January was the single biggest revenue month in our company’s history.
In 31 days, we quietly closed ten times more revenue than the average woman-owned business generates in an entire year.
In this article, I will share key details from the experience including:
- Where the money came from
- What worked and what didn’t
- Counterintuitive insights that would probably surprise you.
My goal in writing this article is that you find it helpful, freeing, and that you get at least one actionable takeaway you can use to grow your business.
1. Details on the Dollars
When you are reporting on numbers, the details matter. A lot.
One habit I detest is when people report numbers in a misleading way. This is really easy to do because the population as a whole lacks basic numeracy skills. When you lack basic numeracy skills, you are really easy to fool. Shady marketers count on this.
So when someone announces (on social media, always on social media) they “did a seven figure launch” – what they aren’t necessarily reporting on is…
- The fact that a third of that revenue was paid out immediately to affiliate commissions,
- That 15% of those sales likely won’t be realized due to payment defaults,
- Or that the launch was so draining that two people went out on stress leave.
There’s nothing wrong with any of the above (except, potentially for the stress leave part). But understanding the detail that surrounds the money is important.
To wit: We invested precisely zero dollars on advertising or affiliate fees in our monster sales month. Our gross margin on the total amount will be about 80%.
Over the course of the last year, I started to notice how a lack of numeracy generally, and financial literacy specifically, was negatively impacting women in business. As a result, we put a much bigger focus on entrepreneurial finance into our year-long coaching program.
I saw an immediate impact in how our clients are thinking about money, leveraging capital and being strategic about finance. This is so key. When you understand money, you can connect with it better. And when you connect with money better, it trusts you more. When money “trusts” you, it flows to you. This sounds woo but it is my “lived experience” as we coachy folks say.
In my industry – the coaching industry, a common marketing tactic is to publicly share your revenue (with zero accompanying detail), and discuss how important it is for women to “normalize wealth.” This is often followed up with further posts showcasing the expensive purses you just bought in your continued and sustained mission to “normalize wealth.”
Knowing that someone did a 7 figure launch has zero impact on someone’s numeracy or financial literacy. This stunning lack of detail into the money therefore does NOTHING to “normalize wealth.”
When it comes to money, details matter. Numeracy matters. Having a grounding in entrepreneurial finance really matters. This is what “normalizes wealth.”
2. Closed Revenue Versus Collected Revenue
Businesses generally have two forms of revenue. There’s “closed revenue”. Closed revenue refers to revenue that exists in contract form. Your client signs a binding contract to pay you a specific amount of money for a pre-determined product or service. You accrue this money over time. This is really common in service-based businesses. Let’s say you sign a client for a $15K deal, and they contract to pay $5K per month for 3 months.
If you report on closed revenue, that’s a $15K sale. Nice!
But there is also collected revenue. This is how much money you actually collected. Because your customer is in the first month of your 3 month, $15K contract, you’d report $5K in collected revenue. Also nice!
We operate our business with a focus on collected revenue and 80% of our focus is on collected revenue. When I look at our financials, I am looking at collected revenue. However, we also pay close attention to closed revenue because a) we generally collect 95% of the revenue we close, b) we sell multi-month deals and c) because it is an important lead indicator for growth. When you start to see a series of big closed revenue months, it’s a potential sign you need to invest in team and systems to support or service that growth.
Our mega month was CLOSED REVENUE. Some of the money is in our accounts, and some will flow in over the ensuing months.
3. Current revenue is a snapshot of what you did 3-6-9 months ago
You know how, when you look at the sun, what you see isn’t the sun right now but the sun 8.33 minutes ago (due to speed of light issues).
The same is true in business. The money you see today is usually because of action you took in the past.
What I love about our huge money month is…NONE of it is derived from 1:1 service, and ALL of it is derived from monetizing assets we have developed over the last 3 years. I’m insanely proud that, because of the way we structure our company and offerings, all our programming is intimate and bespoke while also being scalable. Therefore, the revenue we closed is a joy to collect – it doesn’t feel heavy. I don’t feel burdened by the workload. Therefore, the growth is highly motivating. This is what happens when you grow with ASSETS not HUSTLE.
(By the way: growing with assets versus hustle isn’t about “time management” or “being disciplined”. It’s about creating the right business model and sustainable growth strategy. Here is a great resource to help you learn how to do that.)
This is a huge accomplishment that has been years in the making. Our record month – following on a series of significant money months, was the result of a plan I put in action over 18 months ago. I invested in a coaching program, developed my plan and stuck with both the program and the plan for two years.
This consistency has been really important because it takes time to realize a vision. I needed a container where I wouldn’t be tempted by “other ideas” and “bright shiny objects” to develop a Frankenstein growth strategy – a little of this person’s influence here, a little of that person’s influence there. Nope. I developed a vision and invested in a container that would provide consistency and – let’s face it – blinders – so I could work my freaking plan.
The big revenue is a product of a sustainable growth strategy. A sustainable growth strategy takes time to develop and requires consistency and dedication to develop. As disciplined and focused as I am, I needed support from a consistent program and mentor to stick to my guns and realize the strategy.
4. “Online launches” are overhyped, oversold and highly problematic
One confession I will make to you is that my team and I have built one of the most successful coaching companies in the country without ever having been 100% happy with the results of a “launch.”
Our launches almost never meet the sales targets we set. And yet, we have been quietly building a juggernaut.
Maybe you can relate to this. In fact, you almost certainly can because the majority of entrepreneurs I meet and know are generally underwhelmed with their launches or tell themselves they are bad at launching.
This gets back to the online marketing BS I addressed at the start of my post. The people who most often “crush it” with online launches are the people selling courses in online marketing. They therefore have a vested interest in telling the world how much money
they made in their most recent launch. This then sets the standard for what a “good” launch is.
Therefore, people who don’t make that kind of money (and the vast majority will never see CLOSE to that much money in a launch), are measuring themselves against a very, VERY high standard.
Can you see how dumb this is?
It’s like Cindy Crawford setting the standard for what a woman’s body “should” look like.
You can simultaneously inflict a ton of damage AND stifle entrepreneurial creativity by holding up an exception and making it the rule. And we’ve been doing this to women for centuries.
Thus, I would like to establish that you can run a great, lucrative business without “crushing” 7 figure, multi 7 figure or even 6 figure launches.
In our company, we don’t need to be amazing at launching because we didn’t build a launch machine. We built an ecosystem – a collection of interdependent product, sales, marketing and relationship assets that have created a valuable company that sometimes drives me crazy but that I ultimately adore.
5. How I celebrated
Another confession: my energetic system and all my inner selves got a little freaked out when I realized the magnitude of what we accomplished not only in the month, but in the previous quarter.
So I celebrated by taking time to really, really take care of myself. I talked to myself and reminded myself that it’s safe to be successful and it’s safe to have the kind of power that money gives you. (THIS IS KEY AND A WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST).
I filled the well with a long walk through the dark, wintry streets of my small town. I did yoga. Then I made myself a giant mug of ovaltine, filled a plate with raspberries and charcuterie and walched The Banshees of Inisherin with my oldest son. (Recommend!)
Then I went to bed, slept well, and got up to embrace the journey all over again.
I hope you found this article useful. If you know of a woman who would find this article beneficial, please share it with her.