In this week’s episode, Kristin shares with us her journey from drowning in $200,000+ debt to thriving online business owner and 3 things every business needs to be successful…
“You need to have a product, people and purpose”
01:00: Meet Kristin Ingram
03:00: Kristin’s number one big fat failure
04:38: How Kristin made more in one launch than in 2 years
06:41: The number one reason why most business owners fail
08:09: Three things every business needs to be successful
11:59: What Kristin did differently in her successful beta than membership
Read The Full Episode:
Welcome back to another instalment of the Digital Breakthrough Podcast, Fail Forward to Success series.
I love this series because I truly love talking about failures! I always say that your successes are inspiring for a second, but it’s what you were able to learn that really energizes me. I named the series Fail Forward because that’s actually what failures help you do. They help you move forward and create opportunities to learn. I like to say we don’t Fail, we have a Fun Attempt In Learning!
My special guest today is Kristin Ingram, a small business mama who owns two businesses – a tax and consulting firm and a digital media company. In 2019, Kristin founded Bookkeeper Training School, where she helps moms create a full-time income while their kids are napping. Kristin has worked with small businesses for almost 20 years, and is blessed to work from home with her husband Jeffery, as they raise their young son.
In this episode, you’ll hear Kristin talk about her resilient journey as an entrepreneur, and how she went from over $200,000 in debt to a thriving online business owner. It’s an exciting episode about resilience and building a business you love.
Let’s get started!
Kristin: So I started my first brick and mortar business back in 2006 after I was recovering from cancer. I was diagnosed Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006 and I was told I couldn’t work the way I was anymore.
I was working many hours as a CPA during tax season. It was really crazy. So I made the decision to start my own tax firm.
But through the cancer journey, we racked up a whole bunch of debt.
My husband and I figured a way to pay off $220,000 in consumer debt. And I started blogging about that and our journey to pay it all off. And that my first taste in the online business.
Since then I went on a journey to learn about online courses and how to launch an online business. And it took me from 2008 to 2019 until we started to achieve online success!
Kara: Wow! There’s already so much to unpack in this.
First of all, what an amazing story, that you kicked cancer’s butt.
And second of all, you had all of this debt that you were working to pay off and it took you 11 years until you reached success!
Your resilience is something I wish we could bottle up and sell because I see so many people give up in business so early.
Kristin’s Big Fat Failure
Kara: So, in your amazing journey, what is one big fat failure that you want to share? And I’m sure over those 11 years there were a bunch! But, what is the one pivotal thing that stands out to you?
Kristin: Great question! And I still kick myself about this to this day!
We had a membership that was $37 a month for small bookkeeping business owners.
And for that $37 you got a new course every single month, weekly live calls with a tax professional, AND access to a business strategist.
And we never marketed it! We didn’t run ads. We didn’t send emails. We just made it live!
Kara: Wow! You gave them so much for such a low price!
Kristin: I know! And the funny thing is that people never left because once they got in, they had access to so much value which I probably should have been charging $100’s a month for.
So, we ran that for about two years, then we launched a new product called “Bookkeeper Training School”, and made more money than we made in two years running this program where we developed a new course, every single month we did weekly calls.
It was so much work for me and my husband.
Kara: Do you remember how many members you had in it?
Kristin: We had 20 members.
Kara: You deserve so many awards. So, I’m wondering, did you ever wonder if you should shut your membership down?
Kristin: Definitely! And eventually we did shut it down.
We knew we had something really good, but I was not in the mindset at that point to spend money on ads and turn it into something bigger.
Which may sound crazy because I knew what you’re supposed to do for a launch.
I had taken Jeff Walker’s course and I had taken Brenda Rashard courses, but I simply couldn’t get myself to do it.
And I think a lot of it at that point was imposter syndrome. I kept hearing a voice in my head saying, “what happens if I get 500 people in here and I don’t know everything!”
Which is how so many people think and what stops them from carrying on with their business!
And something that Brendon Burchard said a couple months ago really struck a chord with me, and I tell my Bookkeepers all the time, “confidence is the knowledge that I can find the answer.”
Which is perfect because I’m never going to know everything all the time. And the answer is quite simple – I Google it and I figure out the answers.
“So many times we get stuck because we don’t know everything, but there is always a solution”
3 Things Every Business Needs To Be Successful
Kara: 100%. So what would you say to that version of you that was stalled for quite some time, besides the imposter syndrome, what piece of advice would you give to take that leap?
Because like you said, you knew what you needed to do, you just didn’t have the confidence to do it.
Kristin: Ultimately, every business venture that we have that did not succeed was missing one of these three things…
1. You need to have a product – whether that be a product or a service, you need to have something that you’re selling.
2. You need to have people – there are three ways you can get people.
You can buy them through ads. You can borrow them from other people. Or, you can build a team.
And yes, building the right team can be a slow journey, but you have to bring people in or else you’re going to be on an 11 year journey like I was and very STUCK.
3. And the third thing that you need, is that you need to have purpose in your business.
For example, there are a ton of bookkeeping courses out there, but I’m really passionate about helping moms change their trajectory without years and years of education, without hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt. I’m super passionate about them helping their kids. And that makes my course different because the level of support that you get in my course is so much higher than what you get in other courses.
You need to be clear on what makes you stand out from the other 999 people selling something similar to you.
If you can get those 3 things nailed down… if you can get your product, if you can get your people and you get your purpose, you’re going to have a cash register. And that is what our other ventures were missing.
“Be willing to sell a product before you build it
How Kristin Went From 20 Clients to 200…
Kara: So many golden nuggets.
So, I want to go back to when you said earlier that your beta of your program brought in way more clients than your first membership program.
Can you tell me what you did differently for your beta then your membership?
Kristin: Well, first of all, we were willing to charge a price point that was reasonable for what we were doing.
Second, we were willing to sell a product before we built it.
So often we spend a year or so building out a product before we put it out there, and then we never talk about it again. But this time we thought lets do things differently, lets sell our product before we build it, and work to a schedule to get it done!
We stuck to a schedule, got everything done, put it out on all of our channels, sent emails to our existing audience, and in that first beta launch we sold 40 seats.
So, I had 40 women basically come through as I was building the program so I could customize it for them. It was an awesome experience. And working with such a small core group as we were building really helped me figure out the messaging that we needed for our first big launch which we did in January of 2020. And we sold 200 seats.
Kara: So incredible.
And what’s so interesting is that so many people could look at you and think that you’re an overnight success. But you put in so much grit and hard work underneath the surface that nobody sees. So I thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your story with us today.
Your story really is a great example of resilience and not giving up, no matter what the journey throws at you.
Thank you, Kristin!
Have you been in a place in your business where you felt like you couldn’t keep going because you didn’t know enough? What worked for you? What didn’t work? Let me know, I would love to learn from your failures, too!