It’s been a long year for most of us, especially for Kendra Perry and her business, but it’s certainly been a year of growth. Today, Kendra shares three painful lessons she learned this year in the business, both in revenue and in terms of professional and personal perspective and practice. Because really, you can reach a point where you think you know enough, and that’s exactly when you’re going to be proven wrong in your face. Tune in and discover how Kendra learned the hard way – what she learned while she felt stuck, frustrated, and overwhelmed to a point where she almost wanted to burn her business to the ground, so you hopefully won’t have to anymore.
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3 PAINFUL Lessons I Learned In 2022
It’s Boxing Day. I don’t know if that’s a thing outside of Canada, but if you are a Boxing Day person, I hope you’re getting all the deals in the world. Funny enough, in the town that I live in, Boxing Day is a crazy party day. I don’t know why. It wasn’t like that where I grew up, but Merry Christmas to anyone who just celebrated Christmas. I hope it was wonderful. I hope you ate lots of Turkey and stuffing, and I hope you had a great time with friends and family.
In this episode, I want to reflect back on the year 2022 and tell you a little bit about the three big lessons that I learned in 2022 that will potentially help you as well. 2022 was a big growth year for my business. I don’t mean in terms of revenue. We did increase our revenue, but just for me personally, I learned a lot of things that I didn’t expect to learn. I would consider 2022 to be a very challenging year in my business. Lots of amazing things happened, but there were a lot of challenges.
There were multiple times in 2022 when I wanted to burn my business to the ground. I would never do that. I’m not going to go get a job or something. I would never have it any other way. Even on the hardest days in my business, I still would never want it to be any other way. Overall, it was a very challenging year. I felt stuck. I felt frustrated. I felt overwhelmed. I felt burnt out. I felt confused. I had a lot of emotions this 2022. It wasn’t a smooth year, but it’s always the hard times where you grow, evolve, and learn so much. Even though it was challenging, I am still very grateful for it.
Hire Slow, Fire Fast
This is going to come off a bit harsh, but let me explain. The first lesson is to hire slow and fire fast. Let me break this down. I never had a corporate job. I worked in forestry, which mostly was me working in the bush, either by myself or one other person. I’ve never had a normal job. I don’t have experience leading a team or delegating things. I’ve never been a boss in any of my previous jobs. I don’t have the skills in terms of hiring. I just figured it out as I went. I never educated myself on hiring, so when I hired, even though I did luck out and got some great people along the way, I had a lot of bad experiences, too.
Now, the first thing I want to say before I go into this is that everyone has bad hiring experiences. Even if you do all the right things, you can still hire someone who’s not the right fit. I see this a lot of times with coaches. They have one bad hiring experience, and they’re like, “I can’t do that. I got to do it on my own.” Know that this is a part of the journey.
Typically, when I hired in the past, I did it off of vibe. I was like, “You seem cool. Do you want to come work for me?” I didn’t have any strategy. I didn’t educate myself on how to hire well. I was very ignorant of the process. What this led to is me having a lot of contractors who were not the right fit. Especially, I’ve had a hard time with my virtual assistant position.
I lucked out. I had the same virtual assistant for a couple of years, and then I had another one for two years who was fantastic. When she left, it’s been quite challenging. It’s been a hard role to fill. I’ve had people ghost me. People quit without notice. I’ve had to fire people. Trust me, firing is never fun. Essentially, with one position in my business, I hired someone as I usually do based on the vibe, and it went okay for a little while, but the performance went downhill pretty quickly. This person started underperforming, and I didn’t want to deal with it.
I would let them know kindly when they messed up, but things weren’t changing. Instead of nipping it in the bud and dealing with it quickly, I just ignored it. I didn’t want to deal with it because I didn’t know how to deal with it. I don’t like to be the person who’s constantly telling people that they are doing a bad job. I let this go on.
Instead of passing things over to this person, I would just do so many things myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was stressing me out. I was incredibly stressed out. I was waking up in the night, worrying that things weren’t getting done. I was totally almost oblivious to it. I was not paying attention to that because I didn’t want to do it.
Eventually, though, things got so bad that I did decide to sit down, have a serious talk with this contractor, and try to very lovingly and kindly, being like, “Is something going on? The performance has been poor. What’s going on?” to try to have a serious talk and remedy the problem. As it turns out, this person had some personal stuff going on.
What I tried to get across was, “It’s okay if you have personal stuff going on, but if you can’t finish things, they still need to get done, so you need to communicate to the team that you need help.” This person was like, “I have a hard time asking for help.” I’m like, “In this role, that’s something that you’re going to have to get good at doing because stuff happens, and it’s fine, but these tasks and projects still need to get done, so you need to communicate.”
I ended up giving this person another chance, and then things didn’t get better. Again, I didn’t want to deal with it. I was ignoring it because I didn’t want to deal with it. It’s challenging. It’s a lot of time and money to hire someone new. Finally, a few things happened in a row that I was like slapped in the face with the truth, and I realized, “This is affecting the deliverability of the programs. This is affecting our student experience. We’re telling students they’re going to get something, and they’re not because it’s not getting done. That’s a big deal for a business.”
It slapped me in the face hard, and I realized I had to let this person go. That was horrible. If I had hired a little better, not just based on the vibe, if I had taken my time to ask the right questions and interview someone properly, I probably would never have had this person work for the company. This is the whole concept of hiring slow and firing fast because this whole thing was about a year of poor performance before I finally decided that there was nothing else I could do. I’ve had multiple conversations, it just wasn’t going to work, and I should have dealt with that a lot sooner.
What I learned about hiring is that you need to be very intentional. You need to give a lot of description in a job detail and ask specific questions. Here is a little hack that I’ve learned about hiring that is very genius. When you put out your job posting, for example, let’s say one of the qualities that you want to hire for is attention to detail. If you have a virtual assistant who’s doing all these little administrative tasks, you want them to have strong attention to detail.
What you could do is, at the bottom of your job posting, you could say, “If you are interested in this job, send an email with these things and put this in the subject line.” For example, I would put, “I’m a badass virtual assistant.” That would be what I would tell them to put in the subject line, and then have them do a little fact-finding mission.
I would say, “Let me know who won Season 17 of The Bachelor.” That’s what I put in it. I know it’s not related to business, but what this does is it weeds out the people who don’t have attention to detail. They’re going to miss that entirely if they don’t have attention to detail. The people who do are going to put the proper word in the subject line, and they’re going to tell you who won Season 17 of The Bachelor.
That’s a little hack with hiring. Make sure you’re asking the right questions and you’re hiring for qualities over skills because skills can always be trained, but qualities are qualities. If someone’s quality doesn’t line up with your brand values, then it’s not going to work. Something else I’ve started doing in my job postings is to be clear about who I am. I’m someone who is a little disorganized. I’m all over the map. I have a lot of ideas, and I change things often. I put that into my job posting.
I let people know that the CEO who you will be working with has a lot of ideas. She likes to try new things, and she’s always changing things. The ideal candidate will need to be able to shift gears quickly. If you don’t like it, that’s cool. This isn’t the job for you. Being clear about what it’s like to work with me so that we get people into the role who can handle my energy.
That’s something I learned about hiring. That’s that whole concept of hiring slow. When we talk about firing fast, I know that sounds harsh, but what that means is that you have to be proactive quickly when people are underperforming. A lot of times, why you are not happy with the performance of a contractor is usually due to communication and expectations. You weren’t clear enough with expectations. You didn’t give the person enough direction. That’s a big part. That’s something I learned earlier on in my business.
I couldn’t expect people to read my mind. I had to be clear with how I wanted things done. What I should have done in this situation with my previous virtual assistant is, as soon as I noticed the performance going downhill, I should have booked a call immediately and just said, “I’ve noticed that your performance has been poor. Is something going on? Is there some way we can support you? What can we do to fix this? I need to see things improve in the next 30 days or two weeks.”
If things didn’t improve, I would put that person on a performance improvement plan. A 30-day performance improvement plan would be in writing, and it would say, “This is what’s going wrong, this is what we need to change, and this is the timeline that we need to see a change in. Otherwise, you won’t be with the company anymore.”
The purpose of that is that you’re being proactive when performance is poor. I don’t know if I would’ve learned this. I’m just using an example. Maybe if I’d had the conversation immediately, what I would’ve learned is that she was unclear with how to do certain tasks, or she wasn’t sure what was expected of her, or she felt like she didn’t understand what it’s like when it was done. What that would’ve done is uncover some deficiencies in our processes and systems.
Maybe there was something we could have put in place to make it easier for her, for example. With the performance improvement plan, it would’ve been clear that, “This is where you’re messing up, this is what we need to see going right, and this is the timeframe we want to see improvement in.” It’s clear so that if you do have to let someone go, it’s not a surprise. You’ve had these multiple conversations, and it happens quickly. That’s what I mean when I say fire fast. It’s not, “Let’s just ask them and not give people chances.”
I’m an empathetic and compassionate person. I want people to succeed, but I’m also running a business. My students are my number one priority, and if the business is going to suffer because of someone working for me, they can’t work for the business. That was a big lesson that I learned multiple times in 2022. This will continue to be a challenge for me because there’s still so much I have to learn with hiring, leading a team, and delegating because I’m new to this. I am a work in progress when it comes to this.
Paid Advertising Is Not A Silver Bullet
The second big lesson that I learned was a harsh lesson. I started to learn this lesson in 2021, but it became clear to me in 2022. That is, paid advertising is not a silver bullet. A lot of people think, “If I have the money to invest in paid ads, my business will explode.” Paid ads are a great tool, but they are not a silver bullet, and they won’t necessarily fix your business or get you the traffic that you’re looking for.
The vast majority of my business growth and success has been with organic marketing, and that means free marketing. I’ve basically grown my business to over $500,000 a year with social media, email marketing, collaborations, podcast interviews, and that sort of thing. I’ve dabbled in and out of ads the entire length of my business, but I’ve never committed to seriously running them because my results were always patchy.
I’ve never used them as a big part of my marketing until 2022. In 2021, I started working with the Facebook ads agency. It didn’t go well. They didn’t get me good results. Eventually, I stopped working with them, although I worked with them way longer than I should have and lost myself a ton of money. That goes back to the first lesson of hire slow, fire fast.
In 2022, I found a new ads manager who’s very good, has great communication, gets good leads, and that sort of thing. I started investing quite a bit of money into paid ads. I thought that because my stuff works so well organically, and my marketing brings all these amazing people into my business, it would be simple to turn on some ads, put a significant budget behind it, and it would grow my program quickly. That is not the experience I’ve had.
I’ve had a lot of issues with ads. We have had all kinds of different funnels, and we’ve managed to bring in good leads onto my list, but I’ve had a hard time converting them into new HCA clients. That surprised me because I have no problem. If you find me through Instagram, download one of my freebies, and come onto my list, it’s relatively easy for me to get you to become an HCA student.
The thing is, there is a huge difference between warm and cold traffic. It’s like night and day. What I mean by that is the people who come onto my email list, who find me through Instagram, YouTube, and whatever, they are warm. They already can trust me. They’re already a warmer audience, so it’s significantly easier to get them into a position where they want to invest in one of my offers.
Whereas the people that we pull from ads are cold. They don’t know anything about me. They’ve never experienced my personality, my philosophy, and my vibe. I am just some talking head on the internet who they’re probably worried is going to try to scam them. I’m just some marketer on the internet. For that type of person, you have to have a different strategy for warming them up and getting them ready to buy.
I’ll be totally honest. I have not figured that out yet. In fact, I have gotten 2,000 new people on my email list from paid advertising, and almost none of them, there’s maybe a small handful that has become clients. What I’ve learned is that Facebook ads are not the silver bullet. They’re not going to fix everything. They’re not going to grow your business. You have to learn how to warm up and bring those cold people through the journey and get them from warm to hot. I still haven’t figured it out.
When I do, I’ll share it with you, and I’ll probably build it into my program, but I am still figuring that out. I thought ads were going to be the thing that helped me grow. In the end, the most successful thing I’ve done was my virtual summit. I brought 1,000 new people onto my email list with my virtual summit. I made great relationships with other coaches and experts online. Everyone loved it. It was super fun, and that was free.
A lot of work went into it, but it was organic and free marketing. That had way more impact on my business than any of the ads that I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on. It’s interesting. It’s a good lesson for you because a lot of people think, “I need ads, and then I’ll explode.” It takes time, and it’s also a process. That was a very big lesson for me as well.
Let Go Of Control
The third lesson was letting go of control. It’s a big one. I did an episode on My Journey with Kambo, which is a frog medicine. It was a profound experience, essentially with the frog medicine. They put it on your skin, it goes into your bloodstream, and it doubles as a detox. It cleans out your body. It injects a bunch of these amazing peptides. They call it warrior medicine. In the Amazon, some of the indigenous communities there would use it before they went hunting so that they could get this crazy strength.
The whole experience of Kambo is very unpleasant. It’s one of the most unpleasant experiences ever. You feel so sick. You vomit a lot. It’s pretty crazy, but then the days after, I felt amazing. I would love to do it again. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around putting myself through that again. The effects of it were so amazing.
I did three in a week. One of the things I was shown was that I was holding on to everything. I don’t know how to describe it because you don’t hallucinate with Kambo. It’s more like shamanic spiritual medicine. You get very delirious, and sometimes you get a bit of visual, but it’s not like ayahuasca or mushrooms where you trip out. I remember in this one, the integration at the end when I was lying on the floor, and they were playing the music, I saw myself and everything I was holding onto. My body was being crushed by its weight. I couldn’t see it all individually, but I could see it all as this one huge mass of everything I’ve been dragging with me through life.
I realized that I needed to learn how to let go of control. Where that ended up showing up for me was in my business. I started working with Rick Mulready. He’s an amazing business coach. I’m in his mastermind program this year 2022, and I love it. I would not have survived 2022 without that program. When I first started working with him, he gets you to do a time audit. He wants you to audit all your time and see where you’re spending your time.
I don’t see any huge red flags, but you have a lot of tasks in here where you’re delegating. I thought you had an online business manager. That’s what your OBM is supposed to do. I’ve always prided myself on not micromanaging. I thought I had let go of control. In case you don’t know, an online business manager is someone who manages the day-to-day of your business.
You can essentially go to your online business manager and say, “I want to launch this program. This is why, and this is when I want it to happen.” They’ll make it all happen. They’ll delegate everything that needs to get done to different people in your business and even me. She would come to me and be like, “Kendra, we need you to write these emails,” or whatever.
I realized that I’d been holding on to so much control in my business, and I had hired someone to take over control, and I was micromanaging all the projects and all the contractors. That was a big realization for me. It was about a month after I did Kambo. I was like, “This is a part of it. A piece of the thing I’ve been dragging is holding on to all these things that I need to control in my business.”
Elise is my online business manager. She’s amazing. I got on a meeting with her and said, “I realized that I’ve been micromanaging, and I want to empower you to do what you’re good at and what I hired you to do.” I remember she was like, ” Great. This is awesome.” It was like she was waiting for me to say that. I won’t say that everything just happened overnight because it didn’t. It’s been a process. It’s hard to let go.
Sometimes I do feel a lot of anxiety, and sometimes I do freak out and have to get in there and get my hands on it. It’s a journey of letting go, but I can tell you that this 2022, I felt so much lighter than in 2021. I feel like I’ve let a lot go, and I’m still trying to let go. It’s been interesting because I hired a new coach for Health Coach Accelerator. Her name is Claudia. She’s a very successful health coach. I’m very excited to have her help me support my students inside the program.
I always feel like, “My business is so disorganized. I’m such a hot mess.” I have this feeling of being a hot mess all the time. She went through our onboarding, and she was like, “Wow. Your business is so organized. I can’t even believe this.” I was like, “It is?” It was something I needed to hear because I always have this feeling that things are so disorganized, and that’s what makes me go crazy and want to get my fingers on everything.
Hearing that freed me a little bit because what if things are organized? What if I shifted my thought process on that? Instead of saying, “I’m a hot mess. This is so disorganized,” what if I just said, “I have an organized business. We’re always organizing more. We’re always working towards being more organized?” I’m working with that shift in my head right now, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
A big part of growing and scaling your business is letting go of control. If you can’t delegate, you will not be able to move your business forward because you can’t do everything. When you try to do everything, it doesn’t work, and you get stuck in the day-to-day, and you don’t do the things that matter in your business. The lesson is to let go of control and delegate. That’s my lesson for you, and that’s the homework I want to give to you. Go hire someone to help you.
We have this perception that we need to make money to spend money. It’s bullshit because you can get a contractor at a budget you can afford. Maybe it’s just something as simple as scheduling your social media every month. Imagine, you could make your social media and not have to schedule it. How amazing would that be? You can find someone to do that over on the other side of the world where the exchange rate is a good wage for someone for $10 an hour. Maybe it takes three hours a month for them to schedule your content, $30 a month.
I’m sorry, but if you can’t afford $30 a month, then you have no business being in business because those three hours could be an afternoon off. It could be time to chill. It could be time for you to make more content. You could run a training. You could send out an extra email every week. You could make a webinar. Think about that.
My journey right now is letting go of control and delegating as many things as I possibly can. Those were the big lessons I learned in 2022. It’s been a year, but I am very optimistic about 2023. These lessons are going to serve me going into the New Year, so I’m very excited. I would love to know what you have learned in 2022.
Feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram. My handle is @KendraPerryInc. Let’s talk about it. I would love to connect with you. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode. I always appreciate you taking the time to hang out with me. I will see you on the next episode where I help you become wealthy AF.