With Megan Cain, an operations expert for entrepreneurs who have reached capacity and want to stop doing everything themselves. Megan empowers visionaries to break through to the next level of their business, fostering a transformation from overwhelm to strategic growth. She has worked with authors, coaches, consultants, and non-profit startups, infusing their businesses with more magic and less admin.

Megan’s journey began with a passion for helping entrepreneurs systemize their businesses, ensuring a solid foundation, increased efficiency, and scalability. Beyond her love for all things systems and processes, Megan has successfully built an online gardening business and authored two books guiding people on growing and preserving their own food at home.

On the weekends, Megan is on a mission to conquer 52 different trails, engaging in activities such as road biking, hiking, nordic skiing, mountain biking, and walking. Her commitment to exploring nature aligns with her holistic approach to business.

Join us in our conversation as Megan shares her insights on how to develop a clear vision and structure for your business, and implement systems to streamline processes and increase efficiency. She also talks about the need to reconnect with your passion and purpose so you can scale your business effectively. Finally, she guides you on determining where and how visionaries like you should be spending your time, allowing you to focus on your “Zone of Genius” and strategically delegate tasks to your team.

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Takeaways & quotes you don’t want to miss from this episode:

  • The importance of getting a Trademark to protect your business / brand.
  • Not everyone’s brains works from a “systems” perspective.
  • How to shift from working “in” the business to working “on” the business.
  • What are the 4 S’s to create a scalable and sustainable business?
  • The importance of setting up systems for client onboarding, communication, and customer journey.

“There’s a lot of care in systems, and there can be a lot of heart if you have a heart-based business, which most entrepreneurs do… systems don’t have to be dry and boring.”

-Megan Cain

Check out these highlights:

  • 04:06 Megan shares how she started in the gardening business.
  • 5:32 Listen to Megan share on an IP infringement scenario in her gardening business.
  • 21:25 Why do people get stuck “in the weeds”?
  • 34:39 The keys to creating a scalable and sustainable business.
  • 49:31 For Megan, as a visionary, you should only be doing these things…

How to get in touch with Megan on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thisismegancain

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thisismegancain/

You can also contact Megan by visiting her website here.

Special offer for the listeners: Sign up at https://www.megancain.com/ to get a FREE resource with some wisdom to help you do more magic, less admin. You can also get a free 30-minute coffee chat with Megan 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  00:00

Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®…

Megan Cain  00:04

As the visionary, you should be doing only things that you can do and that you love to do. The reasons why you got into this business, I think sometimes they can get a little bit lost in the day to day and so trying to reconnect to the your passion and the reasons that you got into the business, and letting that lead you to really figure out maybe how to get out of that day to day so that you can tap back into that passion and that energy and that feels so in the weeds.

GGGB Intro  00:36

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 and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:04

Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online information entrepreneurs throughout the US and the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am super excited to introduce Megan Cain today. Welcome, Megan.

Megan Cain  01:29

Hi, Heather. Thanks for having me.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:31

Oh, so good to have you. I have been looking forward to this conversation. This is a topic I love people would often not necessarily associate legal with like systems processes, you know, some of the stuff that you think about when you think about automating other small businesses, but it’s a really important topic, both to me and everybody that I serve. So I love this topic. For those of you that don’t know, Megan, Megan and I first met actually, through Pearce Law, we got connected I’m not sure how we initially got connected. But Megan’s up to some really interesting things. And we can talk a little bit about the endeavor that led to us connecting. But Megan is an also an operations expert for entrepreneurs who need to build the back end of their business in order to win back their time and stay ahead of growth. Megan has worked with authors, coaches, consultants, and nonprofit startups to create businesses with more magic and less admin. In addition to loving all things, systems and processes, Megan has also built a thriving online gardening business and has published two books teaching people how to grow and preserve their own food at home. On the weekends. Megan is usually out exploring nature and working towards her goal of being on 52 different trails this year, roadbiking, hiking, Nordic skiing, mountain biking and walking. That’s amazing. I love that goal. Megan. We’ve got a lot of fun things to talk about. I think where do you originally hail from?

Megan Cain  03:09

I was born in Philadelphia.

Heather Pearce Campbell  03:10


Megan Cain  03:11

A lot of my family still lives in the mid Atlantic area.

Heather Pearce Campbell  03:16

Were you in the Midwest when we first connected?

Megan Cain  03:18

I was in, I do own a house in Wisconsin. My husband and I have lived there for about 20 years. But when we connected that I was in Tucson I was in Tucson for the winter for about six months. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  03:29

That’s right. One of the things I love about you and now you’re in Portland, which is like the baby sister city to Seattle, and also where my sister lives. Oh great. No super fun. And as lovers of the Pacific Northwest We love getting out and doing hikes and walks and stuff and so I’m actually really love your goal of the 52 different trails this year. I would love to know because you and I first connected through your gardening business and gardening endeavors. So you want to talk for a minute about that and how how you got started, where that got started?

Megan Cain  04:04

Sure. Let’s see. I’ve had my gardening business for about 10 years. This year is the 10 year anniversary. Before that I actually worked in for a nonprofit and agricultural gardening based nonprofit for about seven years. So I actually grew up in a row home in Philadelphia, we didn’t have a yard I didn’t know anyone who gardened I didn’t even know gardening was a thing that people did because I lived in such an urban area. So it really wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s that I I just started to think about growing food and looking back I have no idea where those thoughts came from. I was living in California in San Francisco so sometimes I think strange things happen to your brain when you live in California and I don’t know I started thinking about food. I don’t know where those thoughts came from. But anyway, I ended up in an internship program in my mid 20s where I learned how to that was I started to learn how to grow food. And it really is shot my life on a completely different direction. I have not had any exposure to that. And then once I started gardening, I really fell in love with it. And then I ended up working at a nonprofit and then starting my own business. And now, I’m here all these years later, and it was actually 22 years ago was the first time that I started gardening. And I met my husband that same year, so it’s easy to.

Heather Pearce Campbell  05:26

Go ahead. Things happen that year, right? I know. Yeah. Well, you develop quite a name for yourself, you’ve got a significant following. You have a lot of website, I mean, a lot of visitors right to your website, which I’m familiar with. You’ve written two books, we, you know, did some work on a trademark for you, because you actually had an infringement scenario of somebody taking and using the name of your business that you’ve worked on during your gardening space for years now.

Megan Cain  05:56

Yes, that’s correct. Yeah, we met because I was having a panic emergency after a colleague sent me a text with a cover of a book and said this book came up when I Googled create a vegetable gardener. And then of course, I had a freakout.

Heather Pearce Campbell  06:12

Yeah, so if you’re listening, right, and you’re like, oh, gardening, I need to learn more. And I think it’s interesting because I have always had an interest in gardening, but it’s like a little bit a trade off of time. Plus, you know, like, there are trade offs comparing like how well I’m spending my time and gardening has kind of happened in fits and spurts. I love planting and nurturing plants, I have not necessarily done a phenomenal job of like consistently growing a vegetable garden. That’s happened in fits and spurts. But I like live for those weekends where I get to be outside all day, even just pulling weeds and planting and watering and doing stuff like that and love it. So I can relate a lot to like the passion and the fulfillment that comes from spending time in that way. Have the skills that you have.

Megan Cain  07:05

22 years, it took to build up those skills, if not, I don’t think gardening has a lot of layers to it. And that’s one of the things I love about it because I always learn something new. And it never gets old, the magical process of planting a seed or a small plant. And then however, two months three months later, going out and harvesting something to bring back into my kitchen. It just never gets old. It just I always get a little thrill of joy. Every time I do it, like I can’t believe I’m harvesting my own food for dinner. This is so amazing.

Heather Pearce Campbell  07:37

Oh completely. One of my favorite people in the whole world. We called him Grandpa Ben. He was our neighbor and I live next to him between 2006 When I bought my home and basically a couple of years ago when he passed away at like 97,98 So, you know, 14 ish years that I was neighbors with him and I really adopted him early on. And we started calling him grandpa Ben and my kiddo Aiden loves grandpa Ben and I my daughter was a baby when he was still around. But he’s in Seattle right next to us like there’s no reason that you know, except for time, probably that I couldn’t learn to grow some of the things that he grew. But he would come over with like huge heads of garlic and tomatoes and peppers and figs and Apple like just harvest, Astor after harvest, where I’m like, it’s really hard for us to grow some of those things in our yard one yard over. And it was always I just was like, Man, I just so appreciate the skill that he brought to the way that he cared about that yard clear up to his last days. You know, he was amazing. Yeah, it was amazing. So I love that. And, you know, gardening holds a really special place. I just love that you had pursued it to the extent that you did that you’ve written books that you basically have this whole side business going on. And if you’re listening and you’re like, oh my gosh, I need to go you know, get the scoop on gardening and improve my skills. Go check out the creative vegetable gardener we will share your links including to your books for that. That’s an awesome resource. When once we got talking and I got to know you a little bit better I learned that you actually consult on in your primary business is on business systems and processes. Do you want to share a little bit about that? Like, where does that come from? When did you realize you were a systems person? Not everybody lives in and loves systems?

Megan Cain  09:47

I know I just said to my husband we’re on a walk the other night that I wish I had figured out a lot earlier of what exactly it was that I was good at because i It’s not until I would say the last few years. Here’s that I realized, oh, not everyone’s brain works like,

Heather Pearce Campbell  10:04

No, no, no, no. And I’ve shared this, like numerous times probably on this podcast. But definitely even with my clients, there’s a woman, her name is Jane Powers, who was actually on one of the early episodes of this podcast, she teaches people about sales. And her philosophy, she has a system kind of for it’s like, if you go through any training on basically kind of categorizing people so that you can communicate with them better, right? It’s really about speaking the language of the person that you’re speaking with, because we all think differently relate to different things and use different language based on what our priorities are, she’s got four categories, and I have found these to be actually so helpful. When it comes to understanding people and understanding where their strengths are. So experts, you’ve got either an expert based personality, right, and all of us know experts and can like probably put some labels around them and how they think and how long they take to make decisions. And I know even like, when I’m talking about my Catalyst Club program, if I’m talking to an expert like, oh, this, we’re gonna have this conversation, this person’s gonna go away for a few weeks and do all their research and look at other options in the marketplace. And then I’ll likely hear back from them in a week or two, right? And that’s what happens. That’s an expert based personality. Then there are also optimizers, optimizers are systems thinkers. They are like, oh, yeah, I see all the ways that you guys are doing that stuff. But here’s the better way, like you’re not just doing the thing that other people laid out, because somebody else laid it out, right? You’re all about inventing the new, better improved method, right? And so certain people are optimizers. Not everybody has has even elements of the optimizer in them, right. And then there’s catalysts, which are just like really quick movers, they make decisions, and they kind of think about it later. A lot of my clients are catalysts because they move quickly. And then it’s like, Oh, oops, this legal issue came up, right? So I understand and can relate to the catalyst. And then you’ve got the relators people who are really relationship based. And so many of us live in different categories. Some of us live almost exclusively in a single category. Many people may have some optimizer in them, some people are going to be primarily optimizer, and then a lot of people don’t have optimizer in their brains and in their personalities. So it’s been a fun way to actually relate to people and see kind of where people fit because these categories tend to hold true.

Megan Cain  12:37

Yeah, that’s really interesting. When you were going through the categories, I was thinking like, oh, that person falls in that category. That person…

Heather Pearce Campbell  12:44

Oh totally, yes. And you can, you know, relators, because they use softer language, it’s about how people feel, if you’re talking to them about your services, it’s like, look, I’m going to walk you through it, I’m going to help, you know, help you each step of the way. You’re really talking about support and the feeling of support. Whereas an expert, you are talking about research and data and outcomes, right optimizer you’re talking about, here’s my step by step system here, you know, it’s very much like showing them the insides of what they’re getting, because that’s what they want to know about. You know, whereas catalysts, all you’re talking about with a catalyst is the outcome. They don’t want none of the other stuff.

Megan Cain  13:26

That was really funny.

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:27

They’re just like, get to it already. Yeah.

Megan Cain  13:29

Yeah, I can see that in myself, too, as an optimizer, because I often ask you a lot of questions. And you’re like, Oh, that’s a good question.

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:37

I’ve never thought about it.

Megan Cain  13:39

I want to know all about like what you do for a living, and especially when I meet with other business owners, so like, oh, so where do your customers come from? And this and then they’re like, Wow, you asked a question. Like, I’m trying to hurt your business. It’s just at a party. It’s not even in a work capacity. It’s just like, Oh, I just want to learn about right.

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:59

That’s your engineering systems processes optimizer brain.

Megan Cain  14:04

Yeah. And it wasn’t really what I felt from a lot of my earlier job experiences was that I, I kept thinking, I like to create things. I like to create things from scratch. This is the thread that’s going through everything, but what does that mean? What does that translate to? How do I turn that into a career? You know, I would just kind of jump to different jobs because I would be invited to create something and then I would create it and then I would realize, okay, well I created it, and now I’m gonna have they’re gonna have other people come in and run this thing that I created. And now I get to go move on and create the new thing.

Heather Pearce Campbell  14:45

So well, I love it. I love that you see it as a form of creativity, right? Because it is you love the process of creation and then it’s about like what is being created. And you know from a system state endpoint how that support your clients makes their businesses more profitable, right? More efficient, probably more effective. All the things.

Megan Cain  15:09

Yeah. Because what I started to realize working with my clients I had was working with a past client during a session and I said, Okay, well, we were setting goals and thinking about some things that he wanted to do. And I said, okay, so it sounds like this is a goal. And he said, Yeah, and I have no idea how we’re going to do that. And I thought, Oh, that’s so interesting. Because immediately I was like, Okay, I already am breaking it down in my head, like, we can do this. And that’s where I was like, wow, thinking, figuring out how to do it is the easy part for me. But I thought, oh, it’s interesting that he looks at that goal and says, I have no idea how to accomplish that. And I was like, oh, that’s why we’re a good team, then. Because you can come up with the goals and the vision, and then I can help you figure out how to make them happen, really. And so it has been a good learning experience for me to realize, oh, yeah, what I bring to the table is unique. And what my clients bring to the table is unique. And it’s very complimentary, which is really nice, because there’s a nice synergy there.

Heather Pearce Campbell  16:10

Totally. And usually people that need a system support, they don’t want to be the one to have to jump in and figure it out and put that together, right. So we need, quote unquote, experts in our lives that can step in, and help us see what it is that we actually need, and sometimes build it for us or along with us. And at what point did you realize like, oh, this, what I’m doing is systems and processes.

Megan Cain  16:37

Until I started this current business, which even when I started it, I just was like, Well, I’ll start it as a project management business, because I felt like, Oh, I’m really good at project management. And then I realized, Oh, I’m actually it’s bigger than project management, because I also have a very strategic mind. And so with a lot of my clients, I’m a strategic thought partner. And we’re thinking about systems and the business as a whole. So it really became more than about than project management really. I work with a lot of people who are CEOs, founders of small businesses, executive directors of It’s a nonprofit. And one of my clients said, after she hired me, she said, you like doing all the things that I hate doing, that I dread doing. And so I would say, one of my experiences is that there are a lot of CEOs and visionaries that are doing things that they shouldn’t really be doing, if you hate doing it. That is not in your zone of genius. And so you should not be doing it. And most likely, it’s probably some of the detail oriented things, right? So a lot of visionaries they want to be you know, my clients want to be coaching, they want to be teaching, they want to be networking, they want to be writing, they want to be really developing their thought leadership, not coding receipts, like what the heck in QuickBooks?

Heather Pearce Campbell  18:00

Yeah, I mean, before we went live, we were talking about it, it’s like, you know, they’re stuck in the weeds. They’re stuck working in their business, not on their business. And so they’re trying to shift more to that role of being a true visionary being a true CEO.

Megan Cain  18:16

Right, right. Because as a CEO, the missionary you should be doing only what you can do, because that’s where you bring the most value. And you other people should also be doing only what they can do, right? The operations person should be doing operations. And the assistant should be doing assistant type admin things. But I find that a lot of visionaries are super smart. There’s a lot of things they can do. I just talked to a client the other day, and she said, Well, I can do all the financial stuff. I thought, yeah, but you shouldn’t be doing all that stuff. Because you can just hire a bookkeeper. And that’s their zone of genius. And you her real Zona genius is meeting with clients during the sales process, coming up with programs figuring out how she can serve their clients that is so valuable. And she can’t I mean, eventually, yeah, maybe you can hire someone else to do that with you or for you. But when you’re a really small business, that is where your time is best spent.

Heather Pearce Campbell  19:16

All right, let’s pause for a moment and hear from today’s sponsor. Are you an entrepreneur who is on track to make a million or more in revenue this year in your business? If so, your business is likely facing a host of legal issues that are right for support. And if you are like so many of my clients at this level, you are likely tired of taking unnecessary risks and a DIY approach to legal support in your business. You’re ready to tackle the mess of legal documents, six legal gaps that you have. You want to take care of your IP, your clients, your business, and avoid unnecessary conflict and risk in the process. If this is you, and beyond just being an entrepreneur, you are a catalyst and are committed to your mission and your impact in the world. I invite you to get in touch. You could be a fit for my catalyst club, a small business legal support program that I designed for my high level clients. Just like you, you can find out more at legalwebsitewarrior.com. Just click on the Work with Me tab to learn more about the catalyst club and other ways that I support my clients, a fabulous group of world changing entrepreneurs, I might add, you’ve done the initial legwork in your business. And now you want to soar. And you know that you can only go as high and as far as your legal foundation lets you go. So get in touch today, hop over to legalwebsitewarrior.com, click on the Work with Me tab. And if you have any questions, get in touch through the Contact link on my site, I look forward to connecting it would be a joy to support you on your path.

Heather Pearce Campbell  20:59

Well, and I heard you say because part of what I’m so curious about is like, how and why people get stuck in the weeds? Like why is it that we can’t see our own way out? Right. And I heard you say one client was like, I don’t know how to get from here to there. Right? Yeah. What have you noticed in the clients that you’ve worked with? And the different businesses that you’ve worked with? What are the primary things keeping people stuck in the weeds?

Megan Cain  21:25

Yeah, sometimes I think it’s not enough support. So if it’s just you, of course, you’re doing everything yourself, because there is no one else to do anything, right?

Heather Pearce Campbell  21:35

Which is where a lot of consultants or coaches or, you know, the solo entrepreneur type businesses start?

Megan Cain  21:41

Yep, yep. So for the next step for a lot of people is to hire even just a part time person, especially for operations, I think there are people that sometimes think, oh, I need a full time operations person, no, you don’t need a full time operations person, you can hire a part time operations person, a part time virtual assistant, or administrative assistant, I’m working with one of my clients. Now, she has a bigger team, but we realized you need an assistant. There’s no one that’s really assisting you everybody’s taking care of their parts of the business. And I’m I really, I’m playing lots of different roles, including trying to keep her on, just like, oh, did you get back to this person? And have you scheduled this meeting, and then we decided that’s, that shouldn’t be my job, that should be an assistant. And so it really depends on where you are in your business. So sometimes I work with people and their first step is to get an administrative assistant or VA, or maybe somebody needs an OPM someone at a more management level. So one thing I help people think through is that really, there’s four levels to business, which is visionary, strategic management implementation. And so it’s like the visionary sits at the vision. But then you have the strategy management and implementation and what levels do you need help in, right, you can’t be sitting in all four levels as the visionary you should really just be sitting in the vision. And so then you may decide, you need one of those other levels, I worked with a client where we decided that a virtual assistant was not a good first fire for her because she didn’t really want to manage them. And so we decided, okay, you need someone at the management level, more like an OPM that can get in there and figure out what needs to be done, and then hire the VA and manage the VA. And still, they’re not full time employees. They’re just fractional contractors that are just working seven hours or five hours just to start to pick away at some of those things. So I would say, yeah, so team is a big part of it, you can’t do everything yourself. And then I think as your as your business is maturing, I think your team matures as well. So a lot of people start with an implementer. But then eventually you a lot of people need to add someone who can help with management and then potentially strategy. So sometimes people hire out strategy, like you just hire a consultant for something very particular. But or one of my services I, I am a fractional DOL, so a fractional director of operations for some people. So I sit in that strategy position, not just strategy, I also do management. And so I serve that role to a lot of my clients, but then they also have a coach, like maybe a business coach or somebody else that also helps with strategy. So I think, yeah, as your business matures, you kind of fill out those layers with other people that it’s not just you, you can’t be doing four layers of business.

Heather Pearce Campbell  24:41

Well, and the thing that I love that you’ve illustrated is there’s also no one way to do this, “the right way”. Right. And it reminds me of another conversation I had on the podcast with a guest who was talking about the role of CEOs and she said, you know, somebody once said to me, CEO have to be in charge of, you know, the financial side of the business. And she was like, I completely disagree. CEO is in charge of leadership of the business. And a part of that is financial. But there’s no one right way to be a CEO. And I just thought, you know, it’s so important, especially in the context of small business that people hear that, because I think it allows them a lot more freedom to determine where they thrive and how they thrive. And to build in support, even if it’s, you know, getting strategy around how to do that the right way, but not to feel like oh, I therefore can’t put on the CEO hat because I don’t have the skills or I’m not doing it the way that it seems like all CEOs need to do it. Right. There is no right way. There is no one path.

Megan Cain  25:51

No, I totally agree. There is no cookie cutter, I can’t talk to someone on the phone and say, Okay, this is what I think you should do. It’s like, no, I need to know about your business and who you are as a person and what you want your life to look like. And you know, it’s not that easy that it can’t just say you should hire a VA, like, well, I don’t know you.

Heather Pearce Campbell  26:12

Oh totally. I have a client who is one of my top clients who is phenomenal at business, I mean, pulls down millions of dollars a year in revenue. And, you know, he will tell you to your face, I’m terrible at managing people, I don’t do that job in my business. This is what my right hand guy is for, you know. And he builds out all of our team. And he runs all of the growth programs. And I just loved first of all, how open and clear he was about being able to share that. But it also reminded me like you just have to know yourself and where you shine and where you want to be spending time and how you be want to be leading. And then put the right people in the right seats for the rest of it. Whether you’re working with somebody like yourself on a fractional basis, whether you’ve got, you know, kind of more of a permanent fixture, whether it’s part time or full time that you can build into your business to help you with some of that, like whatever it looks like. I think it really pays to understand yourself and get support if you don’t and understanding where and how you should be spending your time. 

Megan Cain  27:22

Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I think the first step, if there are people listening, that are say, oh, that’s me, I need to figure out you know, a little bit more about what I want to be doing and not be doing is you can just start to keep track, I assign this to one of my clients because her, we did hire an assistant for her that she’s going to start at seven hours a week. And I said, before our first meeting, I want you to really think about what would you be so happy to hand over to this person that would just have it would be a big lift off your shoulders, that’s where we should start the things that you dread doing the things that you don’t get to because you don’t like doing them the things that are hanging over your head, it just feel don’t feel good. And so that’s would be a first step. If you can dream and you had somebody come into your business, what are the things that you would start to hand off? Because that will also give you a clue of okay, what kind of person am I looking for? Is it someone that these are mostly admin tasks? And they’re going to do admin? Is it somebody that I really want someone to hire a team for me and manage a team for me? Like you said, your colleague said, so there is no right answer. It’s really about you and what kind of business you want to have. And you don’t even I mean, there’s nothing wrong with doing everything by yourself, either. Some people want to stay small and just want to have a one person business. So I feel like we’re really talking to the people that are, maybe it’s only them or them and a small team and you don’t like it and you’re not happy with it. Because you’re overwhelmed.

Heather Pearce Campbell  28:52

Yes, you want to scale, you’ve got a gap between where you are and what you actually want your business or your team or your revenue levels to look like right can be any one of those things, and you just know that you need support. And I know you’ve got a system, I think you call it the four S’s. Do you want to walk us through kind of a quick, like just very top level introduction of what those are and how you approach those?

Megan Cain  29:17

Yeah, so a lot of times I talked about the four S’s that are really the keys to creating a scalable and sustainable business. And they…

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:29

I love the emphasis on sustainable Yes, there are a number of people and clients that I’ve worked with that thought they wanted the four five $6 million a year business and scaled to four or five or six and then said you don’t want what it took to get there. And what I realized is I want the $3 million a year business at this level with this number of team dot felt sustainable, that’s what you need to mean and they ended up reversing out some of the things they’ve done to actually grow.

Megan Cain  30:04

Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Because if you follow social media, a lot of it’s about like scaling, and now it’s all about having a million dollar business or a multi million dollar business. But I think for you, you need to figure out what’s enough for you what feels good for you. And sustainable. Like you said, for me, I don’t want to work on Fridays, I haven’t worked on Fridays for a very long time.

Heather Pearce Campbell  30:28

You want to go pursue those 52 trails? 

Megan Cain  30:33

Yes, Friday is my hiking day, my husband and I usually go for a hike. I just, I couldn’t scroll my mouse, but I don’t want to work on the weekends, I don’t want to work in the evenings, I need to have boundaries for my own mental and emotional health. And so for me, I’ve decided, okay, this is what’s enough, I don’t need to have a million dollar business, if you want to, and that’s part of your dream, I think that’s great. And you don’t have to feel pressure, that you have to have a certain size business, because I think in, in the social media kind of entrepreneurial world, there is some pressure of OH, you should always be striving, you should have a big team, and you should have big launch, you should have all these products, and it’s your business, you should build, build what you want and what supports. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a lifestyle business, like some people, you know, poopoo that was like, Well, my life is the most important part of this whole like way.

Heather Pearce Campbell  31:32

And some and a lifestyle business. Like for me what that means, because I work I mean, the majority of my clients are gonna be in the quote unquote, lifestyle, business space, small business space, for sure. But they what they want, they’re not looking to because a lot of times you say the word scale, and people think like, Oh, you have to go for outside funding, you have to go like, it looks like a very different scale means different things to different people, right is the end result. And you have to decide because for some people, scale means build something that they turn and burn in five years and make a lot of money on and they’re out for somebody else. And these are most of my clients, they want to build something sustainable, they want to build something that impacts clients lives for a very long time, that allows them to do really quality work for as long as they want to do it. Right. They want a small business that thrives and allows them to their to deliver their own unique professional, or however you want to call it, you know, qualified the work that they do their expertise in the world in the way that they want to do it. And for some people, that’s going to mean building a small team, they want to build something that sustains others as well, from an employment perspective from, you know, maybe they’re really dedicated to hiring moms or hiring people in the trans space or whatever, right. And I’ve worked with all of these folks, their mission is bigger than just them, which is most of my clients, but their businesses all look different, right? And how that mission gets expressed in the world looks different. So it’s really about getting clear on that.

Megan Cain  33:23

Yeah, I think that’s a good reminder that scalable, it can mean lots of different things, scaling, your impact scaling your team. I have one client that’s a nonprofit startup, and they just want it they want to scale to serve more people. I have another client who has an executive coaching business, and she wants to scale by just having some other coaches on her team. She doesn’t want a team of 50 people, but she does want more than just her. And so those are smaller scales, smaller. I mean, it’s all Yeah, it’s all relative. So, so yeah, so and then I would say another essay, always kind of threads through everything is really simplicity. I personally, am a minimalist in a lot of things in my life, gardening and systems and business. And so I also like to keep things simple, because I think there is a danger in systems and processes that they get really big and unwieldy and trying to cover everything. And so I do think systems are important in businesses, but I also think it’s good to keep things simple, simple systems.

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:32

I love that and really quick because I know I kind of butted in there with with my thought remind us of the four S’s

Megan Cain  34:39

Yeah, so it’s strategy, structure, systems and support. So and I feel like those are, are kind of in order, right? This strategy is the top level where we’re thinking about what are your goals? What’s your vision, kind of what we’re talking about. Now? What do you want your life to look like? What do you want your business to look like? Really getting clear on that bigger picture. And then the structure is, I had one, somebody, one of my clients came to me, when we first start working together and said, I know that we’re about to get an influx of business, I can feel it that we’re going to take off and we are not prepared for that the structure, our business is not solid, it’s not strong, and we’re going to be in trouble. And we have this influx of business. So some of that is the structure of your business, it can also be the structure of your time.

Heather Pearce Campbell  35:37

The way you deliver your services, totally the way your services are structured.

Megan Cain  35:43

Yeah, right. So lots of so kind of like the foundation and the walls and things. And then the systems are really a little bit more specific. So what I found is, people who have smaller teams, a lot of things live in people’s heads. And so often I go in and say, Okay, we have to start getting this out of people’s heads, because if somebody leaves, everything goes with them. Or in the case of some of my clients, everything’s in their head, and then they can’t go on vacation, and they can’t delegate, and they can’t trust people to do anything, because nobody knows how to do it. So we work on getting things out of people’s head and into systems and processes that other people can help take on some of that load.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:32

Do you find that even for people that think like, why don’t really have a system that they actually do?

Megan Cain  36:38

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Everything, anything that you do more than once, is a repeatable system. And we all do those things in our businesses. How are you? So for example, some of the systems that I’ve helped people set up is airing like a big hiring, how do you come up with a job, like having a job description and a job announcement and where you post it, and, and the application process? So kind of the hiring interview process? And then when you hire somebody, what’s the onboarding process? When you have a really smooth onboarding process, you really set the person up for success? Things are clear people feel welcomed, they know what to expect. We’ve done team communication system, like how are we communicating about things? Let’s get more clear. A bigger system is to set up a project management system. I set up a client into Asana we need we brought everyone into Asana because it was very unclear, like what tasks are getting done, when are due dates, how are nobody knows what’s happening. And then client journey, like a customer journey is a very important system to have. So what steps do you want to take people through from the beginning all the way until the end? How do you offer a really good customer experience that where they feel like you’re they’re cared for they’re getting quality service, you know, it’s, it doesn’t matter what you’re offering, you need to have a customer journey process, if it’s a class, or a mastermind, or I have there all kinds of things that my clients offer. But I often say the the easiest thing to do is to, to take care of your current customers, so they stay as your customers so that you know, don’t always have to be going out and trying to find new customers. So let’s really, Let’s care for the people that are in our orbit as clients in the best way that we can and make sure that we’re serving them. And so a lot of that is making sure these steps happen at certain times. And you’re checking in with people. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  38:45

I love that. And I actually really love that you think about the client journey as its own system, right? I think a lot of people think like, oh, client journey lives over here, like as part of delivery or whatever. But you can really bring a systems approach to almost anything like you said that you do. That’s a repeatable function in your business.

Megan Cain  39:07

Yeah, yeah. And you can have any kind of goal for that system. So one of my clients that were if they’re really into creating communities of care, and so we came up with kind of the overall vision for the community for the customer journey, and it was about like, welcoming them, having them feel part of this community of care having strong boundaries, like it was very loving in a way. And so it’s like, okay, when we’re building out the system, we need to keep those things in mind. are we accomplishing these goals? So I think sometimes people think like, oh, systems are so dry, and they’re so cold. Right? When I came into one client’s business was one of the people that already worked there said, Oh, you’re going to bring in this person. They’re going to make all these systems and they’re not going to, like just going to be bad.

Heather Pearce Campbell  39:58

Like somehow you’re removing The personal element right I think sometimes people think systems and they think technology robots automation. And it’s the I love one of the things that you have in your notes because I, you know, I was looking over that and and getting prepped for this systems, our hair and like when you have the right systems, your clients feel care feel cared for. It’s not about removing, like personal touch or the personal element or the way that you do certain things, right?

Megan Cain  40:31

No, not at all. And actually, I would say when things are chaotic, and they’re disorganized, it doesn’t feel like care for your team for your clients. Things are really hectic. So one of my colleagues who works for one of the my clients that I work with, she said, she has a day job, a different job, that she also works full time. And she said, Oh, when I started this job, and there are no systems, and it hurts when there are no systems, you feel the pain. And she said, But when systems are working well, it’s invisible, because they’re kind of taking care of you. And I thought, Oh, that is that’s amazing. And of course, I took notes of what you said, because I thought I love that. That it really is like the systems can hold everybody and help you do your job better, and help you take care of your clients better. And just really helping people on your team. Be clear, be confident, feel like they’re doing a good job feeling like they’re doing what’s needed to be done to help support you and your business. So I do think that there’s a lot of care in systems and there can be a lot of heart if you have a heart based business, which most entrepreneurs do, your systems can have heart, you can infuse it into there. It doesn’t have to be dry and boring.

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:57

Oh, absolutely. whenever anything happens in my work or business where I feel frustrated about the client experience, right? And sometimes in working with my admin, it’s about like figuring out like, Okay, what didn’t work, maybe it was a piece of technology, maybe it was a missed email, maybe, you know, like, troubleshooting, like where the breakdown happened. But then almost always, my next question is how do we fix the system? Like it’s not necessarily a people problem, right? Even if there was some, like people failure, how do we fix the system so that this error does not repeat? Yeah. And I think like that approach has really served me because it also removes the pressure from the person and they’re like, Oh, well, let’s problem solve the system.

Megan Cain  42:46

Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I love that, that we say the same thing. Like, oh, we’ve exposed the gap in the system. Like, it’s just something that revealed itself that we now we can rectify, and next time it will happen. Yes. So I think that is great. Yeah, I love that.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:03

I’ve got one question about support. And I think you mentioned maybe a tidbit on it earlier, because I know that in, you know, determining, like, like somebody comes to you, they’re like, Look, these are the goals of my business. I want to scale scaling looks like this, you know, here’s the issues that I’m having, how do you figure out where and how they should be spending their time so that they’re getting the right support? What does that look like?

Megan Cain  43:28

Like we said before, there’s no right answer. I do think there’s a lot of commonalities between the visionaries that I work with, which is they want to be doing their zone of genius, whether it’s, you know, often working with clients coaching, teaching, thought leadership.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:42

Right? Being the mouthpiece, yes, being the outwardly visible part of the business. 

Megan Cain  43:48

So generally, those are the things that I find that visionaries want to be doing. And then ideally, everything else is being taken care of by your team. And again, it doesn’t have to be a big team. It doesn’t have to be full time employees, that could be part of your vision. But it could just be starting small. And so that’s usually what I have people do if you just start small, if you already have a VA and you’re thinking, well, maybe I need to add on one of those layers like the management, well, maybe then you hire like an OPM or you hire a consultant to come in and just start to experiment with maybe getting a different level of support. And think about what what kind of support Am I looking for? Am I looking for a strategic thought partner? Am I looking for a consultant in a very specific area of my business? Maybe I want support around sales or I want support around marketing or I want support or I want a business coach? Or do I want like you had mentioned before I want I want support in maybe hiring or managing my team. I do that for a lot of clients. Like I like managing people and so I like managing what’s happening in the business but also Oh, helping manage the team. And so it really one of the services that I offer people because a lot of people come to me and they don’t know what they don’t know exactly what they need, they think they need something and it feels unclear. And maybe I need to hire somebody, or maybe I need to restructure my business. And so I have a strategic mapping intensive, where I go through and really dive into your business with you and just ask you lots and lots of questions. And it’s actually a pretty magical process. Because at the end of the three sessions, we’re usually pretty clear about what your next step is, but we don’t know what it is going forward. We might have Inklings, and we have questions that we’re sitting with. But it’s not until we really dive into the business and pull things out. Then we say, oh, okay, I think it’s clear what the next step is. And so, yeah, I would  say, for people to start to think about what kind of support again, when I said, What kind of things would you like, would you love to take off your to do list that could be part of it that helps you figure out what kind of support it’s like, Oh, I really want to take off, figuring out how to have a better sales process is like, okay, maybe I hire a sales consultant, that really helps me figure out that part of my business.

Heather Pearce Campbell  46:12

Now, I love that. And I think, you know, as I hear you describe that and your intensive, your strategic mapping intensive. I think probably what keeps some people stuck is not knowing how to approach it, right? How to describe exactly what they need, or because there’s so many ways that you can build in support and do different things. It’s like, especially for small businesses, being really careful with their resources about how to do that in a way that provides the most impact.

Megan Cain  46:41

Yeah, yeah. And so sometimes it’s hard to see all of us I when I’m in my business, sometimes it’s hard to see it totally in the fishbowl. So sometimes it’s just nice to reach out and have somebody else support you, whatever that support looks like. It can look like very different things for different people. But yeah, it’s I think that’s the hard part sometimes about being an entrepreneur is that we do a lot of things on our own. And so what I love being serving my clients is that I get to be in their businesses with them, which for me, is really fun. And hopefully fun, you know, usually fun for them as well, just so that they’re not doing it alone anymore.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:21

No, I love that.

Megan Cain  47:23

Don’t feel like you have to do it alone, I guess is the party parting message?

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:27

Oh, I love well, and I’m glad you answered that, because I was gonna ask what is it that you love, and I love that like that feeling of kind of walking that path with your clients? For folks that are listening, they’re like, oh, my gosh, I know, it’s time to tackle it. Like so many entrepreneurs and small business owners have this on their list, like get support. Right, but they’re, they’ve hesitated starting and they’re thinking, maybe I need to reach out to Megan, where do you like for people to connect with you online?

Megan Cain  47:56

Yeah, my website is megancain.com. So M, E, G, A N. And my last name is C, A, I, N.com. So I, you know, I had big plans. When I started my business, I’m gonna be on social media. And I’m gonna have a blog I haven’t, you know, this is we talked about this before. And so you can let yourself off the hook if you’re listening and you don’t have those things either because, you know, life happens. And so if you want to reach out just send me an email, go to my website. There’s I love to have coffee chats with people I love to network and get to know people so even if you just want to connect and chat business, I love all things business and all things operation so far. Yeah, it’s like friends will say I’m sorry, I don’t mean to ask you gardening question. I hope you don’t mind. And I always say I could talk about gardening all day. Ask me any question you want. And it’s the same with entrepreneurial questions and business questions like I love talking.

Heather Pearce Campbell  48:56

I love it. Oh, that’s super, super generous. So if you’re listening, we are going to share links over to Megan’s website, we’ll share a link to your to your page where people can schedule a coffee chat with you. I highly invite you to go do that if you know now is the time to get some support in place for you know a plan that will actually help you scale. Connect with Megan and I know Megan, you said parting thoughts is don’t do it alone. Anything else that you would like to leave people with today?

Megan Cain  49:28

Just circling back to the idea that as a visionary, you should be doing only things that you can do and that you love to do the things the reasons why you got into this business. I think sometimes they can get a little bit lost in the day to day and so trying to reconnect to your passion and the reasons that you got into the business and, and letting that lead you to really figure out maybe how to get out of that day to day so that you can tap back into that that passion and that energy and that feels so in the weeds, right?

Heather Pearce Campbell  50:07

Love that feeling reenergized. Yeah, totally awesome. Megan, I so appreciate you. I’m so happy that we crossed paths and got to have a conversation on systems and scaling and processes is really a crucial part of building an effective and sustainable small business. So I really look forward to people connecting with you. Again, we will share Megan’s links in the show notes go visit us at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast, find Megan’s episode. Megan, a huge thank you for joining me today.

Megan Cain  50:41

Thanks for having me, Heather.

GGGB Outro  50:43

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and 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 www.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 podcasts, 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.