Frank Bria | Stop Trading Time for Money

When you charge clients by the hour or project for your consulting or professional services, you end up trading your time for money, says business building and marketing expert Frank Bria. And you, as one person (or even if you have a small team), can only do so much. In fact, you probably do too much for some clients “off the clock.” 

That means your profit potential is limited. 

But you can increase your revenue – and profit margins – if you change your business model, leveraging your skills and experience in order to create something once and get paid and paid again. Plus, the business doesn’t depend on your presence at all times.

Frank shares how you can radically change your business and finally experience the ultimate freedom of being an entrepreneur. Tune in to find out…

  • The right way (for you and your clients)  to do group coaching
  • How to make sure you know your clients’ end goals – and how to address them
  • A strategy for delivering your services in a scalable way
  • The biggest mistake consultants make when working with clients
  • And more

Listen now…

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Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. And today we’ve got a really special interview. I’ve actually wanted to get our guests on for a while now. And we finally gotten it scheduled and finally got connected. And I think if you own a service business that you want to scale, you’re going to get some great stuff out of this today.

So today I’m talking with Frank Bria. He began his entrepreneurial career in financial services technology sector. And he worked with a number of startups they’re selling some of those selling for hundreds of millions of dollars. And then some, as he has he says crashed in flames but he’s worked with some of the largest corporations all across the world and he’s helped them grow, grow their business and make a real impact.

But now he works with consultants, and business owners to kind of pivot away from project based and hourly revenue. And that old kind of trading time for money game and into creating productized services where they get leverage, and they get freedom and and he’s just very, very good about it. He He’s also the author of the internationally best selling book Scale: How to Grow Your Business by Working Less and he’s got three beautiful daughters and so we have that in common with the fathers of daughters. So, Frank Bria Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO!

Frank Bria: Thanks, Steve, honored to be on the show and then we can go talk about the daughter thing later I like to call the drama club.

Steve: So when we do that, we’ll have to turn it off and I’ll get the scotch out. There you go. So give everybody a little bit of background. Just you know beyond the highlights that we got in the bio, but but how’d you get to this stage of your career?

Frank: Yeah, sure. I as as you indicated earlier started off in the FinTech space with technology startups. So my background is not from a sort of online marketing or digital marketing perspective, but from a multinational and fortune 500 perspective, those were our clients. Those were the the presentations that I that I made.

As, as you said, I’d like to say, you know, we, we sold a few, we crashed a few, that’s how it goes in tech startups. But it was an amazing experience, which from that, from that experience, I was asked to do a lot of consulting in this area for a lot of corporations and basically helping them take their services which were usually consultative or non repetitive, and, you know, basically they would do something custom for every single client and turn it into a product is offering which for those companies meant, you know, you’ve got a group of 20 or 30, people who are out trying to sell stuff, and they’re all talking about their own pet projects and why it’s important.

And these companies just weren’t able to kind of get their arms around the entire process of what was happening, and it was slowing them down. So I worked with companies all over the world doing what it was, it was exciting for a while, and then, you know, getting on the plane. And you know, when they say, Frank, we need you in Johannesburg, in two days, it starts to become not as much fun as it sounds. So, I turned my attention about seven years ago to pivot out of the large corporate space and working with entrepreneurs, which I thought I was doing primarily to just as a lifestyle choice, but I gotta be honest, working with entrepreneurs, and, and small business owners is way more fun.

It just really is that dealing with a person who, who actually is going to be personally feel the impact of their choices when they make a strategic shift is a lot more exciting than dealing with some, you know, C level executive whose bonus may or may not be affected by the things that we’re doing. And it just seeing entrepreneurs make quick decisions, bold decisions, and and reap the benefits of, of doing something to improve their business. It’s, it’s just way more fun.

Steve: Yeah, I totally agree. That’s quite a diverse background. And what I like about the way that you’ve kind of gotten to this place is you didn’t come through the sort of traditional internet marketing, kind of coaching machine consulting machine that’s out there right now. I didn’t either and I think then there’s a particular perspective that you have when you’ve come from, what I would call the the world the real world of business rather than the virtual world of business. That gives you a little bit different flavor to things and I think it’s important.

So I have to ask you that that did not sound at all like a smooth, straight line, you know, up and to the right journey. There were probably some challenges along the way. As you’ve gone through that, what are some of the ways that you found that really helps you stay unstoppable?

Frank: Yeah, it is definitely a straight line. Look, I think that the power of failure is to learn, right? I mean, we all we all sort of stumble into stuff that maybe is a little, you know, little early for our, our, our stage of development professionally and therefore we stumble a little bit or, you know, things happen that are out of our control. But for me personally, I think the reason the way that I’ve been able to get back up and and continue to move is to is, you know, I hate to sound really geeky about this, but it’s pattern recognition like that. That’s just one of my skill sets.

And I know, so you’re from an engineering background, kind of like, I’m from a technical background, and you and I’ve talked about this before, but I do think that people who can spot patterns recognize, Oh, you know what this sort of happened similarly before and so, you know, maybe I didn’t recognize it at the time that this was actually the same mistake being made. But it really is. You know, once I can do that, once I can kind of identify the patterns and see the root cause behind something, then I can kind of go, you know, what, okay, get up, brush off the knees, you know, get moving again, you know, I’m a human being like anybody else, like I have my moments where I just, you know, want to kind of curl up in a ball in front of the TV and ignore anything that’s going on but, but, you know, once I can identify what’s happening, I can identify that root cause that that pattern, then I’m like, Okay, now I’ve got the knowledge to continue. You for that seems to be my, my motivation.

Steve: Yeah, it’s, it’s so important to be able to recognize that and then once you figure out the pattern then to be able to consciously apply it. Because sometimes, you know, you you learn those lessons so far in the past that, you know, you’re presented with the situation again, you kind of have to remind yourself way I’ve seen this. There’s a, there’s a way to do this in a way not to do this. Right? Well, I’m anxious to, to kind of dive into the things that you’re doing with clients now because I think they’re gonna have a big impact on everybody listening. Before we do that, I want to take a quick break. We’re going to be right back with more from Frank Bria.

Commercial Break: Hi, this is Steve, I hope you’re enjoying this interview. We’ve got more to come in a minute. But what I’d love for you to do right now is rate this podcast leave us a review rate us on iTunes. It’ll really help others discover the podcast and help us help other CEOs other business leaders become unstoppable. So if you go to You can find instructions there and links that will take you right to where you need to go to review the podcast. Thanks so much. Now back to the interview.

Steve: Welcome back, everybody. This is Steve Gordon and I’m talking with Frank Bria and Frank, I want to dive into the work you’re doing now with, with your clients. And I think what’s particularly interesting about it is you’re taking people who are in businesses where they’re, they’re doing, you know, kind of that, that bespoke project-based work where everything is custom, or there may be working, you know, for hourly fees, and you’re taking them out of that and you’re helping them create a business that actually has leverage inside of industries where that isn’t usually the case. So tell us a little bit about what you’re doing there and, and the impact it’s having.

Frank: Right, we believe really started wrongly because we’ve seen what over the last couple of years, several years I’d have the opportunity to kind of get inside of a lot of people’s businesses and see what’s going on behind the scenes not just you know, what you look at on Instagram from them, but actually what what’s happening the the technical issues, the the process issues, things like that customer service issues and and see what works and what doesn’t work. And we’ve been able to kind of pull those together into best practices. And the format that we think works really nicely for a product I services we kind of now call a high ticket program. That’s just kind of the way we describe it. And what’s behind a high ticket program in our mind is number one. It starts with taking an outcome that your client desperately wants and owning it and taking it all the way to its logical conclusion.

A lot of service providers don’t do this, a lot of service providers said, well, you know, there’s a supply chain, if you will, or a value chain, that, you know, someone might go through, let’s say, from ideation all the way to get clients. And somewhere in the middle is social media. And so I’m a Twitter person. So I help you keep your Twitter account running well, that’s just not the end game. You know, it’s not full, the full experience that the client wants, it’s not the thing they really care about. So we start off by helping service providers wrap their arms around the entire problem. They need to take ownership of the actual outcome that the client really wants. And, and that, in some cases, means talking about what you do in a different way. I’ll give you an example.

We work with a lot of folks in the personal development space. And there are some amazing brilliant transformational people in that space. But they have a very difficult time attracting clients because they typically are speaking in the jargon of whatever thing they do. You know, maybe they have some way to help people, you know, realize their potential or have mindset breakthroughs, or, you know, it’s leadership training. But again, this is just one piece of the value chain, we ended up asking each of our clients as a start with us, what is your client really want? And so many entrepreneurs, especially in the personal development space, will say, Well, I want my client to have clarity around dot dot dot, right? And we and we have to keep telling them, clarity is not an outcome, okay? You don’t wake up in the morning and say, I wish I just had clarity as clarity leads to something you have to take clarity and put it into action. And so we’re helping a lot of these service providers.

Put that into action. And of course, that means transform. Being what you do in a in a big way. And because so many service providers tend to like to work one on one with their clients, you know, they’re going to hit an income barrier. You know, we did the research in the US Census data several years ago. And in the service business space, where there’s not a scalable product offering, the vast majority of people tend to max out somewhere between 250 and $400,000 a year, and they just don’t get past it, because they run out of time. I mean, we know this sort of intellectually, but you can see it in the numbers. And so most of our clients have seen that barrier and are having a hard time get past it because they just don’t have the time. They don’t know what to do. And there, they’re kind of stuck. They’re kind of frozen, and in their current business model.

Steve: It’s a particular challenge in these kinds of businesses. And you know, I’m, I’m building my second one of these, my first one was was in a technical field and the way that we grew that business in terms of revenue, because we were able to get beyond that sort of sort of threshold that you talked about, but the only way that we could do it was, and I think it’s the only way to grow in any kind of a service business, is you grow it like a pyramid scheme.

In other words, if you found it, you’re at the top of the pyramid. And the only way that you’re going to be able to serve more people and make more money is you’ve got to then get to junior people under you. And so now, your pyramid stick a little triangle, and then they’ve got to get four Junior people under them and so on and so forth. And two friends invite two friends and you know, that’s in if you look at the traditional professional services, engineering, architecture, law, medicine, that’s how they grow.

Frank: Yeah, accounting major. All the major consulting firms are that way you know, if you look at the Big Four accounting firms and their consulting firms Accenture, Deloitte You know, they’re all structured the exact same way just like you described.

Steve: There’s a problem with that, though, it’s a really unprofitable way to grow a business. So in the industry, I was in the sort of industry benchmark for profitability was 10%. That’s horrible. We were we were doing really well. And we had, you know, increase that by more than about two and a half times. But still, 25% profit is pretty bad when you look at product-based businesses that are doing generally much larger margins. And so how do you take somebody then, and, and kind of get them to see a vision for product sizing this the service that they deliver?

Frank: Yeah, it comes it comes actually out of the secret of why that’s such an unprofitable model. Let’s start with that for a second and break it down because people go Why? Why can’t you just keep hiring people and keep the same profit margin across the organization? What actually happens is when You do the research, you start to take a look at the profitability numbers of those organizations, the marginal profitability actually goes down, the bigger and bigger you get, which is weird, because you would think I’m just hiring a cheaper person to do the same work.

But what ends up happening is, is you’re hiring superstars, because you start that pyramid scheme with you as the superstar because you know what you’re doing. And now everyone else has to basically grow up to be superstars. And I’m afraid to break the news that just aren’t that many superstars in the world. And so hiring becomes more expensive. The mistakes start to get bigger, the number of people who have to watch over the project becomes bigger and the marginal cost goes up, which is weird, because in most business models as you grow, the marginal cost actually goes down. But but that’s that’s becomes the problem. So anytime you have a process that is sort of built on you as the entrepreneur, which is where all of us start on day one has to get broken down into its component parts. Because what you can do is you can hire and structure around helping people with very particular skill sets. So we kind of identified five major ways of delivering services in a scalable way.

And if you stick to them, and you can, they’re kind of like Legos. As long as you build up your program and your business, using these five components, doesn’t matter how you put them together, you’re going to be fine. And the Fiverr off familiar to us, it’s just that we don’t think about them as sort of scalable, scalable delivery mechanisms. One is virtual training. We, like we all know what that looks like. Then we’ve got masterminds and by mastermind I mean, like a real mastermind not like I just wrote my book and I’m going to start a mastermind, like a real mastermind is a group of a reasonably small group of people who come together to help each other set and achieve big goals. So the difference between say a mastermind nd a group coaching program which is the group coaching is sort of the third Lego is that in a mastermind, you as the entrepreneur or a facilitator and a group coaching program, you the entrepreneur or the guru, so you got to move it in and out of those roles, that you got group coaching that got done for you services and live events and workshops. So if you can kind of stick to that menu, and put your program together and those building blocks with those Legos, then you have something that’s scalable.

Steve: Absolutely. And I think understanding when to move in and out of different ones, I would imagine would be pretty important in this process, to start would be pretty important.

Frank: Well, in each of those building blocks serves different purposes. They’re not completely exchangeable. You know, a lot of people come to me and they say, hey, I’ve got a product, and it’s not really working very well. And I say, Well tell me about your product and they say, well, we go to Tahiti once a year and then I have monthly calls. Like, that’s not a product, that’s just a set of interactions, like, it’s not a product. They’ve none of those things have purposes associated with them, you know, so.

So what we teach, folks is that if you’re going to get results for your clients, you need to be able to, to provide skills, accountability and mentorship. You need all three, you can’t just do it on skills, like a lot of people say, Well, I’ll just teach my clients in video training, and then they’ll be fine. Which is sort of the course mentality with a lot of people who just all you need to do is is put out a course that doesn’t work. People don’t learn stuff that way. And if you don’t believe me, go get brain surgery from the duty just for the textbook. Like it’s not it doesn’t work like that, you know.

So you’ve gotta gotta also have mentorship and accountability. And each of those different Lego blocks does different things like Virtual Training is a great way to teach skills. group coaching on the other hand, is a whole horrible way to teach skills, it’s a much better way to provide mentorship, allowing people to ask questions or take the skills they’ve learned and apply it to themselves, right? If they’ve got a live event, I’m probably not going to be able to hold you accountable. You’re only here for two or three days, I’m going to have to have some other infrastructure to hold you accountable. You know, masterminds are great at holding people accountable, because people make commitments to others, and then stick to them. So each of these different Legos has different purposes. So when you think through how to provide all these services, usually does require a bit of a menu in order to span all three of those areas.

Steve: You know, probably the first pushback I imagine you get when you’re talking with someone about this, I mean, I think everybody looks at the idea of how can I get leverage and you know, make more money for less effort. That’s really desirable. But there’s got to be some skepticism about going from Hey, I’m working with one on one with my clients to I’m now working with them in a group, how am I going to convince them to do that?

One-on-One vs. Group Work

Frank: Right? In fact, there’s two major objections that we hear, right? One:group is less valuable. So my client, if I tell them I’m going from one to one to group is going to feel like they’re being cheated somehow. They’re like losing out on something, right? That’s the first thing. The second thing is, well, everybody’s different. And if I put everybody into together into a group, I’m not going to be sure that they actually get value or get results out of what’s going on those. Those are the two big things.

So first of all, the the idea that somehow working in one on one is more valuable than in-group is a lie. we tell ourselves, I mean, and by the way, this is going as you addressed earlier, where you and I didn’t grow up in this digital marketing space, like almost nowhere else in the world. Do we actually believe this, you know, I ran for a while appeared networking group for CIOs of the top, basically 100 banks in the world. And those CIOs, you know, just sea level of very large corporations. If anybody was going to demand one on one time, that would be them, right? No, they don’t, they didn’t want to sit down and talk to me. They wanted to deal with their peers, they wanted to be in a group with everybody else. They wanted to hear all of the different ideas, like people who are true executives understand the power of network and understand the power of doing something as a group that they couldn’t possibly do together. So we kind of have this fake idea that somehow, you know, it’s my time that’s valuable, but that’s because we’ve given our client nothing else to value. You know, if we have we design a product, and we can’t explain how each of the component parts, helps them get to where they want to go. Then they’re going to ask the question, well, how much of your time do I get? Because that’s the default, right? We’re all familiar with that we all probably started our career, you know, working at McDonald’s or something we were paying being paid by the hour.

So it’s a framework we’re all familiar with. But in fact, it’s not at all accurate or even relevant. So we attempt to break that mindset from our clients that know you don’t want my time. My time is actually not the thing you want, the thing you want is the outcome that I’m creating for you. And we’ve put it together in a different way. So that so that’s the first thing. And the second thing is that a group dynamic is far more effective than one on one for a lot of different reasons.

But I’ll basically give you three. First of all, a group program allows group learning so that that’s the thing that I kind of mentioned that with that CIO peer network. I want to learn from everybody who’s around with me, I don’t want to just learn from the person that I hire. I want to hear great ideas from everybody. That’s the first advantage that’s there. The second one is for you as the entrepreneur, a group program keeps you on track. One of the biggest problems with one on one coaching is that people start to like drift off into all these other things. Because what ends up happening is your client hops on a call, and they say, Oh, I have a problem with such and such. And then you dive off into some weird thing, which basically blocks the momentum of the entire program. It’s really hard to keep people on track.

But if you’re in a group program, you’ve got specific milestones you’re trying to hit specific goals that they need to accomplish. You’re going to keep everybody on track, you’re not going to be wandering off into weird paths. But the third thing and probably the most powerful thing is that a group program up provides opportunity for your client to teach back what they learned to others. This giving back to community is an incredibly powerful and anchoring concept that we don’t use. And we need to engineer it. Like we just doesn’t happen on its own.

But if you’re in a group call, and someone asked a question, and there’s someone else there in the group, and you say, Oh, hey, Jane, you just solved this problem like two weeks ago. Do you want to tell Andy how you did that? Sure. Yeah. Let me talk back to you. And we all know that as far as learning skills and principles goes, that you know, you just hear it, you can go do it, and then go teach it. And by teaching it, we really get something out of that we wouldn’t have otherwise go really solidifies that concept with us. So it can be far more effective to be engaged in a group process by leveraging those three areas.

Steve: I feel like you had a camera in my office about eight-nine years ago. I used to do one on one consulting and that’s kind of how I started this business. It finally struck me, I had five consulting calls one day. And on four of those calls, I found myself repeating what I’d said on prior calls. Which quickly occurred to me that this was not the best use of my time. But nor did it serve the client. So the thing that I noticed that day, and I was fortunate to have that experience close together like that is that as I would, you know, tell one client one thing, and they would have a response, and they would have a thought or an insight about how to apply that thing.

The next client that I got on with and I basically told him the same thing, I had to then relay what the first client said, right here firsthand didn’t have the impact within client number two, as they’re applying it in their own mind to their business tells me things That would have been really great for client number one to hear. Right, right, well that ship has sailed, that isn’t going to happen. And that’s kind of how that really went. And, you know, I reflected on it for several months after that. We ended up launching a group workshop program. All of the one on one clients that we had happily moved into that. And I was, frankly, I was a little bit surprised because we are now we’re requiring them to fly across the country from wherever they weren’t meeting Orlando. But it was really interesting to watch the dynamic in the room. Yeah, you know, watch them interact with each other as I would present an idea. It made it tremendously more valuable. And they then that was their words. They tell me that that, this was way better than what we were doing before.

Frank: Right. Yep. That and that is true. Across the board. I mean, you know, the experience that you just described, happens over and over and over again to people who are doing high valued one on one coaching they they find themselves repeating stuff. They see the potential for synergies and partnerships among their clients that they can’t really leverage. And yeah, it’s it’s a, it’s a pretty common. It’s a pretty common experience. So you’re normal Steve. I’m just here to tell you, you’re normal.

Steve: But thank you. So, as you’re working with somebody, you know, they’re coming from a place of working one on one with clients. Where do you kind of begin with this process? What’s the entry point that they need to begin thinking about?

Where Does The Process Begin?

Frank: So are you talking about a transition from one on one practice into kind of a group program?

Steve: Well, yeah, so I mean, if they’re practicing on one now and they say, hey, Frank, I want to work with you. And I want to get to a point where I’ve got all the leverage that you talk about and I’ve got this product I service, that it’s not like you just wave a magic wand and overnight, they’ve got all of these different models in place. Is there a pattern there where it makes sense to kind of go in a certain order?

Frank: It all really, what we recommend is that it starts with understanding your customer journey from the top of the house. So the very first exercise that we take everybody through is a customer journey mapping exercise. And so that looks like what if you have your ideal client? These are the people that you want to work with that light you up, you would go on vacation with whatever. These are your ideal clients in your work with them for three years. What do they have in three years that they don’t have today? And to get very specific about that outcome, right, not what did we do over the three years but what do they have? So it gets very outcome-oriented and Then we back that upgrade. So what does that look like in 12 months? What does that look like in 12 weeks?

Fundamentally, what we see is accelerating milestones at 12 weeks, 12 months, three years, they represent fundamentally three different products that a service business should probably offer. Again, there’s no one right way to do things. So I’m just talking about best practices in general. But what we see as really effective is to have three products aligned with a 12 week, a 12 month and a three year outcome with very different purposes and intense. The reason that we like to start off with a 12 week outcome is because cold audience who is just buying something from me for the very first time is going to want to see a win a tangible win as quickly as possible. And if you happen to be in a business building space, you also want to provide them some way to continue to afford to work with you. So that when should probably We cover, you know, the the fee to continue to work with you in that 12 month goal, a 12 month goal, that 12 month product is what we call an ascension product. And that’s going to be the source of your regular recurring monthly recurring revenue, which is the critical need for the base of your business model. You need money coming in every single month from a group of a solid group of clients in order to create a really good base.

And then finally, at the end, three years, you know, the end it’s a funnel, they’re going to be people who dropped out along the way. But that very last offer we call an inner circle offer. And those are going to be your your, your your peeps, that’s going to be your tribe, there’s going to be people who would follow you around the world on vacation. And and it’s great, so you get to work with them in a very highly intimate way. We don’t worry about scale so much in that group, because these are going to be a small group of people who can You a lot to get that value for that three years. And if you do it right, not everybody has to do this. But if you do it right, those are also folks who are aligned to continue to drive revenue in your business. So they’re usually referral partners or franchisees, or licensees, or whatever you want to call it. And those are going to be the folks that you’re going to hang with.

So that’s usually we start, we start with that map. And then you have to map your existing one on one clients across that journey, because they’re probably not all in the same space and figure out, okay, so where the most of these folks let’s launch that product First, get people mapped over and then slowly, you know, move people off of one on one into the new product infrastructure. But, you know, all of the things being equal, it’s nice to launch that core offer that first 12 week offer first, because best possible funnel for an ascension For the 12 month offer is to have a killer core offer where people get amazing value and amazing results. That’s how they sign up, you know, it’s much easier to upgrade folks than it is to sell new ones. So that that’s usually the framework.

Obviously, there’s, you know, when you take a look at each business and the cash flow needs and the expense, you know, for some of our high end clients, you know, we do cash flow planning as a way of making sure the transition is smooth because you don’t want to just, you know, pull the plug on everything and then have all the cash drop out. But fundamentally, that’s the end target we shoot for.

Steve: So there’s a there is kind of a best practice model, a structure that you’re ultimately working towards, and I sound like you tailor it a little bit. But, but you found that that structure kind of gives them the best of all possible worlds. Right? So I know we’re getting kind of short on time, but I am curious. As you go through this process now, to what extent does a typical client that you work with, then begin to involve other people in delivering the service?

The Best Practice Model

Frank: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And it kind of depends on it depends on what actually that service is. But what I will say is this, when we start to create the service model, in a product, we start with, essentially, the tasks that the client or the tasks that need to get accomplished in order for the client to get their results. Okay? A lot of people when they design a product, start with content. They say, Okay, what lessons can I teach, but that’s the wrong way to start. The way you want to start is okay, and service delivery, all service delivery is essentially a series of tasks. Either your client does that them or you or your team, do them. And you may decide to do them as part of your team in order to speed things through, right? So for example, if you’re a web design agency, you’re probably going to design the website, you’re not going to teach your client how to design the website, right? Because it’s going to speed value, it’s going to speed the client through the process.

So first thing we have to do is outline all the tasks and and basically put them in categories. Is this something that clients can have to do? Is this something that me and my teams can have to do? Then each of the tasks that falls on our side of the balance sheet, need to get broken down into skill sets, there needs to be very clear delineation of who you need in that role. And if you can’t delineate the skill set, because it’s just like, well, it’s me, and I do it, and I’m really good at it. And I’ve got all these different skills like that’s going to break your business, you really have to be able to say okay, I need graphic designer. I need a tech typical person, whatever, so that you can scale so you can hire people, you can’t just hire superstars just doesn’t work. Once you’ve identified that, it’s almost like you can write an org chart of customer delivery. You know, when when we help organizations structure their, their people. There’s really a column in the org chart, that’s all customer delivery. And so you put down the skill sets, you put the boxes on the org chart for each of the different skill sets.

Now on day one, you may put your name and all those boxes, you may be the chief cook and bottle washer, that’s fine, that that’s the way it goes sometimes, but at least now we have an idea about where that’s going to go and who, you know who we’re going to have to eventually bring in that point, it comes down to understanding the cost of delivery and the percentage of the revenue that’s dedicated to those friends.

Folks, one of the things that one of the big mistakes that we as entrepreneurs make is, when we don’t pay ourselves a regular salary often enough, we just kind of like pull cash out of the drawer, you know, as it comes in. And when we do that, the problem is, is that we haven’t allocated a salary to ourselves for the customer delivery work that we do. Because as a CEO, if you’re working with your customers, you’re both getting paid to run the business. And to deliver client work. One of these days, you’re going to have to give up the client delivery piece and turn it over to somebody else. So that means that a portion of the money you would have been paying yourself or grabbing out of the cash register has to go to somebody else. So you got to start thinking about breaking up your compensation that way.

So a lot of this has to do with financial modeling, looking at you know, how much should someone get paid? What’s the marginal cost of delivering to a customer and then figuring out What your minimum threshold is what the minimum breakeven is to be able to bring somebody in. It’s not hard math, but it’s math that most of most of us just don’t do. And so you know, whether you work with a coach or your accountant or a CFO or whatever someone should be looking at your delivery expenses in terms of fixed marginal and understanding what the growth is to kind of cover fixed and bake in the marginal into the overall cost of you know what you’re charging.

Steve: Thank you for bringing up the numbers. You know…

Frank: No one likes to hear this. This is the part of the podcast where everyone went to sleep.

Steve: This is the part of the podcast where you make money though. You really do need to know this. Well, but so many of the people that are out in internet marketing land, talking about this stuff, it’s you know, they focus on how you sell these programs, not so much ow do you structure them to get results for people, which I think gives you a really weak foundation, but they also don’t look at the reality of the business side of it, and cash flow and all of that. And, you know, I know, you know, this from your background and in reality-based businesses, you know, we had to go through this all the time. And my first business, I mean, we had a full-time CFO, and we were only a, you know, a small little, you know, between 30 and 50 people, you know, depending on what year it was. And so we needed all of that to be able to know whether or not it was all going to work and to manage it. And I don’t see a lot of folks doing that now, but it can really inform your decision making it I’m so glad you brought all of that up.

Frank: Yeah, we definitely see a lot of businesses wait way too long to start thinking about this. And, you know, I mean, you don’t have to have a CFO as a solopreneur, but I do think you want to have someone that you can talk to who could break down your business model. I mean, you know, this is, again, for our elite clients, this is the first thing we do. In the very first meeting, we build them a cash flow plan. They’ve never seen it before. And I can’t tell you how many times it started. It’s almost comical now. Where they say, this is the first time I have actually understood my business at all. And it’s true, like when you sort of break it down, and you can start to see how, you know, you, you basically run into whether or not you’ve got a viable business model, New York Times did an article probably about a month ago, and they listed sort of the top 10 reasons why businesses small businesses fail.

And, you know, I was expected to see sort of the same list, but the number one reason they listed is because the numbers don’t work out. In other words, it doesn’t matter how hard you would have worked, it doesn’t matter where you would have put ads, it doesn’t matter how much PR you would have gotten the business model was a failure. And the sad thing about that is that, like, 95% of the time, you can figure that out on paper before you actually go out and do it. But very few people know how to do that very few people can and so we see people were stuck in business models that are destined to fail, you know, they, their, their marginal cost to deliver is going to put them in the hole, it doesn’t matter how many youth you sell, you know, it’s volume is not going to fix, actually, problem worse. But these are the things that as entrepreneurs we tend to not think about so so many of us in the digital marketing space, you know, we we kind of came up with sales and marketing people. And I like to tell people you know, I’m not a sales and marketing coach sales and marketing is what got you into trouble. I’m here to try to get you out of that trouble.

Steve: Yeah, you know, it’s for those of us who have that background, it’s all about the offer. Forget the numbers. It’s all about the offer. Just get the right offer. Well, Frank, this has been fantastic. I’m so glad that you shared what you’re doing with us today. You know, these businesses can be incredibly difficult, to run and turn into a business that actually can create some freedom. For the business owner, they’re easy to start. That’s the danger. I think they’re so easy to start. And you only need one or two clients to begin a sort of paying yourself but then what do you do? And I feel like you’ve kind of got the answer to then what do you do? So how can people find out more about the work you’re doing? What’s the best way for them to connect with you?

The High Ticket Program: 12-Week Black Book

Frank: Yeah, you know, I talked about the research we’ve done in finding the best practices, we actually put them together and kind of a big manual. It’s about its over 60 pages long. We basically put standard operating procedures for how to run a core 12-week program. From everything from onboarding, to getting customer success to, you know, what your team should look like and how many meetings you should have and what the agenda of those meetings we really wrote down every standard operating procedure that you would need and we put that together and what we call the high ticket program 12-week black book. And it’s not something you normally if you go to our website, it’s not just there, so, but you know, I’d like to offer it to your listeners for free. So they can go to, and Bria is spelled BRIA. So, grab that for free or downloaded. And that has, you know, everything from design all the way through to execution, launch, and execution for a 12-week program that follows kind of what we see as best practices.

Steve: Wow, that’s really generous. Thank you and for everybody that is listening and driving. Well, we’ll make sure that gets into the show notes so you can find it. Just don’t share it. Everybody Be quiet. It’s just for us. Okay. So Frank, thanks again, this has been a lot of fun. Well, we’re well overdue for doing this and we’ll have to bring it back and dive into the topic a little bit deeper.

Frank: Thanks, Steve. It’s been an honor. Thanks for spending time with me today.

Steve: This episode of Unstoppable CEO podcast is sponsored by the Unstoppable Agency that is the agency part of our business where we work with professional service firms and create a done for you marketing program. And what that looks like is we actually sit down with you, we come together and define your ideal client with you. We go build a list of those people, and then we begin reaching out to them on your behalf to book them as guests on your podcast. We call it podcast prospecting. And it’s a fantastic way to connect with potential clients and influencers that can refer you and its end to end it done-for-you system and so if that’s something that you think might be the right fit for your business. Go to our website, go to You can find it there on the homepage, a link to a video presentation that explains how it all works. And if you’d like let’s get together and have a quick 20-minute conversation and see if we’re a fit. Again, that’s an right on the homepage, look for a link to the video that explains how it all works.

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