In this episode, Julie Stoain takes us through the most pivotal moments in her professional life that have been some of the best learning and growth opportunities for her…
“make decisions based on data, not emotions”
00:03:11 Making changes too fast
00:06:12 A big opportunity
00:11:43 The 3rd day rule
00:16:09 Learning to adapt
00:18:13 Recognize your growth
00:20:24 Questions to ask yourself
Read The Full Episode:
Welcome to another installment of the Digital Breakthrough Podcast, Fail Forward to Success series. This series is all about changing our relationship to failures.
Failure can be a really hard word for many people to face, but I think the worst thing we can do is not talk about it. 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!
Today is really special for me because I get to share my amazing conversation with Julie Stoian. If you are not familiar with her, she is a digital marketing expert and coach, and someone I am lucky to call my mentor. Julie is currently making her mark all over the internet. She is the co-founder of several popular online business brands, such as Create Your Laptop Life, Funnel Gorgeous, Digital Insiders, and more.
Julie has inspired 1000s of incoming business owners with the skills and strategies they need to create, build and grow a profitable online business. She has been featured on media outlets like Anderson Live, BBC World Have Your Say, and Rachael Ray, as well as numerous business and marketing podcasts and blogs, such as Content Academy, Boss Moms, GoDaddy Garage Blog, and Funnel Hacker Radio.
In this episode, Julie shares a goldmine of knowledge. She takes us through some very pivotal moments in her professional life that end up being some of the best learning and growth opportunities for her. And what’s better, she’s able to share those moments as priceless advice and wisdom to all of us.
I hope you take away some really powerful lessons from this conversation, just as I did. It’s time to embrace your failures, learn from them, and be an even stronger version of yourself…
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Entrepreneurial Decision Making
In my conversation with Julie, we touched on some really powerful moments in her professional life, that all centered around the theme of decision making, and certain factors that distracted her from what she really wanted. Looking back, she shared with me what she could have done differently, or what she overlooked.
Let’s look at each moment, and the lessons learned from her perceived failures…
1. Set Your Benchmarks
Julie’s signature program, Create Your Laptop Life, was actually one of her first big learning opportunities. In 2016, she launched this program as a course. It went so well, and she had her first $90,000 month shortly after launching.
But very soon after that success, rather than seeing where this great launch could take her, she decided to switch to a membership model. She reflected it could have been shiny object syndrome, not having good mentorship, or just being completely new and inexperienced.
This complete structural change of the flagship program was not the last impulsive decision. Just a few months after switching to the membership model, she looked at the ad spending compared to signed up users, and churn rate (or loss of subscribers) and considered it a failure. She thought she had made a horrible mistake, and shut the entire membership down to restructure it a third time.
What happened was that Julie did not consider her benchmarks, or at that time, she reflects, didn’t understand benchmarks. If you have your benchmarks set, and measure your month to month profit or growth according to them, you will be able to make more data driven decisions.
Lesson learned: Make decisions based on data, not emotion.
Action to take: Set clear benchmarks before a launch.
If you don’t have your benchmarks laid out carefully, you are running the risk of making decisions based on how you feel rather than giving the numbers and data enough time to develop, and see how it will play out over a longer period of time.
“make decisions from a place of strength, not fear”
2. Banish Imposter Syndrome
Soon after Juile’s massive, fast growth from her own digital business, she was presented with an opportunity to move away from her own business and re-enter the corporate world. In 2017, she was offered a position at Clickfunnels, from Russell Branson directly, the co-owner of the company.
At that time, her business was really successful. She had crossed the million dollar mark in August of 2017, and on paper, was doing better than ever. But she did not feel secure. She was battling the feeling that all of it could come crashing down at any moment, and doubted whether she was even good enough in the first place.
So, when Russell asked her to come work for his company, she ran to the opportunity because it felt like the safe choice. When, in reality, she was failing to give herself the credit that was due. She was the owner and creator of a million dollar business! But, no matter how big she grew, she would never have the belief in herself until she was forced to face her insecurities.
When she was invited to become a partner at Clickfunnels in her second year, she was going through a lot of stressful situations in her personal life, and rather than take a moment to decide what really aligned with her values, she took the promotion, because it offered more of that perceived security.
In this instance, Julie was making decisions out of a place of fear and insecurity. Even though there were people willing to bet on her, she was not willing to bet on herself. Julie ended up leaving that position about 6 months later because she was able to see what was keeping her from making the right choice.
And the best part of her experience is that she was able to look back at it during our conversation, and share all of the lessons she learned from it. She can now understand what led her to making decisions that were not in alignment with what she really wanted.
Lesson learned: Make decisions from a place of strength, not fear.
Action to take: Look honestly at your insecurities, and give yourself the credit that you deserve.
When you feel like you are about to make a decision because you fear something else, it might be a good moment to step back, and really dig into whatever insecurity is there. You might not have belief in yourself in the way that you truly should. Everyone goes through impostor syndrome at some point, especially as entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t mean you should hold yourself back because of it.
“Every launch looks like failure on day 3”
3. Stay the Course
As Julie got back into her own business, she took all the valuable lessons she learned and used them to grow into the digital marketing powerhouse she is today.
One of those lessons she shares with her clients anytime they are in the middle of a launch seems to prove itself true time and time again.
Whether it’s something psychological, an adrenaline drop off, or slowed down sales, almost everyone seems to hit a mental rough patch on day three.
And this is something I think you can apply to almost any part of your business. It is almost inevitable that you will experience something that feels like a failure at one point, and you will want to quit. You will want to give up everything you’ve built, completely forget that it is actually your passion, and walk away.
I promise you, this is not a unique feeling. But what I can also promise you is that almost every time, that feeling will be gone in 24 hours. And all you need to do during that time is to stay the course. Look to your benchmarks, and think about your bigger goals. You will get past that feeling, and laugh at yourself when it all ends up great.
Lesson learned: Make strategic decisions, not reactive ones.
Action to take: If you start to feel like it’s all a failure, take 24 hours before making any decisions.
Julie’s rule is something we should all think about. When you are feeling any sort of extreme, whether highs or lows, it’s important to save the big decisions for another time. Stick with it, and everything will work out ok. And if it doesn’t you’ll have an amazing lesson to learn from it!
“Learn how to be more strategic. Let ideas marinate, don’t make decisions when you’re in a bad mood. Don’t make decisions when you’re in a high mood either. And don’t take your team and your customers on this impulsive journey just because you’re bored, or you’re irritated with your own art. Learn how to make really data driven data driven strategic decisions.”
4. Enjoy the Present
This next piece of advice is something I think entrepreneurs always have a hard time with. Often, we can get hyper focused on the destination. We set goals and benchmarks, we build an image in our mind of this point we want to reach, and we lay out all the steps along the way of how we will get there.
But, when we get there, it may not feel as great as we built it up in our mind. Julie mentioned something so important about this contradiction, and it’s that you changed along the way, too. The woman who set your goals is not the same woman who reached them.
Lesson learned: Every decision made is as much a part of the destination as the final result.
Action to take: Look at where you are right now and realize you are now the person who reaches those goals.
You might feel like you don’t deserve to reach that point because it doesn’t feel as amazing as you thought it would, but the reality is that you became the type of person where reaching that high point is normal. You put in the real work to get to the level you want, and now it just feels right.
And that is OK! The best thing that you can do for yourself on your way to the destination is to enjoy the journey, and each day as it comes.
“If you start to feel like it’s all a failure, take 24 hours before making any decisions”
5. Zoom Out
Before we wrapped up our conversation, I had to ask Julie what tips she has for anyone trying to navigate through a tough decision. What she responded with was full of so much wisdom, clearly shaped by her experiences.
First, zoom all the way out and forget about the specific problem. You need to distance yourself from the problem to be able to see it clearer. In order to do that, ask yourself two questions:
- What do you want your take home pay to be?
If you don’t know the exact number, think about what you want your life to look like, and then think about how much that life is going to cost. There, now you have your ideal take home pay.
- What does the gross revenue have to be to take home that amount?
Here, Julie suggests doubling the number. Consider allowances for taxes, reinvestment in your business, etc. After you get this number, you might all of a sudden realize you actually don’t need to worry about half of the things you’re trying to figure out. Just like with setting clear benchmarks for a launch, you’re able to quantify your goals and see the path more rationally.
Now that you are able to step back and really see the data behind your goals, you’ll be able to explore what you really want to do to get to that goal. Try asking yourself these next questions:
- What work do you love doing?
- What work do you hate doing?
- What parts of your business and job do you enjoy?
- What parts would you love to never have to do again?
- What are you willing to sacrifice?
There’s always going to be a sacrifice. These questions really look at what you want more: stable income with parts of your job you’re not super passionate about, or always doing work you love, with possible fluctuations in income. Once you answer these questions, you will know what your next move should be. There’s a chance you even now have an outlined plan.
Lesson learned: Make decisions based on your ultimate goals, not the immediate offer.
Action to take: Step back from the problem and consider the bigger picture of what you want out of your business.
Thank you, Julie!
I am so grateful to Julie for sharing her experiences with us in order for us to learn from them. She taught us all about the different factors that can get in the way of making your best decisions. Remember, take your time when making decisions. Set your benchmarks to use your data. Banish impostor syndrome and learn to trust yourself. Stay the course and believe in the bigger picture, and never forget to enjoy the present moments along the way.
I hope you enjoyed our conversation as much as I did. I love the Fail Forward to Success series because it is all about figuring out how to pick out the lessons from something that can feel so negative.
Your failures do not have to be something you try to cover up and never think about again; they can actually be one of the greatest gifts for the growth of your business. Sometimes, there is no better way to learn than by trying something, and making a mistake or two along the way.
Have you experienced anything along the way in the growth of your business that you consider a failure? What did you learn from it?