Coffee+ Converse With Celia Arias

The Money Is In The Fulfilment With Celia Arias


TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED [00:00:00] Hey. Hey, today's guest, Celi Arias is a strategy consultant and mindset coach who helps entrepreneurs create the shortcut to their dream business and life, so they can stop wasting time and start increasing their revenue. she's been in startups and in corporate and run her own business. So she has a lot of takes on a lot of things. But today I wanna ask her about something she said to me when we first met. Hey, Sally. Welcome to the. Celi: Hi. Thanks for having me. Diane: So let's start with a little intro to you and your business, which I know might be quite a big ask because you have done a lot of things. Celi: I have done a lot of things, but this is always a really great challenge. I am a growth strategist and I like to describe that as I create shortcuts for people to break through their plateaus and have the business that they always dreamed of having. And the way I do that is through strategy, systems support, and spirituality. Diane: Oh, gotta love a good model with all the same letter Celi: It's taken me a really long time to be able to say that in one sentence. So Diane: It was very impressive. All, the work has been worthwhile. I wanted to kick off our chat with something you said when we met and my ears kind of perked up because I didn't think I'd heard anyone say it before. And you said, the thing you have to remember is the money is in the delivery. Which is an unusual take on things because normally we're like, the money is in the list, growth is in the list, you know, get more people in and everything else will come. And it was the first time that I had heard someone as [00:02:00] a growth strategist tell people that they need to think about fulfillment. Celi: But I love being a rebel, so Diane: so let's chat a little bit about that, about where do you see people coming in to grow their business and maybe being a little too focused on one area versus another. How do we like set that up for success? Celi: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think there's two things that happen. One, I notice there's the external world. Okay? So there's a lot of noise telling you what you're supposed to be doing. So in our world that you and I live in, there's a lot of popular coaches, popular thinking. It almost feels a little bit like high school sometimes, especially on Instagram or Twitter. And there's, it's very easy to get sucked into focusing on more marketing, another content course, paying somebody a lot of money to build your funnels, paying someone a lot of money to run your. But you'll notice a theme here that that's all focused on what I call the external systems of business, which is your marketing, right? So there's a lot of noise telling us growth happens in more marketing in whatever way that's been sold to you. Then there's also our internal systems, our internal dialogue, which is we also tend to want to focus on the things we like doing or we feel comfortable doing, or we've even convinced ourself we should be doing so. And what happens with those two dialogues, external world, internal world, what happens is fulfillment in our programs or our offers, or even our physical product gets kind of ignored, right? But if you think about it, unless you are somebody who's a celebrity and has a huge audience, What makes people buy your product or service over and over and over again. The result that they got and the experience that they [00:04:00] had while getting that result. Right? I, I gave this example the other day and I think it's really funny and really relevant. When you've had a great experience of something, you actually want to tell your family and friends about it because you want to be the person that turned them on to the new workout or the new gym, or in my case, it was a contractor. I, I had to renovate my house and everyone has horror stories of working with terrible contractors. I included, and I'm lucky that I, I'm Latina and I speak Spanish, and so I started talking around. and I was introduced to a carpenter and he kind of came in and saved the day and saved the day in my home renovation project. And because he saved the day and he was so lovely and so fair, I then what did I do? I recommended him to my family, my in-laws, my, my cousin-in-law, my uncle in-law, because they all live kind of in this region. And I was at a family brunch recently, and they were all arguing about who had discovered him. And they were all claiming, I mean, I kid you not, and I just sat Diane: you were like, I have screenshots. You were like at a Real Housewives reunion. I have screenshots. It was me, Celi: I was like, I have the receipts. But I actually, the, the business strategist in me stepped back and laughed because my husband was like, elbowing me. Like, this is so unlike you to not like, be the boss right now and take ownership of this. And I was like, I'm actually like laughing because this is literally what I teach people. What's happening right now is literally what I teach people. Like people were, he had gotten recommended so many times, right? Because referrals are exponential that everyone at this dinner, people that I don't have a direct relationship had now used him for some kind of project. And I was like, [00:06:00] I kind of LA sat back and was like, this is like magic. This is like what I teach in full effect. And he's a lovely person and he's amazing and he deserves the business. And I think that we. forget the human nature of how sales happen. Like, so I'm gonna give you another example. What happens when you have bought a product or experience, but the customer service experience of it sucked. Diane: Oh, I have a very good example of Celi: You do have an, you have actually an example of Diane: literally this week, so I'm moving house. I ordered boxes. They were supposed to arrive on Tuesday. They didn't on Wednesday. Definitely coming Wednesday on Thursday. Definitely coming Thursday on Friday. Finally got through to somebody on the help desk who did more than cut and paste and went, oh, I think there's a problem. Let me refer this, which I'd been asking for since Tuesday. Then called the seller, who also called them. Anyway, the boxes arrive on Saturday along with the, please review our service on the, how likely are you to recommend us to family and friends from one to 10. Clearly they got a one, and I have told everybody I have spoken to over the last week how rubbish this particular delivery company is and how they should never ever use them. Celi: Exactly. Exactly. You just made my point for me, because when something sucks, you also go around and tell everyone how terrible it was. Not only do you say, I'm canceling the subscription, or I'm canceling this product, or I'm wanna refund or whatever. Not only do they lose you, you also write a Google review, right? Like you tell people, you say, Hey, don't, that was terrible. And I know it's, it probably sounds like yes, Elita, [00:08:00] this is so basic what you're talking about. But what I see happen a lot is that we are being sold to so much by all these courses and business coaches that are marketing focused that we really, we all want the easy fix and we, we believe their, their sales copy. And we want, we want to believe, I should say, we really want to believe that that's, that there is an easy fix out there. And if I just put more leads into the funnel, it's gonna fix all my problems. And really, the way that you start to build a scalable business and a sustainable business and a business that actually gets you your time back and gets you your freedom and gets you all those things that you wanted is when you start fixing it from the inside out. So I, I'm very much work backwards and fulfillment is one of the first places I go. If you. Product market fit. And that isn't an issue because that's another area that people like to ignore. And if you have profitability, which is another area that people like to ignore, right? I go to all the places where people are like, oh, silly, I don't wanna look at my numbers. I'm like, cool, but don't you want a profitable business Diane: If you don't look at your numbers, you don't get paid. I'm just gonna say it. Celi: Well, you know what happens is, the truth is a lot of my clients work really hard, but they've created thems, they've given themselves as a job cuz it's very hand to mouth. If your business isn't actually profitable or your offers aren't profitable, you're working really hard and your making money and you're seeing money coming in. But if your business isn't profitable, you just gave yourself a job that's more stressful than probably being employed somewhere. Diane: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think one of the problems, and one of the things we don't think about is we are being marketed to by marketers Celi: Amen. Diane: marketing to Celi: Yes. They are good at this for a reason, Diane: are really good at this. And when you have somebody who is good [00:10:00] at the internal systems, they're often quieter about it. They're often busy. They've been filled through referrals. So we don't see that same noise. in the online world. So we see all this noise around, just do this new thing and you'll have all the leads you could ever have and all the revenue, and you don't see the person going, okay, but behind the scenes, how are you gonna support that? How are you going to, you're not even stable now. How are you gonna like add stuff on top of it because that person's busy working, usually offer referrals. So even like you're just getting this one-sided view the whole time that marketing is the solution. Celi: absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, and there's, there's so much that you can do. There's so many little adjustments. That you can make internally. Cause I think people think, well, I'm not an operations person. I hate systems, I hate spreadsheets. And so therefore, because I'm not good at it, I don't want to look at it. But there's actually so much that you can do to improve the running and functionality of your business without being a systems expert. And so to your original question, one of the first things is customer experience and are you actually delivering the result or value that you promised? Diane: Mmm. Celi: one of the first things that I ask people to really look at, to really look at themselves and, and really make sure that they are delivering the result and that they're providing a customer experience. The other thing I will say to what you just said, because it made me, something came up as you said about marketing. I've had many clients who. who have come to me later, or even some colleagues who actually spent so much money on some funnel builder guy or some ad service that they had to shut down because they've, [00:12:00] they invested so much money in some marketing funnel or some paid ad guy that really did, like you said, he's an expert at marketing and sales and sold them something really expensive that they didn't really need yet, and it kind of broke them. So I'm always interested in how do we build something from the inside that becomes self-sustaining and becomes an operational machine, and so that that never happens so that you don't spend money on things that are actually, aren't gonna move the needle for you. Diane: So how do we balance while we're looking at, so what I often see and use. . I would love to say you see this in new businesses and you definitely do, but I still see this a lot in more established businesses, and that's this pendulum swing of like, oh my gosh, I need money. Market, market, market, market. Oh my gosh, put so many clients. Fulfillment, fulfillment, fulfillment, fulfillment. Oh, wait, wait, I d have many new clients. Okay, it's time to swing back to marketing now. Do you know what I mean? It's, it's not quite feast and famine, which it is I think in the early days, but as an established business, it feels a little like whiplash for the CEO and for the team. That swing between like which one's the priority, so. while we're focusing on, okay, how do we build this internal generative machine that's got a bit of runway, right? That's like referrals isn't a, you're getting seven referrals tomorrow kind of game, right? Especially if you have to fix your customer service and stuff. So how do you balance those two elements, that internal and external in the beginning when you're trying to recalibrate everything? Celi: Yeah, that's a great question. I wish I could give you like the five step answer or some easy fix Diane: come on now. Let's go step Celi: Yes. Step one. This is where it gets fun. This is where the, the fact that you're even asking that question, what you're actually asking me is, how do I build a real [00:14:00] business? Diane: Yeah. How do you build a sustainable business that Celi: business. It's Diane: feel like, like it? I know we talk about it being a rollercoaster, but I always have this vision of businesses when I think about it in these terms is have you ever done like the magic carpet? Like, like fairground ride that like swings up really high? So when I was little, I was really little, like very tiny for my, for my size. And I can remember going on the magic carpet and I must have been like seven or Celi: Oh, Diane: And I don't do well with rides at the best of times. And this bar was not a super snug fit for me. . And so everything about this ride was completely traumatic. When I was up the one side, I was terrified I was gonna slip through. When we were up the other side, I was terrified I was gonna go backwards. Like I think I just screamed nonstop for the whole ride. and I think a lot of people are like that in their business, no matter which end they're in. It's just like the whole thing is just painful. Celi: Yeah. Diane: Like how do we just get that nice gentle sway at the bottom that kind of feels good before like everything goes wrong or after everything's gone wrong, you know? It's the riot's ending. It's that gentle sway. Celi: Yeah. So let's use your analogy to answer this. Diane: I'm not dramatic at all. Celi: But I like this, this visual of the magic carpet ride, the, the pendulum back and forth. I think we can use that. So there isn't an immediate quick fix to this unless you're like, you are a systems machine and you're gonna work a hundred hour weeks. There are people who do that and hats off to you. But what I would say is when the pendulum swings over to fulfillment, that's the mo. When it starts to swing and you're like, oh, I have a lot of clients who are going to be fulfilling. We're going to be focusing on customer service. That's the time to start creating some simple systems or SOPs and delegating certain SOPs to your team so [00:16:00] that you, your energy and your focus isn't completely focused on fulfillment, and then you swing back the other way and then you are completely focused on, oh shit. More marketing, more leads, more sales. So when it's starting to swing and it's like, oh, I have a few people that I'm gonna be working with, or I have a few people in this next cohort. Okay, team, whoever your team is, even if it's a part-time va, what are the steps? Just, you know, custard Germany can be really simple. Just list out a list of what the customer journey looks like, and then put a little check mark of the things that you could create a little SOP for that the VA now takes off your plate and owns, right. Diane: Or that you could automate and you don't have to automate it. You could bring someone in for a V I P day and they could automate the 10 things you need Celi: Yeah, exactly. Or that you can automate. So when I say an sop, people get already cringe if you're not a systems person. But an SOP stands for standard operating procedure. But you know, an SOP is, can be as simple as a checklist. , it can be as simple as a loom video of me walking through how I make sure my automated DSA is set up correctly for this person to have the best onboarding experience, et cetera. Right? So I would start looking at the things that are required to fulfill and see what things I can automate, delegate systematize so that my full focus doesn't go there. And then the same thing for marketing. Diane: and you just try to get that focus to go like a little bit less each time. Celi: So what you're, you're not going to magically fix the whole thing at once. What you're going to do, like any pendulum swinging is you, the goal is to get it to swing less and less each time. Right. And I find even as I coach people through this, even as I coach some of my clients through that journey, I would love [00:18:00] for them to do all the things that I know they need to do right away, right? But that's also just not the human experience. And they don't go and implement all the things that I want them to do and implement right away, right? They themselves, we as humans, have an adapt adaptation curve to change. So I think also there is a part of giving yourself a little grace as a human, because I think the reason that we swing back and forth so much is because there's so much shame and guilt tied in the, oh my God, now I'm I here, I've done it again. I'm super focused on fulfillment and I have too many clients and I'm overwhelmed. And oh shoot, I've done it again. Now I have no sales and I, and there's a little bit of a beat up pattern as well. And so I think the other part of this is, Understand that that pendulum swinging and getting the pendulum to swing less and less each time is actually progress, and you're building the business and you're building that sustainable machine rather than expecting yourself to fix it all in one go and have the perfect thing. When we set ourselves up with that expectation, we actually make it harder on ourselves. Diane: Yeah. So when we're thinking about a sustainable business, I know that the sexy. Business stuff in the marketing world is this like hockey stick growth, like I'm gonna do a bit of work and then I'm gonna have this beautiful straight line that just keeps on growing every single year. And we both know that that's not the case very often. You have growth and then stability, and then growth, and then stability, right? And often it is different. Focuses like becoming more efficient with what you're doing. Preparing to take on the next level of scale. this is gonna be like the sexiest question you've ever been asked. How do you encourage people to make that scale decision safely? I know safely, it's just so sexy, but for me it really is. Like I love a good contingency plan, but I [00:20:00] think in the online world we've made scale so exciting. Without talking about like actually scale doesn't mean year on year on year on year. Exponential growth. Celi: Yeah, I think that's a great question. I'm going to say one thing that I think is important, cuz you, you pointed something that we've made scale sound so sexy. So number one, also scale is different for different people. Okay? Diane: Hmm. Definitely don't talk Celi: And we don't talk about that. So also let's understand how we're defining scale. Because when you are defining scale, you are using the industry average, which is like scaling to seven. Figures and beyond. Right? Diane: I mean growth when I say scale, but the industry means scale to seven. Scale to eight. Celi: really, really good point. Growth and scale are different things. Diane: Let's go Celi: Yeah. So, growth, I, the way that you just described it, I, I also teach, this is how I work with my clients, is that there are moments where I look, I do look at it as a, a step ladder, like a, a staircase, right? There will be moments where we're gonna push hard, we're gonna push hard on sales systems, sales process, sales conversations, marketing, getting people in. We're gonna push hard on growth and get that monthly, the m r r up a notch, right? If you started with me at 10 K or 20 k, I'm gonna push you to get up to 40 k, 50 k months. But for example, I have a client right now, 50 K months. We are now working across some internal systems. We're in that flat phase where I'm like, cool, what's sexy to me is staying at 50 K months while we work on her team, train up a few leaders, create capacity for more clients, create capacity for the next rung of growth, right? Create efficiency, create more leaders that are less dependent on her, on, on this [00:22:00] particular ceo, because like most visionary CEOs we're all over workers and workaholics and overachievers and over pleasers. So here we are at 50 K months and now we're working on training her team, coaching her team, how to be leaders, how to be thinkers, how to be problem solvers. So it's not all on her because I was, you know, what I've been teaching her is, for example, when we're at a hundred K months, you're not gonna be able to be the person who fixes all the problems all the Diane: Yeah. Celi: Right. So that's growth. To me. Growth looks like a staircase, right? And that's a healthy way to create growth. It's like, cool, cool. We've got something, and this is what I like to say and this is how I like to play. Cool. Now let's grow. Let's see what breaks. And I say that because I want you to be emotionally prepared that something might break and that's okay. That's the human experience, right? So I'm like, cool. Now let's push real hard. Let's push and see what breaks. Because where it breaks is where I want us to go and fix and pay attention to so that we're actually ready for a hundred K months. That's growth, okay? Diane: Okay. Celi: We could be on that journey forever. But scale is actually in reference to the term economies of scale, where the idea of scale is where the business starts to grow exponentially without me needing to do more output of effort. right? So there's, Diane: Gotcha. Celi: see what I'm saying? Where it's like, where does these symptoms and the foundations that I've built begin to create exponential growth without more effort on me and my team that scale, So let me give you a more relatable, real example. For example, for me, in my business, I personally, like the revenue I'm at, and I'm not trying to actually grow, grow, grow. I'm actually trying to scale what [00:24:00] scale means is how do I continue to stay at this revenue and still deliver results, make people super happy and work less? because I'm trying to start a family, right? So scale for me doesn't look like a revenue increase. Scale for me looks like, how do I start working four day weeks? That's also scale, right? Because how do I keep this machine running, but leading, needing a little less of me? That's my dream right now. Right? Diane: A hundred percent. And I think a lot of people are frankly chasing revenue goals because they've been told they need to scale to seven figures and they have absolutely no idea what they would do with seven figures if they got it. Celi: Yeah. And Diane: and, and that's fine if it's, if that's a motivator for you. But I think if you're working a hundred hour weeks to somebody else's goal, that's kind of sad as well. Celi: yeah, there's so much that I want to debunk there because number one, I love scaling businesses to seven figures. But the truth is I have a few clients. Who aren't even trying to get to seven figures, and I love them so much for being so self-aware and honest about the business that they need to live their life and to live a happy and satisfied and fulfilled life. I'm like, thank God. And I also wanna say this, I have a few seven figure clients who think they're killing it because they're at 2.2 or 2.5, but they're literally hand to mouth. you might be at seven figures, but you haven't created scale because you have to work a certain amount in order to make that money and to deliver, right? And so you could be at seven figures and be working 80 hour weeks and the week that you get sick. Your business suffers. And so I don't see seven figures necessarily as the metric for [00:26:00] success. I see. How did you get there as the metric for success? Diane: Mm-hmm. Celi: Right. I think that's more important than I got to seven figures. It's like, well, can it, does it run without you? Can you take vacations? Is your team happy? Are you profitable? Is your business profitable? Diane: how many hours did you work this week? Like, is that actually a KPI that you keep an eye on? Like, oh yeah, yeah, our revenue went up, let's all celebrate, but let's all pretend that like my working hours didn't double to facilitate Celi: exactly. So that scale, right, that's really economies of scale. And I do see that term being used incorrectly a lot. And I'm always like, right. Because that's true scale. Diane: But I think, grow sounds hard, whereas scale sounds easy, Celi: Ooh, Diane: right? Celi: Can we just debunk that too? Diane: right. But I do think that that's why marketers have, have attached to this scale, like it's gonna happen overnight scale. Like it's gonna be super easy. And the reality is, is there's so much growth that has to happen even in scale. you still have to grow as a person, as a leader, as a business in order for that scale to be sustainable, Celi: 100%. In the first, in the five figure to six figure region of a business, you are still, your focus is growth because you're actually in proof of concept phase. Diane: Mm-hmm. Celi: have to, you are still proving that you have something that is sellable and not just to your friends and family and to your close network, that it's actually something that delivers a result for people who don't even know you. right? So you shouldn't even be thinking about scale until you have actual proof of concept and product market fit. And I think you're right, scale sounds sexy. And so we're trying to create scale before we even really have product market fit and, [00:28:00] and proof of concept, right? Diane: Foundational level does is, doesn't exist, right? Celi: yeah, yeah. So that's something to think about too. I think scale comes when you've had some growth and then you go, okay, how do I either scale this so it operates without me? How do I scale this so I can take a one one month vacation or so that everybody on my team can take one month vacation? Or how do I scale this so it grows exponentially without more ad dollars, right? These are all variations of scale, right? But you can all. and without Diane: That's such a good example. Celi: Right. And it's possible. But you need to have been able to create growth and create proof of concept before you can go, all right, now what do, what does economies of scale look like for me and my business and my product, and how do I create that? Right? V i p days is a perfect example of how somebody who's overworked and burnt out can create scale in their time. You know, same value, same deliverable, same result for the client and experience less time on delivering. That's a example of Diane: Yes. And very often those people have had to have that initial service business running for clients before they can go, okay, I can do that in a v I P Celi: Exactly. Diane: Right. So they've gone through that growth phase and are now looking for that scale phase. Celi: exactly. Exactly. Diane: So that seems to be missing from the online business world, Celi: There's a lot of those Diane: Well, that's a good thing, cuz my next question is, what other fundamentals do you feel like are missing that you still see experienced business owners coming up against? So for me, I see a lot of missing structure. So I come from a corporate background. When I look at somebody's business, I have a similar view to you on how business clicks together. But for me, I feel [00:30:00] like we've connected structure to culture and therefore I've gone like, well, we don't want this icky corporate culture, so now I don't want a team hierarchy, or I don't want goal setting, or I don't want performance reviews, or whatever it is. Right? And we've, we've taken every single piece of structure and we've like thrown it out the window. That's the one that I feel like I'm always talking about. Celi: Yeah. I think that I agree with you, you say the word structure, so I'm gonna use that word, but I see the same thing. But yes, we forget that this person built this thing, this business, or this service, or even this product on a skill they had, and they maybe didn't take the time to just do some basics. so here's some things that I see missing in some of the clients that come to me, and I'm talking clients who were, I have several examples of this. Clients who are almost at seven figures or past seven figures who are still not offering profitable offers. So that's one that always like blows my mind, right? Because that means you've been working really, really hard for years to, and you are just, what you're measuring is just the revenue number. And you're like, oh, we killed it this year. We did 600 k in revenue. And I'm like, okay, but how, how hard did you work? And how much of that, how much is that is profit into the business for it to continue to grow? Other structural things that I see there's actually so many, when you were asking me in my head that I'm like, Ooh, I have to choose where, where I want to go. So I'm gonna give two other examples cause there's so many in my head, but I'm gonna give these two really strong ones. It's really important that when you start leading a team and delegating and counting on others, that you do something really basic, like put your core values on a piece of paper and have a conversation about how, what your core values [00:32:00] are. So again, that structure and that system, but that also creates a company culture that sets expectations. Like I have a particular core value, and my team knows this. One of my main core values is don't make assumptions. Okay, fine, that's cute, whatever. It's on a really pretty little piece of paper and everyone knows what my core values are, but it's actually really important because what that's telling you if you work for me is that if you are unsure about something, Or my directions weren't clear, or you see something come up that you don't know how to handle, you don't just push it under the rug or ignore it or nod the company. Core value is don't make assumptions, which means I have an open door policy or an open Slack policy, and when you have a question, you know, it's all good to come and ask me, and you're actually going to get reprimanded if you assumed something. I mean, reprimanded is a strong word, but it's against our culture, right? To just kind of kind of go, Ooh, I'd shrug. I don't know. I'll just pretend and figure it out. I would much rather you ask me, how do I respond to this client email? Or, Hey, you have a conflict here in your schedule, or, Hey, this, like, I would much rather you come and ask me. That's a core value for me because I find that the faster we admit, we don't know something and the faster that we admit, I don't know, like. I don't have all the answers. The faster we come to a solution. That's me. Now, I've had clients that I share that with them when we are developing their core values to share with their team, and they're like, oh God, no. That would exhaust me if every time somebody had a doubt. Like I have a client who's like, I'm the opposite. I'm, he's like, he's so funny. He's like, I'm like, move fast, break shit. We'll see what happened. And I'm like, cool. Now so, so this is really important. Do you see how like, Diane: Yeah. Like somebody doing the same job for you and for [00:34:00] him. There are no, like I always say, your, your, your values are like your bumpers. Like, you know, when you're like, go like bowling and you with little kids and you put the bumpers so they don't get gut balls. That's what I like. Your values need to be that for your Celi: Yeah, exactly. So Ima to, to, to your point, imagine working for him looks totally different than working for me. . Right. And so what I always tell people is, I know this sounds really basic and obvious. Anything that seems obvious is never obvious. So always have a core values conversation with your team that's Diane: hiring, because if you are hiring and he's hiring like the person that's gonna fit into those two cultures, in that value stream is really different. Someone who's really uncomfortable with high levels of risk and seeing what happens and uncertainty, they're not gonna do well with him, , and he should be telling them that at the outset so they know what they're coming into. Celi: to that point, someone who is really uncomfortable with speaking up and asking questions and admitting that they didn't know how to do something is gonna have a really hard time with me because I'm always gonna say, why didn't you ask me? Oh, I don't, this is like my pet peeve. You're so busy, I didn't wanna bother you. I'm like, bother me before making a mistake. Diane: Yeah. Celi: but that's me. So I, that's like intrinsic. So people think like core values are cute, it's not cute. You're actually creating a foundation about how we set expectations with each other and how we communicate and how we understand like core values, what they communicate is what my definition of done is. And that's really important. So that's a structural thing that I think people don't do with their teams is taking the time to set up core values and explain. What do I mean by one of my other core values is always be be impeccable with your word. What I mean by that is if you [00:36:00] effed up, just own it just a minute. Like the amount of energy that it takes to cover something up or to defend yourself or explain yourself, or excuse yourself. I don't need that whole story. I would much rather as a human, you go, Ooh, yeah, oops. Messed up. Okay, sorry. My bad. And I, I respect that more than hearing somebody's going, oh, well, my cat was sick and my that whole, I'm like, Ooh, can we just turn down the story and just say you missed the email? And that's okay, because here's the, this is how I'm wired, right? You're human. I'm human. You're imperfect. I am totally imperfect. I will miss slacks, I will miss emails. I drop balls. I'm human. So that's a core value for me is let's just ex let's just all start on the same level where we make mistakes and let's own our mistakes and move on quickly. Again, there were other people who would be like, oh God, that I would not want to work somewhere like that. So this is a struck, we're what we're talking about is how do you create structure so that we, you and I work well together. This is something that people don't do. Diane: and what's important is your, like, I wanna point out again, cuz this is another example of what we've been talking about, is we're talking about values as a structural thing and values have been co-opted as a marketing thing. Tell your client your values, it's all been done to be like, let's make it all front facing and how it's all about the client when actually your values are, like, your values don't actually have to be. Publicly, it's as big. You should publish your values. Yes, it's great. Like I don't have a huge issue with it, but actually they're an internal document. Celi: thing, your values are an action guide on how to behave and when they are not an action guide, they're just for show, and I'm not interested so I'm gonna answer your other question because there's so many structural, foundational things I see missing, but I do wanna say this one. It's not sexy, but we do have to call it [00:38:00] out. Metrics. The other thing that I see people not doing or getting wrong, I kind of laugh because people think I'm a numbers person and I'm like a data sheet person. I'm like, no, they're just this beautiful means to an end, right? like, but metrics, we either think we're bad at numbers, so therefore we don't me measure anything and we don't look at anything. Or I have some clients that come to me with these like fancy complicated dashboards from their HubSpot with this and that and this and, and I built an air table. It took me all weekend to build this air table and it has this and this and, and I'm like, cool, what's your conversion rate on sales calls? That's all I wanna know. And they'll be like Diane: like scrolling through the tabs trying to find Celi: so I'm like air table. I have clients who spend so much time building out their air tables and I'm just like, whoa, I just need three numbers. I will let you use our table if you love it so much. It's all good. I let all my clients use whatever system works for them. That's how I believe the system that you should use is the one that works for you. But I'm like, that dashboard is useless to me. , I just wanna know three numbers. And I think what happens is we we're either intimidated by numbers so we don't look at them or because we're intimidated by numbers, we make them more complicated than they need to be. And really there's probably two or three numbers you should be looking at in your business. Diane: so I am a numbers person, right? I, I'm an accountant by training. I spend a lot of time explaining really complicated numbers. front office traders in the banking world, or sales guys not understanding why, what they thought was their commission suddenly came back as a much smaller number or why something didn't trend right. Which was an incredible exercise for me in learning how to simplify my intense desire to like analyze everything. And so [00:40:00] when I talk to people about metrics and people say to me they don't like metrics, I ask them if they drive and if they drive, I've asked them if they've looked at the dash on their car in recently, Celi: Mm-hmm. Diane: like, did they know when their fuel was running low? How did they know what speed they were going? How did they know how far they were going? How did they know when they needed a service or an oil change? Because that's, that's the simplicity. Like if you can run a car off of that like bit of information, you should be able to run a business off of like a small amounts of information. That's just key. Celi: And to your point, to run the car well and get you from point A to point B, you only need to know those three or four things. You don't actually have to understand how the whole engine works. Diane: in the car's computer while driving, trying to work out, like trying to optimize like the tiny thing that you have no idea what it even means, right? Celi: a lot of times what I do for even real, even small businesses and big businesses, I usually build out a dashboard in the system of their choice. And if they don't have a system, I build them a simple dashboard in Google Sheets of like, here, this is all I want you to track. What about X Y, Nope. Just right now for this, we're on this step, we're on this staircase, right? We're here. So at this level of growth, I just want you to track these things that to your point, get you from A to B in the car. Diane: Hmm. I feel like we've covered so much. I, I've, I wanna I wanna ask what. You feel like you are constantly shouting into the abyss that people find really hard to believe or absorb or, take on board. Celi: yeah. This is one that isn't gonna solve easily, but I think my existential crisis with people with what I see is that much like in any spiritual practice we are very unaware of what we actually need. So I [00:42:00] see people spending a lot of money on the wrong coach or the wrong course because we don't wanna take the time to really. look at our business and where we're actually at and what's working and what's not working and how we're performing. We're being sold too easily. Right. There's, we've talked about this on the top of the hour we're being sold to by marketers who are marketers. Sure. But that's also a little bit on us too, because we actually deeply want somebody to just give us some quick fix because it's much harder to just kind of sit back and go, let me look at the departments of my business and let me be honest with myself about where I'm strong and where I like to focus, where, where I tend to lean towards and where I like to kind of shy away from and, and kind of put close a blind eye to. We don't take the time and the inner work really, and the honesty hour. We just keep buying other courses and other coaches and paying lots of people, lots of money, so, Sometimes when I say things, it sounds like I'm saying courses are bad or coaches are bad. I'm not saying that. I'm saying is that the course you need right now? Diane: Yeah. Is that the gap? Celi: that the actual gap? Because if it's not going to address the actual gap that's in your business, that's why you end up signing up for a course that you never finish. Everybody has courses in their inbox that they've never even opened. Right? Or that's why you paid for that mastermind that you're not really active in. And it's not necessarily that it's a bad mastermind or not your people, or not your community. It's just not actually what your, you and your business needed for where you're at right now. I get people who are like, I paid this coach this much and this [00:44:00] coach this much, and this coach this much, and they never told me what you just told me, right? And I'm like, okay, that doesn't mean that person is a bad coach. That just means that person has a particular strength and they were selling you into their box for you because that's what they deliver and it's not necessarily the box you needed to work on right now. Diane: I think that's one of the, the toughest things in the business journey is to, to take that ownership for those decisions that you've made and be able to look at them and be like, I'm unhappy with this particular course, program person, coach, whatever, because I paid them to save me and they didn't save me Celi: Exactly. Diane: that's not actually what they sold me. They sold me how to do Facebook and I didn't have a funnel that was converting. Celi: Right. Diane: Right. It is that, it's that ability to step back in the heat of the moment. in the excitement to buy in that moment of like, this is it. This is the seven figure thing. Celi: Yeah. And I think that you said, you hit the nail on the head actually by what you just said, is that a lot of times we want to throw money at something, right. And have that fix it. Well, I paid you this much. . So you're supposed to come save me. Diane: Hmm. Celi: We, we want to, that's why we pay for really expensive coaches that are even like, out of our means a little bit. I'm paying you this much. So therefore, whereas my magic business, what are you doing about that problem? Well, I hired a coach and I pay her this much. She's expensive. So you're telling yourself that you're doing something about the problem when you're actually not. So I think the biggest, one of our biggest challenges and what I see in the industry a lot is self, self-deception. And it's part of why I created a quiz. The quiz that I created, which is the scalable business quiz, is your [00:46:00] business scalable? Right? But the reason I did that, it's a very simplified version of my business model and it's a simplified version of what my clients do when they onboard. We do a very deep audit of their business and a very deep audit of how they're performing in every single pillar in their business. So I created a very simplified version so that the intention of the quiz, was hopefully helping you see some of the areas you might want to focus on next Diane: I will make sure we link to your quiz so that people can like take a step back. I think sometimes people just need a moment to have some objectivity Celi: yes, Diane: to be truthful with themselves because if you are not a metrics person, you already know. You're not a metrics person. You're just choosing to allow that to define where you go, Celi: yes. Absolutely. Diane: Okay. I will be sure to link it. So to finish up, I always ask my guests the same two questions. I'm excited to see your answers to these. First of all, what is your number one lifestyle boundary for your business? Celi: Oh, okay. I am human and I am imperfect So honesty hour. I Love working. I'm an, I am an over worker and I love what I do and I love my clients and I love the challenges they pose for me. So this is something I'm working on. and, and also because I no longer live in the city, so there was a beautiful thing about living in the city that I'd have to commute every day from Brooklyn into the city where I was a coo. And it was beautiful. Cause that's about a 30 to 40 minute train ride. So I bet I was reading about a book a week. And now that I don't do that, I work, I work 12 hour days. Like it's no thing, like, it's bad. It is really, it's really bad cuz I just love working so much. So my boundary is one walk a day and I [00:48:00] have several, I have certain scheduled date nights and scheduled kind of events that force me to, to step away. Diane: Wow. So you actually almost have to have like, like enforced boundaries Celi: I have to Diane: Scheduled, scheduled, enforced boundaries enforced by other people. Celi: oh yeah. Oh. my v my, my va, my two VAs. I do to myself, what I do to my clients. Like I have my dream week, and it's a map of what my dream week should be laid out like. And when I start to overschedule myself, they have full power to, to slack me and be like, Hey, I see that you've overbooked yourself. Like they have full power to come in and go, you're overbooking yourself on Wednesday, which is your workout day and your dinner date day. We're taking that off your calendar. But they have full authority to do that self-awareness is everything. Right? Um, But I know that about myself, so I've allowed other people in my life to say, you are allowed to call me down for dinner at 6:00 PM and get on me if I'm not there. You know? Yeah. Diane: Awesome. This one's gonna be a hard one for you. What is the worst piece of cookie cutter advice you've been given as an entre? Celi: Oh, I'm, this is really a counter countercultural. I'm gonna get in a lot of trouble. What's your niche? Diane: But don't you find that that is a misunderstanding of niche, Celi: Yes. Diane: right? Like I feel like it's like the growth scale thing, but. , I see people like freaking out about niche and I'll be like, okay, well you either have a really niche type of person that you work with or you have a particularly tailored service that you do. And either of [00:50:00] those can be a Celi: Diane. I think you're like my best friend. Diane: Right. And when people are like, trying to tell me that, and then, and it like the demographics of the, like they're going to coffee with their best friend as their, as their niche, and then their service is so tailored as well. I'm like, that is the world's tiniest Venn diagram, right? Like you've, there's like one person in your niche, in your country kind of thing. Celi: Yeah. It pisses people off. I, so I, I'm in some networking groups and you know, high level consultant level networking, and sometimes I get in conversations with people where they're like you can't serve everyone to me. Right? But to your point, I've created a framework and a methodology. I created a very complex framework and methodology. My background is in physical product and supply chain and manufacturing. My first business, I started when I was 24 and I had a fashion line and I had to do everything. So, but the methodology of how we look at different departments and our, and being able to look at our blind spots. This method I built works for physical product clients and works for service providers and digital product clients. And that just really bugs people. Like, they're just like, you can't do that. And I'm like, well, I haven't found yet a client that my, my whole framework hasn't worked for. Diane: Yeah. But it also still, it niches in that like, yes, it would work for a noob, but the Nube is not gonna get the most benefit out of it. It works for a certain level of all of those business. Celi: Yeah. Diane: And I think like it goes back to something I say on repeat, and that is like big businesses became big businesses for a reason, right? Like they figured out how to do, how to do something and then they went, okay, how many people can I sell this something to? Right? And it's what you're talking about, you have a very specific framework. Celi: yes. Diane: Your [00:52:00] niche is how you work with people, not who you work Celi: It's, it's Diane: For some people it's who they work with, not how they Celi: I, I work with people who are a little bit frustrated, burnt out, and they're ready to start being the strategist of their business. They're ready to think like the leader who grows. A business and who starts understanding their business in a way that they can answer all these things. It's been really fun to go from. A bike shop to a confidence coach, to a C B D brand to, you know, to like a VA service provider. Like I coach all those people. Diane: and I think it also comes back to your business as very referrals based or you as the, you know, people seeing you speak and how you speak about what you do versus you needing a really tailored niche to run Facebook ads to, or a really tailored niche to write Instagram post. To, again, it comes back to your fulfillments doing that. You don't need that niche to make your marketing more Celi: Yeah. Well, let's just debunk another cookie cutter myth. Then you can have a six figure, almost seven figure business without having ever run a Facebook ad Diane: Woo. Celi: right here. Diane: I feel like, I feel like that's gonna have to be like the quote card of the Celi: Oh, yes, Diane: I'm gonna have like all of my friends who are Facebook ads, people who run agencies and stuff, gonna be in my dms being like, um, hello, can I come on your podcast and tell you why you have to run Facebook ads Celi: I don't knock it. I respect it. You know what I mean? And I'm saying, and you can build a seven figure business without having run a Facebook ad. And I've done it multiple times. Diane: So good. This has been amazing. I wanna like end on that like little mini mock drop moment. Where can people find you on the social? So like people are gonna want to [00:54:00] come and like disagree with you on Facebook ads. Disagree with you on niche. Disagree with you on structure, Celi: I love it. I've really like the Rebel has come out to play. I'm like, bring it, bring it. Let's get into it. You can find me on social media as I am Don Celia, d o n c e l i a. Yes, it is a joke. it's a play on The Godfather because my husband tells me, everyone always comes to me for advice and it's freaky. So he started calling me Don Celia and it kind of stuck. And the quiz, you can also easily find it in my link tree and Instagram or look me up on LinkedIn, Celia Aria. But really I am Don Celia is the easiest. Diane: Awesome. Thank you so much. I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. Celi: Likewise, you are brilliant. You've brought some good questions to the table. Diane: thank you very much.

If you’ve only been focused on your marketing, you’re missing a huge growth opportunity in the slightly less sexy systems in the rest of your business.

Celia Arias walks you through when you need to scale or grow your business and how to do that in the best way for you instead of diving into the latest trendy business model.

Key Takeaway

Your internal systems are as important a component of your business growth as your more flashy external ones like marketing.

We talk about

  • Where popular growth advice goes wrong
  • How to balance your focus between marketing and fulfilment
  • Whether you’re growing or scaling and why it matters
  • The fundamentals even established business owners miss
  • Celia’s lifestyle boundary for her business
  • The worst cookie-cutter advice Celia’s been given on her lifestyle business

About Celi

Celi Arias is the entrepreneur’s best friend. She's been a startup COO and holds deep corporate experience in partnerships and sales in the luxury sector, she knows numbers, systems, teams, and operations. As a strategy consultant and mindset coach in the business world now, she is also certified to help her clients through the struggles that come as a result of the new changes they need to make. And while she has a no-BS approach, she also nurtures clients to results like: finally moving past 7-figures, feeling confident on exactly what to do next, and removing the chaos and confusion.


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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.