Momentum Podcast: 622
Process Produces Growth Part 1
by Alex Charfen
My team and I recently held our very first virtual summit for our members. It was massively successful and one of the best portions of the event centered around a conversation with our members who are finding success in growth in this market. Meaghan Connell, Julie Broad, Lars Hedenborg, and Adi Jaffe are all experiencing massive growth using our systems, processes, and frameworks.
I want to give you an inside look into the Charfen Summit and just how much growth these incredible entrepreneurs are experiencing. With the right processes in place, you can create a real business that becomes profitable and gives you the life you've always wanted.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast. Last week was extraordinary for me. We had our Charfen Summit, which is a event that we typically hold three times a year in person and we did it virtually. And we had over 200 people at one point in our event. It was absolutely incredible. The energy was amazing. What people were sharing with each other was extraordinary. And one of the things that we did in the event was pull a few of our members up who've done really well since they've joined our program to share exactly how they've grown their businesses, gotten their time back, and created massive momentum. I'm really excited for you to meet some of our extraordinary members. They're about to be introduced right after this.
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. And 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.
Deanna: We have Julie Broad who has been with us a little bit longer, but Julie has some really interesting things that she can share specifically about how being in our program allowed her to, I think, reenter the country at one point.
Alex Charfen: Oh, that was one of my favorite stories.
Deanna: And Julie is someone who when she showed up, I remember she was a smaller team and now she and her operator, they show up regularly. Her operator is very involved and asks a lot of questions and they have the cadence up and running. And then we have Lars Hedenborg, who is newer, and Lars runs the Real Estate B School. And the reason why I wanted us to feature Lars is because he's someone who has been in another program, and I think that he has a lot to offer in terms of what the differences are between what he was in before and what we offer and what we provide. And then Adi is just now signing in. We have Adi Jaffe, I think that's how you say his last name. Sorry, Adi.
And he is someone who, Alex, worked with you through ClickFunnels and has had the realization of, "Oh, I thought I knew what Charfen was, but now I really know what Charfen was." We have a broad mix of people who are going to be speaking today, and I think that they offer just some really different perspectives on their experiences in the program.
Alex Charfen: Fantastic. Thanks for setting that up, Deanna. That was awesome. If you can stick around and jump in with questions or send me questions if you think that there's something specific I should ask, that's awesome. Megan, Julie, Lars, and Adi, thank you so much for being here. Here's why we do these panels. I think that there's a certain amount of effectiveness in me or Haley or Deanna being able to share with you, but here's where I've always gotten the most out of going to conferences and going to events.
Not the most maybe, but here's why I've always gotten a tremendous amount of leverage, is when someone gets on stage who's in the same situation I am and they share how they're moving forward, they share how they're succeeding, they share how things have affected them, for some reason, me hearing that helps me apply solutions in my life better. As we go through this panel, here's what I would love for you to put in the chat interface, what are you going to do? What are you learning? When somebody says something on this panel, let us know how it's going to affect how you look at your business or how it's affecting your mindset. Because again, I don't think anyone I'm bringing up here as a professional speaker.
Actually, that might not be true. I think Adi might do some speaking, and so does Lars. But at the same time, they're members. They're not paid to be here. They're volunteering to do this. Let's give them all the kindness and all the support we possibly can. Megan, can we start with you? Just quickly everyone has context, I want these intros to be about a minute. Give us what type of company you have, how many people on your team, what is your revenue, and why did you originally join this program.
Megan: We run a data agency. We build out business intelligence dashboards for companies. We have 30 people on our team. Last year we were at 1.7 million. And the reason that we joined is because we were exploding. We increased revenue by 400%, and we've increased profitability by 400%, and then we didn't really know what was next. And we were starting to feel the pains in different areas, right? We know revenue was solved, but then we were finding all these holes and operation holes and delivery holes in all of the other systems. We knew that we didn't know what we needed to get to the next level, so that's why we joined.
Alex Charfen: Megan, did you say 30 people?
Alex Charfen: Where were you when we started?
Megan: Oh, God, I'd say about 20.
Alex Charfen: Okay. That's huge growth.
Megan: In four months.
Alex Charfen: You've grown 50% in four months. Holy crap. Congratulations. That is fantastic.
Julie, same question, what type of business do you have, how many people, revenue, and then why did you originally join the program?
Julie: Yep. We help people, primarily subject matter experts, write, publish, and sell nonfiction books. And we're heavy on the marketing side, so we do a lot of stuff on the marketing side for books. When I joined, the employee team was three people, and now we have nine. We pretty consistently had somewhere between 25 and 35 contractors. Revenue wise, I joked about this last time I talked, but I thought that I was going to have to lie on the form to get into the group.
Alex Charfen: You're not the only one.
Julie: My revenue $200,000 when I joined. Right before COVID, we were going to break a million, but I think we're going to... Our run rate's kind of down to 900 now. But yeah, pretty solid in a year. I'm pretty happy.
Alex Charfen: That's amazing, Julie. Congratulations. That's 500% growth. And if you end up around 900 after what's going on, that's fantastic. Lars, same question, so type of company, number of people, revenue, and why'd you join the program originally.
Lars: Yeah. Real Estate B School is the company. Basically it's a coaching company that helps real estate agents get out of the grind and become business owners. We've been at it for seven years. We've got eight full-time and six part-time coaches. The core team is eight. Revenue last year was $2.3 million. We've had slow growth, which is part of the frustration. I feel like we're a $10 million business and just [inaudible 00:07:29] Ironically, the system we used did not give us traction, pun intended. And that's the reason why we joined. My operator, Stacy Peterson, is on here as well. We've known you. I was a CDP back in the day. I was the lowly real estate agent back in eight, nine, and 10 and just scaled out of that business totally.
Just to really like where that other system fails is that it doesn't hit the ground. This is like in working with Deanna for two months, three months maybe, it's just eye-opening. Our whole team has the planner. We're already at the daily level with, what are you doing today, because everything fell on Stacy and I. Anyway, that's why we're here is that it was just too heavy for Stacy and I. We did not have a system to get it to the team, and the team was succeeding.
Alex Charfen: Lars, I feel like... Just pause for a second because we're getting some questions about whether you're talking about traction, and I'll make the comment. Before traction, that was the best system out there there ever was for entrepreneurs. There really wasn't anything good for entrepreneurs, and Traction is good. There are massive deficits that have not been corrected in that system, and one of them is that the planning is rather ethereal and the system to make it happen doesn't exist. Is that fair, Lars?
Lars: I mean, yeah, it was good, and we're virtual. I feel like the system does not work for virtual. Even the follow on book was so scary about rocket fuel. They make this like unicorn of a person to find like your operator. It's a unicorn. You're not going to find it. But if you do, like mine, I was my dad's. I mean, it's just such a weird... Anyway, it was good. You're right. It didn't land.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, it doesn't land. The other major issue with Traction is that it was written by somebody who became a familiar integrator. He was integrating for his dad probably out of necessity, and then wrote the entire system to just pigeon hole this one person in this place called an integrator. And I mean, if Stacy was running that role, Stacy, you have my sincere condolences.
Lars: It's a good point. She's like, "I cannot be your integrator, but I can totally be your operator. Let's do this. We can totally do this." But that other thing is something that doesn't exist. And then they tell you it takes a year to really get in to sync with the person. So that's why we're here.
Alex Charfen: Awesome. So glad to have you. And then Adi Jaffe, same thing. Are we saying your name right, Adi?
Adi: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You've known me long enough. I've probably corrected you to 15 times to get to that place.
Alex Charfen: Nice.
Adi: Adi. It has nothing to do with the questions you asked, but I'm impressed with how many Israelis are on this thing. For some bizarre reason, there's a high rate... I mean, this is that bias that you talked about before. I see all the Israeli names and I'm like, "Oh, all right. That's cool." The business I'm in is it's essentially a self-help platform, a platform for mental health addiction and other self-help related content. I have one full-time person, except for myself, and she is making the business possible because without her I'd have a private practice is what I would have without her. Our revenue, we did 330 last year, which more than doubled. We did 125 the year before that.
But our run rate is about 600,000 right now because corona finally explained to the world what we do. The idea of online help before corona was bizarre to everybody, and now everybody's like, "Oh, so you're on Zoom," and we go, "Yes, we've been here for four years. Welcome." And why did I join? I joined because I got exposure to your systems, Alex, and we've been in touch for the last, I don't know, three years. To be perfectly honest, when we were at one something, the level of coaching you had was just above my pay grade, especially because I wasn't Two Comma Club X. But the day that you did this eight hour training, I would say, I don't know if it was... I'm not going to say it was the value I got.
It was 40% of the value I got from my Two Comma Club experience, was the eight hour training you provided. I'm the ultimate disorganized. I have five million ideas in a day and none of them get executed beyond, I don't know, me getting mad at somebody for them not getting executed. And the day that you spoke and we worked through some stuff together, even in the training, for the first time I went, "Oh, I think I can do this. If I can just find people to follow that system, I can finally manage it." We went from, like I said, a hundred thousand at that point to 330 within a year.
We more than tripled our revenue over the year, and now we're already at I think it's like 600 or 650 run rate and my goal is to hopefully hit a million, but you've taught me not to shoot for the hope. We're going to set a goal at something really, really amazing, five or six X where we were two years ago, but it's going to be easily achievable.
Alex Charfen: That's awesome, Adi. Congratulations, man, that's huge. All right. I want to ask some questions. Here's the foundation I want you to answer these questions from. We have a population here of a lot of people who are relatively new in the program. We also have some people who've been around for a while, but we have a lot of people who are relatively new. The reason I wanted to get this panel of catalyst members is so that you can share where you feel like you got the most leverage early on. What were the things that helped you the fastest? Megan, I want to come to you. You've experienced explosive growth, like 50% growth in team members. I thought that when you and I had first met, it was between like 15 and 20 team members.
When you said 30 today, I'm like, wait a second, you just joined. Tell us, give us some insight. What advice would you give to people who have just joined to have similar results?
Megan: I think the biggest thing was going through and making sure that I wasn't... I mean, basically I was at full capacity. I was operating in every single role in the business, and so I was the bottleneck, right? I think for this, the biggest thing is we spent basically 48 hours going through every piece of content in the first 48 hours. We cranked through it really quick to pick the biggest areas of need for us and then implement those first. And I think the biggest thing that we implemented was basically my operator, giving her full permission, and she's on here too. So Karen, feel free to correct me where I'm wrong because four months things like a lifetime ago. The first thing was just giving her full control, right?
And full access to just start stepping into these things. It's not that I didn't want to get rid of them. It's not that I felt like I was the only one who could do it. It was just a habitual thing that I continued doing things. Running meetings was a big one. Even just her running the numbers, right? She would go and start preparing for meetings rather than me doing all the prep work for them. Really delegating to her and setting up these roles and responsibilities between me and my operator. Because before that, it was me and my business partner, but he's a visionary. He is not an operator by any means, and so that was creating both chaos in our business, but also in our personal life because he's also my life partner.
Really changing that partnership to being me and my operator was a big turning point for us because then we were able to get things done. We went through the whole course, picked out the top five things. And then over the next, I'd say month, then we went through in more granularity and started catching those things that we didn't feel was as... It wasn't as urgent as those first couple things that we found, but then we started implementing all of those, and now we've gone through it with a fine tooth comb. Just over time getting more and more granular in our implementation of the cadence and making sure that we're going back through it multiple times over rather than just one time and assuming that I've got everything.
Alex Charfen: Megan, you're an interesting case because we're friends. You and I have a relationship beyond just this course. And what's really interesting is that you were evaluating potentially working with Traction. And in that organization, they immediately pigeonholed you. Can you share a little bit about that?
Megan: Honestly, I wasn't as involved in evaluating that. I've been on a couple of them, but I couldn't speak in depth to it.
Alex Charfen: Okay. AJ shared with me. Here's just the situation that I want to point out. Megan is very analytical, like a high C. You can probably tell just by how she talks and how she presents herself, but she's also a visionary. Here's what happens oftentimes in relationships. AJ, her life partner, is not analytical and he's not a high C. He's like not any of those things. He is an off the charts visionary. Would you agree, Megan?
Megan: For sure.
Alex Charfen: Without a lot of like the tactics underneath visionary, he's just up here. What happened when Megan and AJ talked to Traction, they said, "Well, this is great. AJ, you're the visionary, Megan, you're the integrator. Here's how we do it." For a lot of people who get shoved into that role, it's very constraining. Here's how I always see it. AJ is a visionary entrepreneur. Megan is a visionary entrepreneur. They both have different strengths. We need to take those visionary strengths and get support everywhere else. I just want to point that out because a lot of times in couples or partnerships, one of them gets told they're a thing. And I'm like, uh-uh (negative), not a chance. It's the same thing with face yoga.
We have Maria who is off the charts creative and just an amazing business entrepreneur. But then Fumiko is like an artist and content creator and she's incredible. They got an operator, so now they have an operator that's helping the two of them. I just want to make sure that we make that very real for the couples, the partnerships, the two person teams in here.
Megan: And now that you say that, I totally remember because it was hell actually. I mean, basically everything got delegated to me because I could do it, then it was automatically defaulted that I should do it. And I was just like, well, I guess I'm the integrator. I'm going to go do these things. Even though it was not beneath me, but it wasn't allowing me to step into the full potential that I had for the organization and the full value that I brought to the organization because I was pigeonholed into this integrator role just because I was more of an integrator than he was.
I think what naturally those first things that we implemented from you was me stepping into the fact that I need to be freed up to have that freedom to lead the organization rather than doing just because I'm better at it than somebody else. That's what really led us to hiring all these people. Our ops person was not an ops person at that time. She got promoted into ops. She was kind of like a project manager-ish. And then she got promoted into the ops leader and now she has three assistants because there were so many things that needed to be done from an operations perspective, and that had all been on my plate for the five years of the history of the company.
That was a huge shifting point because then we were actually able to get momentum as opposed to me doing it in my spare time, which I equated to five to 15 minute days or 48 hours on the weekend.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. What I just heard was as soon as you were recognized as the visionary, the size of your team went up by 50% within four months. That's why I point this out because the first time I ever met Megan, she and AJ told me like, "Well, this is what they told us. Megan has to be this. I have to be," and they were a tie. And I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop. What? I don't understand. How can anybody look at Megan and say she's an integrator? She's clearly a visionary with a incredibly high capacity. She talks like a visionary. She sounds like a visionary. She needs to be in a visionary role." And I remember the conversation was like, well, how do you do that?
Well, the way you do it is you put two visionaries and an operator, and then you divide the responsibilities between the two visionaries, like Cadey and I. And we got a comment here, so Megan was doing 10 people's jobs. No, more like 25. Julie, let's come to you. Thank you, Megan. That was awesome. Same question, Julie. You've been here for a while. Your growth has been amazing. Congratulations again. I'm just so freaking proud that you went from 200 to a million. That's incredible. What advice do you have for the people who are just getting started, just getting in here? They've been in here a couple of months. What would you tell them as like the thing that you should be doing to take advantage of this?
Julie: One thing? For me, one of the reasons I joined was I had to build the company kind of backwards because I used it as... Kind of Deanna alluded to this, so I'm a Canadian living in the States, and I used it as the means to get our E-2 investor visa. I had to hire people and spend money before I was actually allowed into the country to generate revenue. From day one, I was losing money in my business, which isn't that unusual. But having employees before you have clients is backwards. When I joined, I was really trying to figure out how to make the company profitable. The first thing that we did was implement process for everything that...
Not everything I was doing necessarily, but everything that touched a client, we built processes around it, which allowed us to be way more efficient. Also, gave us security that if somebody left or something happened to somebody, we had a process. Somebody else could just drop into that role. That was the first thing. And that that immediately helped us grow, which it didn't... I can't say like this did this, but we grew. As we built those processes, we grew much faster. And then we knew where we had to hire too because it became more obvious where the bottlenecks were and where the problems were. We were able to hire the right people. And then the next thing really that I can... For anybody starting, I resisted huddles so much. I did not want to have a daily meeting. I did not want to do it. The weekly reports and the huddles are the absolute best thing we could have done and going into... And I did. I resisted them for six months before we actually started doing huddles. But as we hire, within a week people are contributing in a big way to the company. They fit into the culture almost instantly and we're remote, and that's only possible because of the huddles. And the other thing is I don't run the huddles, right? That's another really core piece. In my head, I was thinking I had to run all these meetings that you're supposed to have, but I just show up. It takes the weight off my shoulders, but it also gives my team the opportunity to bond.
And I'm not this commander in charge. It really creates a team culture. If anybody else is feeling like I do not want to have a daily meeting, that sounds horrible, I recommend just trying it because it really was incredible. And going through COVID with the daily huddle and the weekly reports, I couldn't imagine trying to handle a crisis and all the emotions people are feeling and the uncertainty without that stuff. Processes, for sure. I think that's been the secret to us being profitable and growing, and then daily huddles and weekly reports, just incredible. Implement those right away.
Alex Charfen: I love that you share that because for so many people, daily huddles and weekly reports, they wait like three months, six months, eight months and then they're like, "Okay, we're finally going to do this." And my advice is those are two of the things you should do as early as possible. Julie, really quick, just because Deanna kind of mentioned it and I loved the story, how did this program help you stay the United States? Are you back in the United States because this is a crazy story?
Julie: Yeah, it was scary. I was home for a month last summer. And when we were coming back through the border, we just got an agent who decided to pick on us and said, "You need to prove that..." We have a five year visa, and this was only two and a half... No, it was only a year and a half, not quite two years, into our visa. And he said, "Oh, well, if your company is not profitable, I'm going to give you seven days to go down and get your stuff and come back. You're not going to be allowed to stay." And it was just one of those moments where you went, what? I had to produce payroll reports, our financials, and a whole bunch of stuff and wait there while they reviewed them. Again, if I hadn't been profitable...
I'd just gotten profitable two months prior to that, thanks to the process implementation, and I also had all the documents in one place because that's one of the things that we do early on. I think you have to do it now before you can even get into the modules, but we had all the documentation in place. The hard part was actually finding somewhere near the border where we could go print it off and then lining back up to go back to the agents and then waiting while a 22 year old agent pours through my financials and looks at it.
Alex Charfen: Probably weight testing them. Yeah, this weighs a lot. She's probably not lying.
Julie: The best part was she looks at it, she goes, "You had a rough first year." I was like yeah. We got our next two years, so we're good until our... Six months before we have to renew our visa. I guess we have to do this all over again, but it was bizarre and it doesn't happen to very many people. It does occasionally happen, but it really comes down to a customs agent just deciding that they need to pick on you that day. I was very grateful for Charfen. I said this is probably a story you won't hear very often, but I was allowed back into the United States because I had my processes in place and my numbers were looking good.
Alex Charfen: On that note, we are going to interrupt this panel here and then share the rest of it with you in the next podcast. And when you come back, you're going to get even more information about how our members are growing their businesses, how they've created massive momentum, and how they are moving forward in a way they didn't really know possible. I think some of the next podcast might even surprise you.
If you're ready to start building your business and putting the process, structure, and routine in place that allows you to predictably grow so that you can serve the people you want, make the impact you want, finally, make the income you've always known you should, go to predictablebusinesssolutions.com, answer a few questions for my team, and jump on a call with us. I know we can help you. Predictablebusinesssolutions.com.