The Creative Money Interview series exists to remind the passionate, DIY entrepreneur that she can navigate the confusing, messy world of business numbers with grace, ease, and humor.
Today, I’m speaking with Sage Grayson, a professional Life Editor who helps ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. I love being in her Internet community because she’s always offering loving and insightful advice about how to get real with myself and my business as well as how to make the most of my limited time. Plus, she always gives great book recommendations. Thanks for sharing your story, Sage!
- Which system Sage uses to decide when to raise her rates
- How she earned 50k from ONE email
- How she’s crafted her sales funnel to guide her clients along a journey
- What she would do with an extra $10,000
LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY
What about money most confused you when you started your business?
At my old job as a book editor, I got used to taxes being taken out of my paycheck automatically. When I quit my corporate job and created my life coaching business, I failed to research how taxes work for businesses. I didn’t understand how to pay taxes for my business throughout the year, and that led to a hefty tax bill the next year. Whoops!
How did you solve that problem?
I hired a CPA who helped me get organized, track my income and expenses, and (most importantly!) pay my taxes quarterly. No more unpleasant surprises. 🙂
What challenges are you currently having with managing money in your business?
I’m in a major growth phase for my business, and it can be complicated tracking my expenses for multiple live events, vendors, and freelancers. I’m juggling a lot of different priorities.
You don’t want to resent your clients — you want to love them!
How did you decide what to price your services?
I once had a coach who suggested that I choose the highest prices I could say without stuttering. What she meant was I had to feel ultra confident when I say my prices because if I don’t believe them, then my potential clients won’t believe them either.
I choose prices that are one step outside my comfort zone. It’s not so far that I feel scared about asking for that amount, but I’m still owning my worth through an even exchange of energy.
When I first started coaching, my prices were dirt cheap. But those were the prices I believed in (i.e., could say without stuttering)! I ignored everyone else’s advice about pricing and still don’t look at what other coaches are charging. I’m not competing against them, and there are more than enough clients to go around.
When is the last time you raised your prices / rates? What made you decide to do that?
Every 3 months, I review my prices for my products and services. If they still feel congruent, then I leave them alone. I know it’s time for me to raise my prices whenever I start to resent my clients. “Oh man, I’m doing so much work for her and she’s only paying that little bit???”
You don’t want to resent your clients–you want to love them! Inch your prices up until it feels like the energy between you and your client is balanced.
LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS
What’s your current business model? In other words, how do you make money?
I make money through my well-defined sales funnel. It’s the logical path I want my potential clients to take as they move through my products and services. Whenever they reach the end of something (a blog post, a worksheet, a planner, a class, a group program, etc.), I always tell them the next step on their life editing journey. Never leave ‘em hanging!
My followers start by signing up for my free Editor’s Toolkit that has dozens of free worksheets, guidebooks, video trainings, and resources. Then they purchase one of my Editor Year Planners. Then they join my paid Life Editor Clubhouse membership site. Then they join my paid group programs such as Life Editing for Beginners or Startup In 60. Then they pay me for private coaching. Then they pay for a ticket to my live event Life Editor Weekend here in Orlando. Then they join my paid Life Editor Academy mastermind group.
These tiny baby steps through my sales funnel help build trust between me and my potential clients.
Why do you love what you do?
I love life coaching, and it’s my “zone of genius” for those of you have read the excellent book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I was a great book editor, but I’m a much better coach. This is where I truly shine.
Ding! The lightbulb turned on over my head. I quit my book editing job and devoted myself full-time to coaching.
I was a medical textbook editor for 10 years before I burned out from reading about death and disease all day long. At the time in 2012, I had a mildly successful advice blog, and I loved reading other blogs from life coaches and productivity experts. I soon realized that they were getting paid for the same advice I was giving away for free.
Ding! The lightbulb turned on over my head. I quit my book editing job and devoted myself full-time to coaching. By 2015, I was earning more than $100,000 per year from my business.
What’s one mindset shift you had to make to get to the next level of your business?
To break the 6-figure mark, I had to think BIG! Giving away free worksheets was fun, but I had a feeling that my followers were just waiting for me to offer them something ginormous that would blow their minds. They didn’t want another printable…they wanted ME!
As an extrovert, I thrive on human interaction. Watching my clients on Skype through my laptop screen wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted to give them hugs in person and hang out in our pajamas eating pizza.
By the end of the day, I had earned $50,000 from that one email.
In the summer of 2015, I created my Life Editor Academy mastermind group for 10 ambitious ladies to spend an entire year editing their lives with me. There were one-on-one coaching calls, group calls, a book club, care packages, and 4 live retreats in Orlando, Florida.
I was sweating bullets when I sent the email to my list announcing the Academy. I was so nervous! But I trusted that my Life Editors were ready to play big just like I was. By the end of the day, I had earned $50,000 from that one email.
If you want to reach the next level of your business, you have to stop doing the comfortable things at the current level and shift your focus to the things that make your heart feel like it’s going to burst out of your chest. What do you really, really, REALLY want? Trust yourself and take that leap!
AND LET’S HAVE SOME FUN
OH NO! Your creative juices are running low. What’s one thing you do to get them flowing again?
When my brain is mush and nothing’s getting done, I take my dog Skyla for a long walk around the neighborhood. The fresh air and sunshine always make me feel more hopeful and optimistic. Some people get inspired in the shower, but I’m inspired when I watch Skyla chase squirrels up trees.
If you weren’t running this business and you could do anything — no limits — what would you do for work?
In my wildest dreams, I would be one of the characters at Walt Disney World posing for pictures and handing out balloons. I’m only 5 feet tall so I’m too short to be a princess, but I would have a blast being Daisy Duck!
You have 30 seconds to choose the one meal to eat every day for a full month. What do you choose?
If calories don’t count in this magical scenario, then I’d have to go with a never-ending bowl of pasta primavera with extra veggies. Nothing’s more comforting than carbs. 🙂
WHOA, someone has just given you $10,000. You have to save 20% of it, but you can do whatever you want with the rest. What do you do?
I’d hire my Happiness Guru (AKA my executive assistant). I’m currently a team of one, and it gets super lonely sometimes. I’d love to have an assistant to delegate stuff to and keep things happy around the office.
What’s one of your favorite quotes to remember when things in business get tough?
I’m a Buddhist, and I meditate and chant every morning. One of my favorite mantras is “Everything goes right for me.” I say it dozens of times to calm down and let the universe take over. Funnily enough, since I’ve started saying this affirmation, everything does go right for me. 🙂
Anything else you want to tell us about / invite us to?
Life Editor Weekend tickets are now on sale! Give me 4 days, and I’ll take you from overwhelmed to overjoyed! Spend a weekend here in sunny Orlando, Florida, with dozens of your fellow Life Editors and learn how to stop drifting through your life and start editing it. There are practical life editing sessions, goal planning, Q&A with me, roundtable discussions, tons of yummy food, relaxing by the lake, dancing like a maniac…and a pajama party! Grab your ticket before they sell out.
Be Virtual Friends with Sage
Sage hangs out on her website, makes videos on her YouTube channel, and on the social channels below. If you join her email list, she’ll give you her Editor’s Toolkit that includes resources like the Face Your Fear Digital Guidebook and From Lazy to Amazing. Say hi to her!