Today's co-host is Alex McClafferty. Alex is the co-founder of WP Curve and a CEO coach. Since selling WP Curve to GoDaddy a few years ago, he's spent a lot of time traveling and spending time with friends and family. But like most entrepreneurs, he wasn't about to sit still for very long. He started coaching CEOs, and runs a Consultant to CEO program.
Alex co-founded WP Curve, a WordPress support company, in 2013 and learned a lot about pricing right out of the gate. He had initially priced their service at $49/mo, and even at such a low price point, the company was profitable.
GoDaddy acquired WP Curve in 2016, and it couldn't have been better timing for Alex. Through the lessons he learned with WP Curve, Alex was able to start coaching other CEOs on how to build a productized service much faster than he was able to.
Despite his success, Alex went through a dark period where he thought about ending his life. His defining moment came at a low point when he was sitting on a cliff and making a list of pros and cons - basically a should I stay or should I go scenario. At that moment, he realized that if he left he would leave an emotional mess behind him - so he started getting help and working through all of the things that were making him feel that way in the first place. He says that experience has made him an even better coach because it allows him to see through people, ask the right questions, and get to the heart of the issues at hand.
Today, Alex is traveling, a lot. He's also spending time getting back to the things he used to enjoy doing before going down the business rabbit hole. He spends a lot of time at the beach and focuses on his health and wellness.
If you've ever dreamed of selling your startup and want some advice on how to get there, this episode is for you. I'm excited to share this conversation with you because Alex is one of the most grounded and genuine guys I know.
"The challenge that people run up against is they get into something and they don't actually know what they want. Or they get to where they think they want to be and realize that's not what they want."
In this episode Alex talks about:
- Some background into WP Curve and some of the difficulties he ran into scaling the operation.
- The pricing forks in the road that many people run into.
- How his personal struggles put him on the path to where he is today.
- Why growth isn't always what you're looking for.
- Entrepreneurs often undercharge for their product or service.
- Products are often sold to the wrong market.
- Growth for growth sake shouldn't always be the goal. You should be looking to build the team and resources that allow you to far exceed what you're doing today, even if you're making money year-over-year.
- Many people don't know what they want when they start out, or think they know, only to change their mind. Ask yourself what you want your day-to-day life to look like instead of annual numbers, and work from there.
Important Mentions in this Episode
Alex McClafferty 0:00
You’re literally leaving money on the table. But you have to have that much conviction that saying no to that, which is what you used to have, will lead to a yes to the thing that you actually want. And it creates a ton of pressure, it creates a ton of stress, it creates a ton of financial kind of impact. And again, it’s not to say that either business model is better or worse or whatever else. But if you so choose that you want that flexibility and everything, then you have to, like say no to what used to be. And I tell you, like there’s a lot of like, a lot of funny noises that people make when I’m on calls with them. And I’m like, I’m like, okay, so you’ve got that opportunity. Like how do you feel about saying no to it, and I’ll be like, ah,
Jason Resnick 0:50
welcome to Episode 12. The final episode in season six of living the feast. I’m Jason aka Resnick helping you
grow your business by having a conversation with someone who’s been there had success and built the business designed around the life they want to live. That’s live in the feast. If this is your first time listening, hit that subscribe button so that you get notified every time a new episode drops live in the feast is in your podcast app of choice. If it’s not tell me and I’ll yell at them. If you’ve heard the show before, why not leave us a rating and review on iTunes or drop us a comment and breaker or cast box. Today’s co host is Alex McCafferty. Alex is the co founder of WP curve. And since having that business be acquired he’s gone on to surf and travel and spend more time with friends and family. But like most entrepreneurs, he can’t sit still for too long. Alex and I have chatted on and off through Twitter over the years and knowing how operation minded he is. And his ability to ask a question amazing and great questions. I wanted to bring them onto the show and ask him some questions on your behalf. I’m excited to share in this conversation with you because Alex is one of the most grounded and genuine guys, I know. If you’ve ever talked with anyone who’s known him or worked with him, you’ll hear how highly people think of him. In this episode, we dive into the three forks in the road that most service based businesses face when it comes to pricing, asking yourself questions about your business and your target market to see what your business may look like with a different perspective and the growth mindset. And for someone who has founded a company that was acquired by godaddy, you might be a bit surprised to hear what he has to say. really super excited for you to dive in and hear this conversation. So without further ado, here’s Alex and myself.
Hey, Feasters, welcome to another episode of live in the feast. I am really super excited here to have Alex with us. Welcome Alex.
Alex McClafferty 3:15
What’s up, Jason? Nice to be here, man. Thanks for accommodating my crazy travel schedule.
Jason Resnick 3:19
Yeah, no worries. And as we were talking a little bit I you know, I get jet lag. So it’s a real thing. So it’s like, you gotta either like stay awake or asleep extra. And it just it is what it is. Right?
Alex McClafferty 3:31
Yeah, travel, travel is glamorous, until you get the catch up of being four weeks in a different time zone and then having to get back on. So office hours. So yeah, deeply appreciate it. Thank you, man.
Jason Resnick 3:41
And anytime, anytime, of course. And that’s why, you know, I want you 110% right, rather than 50%. So, because this this topic, I mean, obviously we’re talking about pricing. And, and a lot of the season, we talked about different levels of pricing, you know, hourly rate and weekly rates and product, eyes services, and all these other sorts of strategies that you could do. But I wanted to really bring you on to talk a little bit about maybe that next level that, hey, okay, now we’ve got our pricing locked in, how do we then look at pricing if we want to start to hire and become a CEO, rather than just the person doing work or consultant or something of that nature? So I’m really super excited for this. So before we start, right, you were the founder of WP curve, right? And I remember us talking a while back and you were saying, you know, like you had some bumps in the road initially. Right? And you wanted to scale it? And I thought that was super fascinating. Can you just share a little bit about what that was? Like?
Alex McClafferty 4:44
Yeah, so yeah, I was the co founder WP curve. We started in 2013. And then were acquired by godaddy in 2016. So the business was like three and a half years old. And when we sold it, I think we had a team of about 30 something people and these are folks in the Philippines out America, Africa, Eastern Europe all over the place. And so bigger my team doing WordPress support on a monthly retainer basis, and the bumps in the road. Like any business, you know, there’s ups and downs for us, was a matter of, I think, at some level, like figuring out like what we wanted to be when we grow up, we were fortunate enough to have GoDaddy come and knock on our door. And we were trying to answer that question. And so as far as the business scaling and the challenges that we had, when, if you look at the early version of what WP curve was, I think we started at a price point of like 49 bucks a month. So it was almost like it was this pricing, that was almost too good to be true. So people almost didn’t believe that they could get like unlimited WordPress support for that price point. Like that was an objection that we come and they go up. And by the time we finished Oh, by the time we were acquired, we had a plan that was like 200 bucks a month, which is still like dead shade compared to what was available out in the market, that because of the model. And because of how we delivered this service, were actually able to make that profitable, we made all of those plans profitable. So as we talk today, I think the things that we can dig into a little bit in and around, like, how do you structure your service. So you can get some Lyft through the margin that you make on your operation. Because the business that we ran, we had a people heavy business with like a kind of like a high volume, low touch kind of offering. And I also was living in San Francisco at the time. So I needed to make, you know, 120 grand a year just to kind of keep the lights on and pay rent. And that forced some different decisions around pricing. And also, you know, simple things like charging quarterly and six monthly and annual plans up front just to those cash flow to keep the marketing wheel spinning. But yeah, lots of lessons learned. And also lots of lessons learned from the people that I’ve since helped, you know, grow their own products or services way faster and way better than I ever did for my own.
Jason Resnick 6:54
Right. Yeah. So it’s funny there was there was a time at which when I was building out my product, eyes service, and it was everything inside was bespoke. But it was basically how I delivered and how I onboard people. And what I was giving them as far as a solution goes was all product eyes. People were saying how are you charging 2000 a month when there’s WP curve out there charging sub $100 pricing? And because I was in the WordPress market, and I was doing that over and over and over again, just like how
Unknown Speaker 7:23
Jason Resnick 7:25
Well, you know, what was funny was I was just like, Well, I’m not WP curve. And I’m not giving that that’s a different product, right? And so it was a way in which I could, for one, it was how you guys were positioned in the market as this is what this is right? And so for me, it was able to say, Okay, well, that’s them. And this is what I do. And I, you know, I was more on the business strategy side of things, and rather than a lot of the implementation stuff, too, but as you transitioned out of that, and now what you’re doing now, with your own company, you mentioned a little bit about how to one you mentioned in that you’re basically scaling much better, you’re helping other people scale much better. Can you dive a little into that maybe because my curiosity goes as well, obviously, there was lessons learned, right, and not only just say, Hey, this is what you need to avoid, and this is the path that you need to go down. What’s one of those paths that you find most happening, right, those forks in the road that you find most people are encountering,
Alex McClafferty 8:26
I’ve got so many of those folks in their head, and I’ll like hit you with a few. So the first one is that entrepreneurs, typically in my experience under charge, and I don’t know whether this is a psychological thing, or a weird thing, or whatever else. But I’ve never really spoken to someone who’s put an offer out into a market where I’ve gone Oh, that’s expensive, I’ve just never seen it. So that’s a pattern that I say a lot. The secondary patent is that we tend to sell people like a level down from where we could be selling. So for example, we’re offering a level of service, we’re actually positioning a down market from via, and that might mean that you know, you’re selling to someone that you more comfortable selling into, but may not have the purchasing power to do to be able to buy what you’re offering. So you’ve got a level of quality, you’re delivering something amazing, but then you’re pointing it down one level, another thing that I see is people like completely miss, kind of missed the market. So there’s the pointing down one level thing, but then there’s also like, I have this service or this solution, I am offering this level of value, I’m in this market, which might be you know, SMB or mid market. And I can take the same exact same service and go enterprise and make, you know, add a zero or add a couple of zeros to the price point. And I’ve actually seen this, like I’ve seen this in some of the coaching that have been doing, which is people have got this like, really great delivery mechanism, or whatever it is like the adding a ton of value. And they just point the service at the wrong customer. That’s a pretty funny conversation to have. Because I’ll be like, okay, let’s look at this, let’s talk about it. And your doing this, the outcome is this generates this much, you know, benefit to the business, or revenue or sales or whatever else it is, what if you went and spoke to this type of customer, and they could afford to, you know, pay this much. Because, again, like as an entrepreneur, you like, look at what’s in front of you. And you’re like, oh, here’s the opportunity, and I’m going to get really good at this opportunity. I’ll be like, that’s great. But let’s tilt it a little bit and go, like an example of this is I give you a case study. So there’s a guy, john Taka, and he runs a product or service for live chat, okay. And I’ll actually john in 2015. And he was like my first coaching client, but I never actually charged him. So I got a really good deal. And I was really good pricing myself back then.
Jason Resnick 10:42
Right? You You were that first fork in the road, the undergrad,
Alex McClafferty 10:44
I was my first book and right and now now I charge 1000 bucks an hour for one on one. So like my pricing strategy has changed significantly. But he came to me is like I want to do live chat. And I want to do kind of like a WP curve model. But for live chat, I want to charge I think it was a couple hundred bucks a month. I was like, that’s interesting. And that’s a cool idea. And I can see how that’ll scale. But let’s like play with this pricing a little bit. And so what do you actually got into was instead of going, Okay, where a monthly retainer for 200 or 500 bucks a month, I’m going to look at your Google Analytics for e commerce, I’m gonna have a particular market like a particular customer in mind, I’m going to look at it before and after of like before us service and after. And then I’m going to anchor my pricing into the revenue increase that you get from using our service. And so that’s the difference. And there’s a an article that I’ll share with you that you can link to in the show notes on this. But I read a comment in an Jason Cohen talks about it, which is, you know, people are much more gladly pay for revenue increase than they will to save money. There’s like a psychological barrier that you know, as a decision maker you jump through. And so he landed on this project like this pricing. And he effectively like I’m pretty sure the five what’s next is pricing with the same underlying service and customers with was still ecstatic. And its continued to push that up over time. And he runs a really nice business spins off a lot of cash, he’s very happy with it. And that was a function of just getting the pricing right out of the door. And so again, like with my experience in the, you know, missteps that I’ve made along the way I see these things a mile off, and I’ll be like, huh, yeah, I can see, I can see how that would be good. But like, let’s figure out how we can make it excellent. Let’s figure out how we can make it super profitable. That’s what it looks like it you know, half a million bucks he What does look at five look like a 5 million bucks. He like those types of questions, which when you’re doing it yourself, it’s kind of hard to have that. I think that perspective.
Jason Resnick 12:38
This season ends with Alex stating something that we’ve heard before in pretty much every single episode. And that is that you’re most likely undercharging. If you like me, and most developers and designers I talked with, we are introverted. And Alex alluded to it here, but I will emphatically say that it is in our nature to under charge because of imposter syndrome. Inside of fees, you’ll have access to everything you need to be able to get through that imposter syndrome. and be confident in your prices so that you get paid what you’re worth. You’ll get videos, worksheets, exercises, and the community to support you and overcome that limiting belief. So that you could be the go to resource and build a business that is sustainable for you to reach your goals. Head over to feast academy.com. Today, as a member, you’ll get the processes and templates to not only figure out who your ideal client is and the services that you provide for them. But you’ll learn how to figure out the price to put on those services. That makes it a complete no brainer for the client. That’s why I want to invite you to check out feast by using the code surfing, you can get your first month for only $20 feast is the community and resource hub for developers and designers ready to get off that project searching hamster wheel and actually run the business they set out to build feast helps position you in the market with what you do, who you help, and helps you build the processes and systems for client management, sales, marketing, delivery. And of course pricing. Your business isn’t the same as everyone else’s. When you are a member a feast, you get personalized guidance for myself, it is essential for me to meet you where you are. And make sure that you’re getting the exact tools so that you don’t get lost in that shuffle. The moment you sign up, we’re going to have a chat. So that I can create a custom syllabus of resources within fees to meet you where you are. If you want to stop chasing down that next project all the time, so that you can start living your life, go to feast academy.com today, and use the code surfing, check out for your first month for only $20.
Okay, so I have a whole bunch of questions in mind to dive into. But before we do that, I always like to ask the guests Is this what is your defining moment in life so far?
Alex McClafferty 15:27
Yeah. And we went back and forth on this, I think before the call. So one thing that I’m like I’m candid, and I share and I’m comfortable sharing with people these days, but during the period I was going through, it was really hard. I was suicidal for a good period of time. So probably like nine or 10 months. And that period of darkness was heavy. And it was something that I had to deal with, and face and kind of overcome. And that was, you know, a lot of things going on in my personal life that I had to kind of move through and business was a great district from all those things so great at like, you know, driving really hard and getting like creating great business outcomes for myself and family and everything else. But did that in spite of looking at the deeper work that I needed to do, and that kind of all caught up with me. And so the defining moment for me was actually like sitting on a cliff. And doing as a like, as a, you know, 30 something year old man would do a pros and cons list of like, you know, should I stay? Or should I go. So, at that point in time, I had to be like, Well, you know, if I leave right now, I’m not going to, I’m going to leave a massive mess behind me, I’m going to leave a lot of emotional impacts with family and friends and around the loves me. Or I can turn around and try and work through all of this stuff that I need to work for. And to anyone that’s been in that position, or if you feeling that way. Like I don’t understand where you are. But I have I guess compassion for you. And this is real, like if you’re in that headspace. And I kind of like a kind of direct you as to what to do apart from just be compassionate towards yourself. Because it’s a touchy like people, people to get to that space. That’s just, it’s just heavy. It’s really, really heavy stuff. And I’m glad that I made on the other side. I’m glad to be sitting here talking to you about pricing, right? Yeah. Cuz I was, you know, 10 months ago, like months ago, maybe even less, I was sitting on the edge of a cliff gone. Yeah, I don’t want to be I don’t want to be here right now. So
Jason Resnick 17:19
Wow. Yeah, that’s, that is heavy. I mean, in my early 20s, really late teens, early 20s, I was pretty close to that same spot. And it’s something that, you know, when we were talking a little bit back and forth in email, you know, it’s something that that, again, like you said, like, I can’t know where you were at, I can’t know where your head was at. But I could be empathetic to the scenario that you probably put yourself into. And so, you know, for me, it was like, when I was reading this, I even told my wife and I said, You know, I said I’m interviewing Alex on are supposed to be this afternoon, but we just moved it to Monday. And, and, you know, I shared your a little bit of your story that and she was like, as pretty heavy. And I said, Yeah, it’s kind of like where I was. And that’s what she said she goes hundred percent. That’s kind of what some of the things that you told me about. And so, you know, again, I thank you for sharing that. Because I don’t think and more in the conversations that I have with a lot of folks, not just on the podcast, but just in general. A lot of people don’t, they always talk about, Hey, I’m traveling this and doing this and getting 6789 figures and whatever, but they don’t talk about the burnout, the depression and all these other things. And so it’s always, for me, I like to share it, at least the opportunity to share these things when I can. And so because it could just be that one person that’s out there listening in that same similar space and say, hey, these two are talking about scenario that I’m going through, or they’re empathetic to it. So I appreciate you sharing that for sure.
Alex McClafferty 18:54
Yeah. And the thing about it is, and again, being a coach, and having gone through this myself, I can immediately pick out when someone’s like bullshitting me basically. And they’ll be like how he and they’ll just deflect to something about the business or something that’s not related. Because I used to do it, right, so I can hear it. And it’s not my job to be a therapist, and I don’t have the, I guess, the education or the training to be able to, like help people work through that. But I do have the personal experience, and I know what it feels like. And again, like, it’s, it’s, it’s hard, it’s really, really hard. And I’m more than comfortable sharing it now. Because for me sharing that takes the pressure off other people and they’ll actually it I feel the same way, like I’ve been that I’ve been in that place. It’s super hard. And when I was talking to some friends about this last night, like when you’ve been to I guess maybe that’s the equivalent of a rock bottom, or a place that you kind of don’t want to go back to kind of expand your spectrum of emotion. So maybe used to play here between like, you know, happy and sad or whatever. And now there’s like agony and just like not wanting to base on my, but it also on the other side of that expand for the app, which is like, when something is amazing, or like when you have a really good experience, it’s that much greater. And so I’m quite grateful for that. Even though in that period of time, it was just brutal. Like it was it was hard stuff. So yeah, if you are feeling like that, if you can talk to family and friends, just just do what you can.
Jason Resnick 20:19
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I echo that talk to somebody, anybody, right? Like, I had a good friend who actually, uh, my wallet fell off the desk. And the note popped out of my wallet. And my friend saw it on the floor, he picked it up, and they just saw the first sentence. He goes, What’s this about? You know, he’s like, I thought there was something going on, or whatever he’s like, I didn’t know that it was here. So just having that someone there to be able to, like, talk to as just, hey, listen, I need you to I just have something to say. And I don’t need you to say anything other than just hear me out kind of thing. That’s how it was good for me. So I appreciate you saying sharing that for sure. And I know that you’ve done some fundraiser through Facebook. So I’ll definitely link that up in the show notes as well. Yeah. So from that, from what you said before about the change. Yeah, I mean, so I mean, so here’s the thing, right, so we talked about, like those forks in the road. And like you said, like, as a coach, you could kind of sense when something’s a little off. Because you have these conversations, you kind of know their demeanor, you you can tell when something is little off center, if you will, when you find somebody doing that, how do you know what to say, at that point in time, like, do you have like this sort of icebreaker, if you will, like, Hey, I’m just going to put the business aside here for a minute, we’re just going to talk personal stuff, or that how you do it that
Alex McClafferty 21:51
depends, it really depends on the person on the context. So depending, depending on their relationship of God, like I’ll work with some people. And frankly, like, it’s not a, it’s not a healthy relationship, because some people will just ask for validation, or they’ll look for someone to kind of dump their stuff on. And I’m not that person, like I am a guy that can help you look forward on the person that you come to, to kind of get, like, hyped up and energized and pumped up about your business. And if you have a lot of work to do, that’s kind of, you know, backwards facing them. I’m not like, I’m frankly, not the best person, there’s a lot of people out there that can help. And I’ll have that conversation. And I’ve had that conversation with more than a handful of people where I’ve said, look like we’ve got you to this point. And I feel like there’s other things that you need to work on. And if you want to go and work on them, that’s completely your choice. But I don’t want to waste my time or your money on this. And say I can be really candid and really fun with it. But that would be after like a pretty long period of time where there’s no progress and things are just kind of spiraling. But generally, what I will do is I’ll use stories, in my experience to help people open up their experience, I’ll stop, and I’ll say, look, you know, this is something that’s happened to me, this is how I felt when this has happened before whether it’s like, you know, you’ve got to like the KT member, or you’re potentially selling a company, or you’re about to be acquired, or there’s some other big emotional thing that’s happening, you’ve got issues in your relationship at home, family, like whatever that may be, like, I’m an open book with this stuff. And I do it in the space where I’m like, this is my experience, I’m not telling you, this is the right or the wrong thing to do. But this is what I saw and felt, and this is what I learned. And when you do that in a coaching capacity, it just opens doors up because like, I didn’t come in and say like, I’m smarter than anyone or I’m better than anyone. I’m just very good at listening and asking questions. And that’s what a coach does. I don’t have any formal training or anything like that. But you know, as far as the results go, I’ve had a couple of my clients, sell the companies, I’ve had a couple of clients that have, you know, scaled beyond their wildest dreams and will email me and be like, Oh, my God, I’m so happy. And I’ve got all this money coming in and everything else. And I’m like, awesome, that’s really cool. But after that you actually get to spend time with yourself. So right, like, it’s not a deal and all kind of thing. And I know And again, I know this because I’ve kind of been through that process myself. So yeah, it depends on context. But it is definitely sharing experience. And if necessary, saying, look, this may not be a good fit, but, you know, I can make some recommendations on things that from my perspective, you might want to look at.
Jason Resnick 24:22
So with that context of you just asked a lot of good questions, right. And so you said earlier that said, Okay, if this is half a million dollar scenario, situation potential, what if it looked like $5 million? How do you help them see that?
Alex McClafferty 24:38
So I’ll back into things like, what’s the market size to start with, you know, is like, are you tapping out your market? Are you like, scraping the bottom of the barrel for people or customers? Or leads? Or is there just this abundance and this huge amount of market that you can go and get, but you just don’t have access to? So that’s a simple one. Like, what what percentage of the market? Are you actually kind of penetrating right now most of the time, like you like scratching the surface. And I only know this because, you know, working for a company like GoDaddy, who I think definitely the biggest domain registrar, biggest WordPress host by volume of sites, like all of these different things, but the market is so fragmented that it was still so much opportunity. And so the questions they were asking, and they weren’t like, oh, how do we eke out another like, hundred dollar $500,000 a month or whatever else? It’s like, how do we get from this to a billion or 2 billion or whatever that is, and so putting, like putting that kind of line of questioning and saying, Okay, this is where we’re going to get to now what needs to be true for us to get there, whether it is like building a team going up market, having a different line of products, doing something very special with marketing or acquisition, partnering, like figuring out like, what are the levers that you can pull, then systematically, like kind of going like, I kind of got a mental checklist of things that I would ask well, and then like backing into, okay, if you got a half million, are you a business now and you want to get to 5 million? What would that actually look like? Would it be you as the CEO running a team of people? Would you potentially have like, a completely different looking business altogether? Is it even more profitable to get there? And this is another thing like growth for growth’s sake, where people will continue to grow, you know, top line revenue, but the underlying business is just a mess, right? That happens a lot. But people will go around and say, you know, I’ve got an eight figure business, this or whatever else, and I’m like, yeah, that’s cool. But you know, you still making as much money as back when you’re doing half of that, right? Like, it just, it sounds cool, but it’s not necessarily that attractive. Sure. And so yeah, through all of that, it is just a, I guess, a method of kind of like expanding into what that could look like, and then backing off and going, Okay, what are the things that we need to line up to be true to make that happen? And it’s more of a thought exercise than when the candle can’t do it? And this is another thing that people can get caught up on, which is that maybe I’m not ready. Or maybe I don’t have the experience of the team or whatever else. It’s like, let’s assume you got all of it, let’s assume that you have the resources that you need, then what needs to happen? And that’s like, okay, that’s a different way to look at it.
Jason Resnick 27:07
Right? Yeah. I mean, it’s funny, because I’m a solo business owner, right? I’ve thought of, and I have over the years hired other developers to sort of offload the development or the implementation side of things. And for me, I’ve always kind of backed away from that is, for one way or the other, it didn’t work out my fault, their fault, you know, different couple of scenarios. But for me, it’s always been like, do I need, like you said, grown for the sake of growing? Like, do I need that other developer to get those six more clients in the door? Or am I okay, with the eight that I have? Right? And so, you know, what’s my profitability at this point in time? So those questions for growth, for scale for all of these other things, a lot of people, like, they’re like, Hey, I see this all the time. And they start comparing themselves to folks, when you’re working with somebody in and they approach you, and they’re thinking this big thing, and then you start to back away a little bit. How do you handle maybe their balloon busting sort of thing, right? Like, because they’re going to be like, Hey, I have this great idea. And I was going to hire five more people. But now that the math doesn’t work out. Now, what now? What do I do?
Alex McClafferty 28:24
I saw with what people want, that’s what I always come back to, which is like, what do you actually want? And that’s a very hard question to answer. Because, you know, it’s like, especially like, I think of like places like Twitter, and Facebook, and all that sort of stuff. Instagram, you had the best version of everyone’s life. Everyone’s killing it, everyone’s skiing in Colorado or at the beach, or doing what like, they’re all living the best life. And then you’re like, Oh, well, if I do that, and then I can get to here, then I’ll have that kind of lifestyle. But I’ll give you an example. And this guy is like very candid about it. He’s nice, Patrick Campbell. And I think I introduced you guys on Twitter thread, Patrick has grown profit well, which is a pricing company, and they create a bunch of great content on pricing. By the way, he’s growing that to an eight figure software business in like five or six years, and this guy is an absolute beast, as in, he’s probably put in, like, in the in like five years, he’s probably worked like 10 or 12 years of effort to get there. And he talks about it, he’s like, I’ve put on 100 pounds, and I’ve like, trashed my body. And I just, you know, I think as far as energy goes, he just feels like pretty, pretty hammered most of the time, because he’s working so hard. But he knows what he wants, like, he wants to build something significant. He wants to like, basically dominate that market. And he’s doing a really great job of it. He’s one of the nicest guys I know. But he’s very clear on what he wants. And so he’s willing to make that sacrifice. The challenge that people run up against is they get into something and they don’t actually know what they want, right? Or they get to where they like they get to where they think they want to be, they realize that’s not what they want. And then they’re kind of left wondering, like, what do I do now, which I’ve been in the position of personally, when, you know, sold, sold WPKF to get it made a bunch of money. And I was like, I thought I’d feel better about this. And I just didn’t feel anything. I was like, oh, okay, like this might solve some problems. But like, it didn’t, it doesn’t. And so like as a couple of ways to like work through that, which is like, what do you want your day to day to be like, against a very narrow, and I do this myself, which is like, okay, I want to travel and I want to surf and I want to enjoy time with friends and family, and I want to be really healthy. And if I can take care of those different factors, then generally I’ll be I’ll be satisfied with life versus, you know, by x date, I want X amount of money in the bank. Like that’s kind of different. Like I get hit by a bus tomorrow. I don’t know. Like, right, you kind of differ differ the point. And so when I get into conversations with people who have like, you know, the high faluting aspirations of getting to add three came up with this or 5 million bucks a year without or whatever else. I’m like, cool, like, how does this line up with, you know, your day to day? What does that practically look like? And sometimes there’s some pretty stock realizations, but it’s better to do it early, then after three or four years, and you get our shit. I could go here now,
Jason Resnick 31:17
right? Yeah, I’m big on the Y like that, for me, helps me make a lot of the decisions that I make, right. And so for me, and my lifestyle is that I want to be home with the family and recording from my house now, you know, be home with my boys see their first steps and hear their first words and things and be able to just go outside and play and do those sort of things during the every day. And so, when I was hiring people, or bringing people on, I was like, okay, does this align with that? Now I gotta manage all these people during the day, they got to be on, you know, they’re going to be working when I’m not or, you know, those sort of things. And so, for me, I was like, let me stay solo for as long as I can. Right. And so now it’s a matter of now when I think about bringing on a contractor or something of that nature, it’s like here this is, this is the way that I run my business. If you align with that as well, awesome. If it if it doesn’t jive with you, and you need me on slack to be there from nine to five every single day. That’s just not going to work out from the get right. And so, yeah, I mean, I think I think the Y is critical to get up front, because and that’s what I sort of talked a lot about is like, why did you start your business in the first place? Like if you’re five years into it, and you’re wondering, what’s next? Like? How did you end up here? Like, where did you make the left when you maybe should have made a right turn? And so a lot of people that I help as far as the coaching and feast goes, that’s what they look like, I have 12 bosses now. And I had one that was that’s kind of like, insane in and of itself. But now I’ve got 12? And how do I get out from that? And so how did how do you? How do you do that? Right. And so like people that are in the business, they have clients, they have customers, and then they want to take that step back and start to scale work on the business and grow and maybe build the business that they envision. But they’re so stuck in how do you get them unstuck,
Alex McClafferty 33:16
it’s really painful, it’s a really painful process, because there’s so many habits and patterns built up around being the linchpin in a business, right, like, you make your business you make your business successful and brittle by being that point person. So you get sick or something happens and you don’t have a team to pick up the slack, then very quickly, you know, your revenue is going to take a hit. And that’s, that’s the stark reality of some of these like kind of solo consulting practices. And if you understand that risk, and you’re willing to bear it, that’s fine. Like I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but it’s just one of those things that you have to be aware of. So what I do is people, and I’ve done this, a good example of this is this lady Bridget, and she was in the last cohort of the program that I ran, she has a background in PE, she’s an excellent consultant, she’s really, really good at what she does, but she also wants to have some freedom to be able to go out and travel. And she’s not going to be able to get that doing what she used to do. So there’s this kind of sticking point, which is like this is where she is this is where she wants to get to what’s the bridge between those two places. And ultimately, it’s building a product or service having a team executed on her behalf and getting to a certain number of clients with her new service, which is doing podcast introductions for people to get onto like biggest shows like mixer G and things like that. And she’s like, kind of matches in her PR skills with doing outreach to get people placed on this podcast. And the challenge for her, which she’s starting to overcome is saying no to things that used to look like a good contract or a good opportunity. Because she’s still got people that will come to, you know, PR or different consulting things that she can help with. And she’s got an eye on the prize, which is to build this product or service and to have something to scale that gives us some flexibility. And even though like you like you literally leaving money on the table, so you can like refer it out to someone or something else. But you have to have that much conviction that saying no to that, which is what you used to have, will lead to a yes to the thing that you actually want. And it creates a ton of pressure, it creates a ton of stress, it creates a ton of financial kind of impact, depending on your personal situation. And I’m very, I’m very compassionate towards that. Because it’s like, it’s kind of like this evolution, like if you see if you see my shirt, but there’s like a bunch of these like little flowers down there. And then the there’s one sprouting up and someone coming out through. And the concept there is that like, he kind of evolved past this level of, you know, just being that that linchpin. And again, it’s not to say that either business model is better or worse, or whatever else. But if you so choose that you want that flexibility and everything, then you have to, like say no to what used to be. And I tell you, like there’s a lot of like, a lot of funny noises that people make when I’m on calls isn’t when I’m like, I’m like, okay, so you’ve got that opportunity, like how do you feel about saying night to it, and I’ll be like, Ah, you know, like, this is this is the necessary challenge. Like I’ll say nights are like one on like, one on one coaching clients right now, just because I feel like the group stuff is gonna, like it’s gonna scale, there’s a bit of a network effects of the group of people helping each other out, you know, there’s a little bit of a little ecosystem kind of forming. And I could keep doing the one on one stuff, or I can put my attention on growing a really cool community, different level of focus and effort and saying no to like immediate cash, but then also making an investment for the future, which is, like my time commitment to that is even smaller, but the results of the group, or the folks that are in there will be even greater. And hopefully, like revenue will catch up with that over time, too. So it’s like, these are the button I I’m always on this site, like idea of like transforming or like moving forward. But it’s like never comfortable. Like it’s never like Oh, cool. Like I went from consulting to running this team. That was such a such as like a brace. I should have done that five years ago. It’s like nights struggle straight for a good six months.
Jason Resnick 37:12
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, you gotta do the work.
Alex McClafferty 37:17
She thought about it man. Like,
Jason Resnick 37:19
yeah, exactly. Well, for those of you listening, Alex has been gracious enough to he has an application that you have to fill out even to be a part of this group that he’s been talking about. And during that application process, go to his website, fill out the application, but he’s offered you as the listener of this program $500 off if you sign up for the program. So again, it’s got that gate there, you gotta pass the application first. So it’s out there, right. And so thank you very much, Alex, for that, I’ll put the link in the show notes, obviously. And hopefully, we’ll get some features inside of your SEO program.
Alex McClafferty 38:00
Yeah, I want to get you in there. Man, I want to get you in, there’s, you know, not to pay just to participate. Because I think you’d add a ton of value to the group, because I’m looking at, my thing is like, I didn’t care about volume, you’ll never see me go out and say, I like made six or seven figures from my coaching business. But you will see me come out and say, This person is making 100 grand a month, or this person has had this success and that success, because to me, like that’s how I define success. Absolutely. The quality of the people in the group is so much more important than the quantity like he cannot actually like join what I’m doing without applying. And typically, I’ll get on a call with you just to kind of do a little chat and make sure that you you know, he represent yourself in the way that you’ve said in your application. Absolutely. Because that’s the kind of like, that’s the kind of environment that I want to work in, which is not, again, like kind of runs against a lot of the other sort of stuff that you see in coaching or programs or whatever else. But it’s about the quality and the caliber of the people because someone asked a question in there about, you know, I’m having this. So that problem and it’ll be have like 50 replies and slack and then all jumping off to that and be like, Oh, he’s my two cents, guys. And it’s like Quincy Bain. Which is cool. Because people are getting helps. That’s awesome.
Jason Resnick 39:12
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I’m all about the rising tide raises all boats, right? Again, we’re at the top of you’re talking about, like, it’s great that you have these eight, nine figures and all that stuff. But what does it really mean? And so for me, same thing with like, my goal is to help 1000 features realize the goal that they had when they left their job, right. And so for me, I was able to do that when my first my first son was born, I want to be able to help 1000 people do that. So I definitely appreciate that. And I love the invite. And thank you very much. So before I let you go, what’s up next for you? What’s you surfing more you have any destinations out there that you cross it off the bucket lips? What’s up next?
Alex McClafferty 39:56
Yeah, I’m trying, I’m traveling a lot. And I’m getting back into the things that needs to make me like before I like put myself down into the kind of business, I don’t know, like into the business tunnel. And just being super focused on business, I’m getting back to my roots, which was spending a lot of time at the beach, like being really healthy. I’ve got a couple got a couple like ideas cooking out. And there’s nothing that I can announce it because I haven’t like fully formed last things. But you know, I’m thinking about launching something in a completely different space. And I’m literally like in the lab figuring stuff out on that right now, which is fun. It’s a you know, that early stage where you just creating and goofing off and just messing around, so. And also like I like to be an operator. So there’s, you know, the coaching part, which is fun and rewarding and everything else. But I like to get my hands dirty too. So I need to have something tangible to work on and build. Because I’m a builder at heart. Yeah, surfing, building, having fun taking care of myself. And yeah, just just trying to help out folks where I can.
Jason Resnick 40:59
Awesome. Alex, thank you for your time and experience today. Where can people reach out and say thanks,
Alex McClafferty 41:05
they can find me on Instagram, my handles Alex McAfee, or Facebook, you can find me on there. And my site is product ties, co so any of those places, but yeah, if you are interested in the program that I’ve got, take a look at that CCO dot product is co put in an application and I’ll have a look. Let me know that he came from the face, the crew, the gang. And you know, we can work it out from there. But yeah, hopefully will I play I’ll convince Jason to get in the mix and join the community because it’s going to be fun.
Jason Resnick 41:37
Awesome. Falling, you convince me? Yes. Thanks. Thanks, I appreciate it. And for everyone listening. Until next time, it’s your time to live in the feast.
If you enjoy today’s episode, I can speak for both Alex and myself by saying that we’d love to hear the one takeaway you got from this episode. It’s super simple. In the podcast app of choice, presumably it’s this one that you are listening to right now. Drop in a comment or review, or go ahead and share it in a tweet and tag me at brands. And I’ll pass that along to Alex as well. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button so that you’ll be the first to listen in in a few weeks when season seven drops. season seven will be talking about how to create your ideal client. We are going to have really in depth conversations with folks that struggled with the traditional way of creating that customer avatar. demographic data is great if you’re selling a handbag or car, but services doesn’t always fit that. So you’re going to hear specific exercises and outcomes, not to mention a few bumps in the road as well from those people who have built an ideal client and grown a thriving and profitable business from them. Until then, it’s your time to live in the feast.
Season 6: Pricing
More episodes in this season:
S06 E01 – Value-based Pricing, Impactful SEO Techniques, and Creating Great Client Relationships with Brendan Hufford
S06 E02 – Generosity, Pay What You Want Pricing, and Lowering the Barrier to Entry with Tom Morkes
S06 E03 – Developing Client Relationships, Leveling Up Your Pricing, and Getting Better at Business with Chris Do
S06 E04 - LinkedIn, Pricing Strategies, and Why Video is the Medium of the Future with David Kilkelly
S06 E05 - Mindset and How Goals Inform Your Pricing with Vito Peleg
S06 E06 - Consulting, Pricing, and Understanding your Clients with Hillary Weiss
S06 E07 - Case Studies, Client Research, and How To Create Killer Conversion Copywriting with Joel Klettke
S06 E08 - Story Lines, Positioning, and How To Differentiate Your Business with April Dunford
S06 E09 - Pricing Your Productized Services and Working with Intention with Brian Casel
S06 E10 - Knowing Your Audience, Making Mistakes, and Pricing Products vs Services with Jack McDade
S06 E11 - Creating Results and Building Relationships Through Your Pricing with Mor Cohen
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty