In this episode of Insider Insights, rock star SaaS growth consultant Asia Matos shares some of the biggest challenges her clients face, how she helps them solve them and get to MRR, and behind-the-scenes into her journey from in-house to booked consultant.
As she takes us behind the scenes into her business, she's sharing some things she's excited about now, a recent business challenge (and how she helped her client solve it), and some of the best business advice she's ever received.
Watch (or just listen!) to the full episode for even more on:
ABOUT ASIA MATOS
Asia (Matos) Orangio is the CEO and Founder of DemandMaven, a consultancy helping founders of early-stage startups either get their first 100 customers or help them get to the next growth stage (but lean). Her career has been focused on working with early-stage startups and high-growth technology companies. She helps SaaS companies and startups: define their go-to-market strategy, craft a data-driven approach to growth, implement marketing strategies and programs that help them win an audience in their market, and beat the "90% of startups fail" statistic.
ASIA'S FAVORITE RESOURCES
Tiny Seed: https://tinyseed.com/
High Growth Handbook: https://amzn.to/3cIUSKk
CONNECT WITH ASIA
--> Get a FREE 1-hour consultation with Asia using code #InsiderInsights
Speaker 2: (00:07)
welcome or welcome back to insider insight, timely and relevant insights from B2B insiders. I'm your host Lauren McCann, and today we have special guests, Asia Mattos who helps founders of early stage startups reach their MRR goals through demand generation. In early 2018 Asia founded demand Maven, a consulting firm dedicated to helping bootstrapped and funded early stage startups build a revenue generating marketing engines. Previously Asia served in a number of marketing roles, but most notably as head of marketing at Holt where she helps the team 10.5 X in growth and flip my funnel in Terminus as demand generation manager when she's not working. Asia's probably playing her ukulele, hiking or scribbling random ideas in her journal. So Asia, welcome to the show. I'm, I'm so excited to have you here and I've shared a brief introduction, but for anyone who's not already familiar with you, share a little bit more about your background and how you made it into the role that you're currently in at demand. Nathan?
Speaker 1: (01:12)
Yes. Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. Okay, so, okay. All right. Let me roll back like two or three years. Um, really, I was working in a con, a technology consulting firm for about five years where I led the marketing team and served as managing director or a marketing director. Uh, and I got introduced to product and just overall SAS world. Um, and I, I went from, uh, like a technology consulting like agency model where it took like one to two years to close one to $2 million deal sizes. Uh, and I went to product, which is more like 20 days to close and I never looked back. Ah, before I started demand Maven, I was a head of marketing for a technology startup here in Atlanta, which is where I'm at. And I started noticing a recurring theme with early stage companies, uh, specifically on the SAS and just the startup side, VC funded and of course bootstrapped.
Speaker 1: (02:13)
And it was just that they couldn't get marketing help early enough and for a rate that they could actually afford. So they either needed to raise a bunch of money to go hire a full time VP or head of marketing or they would need to kind of cobble it together with various consultants and freelancers. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And so what I decided to do was build a business around offering experienced, um, SAS marketing help for, for a rate that, um, that makes sense but also actually helps eliminate the confusion for founders. That was another really big thing that I noticed over and over and over again was there was so much confusion around what should, what marketing advice should we be paying attention? How should we be thinking about go to market? How should we be thinking about marketing and what does that actually look like? How, what does that role look like? So to prevent the, uh, the, the all too classic, um, ms hiring, but then also hiring too late, uh, I'm able to come in early enough where I'm able to make a difference and shave actual years of growth off of a businesses life, which is what I'm super passionate about.
Speaker 2: (03:24)
Amazing, man. Okay. Well, thank you for sharing more of your background. I think that gives us a really clear idea of how, you know, how you're helping early startups and um, and in what capacity. So I mean you're bringing
Speaker 1: (03:38)
really just this powerhouse
Speaker 2: (03:42)
background, um, and experience and understanding of what these companies need at this stage and you're bringing that to, um, early founders to kind of help them through their journey. So, um, actually before we kind of get into some of the other interview questions, um, what was that transition like? I'm curious from that whole time marketing role into, into a consulting role.
Speaker 1: (04:08)
In many ways it definitely felt like I was running my own startup. The first six to eight months was a lot of panic and fear and uh, a lot of stress and anxiety. But, um, I was very clear on my vision and I was very clear on who I wanted to serve and why. And when. And the transition, I mean, you go from like a call located team where you're sharing an office with, you know, five to eight other people too. Now you're on your own. You've got to figure out your own schedule, your own productivity regimen. Uh, and when there's people around that's, I actually find it's a lot easier, um, to kind of fall into like a certain mode. Um, but the number one challenge moving from full time in house two, I'm now a solo printer. I'm a consultant. Like I run a really small little consultancy.
Speaker 1: (05:00)
Uh, and, but I'm working, I really traded one boss for five bosses at any given time. Uh, so, so it, it really became all about how do I manage my time and how do I, how do I manage my energy? Um, but my message was clear, my vision was clear. It really was just about how do I, I'm my own boss and at the same exact time I've got many bosses. Uh, so how, how do I make sure that, um, those are always in balance and that I'm just able to just produce as much as possible. Um, but that, that I would say it was like the biggest transition and it's one that I'm pretty proud to say I've, I've figured out what works for me. Ah, but it was definitely a struggle bus in the first like six months.
Speaker 2: (05:46)
The struggle is real. I mean, been there, I'm still there sometimes, so, uh, yeah. But I think it's amazing that as a consultant and as someone who's [inaudible] and in that place, you can bring that empathy and experience to some of these founders that you're working with who are probably going through some of the same things on that level as well.
Speaker 1: (06:04)
Speaker 2: (06:06)
So really fantastic. Okay. Um, so obviously with, with, by bosses at any given time and managing, managing all your time, you're busy and you have a lot going on. Um, so, you know, with that in mind with kind of all the craziness, what's one thing that you are most excited about right now?
Speaker 1: (06:28)
Oh gosh. Um, okay. So when I think about, when I think about the landscape and just the space that I'm in, so I'm, I'm working with companies that are, they're typically less than a hundred K number are they, they usually have less than a thousand customers. They might even have less than a hundred customers and [inaudible] anywhere from zero MRR too. Um, [inaudible] what I find is so thrilling are the options that are available to founders today. So 10 years ago, the, the options for funding and not just, um, like pure VC funds, but a different kinds of funds, alternative sources of funding. [inaudible] and this is just from my perspective, I don't know that it was as common to take on like a really tiny, uh, an actual literal tiny amount of funding to just enable the founder to go work full time on the product for a year and then go and build up, uh, generate demand like on the backend for, for the next five years.
Speaker 1: (07:32)
There's a fund that I'm working with okay. Today called tiny seed. So shout out to my tiny seed fam. Uh, and what I love about tiny seed is what they're able to offer to those early stage founders. Uh, but there's, but there's more of these alternative sources of funding that are popping up just all over the place. And 10 years ago that just wasn't the case. Um, so I'm excited to see different resources and alternative ways to grow and scale a company outside of VC funding, which does require a total addressable market of at least a billion dollars. And if that's not what you want to do, then you have to a hundred percent bootstrap it or fun strap it. Um, so some, some founders are lucky enough and privileged enough to have friends and family who can contribute. Um, but for those who don't, there's, there's new ways and sources today and that's exciting for me. Um, not just like as like a consultant, obviously. Um, but it, it means that founders can, can, can get the resources that they need. So if they need marketing help or if they need sales help or Mmm. Dove help, they're able to put a little bit towards it, but then also still take a page, take up, take a paycheck. Um, I think that's amazing. So that's what it's really thrilling for me right now.
Speaker 2: (08:46)
Uh, that, that does sound pretty incredible. And especially with everything that's going on in the funding world, it's just crazy,
Speaker 1: (08:55)
if not the same as that used to be. Um, so I mean, I, I'm really curious actually to even learn a little bit more about this. Um, so, you know, do you have any fun, uh, founders that you're working with who have
Speaker 1: (09:07)
utilize this, this type of alternative funding and how is it, no, how is it really impacting, they are their day to day, um, or even like you, you kind of mentioned that, that one year ramp and then that five year ramp up time. How is that different than VC? Yeah. Yeah. So I'm, I'm, I've had the privilege to work with, uh, two, two founders so far who've taken on alternative sources of funding and [inaudible] [inaudible] on the one hand, it, uh, it's, it gives them just enough pressure, not too much pressure. I do think that, um, I do think that know VC funded companies, um, there's not nothing bad about them at all, but it does give you a different sense of pressure, but it also forces you to think in a different sense of scale. And it kind of begs the question of how much is enough, how much success is enough success?
Speaker 1: (10:04)
And from what, from what I've observed, and also just, you know, working internally or working with these companies, um, these, the, the founders who have taken on alternative sources of funding, I find that they have just enough pressure to, to succeed. Um, but it, it's not this devastating blow if it doesn't work out. Um, but at the same exact time, I think that the way that it impacts them on a day to day, and this is just from what I've observed, is they're able to, they almost, it's, it almost gives them, it holds space for them in a way where they're actually able to really sit, take the time to think about what it is they're doing, where are they going, and how do they think that they're going to get there. And on top of that, they're usually, it usually means that they're able to work on it full time, which I think is what is the fundamental difference between bootstrapping something and trying to generate enough revenue to eventually leave your full time job.
Speaker 1: (10:56)
Uh, versus say, um, taking on the, the big amounts of funding and you now have enough resources to build the team that you want to build to get where you want to go. Um, but oftentimes founders run into the challenge of, well, what is the five and the 10 year vision? Because that's often what that billion dollar total adjustable market means. It means you've [inaudible] you've got to have that five to 10 year vision and if you don't come out of the gate with it, which is, which is very rare, ah, [inaudible] the pressure to succeed is just substantial. But at the same exact time though, I don't know that it is, it's hard for me to say like if it's, if it really feels like it's less pressure, cause I'm sure that those who take alternative sources of funding like there, there, um, they're probably feeling just as high pressure as maybe like [inaudible] the VC founders. But I do think that it does create a different dynamic. It creates a different environment. Um, the idea is that in theory you've got a little bit more time and also the market, there's, there's no pressure necessarily to build this billion dollar market today or, or defined it. Mmm. And that kind of goes back to the question of how much is enough. So that's, that's I think the biggest difference.
Speaker 2: (12:12)
Yeah. I love that. It sounds, it sounds like a good solution for, for founders who are really mission-driven maybe for example, and want the opportunity to, to stay in control of and define success on their own terms. Mmm. One of the takeaways I'm hearing from this, but, uh, thank you for sharing this and you know, sharing this idea and tiny seed is the, um, the partner that you're working with or the, the funding resource for anyone who's watching who might be interested.
Speaker 1: (12:44)
Yes. Uh, and if, if there are some bootstrappers or, or what have you out there, um, I highly recommend checking them out. Um, it is run by two guys named Rob and INR and they are just absolutely fantastic people. Rob, former, I believe he was former founder or previous founder of a drip email marketing. So, okay. Fun, fun fact. But yes, I'm highly recommend checking out tiny seed and um, I believe that they, they have like applications every year for, for whoever wants to participate and, uh, and be a founder in their fund, so in their cohort. Right.
Speaker 2: (13:19)
I love it. Okay. And I'll link to that below again for anyone who's interested. Um, okay. So I mean that was a really exciting highlight. Um, and so now I want to change gears a little bit and talk about a recent business challenge that you've encountered in your own demand may then with your own consulting or with a client that you've been working with. So take us into that challenge so we really feel what it's like to, you know, to be there with you and then walk us through how you solved that challenge.
Speaker 1: (13:49)
Yeah. Okay. Ooh, to two, definitely come to mind. One, one for demand may have an, an a client. I'll actually start with a client first. A challenge that I have just Mmm. It's, it's, it's one of those challenges that creeps up every now and again as a marketer. And at any given time, I'm working with five to six businesses at any given time. Um Hmm. There was one particular client that I had still working with them today, an amazing team. They're in the project management space, which is a very, very, very crowded space. And as a marketer, part of, part of a marketer's job is to figure out, um, how do we make sure that we stand out from the rest of the crowd? How do we make sure that we are investing in the things that give us the right kinds of opportunities and puts us in front of the right kinds of customers.
Speaker 1: (14:39)
And when we first started this journey together, we, we were doubling down on the fact that we were a project management tool. And for a while, ah, [inaudible] so I, I described product market fit as like, um, this is one, it's, it's this thing that every startup wants to aspire towards and every SAS company wants to aspire towards. Um, and when you hit it, it's like, I don't know how else to explain it except that it's like magic. Everything just seems to fall into place at the right time. Um, I describe it as you're really just guiding a Boulder down a mountain. Like you don't really have to make it roll, you just kind of have to make sure it doesn't fall off the mountain when you don't have product market fit. It is like
Speaker 2: (15:20)
Speaker 1: (15:20)
It is like hiking up a mountain, pushing the Boulder up the entire time and every step you take is a really, really, really difficult step. And that was what I was experiencing in like the first, I would say like six months of working with this business. Um, and working in the space and the project management space. And I don't know what it was, but I think at some point I realized that we had a positioning problem and we, we were this, this project management tool in trying to compete with all the other project management tools. But the things that made the product special was really its automation capabilities. It's workflow capabilities. And I think at some point I got my hands on April Dunford book about positioning. It's called obviously awesome. And it's just how to, it's all about how to position your product and how to make it stand out.
Speaker 1: (16:10)
And I also had the opportunity to do a workshop with her and for, for the past, um, for the past few months we've been repositioning the product and overcoming a positioning challenge. It's one of those things where you might not, it's, it's clear when, when you realize that you have a positioning problem, it's not so clear like in the first few months of it. Mmm. But it's, it's, it's crazy what repositioning can do. So after repositioning out of the project management space and really putting ourselves more into like the workflow automation space, now it's a no brainer. Um, MRR jumped by 30%. Like it was, it was like in a month. Like it was insane. And that was, that was something that, um, that was honestly the first time I'd ever encountered a positioning challenge like that. And so when we repositioned and of course like as a marketer, like we also have to be able to execute on what we, on the strategic ideas that we learned. So April Dunford, his book was, was truly a godsend, if you will. But it was, it was like magic at that point. And so now we don't, you know, have to, it doesn't feel like we're pushing this Boulder up the mountain anymore. Now it's kind of like, Oh, okay. Like we've, we've got a little momentum here. Like this is actually, this is great. Um, so yeah, that was a client one.
Speaker 2: (17:28)
Um, and actually cause, cause I'm, I'm, I, I'm excited to get into the next, the next challenge, but this one's really easy also. So positioning, I think this is something that's just universally can be a struggle. And I work with
Speaker 1: (17:45)
companies, usually they've
Speaker 2: (17:46)
found their product market fit already. And when it comes positioning a really common challenges, well we can reach someone who's lower down in the organization and more tactical, but we want to be seen as a more strategic investment. So how do we, how do we position to reach higher up? We're in the right space, but we're not reaching the right people. But this is, this is a different kind of positioning challenge. Um, and one that I, it's very common. So maybe you can tell us again, for anyone who's watching, what are some of the telltale signs that you're just, that you do have a positioning problem prior to product market fit?
Speaker 1: (18:24)
Yeah, for us and in, in the book, there's, there's definitely highly recommend. It's such an amazing read. Um, there's definitely like some red flags. The ones that really stuck out for me for this particular client was we were talking to the right kinds of people. Like we were talking to. We were talking to project managers, we were talking to business owners and founders of small companies. Uh, we know from a segment perspective that we wanted to, we wanted to be talking to these, um, small business owners or people who are like in a more project or operational role. But what was, what was, uh, such a struggle was we realized that we were, we were losing to our competitors because we were focused on the wrong parts of the platform. Um, so if as a project, if we position ourselves as a project management tool in that category and we're competing with other project management tools, we're going to lose a, I wouldn't say every time because there are some other PM tools that we obviously beat.
Speaker 1: (19:28)
Um, but it was one of those things where it was, it was like we, we can either build this fully featured project management platform, um, with, with all of the feature and product requirements for that. And as a business, we could put ourselves in that space. But when I was working with the founders, it was so clear that that really wasn't what we were passionate about. That wasn't what they were passionate about, that wasn't what they ultimately wanted to go and build. And it's one of those questions as a founder that you have to ask yourself, like, who do you want to serve and where do you want to be? Um, and the more that we discussed what it would take to beat these other PM tools, the more it was clear that that probably wasn't where we wanted to go. Mmm. It would, it would take too long to catch up and putting that in finger quotes, even they can't see me. It would take too long to catch up from a product, from a, just a go to market perspective. And I think the other, I think, I think another like
Speaker 1: (20:29)
red flag was every, every time we would talk to are happy. And so it's more like a green flag actually. Every time we would talk to our customers, like the really insanely happy ones [inaudible] never talked about, they never talked about the product in the context project management, they always talked about it in the context of this is, this automates my workflow, this makes me so happy in this way. Um, this, uh Hmm, this is a neat, this is unblocking me and enabling me to, to do other parts of, of my work. Um, but they never considered it like project management. They never came out of the gate with like, Oh yeah, like I love managing all my projects. It's like, no. Like they just, they just want to do the work. Um, and it helps them automate it. Like that's what they talked about and yeah, like that, that was kind of the [inaudible] the w the other, it was, it was like, it was just a flag.
Speaker 1: (21:26)
It was just like a, Hey, like your customers aren't talking about you in this way anyway. Um, so maybe that's not what you think you are. I love it. I want to say bingo on this one because this is, this is the edge that, um, early startups have that, that key phrase talking to customers and actually [inaudible] listening to their feedback. I mean, that's so magical and running with it. It's, it's really funny that you mentioned I'm a project management client cause that takes me way back to, um, years ago working with working with sort of like a, another project management tool and they were getting that customer feedback and trying to push against that saying, no, no, no, this isn't what we want to be. Um, and they finally conceded to that, but it was kinda too late. They've, they had the best in class product but they didn't want to, um, you know, they, they didn't want to go with that perception and lean into it.
Speaker 1: (22:24)
Like it sounds like your client did very successfully. So that's fantastic. So it sounds like, you know, listening up to those customer conversations and that, that feedback to see w how are they really perceiving this solution? Oh, 100%. And, and even more specifically to the segments that you know, that you ultimately want to attract. Um, in our case, we were hearing it from all, all of our segments and there were, there were really two big ones that we wanted to make sure that, um, we were, we were making them happy and we just, we heard it across the gamut. Everyone said for the most part the same thing. And they are also consequently the raving fans of the product. And the more that we dug into what our customers were saying, which I have a feeling we're going to talk about customer research cause it's like my absolute favorite thing from a go to market perspective. [inaudible]
Speaker 1: (23:20)
on the retention side. Yeah. I mean it was, it was so clear that, um, we were talking about ourselves like we were this project management tool, but really, really we were more workflow. Um, our customers just don't think about their work as projects and that's legit. Like that's the way a lot of people work. Um, and yeah, I think once, once we put those two things together, once we made those like two dots, like actually touch like, Oh wow, okay, not only do we not want to build like this full like PM platform, but our customers don't think that about us either. Anyway, so it just, it just very, it just became so clear. So the after repositioning and on the one hand it's a, it's a, it's a market. Marketing is 100% part of the process. It's also, I would say a business decision too.
Speaker 1: (24:11)
It was absolutely a business decision to say, Hmm, all the words that we use to describe ourselves, all of that comes after this positioning exercise, but strategically where we want to be in the market, that's a, that's very much go to market, but also just business. Um, and that was something that realizing that, that we had the problem helping the founders navigate through what that actually looks like, that it was a very rewarding experience and Mmm. And also lucrative. Like it, it changed the way that we generate revenue today and that, and that was, that was I think one of the most critical pieces. Um, but ever since then though, I will say, I see positioning come up quite a bit now in my projects so that that project was, um, I'm still working with this client today and even now, like we're still honing our, our messaging. Um, but that was about a year ago that I would say that we, we decided to reposition. And, um, it's funny cause ever since then I've noticed it across different clients about, and I can, I can feel it now and I feel like we're, I can see it also, um, like a mile away when I, when I think we're gonna need to reposition.
Speaker 2: (25:20)
That's amazing. Positioning is powerful and um, it's so amazing that you can bring that valuable, um, insight to the companies that you work for. I think that's another thing as a consultant working with multiple companies in any given space, you have that 50,000 foot view and you can take a step back and, and you're not, so you're heavily invested in what they're doing internally and you know where they're trying to head. But you can also take a look at the landscape and bring those experiences back to everyone who you worked for. So I'm really fantastic. Thank you for sharing that challenge and, and the red flags and just the whole process. Cause like you said, it's, it's a, it's a challenge that pops up a lot, a lot, a lot. Um, okay. So challenge number two. Um, let's get into that one.
Speaker 1: (26:12)
Yeah. Okay. So I, from from a demand Maven perspective, um, I've, I mean I've been running my business now for 19 months and it's been, it's almost at two years. February will be two years of next year. So, Mmm. I've
Speaker 2: (26:28)
Speaker 1: (26:28)
Speaker 1: (26:30)
come out of the gate with intense focus on and vision on like who I want to serve, why I want to serve them and what I ultimately want to do. But from a business perspective, the number one challenge that I, I kept coming up against this like over and over and over again, which was knowing what I want to accomplish. So I'm not out to build a giant agency or anything like that. And that's just like a personal, that's a personal choice. It's a business choice. Uh, but purely because I want to stay focused on early stage and I just know that adding more overhead means I need to go up market. Mmm. That's said, knowing I've got this requirement if you will. I was really struggling with how do I, how do I manage the resources that I have? Uh, how do I make sure I'm getting the right resources?
Speaker 1: (27:15)
And how do I manage? I, I don't know that I've found like the perfect project yet, and perfect probably doesn't even exist. And what I mean by that is, Mmm, how do I, I'm able to generate consistent results, but how do I make sure that I'm selecting the right opportunities, taking on the right clients and taking on the right projects, um, the F the full shebang. And I will say, like, I've, I've had projects where I, I personally felt like they weren't as successful as maybe some of my other like shining star case studies, some of which are on my website. Um, and there's more stories I need to tell, but every now and again, um, I would just find myself one, like having all these questions and having, and feeling like I had no one to ask and at the same exact time, like knowing what I want to build, but how do I, how do I build that in the most cost effective way where, um, I'm not running a charity.
Speaker 1: (28:08)
Right. And, um, I had been toying with the idea of bringing on a business coach for awhile and then I, I actually, I, I pulled the trigger a few months ago and I've got to say it has been a game changing and just overall life changing, changing experience. I don't know how else to say it except for, it was like a light came on like in my brain and I for the first time ever, like I can see what the next three to four years look like. And I don't know that I've ever had that even in my professional like, um, in house career, I don't know if I've ever had the, the three year future vision. Okay. But in my business, at least bringing on this coach, it has just completely changed the way that I think about how I run my projects, how I, even, how I engage with clients and also how I set the right expectations for clients too.
Speaker 1: (28:55)
Um, because I think that the, the quick and dirty truth about marketing is that it does not happen overnight. And like [inaudible] we both know that. Mmm. But explaining that, I think to founders who want to see revenue, now I'm letting them know like, listen, this is an investment you've gotta be thinking five years ahead from now. If you do this now, three to six months from now, well we'll be able to say that we have a revenue generating engine, but it's going to take awhile. Like it's going to take, it's going to take some time. Um, so setting the right expectations, all of that, like it, it has just been, it's like this relief like has just fallen upon me. Like I, I feel like I don't have to freak out anymore or stress out anymore. Um, have another person who can also think about my business besides me.
Speaker 1: (29:39)
Okay. This is amazing. So we chatted about this before the call a little bit and I am so glad that you brought it up. I'm actually curious for anyone who's watching right now to comment, have you worked with a business coach? What was it like? Or if you haven't, do you plan on working with a business coach or just somebody [inaudible] outside of, um, yeah, outside of yourself. You know, and I think, you know, have you ever had experiences like this working at another company where you've had somebody come in to do training or this kind of support or is this the first time you've engaged with them when in a coaching capacity? Yeah, absolutely. The first time it, but I will say it definitely made me wish that I had had an executive coach back when I was head of marketing or even when I was director of marketing and some of my previous roles and [inaudible] just having someone who's invested in you and what you're doing and how you're even like how you're communicating your ideas and even what to communicate or how to say something or how to approach something.
Speaker 1: (30:47)
And I think it goes beyond, I've always had um, like unofficial advisors and mentors. Like I've always had like colleagues and friends who I could go to for advice. But it's, I just, it's so different when you are engaged in a, in a more formal capacity with someone who can meet with you regularly and really go over like, what do you want out of this? Like, what are you trying to accomplish? And from a business perspective, it's pretty crystal clear. Like, Oh, like I want to do this. Like I don't want to keep doing this. [inaudible]
Speaker 1: (31:20)
when I was in house, it was always about I've got this vision about what I want to execute for this company or what I want to bring to this company. But I've got these challenges, whether that was navigating politics, which every company has politics. Even if you have the best culture in the world, you have politics. Um, navigating like different personalities and also, Mmm. Coaching, even my own direct reports and just making sure that I'm being the best manager possible and then all the way up to the strategic vision of the company. So the actual marketing, um, I, I so wish I had had someone like that, but this is the first time, this is the first time and it's been okay. Oh, amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that. Um, super, super important. I, so I've worked with business coaches in the past. Um, and I, I'm actually, um, in the market for a business coach now, uh, re, you know, reaching those new levels. But I mean, for me personally, there was also, I remember a specific time when I was looking at, I'm going into business with a partner, um, for the first time ever and making some big investments in certain areas. And in working with that business coach, I actually came out of it realizing, Oh my God, I [inaudible] have no business doing this. This is not a good fit. Um, and avoiding that big,
Speaker 2: (32:40)
uh, what would have been kind of a [inaudible]
Speaker 2: (32:41)
really messy, costly mistake and I would not have arrived at that conclusion. I think I knew that internally I have this feeling that this isn't really right, but, um, I, I wouldn't have gotten there by myself without that support. Um, so I mean, there's so many different levels that this works on. And whenever someone brings up coaching, I actually think of Tony Robbins. I mean life coach, business coach, whatever. He pops into my head and he's someone who, he himself works with business coaches and life coaches. He doesn't, he doesn't mess around trying to think, I can do this by myself. [inaudible] worthy of that support. Um, it's, uh, an investment and not a cost to get that support. Um, so that's phenomenal. And so with this, with this business coach, um, what is, what does that engagement look like? Is that weekly calls? Is it monthly? You know, how, how do you kind of approach that in your own business?
Speaker 1: (33:39)
Yeah. Okay. The way that this particular coach works is, uh, you can do, you, you can do like a, uh, a half day strategic workshop in front of the six month retainer and it's two calls a month. They're usually like an hour and 30 minutes, an hour and 15 minutes. And
Speaker 2: (33:59)
Speaker 1: (34:00)
what I was really looking for was, um, I want to get someone up to speed as soon as possible on my business. And that way they understand it, they understand me, they understand why I'm doing what I'm doing in the market and in the space that I'm doing it. Okay. And I definitely opted into that like half day strategy session and then of course a six month retainer. And from a approach it's absolutely strategic in terms of well what are you trying to accomplish and what, what do you want to do? Like what are some of your requirements for like what this business used to bring you? Do you want to make $5 million or are, are you really much more focused on, um, you know, maybe something a little bit more. Yeah, I'm definitely not motivated by money but less motivated by money or revenue, what have you. Um, but it could totally be that I could totally be the whatever those goals are. And from there really identifying where are the problems, where does it hurt the most right now? And for me it was all about feeling like I didn't really, uh, I'm not really able to resource very well in terms of, um, at least,
Speaker 1: (35:04)
you know, a few months ago I think that this was the case. But planning for future client projects. For example, I could be working on a retainer and want to take on new or different clients, but, but because I don't really know what my availability looks like, it was so challenging to be able to say like, Oh yes, like I can take on this person like in August or I can take on this person in February. Um, because I would have these like forever retainers that we never really know if they're going to end or not. And so like we'll, we'll like, well that's your problem, right? Like, so what do you do about that? Um, and I was really, really just really struggling with, um, client pacing I think is a way to just, is the only way I can think of. Describe it. And when do you take on certain projects and when don't you and how do you resource and staff yourself?
Speaker 1: (35:49)
Because I'm the number, I'm the only full time resource. Um, and because of that I'm obviously working on different projects at different times. And that was, I would say, the number one challenge. And in terms of how we're approaching it? Well, it all comes down to setting the right expectations and also setting the right boundaries. And this is kind of where like contracts and agreements come in. I realized that there are certain parts of my agreements that were hurting me and I just didn't realize that they were hurting me. So we're not doing the forever retainer anymore, which is the best way to describe it is it is kind of like a, it's like a subscription model, like Oh, like pay every month and cancel anytime. Um, now we actually, we're still offering retainers, but we're actually doing three to six months retainers and instead of forever it's, you know, and cancel anytime it's [inaudible] let's really scope out with the next three months look like and, and we'll approach it that way.
Speaker 1: (36:47)
So those even like those tiny shifts and those tiny changes, now I can actually see like, Oh, okay, so this is my, this is my client docket. Now these projects will end at these times. We'll have the conversation on renewal, but for the most part, um, I, I can always, I can keep a steady pipeline and like not have to freak out about like, Oh, I don't know if I can take on this client right now or you know, all that. So that's how we're approaching it. It's a lot. It's a lot of fun. This is amazing to be able to have these conversations
Speaker 2: (37:19)
with a business coach because this is the lifeblood of your business. It's piping the pipeline and revenue and keeping yourself from just going crazy. Um, super, super critical. So for someone who, um, someone like me, even anyone who's [inaudible] in a position like this or considering maybe they haven't considered working with a coach or getting outside help yet, but kind of in that struggle of there's challenges, I don't know how to approach.
Speaker 1: (37:48)
What would be
Speaker 2: (37:49)
Speaker 1: (37:51)
Oh, interesting. Um, wait, in terms of, in terms of like how to find someone or I guess, um, let's, let's even
Speaker 2: (38:00)
go back a little bit further. So where you were at, I mean, what was that point in your own business where you thought, okay, maybe I need to bring somebody in. What would you say to someone who's in that place that you were in when you started this?
Speaker 1: (38:16)
Uh huh. Nightmares. No, I mean I'm only half kidding. Uh, yeah. I think, I think for me it was the [inaudible] it was, I realized I'm, I'm a very self aware person. I'm a very mindful Mmm, right. Everything about, you know, my morning routine and my daily routines has, has caused me to be a very mindful person, which is by design. I think I had got to a point to where I realized I was spending so much time and energy worrying and also, um, [inaudible], what's, what's the word I would w I would like strategically plan like in my head about all of the possible things that could go wrong, but it was based off of fear. Yeah. I think that I think by using basically worst case scenarios. Yeah, exactly. I kept catastrophizing that that is a, an amazing cognitive distortion that, um, that I found myself falling into.
Speaker 1: (39:23)
And I found when I, when I would focus on like the bad things that could happen. And also just the time that I spent worrying, just purely worrying about like, am I doing the right thing? And that question just kept popping up over and over and over again and I just couldn't get free of it. But then also I was experiencing the pain of, of not really knowing and, um, knowing that there was a better way to do this. I just don't know the answer and my friends don't know either. Totally. And, um, and that's kind of where I got, I got to that place where I was just like, okay, well my friends don't know. And if, I don't know, someone's got to know, like someone's got to have the answer, or at least I think about it, like pulling the curtain on a path that you just didn't know was there.
Speaker 1: (40:09)
And I knew that there were opportunities to accomplish what I wanted. I just didn't, I just didn't know. And um, it's always like that. You don't know what you don't know. Um, I knew, I didn't know. Yeah. But I just didn't know what the answer was obviously. So, um, I would say like if you're, if you're two out of three of those things, so worrying, catastrophizing and um, knowing that there's a better way, but no one around you seems to have the answer. I think that that was really the biggest thing. Amazing. Really great advice. Um, and at the end you actually gave two pieces of advice though. I do want to circle back to the, or I'm sorry, the challenges. So this positioning challenge as well, and we touched a little bit on customer research and things like that, but what advice would you give to somebody, um, who maybe is a founder or anyone in a position where they're bumping up against something that might be a positioning challenge?
Speaker 1: (41:05)
Yeah, I think the biggest thing I would say to myself about a year and a half ago or even a year ago when I was going through this process was, especially if you're the founder, positioning is one of those things where it rears its ugly head and it's all your only job is to respond to it. Hmm. And it doesn't have to be this mind blowing concept. I think that that was the thing that we kept getting stuck on was that we, we kept thinking and feeling like positioning, repositioning ourselves and putting ourselves in this new category and looking at this specific part of the market that it needed to be mind blowing. And I actually, and especially after talking with April Dunford myself, I've learned now that it's sometimes positioning is just the thing that makes sense and it doesn't have to be this like mind blowing Airbnb, Dropbox vision experience. Do you know what I'm saying?
Speaker 1: (42:07)
Like it doesn't have to be this like, like, you know, NASA like hard, it doesn't have to be completely, yeah, it may be. It's just I loved the metaphor that you gave of just rolling this Boulder down the Hill. Um, when you find that product market fit, it's what if you just let go of that and allowed, allowed equilibrium to take place. Almost like getting out of the way and just letting what needs to happen happen. Exactly. Yeah. That's really, that's really fantastic. And to get a little bit more tactical because this is, I think this is really important, high level advice. Cause I mean, I know when I'm [inaudible] bumping up against something or I have a client who's bumping up against something, it just seems overwhelming. It's really hard to take the first steps. So minimizing it in that way and letting ourselves think this doesn't have to be so hard.
Speaker 1: (43:01)
That's an amazing first step. And then so tactically beyond that, where do you start? Yeah, I think, I think tactically it's, this is going to be a fluffy word, but I'll explain it. Hm. Being focused and having that clarity. So after you take off that pressure of like, Oh, this positioning exercise or repositioning or [inaudible] or whatever it is, related supplies to everything, but I knowing that it doesn't have to be perfect after that, it's, let's get really, really, really clear and specific on the market that we're focused on, the pains that we're solving, who and like who those actual real people are and how, like how do we think about our category? Even just writing that down and really discussing and really thinking about, okay, based off of now that we know that it doesn't have to be this like mind blowing concept. Um, it can actually be very simple based off of what we've heard from our customers based off of what we know our competitive alternatives are and competitors are, how, how now do we see ourselves?
Speaker 1: (44:12)
And just being really, really, really specific and clear. Mmm. Fuzzy positioning is, it's one of those things where it's like you don't know, you might not know that you have it until you see very clear positioning. Um, a great example is accounting. There's tons of accounting software out there and there's maybe like five players today. There's bench, there's zero, there's QuickBooks. I think that's like the big, big one. [inaudible] when you think about accounting software and who it's for and what it's for, you might actually find that a lot of those accounting platforms don't really compete with each other. Um, bench is accounting service really for a very specific part of the market. They only really care about like those, those small business owners. Um, and then zero was looking at different kinds of companies as well. QuickBooks wants accountants, they don't care about business owners at all. Um, that's the kind of, that's the kind of specificity and clarity that you need. And if you have that, you're, you'll likely, I mean, I don't want to say you'll breeze through it cause you still gotta you got to translate that into copy and messaging on the website and the words that the sales person says and what you say and all that. But, um, when you have that clarity, like it's, it's very real. And after that, I do think everything falls into place. It just takes that first step, I think.
Speaker 2: (45:37)
Amazing. I love it. Um, okay. I mean, you've shared so much phenomenal, phenomenal advice. And I know we're really, we're closing in, I'm, uh, on our time here. So as we start to wrap up, where can people reach you if they want to learn more?
Speaker 1: (45:54)
Okay. Yes, there's two places. The first is demand maven.io and, um, if you would like a free marketing strategy call, there is a little coupon that I can add. Um, I'm thinking we could do insight or insights. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. So, uh, you can get a free marketing strategy call. Um, come pick my brain for an hour, ask questions. If you're a marketer, um, get feedback on, you know, how you're thinking about whether that's positioning or messaging or whatever it is, campaigns. Okay. Please don't hesitate to, to book that. And if you're a founder, come get advice, get feedback on what should you be doing from a marketing perspective. Just use the promo code, insider insights. We'll get it for free. Mmm. And then there's Twitter. So at Asia Matos that's where I'm at all the time. Uh, I, I have my Twitter rants, but I also have, um, my gift game is pretty strong, so yeah, reach me out there.
Speaker 2: (46:47)
Phenomenal. Okay, perfect. And I will link that below with the hashtag insider insights for anybody who wants to take advantage of that amazing offer. Um, okay. And so next question, um, what is a business resource? You've mentioned a few, I'm going to link all of them below, but what's just one business resource, like a resource, like a book, a podcast or a technology that you're getting the most out of right now?
Speaker 1: (47:13)
Ooh, okay. This is, this is a tough one cause there's so many. Um, I'm going to say the high growth handbook by Elad Gill, Elliot Gale. Uh, he's, I mean his credentials and all that, pretty much big firms for themselves, but he took all of his essays and more and put them into not only a stunning book, but it's also, it's also got some amazing perspective and interviews from other founders, um, and people who are on the rise and also other, yeah. VCs and the way that they think about the market. It's also a chunky book. So which is also kind of why I like it. Mmm. So, so many different ideas, insights, interviews, just the full shebang. I absolutely love that book.
Speaker 2: (47:58)
Phenomenal. Okay. And again, it will be linked below. So Asia, this has been a really amazing interview. Packful of, I mean, you didn't even just give us one challenge. You gave us two challenges and so much advice and you took us through it in a lot of details. So, um, I, it's been a pleasure to have you on. So I wanna wrap up with the best single piece of business advice that you have ever received.
Speaker 1: (48:22)
Ooh, focus hands down, make sure that you're focused on what you want, who you're going to ultimately serve, focus on, um, what, what parts of your time needs to be dedicated to what parts of those goals. And then the business focus I think is, it's, it's big, but when you have focus, everything usually falls into place and you find yourself answering your own questions when you're focused, which is also why I absolutely love, um, just that hyper-focus. It's what I, it's what I've, that's the mantra that I sing too and you know, follow it. But it's also what I tell my clients all the time when we're focused, we're able to move mountains. So that's usually what I say and also follow.
Speaker 2: (49:05)
Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. And thank you for coming on today. Um, it's been a pleasure.
Speaker 1: (49:12)
Thank you so much. This has been great.
Speaker 2: (49:14)
And to everyone else, thank you for watching. If you liked this video, be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe for weekly videos like this. For more information, you can visit customer intelligence institute.com you can reach Asia demand may have been.io and we'll see you in the next installment of insider insights.
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