Is Your Business Model Still Working? (for the creatives + business owners)

written by Bari Tessler June 6, 2024

Dear Friend, 

Most of my financial therapy work has to do with helping people create a more mindful, savvy and empowered relationship to money.

This could be in the realm of personal finances, couples finances and even in business finances. 

In my Mentor program, which is a group program for therapists, coaches and financial professionals, I’m additionally supporting folks to create a more sustainable business. 

In that context, we’re not just working on our money psychology, we’re also working on new ways of offering our services and adding new revenue streams. 

And the way you do that has everything to do with your business models.

There are dozens of things that can change in the outside world that can lead to you needing to change something in your business model. It could be changes in a social media platform’s algorithm or something larger like a worldwide pandemic.

And, there can be dozens of things that can change in our inner world that can also lead us needing to update our business models, such as having a new baby, going through a divorce, or experiencing a health crisis.

Sometimes we just need to find creative ways to adapt and adjust our own business model so that it works better for the particular life phase that we are in. 

There’s a funny thing about running a business though: once you do it for several years, you realize that the business model you thought would bring in great revenue forever…sometimes starts to not work so well. 

And when that happens, it’s time for a business model update. 

After a recent class I led for my Art of Money Mentor group, I had a strong intuition that there are more of you out there who might be facing challenges in your business or private practice that could be less challenging if you updated your business model. 

And I knew then that I had to share the audio recording from this call, because I took a deep dive into the topic of business models: what they are, why we need to change them, examples of different kinds of models, and a box full of stories from times when I’ve had to change my own business models. 

So today, I want to share this recording with you from my most recent Mentor Group call. 

Listen Here:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Wherever You Get Your Podcasts

Transcript:

[00:01:15] bari: Hi there. So I’m very excited to share today’s recording with you. A little background is that this recording is from my mentor program. My mentor program is a four month small group for therapists and coaches and financial professionals who want a safe and brave space to one, be able to do their own money work and work on their own money habits and money psychology.

[00:01:46] bari: With other professionals. Number two, to learn new skills and money tools and somatic tools to bring back to their own clients and three, to create a more sustainable business. [00:02:00] And so in the four months, there are 16 themes and we just did a theme on business models. So what are business models and examples of business models and stories of my own business models?

[00:02:15] bari: What. worked, what didn’t, um, you know, external reasons why I had to shift a business model or internal reasons. And this teaching I felt was really good. And it made me realize. That I wanted to share this with my larger community. So you’re getting a little glimpse into this mentor program. It’s a 40 minute teaching on all things, business models.

[00:02:48] bari: It’s one of my favorite things to talk about when running and growing and fine tuning a business. I hope you enjoy.

[00:02:56] bari: So we’re going to go larger this week with business models. [00:03:00] And this is, we’re going to do a bit, it’s going to be a bit more like the visioning part of it or describing what business models are.

[00:03:09] bari: And I’m going to give you lots of different examples of business models. I’m going to share some of my own journey of the different stages and phases that I’ve gone through and I want you to get your journals out. I want this to get the wheels turning on your own business model and what phase you’re in, what’s working, what’s not, what you can open up to.

[00:03:31] bari: So business models for me.

[00:03:34] bari: Are simply the container of how we offer our services. Okay, it’s the container, and I’ve noticed that we can get really set in our ways. And sometimes the work we’re in the field we’re in, there could be a set container, right? Like therapists have 5 to 10 clients a day. I’m just, you know, give me, I’m generalizing here.

[00:03:56] bari: Okay. 5 clients a day, right? Or acupuncturist. [00:04:00] They see 1 on 1 clients, there’s a pretty set, like, that’s their business model. That’s their practice. That’s the container of it. They need to get as many individual clients as they can get in and that they can handle.

[00:04:12] bari: Right? And it’s different for everyone. Um, other business models are, and it’s also business models are the container and the type of services you offer, but it’s also how cash flow comes in. For me, right and so realtors, you know, we’ll sell a house, you know, get a downfall a windfall. It’s not a windfall, but it feels like, you know, it’s like, they’ll get it from the commission.

[00:04:39] bari: They’ll get a chunk of cash. They have to live on that for some time unless they’re, you know, selling, selling, selling, but they might go through a dry spell or they may have 3 houses, you know, waiting to close and then they sell all 3. And then they get the commission from that, and then they have to make that work for so many months, right?

[00:04:59] bari: Or [00:05:00] landscape gardeners don’t work in the winter, right? They can’t. It depends on where they live in the world, but usually they have seasons. So it’s also how cash flow, how our income and revenue comes in, meaning, you know, just the flow of it, right? The cycle of it. Because what I’m always looking for is sustainable business models where you’re having consistent cash flow coming in that you can rely upon.

[00:05:29] bari: Now, this takes time and again, different fields, different practices, different businesses hit this earlier or later, or it’s harder to get to. But that’s something that I was always seeking, right, was how do I get to sustainable cash flow where money’s coming in, not just monthly. But I know for three months what I’m going to be making.

[00:05:54] bari: And then I wanted to move to now I know what I’m making for six months. And can I figure out how to get consistent [00:06:00] cashflow for a year? Right so, again, everyone’s going to be different here of what you’re going for in your business, but I’m trying to open this up for some of you and some of you are already on this.

[00:06:11] bari: Like, you’ve already been working on, you’ve already grown your business model to, you know, next, next many levels, you have the consistent cash flow. So see, If this is helpful for you or clients that you work with, because we’re all at different phases in our businesses, right? And our practices. So, again, as I was talking about, acupuncturists have to get in as many individual clients as they possibly can.

[00:06:36] bari: Some people have a coaching practice where it’s a combination of private clients and some groups, and maybe even some retreats that they do. Right? an osteopath who took one of our mentor programs. Took this mentor program a while back. She had a very successful osteopath practice where her practice was full.

[00:06:58] bari: She had as many 1 on 1 [00:07:00] clients as she wanted. She didn’t want to do anymore. So she started hiring other osteopaths that could work underneath her and she was then getting a percentage of that income, right? So she was booking or, you know, she had a team and assistant that booked everyone. People were liked her.

[00:07:18] bari: They wanted her, but she had, you know, she was too full and time and energy wanted to be spent elsewhere. So, she maxed out on her clients and started bringing in other colleagues to work in her practice underneath her umbrella and she got a percentage of that. And I’m going to be talking about that more. Financial planners.

[00:07:38] bari: I remember. Years ago, my financial planner had 10 clients, but he got a percentage of that and that’s all he needed. He’s grown quite a bit. They have, they now have offices all over the country, in many places and a huge team working underneath them. But at the beginning, I think he had 10 clients and he was very happy [00:08:00] with, with that.

[00:08:01] bari: Bookkeepers can have five clients. And that’s it, you know, they have 5 clients and that that’s all they need to make whatever monthly income, whatever it is, you know, that was 1 of the 1st business models. I had was I had a bookkeeping practice and I had. 4 to 5 clients and I was maxed out, right?

[00:08:21] bari: So it just depends on what you’re charging, how many hours your clients need you. Um, let’s see, I have, you know, I’m going to share just a few more. So I know someone who does a combination of workshops and retreats. And she does retreats in places that she wants to go to, right? Different places in Mexico, different places in Taos, New Mexico.

[00:08:46] bari: it’s, it’s great, right? It’s wonderful. That’s she does retreats and their creative retreats. And she’s someone who. She always needs to be teaching on a new idea, so she doesn’t like to [00:09:00] teach the same workshop over and over. So she might do the same workshop twice and then she’s on to the next thing and so that and that’s right.

[00:09:09] bari: And then you go back to the enneagram and that’s part of she’s probably a 7. she’s probably a 7 on the enneagram. Has so many ideas gets bored easily wants to do new creative things all the time. And that’s what gets her excited and motivated to run her business. So she might have up and down cash flow.

[00:09:27] bari: She’s okay with that. Right? Um, I, here’s a few pivots, right? The pandemic created pivots for some business folks, not all right. So my dearest friend is a photographer. She was working with, high end clients who paid her a lot because she always said people don’t realize how expensive it is to. You know, meet someone in a location, have a hotel room, or get a studio, get their hair and makeup to [00:10:00] do all the edits.

[00:10:01] bari: She was like, I could never really fully charge enough, but she did. And then the pandemic happened, and she couldn’t be a photographer, right? She couldn’t she couldn’t travel. She has mild health stuff, so she wasn’t getting on a plane. Um, you know, she was masking everywhere and so she had to pivot her business for the next few years.

[00:10:23] bari: And she went online and started leading programs and it wasn’t out of nowhere. She used to be behind the scenes in everyone’s business. So she’s been doing photography for decades, but she also was a VA, was an online business manager, doing all the behind the scenes for all different kinds of small business owners.

[00:10:43] bari: So she started teaching online programs on visibility. And her income doubled or tripled, you know, so that was that’s a great story, right? Of someone who had to pivot and then started teaching and she loved it. And then she pulls out photo [00:11:00] shoots on the side to when she is in a cash flow dip. So, she’s now able to do photo shoots again, right?

[00:11:06] bari: But she loves teaching about visibility. So visibility, meaning Mikelann didn’t talk about this last time, but Mikelann thinks 2 things really help with growing your income. 1 self care. She’s always like, get .More self, do more things for yourself, take more care of yourself.

[00:11:25] bari: The 2nd is you have to show up more and Mikelann is not a big social media person. So it could be conferences. It could be, you know, there’s so many different ways to be visible, but I just got an email. Have you all heard of the book finance for the people by Paco de Leon? It’s an excellent money book and there’s graphics in there.

[00:11:53] bari: She’s she’s pretty. I would use the word hip, but I’ve been told that that’s a Gen X term. I can’t use that term. I’ve [00:12:00] already told you that. So, okay, but she’s, I think she’s really hip and she talks more about systemic racism and how that affects money issues and that’s all woven into her books and she’s a podcast and she just.

[00:12:16] bari: Paco sends out a newsletter called the nude, not nude nerd, excuse me, the nerd newsletter, something like that. It’s great. And her whole thing yesterday was, Hey, how do you deal with inconsistent income? And she said, that could be really hard for business owners. And she’s like, 1 of the biggest things that I’ve found is that you need to be visible.

[00:12:39] bari: She didn’t use that word. You need to keep putting yourself out there. The more you put yourselves out there, the more people will find you. So, visibility.

[00:12:49] bari: here’s another pivot. So, another friend of mine, she’s an author used to run a bookstore on metaphysical her bookstore was metaphysics. [00:13:00] And so she’s been doing online programs for years and online programs are changing, right? There’s, we can talk about that, but enrollment is, is down.

[00:13:11] bari: There’s lots of reasons why I think there’s program fatigue. there’s, you know, there’s definitely inflation happening, you know, and so people aren’t signing up for programs as much. And as, as people used to, like, there was a window of 7 years where, or even a decade where online programs were just rock and rock and rock.

[00:13:34] bari: And now they’re, they’re still working, but not as well. So she does special tarot readings. And magic readings, and she does that. Yeah, and you and you would think, how is that a moneymaker? But for her, that’s a moneymaker. That’s what’s bringing in extra cash flow to fill in the gaps. And she loves it. So she’s always pulled different cards and tarot, one of them and her books are all about [00:14:00] magic and rituals.

[00:14:01] bari: And so she pulls cards for people and creates a little magic ritual for them. And she charges for that and people love it and in their different topics each time she does it. So that’s how she’s kind of filling in the cash flow dip and filling out her business model. So it’s programs and it’s these individual card pulling magic sessions that she’s doing.

[00:14:21] bari: So I’m going to share a little bit about my journey. Some of the different business models that I’ve had and why I’ve shifted. Um, 1 Mikelann things is also. When you’re about to step into a new business model or move through a money ceiling, sometimes there’s a lot of tension that builds up and suddenly, and we’re on the same page, it feels like nothing’s working.

[00:14:51] bari: It feels like you’re pushing really hard. Um, and so here’s a few stories of my moments of that. So, as I mentioned, my 1st [00:15:00] stop was a bookkeeping business. Right. And I needed 5 clients. I think 1 client paid me 3000 a month and then the others were smaller and back in the day, that was fabulous living in a tiny little town in California.

[00:15:17] bari: Right? I knew exactly what I needed to make and that was my business model until, you know, I didn’t want to do bookkeeping any longer. And, and I wanted to switch and I started teaching my financial therapy method. So I was waiting to let go of my bookkeeping clients or that last 1. I think I hung on to the, the 3, 000 client, right?

[00:15:41] bari: Until I could fully switch over to my small groups of 10 people in my living room when I used to teach conscious bookkeeping and I did that over and over and over. So I think I even, I mean, I was, I was definitely a big hippie back then I was making 50, 000 a year. Yeah. No kids, two cats, [00:16:00] very happy. You know, this was my thirties, early thirties, and I wanted to replace that 50, 000 with teaching programs.

[00:16:07] bari: And so when I did, that’s when I let go of the bookkeeping completely. And so it was just teaching small groups. And that was my business model was teaching small groups of 10 people over and over and over. I think I was charging 150 at the time for my groups. That’s right. It’s changed quite a bit. Then I started adding in.

[00:16:25] bari: I’m going to train you on QuickBooks. And then I started adding in now. I’m working with couples. Now, I’m doing financial therapy for couples, so I started adding in some other pieces and that was good. But what it started to feel like. Um, and then I started growing from 50, 000 But what it felt like I was living in an apple orchard and it felt like someone was eating all the apples off my tree.

[00:16:52] bari: Meaning I was working really, really hard to make that income. And it felt like there was no extra. [00:17:00] And so whenever I’m in a phase like that, where something’s not working or I want to move to the next level, or I want to move through a money ceiling and make more money, I’m not always wanting to move through a money ceiling, but I’m Right?

[00:17:15] bari: You, you might be someone who’s always trying to grow, grow, grow, and that’s fine for me. I’ve had different phases where I didn’t want to grow and I’ll explain why. But this moment I did want to grow and it felt like everyone was eating the apples off my tree. So I started asking all of these moments. I started asking new questions.

[00:17:34] bari: How can I grow my work as a one person entity? What do I need to do? And I just got this idea that I wanted to create a little. What’s the word not board of directors, but something like that a little committee. Of other profession of other colleagues. It was a tiny town in California, Sebastopol, California

[00:17:56] bari: to help me just to see, see me and see what my work [00:18:00] was. I was a sole entrepreneur, but I was like, I need a board of directors. And I just asked five different older folks in the community if they would meet me once a month for a year. And they all said yes. You know, so it’s basically what kind of support do I need to grow?

[00:18:17] bari: I don’t know how to grow my business. We weren’t taught that in graduate school as we were training to be therapists. I don’t know how to grow a business to the next level. So I brought in these folks and they just listened to me and supported me. And what also started happening at that time was other women started knocking on my door.

[00:18:34] bari: Metaphorically calling me. I mean, yeah, we had email. We had email back then. Right? But just beginning websites. That was my 1st website and other women started saying, hey, Barry, I’m in corporate accounting and I’m doing a yoga training on the side. Can I join you? Or I’m going, I’m getting my master’s in psychotherapy.

[00:18:55] bari: And I’m doing bookkeeping on the side. Can I join you? Right? So I [00:19:00] started getting or these other women saying, I want to be on your team. Now, my father had said to me, you want to grow your business, get bookkeepers underneath you. And I kept saying, oh, that doesn’t feel good. That doesn’t feel right. Dad, I do business different than you.

[00:19:15] bari: But when these women started coming to me saying, I want to be on your team. Then I realized, okay. This is they’re asking me for this. They want this. They want community. They want collaboration. So I created an umbrella under conscious bookkeeping and I brought on other bookkeepers and bookkeeping trainers and financial coaches under my umbrella because I was great at giving those free talks.

[00:19:40] bari: I would give 2 hour free talks on the 3 phases of the art of money methodology anywhere and everywhere. So that’s how I did marketing back then. That was my visibility. Back then I would read the guerrilla marketing books. Do you all remember them? Guerrilla marketing? Anyone? And I would read, I mean, there are hundreds of ideas [00:20:00] of how to do marketing.

[00:20:00] bari: I would pick three or five at the, at the, out of all of the, in the books. And I would say, this is how I’m going to be visible. I don’t like networking events where you have to say what you’re doing in one minute or 30 seconds. Right hate that, but give me 2 hours and I will razzle dazzle. And so I used to rent out yoga studios, or I would show up at every whole foods talk circuit or, you know, wasn’t whole foods or any, you know, in California was like, whatever.

[00:20:32] bari: They had different talk circuits or business groups, and I would just show up and give a 2 hour talk on my method. And then people would say, well, what do I do? How do I get a bookkeeping trainer? How do I learn quick books? How do I do a budget? How do I look at my numbers? Right? So, then they would get my team and then my team would go out all over the Bay Area and go to their house and sit down with [00:21:00] them and hold their hand and show them how to do a bookkeeping system or train them or set up a system or do budgets with them.

[00:21:07] bari: Right and so here’s the pay structure. So, at that time, I decided to do an expensive program. It was 7500 dollars. It was. You know, it felt like this is the beginning of my business and I found a woman who was doing real estate and and let’s get wealthy and real estate. And I don’t have to say her name, but I learned everything about what I would never do from her.

[00:21:32] bari: That’s what I paid 7500 for learning lesson. I learned I’m never paying 7500 unless I really vet someone and I know I’m going to get a return on investment, but man, did I milk that? I’m going to do the opposite of her. It wasn’t really like that, but she would hire people at. You know, bookkeepers at 20 an hour, 15 an hour, 20 an hour, you know, just so low.

[00:21:57] bari: And so the way that she did a percentage when [00:22:00] she hired someone is she took 70 percent and gave them 30. And when I did the percentages with my team, they got 70 and my umbrella got 30 and everyone was very happy with that exchange. And we met, it was a group of women and we met and we even took a road trip once for From California, I mean, Northern California to Southern California, that’s not a huge road trip, but because LA kept setting up events for me, I would always get confused when I would go to LA, but I kept getting people setting up events.

[00:22:35] bari: And so my team would go down there. So we had this, this, this little crew of bookkeepers, bookkeeping trainer, financial coaches. And then I was still teaching my groups, which I love to do and giving the free talks. And so that grew income. We broke through a really significant money ceiling. And then for the next so many years, that was my business model.

[00:22:57] bari: I would give free talks and people [00:23:00] would either join my groups that were six weeks or three months. Back in the day, live all over the Bay Area. Where I could show up with chocolate, a basket of chocolate and, you know, as soon as we got to the bookkeeping systems, and I would talk about assets and liabilities.

[00:23:17] bari: I used to teach about actual bookkeeping, the bones of bookkeeping. I would get out the chocolate. That’s when I would not in the money healing. Um, so that was a business model that really worked for a while. And then I wound up in 1 of my classes, a woman named Joetta Johnson, who’s on my referral list.

[00:23:36] bari: She’s an excellent financial coach. She came to me and said, I want to be in your team. And I not just want to be in your team. I want to be your business partner. We wound up becoming business partners for the next 3 and a half years. And she came from corporate accounting and was a whiz at spreadsheets.

[00:23:56] bari: And was a whiz at forecasting and projecting so she’s a [00:24:00] financial coach on my referral list still is to this day and she wound up taking the money map to 3rd phase of my work and what we called it map of intention then and creating a whole course on it. So I had. Are the money level 1, which was all the work that I do, and then she taught groups level 2, but really she was a wizard private financial coaching.

[00:24:22] bari: So, the umbrella got bigger, right? I had a business partner. She did her group. She had a full private session client load, then we had, we’re getting 30 percent of the other folks. So that was a great business model while it lasted and why would it change right? It was working. Well, why would it change business models change either?

[00:24:45] bari: Because they just stop working. The pandemic happens, right? Um, there’s a banking collapse. It can be internal or it can be external why a business model needs to shift or change. This could [00:25:00] come from something from within or something from without.

[00:25:03] bari: Right so, a lot of people that were in real estate and that crashed in 2008, they, a lot of them had to file bankruptcy, right? It’s why Dave Ramsey is so against debt. He, I don’t know if it was that year, but he was in real estate heavily invested. And had to file bankruptcy, and that killed him, and now he’s no debt ever.

[00:25:28] bari: And I don’t say no debt ever. I, you know, I’m somewhere more in the middle. I’m like, how is it use? What’s the intention? It’s I’m not dogmatic in that way. I think that’s harmful. I think we can use debt as an investment to get us to a next place wisely, right? And moments. so those, there can be external things, but there can be internal things.

[00:25:50] bari: There can be health issues that happen. Right there can be first. So what happened with this great business model is I got pregnant [00:26:00] intentionally. Right? And then I was throwing up for months and my business partner for my birthday, you know, as I was throwing, I was probably, I threw up, went to the mailbox and she sent me a birthday present and the, and I opened it up so excited.

[00:26:20] bari: It was a huge box and it turned out to be a 300 page calendar. That’s what she sent me to for my birthday, which is basically get your shit together, you know, get organized, get your shit together. And I’m over here throwing up throughout the entire day, really sick in my pregnancy. And I was like, Oh, okay.

[00:26:40] bari: Something’s changing, right? Something’s changing. So we hired a mediator, he was an accountant, but he was also did business coaching and he did business consulting as well. And he came in to help us see if we were going to stay together, [00:27:00] if we were going to part ways, because. A business partner is a marriage partner, right?

[00:27:05] bari: We didn’t sign contracts going in. I’m not saying I would recommend that I, but it worked for us, you know, and and we did need to hire the mediator to really help us come to a decision, are we going to stay together? So I wound up flying out and then we moved back to Boulder, right? We were back in Boulder when I was throwing up and pregnant and all that and she was in California where we had started.

[00:27:28] bari: So just to finish this story. There was a few more trips. I flew out to California. We did some 1 day events. I had a Noah inside of me, and I had a big sign Noah with a pointed arrow on my big belly while we are leading one day workshops. And I flew out a few times until you can’t fly anymore after I think 6 months or something when you’re pregnant, and we really, I really tried, you know, I really, we had, we had the whole team.

[00:27:54] bari: Remember, we had a whole umbrella. We had 2 assistants, you know, um, we’re [00:28:00] paying someone to schedule this was before scheduling apps. We were paying someone 30 or 35 an hour to just schedule for us. Right? So silly at this point. Um, anyway. The mediator helped us work things through, but I still kept feeling like I’m going to push through this.

[00:28:17] bari: I’m going to make this work. And then. You know, I had a complication in labor. I really wanted a home birth. We wound up at the hospital. I’m so grateful. Um, we made it through healthy, alive, healthy, and then got to the other side as a new mom, and then all of a sudden I’m in recovery, a huge recovery. It wasn’t just like a little recovery.

[00:28:43] bari: It was like, knock me out. Emergency C section, you know, recovery in bed. Um, and. So all of a sudden it was I thought this business model would continue. It’s not working anymore. It’s not working. It can’t work for me [00:29:00] So I started asking new questions Okay, bury self. I used to work 40 50 60 hours because I had the energy I got 10 hours I got 10 hours of Ounces little teeny ounces of energy.

[00:29:18] bari: What can I do in 10 hours? That I love doing that I can do sleep deprived that I can and make the most amount of money that I can right now and and do it sleep deprived and it was leading groups. So, leading 2 groups of 50 people on mine and no one saw me. I mean, it was audio back then there was no teaching platforms.

[00:29:38] bari: There was no, you know, handouts were email attachments. Right and so me and my business partner, Joetta parted ways. I said goodbye to that whole business model, all the wonderful ladies, the whole team, because, [00:30:00] and went back to a one woman show. Now, I had other colleagues that set up their whole business that they had newsletters already scheduled for when they, you know, we’re going to give birth and have their babies and for the first, maybe even six months, they had newsletters scheduled, they had things going out, but I decided to go back to one woman show and simplify everything.

[00:30:23] bari: So that was a business model shift that did surprise me, but it really showed me that not every year is a growth year. Not every year is I’m going to move through a money ceiling and make more money and earn more so I can give more and save more and, you know, pay down debt more and put money into retirement and so on.

[00:30:43] bari: We want those years, but we might get a health crisis. We might have a new baby. We might. And there’s all sorts of reasons why shifts can happen. And we went back to one woman show. I went back to one woman show, not we, I went back to one woman [00:31:00] show. Okay. And just a few more examples, and then I’ll stop, but I’m trying to show you my arc here.

[00:31:07] bari: So income went down. I had to simplify for two years. Right. I had to shift up. We, we did go to some savings. We had to, I remember, you know, we grabbed a good chunk of savings and to get us through that time. But that was the best I could do is I got 10 hours.

[00:31:28] bari: I could teach a group online, sleep deprived, you know, that was the best I got. I have right now. Um, and my husband just happened to be starting a brand new business at the same time. So if you have a partner, sometimes if they have a job, then they can take you through your own changes and dips if you don’t, right.

[00:31:48] bari: But if your partner is also going through a big change that can be challenging. If you’re doing this solo, that can be challenging, right? There’s many different versions and scenarios of this for [00:32:00] me, though, what got me back in was I started, you know, my son started sleeping at age 3. Right and then I started sleeping and then all of a sudden, the online world started changing.

[00:32:14] bari: So then all of a sudden online programs and home study programs started coming into being so I was 1 of the 1st ones to do that because my husband forest took a class called teaching sells in 2007. It was one of the very first online courses that taught you how to sell something that you teach or teach something online and sell it as a program as a course as a home study.

[00:32:42] bari: And so everyone was starting to get online. I created my first home study program and sold it. Right. And. Um, and then I had a new business model. Then the new business model was okay. I’m doing coaching programs. I’m doing a 6 month money [00:33:00] program with 50 people and I’m and it includes the home study product.

[00:33:05] bari: Right? So that was my new model. And then again, it started hitting a place where it was working, but not great. I went back to the drawing board and I asked new questions. So this is where I, I don’t know if we talked about Money Koans yet. Money Cohen. Have we talked about Money Koans? Okay, so Money Koans is in my books.

[00:33:28] bari: It’s in the money mapping session section. Koan comes from the Buddhist Zen tradition of a riddle to be meditated upon until you reach some sort of enlightenment. Okay? So I’m not. A Buddhist, but everyone around me was for years when I was at Naropa and my husband was a meditator and considered himself Buddhist for many years.

[00:33:51] bari: I don’t think he does. But so I was always hearing this language and I thought, well, I would like to, to [00:34:00] bring, to connect money and coins and bring those together because we’re all walking around at different points with different money riddles or money conundrums. That we don’t have a solution for yet.

[00:34:13] bari: We haven’t broken through to see, or we can’t see clearly yet what solutions are. Okay. So, for me, money coins are. We all get them, whether they’re curve balls again, inner outer. Money challenges, money curveballs, money riddles. We have a great business for a while. Business model for a while stops working.

[00:34:37] bari: Okay, that can be a money Koan. It can be just something that we’re grappling with or I want to buy a house. And how the heck do I do that in the boulder market? You know, is that even possible or do we need to move somewhere else? Or, you know, there’s so many different versions of money Koans.

[00:34:53] bari: So Koan is the Zen Buddhist term, terminology for usually have a [00:35:00] Zen teacher. They, they give you some kind of, um, riddle to meditate upon where you hit. Enlightenment and I was always like, okay, well, I’m not not necessarily going for financial enlightenment, but I’m going for financial solutions, you know, and so that’s why how I started there.

[00:35:21] bari: There’s some, there’s a whole module on money Koans it’s 1 and lots of examples of questions to ask. So for me, money, Koans is the concept, right? It’s just a riddle to be meditated upon and sit with. How do you work with the money koan? You sit with it. You start to ask new questions. I’ve been sharing different versions of questions that I ask at each juncture at each fork in the road.

[00:35:47] bari: Where I feel stuck internally or externally. So I start to ask a new set of questions. There’s no right or wrong and there’s no here’s a set of questions to ask each time. I’m at a new juncture. I come up with [00:36:00] my own questions. And there’s a lot of, like, framework of how to do that in the money mapping modules.

[00:36:07] bari: So, you know, this juncture, um, I, I’ll go back the juncture when I had the had had the baby had my son was, you know, all right. I don’t have 40, 50, 60 hours anymore. I don’t have that energy. Right. So I have 10. What am I going to do in 10 hours? And what do I love to do the most that I can make the most amount of money right now?

[00:36:29] bari: Sleep deprived, right? While recovering. Those are my set of questions. A few years later, once we were sleeping, now I was realizing, Oh God, I had this home study under my belt. I have my, I’ve grown my program to six months now. All right. So what are my next set of questions? I just start throwing out questions.

[00:36:50] bari: Wow. Well, I’d really love to move their money ceiling. I want to make more money. Um, I always want to honor my time, meaning I always want to have a lot of time and [00:37:00] energy. That’s important. How can I be generous with my content? How can I be extra generous with my content? Right? How can I make my program even more accessible to more people and increase my income?

[00:37:14] bari: So this is where it gets interesting because some people every, you know, in the coaching world, it can be always raise your prices. I’m not of that mindset, right? I think there’s times to raise your prices. Individual fees. Yeah, I think I am. I am like for me, individual time. Is is so precious that, yes, you know, raise your prices and I, but you might need to do it incrementally because that’s what your body can handle and do.

[00:37:45] bari: And I’d love to support everyone to grow incrementally. Right? But sometimes with programs, I was charging more of mid price point. I think I was charging 750 for a 6 month program. Right? So I realized, how can I [00:38:00] decrease my, my fee for my group programs. So more people can join. Right, so I would, how can I give my content in a more generous way?

[00:38:12] bari: I started asking these types of questions and again, I was stuck. I was really like pulling teeth to get 50. We were getting 40 to 45 people each group, but it felt like I’m, it felt like I was pushing. I was struggling, I was pushing, right? And so we sat in a December, me, my husband, my, um, my business, um, manager at the time, and we just kept asking different questions.

[00:38:39] bari: How do we do this? Now, I had that year been invited to someone’s year long program. It was the 1st time I had heard about a year long program. She was doing a parenting program and she invited me to be a guest teacher. So. That’s where I first had the idea of, oh, there’s, there’s a thing a year long program.[00:39:00]

[00:39:00] bari: I, my, my home study program was 12 modules. That’s a year of content, right? So all of a sudden in a flash in this December, when we were staying with my husband’s parents for a while for extra child care in the Midwest, we all got the idea. Let’s open a year long program. Let’s lower the price point. I said, let’s do 88 a month times 12.

[00:39:26] bari: Right, so it’s easier for most people to do. Yeah, it’s more than the 750, but it’s a year long program. Right? You get tons of content. Generous amount of content, and we opened it up in January 3rd on my birthday, and we went from pulling teeth to get 50 people to 320 people. Signing up. Within a few weeks in that January, so we moved through a money ceiling made.

[00:39:55] bari: So, you know, jumped a revenue income level. Brought [00:40:00] in, we’re able to serve so many more people were able to be really generous with content. I had, and then the guest teachers, I had already been cultivating for years, those relationships. So lots of people, I’ll be a guest teacher in your program. I’ll be, I want to be interviewed.

[00:40:18] bari: Right so had a whole community of guest teachers and, and just took a big leap. So it was incremental incremental shifts. And then there’s a big leap, right? We all love the big leap. So I love the big leap. And then that business model lasted 7 years. We did 2 launches a year and that was. That was it that’s I mean, that was that was all I had to do and it was a May.

[00:40:40] bari: It was an amazing business model until the pandemic started changing the climate online. Right online programs are still working, but not as much. Right? So I’m going to stop there. I can keep going. Right? I mean, I would love. But I want, so what I’m trying to show you [00:41:00] is. Where are you at with your business model?

[00:41:05] bari: Where are you at with your own business models from what I’ve been sharing so far? What’s exciting you? What are you thinking about? What would push you? What are you ready for? And you see that some years I was, I wanted to grow. I wanted to serve more people. I wanted to make more money.

[00:41:22] bari: Right? Other years I chose to simplify. Because of health and energy and being a new mom and had to be okay with that. I definitely during that first year of being a new mom, even the second year, I had to keep saying to myself, I’m in a transition. I’m in a transition year. I’m in a transition year. This is not going to last forever.

[00:41:44] bari: We will get through this. Or even at the beginning phases of my business. Sometimes I had to say, I’m in the beginning phase of my business. This is not so much fun. This is really hard. This won’t last forever. We will get through this, right? [00:42:00] So business model is just 1 piece of the puzzle here, but it’s an important piece to really think about to really craft to adapt.

[00:42:12] bari: Fine tune. As you go based on life phase that you’re in based on where you want to go based on who you want to serve, right? There’s lots of different things.

[00:42:24] bari: You know, who right and where in what life phase are you in? Who do you need to support? Yourself and your animals, or do you have kids or do you have parents that you’re helping support? Just there’s a lot to factor in, right? When we’re figuring out business models.


If you have a business or private practice that could use a business model shift, I hope you find some helpful nuggets in this recording!

Here’s to getting creative and fine-tuning, 

P.S. I’ll be completing this final round of the Mentor Program next month. After 4 rounds of this program, I’ll be putting it on a hiatus for a while. I have other projects on deck (hello writing a 3rd book!). 

P.P.S. You’re always welcome to join my lower price-point program, The Art of Money, which has a rolling enrollment. While it’s not focused solely on professionals, it’s for all folks and includes some excellent community support with weekly co-working and monthly office hours with yours truly. 

You might also like: