Profitable Nomad Couple

75. The Top 8 Mistakes We've Made In Our Business

January 10, 2024 Austin and Monica Mangelson
Profitable Nomad Couple
75. The Top 8 Mistakes We've Made In Our Business
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

At the start of the new year, we're recounting our business journey, and unveiling the biggest mistakes we've made along the way so you can sidestep them on your own path. From blindly following mentors advice, to our misadventures in course creation, you'll learn not only what we did wrong, but the biggest lessons we have learned along the way. 

We hope this episodes serves as a guide for you as you begin (or continue) your own journey! audience. By walking you through these eight mistakes, we're setting you up with a compass to navigate the digital terrain with a bit more grace and a lot less faceplant.

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. This is a show where we share all of our secrets about building a sustainable location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

We are Austin and Monica. We're a digital Nomad couple here to help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset, ignite your passions and develop a purpose-driven online business.

Speaker 1:

Get ready for weekly insights and inspiring stories to empower you to live life on your own terms.

Speaker 2:

So are you ready to unlock the Nomad mindset and embrace a life of limitless possibilities? Let's dive in. What's up, guys? Welcome back to the podcast. We're happy to have you here listening to us today. It's still pretty early in the new year, we're only a few days into it and Monica and I are being reflective again. We've been reflecting a lot on our past several years of business and how they've gone for us, and we've identified eight mistakes that we've made that we want to share with you today, and we want to share them with you because we want you to avoid these same mistakes. These are mistakes that we made that, obviously, we wish we hadn't made, but we've learned a lot of really big lessons from them, and one of our big objectives now as coaches is to help navigate our clients through their own online business journey, and so we're outlining today those mistakes that we've made so that you can identify them for yourself and, hopefully, not make them.

Speaker 1:

To clarify, we have made way more than eight mistakes.

Speaker 2:

No, only eight.

Speaker 1:

These are just the biggest ones that really set us back in our business.

Speaker 2:

Yes, thanks for that clarification. Yes, you're welcome.

Speaker 1:

All right. Number one trying to make our business look like everybody else's and following everybody else's advice and guidance without adapting it to our own business, our own circumstances, our own goals and our own gut feelings. And this is one that I am extremely passionate about, because we really like to learn from the experts and we think there's so much value in that, and I know that our business has improved so much because of that. But when you take everybody's word for word advice and you try to copy and paste their business onto your own circumstances, it is never going to work. It is never going to work because we are individuals. We have different dreams and hopes and aspirations and goals and thoughts and perspectives, and we need to be able to tailor our business to fit into that. We need to tailor our business to fit around the life that we want to create and not around the life that somebody else already created.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like when people say you talk about this analogy of fitting a square peg into a round hole, it's like watching someone fit their square peg into their square hole over and over and over again, saying, see, it's going to work. And then they give you their square peg and you have a round hole and it's not going to work. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of value in learning from the experts and being able to compress that timeline and learn things faster. But if you hear somebody saying, just copy and paste exactly what I do and you're going to be successful, I personally would be very cautious about that and I would be skeptical because their situation is so different than yours.

Speaker 2:

So just to clarify this point and really drive this home I'm not saying don't learn from the experts. I'm not saying don't follow what other people's advice is and don't learn from them and avoid their mistakes. I mean that's exactly what we're doing here, right? We're telling you the mistakes that we've made, so you avoid them. So there's a lot of value in that. But you always have to adapt it to your life and your circumstances, and that is one of the biggest values of a one-on-one coach. That's why Monica and I do custom packages and custom programs for every single client that we work with, because it's not going to work if we have one program that we spoon feed to everybody. We really adapt what we teach to the circumstances of the person that we're working with.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, essentially, what we want you to start to learn to do is to take the advice from the experts and filter it through your own intuition. Okay, all right.

Speaker 2:

Good, we're going to jump on to our mistake number two.

Speaker 2:

Our mistake number two was to not understand, to focus on our client's transformation and to position ourselves as the guide, not as the hero, in our client's story. This is something that we learned when we took a workshop with Donald Miller and his team and we read the building a story brand book. When we first started, we were marketing ourselves as the solution to people's problems and we're the hero that's going to come in and save the day. But the problem with that is everybody pictures themselves as the hero of their own story. If you're coming in saying you're the hero of their story, they're not going to jive with that idea, they're not going to like it and people aren't going to resonate with that. If you position your client as the hero and focus your marketing on the transformation that they're experiencing, where they are and where they want to go, and then you slip into their story as the guide who has resources to help them, that's going to be much more accepted and much more comfortable for clients to here and to accept.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So a practical example of this is as a virtual assistant. We always used to say, hey, we will help you, we will make your business better, we're the solution to all your problems. But instead we learned through Donald Miller and the one-on-one coaching we had with him or his coaches, I guess technically we learned that we needed to pivot it to say, hey, you are here, you are wanting to grow your social media following to this end, so that you make more money?

Speaker 1:

I know how to do that, I have the tools and resources to get you there, and then you will see this cool transformation where people will start coming into your business, people will get more engagement, you'll get more clients and, ultimately, more money. So you see how there's such a perspective shift there where it's about them, even though we're still essentially saying the same thing hey, I can help you get there it's more focusing on their journey and, as you kind of make it about them, it makes it easier for them to care about what you're saying, because, inherently, business owners or clients or people in general are very busy and so if you don't tell them why they should care and how you are going to solve their problem and be along in their journey and make it about them. They're just going to tune you out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's something that we did for probably the first year and a half of our business and once we made that shift to being more client transformation focused and being the guide, our relationship with our clients and the amount of people that we came in contact with who wanted to be our clients increased dramatically.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that goes really nicely into number three, which was wanting to immediately be removed from the business and not prioritizing community and relationships with our clients.

Speaker 2:

Okay, here we go. This is a soapbox for me. One of probably the worst business devices that we received when we were getting started was that our clients want to be as far away, removed from the process as possible and they want to have the least amount of interaction with us as they can.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we had a business mentor actually say if your clients could just wave a magic wand and make it happen without you there, they would 100% do that.

Speaker 2:

And I understand and I can appreciate the point that they were trying to make, but our takeaway from that was to be removed from the process and, especially at the same time, we were learning a lot of automation. There's a big automation and systems craze going on right now and when we entered the business space, everything we were hearing was automate your business, create processes, create workflows so that you don't have to be as involved in everything, and I think that's important to do, but I don't think that's a top priority when you're getting started. That's something that you do later down the road, once you've been in business for a little bit and you have a workflow and a process to automate. What we did and our mistake was we started off trying to create this workflow that we were not a part of. So we were trying to create like the best system for someone to stumble upon our website and then they were going to click here and that's going to lead them to a scheduler and they're going to book a call with us, and maybe they don't even book a call with us, maybe they just go directly to signing up and being our client and it didn't work. We were waiting forever for people to come and be our clients and it never worked.

Speaker 2:

But once we shifted to being more involved in the process and we put ourselves into the client's world and we started having more conversations with our clients and building relationships with them, our business started growing way faster. We would get in social media, like get on different social media platforms and join Facebook groups and invite people to a call with us and, even if it doesn't turn into a sale, just get on a call and have a conversation and learn about them and what they're experiencing and going through. And yes, it takes more time. Yes, it's more work that's involved, but you've heard it before business is all about relationships and that's how you build relationships is getting you know, face to face time with other people and getting face time with your clients. And once they like, know and trust you through that process, they are much more likely to buy from you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And I would say, beyond just finding new clients, that helped a lot with our current clients. When we made that shift to getting on calls with them, coaching them through whatever problems they were having as far as web design goes and teaching them how to use their website. It was so much more effective in getting what we needed to build their website and really understanding we had to make so many less tweaks to their website because we really understood what they were wanting instead of just trying to be this behind the scenes, faceless person just putting together their website. It just it was. It was a disaster.

Speaker 2:

One funny story from this that I remember, that's always going to be sealed in my memory, was when we were in Guatemala and we spent probably two or three days trying to map out the ideal client process, meaning, like we have this big poster board and we have these Sharpie markers and we we spent hours and hours outlining Okay, they're going to sign up here, they're going to first come in contact on this page of our website, they're going to get this email, followed by this email and then the second email.

Speaker 2:

They're going to have to choose between getting on a call or just going straight to signing up and then we're going to have all the booking links you know connected and all of the payment plans connected and all that stuff. And I kid you not, we spent hours and days working on this process before we even had a single web design client and after our very first client, everything that we had mapped out went out the window because it didn't work for us and the process didn't make sense and we didn't have the experience to know what would make a good process for our clients. And you get that experience by one-on-one interactions with people.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which absolutely leads into number four, which we fondly call the Field of Dreams syndrome the build it and they will come, and not talking about your offer or thinking that once you post and go, that they're going to come swarming to your business and you are absolutely going to make it. And this cracks me up today because we were so naive when we started business. I remember we were invited onto our very first podcast and we're like, oh my gosh, we're going to be on a podcast, we've made it, we are set for life. And we were so excited and so nervous and we literally didn't get a single client from that podcast. And we just I mean I also remember like around that same time, we're like, oh my gosh, okay, if we run this ad and we post a spring sale, post one time on our Facebook, we're just going to be so inundated with clients we're not going to know what to do with ourselves.

Speaker 2:

Yep, we were virtual assistants and we thought that if we put up a single post discounting our services 20% for the month of March for a springtime sale, that was going to be enticing enough for people to come and book with us. And we thought we're going to put this one post out and no joke, we we posted it and sat back and waited for people.

Speaker 1:

I don't think we ever talked about it again Never. I don't even think we've reshared it on our stories or anything. And here's the thing that we didn't understand is that the social media and life in general moves so fast for people. Even if someone saw that post and we're like, hey, that's a great deal, I want to reach out to them. Odds are they wouldn't have been able to reach out to us right then and then they moved on and forgot about it. You know so, when you are advertising your services, people don't want to feel like a broken record, which is what prevents us from continuing to talk about our services. But the thing is people aren't seeing them all the time, and if they are, they might not be able to act in that moment, and if they don't act in that moment, they're going to forget. So you need to constantly be talking about your services, be talking about what you're offering, be talking about that transformation that you provide people, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Speaker 2:

And over again, in case you didn't get that. No, but really like business is a contact sport and marketing is a very proactive thing that we have to do to go, be interactive with people. So don't fall into the field of dreams syndrome. That's what we're calling it. Okay, number five this is the fifth mistake that we made, and the lesson we learned from it was trying to do everything on our own. Monica and I bootstrapped our whole business and I really appreciate that we did that. We learned a lot of really valuable lessons as we built our business from the ground up, and we did it all by ourselves.

Speaker 2:

That being said, trying to figure out everything on our own when there are already people who have made those same mistakes, just looking back, that seems like such a waste. People have spent their life doing what we're trying to do and they've gone through the ups and downs of it. They know what mistakes to this this, this episode, is a good example. They know what mistakes to avoid because they've made them, and if I'm going to go through and learn those same mistakes because I want to do everything by myself, that that just seems wasteful to me. It seems like a waste of your time. It seems like a waste of your energy because, like you, don't need to repeat those things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, austin and I have the advantage of working together, so we have someone a built in buddy to bounce ideas off of. But even so, we spend so much time in our early days of business spinning our wheels on things that didn't matter. Or if we go back to that story in Guatemala where we were trying to map out the systems, how different it could have been if we could literally have talked to somebody and been like, hey, this is what we're trying to do, we're really stuck and have them go. Wait a second, why are you trying to do that? You've never, ever, had a web design client. You don't know what process to go through yet. Like, why don't you start by getting a client and figuring it out? Having someone to like just point that out to us would have saved us days of work. I am not even exaggerating. It took us a long time to figure out a system that did not even work.

Speaker 2:

Well, another example that, instead of saving us days, would have saved us months was last year Monica and I built out this course. We had this brilliant idea to build out a course and we thought, once this course is built, people are going to come flocking. It sounds a little bit like a repeat of our spring sale, of our VA days. We thought, once we have this course, we'll do a little bit of marketing and then we're going to be good to go. We had basically zero audience. We didn't have anybody following us. We didn't have enough influence to make that sale profitable or to make that course profitable.

Speaker 2:

I know people have made that same mistake because now that I've done it, when I hear other business owners talk about it, a lot of people have gone through that same experience. But if we had been working with a coach at the time who had walked us through that process and told us you know what, if you want to build a course, that's great, let's do it the right way, let's do it at the right time that would have saved us three months of working on it. It would have saved us three months worth of money that we could have earned. That we didn't earn because we dedicated all of our time to that course.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely, and I do think that's one of our biggest motivations for why we decided to become coaches ourselves is because we have seen people make these similar mistakes as us and then give up, and give up on their dream of becoming a digital nomad and just think that there's something wrong with them because it didn't work or you know, whatever it ends up being. But if we can offer that guidance and just be that voice of reason, like don't give up, like just because it didn't work this time, or you know, or even just save people from making those kind of mistakes, is super, super motivating for us.

Speaker 2:

Okay, lesson number six or, I guess, mistake number six, the lesson to follow. Mistake number six was focusing so much on our branding before we even knew what our business is going to be. When Monica and I first started our entire business, starting back as VA's, we spent forever trying to come up with a name. I think we sat down at a table for three hours trying to figure out what our business book is going to be called, and then we spent a full day after that trying to pick colors and logos, and logos and we were trying to put all of this together.

Speaker 2:

We didn't even have a business yet. We didn't have a single client. We had a vague idea of what we wanted to do, but not even that. Like I think, we just barely purchased our VA course, we hadn't even gone through it yet. We didn't know what we were doing. That was another waste. It goes, a waste of our time, a waste of our focus to be trying to figure out this branding before our business was there. And you might be thinking right now that, like you have more of a business than we had and you probably do, there's a good chance that you have. Maybe you've had a few clients, maybe you have more of a business. Branding is important, but it's not a top priority when you're getting started.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is something that I have seen trip up so many people, because it's the sexy side of starting a business right Getting out your logo, your business cards, your colors, your fonts, getting every your website. Getting all of that set up before even really knowing what your business is going to be keeps a lot of people back from being successful, and being successful fast, especially when we're talking about service-based businesses. Obviously, we're web designers.

Speaker 1:

What we're I guess we're still our web designers and brand creators, and so we will preach all up and down about how important it is to have a website and to have a brand, but it's not something that you need to focus on first. First, you need to make your business profitable. You need to know that you can make money before you ever start touching these things. And once you know that you can make money and know that you are enjoying what you are doing, then let's talk about branding. Then let's talk about getting your website up.

Speaker 2:

Actually, that's a really big point because the online business space, like time, is different. It's like dog years or something like. Time moves so quickly and things change so fast. And especially if you are in this, in a position where you're still trying to figure out what it is you want to do, if this is your first go entrepreneurship and you've started a business and it's you're trying to experiment with it to see if you want to continue with it, grow it, take it in a different direction, like that happens all the time. Businesses pivot constantly and you can still pivot when you have your branding set in place. But it seems pointless to me to focus on branding when you haven't gone through that experimental phase quite yet.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, especially because I mean, that's exactly what we did we focused on our branding, and then we ended up tweaking it and then we ended up changing it and then we ended up changing it again, and so it ended up just taking up a ton of time.

Speaker 2:

Okay, mistake number seven. This is, in my opinion, the second bane of entrepreneurs existence. The first, I think, is imposter syndrome, but the second one, a very common mistake that people come up against, is shiny object syndrome, and Monica and I are no exception. We got so wrapped up for so long and so often in the hype of other people's marketing. I can't tell you how many times we took some free like watch, some free webinar or a free five day challenge with no intention of buying anything. We just wanted to learn what they had in the free challenge or the free webinar, and then by the end we're putting in our credit card. It happened so many times and I know so many people fall under this.

Speaker 2:

But it's so easy to get wrapped up in other people's marketing when you are just trying to chase a solution, to chase anything that's going to fix your problem. And that happens most often when, like after you've started, you've actually go back and listen to our emotional cycle of change episode. Because what happens is you start something new, you're really excited about it, you're pumped, you're enthusiastic, you're maybe a little bit blinded to the challenges that are kind of come with it, and then you start to dip and you reach this trough where things are challenging, things are hard, the enthusiasm has worn off. You realize how much work it actually takes. And that's the point when shiny object syndrome is the sneakiest, and that's the point when we often go back and start that cycle over with something new, something that sounds enticing, something that we think is going to solve a problem.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I wouldn't always say that we're searching for solutions. Sometimes I think we are avoiding the solutions we already know that are there.

Speaker 1:

And it's so.

Speaker 1:

First of all, I applaud all of those people who convinced us to pull out our credit cards.

Speaker 1:

We learned so much from marketing for them and, honestly, I don't know that we've made an investment that hasn't served us in some way. That being said, it has taken focus off of building our business and making money in our business. I think a really good example is that course that we talked about earlier, where we had no intention of creating a course and then we got really wrapped up in this really, really fantastic five day challenge that we absolutely loved and then, at the end of that, they sold us a course to make courses and we're like, okay, we can make a course, and we were super hyped up and super excited about it and I, to this day, I love that course that we created. Not any single person has bought it, but I love it because it really propelled us into the coaching space and it really showed us how much that we actually know about being digital nomads and about starting businesses, and so it ended up being for a benefit.

Speaker 1:

Long story short, but if I could go back and tell myself look, you learned a lot from this five day challenge. Let's walk away from this for a bit. Let's think about something else. Let's think about what you actually need to do right now, today, to make money. We had a huge hit to our income while we were creating that course and when we were not selling that course, and that was not something that was benefiting our ultimate long term goals.

Speaker 2:

Yep, okay, mistake. Number eight. This is our last one, not at least one. These aren't in any particular order, but number eight is not putting in the valuable time to address our mindset. The mindset is really the foundation that your whole business is built on, and you can have the world's best strategies, you can be the world's best marketer, you can be the best in the entire world at what you do, in the service you offer, but if your mindset isn't right, you're not going to be able to execute any of that properly.

Speaker 1:

One of our mentors, rob Dial, always says that business is like a mirror If it's not working, it's because there's something inside of you that needs to be fixed, and it's the thing that really shows us what is holding us back, where our limiting beliefs are. Limiting beliefs are so sneaky because we don't even know that they're there and we don't even know that what we're taking is truth is actually just made up in our brains, and so, taking the time I think probably was it the beginning of this year or late last year maybe we really started diving into mindset and meditation, and I think Thailand helped us a lot too. We went to a meditation clinic with some Buddhist monks.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, go Buddhism guys. That stuff is awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and we really started doing a lot more, taking more quiet time and turning off voices, like from podcasts and other things, and just starting to tune back into our intuition and what we think and feel and it has I don't even know how to describe to you. I am such a different person since going on that journey.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for me the biggest thing that I did to work on my mindset was having the courage to ask myself hard questions and then having even more courage to be honest answering those questions I asked myself. It helps my money mindset, it helps things with the imposter syndrome that I felt, the self-doubt, all that kind of stuff. When you're willing to ask yourself hard questions and then be honest with the answer, that's where the most growth happens and that was the case for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you have to become the person who is capable of being successful. You have to become the person who is ready for the kind of success that you've been dreaming about. You have to be working on yourself just as much as you're working on your business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay. So let's recap real quick these eight mistakes that we've made. Number one trying to make our business like everyone else's, without following our own intuition and paying attention to our own circumstances. Number two, not understanding the importance of focusing on client transformation and being the guide, not the hero, in their story. Number three, wanting to be removed from the business and not prioritizing community and relationships with our clients. Number four the field of dreams syndrome. This is thinking that if we build it, they will come, and not putting in the effort to actually prospect and acquire clients. Number five, trying to do everything alone and not valuing the lessons learned from other people already making those same mistakes. Number six, focusing on branding before we even had a business or before a business was established enough to make branding important. Number seven shiny object syndrome and getting wrapped up in other people's marketing endeavors. And number eight, not putting in the valuable time to address our mindset.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I really hope that you were able to learn from these eight mistakes so that you do not have to make them in your business. I cannot stress enough the importance of having somebody who can help you point out these mistakes, these roadblocks that are coming your way. So if you, in this new year, are really ready to make business happen, to take it seriously, to make the mindset shifts that are needed and to really really tune into your dreams and start making them happen, reach out to us. Let's make it happen. We would love to work with you. We would love to watch you thrive in your dreams.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much for joining us here on the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. We appreciate you listening to us today.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us. At Austin and Monica, together, we can inspire others to embrace a location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

And while you're there, we'd love to connect with you, so make sure you follow us for more tips and inspiration on living your dream location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

Until next week. Remember that you have the power to shape your own path. So stay curious, stay adventures and stay connected.

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