Oh, the financial myths that entrepreneurs cling to! It’s time to separate fact from fiction and make informed decisions about business investments.
Carla Titus started her journey as an apparent saviour of entrepreneurs but ended up with an unexpected twist; she discovered that the key to success was focusing on profitability over revenue and managing costs intentionally. And by asking the powerful question, “How do I make this profitable?”, Carla changed the mindset of entrepreneurs and paved a way for long-term success and growth. What will be the outcome?
We need to follow where the money is going, we’re in business to make money.
My special guest is Carla Titus
Carla Titus is a finance expert with an impressive background of over 15 years in corporate financial planning, analysis strategy, and virtual CFO consulting for established online businesses. As a fractional CFO, Carla’s primary mission is to help business owners retain more cash, pay themselves a market rate, and ultimately become more profitable. With her keen financial insights and strategic approach, Carla helps entrepreneurs prioritize profitability over revenue in their business growth.
In this episode, you will:
- Uncover the truth behind common misconceptions in business investment strategies.
- Evaluate investment opportunities effectively for maximum return on investment.
- Focus on the importance of profitability over revenue for sustainable business growth.
- Achieve a perfect equilibrium between allocating time and financial resources for a thriving business.
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Highlights in this episode:
- How to assess your current financial situation and determine if investing in a program or service is necessary for the growth of your business.
- Before investing in any program, ask for expected ROI and the time commitment required to achieve it.
- Prioritizing your investments and focus on one thing at a time to master them and achieve better ROI.
- Track your investments and their results to ensure they are generating cash for your business.
- Consider the value of the lessons learned and skills developed from a program, even if it doesn’t provide immediate ROI.
- Manage your time as a valuable resource, just like your money, and allocate it wisely to achieve the best results.
- Be willing to pivot and change strategies if something isn’t working, but also double down on strategies that are showing promise.
- Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your investments and adjust your strategy as needed to ensure long-term profitability and success.
Debunking Financial Myths
Time to cut through the noise, separate fact from fiction, and get savvy about business investments. No more falling for false notions, folks! It’s time to make informed decisions and set ourselves up for success.
Don’t let these misconceptions lead you astray from your goals. Debunking these myths is key to smart planning, assessing risks, and maximizing your investment.
So, before you dive headfirst into a new venture, do your due diligence, folks! In this podcast, Carla Titus drives home the importance of critical thinking and thorough research. She’s all about evaluating whether it’s the right time to invest, the time commitment required, and the expected ROI. And guess what? Britney Gardner backs her up by stressing the significance of creating a budget and allocating resources wisely. Let’s avoid unnecessary risks and invest with our eyes wide open, shall we?
Working On Things That Matter
If you want a profitable business, you need to focus on what truly matters and build a strong foundation from the get-go. It’s all about prioritizing strategies, services, and programs that actually bring tangible benefits to your enterprise. Time management and resource allocation are key here. You’ve got to be careful about where you invest your efforts.
As Carla says, be selective about which endeavors you pursue and how they impact your business. Invest in opportunities that align with your goals, offer promising ROI, and strengthen your company’s foundation.
And don’t forget, time is precious! Titus emphasizes the importance of monitoring and managing it effectively because it’s a valuable resource in building a successful business. So let’s prioritize what matters and set ourselves up for success!
00:00:06 - Britney Gardner This is a show about content marketing for established, sophisticated online businesses. Unlike other shows about marketing, we focus on sustainable, measurable content creation. How to authentically automate your marketing, to build up your know, like and trust factor with a nurtured, engaged audience between launches and get back to actually living your life instead of working to live. Hey. Hey friends. We're continuing on with our shiny happy tactics series today. And today is going to be about debunking financial myths, which is a little bit different than marketing myths, right? It's a little bit different than the marketing tactics we've been talking about, and yet it ties right into that, because we're going to talk a lot about different programs or services you might be investing in for your business and how to do it in a really good way that lends towards profitability and ROI from those program investments. Our guest today is Carla Titus. She's a finance expert with over 15 years of combined corporate financial planning, analysis strategy, and established online businesses virtual CFO Consulting experience. She provides fractional CFO services and financial consulting to business owners so they retain more cash, pay themselves a market rate, and are more profitable. And who better to help us on this particular shiny happy tactic? Am I right? So let's go on to the interview. Hey, Carla. Welcome to the no like and show. Hi.
00:01:34 - Carla Titus So excited to be here.
00:01:36 - Britney Gardner We know each other personally. We've actually sat over French fries and cocktails.
00:01:41 - Carla Titus Yes, it was great.
00:01:43 - Britney Gardner But with that, we've had a lot of conversations and I think my favorite thing that we talked about the last time you and I met up in person, something that's kind of rolled around in my head multiple times since then, and I call that sticky content. That's always good stuff. But it was talking about people who over invest in their business and then have an era of desperation the next time they're ready to invest. Things still aren't working. Things still aren't going the way they expected. And they've put so much money into program after program after program, that when it comes to finally finding the thing that they think, this thing, this shiny tactic is really going to work for them, there's this feeling of, well, it has to work because it's my last resort. So if you're cool just diving right into the conversation on that front, I would love to see what you have to say.
00:02:32 - Carla Titus Yeah, it's very interesting because being on the fractional CFO side of how we support clients on their finances and helping guide those decisions, there is a lot of conversations around. Do you have the time to invest in this? Is this really what your business needs now? Or is it a down the road investment? How are we going to make the most out of this investment, aka squeeze the juice out of it and get the ROI that we expect? And then what is our expectations on that ROI benefit return on investment that we want to see for this to be meaningful and move the needle in the business. And I think we do definitely take the time to address all of that before making that decision. But I see too many people just jumping at shiny objects and opportunities that feel and sound like the right thing, but they're not doing their due diligence around what is it really like and what kind of results can I expect? And asking the questions, what have other clients like me seen as far as results? And while a lot of people don't want to guarantee any type of result because you kind of have to put in the work, and those people are not going to be handholding you, so it's kind of up to you at that point to do the work to get the result that you're expecting. They can give you an idea of what's possible and what others have been able to achieve by putting in the time and work needed to get those results. And I think just getting that clarity back from these people that are making the sales to you on what is the time commitment in order for me to materialize those results? And then what kind of results have other people experienced that I might be able to achieve? Again, no guarantees, but then you get a good idea. Is that worth that return on investment, the three X, five X or whatever that you're seeking for that particular instance? Too often, business owners are working on things that don't matter. And that is the problem, because there will always be a course, there will always be a coach, there will always be something that will tackle that aspect, but it's not going to make a difference in their business.
00:04:35 - Britney Gardner All right, you just hit the nail on the head there and we're off to, like, a running good start on this. All right, so what you said was too often people are working on things that don't matter. And I couldn't agree more. I have worked with a number of clients over the years who come to me and they're like, I've done this, this, and this, but they haven't done what I consider the precursor to all of those things. And I'm like, well, of course they didn't work for you. You didn't do the groundwork. You don't have the foundation to build upon to make Facebook ads work for your business, or you don't have the foundation to make an instagram live series work for your business. Because you haven't done what I would call step A, B and C. You're already on E or F or crazily enough, sometimes even M. You know what I mean? So I'd love to hear you're the finance person. You're the person who helps business owners make sure that they are making money. So obviously you understand that there are tools people have to pay for to allow them to make money, and there are learning opportunities that they will have to invest in. So where's the line? I mean, I know you said you've got to look at whether that program is going to give you real ROI for someone in your very similar situation, but at what point is continually investing too much without seeing results? Well.
00:05:57 - Carla Titus So at the end of the day, if you're not able to track okay, investment A that cost me this much, brought me two paying clients or two leads or two conversations to potentially convert someone to a paying client, customer, product buyer, then you're not doing your job analyzing whether or not that investment was worth it or if it even worked. And I think that is the problem, is we're not connecting it back to, okay, does this investment mean cash in the bank for me? And if so, how long did that take? How much time did I invest in this to be able to make it become cash in the bank? And we're not connecting that line of thinking. We're just doing all the things. And listen, there's nothing wrong with trying new things, right? We are a big advocate of let's go pilot things out, but let's not throw the kitchen sink on top of it all because we don't know if it's going to work yet. Let's go try it as a small scale test. Let's track the metrics, make sure we are getting that conversion, the paying clients, the cash in the bank, and then once we know it works, we can double down, triple down, ten X down on that investment because we know it works. So I'll give you an example. Last year, we tried everything we did, like TikTok and Instagram, Facebook. We tried it all from a marketing perspective to see what worked. And then we went back and looked at our metrics and said, where were the paying clients coming from? Now that we've done all the things and spent all the time and put all the efforts and build all the systems to support ten different ways that we could market, where is it actually working? And we narrowed down to three things out of like, ten that we were trying. And so now I no longer have to do ten. I can do three and be way more effective because I know that is generating the type of results I want to see in the business. And we do the same thing with clients, right? Because at the end of the day, we need to follow where the money is going. We're in business to make money. And if you're not, maybe you have a very expensive hobbit or you're a nonprofit that wants to give back, but they should still make money to make impact. But we need to be able to see, at the end of the day, what is that generating for us? And I think we're just too eager to give our money away to people with courses and such and not think, is this really the Step A I need instead of Step M that you mentioned? Do I have the right foundation to take advantage of this fully and really be critical and assess where you're at? Be very honest with yourself. I see too many people are investing ten times more than they should in their business because they're like, Well, I'm going to get it back, or I need to just invest and make sure that I'm committed. And spending big dollars will always result in big dollars back. And that is not always true. And I think people need to create a budget and think about the allocation of how much they're spending in which areas of their business before they go off and just sign up for all the things. Now you're part of ten memberships and three Masterminds, and hire a content marketing person, and all of a sudden you can't manage all of it because it's too much for one person to do. We're not saying don't do it. We're just saying prioritize and decide when the right time is to do those. You could still do all ten programs and three Masterminds. Just don't do them all on top of each other.
00:09:07 - Britney Gardner I think that's a really valid point. I took a program which all told, cost me just shy of $3,000. I think it was at the end of 2021, maybe fall 2021, and I was able to directly tie about $40,000 of revenue to it over the course of 2022. So obviously good. Yes.
00:09:28 - Carla Titus Yes, absolutely. Great return.
00:09:30 - Britney Gardner Yeah, I was happy with that. I definitely felt like I got my money's worth from that. But I saw a lot of other people taking that exact same program, and some of them might have made their money back, but the amount of time they spent doing it, I would have argued not a good ROI. Because even if they made the $3,000 over the course of the next year, the amount of time they took to go through that program to try and implement what was going on in that program to try and gain clients from it, they would have 100% been at a loss. Not even counting all of the other upsells that I avoided from the people who led that program. They were buying into all of those still not having implemented and made profits with what they learned in the first program. And I look at that. I look at that across the industry, and I think at this point, it's probably more of the norm than doing what you're talking about here. And because so many people are doing it this way, you're like, Well, I didn't receive results from this program, so I'm going to buy this other one, and I'm going to get results from that. And before you know it, they've gone through four programs in a calendar year, and not one of them has had an impactful ROI. Maybe it's had some.
00:10:43 - Carla Titus I see it often, and I think sometimes while we love to see a return on investment from a money perspective, and maybe we want to make sure your time is being utilized well to get results, sometimes it's worth to go through those programs for the lessons learned and to avoid mistakes in the future. So it's not all debt weight if you break even or you don't actually make some kind of profit out of the programs. As long as you're learning and growing and developing a new skill, maybe that has value as well, because now you can apply it. But be very mindful. How many skills do you need to learn in the course of a year with four programs? And do you have the time for that when you're trying to make money in your business? So there's got to be a balance. And I think people are just not looking at that equation the right way on where their time is going. If you're not delivering on client results or taking care of your clients, or selling more product, and you're focusing on the programs that's coming at a cost. Right. Your time is valuable. As a CEO, there's only one of you who can direct the show that has a vision for where you want to go. And where you put your resource of time is just as important as where you put your resource of money. We manage money like we manage time because it's just available. And if you're not paying money for something, you're probably paying time for it. So just be careful on where and how you're giving it that allocation and where you prioritize it. Because at the end of the day, I would love to have more business owners have profitable long term businesses where they're trying one thing and they've committed fully to it, and then they can replicate and do it maybe one more time to get two extra three X the result that they were getting. So master it instead of just move on to the next thing. No, if it's not working, go ahead and move on. But if you are seeing some results, maybe it's about doubling down at that point and really focusing on how do you get even a better ROI the next time around?
00:12:32 - Britney Gardner Oh, I love that. And regarding the time the time it takes to learn a new skill, and then if it is working, if you're starting to see limited results, the amount of time for you to really dive in and truly master it, it's not something people talk about a lot. It's like, oh, yeah, you know that skill. Okay, move on to the next, like you were just saying, right? And that idea right there. I actually changed part of my marketing message in the last six months as a result of that very idea. And it was because of something I experienced last fall. I was looking at possibly taking a program and then honestly saying, you know what? I do not have time to fully engage in this program right now. And it was a program that was going to have live support. So if I was going to do it right, then I was going to miss out on that big draw, that big push was the live support and everything. I would not have been able to fully make use of that. And it was just an honest look at my schedule. I was like, I do not have the time for this. And as a result, in my own business, I started talking about Evergreen Content more, because there is, at any given time, multiple segments of your audience who didn't buy. And I used to look at it just as just two segments, and I've revisited my idea, and I think it's three now. So I used to say, there's the people who bought and then the people who were never going to buy, and then the people who haven't built enough trust up in you to buy yet. But I actually changed it. I added one more segment, and that's the people who did trust you enough to buy. And they were excited to buy, but they did what I've done, and they took an honest look at their life and said, I don't have time or resources for this right now. And that resource might actually be money. There are plenty of people who refuse to go into debt for a program, and thank you. Thank you for being those people. But the other resource is time, right? There are real life situations that would prevent someone from being able to engage and get the benefits of any kind of investment, whether it's a program or not. Maybe they have a major life issue going, and a parent is in their last stages, and they're going to spend time with family. Maybe they're just struggling with something personal and they just need more healing time for something. Maybe they've got kids situations going on. We don't know the intricacies of other people's lives. So I modified my three segments. The buyers, the never going to buyers, and the maybe we'll see. Buyers into four segments. The buyers, the never going to buyers, the maybe we'll see, and the I really want to please don't forget about me. I'm still here. I want to buy next time, probably. And people forget about that. There's a lot of people who want your stuff.
00:15:09 - Carla Titus I'll even add, like, another one, and that's me. I'm distracted, don't have time, and I have to see it ten times before I hit the buy button. And it's not about trust. It's just life is busy and I forget. And then even if I made time on my calendar, which you all should be blocking your calendars, if you have a program you want to attend and you want to execute on because all the goals, ambitions in your business fall short because of lack of execution. So I want to make sure that you're taking action and you're proactively, making sure you're making the time to allocate to a given program and such. But I'm busy. I have a team of five we're working with and it's hard sometimes for me to see an offer on Instagram one day and I'm like, oh, I should really sign up for that. And then shiny object, the kid says something or something happens, I get distracted and I come back to it and it's not there anymore. And I'm like, oh, and then I just don't have the time to look for it, right? So it's like you're ready, you're eager, you want it, but squirrel something happens, takes your attention away from it. So your categories make a lot of sense on people who are already but that's why we have to be consistent and discipline and consistency is what's going to get your results. You got to keep showing up, you got to remind people. And if you think you're selling too much, you're not. Because you know how many offers people have in front of them at any given point in time. In a day, yours might not even pop up for them more than once a month for all you know. So if you're not showing up and you're not consistent and you're not selling, it's not going to happen. You're going to have those people forget about it. And I think something you said about people not going into debt to buy programs and courses, I see it too often because they're expecting a big result to be able to pay all that back. There's a time and place to leverage debt. But my goal as a CFO is always to be very honest with my clients. If you take on this debt, can you afford to pay it? If you get no results, and if the answer is yes, then maybe we will go down that path and leverage the debt and take the risk, because the business owner feels confident doing that. And we have the resources to manage it if they're like. I want to take on the debt, but I don't have a way of paying it back unless this works. It's up to you as your business, but that is a very high risk and we don't want to put you in a bad position just so that you can go after a course sometimes. You know what, you can YouTube things, you can put them together yourself if you have to be resourceful, be creative, because what you do have is time. Maybe you don't have money, but you might have the time to be able to invest in learning that skill. But I absolutely want to go back to emphasizing the need for execution and follow through because that is where all dreams go to die. If you don't have the right execution, either the team or the skill to make sure that you're executing on the day to day of these activities in order to get the most out of those programs.
00:17:52 - Britney Gardner Yeah, time execution, right? Like, we started talking off finances because that's your world. But I love how we're pulling it all together because your financial decisions require input from other areas. And I am, like, the worst about blocking time on my calendar. I will fully admit that right here, I feel like I have so little of it, and then things pop up and it takes it. And I'm like, I started with a little, and now I have less. How did that work exactly? But my husband, he's not a business owner. He works in sales, and he's, like, in customer success. So he helps people make the most of what they're already doing, but that means he ends up in Zoom all day, almost all the time. And he started doing this at the first of the year. He had to clear it with his higher ups and everything. He blocks off a two hour chunk every day on his calendar. I could open it up right now because I have I have access to his calendar because we we co parent sometimes while children are in the house while we're working, you know, and it just says, focus time. And I I love that, you know, like, it's how he gets the actual non talking part of his job done, because it's not all that. And I feel like in any world, right, like your non client time, you're still doing stuff for your work. Like my non content creation for clients time, I'm doing lots of other things. Admin typically takes up at least a third of my time on any given week, and I don't block it.
00:19:17 - Carla Titus Yeah, I've seen people who have managed to successfully line up things in a way that they have a no call, stay right where they can literally just have that white space to even just take the day off for. God's sakes, or to just get work done that they need to focus on at their own time when their energy is up, when they feel like doing it, so it doesn't feel like they have to show up for something, or they have to be on camera or on zoom or even just talk to anyone, for that matter. But they can get work done. And so I think being mindful of where your time goes is just as important of being mindful where your money goes in business. And so we have a big focus around not wasting time and managing efficiently, because that is a lot of the resource waste that goes into paying your staff or others to do things, and you're not getting results for it. So making sure that you're thinking about time as a resource as well, that costs you money because you're paying for it. Even if you're not paying yourself yet, or if you are, your time is valuable. Right. And I think we have such a hard time because we always call it, oh, it's free, or like, I don't pay myself, so I don't cost anything. You're the highest cost to your business. Without you, there will be no business. So let's be very intentional about where we put and allocate our time, as well as where we allocate our money to help grow the business and make sure your business is paying you right. Because I think we're doing a lot of great work, and it's only a matter of time where you become resentful if your business is not providing for you and you're giving it your all. If you're not there yet, just start with a habit of paying yourself something. It doesn't even have to be significant to start with, but as the business grows, start to allocate more of that towards you, because without you, there will be no business.
00:20:58 - Britney Gardner Absolutely. All right, so before we wrap up, what question do you wish people would ask you that? They never do. And as a result, they end up making poor decisions, whether it's financial or otherwise. What's the big thing that you're like? Oh, my gosh, why didn't you just ask me?
00:21:14 - Carla Titus Just one.
00:21:18 - Britney Gardner We'll go with one today. How's that?
00:21:20 - Carla Titus Yeah, I think the one that kind of brings it all together or helps us have a better lens in business is, how do I make this profitable? And that just applies for anything that you do in business.
00:21:32 - Britney Gardner Right.
00:21:32 - Carla Titus It doesn't matter if it's a new program, if it's what you're already doing, because it's talking about how much you're generating and also how much you're spending cost wise to generate that amount, and then what is left? At the end of the day, I see way too many businesses that are not asking that question, like, how do we make this profitable? And they're going into making things that are not making the money breaking even or worse. They're actually spending money to be negative, and they don't even realize it because they're not looking at that margin of profitability and managing intentionally. So you don't want to be overallocating on costs and spending beyond what you're making and want to make sure that you have that focus of, like, how do we make this profitable? So even if it's not today, there should be a path to get to that. And I don't think we asked that question enough because it's much more sexy to talk about revenue and how big your company is. But if you're making a million dollars and spending 1.3, I'm sorry, but I don't want that business and a business that's making $100,000 and keeping 80 of it, I much rather own that than the seven figure business that's losing money every year. So we need to put things in perspective. And the profitability focus is really going to help us compare the health of the business and really help drive the conversation on how do we make sure there's something left there at the end of the day.
00:22:52 - Britney Gardner Perfect. Well, I can't think of a better way to wrap up Carla. First of all, thank you. And if any of our listeners are in need of fractional CFO work, where can they find you?
00:23:02 - Carla Titus They can go to our website, wealthworthwithin.com. We have a contact page where you can book a call if you're ready to talk about how we can come into your team as a fractional CFO for support. If you're not ready for that yet, you can sign up for our newsletter. We send resources and helpful information. We do a lot of podcast interviews and provide a lot of value through education. That is our main way that we help the community and support them. And also you can follow us on social media. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, at, wealthworth within. And we put a lot of really great value, content and education. At least I think so. So hopefully you do, too. And we make it fun.
00:23:47 - Britney Gardner Yeah. No, you're doing it right.
00:23:49 - Carla Titus We try to make it fun because finances can be very boring. But we want you to get excited about having money, keeping money, paying yourself more money, and having a long, sustainable, profitable business.
00:24:00 - Britney Gardner Thanks, Carla. I so appreciate your time.
00:24:02 - Carla Titus Thanks for having me.
00:24:04 - Britney Gardner Thanks to Carla. Again, I appreciate your time so much. I love how we covered how to get the most benefits from the programs you're going to invest in, whether that is a benefit of time, a benefit of money, a benefit of raising your skill set. There are so many different ways to measure the ROI, and I love how Carla not only made sure to mention those, even though she's a financial expert, we even talked about when it might be appropriate to go into debt for a program. And it's kind of gratifying to hear that not all things are completely taboo if you've got a good way to back it up and a good plan for the future. So thanks again and we'll talk more next week. If you found value from this episode, there are two things you can do to thank me. The first is share it with a friend. If you enjoyed this episode, you learned something from it. Odds are you know somebody who needs to hear this message. I do truly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and if you help that friend with something that they need to do, we're going to have less crappy marketers out there, which means less scams, and we get to help more people in those ways that we uniquely are meant to help them. The second thing you can do is leave a rating on whichever podcast app you are listening to the show on right now. Doing that helps me reach more people. Getting again this same great information out there. And we all make a better, happier, effective and ethical world as a result. Thanks so much. See you next week.
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Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!