Guts, Grit & Great Business Podcast
With Annie Schuessler, a business coach and the host of the podcast Rebel Therapist® Podcast. With her Rebel Therapist®Programs, she helps therapists, healers and coaches make an impact beyond a traditional private practice.
Join us for this conversation where Annie shares about her own journey and how she supports her clients to create a business that they love. She shares about her own challenging start to running her therapy practice (which she jokingly called a non-profit), how she changed course and developed a thriving practice that she expanded into a coaching practice where she trains others on the business building path.
We talk about what can prevent heart-centered professionals from expanding their business, where licensed professionals often get stuck in building a bridge to a more non-traditional approach to offering their services, and how Annie helps her clients cross this bridge and sometimes even say good-bye to their traditional practice.
Annie shares about how she created so much freedom (including time freedom) in her non-traditional coaching business that it no longer made sense for her to continue her therapy practice, and she was able to lovingly say goodbye.
Annie also shares with us the steps she walks her client through in mapping out a new service or pilot program that can be offered outside of their traditional practice. Annie takes her clients through this process in only 5 weeks, where she covers:
- selecting a niche, to selecting a topic for a pilot program,
- identifying the specific transformation that her coaching clients will take their own clients through,
- creating a pilot outline,
- creating a simple website and a pathway into the new business database, (via a newsletter sign-up, etc),
- as well as a way to make an offer and handles sales for that offer.
In this conversation we discuss what so many people do wrong in building out their first program or course, the importance of having an attitude of experimentation, dealing with imposter syndrome and more.
Annie is a therapist herself. She ran a successful private practice for 20 years, and has been mentoring other therapists in their businesses for 10 years.
When she started out in private practice, she struggled. She struggled with mindset around money, with not knowing how to build a private practice, and with anxiety about her business. At times she believed the discouraging things she heard from others about private practice. But she got to the other side of that, and created a business way beyond what she used to imagine.
She does not want others to go through that same struggle, and instead wants you to tap into your potential right away.
Annie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and 2 children.
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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
“What would I do to get this thing now? And if I wouldn’t do anything to get it, it’s probably time to carefully and lovingly say thank you and goodbye.”
- Annie works with her clients to figure out who they’re going to say yes to.
- Why Annie says figuring out your niche is “more like dating than marriage.”
Check out these highlights:
- 9:30 “Not having shame about our individual technology, like how we work in the world, but letting people know about it.”
- 21:00 The painful process of not taking on new clients to carve out space for what’s next and why this is so important to your business success.
- 28:50 “It’s really hard to give up something so wonderful and meaningful.” – on taking the leap to what’s next.
- 36:29 “Start by who you are moved to create something for.”
- 46:32 Why Annie pushes her clients to deliver their first offer live and why this really is the best option for those just starting out.
How to get in touch with Annie:
On social media:
Find out more about Annie by visiting her website here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 0:00
Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit & Great Business™.
Annie Schuessler 0:04
If we don’t build in some room for breaks for things not to go perfectly, we’re kind of always going to be in that mode of like, Why is this not quite working? Why is it not quite bringing in enough revenue? And why am I overworking? And usually the answer I know this was true for me is that the business isn’t actually designed to be profitable. So it’s doing a good job doing what it was designed to do. But it’s not really, it doesn’t have profit built into it.
GGGB Intro 0:43
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit & Great Business™ podcast, where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:15
All righty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington working with entrepreneurs around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit & Great Business™ And today I’ve got Annie Schuessler. Welcome to Annie. This is gonna, especially if you are in the world of being a professional or you’ve got a licensed profession that you engage in, this is going to be a really fabulous conversation for you. And even if you’re not in that world, and you are figuring out how to get online, how to create maybe your first course or program. This is you’re gonna have a lot of fun. This will be relevant to anybody in the online space, but particularly people that are transitioning there. So for those of you that don’t know, Annie Schuessler is a business coach and the host of the podcast rebel therapist podcast. With her rebel therapist programs, she helps therapists, healers, and coaches make an impact beyond a traditional private practice. So Annie is a therapist herself. She has been running a successful private practice for 20 years, and has been mentoring other therapists in their business for 10 years. When she started out in private practice, she struggled, she struggled with mindset around money, not knowing how to build a private practice and felt anxious about her business. At times, she believed the discouraging things you heard from others about private practice. But she got to the other side of that and created a business way beyond what she used to imagine. She does not want you to go through the same struggle and she wants you to tap into your potential right away. So Annie now specializes in helping therapists and people that are in similar business models transition to the online space get out of the traditional box of therapy and do some really interesting and creative things in the online world. And he lives in San Francisco Bay area with her wife and two children. Welcome Annie.
Annie Schuessler 3:42
Thank you so much Heather. I’m so excited to talk to you and dive in!
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:47
For those of you that can’t see us because obviously we’re recording using a video you’re hearing the audio version but and he has a lovely background I was just telling you that her wife makes these amazing neon signs which is fabulous she’s got one of those hanging right behind her very cool.Well it’s really fun you know it’s it’s really nice when you have a unique background which you do so it makes it fun to look at. So anime talk to us. I’m you know, I’d love to hear about what drew you into a therapy practice to begin with?
Annie Schuessler 4:23
Absolutely. So I always felt really fascinated with deeper conversations. And I always wanted to ask the the nosy questions and really dig under the surface, and I’m pretty bad at small talk. And so pretty quickly, I realized that I should explore therapy and then these people I was in therapy from a really young age I struggled with depression I struggled with anxiety and I realized this is a really cool job that they’re doing. And I want to learn how to do that I want to learn how to help people heal help people live with the difficulties that they have going on and have these really deep conversations. So that’s what drew me in in the first place. And then having my own private practice came up because I was working in an agency, and I realized I was just kind of scribbling on the back of an envelope like you do. Realizing, okay, so if I were to start my own business, how many clients would I need to have to make this workout? And like, how much freedom might that give me to work, however, I want to work. And there is sort of this rebel inside of me. And so that rebel was like, Yeah, I think I need to run my own show here. And so I started stepping into private practice.
Heather Pearce Campbell 5:57
Well, it’s, you know, it’s so fascinating. The piece that you say, around not really liking or being able to do small talk reminds me, I think I recognize that type of personality, I have one of my closest childhood friends, actually, she’s been a close, for instance, third grade. And I laugh because we only get each other in really small doses. You know, she’s a busy mom, she’s actually a pediatrician lives, several states away. We’ve seen each other like a handful of times over the years. But when we connect, it’s always like, awesome, right? We were, we were chatting recently. And she was like, yeah, you know, I just can’t do small talk, phone conversations are hard, because like, she wants to get right to the juicy stuff. She wants to know about all the hard things going on. And just like you said, like, how to help how to heal, how to be even just a listener, and a witness for those kinds of journeys. So that, you know, you’re not doing for lack of a better term, even though it’s not entirely how I feel about small talk. But it’s not like this surface level living, right? Yeah, it’s like, you’re really digging down into the juicy stuff. And so I love that you’re just able to come out and say that, because I really think that is a hard thing for certain personality types.
Annie Schuessler 7:17
Yeah, and I think it’s really important for those of us who don’t have that gift, to know that and then also to be around people who do so I know, like my sister, and my wife they are so in a lot of my good friends, they’re really gifted at being able to connect right away, and jump into really enjoying an enjoyable connecting, talk with someone. And so I like to sit near them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 7:49
But don’t you think i’m gonna i’m curious, don’t you think it helps to actually say it out loud, though, to share with people? Like I don’t really do it? Because? Because then it provides people with an understanding of like, oh, okay, so some additional context about just like the way that you operate or walk through the world. And I think, to the extent that any of us can identify those things about ourselves that help other people understand us better, right, I think it actually helps that connection.
Annie Schuessler 8:17
I think you’re right. And like, it’s kind of like handing someone a handbook.
Heather Pearce Campbell 8:20
Yes, about yourself and saying, like,
Annie Schuessler 8:23
I’m not great at small talk, like, would love to talk about whatever’s going on in your life in a deep way. And like now, I could add to that, for the last 10 or 15 years, like, would love to dig into your business with you and ask you questions about like, revenue and business model.
Heather Pearce Campbell 8:43
Yeah, it’s so funny you talking about I think you mentioned the word nosy, like you really like to dig down into and the same friend will ask me like, a quick question. And then, and then another one, like texting with her is very funny, because it’s like, when I can stop with a question, should I stop? Is there such a thing as like, not asking questions, do people do that? It’s really fun. But I would say that either being on the receiving end of that, people, I think, in general, especially if they know who you are, and how you approach things really feel cared for, you know, whether in the therapy role or not so the fact that, you know, you were drawn to that field, I think is not a surprise hearing about the way that you prefer to operate. Yeah,
Annie Schuessler 9:32
Yeah, absolutely. And then just like you, I have a podcast and so I get to gear my the way that I interview to my strengths, and yeah, and that’s really fun, too. I think you’re right. It’s a it’s also about not having shame about our individual technology, like how we work in the world, but letting people know about it and then trying to go with it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 9:59
I agree. Well, that’s, it’s really fun that you and I love the rebel part of yourself as well. I want to hear more about that, like, you were in this It sounds like you said agency practice, which I just imagined to be like a group practice or something kind of a set model. Recognize that some part of it wasn’t working for you. Can you talk more about that? Like, what prompted the back of the napkin type of scribbling?
Annie Schuessler 10:28
So I worked for this agency, it was called New Leaf. And it was an agency for queer folks run by queer folks, and it was beautiful. And in any organization, in any agency, you’ve got to make a lot of decisions by committee, right? Like, you don’t get to just decide, hey, I think this would work better. I’m going to implement it today. And that’s kind of how I like to do things. Yeah. So the agency itself was beautiful. And I realized that for my personality, it works better to be able to pivot really quickly experiment with things quickly. And I don’t think we’re all suited to work in large groups, or in large organizations. And I’m definitely one of those people who I work better on a really small team or by myself.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:23
Yeah, I had a former mentor in law. And I actually, I had worked on several I launched my own practice right out of law school, but I assisted on some really large projects with different firms around Seattle. And I worked for a time with this one firm, where the founder, one of the original founders faced that same thing, like all these decisions by committee, were just killing it. Like he hated it, even though he loved the people. He loved the work like this, this not having the ability to quickly pivot. And so he actually asked me to help him build a whole separate team, he ended up leaving that firm, creating a smaller kind of boutique II firm, but he always called himself after that the benevolent dictator. And he recognized, he just needed to be able to make decisions and have those made and move very quickly. And anything short of that just did not work for him. So again, yeah, somebody recognizing their boundaries and acting on it and saying it out loud in it, you know, totally changed courses for them. So the transition out of the agency model into your own practice, can you share? Because I’m sure there are some folks listening that are like, yeah, yeah, like I’m either there, right? I want to be doing my own thing. And then there’s going to be next level, those who are already practicing on their own, but really want to be expanding beyond that.
Annie Schuessler 12:54
The starting of my private practice, was challenging financially. I really didn’t have a sense of how to run a business that was profitable. I didn’t have a sense yet. No, I knew I wanted to make my own decisions, but I wasn’t great yet at charging enough. Or at niching. I don’t even know that I would have had the word niching. At that moment, I just wanted to help people, right. And I just dove right in. But I was struggled with charging enough, I struggled with figuring out how to run it as a business. And I think I had that nonprofit kind of mode, in my bones at that point. And so I was kind of running my private practice, like a nonprofit for one person. And so there was a huge learning curve in just understanding business fundamentals. And I was able to work with coaches read a lot of books. And at that point, I started to kind of catch the bug of really being fascinated with business, just like I had been fascinated with psychology. So that learning really never stopped. And I started sharing what I was learning, with my colleagues with my peers. And so that’s how the business coaching part of my life started up was just like me learning and then me wanting to share it. I’m noticing. As I was talking to my friends about business and wanting to help them, we would hit a certain point where some of my friends were like, Can we not talk about this anymore? It’s enough. And I kind of look back on that as a signal that I also encourage other people to look for. It’s like, What are you talking about or wanting to talk about? So much The people around you are kinda up to here with it might be something you need to pursue in a bigger way.
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:11
The I want to go back to the you know, it’s funny now looking back on it, but this whole like prop this this concept of, you know, operating like a nonprofit kind of being in your bones. But I think the irony is that, first of all, so many service professional people can’t even talk professionals that I know are that way. Mm hmm. They’re helpers. You know, so many of us that go into a profession, I think our deep down helpers, and you know, really any businesses, we are all here to solve problems, but particularly the niche that I serve coaches, consultants, service professionals, like the vast majority of those folks, I call them heart centered entrepreneurs, they just want to do their best work and help people and the business fundamentals while some of them have some of those skills naturally, most don’t, most have to learn most have to kind of piece things together along the way, right? It’s but but there is that point, you have to hit of really knowing how to value what you’re doing in a way that you can create a business around it. Otherwise, you stay in a really hard painful place, right?
Annie Schuessler 16:28
Oh, yeah. And I’ve seen so many people, including therapists, but also friends I have who do different things like landscape design, where I this is how I set it up in the beginning. It’s like they set it up so that if everything goes perfectly, they will be able to pay their bills, and they’ll have a good enough salary. And I know that’s what I was doing on the back of that envelope is like what do I just absolutely need to make this work. And then the Prop, one of the problems with that is that everything doesn’t go perfectly. And if we don’t build in some room for breaks, and some room for things not to go perfectly, we’re kind of always going to be in that mode of like, Why is this not quite working? Why is it not quite bringing in enough revenue? And why am I overworking? And usually the answer I know this was true for me is that the business isn’t actually designed to be profitable. So it’s doing a good job doing what it was designed to do. But it’s not really it doesn’t have profit built into it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:44
Yeah, that concept of business design is such a juicy one. The the point where you kind of caught the bug from reading about business. So I joked and I’ve said this several times my podcast, basically the only books that I read are like self development or business books my entire life, right? That’s it. And my husband is constantly like, and he’s into sci fi and fantasy, like read something fun. And I’m like he says fun. So I know that I know all about the business book bug. What? What was the most transformational reading for you in that process?
Annie Schuessler 18:28
In that time, I read the first book I read was by Lynn Brodsky, who was like, as far as I know, one of the very first business coaches for therapists in particular. And so she had a beautiful book about which would be, you know, honestly, pretty dated at this point, but it has beautiful business fundamentals built into it. And she had a workbook and I walked through that, and just loved it. And then over time I started Oh, and Casey Truffaut was another one of those really early, fabulous business coaches for therapists, so I devoured her work. And then I also started getting into business books, not for therapists. And that’s been really fun. That’s been just, I mean, it sounds like we should have a book group together that’s been thoughtful to like, look at what people in other industries are thinking and then applying it to our industries.
Heather Pearce Campbell 19:30
Yes, no, it is I do the same. Most of the books that I read are not at all about the legal profession. And every once in a while, I will pick one up about the legal part. And it’s always like, Oh, yeah, those are some good ideas, too. You know, I feel like there’s so many, so many different insights and ways to approach building a business. And you know, certainly there are some fundamentals and some things that we all have to learn but it’s just I don’t know, there’s nothing for me more powerful than being able to absorb the amount of information that can be shared in a book that can really drastically change your mind about things.
Annie Schuessler 20:11
I love it. And and I bet you do the same thing I do. It’s like, partly I’m reading these. I mean, mostly because I geek out on this stuff, and I love it. And then I’m also reading so that my clients who don’t actually want to read all these books can benefit. They can get, you know, my ideas that I am not my ideas, they can get the ideas of these authors and apply them to their businesses, too.
Heather Pearce Campbell 20:37
Yeah, it’s true. I joke that my clients get that whether they want it or not. Kind of like that point you mentioned, which I loved asking your clients like, What are you talking about so much that other people are telling you, you know, stop, that’s probably a sign right? follow their true north. So at what point did you transition, it sounds like you were starting to like really get into reading books, talking about, you know, business, building stuff, and sharing that with a group of colleagues and friends, how to take us from there through kind of the evolution of your business, because now you really serve, not exclusively, because I know you’ve got people outside of the therapy group. But take us back a few years through the early years of that business transition.
Annie Schuessler 21:31
Yeah, so I hit a point where I wanted to really give some energy to my business coaching. And it was time to start carving out that space from my therapy practice. And so that was, you know, like it is for so many people, that was a bit of a painful process of, you know, not taking on new clients just carving out that space for what was next. And I developed a program first for therapists who wanted to build their private practices. And at first, it was just a one on one program, which I think is for most of us the very best way to get started, if not just stay there forever. And because one on one work is awesome. Yeah. And then I turned that into a small group program. And I was running that for years, and having a really good time, because I love to geek out on this stuff. And then I realized that, you know, there is this inner rebel in me, and it showed up again, in that a lot of the people who I was helping build their private practices, were starting to say, you know, I want to do something else with this, like, I want to grow some kind of program, membership retreat workshop, like something else. And I found myself really drawn to helping them do that. And I had these skills from having built my coaching business that I was able to share with them. And so that’s the the pivot that I that I took a few years ago was just to completely focus on helping people move their work into something that’s not strictly a, you know, psychotherapy practice.
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:24
Yeah. And in your experience working with folks, and I know, you and I connected in our very first phone call, and we had a chat about this. You know, people I have found that my clients that have been in the traditional therapy world have often been thinking about what comes next for a very long time, longer often than other clients sometimes that I work with, right. And there’s, I think, my sense is that they care so much about the work they’re doing, and the rules that apply. And obviously anybody with a licensed, you know, a license to practice, whatever it is they’re doing, hopefully takes their work very seriously. Right, you’re a licensed professional, you’ve got generally rules of professional conduct and other regulations that you have to abide by. And so, you know, as a group, I define them usually as a pretty careful bunch, which I also really appreciate. Because on the on the flip side of the coin, I feel like you’ve got folks running around in the coaching world that do not always belong there. Right. So I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for people that bring so much care to their work. Talk to me about what you’ve seen and working with your clients around that piece. Whether it’s, you know, a little bit of resistance, whether it’s, you know, just really wanting to take the time to do it, right. Part of me wonders if it’s a little bit that perfectionist element, which I’m sure you get in a lot of licensed professionals right. What have you noticed?
Annie Schuessler 25:01
I noticed just exactly what you said that people who are, whether they’re licensed or not, and especially if they’re licensed, people who are drawn to this work, are coming at it from such an ethical place from such a responsible place where they really want everything they put out there to be of the highest quality, they care about the transformation. They’re not like 99% of the time, money isn’t the biggest reason why they want to change what they’re doing. It’s something about freedom, like it’s something about wanting to work more creatively wanting to use different parts of themselves, or they’ve got a bigger message, they want to get out there. And yet, they’re really careful about it. And I, one of the first things that I do with people, when they’re creating their programs, beyond private practice, is to think about not actually burning their therapy license, but to imagine burning their therapy license, so that they’re at least making space for what is this next thing? What if you didn’t have a therapy license? If you didn’t have to worry about it just in your imagination for a moment? What would this next thing be so that they can allow themselves to dream into it? Because just like you said, they get so nervous at times that it’s hard to even let their imagination go, and dream into how they’d like to be working. And so that tends to work really well to get people freed up dreaming, thinking about how they want to serve, and then we can circle back around and look at, okay, how are we going to parse this out? How are you going to protect your license while also creating this new offer? But if they try to work it all out at the same time they end up they end up kind of stuck? Sometimes? Yeah, for years?
Heather Pearce Campbell 27:04
Yes, well, and what I’ve noticed, because I’ve done a lot of speaking to groups that either contain therapists or have like a majority of therapists in the group, you know, whether it’s physical therapists, massage therapists, you know, psychologist, it’s, they often will get to the point of like, building out what it is that they want to do having everything like ready to go. And then they’re in this place of like, okay, the logistics feel bigger than I thought they would be. And they stopped there. And so a lot of folks that I intersect with, they just need the solution from a legal perspective about how you do this the right way, because most of them also want to build a bridge over to the other side, they don’t want to do this big dramatic leap in my experience. Yeah. Right. And so it’s like, Okay, how do we help them build the bridge. And from a legal perspective, there’s a really clear way that you do that, that you can keep your license safe over here, and do this other educational, you know, online information business over here, but there’s definitely some set rules that apply that you have to know about. And once they get that information, it’s like, oh, I can just see like, it’s like Angel singing. They’re like, Oh, my god, there’s a path. Okay. You know, yeah. And it is so much relief. And so I’d be curious if your folks are like that the bridge builders, they don’t want to do the big dramatic leap? Or are they the rebels that are doing the leaps that are just saying goodbye to the therapy practice and just going for it? The vast majority want to do both at least for a period of time. Yeah. therapy, and then building a course or a program?
Annie Schuessler 28:51
Yeah. And I did that too. I actually just closed my therapy practice, after 20 years. And it was, it was a long bridge, because it’s really hard to give up something so wonderful. and meaningful. So
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:07
for so long, a part of you, right? Yeah, I think for so many of us. Our work feels like such a significant part of us. Like, it’s really closing a door on that chapter. How did that feel for you? How did how did you decide to finally do that?
Annie Schuessler 29:24
I what I had imagined in the past was that I would just keep being a therapist forever. And I was down to just one morning a week at the end. And I was only working with folks who I had been working with for like five years for longer. So I just thought I’ll just keep doing this as long as they want to stay in therapy. And then I hit a point of realizing it was kind of a Marie Kondo moment, or realizing, you know, this isn’t really a fit for my life right now. And I am wanting To really simplify, like I work 20 hours a week, it’s really important to me to have that kind of balance in my life. And I realized that if I didn’t have a therapy practice, I wouldn’t go after one and get one now. And so just like, you know, we do when we’re trying to figure out what to do with precious objects was like, would it What would I do to get this thing now? And if I wouldn’t do anything to get it, it’s probably time to really carefully and lovingly, say, Thank you and goodbye. And so, that’s, that’s what led me to that. It was really bittersweet.But it was a realizing, okay, I really I love this and I really want simplicity.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:47
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Heather Pearce Campbell 32:20
Did you had your clients wrapped up? Or did you have to say goodbye to some clients?
Annie Schuessler 32:46
I had to say goodbye. Yeah. So I I started talking to them about it in the summer before so that we had like, you know, almost a year to wrap things up.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:58
Mm hmm. And how it talked to me about the transition after that. How did you feel you said It’s bittersweet. But how did you process that transition?
Annie Schuessler 33:08
Well, it was weird, Heather, because it happened the transition wasn’t planned to happen during COVID. Because COVID was like the transition happened right at the beginning of COVID. So you waving? I think all of us my clients and I we were really thinking about like, what is this? pandemic? How do we deal with this? So it was a very weird, yeah, way for things to end. Yeah. But you know, a lot of love a lot of care. And then I had a trip to Italy planned. I was gonna go to Italy for a couple months.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:45
And Italy was like one of the worst places early. Very well. Yeah.
Annie Schuessler 33:52
Yeah, my youngest son and I were gonna live there for two months. And my wife and my older son, were going to join us for a little bit in the…
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:59
big trip. Yeah,
Annie Schuessler 34:02
That was the plan. And, you know, I, of course, I’m glad we didn’t go. But also, I’m really glad we planned it, because I feel like I got half the enjoyment, just from all the planning.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:18
Well, yeah, I feel like that could be a theme right now. It will certainly in COVID, right? We were all like daydreaming about what are we going to do and this is over. But also as it relates to business enjoyment from like, even the kinds of questions you ask your clients of, if you did not have therapy practice, what would this other thing look like? Right? I think that kind of allow somebody to really feel into it in a much bigger way, then, you know, staying in the same place and line of thinking which, you know, I think appropriately so. In many circumstances, licensed professions are rule bound profession. Right. And it’s just how they have to be to protect the public. But when you’re talking about somebody really delivering to the world, what they want to be delivering, or teaching or doing, it could be very, very different. And sometimes you just have to really step out of those shoes to, I think, have the kind of creativity flow that allows you to imagine what comes next.
Annie Schuessler 35:23
Yeah, and I do see some folks, even if what they imagined was that they’re going to run both of these businesses long term, there are a lot of people who, once they create their unique online business, they start wanting to step away from the other stuff and give that more energy. So I never push it. But I noticed it happens a lot.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:48
Yeah, I believe that? Well, there’s a couple things that I’m thinking about one, I heard you say something about working way less hours, like you’re down to 20 hours a week or something, I want to hear more about that. And I want to dig in for a minute about the types of things that you cover, give us a glimpse of the process that you walk your clients through, when they’re in kind of the you know, idea phase or looking at the that initial transition of creating something in the online world or creating a program or course, walk us through a little bit what that looks like, so that anybody who’s listening that’s at that phase can get some benefit from that process. Absolutely.
Annie Schuessler 36:29
So we start by looking at who are you moved to create something for? And, and I want names like I don’t want like this imaginary person. But really, I want like names like who they may have been clients you’ve worked with, they may be people in your life in a different way. But we all have certain people that were moved to create something for and help. And I work with them to figure out their niche, and to figure out who they’re gonna say yes to. And that’s a hard process. Because when we say yes to somebody, we have to close the door on working with absolutely everybody in the world. And, you know, healers, therapists, coaches, service providers have really big hearts and know that they could work with almost anyone. Yeah, so it’s that first process of, Okay, let’s just keep it to this one pilot offer you’re going to create, who do you want to create this for? It’s not a permanent decision. It’s much more like dating than marriage. Yeah. And that helps people who get kind of panicked around. Nisha was like, let’s just do it for this. Like, I have a five week program like, could you could you niche for five weeks?
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:51
Yeah, Will. That piece is so important. Like, I just cannot emphasize enough like what you’re saying, and this this step about figuring out the niche, how tremendously important it is, right? The world of therapy, the world of self development of, you know, personal growth and heat. Like it’s so big, it’s so big and so wide open. And there’s so many things that happen in that space, you have to have an offer a message, something that is speaking so directly, exactly to your right client that they say yes, and everybody else says no right to even have a shot at making that kind of a business a success. Absolutely.
Annie Schuessler 38:33
Yeah. One of my recent clients, Valerie, your current client, Valerie created, so this is love. And it’s a program in it is a program for women who are taking a break from dating, in the interest of finding that person creating that relationship. They’re taking a step back from dating. So it’s so specific. And it is a really common thing. I feel like I could raise my hand and say, I know people in that position. I think a lot of us could, but it’s a brave thing to say, yeah, I’m gonna create something for them. Knowing, you know, she could create a program to help everybody but if you create a program to help everybody, you’re gonna be really hard for anyone to feel seen and understood.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:27
Yeah, yeah. So you’re asking them about who they are absolutely love specific names, what comes next?
Annie Schuessler 39:37
So then they create a program, a pilot program, a very simple program that they can deliver, without stepping into months and months of like curriculum development or anything like that. I just want them to create a simple outline. Thinking about Okay, so this is the person what is the transformation ideally, that I’d like to help this person walk through. And I help them get really specific about that transformation. So that then they can create a program that only has what’s totally needed to deliver that transformation. And nothing extra, like we don’t need bonuses, we don’t need like, But wait, there’s more, it’s really a gift. I mean, those may have their place later on. But like for this pilot program, yeah, it’s really a gift to keep things simple for the participant. And there’s so much information out there that really, where I think the value lies is in the facilitation of this is the experience to walk you through. So they create a pilot outline. And then the next thing we do together is create a really simple way for people, when they learn about your work to get on your email list, just a really simple, I encourage people actually to just if they’re in doubt, don’t even create a freebie, because people can get lost in doing that for months at a time. So just start writing weekly emails that are from the heart, and are valuable and are sharing what you have to share. So we, you know, they create a simple website, they create that simple path into this new business. And then the next step is creating a sales page. And so everybody writes their sales page where they’re falling in love with their own offers. And they’re describing the transformation really honest, and really in the language of their participant, who they know like nobody else knows. Mm hmm. And then our last step in the five windows all happening over five weeks, so people are working pretty hard. Yeah, at the very end, they write emails, announcing their new project, to everybody who might benefit everybody who might know someone who might benefit. So they just take that brave step of saying, This is what I’m doing. And I love you to help me with it. And I would love to get your feedback on it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 42:16
A couple things stand out to me. One is the tight timeframe that you’re working in to get people into motion actually doing something. I think that’s really significant, because I think, least I could imagine, and I know myself from having built online content and on automation, and all of that, you can get lost in a lot of places along the building path, right. But I would imagine it’s challenging to take a therapist who has so much information, like all the ways that they could help somebody and condense it down into that bare bone approach bare bones approach of like, here’s the transformation and only the essentials contained in that deliverable, that chorus that program that aid in that transformation. And truthfully, that’s how all of our businesses should be like nobody has. Nobody has extra time for all the extras that are not necessary. And yet, when you get an expert, because these folks are all experts and people like them, right, our experts, I think it’s so easy to like, just want to jam everything in there. Just put it all right, I think usually bare bones is not the natural way. And so how do your clients do with that process? They,
Annie Schuessler 43:40
I think they’re able to do it because of that tight five week timeline, I think one of the ways that it really gets done, and that they don’t have enough time, five weeks to create something really complicated. Yeah. And I think it also, you know, this is me really geeking out, I’m not sure about this part. But I think there may be something about a parallel process that’s going on where because they’re going through a program that’s been really simplified. And they’re also seeing all of these other therapists, we always run it in a small group. They’re seeing all of these other therapists who have their areas of expertise and magic. That all influences them to be able to see, you know, this is going to be valuable to keep it simple. And I think maybe another thing that helps is knowing I use the word experiment over and over again, during this so whenever someone starts to get clenched, and is like, but what about this and how do I not include that? It’s just would you want to run an experiment on doing it really simple. And you may decide you’re going to include everything but the kitchen sink next time. But what would this experiment feel like and that seems to help people kind of like, lower their shoulders and let it go.
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:15
Well, that even the language, you know, experiment or like, and I love in the, you know, the techie world iterate, like this is just version one there, you know, there might be version 234, or five, getting people to think more flexibly flexibly about it, I think helps them get in motion, because otherwise, people get so caught up. And I’ve worked with so many clients that, so for example, there, they’ll contact me and be like, Oh, I’m launching a new online business, a new course, and I’m doing all of the legal terms and the legal protections for them. And you know, but there’ll be sometimes some long delays by the time they actually get the thing launched. And so often, it’s because they’re building it first. And they put so much into the building, rather than just launching it, make the delivery of it, the actual building, right helding iteration one, and then improving upon that. And people that are able to do that you get so much like real time feedback, you know, this, you can build and change as you go. Because you’ve got live participation, rather than sitting at home creating a, you know, really detailed built out course in your head that has no real human involvement yet, I think it’s really challenging.
Annie Schuessler 46:32
It’s so hard to guess it’s so unlikely that we’re gonna get it right the first time. So yeah, 100% I, I do so strongly encourage people to deliver this first offer live. And that’s something that I get pushback on, some people feel really nervous to deliver it live, because they’re feeling like it’s going to bring up performance anxiety, and it would be easier to record things, I actually think the opposite ends up being true. People are very forgiving about what is being delivered live, they don’t expect you to be perfect. They don’t expect perfect lighting or like a lack of little mistakes here. And there. They’re with you. And so I think it’s a it’s a much lower stress way to deliver something. And then you can just take notes, after every session and write down what worked. What do they need more of? Where do you get stuck? And I totally agree with you. iteration two is always different.
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:39
Yeah, well, and you can record iteration one, so that you either have pre built the content by just you know, doing it once live in this beta test, or, because then what you say about the level of forgiveness that we have around, you know, a live experience versus or even watching a recording of a live experience. Versus like, if somebody is sitting here like, imagine me sitting in front of my computer talking and trying to create a course, like, the level of expectation goes way up for the fact that you know, you should be rehearsed and be working from notes or a script or whatever. And I think it’s just so much easier to do it live with real people. Yes,
Annie Schuessler 48:22
I do, too. Absolutely. Yeah. So eventually, you hit that point where you there are certain things that you’re like, I don’t think I want to teach this one more time. I’ve taught it so many times. And then the recording becomes so easy. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:36
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and we learned so much in the delivery of it, you know, whether we need to change our languaging or somebody has a lot of questions about a particular point that you know, maybe didn’t get enough emphasis or description or whatever, I just think there’s so many ways to benefit from that process versus pre recording, pre building, etc. I mean, I you know, definitely structuring an outline, knowing where you’re headed. All of that is very helpful. So I’d love to hear what you hear from your clients on the back end of this five weeks, or even after they’ve launched the thing into the world. I bet you’ve got some really interesting feedback.
Annie Schuessler 49:18
Yeah, I, I’m so happy that you’re asking this now, because I just finished a round of this yesterday, where everybody wrote these emails, and prestes many of them practice and some of them are still editing the emails another hour later this week. And it’s like this wonderful experience that somehow like surprises me every time at least on an emotional level. It’s this wonderful experience of watching people be really scared and proud of themselves at the same time. of just like I there’s part of me that I just hear this every time like there’s part of me that wants to Quit. This is so scary. And I’m so proud of myself. And I, like I’m not stopping now. So it’s kind of like they’ve hit that spot where they did some of the hardest, scariest work. And they went through that feeling of like, I’m just gonna quit and turn back. And one thing I tell them at that point is like, this will be a moment when you’ll probably many of you will want to quit, like you’ll, and I know I’ve felt that way before. where you’re like, Okay, why am I doing this to myself? I have a fine business, I have a fine life. Why am I making things so hard for myself? Maybe I should just quit and like, Netflix is so pleasant. And this other thing is so easy and routine, I know how to do what I’m already doing. Why do something hard? Yeah. And so I say like, you only you know whether, actually, it’s right to quit. But notice, if you’re going to be stepping into that regret of like, oh, shoot, like, I really cared about that I was doing something really aligned. And I wish I hadn’t quit. And so it’s, that’s a moment that I see people going through is like, Alright, I didn’t quit.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:21
Well, and I think that the thing that’s really important about that particular part of the transition that right before you push it out into the world, or launch it like that, almost being overtaken by fear and so many circumstances, so many instances, it is especially true and the fear is especially strong, when it’s something we care about so much. Yes. And so that’s often a sign that you have to push through. Because if it you know, if it was something that didn’t really matter to you, there wouldn’t be that trepidation there wouldn’t be that that hesitant to really put it out there. But because, you know, our hearts are wrapped around it, it becomes an even harder thing to do. And I think it’s really important that we say that out loud and acknowledge it right, which can often mean people are on the
Annie Schuessler 52:12
Right path. Alright, so agree. And that’s where it seems like that’s where imposter syndrome comes up the most is for things that you truly care about, where you’re like, Who am I to do this amazing, important thing. And a lot of times, part of what makes you the right person to do it is that you do care so much. And you hold it as a really big honor to do this work.
Heather Pearce Campbell 52:42
Yeah, well, and I think doing that, I mean, it can just be like you say you get to the end every time. And you’re surprised, right? This is the joy of doing the work and putting it out there. And so I ran this little experiment during COVID, I started this thing called the leap lab. And I like this is way outside what I normally do, I’m an attorney, I help people with legal stuff. But I really wanted to create the space for women to come together every morning at 6am. And do an hour of work together like deep inner work. But I’ve never led anything like this. I have very strong ideas about how I wanted to structure it and lalala. But I it was one of those things that kind of niggled at me and I did not, it wouldn’t go away. And so I was like, Okay, I’ve got to do this. But same thing, like no matter how many times we’ve launched other things into the world. I feel like every time there’s something new, that’s like a new idea pulling, there’s still that same feeling of like, Oh, you know, when I was about to put it out, I was like, What if nobody signs up? You know, what if what if all this stuff and it ended up being so fun 10 women shine, showed up. It was a paid thing. We ran it for two weeks, they had to commit to being there. Every morning at 6am for two weeks straight including weekends, there was no time off. And we got to the end. And it was amazing. What was accomplished. I had one woman say, I’ve never gotten up this early this consistently and given time to myself like this, like in 30 years. This you know, and like I’ve never led a group like that this other woman was like, this is the most spiritual experience I’ve ever had. Right. And this kind of that blew me away. I had no idea what it was going to do. I had, you know, very little, not a lot of confidence in myself to do what I was really in my head that I wanted to do, right. I think we all have like a very high bar for ourselves. But what came out of it was just so beautiful. And I think that getting to that side where you’re like, Oh, I see why this is worth doing and I need to keep doing it right Whether it’s with each group that you run, whether it’s with, you know, iterations of your program, I think that’s not really like a bridge. And we ever get to the end of that, you know, launching something that we really care about out into the world over and over.
Annie Schuessler 55:15
Absolutely. Yeah. And I don’t know about you, but my, my offerings have changed so many times, and that iteration never ends, like it may get smaller, the changes that get made every time may get a lot smaller. But I think it’s really fun to continue to iterate and continue to look at, like, how could this be giving even more value? How could the next people benefit from what that group of people just did and taught me?
Heather Pearce Campbell 55:51
Totally and you know, I think it’s really important that our work grow along with us, because there is a point where if your work is stagnant, I think you become stagnant about your work. And people feel that – they feel less energy, they feel less inclined to say yes to it. So I do think that’s a really, really important component of keeping our work alive. So for folks that have hung on this has just been such a fun conversation, because this process is hard for a lot of people, you know, making this leap. And, and yet, it’s, you know, it’s so freeing, and I think so rewarding when you can do it. And especially when somebody’s holding your hand to help you walk that path. For folks that are like, gosh, I need to connect with Annie, I need to look into her work. Where do you like for them to connect with you?
Annie Schuessler 56:47
One place is my podcast, Rebel therapist podcast. And that’s got a lot of stories of folks who have taken this leap. And you can find that and everything that I do over at rebel therapists.me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 57:04
Love that. Are you on social media at all?
Annie Schuessler 57:08
I am, I hang out on Instagram. Awesome. Yeah, I love to interact with people over there.
Heather Pearce Campbell 57:14
Okay, perfect. I like to ask because, you know, like, I hang out on LinkedIn. That’s where my people are. So everyone’s in a different spot. If you are listening, I’d love for you to check out Andy’s website, check out her podcast, check her out on Instagram, we will share those links and anything else that she wants us to share at legal website warrior comm forward slash podcast. Annie, what final thoughts do you want to leave people with today?
Annie Schuessler 57:40
Well, I do have also a workshop if you want to dive in and learn more about like, Well, how do I get started with this whole pilot program thing? And should I go ahead and say that URL? Totally Yeah, absolutely. That’s also rebel therapists.me slash beyond and that is free for you? And Okay, what else do I want to say? I just want to encourage you to run experiments, hold it lightly, and allow yourself to get started. So if you’re finding yourself kind of hiding and waiting. I know it might sound corny, but life really is short. So start an experiment. Know that you can always pivot you can always change your mind. But starting is really is really important.
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:38
I love that. Yes. The my final note on that because starting I think for for many people is often the hardest thing actually making the choice to walk down a different path. And I remodeled this house that I’m in years ago, it was before the market crashed, and my intent was to flip it. And there were so many projects every day, I was tackling a new project that I did not know how to do. And I knew because I had set a schedule. Like I knew exactly what the timeline was going to be and when I had to complete certain things. And so I had the sign hanging like, just start. What is it just begin of account. Now I can remember the quote, but it was like just begin or just start, like the rest of it will come right or something like that. Like just start. You don’t have to know the end points. Right. And I think so often we want to know those end points before we even begin and it’s like No, just start. It’s the hardest, but it’s so important. The rest of it will come
Annie Schuessler 59:42
He will come I love that if we knew how hard some things were. We might not have started them so we just need to start.
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:54
Well Annie, it’s been so fun to connect with you today. I’m excited to be able to share your work and Then people your way. I hope we have the chance to talk again. Me too. This was so much fun. Thanks, Heather. Thank you for being with us.
GGGB Outro 1:00:13
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit & Great Business™ podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us, too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.