Your problems don’t get smaller or go away as your company grows. They actually get bigger – especially when you’re the cause…
So here’s what happened: I messed up a few months ago by ditching my own processes. And my company is still cleaning up my mess, plus paying to fix the mistake.
Sounds pretty bad, right? And I’m 100 percent responsible. BUT, the good news is, I learned some valuable lessons that I want to share with you today.
In this episode, I’m giving you an open, honest, vulnerable look inside my business mistake. I’m detailing…
- The major MISTAKE I made that cost my company time + $$
- How we pushed through to problem solve… over 3 months time
- And why your team needs you to STOP fixing every problem, right now
(This is a longer, more intense episode – for those of you coming up against some business growing pains, like me.)
Here’s the good news: As you and I grow as leaders, our companies grow with us. And our capacity to handle new and different problems expands, too.
Which means, we’re always dealing with the level of struggle we can handle today.
That doesn’t mean it’s not hard + uncomfortable (it is). But would you really have it any other way? You’re not in this business to get comfortably bored with business. You’re in this for the hard-fought, tough lessons that push you through to next-level success.
(P.S. If this episode inspires you today, send me a DM on Instagram! Let’s start the conversation about the tough stuff of building a 7- and 8-figure empire.)
[4:49] At $1M, I could problem solve within a week. Now it takes a few months.
[6:56] For example, I recently made a BIG mistake that cost my company lots of $$
[11:38] That’s when I realized, my Team works better without me.
[15:00] This is a change in leadership I didn’t even know I needed to make.
[18:16] My role is Stepping Back, which sometimes means… letting my Team make a mistake I see coming. // If I don’t let my Team grow, my company won’t grow either
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Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention, innovators, influencers, creators, and game-changing entrepreneurs: your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. Now, we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind-the-scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top-converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.
Hello, hello friends. All right. I am actually recording this podcast from California. I brought my mic, which has been cool. I haven’t done that before, and I’m like, “Why haven’t I done that before?” Because it’s so convenient and easy with technology today, to just bring my microphone that plugs in with a USB cord to my computer. Now, I can record with good audio and actually get content done while I’m not home. I decided literally a week ago … I looked at the weather in Austin, Texas, and I was like, “It’s way too hot. I’m going to go stay at my mom’s.” So, I took my kids, and we came here. I have, because we used to live here, some awesome nannies that I can get help from, because my mom works. So, they are watching my kids, and I’m working almost a normal day. I’m going to work a little bit less hours, but what an amazing life! So grateful.
So grateful for that freedom and to be able to just come to this beautiful place in Northern California, where my mom lives, and get away from the Texas heat. I do love Austin. People keep asking me like, “Are you gonna move back?” No. It’s not worth the cost to live in California and the state income taxes to live in California, but I’ll be spending the summers here for sure. Today, I’m actually going to talk more on a team building topic. I haven’t done it in a few, couple episodes I haven’t done team building, and I wanted to kind of share … In one episode, I kind of mentioned this briefly, but I wanted to share this with everybody, because it’s something that not only I’ve recently gone through, but also I’ve talked to a lot of other entrepreneurs who have been experiencing kind of the same thing. So, it’s like a theme out there right now and maybe something you need to hear today if you’re listening to this.
That is, why my team runs better without me. I’m going to be totally honest. For me, the business journey from basically after I hit $1 million has not been easy. It’s business, so there’s ups and downs, and there’s good times and really hard times, and times where you’re feeling really in momentum, and times where you’re like, “Why am I even doing this? I’m gonna quit.” I frequently have those, and I feel like, to be honest, 2019 has not been the easiest year. I feel like we’re on the other side of something. But when you decide to keep growing your company to the multiple seven figures and into the eight figures, this is why nobody can do … it’s such a small percentage of people who do it, because it is so hard. Getting to $1 million, you can do almost on your own. If you hustle, if you’re resourceful, if you learn things, teach yourself things, and you have drive, and you have ambition and dedication, and whatever, you can do it on your own in most cases, right?
After that, you have to become a person that’s not easy to become, and a leader that’s not necessarily easy to become that person, or fun, or comfortable. That’s what I’ve had to do. I feel like even getting to $2 million wasn’t that hard for me, but everything broke when we hit $3 million. Also, I had to become a different level of a leader. It’s so counterintuitive, but to be completely honest with you, what I had to do was step back, step away from my business, and let my team run things, and turn them into … Yes, they report to me. Yes, I’m their boss, but …more of like a board of advisors of people, like a leadership team who tells me what to do, tells me what we need to change, tells me what’s going wrong, goes into the day-to-day of working with my team, and then brings me the intel, and then goes and changes it. I was messing things up, and it was causing a lot of problems.
Here’s the thing. When you get to $2 million or $3 million, or even $1 million, you don’t have a problem, and then you can fix it in a week and everything’s better. That’s probably been one of the most frustrating things for me is, we’re in a tough spot, and things are frustrating, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s going to be at least a month or two, and then it will be better. You know? So, you go through these cycles, and they’re like quarterly cycles probably, like three, four months of either really good, things are flowing or we’re hitting a wall, and we have to go to the next level, and things are hard, and it feels like you’re walking through mud, and you’re like, “I’m going to quit. I’m going to change my whole business model. I don’t want to do this.” If you can push through that and figure out what it is that you need to change in yourself as a leader, then you’ll be able to get to the next level.
I truly believe it’s only the people who are capable of doing that who are able to grow their companies to massive levels. It’s so hard, it is so hard. I’m never going to tell you it’s easy. It’s worth it, and there’s days where it’s worth it, and there’s days where I’m like, honestly, “I’ll go back to when it was just me,” because things just get more complicated. This is verified so much for me when I go to dinner with my friends who have a $50 million company, and they have so many struggles and so many bigger problems, and I’m just like, “It doesn’t get easier, does it?” And they’re like, “No. It gets harder.” But you are always dealing with the level of struggle that you can deal with today, that your person can handle today. You’re not really ever being handed more than you can deal with, I believe. So, as you grow, your capacity grows for what you can handle, and for the problems that you can take on, and the bills you have to pay, and the payroll, and all that. You grow in your capacity.
Right now, I can’t imagine myself being the person that I would need to be for a $50 million company, because I haven’t gone through the experiences that I need to to get there. But here’s what happened. Here is the biggest thing I learned in the last quarter. About three or four months ago, we had a transition [with] an individual on our team who was doing sales. She was really great at sales, but she was leaving. It was a great decision for her to leave, and we decided it was a good decision. So, I started going to events, or doing our Dream 100 campaigns, or just talking to people, or they’d reach out to me on Facebook, or they’d reach out to me on Instagram. They’d say like, “Hey, I’m interested in working with you. Can can we chat?” The people-pleaser in me and the person who has a hard time saying ‘no’ was like, “Yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s chat.” Although we hired another salesperson, they were in training, so I wasn’t a hundred percent confident in them… I took on a bunch of sales calls, not even intentionally.
I didn’t intentionally make the decision of like, “I’m going to do sales.” It was just like a lot of people asked. I met people. I had the connection with them, and I felt like I had to do them. I took on a lot of sales calls, and then we signed a lot of those clients. The problem with Emily Hirsh doing sales calls on my own and not having a filter or people going through our process… and I’m going to highlight that word, because whenever you move away from your process, you are messing yourself up. That’s what I’m like slapping myself in the face for, because it wasn’t even that they were talking to me. It was that they didn’t go through our application and our screening process, and they went straight to a call with me. I am a visionary, and so I felt like, “We can sign anybody! Yeah, we can help you!”
We have really strict qualifications for people to take on as a client. They have to go through our initial application process. That declines about 50% of them. Then they get on a [call] with our team, and we have an entire SOP and document for what they have to have in place to be a fit for us. Now, my sales team has talked with all of my ads managers. They know the ideal person we’re bringing in. They know what they have to have in place for success, meaning they have to have sold their product, they have to know their messaging, they have to be willing to be in a partnership with us, and work with us, and make content, so we can amplify that content… all of these qualifications. So, we screen them and interview them on that sales call. Then we usually make sure that their numbers match and that we can have success for them, and then we sign them on as a client. It’s like 80% of people we decline.
Well, I threw away that process, because most visionaries and entrepreneurs don’t actually love process and have a hard time following it, which is a sometimes really detrimental thing. I signed, I don’t know, 17 clients four-ish months ago, and probably 70% of them I shouldn’t have signed. That’s the honest, raw truth. They weren’t ready funnel-performance [wise] for us, or they just were not the right fit, meaning they weren’t set up to be a partner with us. They had a different expectation of what was going to happen. I didn’t follow our process, and I got involved where I shouldn’t have got involved. Everything was fine for a while, and then all of those clients, it came kind of crashing down, not 100% of them, but a good amount of them came crashing down, and it was obvious they shouldn’t be on our roster. We had to either let them go or support them in whatever way we could, but let them go essentially. They had to go work on their funnel. A lot are going to come back. They’re going to go work on their funnel, and they’re gonna come back.
But that’s not cool. I should never have signed those people. I’m being so vulnerable and honest with you guys on this podcast, because that’s the way I roll, but here’s the lesson. I should have never stepped in and gotten involved where we already had a process and I shouldn’t be doing it. That was detrimental to my team, and we’re still picking up the pieces after two months of dealing with it, and going back, and refining things. That has impacted my entire team, because my ads managers don’t want to lose clients, my senior strategists don’t want to lose clients. We were probably spending more time and resources giving funnel advice and helping people fix their businesses that we shouldn’t have, and re-clarifying projections and realistic expectations for people, that it cost me a ton of money as a company. All of it was bad! And it took about two months for us to get to the other side of it.
Now, we’ve learned a ton. I actually just went through a quarterly audit report with my head of the ads team, and I was like, “Man, my biggest lesson from this is we signed a lot of people who were not the ideal client, and it cost us a lot of money,” like I said those exact words on this thing. I was like, “And it’s 100% my fault, because I signed most of those clients, or we didn’t follow our process and our qualification process.” That, and then I went into July, where I was gone almost the whole month. I was either gone or my husband was gone, and so my schedule was off. So, I was running my team like, the minimum I had to be involved, I was involved. Because I was speaking, I was traveling, I was on vacation. My husband was gone, so I didn’t have enough coverage for my kids. I was like, “This month everybody is doing well, and everybody’s following the process, and I am not involved. There’s a correlation there!”
What I realized was, my team runs better without me. In order for me to get to the next level, I have to step back, and I have to empower people on my team, on my leadership team, to take initiative and to feel like they are in control. Now, I have given 110% permission to the head of my ads team and the head of my sales team, “If you don’t think this client is a fit, I trust you. If we lose money for not signing that client, I trust you. I only want you to bring on the right people, and I give you that full permission.” My head of my ads team is such a perfect match for me, because she will push back a lot. I’ll be like, “Are you sure? We can make it work!” And she’s like, “No, we can’t. Here’s why.” And she’s very protective of my ads team, so that nobody gets into that state that we were in before, where we were frustrated, because we weren’t able to get the results that we wanted to, not because of us, truly.
I’m not saying that just to promote my team… Not because of us. Because as you guys know and what I talk about, ads are just a piece, and if you don’t have the backend figured out and the foundation figured out, ads will not work. So, we won’t sign people that are in that situation, and I did, because I made that mistake. So, I’ve stepped back. I’ve allowed my team to make those decisions, to be empowered to make those decisions, to have the authority to make those decisions, and it’s fixed literally so much. We’re already in such a better place, and I can see it took literally almost 90 days to fix the problem and to figure out what the problem was. It’s crazy. Once you grow, it’s not like, “Oh, here’s the problem. Let’s fix it. Tomorrow it’ll be fixed. It’s just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.” It’s like, everything’s complicated, and intertwined, and looped around. It’s difficult. So, we did that.
And what I’ve also done is, I’m implementing a new way of communicating is that, you can’t come to me with a question unless you have an answer. I want all of my team members who are reporting to me and have that regular communication with me, they have to come to me with an answer, because I want them… even if I’m going to change the answer… and usually I don’t, because my team is awesome… but I want them to be thinking that way and think independently, so that they can run things on their own… So I changed that. Then I just really am like, I’m stepping back, because what I do is, I go poke holes in things, or I get involved, or I ask questions … I don’t know. I just mess things up. And I’ve had this discussion with a lot of other entrepreneurs, and they feel the same way. They’re like, “When I am there …”
I actually talked to someone who has a physical office, and she’s like, “Literally, when I’m in the office, I pick apart problems that it’s like, ‘It doesn’t even matter,’ because the end result is still happening, and it’s the same, but I can’t help myself, and so, I have to step back.” And so, I think now, my role is, I’m managing a bigger level… Like, when we’re on meetings, I just shut up. I don’t talk. If I need to, I obviously talk, but like, we had an all ads team meeting. We do it every other week, my whole entire ads team. It’s one of my favorite meetings, and I used to give a lot of feedback. I used to jump in, and when someone had a suggestion [I would be] like, “No. We should do it this way. Here’s my idea.” I stopped doing that. It’s very hard for me. I have to literally put my Zoom on mute and not talk. It’s difficult for me, but it’s essential that I do this.
What I do now is, I watch. I actually watch the videos of everybody else interacting, how my leaders are responding, how my team members are responding, and I just take notes. I will have ideas, and actually it allows me to connect on a deeper level to intuition. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m able to see things differently and like a deeper level of interaction versus just like the surface level problems. I’m able to see deeper level problems, because I’m observing. I really believe that is a change in leadership that I didn’t even know I needed to make, and I’ve made, and I just continue to do that. I’m getting so excited talking about this, because this is such a revelation for me, and I hope it is for you, too, if you’re at this level or you will be soon.
But even last week, I had two people who report to me and myself in a group chat. One person came in frustrated about something. I saw the way she was communicating, and I was like, “I could totally jump in and fix this problem right now, and kind of correct her and give her a solution. Or I could just sit back and I could watch the other person come in and solve it.” And that’s what I did. I sat back. I didn’t respond, I read the messages in the Voxer channel, didn’t respond. Then I watched the communication go back and forth, and they solved it all on their own without me. It was like, that empowers them to be able to do that and be able to make those decisions, and take that initiative, and make that difference in the company that… if I just keep on stepping in and either “saving the day” or making my suggestions, then people just follow that.
You don’t realize the power you have as a CEO when you’re doing that. Everybody will just listen, because of the way they see you. They think everything you say is right, but they need to not think that. They need to question what you say. They need to feel like they can think outside the box, and they can bring ideas, and they can bring suggestions, and critiques, and feedback. That is how I want my team to feel. For a long time I felt like I kept on saying like, “I want you guys to bring suggestions. I want you guys to tell me what’s wrong. I want you guys to help me fix whatever. I want you guys to question me,” but just saying it is one thing, and then actually showing up and not trying to take over, and take control, and give all the feedback, and just tell people what to do is a whole nother thing.
The change happens in micro-communications and experiences. It doesn’t happen from me giving one big speech to my team of like , “This is how we’re doing it now.” It happens in me doing little things, like showing up to that meeting and not saying anything, like supporting a team member who made a mistake and letting them feel safe with their job after they make that mistake and have that building trust. It happens slowly over time, and then it builds up, and then it’s so powerful. My role is staying in that visionary, and stepping back, and actually observing. Sometimes that means letting… this is going to sound crazy, but… letting my team make a mistake that I might see coming. I might see it like, “Hmm, that’s probably not going to work,” but I don’t say anything.
Obviously, it’s not like a detrimental mistake to our clients or our team, but I want them to go through the experience of seeing like, “Oh, well, we should do it this way. Let’s change this. Let’s go through that experience.” If I don’t let my team have that experience, then I am never going to help them grow. My job today is to grow myself and my team into the people [we] need to be to be the $5 and $10 million company. That’s not going to happen all by just me dictating, because I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know. I don’t know all the answers. I know as we go, and I need my team to tell me that. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks, after I had this revelation, after I stepped back and became that observer, trusted my team more, and let them take control and have that empowerment.
I hope this inspires you guys today. Share with me if it inspires you. Honestly, that’s what I want you to do. I want you to send me an Instagram message. I want you to share this episode. I want to hear about your experience, because being an entrepreneur, being a CEO, and running a team is single-handedly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s harder than being a parent. It’s harder than being a wife, because it will constantly test you into being a better person. It’ll constantly put you in uncomfortable situations. It’ll constantly make you have difficult conversations. It’ll constantly make you grow. If you can push through on those days when you want to quit … and I have them too, especially recently, it’s not been easy. In June, it was not easy! [But] if you pushed through and you make it to the next level, you will experience so much benefit from that.
I believe that’s what I’m here to do in my life, because I believe I was not put here to sit in a comfortable zone. If I’m comfortable, I’m bored. I’m put here to become the leader that I have this capability of being in my lifetime, which is so much growth ahead of me. So, let me know what you guys think of this episode. Share it. If you’ve loved this, leave me a review. This is a little bit longer of one, but I just love this stuff. I think it’s so important that we talk about it as entrepreneurs, because you might look at people with $50 million companies and think they have it together, or $5 million companies, and think they have it made and life is easy. [But] it just gets harder. But it’s fun! But it just gets harder, and everybody’s struggling. Everybody feels like they’re failing. Everybody’s having those days where they want to quit.
It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. It’s, “Can you push through that? Can you learn from it? Can you take that experience and be humble, remove your ego, and take yourself to the next level?” You’ll take your business to the next level. I’ll see you guys next time.
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