative, then the way that you earn freedom is you go work independently without any help. How do you feel about like trying... Can you imagine trying to be free and doing everything? Molly Keysey: I feel like I might be the perfect person for this question because I started out... I feel like not everyone I'm sure... Not everyone for sure, but I meet a lot of online entrepreneurs, a lot of online educators that didn't start with 81 cents. I lived with my grandmother. I didn't have any money. I didn't have a car. I dropped out of school. I hustled. I knocked on door-to-door businesses. I traded my time for money for like 10 years. I did wedding photography, boudoir photography. The pain of doing it yourself, we all have to start somewhere. My students, that's where they start out. They start out time for money. But what gets me really excited is the students that I get to help. They don't have to be the only one doing it.
For me, I guess what I'm trying to say is I've lived that life of having to do it all myself and it doesn't give me that room to be as creative and dream to make my business bigger. I definitely like having a team more, even though I have days where I'm like, "I just want to fire everyone." I don't obviously say that. It's just internal. I mean, my team is amazing. If they listen to this, I just want you to know, it's not you, it's me.
Alex Charfen: Isn't it always when it comes [inaudible 00:20:43] It always is.
Molly Keysey: Oh, definitely.
Alex Charfen: The sooner you can realize as an entrepreneur that there's any issue on your team, it's an issue with you, the faster you can fix everything.
Molly Keysey: The faster you can get into therapy, the better.
Alex Charfen: Right. Amen.
Molly Keysey: Seriously.
Alex Charfen: There's a reason have a module on getting therapy in our program.
Molly Keysey: Oh my gosh, so do we. That's awesome. Everyone needs therapy.
Alex Charfen: Amen.
Molly Keysey: It's just next level. If you were somebody who traded time for money or you still are... Here's something that's interesting. A lot of our students, they're like, "I don't want to build a team because I want freedom," and that to me just doesn't make any sense because I've been there and what happens when you get sick? What happens when you want to take a vacation? What happens when you want to do anything? I mean, we have this one student, Cassie, who we've successfully helped her get a studio manager and a second photographer just like I did in my business. She actually was like dealing with some personal issues, and now her team is running the business without her. I don't know. That's like just an example of one of our photo students, but that's exactly what Alex is helping us do. Now it's like if something comes up, if I'm sick, if I travel, if I need a personal day, I know that the business is going to continue making money. It's not going to crumble. Sorry. I could rant forever.
Alex Charfen: I can listen to you, Molly. Thank you so much for this. If people want to hear more about you, understand more about you, where's the best place for them to go?
Molly Keysey: I didn't think about that question. Honestly, I guess I'm kind of old in saying this, but my Facebook, my personal Facebook. My name on there is just Molly Marie Keysey. But I actually post the most on there.
Alex Charfen: If you follow Molly, you'll see some interesting stuff because she does help boudoir photographers.
Molly Keysey: You'll see boudies.
Alex Charfen: There's some not save for work stuff there on your Instagram occasionally if you follow her, but you'll-
Molly Keysey: Now I just gained like a hundred male followers.
Alex Charfen: Well, you'll also see some exceptional marketing. Rhe reason I follow Molly is because she is exceptional at marketing and building her tribe, and she's doing amazing things. If you're interested in help with building systems in your business, hiring an operator, getting them trained, and building real freedom as an entrepreneur, go to predictablebusinesssolutions.com, answer few questions from my team. You'll have an opportunity to set up a call and let us see if we can help you. Predictablebusinesssolutions.com