All advice is not good advice, my friends.

I recently had a conversation with a well known influencer about my main focus (building my Ignite program) and my biggest struggle (scaling my agency) in my business is right now.

Their advice was to drop my agency services all together and create a value ladder to sell Ignite.

Long story short, I won’t be taking that advice, and here’s why:

The value ladder sounds great in theory, but is extremely difficult to execute in reality.

This conversation sparked two key messages that I want to share with you in today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast:

  1. I want you to feel empowered to NOT take every piece of advice offered to you and to have a filter in place.
  2. Instead of falling into shiny object syndrome with the value ladder, be very focused and intentional with your marketing.

Tune in to learn more about why I believe that these two things will bring the most success to your business! Shoot me a DM over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) to let me know what resonated with you from today’s episode!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I am very excited for today’s episode. I love when I have a specific experience and then I get to share kind of my epiphany or takeaway from that experience or mistake or lesson and I get to share that with you guys on here. And that is what today is about. So I want to tell you guys a quick story. I was recently having a conversation with actually a very well-known entrepreneur, who I respect a lot and really love, but they were giving advice to me that I actually think was not great advice. And I afterwards reflected on how the early entrepreneur I was would have taken any piece of advice given to me. And, you know, as an entrepreneur, especially somebody who’s kind of bootstrapping your company, I don’t necessarily always know what I’m doing. Like this is my first business. I’ve been doing it for five years, but as I’ve grown, I’ve kind of just figured it out. 

I think a lot of us kind of feel like that because for a lot of us, this is the first time we’re growing a company. So everything from team building, to building processes, I’ve learned from my mistakes, I’ve learned from doing, I’ve learned from getting my hands dirty and just trying something and then being like, “oh, that doesn’t work. Let’s try this and fix this.” And kind of gotten used to that, and pride myself really in just one foot in front of the other, getting through the hard things, celebrating the good things, and building my company. One thing when you’re a beginning entrepreneur, and especially if you talk to someone who’s built a multi-million dollar company, you see that person as somebody who’s probably going to give good advice, but here’s the problem.

As you grow, somebody who is talking to you in a 30 minute or 60 minute conversation, it’s impossible for them to know your business as intimately as you know it and be able to give you advice that was a hundred percent of the time correct. So I was in this conversation and it was like a 15 minute conversation. And they asked me, what’s something that I’m struggling with or what am I working on in my business, and then solicited their advice. Which I, of course, always appreciate when people give me advice and I love hearing opinions, but the important piece is that you have a filter to take that. And before you go and create to-do’s, or goals, or change something completely and shift gears, really question if it’s the right thing. Because I’ve found myself in several situations where I might have taken that advice, and it was, I’m going to share what the advice was in a second, but it was potentially very derailing of the plan or path that I was on and would have been a big interruption.

II think as you grow a company, you need to really make sure that you’re in touch with your company, what it needs. As the CEO, that’s your, one of your most important responsibilities and the vision of that company, and part of that means actually not taking people’s advice. And that is, in my opinion, just as important as taking mentor’s advice. And I think that today, probably this always was the case in business, but I really think that there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of different advice out there. There’s like this one strategy that worked and you should do this, or, you know, you’ve got to outsource your business this way, or set up your systems this way, or do this, or this business model doesn’t work, or this one does. 

And  it’s hard. Sometimes you doubt yourself because you hear one thing from somebody, and then you hear the opposite from somebody else, and it leaves you feeling like you’re not sure which direction to go. But I was reflecting on how this person that gave me advice, ike I said, I respect them, love them, and I knew though afterwards that it wasn’t good advice for me because I intimately know my business better than anybody else could. And so, first of all, I want you to know that just because someone says you should do something, or gives you advice and they are successful, that does not mean it’s the right piece of advice for you. You need to make sure that any goal, any initiative, any project plan, pivot, that you put in place in your business is truly what it needs. Otherwise, you will find yourself kind of bouncing all over the place and not having a concrete strategy. 

As you get bigger in business, this is even more important, because at this point I have 22 employees and then contractors. And if we roll something big out on my company, it’s not an overnight thing. Like it’s a big deal, and it takes time because there’s a lot of employees. We have to change processes. It would be a big deal, right? And so, you do not want, as a leader, to be derailing your team. So many CEOs do that. I see it happen behind the scenes all the time. I see it with friends. And we don’t mean to, but we’re like, I have this new idea, we have to do it tomorrow, everybody shift gears, we’re going to start doing this. It will kill your team. It will kill the success of your business. You cannot do that. You have to know how to say no. So let’s get to the advice.

So this person asked me, what is my biggest business struggle? What am I working on? And I answer to them was I am scaling my program. And that’s not my struggle, that’s my biggest focus. It’s working well, we’ve actually five X the amount of monthly core students we’re getting in our Ignite program in the last 60 days, consistent. So we had two months of five X of what we were getting for like the last six months. So my focus I said is scaling that. And I said, my struggle is scaling the agency. That’s always been my struggle for the last year. It is difficult to scale a service business, and I know probably four or five different individuals who attempted to build an agency and then either hated it or failed at it. And I let, like these people are all great, and they just chose to stop. They chose to kind of give up the agency. And this person who was giving me advice also knows those people and kind of was like, well, basically telling me an agency is impossible to scale. 

Now here’s the thing. I have built my agency to 22 employees, all of the pieces. Well in our industry that I can compare who attempted to build an agency and then decided that was not what they wanted to do, had maybe one or two team members I’ve already gotten over the massive hurdle of having insane process and systems my business. So first of all, it is not true that you can’t scale an agency. It’s insanely difficult to scale a service business, but I’ve done it. And I have like, I am not quitting my agency. I don’t want to some days, and some days I do, but I don’t want to because I’ve gotten so far and I love what we’ve created, and there’s no way I’m stopping. It’s true it’s hard to scale because I can add 25 new students into my program in one month, no problem. If we were to add 25 new clients into our company right now, we couldn’t do it. We’d have to close the doors. So it’s just more difficult to scale a service business. 

And so I told them that was my stress and their advice was essential to stop doing my agency work and create a value ladder so that I have different price products. I have a $2,500, which is the rate we normally sell our Ignite program at, I have a thousand dollar, I have $500, I have $300. Now, if this was three years ago, I might’ve taken that advice. I might’ve quit my agency. I’m just kidding. I probably wouldn’t have, but I could have seriously considered it. And as soon as they said it, I knew it was not the right thing. I didn’t even consider it for one second because I know better. I know my business. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I have built. And I know who they were comparing me to with people who were, like agencies, you know, it’s so terrible to have an agency. I know exactly who they were comparing that to. And I know where that person was and where I am, and so I was able to let that advice bounce off. 

Now the value ladder piece is, the concept of the value ladder, which is you should have all these different price products. You should have like a $300, $500, $1,000, $2,500, and then your high ticket, which would be my agency. And I don’t believe in the value ladder. The concept is great, but it is very difficult. I’m not going to say impossible, but it is, it’s very hard to have like four or five different offers that you sell successfully. So in theory, the value ladder is a great strategy. Now, maybe someday, maybe in the next three to five years, I will build out different product prices, but I knew as soon as they said it, I knew if I went back and I said, “okay, I got this advice and we’re going to keep selling Ignite, but we’re also going to create a lower ticket, $1,000 offer and a $500 offer. And now we have to figure out how to get leads to sell those people, and now we have to build those products, and we’re going to spread our resources out, we’re going to have our full value ladder.” I have a team of 22 people, and that would be an absolute nightmare. 

We’d have a low quality offer. We would have to figure out multiple marketing funnels to spread across our time, our team resources, and my marketing budget against. And then they’d be new funnels, these would be new offers, so we’d have to test them. We would have to optimize them. We’d have to fix the gaps in the messaging. It would not work. It would completely derail the momentum I’m seeing right now. We just, like I said, massively increased the number of students we’re bringing into our program. We’re doing great on our agency. We’re hitting our monthly sales goal. We sign about eight to 10 new clients a month and we can handle that. We are doing great. If I was to go to my team and say, we need to build out a full value ladder, I don’t have it yet. And this mentor, this person told me I needed to. It would destroy my team, and I have a company with 22 employees. Most of you don’t have that many team members. And even at that level, I could not do that successfully.

So the importance of focus on one, or two in my case because I got one offer to a place where I was completely uninvolved in the delivery and then I created another offer. Two offers, one or two main core offers one until they are the first, the first one has to be successful before you even think about a second. But focusing on that is way more effective than the value ladder. And it’s going to be tempting. It’s going to sound like a great idea, because in theory, it is a great idea. Why wouldn’t we have an offer to sell everybody at every single level? And that would be great, in theory. 

You would need to be a massive company with enough funding and capital to invest in proving those offers for that to work. Because it’s not a matter of just, if I make these offers, then buyers are just going to come because people need them. Yes, people need them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most amazing offer in the world, you still have to nail the messaging and convince people why they need this offer, why this is the best offer, why it’s better than anything else out there, hit their objections, hit their pain points. You have to do that for every offer you create. And that often takes six to 12 months to get an offer into that perfect place where you can scale it. That’s the reality of business. 

So I see all these people out there who are being told this concept, which again, in theory, it sounds like a great concept. If you were to go explain this to someone and be like, does this sound like a good business plan? They’re like, yeah, that sounds great. You’ve got an offer for people at different levels, each level feeds into the other level. Yes, it is a good concept in theory, but it has to be done slow. And so I see these people out there with like one or two team members who are following this advice of needing to have their entire value ladder for their business to be complete. And they are spinning their wheels because when you do that, you were spreading out your money, your time, your team resources, your own resources across all of these offers in all of these funnels. And therefore, nothing is really working. And if you were to put a hundred percent focus in one core offer, you would do so much better. You would be so much more successful, and not enough people are doing that. 

So I want you to understand that. First of all, I want to empower you to not take every piece of advice you get. There’s something really powerful in, even if it’s not direct advice. Let’s say you hear a podcast, or you read a book, or you see a social media post. We have information overload. You need to be very selective with the information you let in. And I’m actually honored when people listen to my podcast, because I know all of the options out there, there’s a lot of options, and so the fact that you choose to listen to me, I take that very seriously and take that seriously in my content. I think every content creator should. That’s beside the point, you need to make sure you have a filter for information and advice you’re receiving, because nobody knows your business better than you. Now that’s not to say sometimes there are things that you can’t see. And I have for sure, coaches and friends who have helped me get to a decision or realize something that I was holding myself back on or stuck on. Absolutely. But usually when I get there, I have pushed back enough on that advice, and then gotten to a point where I agree. I’m not just taking someone’s advice and going like, Oh, well so-and-so said I should do this. I’m just going to do it. 

A good example is my very good friend, Alex Charfen, who was not the person who gave me this advice, by the way. I should say that because we’re very good friends and I talk about him a lot on this podcast, but he will give me advice, very direct advice, and if I don’t think it’s a good idea I’ll push back and he’ll push back on me. And then usually he either changes his mind, or adjusts what he’s saying, or I get to a place where I can agree with him because I’ve gone back and forth enough with him that I can see the point. Now, in this case, if I was to, if I went back and forth with this person, I knew it wasn’t the right advice. Alex also intimately knows my business cause we hang out every week and we’ve known each other for years. And so he gets to give me that advice and I push back and I get to that place. 

So if you’re taking information and advice, my recommendation is that one, you’ve got to filter. You’ve got to filter to make sure that you’re not shiny object syndrome, “this is a good idea, so-and-so did it or said I should do it,” and just taking it and running with it, but that you almost sit on it for like two or three days, at least. And you really think through like, what are the pros? What are the cons? Do I know that this is going to impact my business, is it going to take away our focus? I have this happen with team members. I will have team members come to me with amazing ideas for the company. We should have this new package. We should add this resource. We should offer this service. I mean, I’ve had team members tell me we should add YouTube ads. I have had team members tell me to do all types of things. And a huge part of what people don’t see is me saying, “no, that’s a great idea. Maybe next quarter, maybe next year, maybe in two years. Not right now. We are focused. This is the only thing we’re working on.” And then there’s other times I take the ideas and I’m like, “that’s a great idea, let’s start on it next month, put together the plan.” You have to have that filter. That is your job as a leader. 

The second piece to this episode and advice is that you do not go after that shiny object idea of a value ladder, and instead, you’re very focused in your marketing. Most of you will probably need to focus in on one funnel and one offer. Once you have built that one offer, one funnel to a million dollars and you are completely removed from the delivery, then you can add another offer, and you should add it into your value ladder. I did that. I have my agency, complete done for you service. I knew there was a massive need for people who could benefit from all of our trainings and our tools and our templates that we use with clients in a program. I created Ignite. That was almost two years ago that I created Ignite. I have not created another offer that’s purpose is to sell Ignite. 

So even though we just launched our Not For Lazy Marketers Club, which is technically a new offer, but the goal of that is to get applications and to still sell Ignite, it’s a lead generation strategy. I’m not creating another value ladder offer. I’m not like, “Oh, let me take a portion of Ignite and I’m going to sell that for a thousand dollars, and will take a portion of that and I’ll sell that for $500.” Again, in theory sounds sexy. Not a good idea. Every time I do that, it’d probably take me six to 12 months to get it successful. And every time I do that, it would take away from my focus and scaling what I have. I have not scaled Ignite to its maximum capacity. That’s one of my main goals right now, because also Ignite feeds right into our agency, 10% of people who up-level. 

So learn from this. This is a very important message. And I don’t like seeing entrepreneurs who, I’ve seen this so many times, are newer, or have a coach, or follow somebody in the industry and plan out their value ladder and think they have to create every one of those products, build funnels for every one of those products. Great concept, in theory. Doesn’t work unless you have a team, a massive, massive team. And again, I have a team of 22 employees and that still would be a terrible idea for me. So focus is much more powerful than a completely built out value ladder.