How to Scale a 6 Figure Coaching Business with Sheryl Plouffe #066

Show Notes:

Sheryl Plouffe is the Founder & CEO of Scalable Business Accelerator and the host of the Cash In On Camera podcast. She has produced thousands of videos and broadcast over 20,000 hours of live television as a national TV presenter.

Sheryl owns a training company that advises 6-figure entrepreneurs who want to implement scalable systems. She lives and works in Ontario, Canada

Topics explored:

  • How to make the leap from 5 to 6 figures as a coach, consultant, expert or authority entrepreneur
  • Why people often get stuck in the “shiny object syndrome” and investing in tactics without a solid cash flow foundation first
  • One great way: find speaking engagements to practice and share your expertise
  • Sheryl’s Create, Connect, and Convert methodology helps clients scale their business from high-five figure to multiple six figures with a lean team and good systems in place
  • Key components of the Create phase include creating a leveraged offer and moving away from hourly rates based on time towards value-based pricing based on transformation.
  • Broadcasting and entrepreneurship have parallels, such as the need to be known, visible, and have a strategy for gaining and holding attention.
  •  How Sheryl had success with YouTube, generating 1.5 million video views and 15,000 new subscribers in one calendar year.


Al McBride 0:02
Welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is to sharpen the psychological edge in negotiation, ethical influencing and high impact conversations for business leaders who want to be more effective under pressure uncover hidden value, and build greater connection all while increasing profitability. With expert guests across the business spectrum, we deliver Gems of Wisdom delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to business life and problem solving. This is the short form espresso shot of insight podcast interview to boost business performance using our five questions in 15 minutes or so. format.

My guest today is Sheryl Plouffe. Sheryl is the founder and CEO of scalable business accelerator, and the host of cash in on camera podcast. She has produced 1000s of videos and broadcasts over 20,000 hours of live television. As a national TV presenter. Sheryl owns a training company that advises six figure entrepreneurs who want to implement scalable systems. She lives and works in Ontario, Canada. Sheryl, welcome to the show.

Sheryl Plouffe 1:12
Alistair, so great to be here with you. Well, as

Al McBride 1:15
I said, it’s a very interesting setup that you have that you tell us who is your ideal client, and what’s the biggest challenge that they face.

Sheryl Plouffe 1:25
The ideal client for what we do and our philosophy on business growth are high five, figure six figure, coaches, consultants, experts, people who are authority entrepreneurs, that are packaging and selling their experience wisdom and expertise into products and services for sale. And the biggest challenge that they are faced with is truly you know, finding consistent high quality leads for what it is specifically that they do. I think there’s also another piece to this, which dovetails perfectly into the revenue isn’t there, right? They want to scale, they want to grow and have aspirations and also feel like they deserve to be in those higher levels of revenue, but they might not have the systems in place for them to see that path for growth.

Al McBride 2:11
Outstanding, outstanding. So it’s a fascinating field, as you say, you can feel that they’re already good at what they do. Obviously, they’re highly competent to have the skills. But as you said, and you mentioned it several times, the systems aren’t quite in place. So what are some of the common mistakes that your prospects and your clients make when they’re trying to solve that problem? So they’re trying to break through that perceived ceiling. So what do they usually end up doing first, because some of our listeners might spot some of these behaviors in their own actions.

Sheryl Plouffe 2:40
I think one of the common mistakes, it’s not really necessarily the fault of the entrepreneur who is in the startup and growth phase, because they are bombarded with ads on Facebook that tell them that they need this shiny object and this SAS product and that quiz funnel and, and a lot of those tactics can work and do work at the right time. And that’s the biggest mistake that I’m seeing is that people are latching on to these ideas and concepts without having a lot of foundational, certainly cashflow foundation in place before they start investing in all of these different tactics and shiny objects. So what happens is with a for the example of a tactic around, say, launching and creating your own summit would be a good example.

Okay. Okay, now, that is a good, that’s a great thing to do at a certain stage of your business. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for someone who’s just starting out. Because it takes you have to have a lot of skill and knowledge and time, frankly, it’s a lot of technical things that are going on there. So that would be an example of it. And what we see sometimes, or whether it’s summits or other tactics, that are not foundational, is they end up spending eight months, nine months with their head down, trying to figure out all the technical aspects of whatever it is that they’re building. And why that’s a problem. And a mistake is because it takes them away from income generating activities. It takes them away from actually doing the things that will bring cash flow and revenue in. So I think that’s one of the big mistakes is the shiny object syndrome.

I think another mistake Alistair that I see are people that try to build the complex funnel, the perfect funnel, right out of the gate. And that’s a mistake because you don’t have a high converting offer yet. That’s what you need to be working toward in order to then you know, start looking at maybe funnels and ads and things of that nature to scale it that way. So I deal strictly with organic I don’t necessarily deal with advertising, but I have talked to enough people who have run ads to know that it’s often a mistake in the early stages doesn’t necessarily lead to any fruitful results. So Those are some of the things that I’m seeing in terms of mistakes. And I think another thing is not having an early going a high ticket offer. You know, I think that that’s the best approach is have something high ticket that way, you don’t need to have gargantuan numbers of people purchasing your thing in order to make that cash flow a reality.

Al McBride 5:20
And so having to clarify that one, sorry to interrupt just a moment, because that’s really interesting. So because I think people have different levels in their head on this one. So when you say high ticket, what are you envisioning what sort of spectrum?

Sheryl Plouffe 5:33
Okay, well, there are different definitions, certainly, depending on who you talk to high ticket so in, in most, most opinions would be high ticket would be something over $10,000. But I do think that there is something to be said for maybe the the quasi high ticket, when you’re first starting out, try and aim for something maybe between 3010 1000 as a nice doable offer, when you’re first starting out, that’s enough to be able to get you cash flow. And then you can start looking at ways to augment that and make it a true high ticket program over over 10 to 25. And even $100,000, if you want to, but that that range of between three and 10 is a great, great starting point for people who maybe have never done High Ticket Sales before, because there’s a skill set that needs to be learned around that as well.

Al McBride 6:27
Excellent. Excellent. And when we’re when we’re talking about that, no, so that was very helpful. There’s a lot of aspects there that said, people are, you know, getting stuck in the bright, shiny objects and trying to do too many things and overwhelming themselves rather than, as I say, creating the value and creating through simplicity before you make a complex. So it makes an awful lot of sense. So what might be one valuable free action that someone in this position could take. So this might not solve the problem, but it’ll put them down the right path.

Sheryl Plouffe 6:59
It’s funny that I just recently did a workshop I had over 60 people from all over the world, all parts of the world, join me for a workshop and the subject of that workshop is my answer to your question, which is speaking, I think that the most valuable free action that you can take is to find yourself a speaking engagement. And ideally, more than one speaking engagement. So this interview that you’re conducting with me is a really good example of that I am doing a speaking engagement, right?

Why would I Why am I doing this because we’re connecting and I’m able to share the value that I have inside of me and share my expertise. It helps you with content creation as well, like it’s a win win on all levels. So speaking is something that a lot of people are not doing consistently. And more importantly, they might, maybe for those who are doing it, but not getting the results they want. They don’t have the right strategy, underlining their speaking. So that could be that they’re finding the wrong opportunities, or they don’t have things dialed in to the level that they need to before they jump into those speaking engagements. But I think speaking is a valuable free action that you can do. And you can connect with your existing network or ask people like what speaking opportunities do you think I should be? You know, looking forward? Do you have a platform I can speak on? I think that’s one of the best things that people can do.

Al McBride 8:24
Excellent, excellent. That’s, that’s excellent advice. And it’s something that just gets people out there. Yes, it gets, you gets other people knowing about them. But as you said, it also gets them practice and how they talk about what they do and the value that they bring. So really, really good, really good advice there. Excellent stuff. So I know a part of your system is involves create, connect and converse. So can you tell us a bit more about that and how it helps, how it helps you help your clients to scale into the six figures?

Sheryl Plouffe 8:56
Well, first of all, I love methodologies, I love the idea of formulating a method or a framework or a blueprint that people can follow. And I think that’s something that every coach and consultant who has a program ought to think of it is part of the process is to systematize what it is that you’re doing. So in my case, the the create the connecting to convert is a great way to be able to share what the stages of the process of scaling your five high five figure six figure business ought to be and how you can do that without necessarily needing a large team at this point.

One of my philosophies is that you can do this without with just a VA. You know, you don’t have to if you have the right systems and you’re focusing on Create, and there are some sub pillars within the larger pillars here, but create, connect and convert and you have good systems in place. You can execute this and go from six figures into multiple six figures or earning say, you know, five to $10,000 dollars a month, you could go into the 30 to 50, or maybe even $60,000 a month, I think fairly easily with right systems and a VA. That’s not a big team. That’s a small team. It’s a lean team, where I think that once you passed, say, the 750, Mark, and you have aspirations to go further than that, then I think it becomes a conversation around team, then I think it becomes more about growth, and then you bringing other people on, it’s a different conversation, because it’s a different stage. And I think this is one of the things that I see with entrepreneurship that people don’t recognize what stage they’re at, and what are the appropriate actions to be taking for that stage. So I think that with regard to the create the Connect and convert, it’s a way to show the stages of what we need to do, you know, step by step.

So for example, Alistair in the Create phase, an offer is one of the steps of the Create phase, and underneath, so what is your again, three to five, three to $10,000 offer, with a goal toward maybe even turning that into a true high ticket program thereafter. So the creation of your leveraged offer is a key component of this. People who are in the early stages of their coaching might be doing a lot of one to one work, right? They’re trading time for money hourly, and I talked to people all the time, it’s like, well, my hourly rate is this, we want to get people away from hourly, time for money and get them into a leveraged offer, which is about value and being in charging of a value based price based on transformation you provide. And that’s not necessarily tied to time.

Al McBride 11:41
Absolutely, hopefully not Yeah, it’s tied to, as you said, getting the value getting it as a value proposal, because you know, from a negotiation point of view, that’s often the tactics used most against someone as a consultant, or as a coach is oh, well, for the same price, I can get such and such down the road, he’ll do it for x amount less, they’re always trying to commoditize what you’re trying to do. And it’s having that clarity of where you the value where you bring the value and the transformation that you’re adding to the to the mix that are potentially missing out. So

Sheryl Plouffe 12:16
clarity and confidence, clarity and confidence in what it is that you’re doing. And the transformation you provide is really key.

Al McBride 12:23
And the differentiation, why you’re why you’re different lawyers. fascial. Absolutely. So tell me a little bit more if you don’t mind about some of these systems that you put in place, because this is very interesting, because I know a lot of people that I’ve certainly spoke to, I’d imagine are very interested in at this point. But I can also imagine that they’re thinking I want to shift me in my systems and how complex a thing and how long are these things to just set up? So can you just maybe clarify and give us an idea of what you do with some of your clients in that regard?

Sheryl Plouffe 12:54
Sure. I mean, using the example of the offer, since that’s what we’ve dialed in on so far, in the case of wanting to scale from and move away from the one to one isn’t to say that you can still have a one to one offer, you can. But the advantage of having a leveraged offer as well is that you can now charge an actual premium for the one to one that you were previously selling maybe for the same amount or less. So you can increase your prices and charge more premium price for your one to one. So I’m not saying you shouldn’t have or would not want to have one to one, but you get to charge more for it. The leveraged offer is, is a system in the sense that it allows you to serve more people, you still can do one to one coaching, but in a group format.

The system is also in that particular case with an offer, there is going to be some level of technology that has to come into play as well. So recommending, you know the right technology for the portions of your offer that will be delivered in a certain way. Right, so in a lot more and more leveraged way. So technology often comes into play, especially with the offer, I think also the other part of the Create phase is around tools. So that is the tech stack. If you’re going to have an online business, you will need to invest in some technology to make it happen. You know, you’re going to need a CRM, you’re going to need an email service provider like you will need some foundational technology ie part of systems to make things work. I think there’s also a piece here around tracking, you know, so think about tracking leads, tracking, joint venture relationships or collaborations, tracking follow ups being able to do that there are a lot of really great AI tools now that allow you to do the tracking, in addition to spreadsheet based tracking.

So there’s lots of things like that, but those are some examples of systems, even speaking is a system unto itself, how the strategy of how you’re going to go out there, what is the pitch, is it a template? Each of the Is buckets really is a system unto itself. It’s the, it’s the totality of all these systems together that comprise the scaling of the business. And it can be tailored to whatever the goal of that particular entrepreneur is. So you might, you know, you might really drill in on one of these systems versus the other because it’s your goal. And that will be the thing that gets you there faster. But that’s how I view systems. Each of these things is independent of each other, but they work in tandem with each other.

Al McBride 15:33
Excellent, excellent stuff. And I like the way you’re thinking, as I said, about all these different little systems building on top of each other, or being somewhat interchangeable. So because some people I would imagine, enjoy some systems and others lasso sort of allows certain flexibility and individualizing there. So what is one valuable free resource that you could direct people to that will help them?

Sheryl Plouffe 16:00
A free resource is chat GPT.

Al McBride 16:03
Ah, okay.

Sheryl Plouffe 16:04
I think it’s one of the most valuable free tools that an entrepreneur and authority entrepreneur can have at their disposal today, when I did my recent workshop, I introduced a lot of people to chat GPT for the first time, I was surprised, because it’s really taken the world by storm. And so I was surprised that there were quite a few people who’d never experimented with it. And in the follow up to that, when I’ve discussed with people who have been at the workshop about their thoughts about chat, GPT, people will, small minds were blown because they’re like, I It’s like, I have an assistant now. And I was quick to remind them, it’s a tool, don’t let this be the replay, this is not going to be the replacement of you.

But it will be a tool that you can utilize in your arsenal, that can help you get out of those places where you feel stuck. Because when you are an entrepreneur, especially in the early stages, a startup and a growth phase, you are likely doing all the things you’re gonna you’re doing operations, you’re doing sales, you’re doing marketing, you’re you’re you’re having to come up with the concepts and you’re the thought leader, you’re doing all the things. So having a tool like this that is free and or affordable, because there are some you know, there there, certainly it’s free, but a lot of people have been running up against server issues, because it’s been so popular. But nonetheless, it is just a really powerful tool that allows people to have an assistant in their pocket, so to speak.

Al McBride 17:30
Absolutely. And I’ve been talking about AI quite a lot recently. But yes, the other advice is always check what it produces.

Sheryl Plouffe 17:39
Yes, yes, it’s not a perfect tool. But it can be a tool, especially when you are, again, in a creative space where you’re doing a lot of things and you may be doing a lot of operations, you might get to a point where it’s a you have to execute a task. But it’s the end of the day, you’ve just you’ve been you’ve had a long day you’ve been working at and you’re just sort of spent, you know, all of your energy has been expended, it can be a great tool to go into and just have it prompt you or help you along, and it gives you a little idea or a spark we go oh, okay, so now, it just can prevent you from sitting at your blank computer screen for three hours without a thought in your mind, because you’re kind of creatively tapped out. I think those are great use cases of it, you do have to be careful, the quality of the output is only as good as the input. But I think it’s still a valuable tool to have.

Al McBride 18:33
Absolutely. The other thing is it’s it is as dumb now as it’s ever going to be again, so. Excellent. Excellent. So what’s the one question I should have asked you that will be of great value to our audience.

Sheryl Plouffe 18:50
I think that Aleister You should have asked me about YouTube. And does this play into anything with YouTube?

Al McBride 19:01
Tell me more,

Sheryl Plouffe 19:02
shall I answer? Of course. Well, I have had a significant amount of success with YouTube, especially in 2020 when I dedicated myself to doing a video every week for the entire year. And in the process of doing that, and I did it all myself because I wanted to put myself through the wringer so to speak, and be able to understand the challenges that people were faced around YouTube. And I did that for an entire year by the end of the year because I used a reverse a reverse engineering strategy on what videos to make and how to make them etcetera, and what the titles were and there’s a whole piece around optimization and there’s a strategy there. I was able to generate 1.5 million video views and 15,000 new subscribers in one calendar year. And again, many of my videos have gone you know, some of them gone viral.

Some of them have gone are 1000s of views. I mean, it was really phenomenal. Now after that I did go down a little bit of a different path. But YouTube has always been a part of my DNA, so to speak, because that’s really where I started as a video strategist, come full circle to this moment in time that we’re in now, and YouTube is embarking to help people with podcasts, right, podcasting is one of the systems that I teach and, and recommend. So YouTube and podcasting, they’re going toe to toe with tick tock on the shorts, they’re going toe to toe with Spotify on the on the podcast, it’s really interesting to see the developments that are happening with YouTube and how that parlays into the scaling of a six figure coaching business. So I think there is definitely an opportunity there. For those who want to understand you to better as it pertains to podcasts, etc.

Al McBride 20:56
Excellent. And it’s such an interesting point. I mean, I’m a fan of YouTube, as well. But as I said, I’m not quite as intuitive the level that you are. But you know, a lot of people don’t realize that YouTube is the second most popular search engine.

Sheryl Plouffe 21:12
Yeah, sorry, my camera, your camera,

Al McBride 21:15
your back your back. And that, but it is the second most popular search engine after Google. So people, if they have a lot of people, if they have a question, they go straight to YouTube to find the answer that don’t necessarily a lot of people don’t necessarily even go to Google. And of course, your Google, your YouTube videos will show up in Google Search. Quite right. Exactly. So it’s a very good point, it’s a very good point and coming

Sheryl Plouffe 21:41
coming full circle to the challenge people are facing with generating consistent high quality leads. If you can utilize to your point, the search ability, the suggestibility and discoverability of your presence on YouTube, you can generate an endless list of qualified clients for what you do. So I think that the question really becomes how does that play in and that’s certainly something that that I talked about in what I do as well.

Al McBride 22:10
That’s kind of like, and that’s very interesting that you mentioned, as you said, that you’re a former TV broadcaster, and you’re very much into the video side, the video podcasting. Can you tell us a little bit more about that, and some of the principles that you take through that you regularly give to your clients?

Sheryl Plouffe 22:27
Well, I spent 25 years on television actually started hosting a show when I was 18 years old, didn’t know what I was doing. And then I climbed up the ladder to national TV broadcasting before the age of 30. And then spent many, many years doing that on the national level, and manage the news department while I was there as well. So I was in leadership and management and had a team of across Canada bureaus and reporters, and, you know, a freelance network, etc. So lots of great experiences in media. What’s interesting about media and broadcasting as it pertains to entrepreneurship isn’t there’s actually more of a parallel than you might expect.

When I was a TV broadcaster, I was helping them build their brand, I was the front facing Well, while I was on TV, I was the front facing person when I was in management, I was the force behind the editorial decisions, but nonetheless, driving people to viewership driving people to come back and length of viewing. And these were some of the most important metrics that we looked at was actually linked to viewing was the most important so. And the monetization model there is, is advertising, but we need an audience in order to do that. I think that when we look at the parallels to entrepreneurship, we still need people to see us know us recognize us and come back to our content over and over and think of us when it comes to insert your topic or subject matter expertise.

And so the monetization might be slightly different in that you’re selling your own products and services, but you still need to be known, you still need to be visible, you still need to be out there and have a strategy for doing that. So I think a lot of the best practices that I’ve learned from broadcasting do parlay into what I do today and permeate my teaching and my philosophy. So it’s been interesting to see how that all plays out for people who, you know, are very interested in and have a lot of questions about broadcasting. I say, You know what, there are a lot more parallels than you might expect.

Al McBride 24:31
Absolutely. And I love that you’re essentially an expert in grabbing people’s attention and teaching them how to hold that attention over time, you know, because I love that that of course, that’s what TV is all about. Key. Exactly. Absolutely. So I can see exactly how it worked for entrepreneurs. Excellent.

Sheryl Plouffe 24:51
Well, but not only that, Alistair I think it’s it’s not just the attention for the sake of attention and that’s a lot on tick tock and You know, when my husband always asked me, it’s like, why does this video have 5 million views? Right? And it’ll be a, it’s a teenage girl with a crop top, and she’s doing a dance. And for four seconds, and I go, it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t. That’s not leading to anything really, you know, I mean, yes, she can brag and she can, she has bragging rights, I have 5 million views on this video.

So what so it doesn’t. So I think that it’s not just attention for the sake of attention. When you’re in business, it’s attention so that you can build connection, right, so that you can convert some of the pillars I was talking about here, right? It’s this idea of like creating something so that you can connect with people and then convert for the betterment of who it is that you serve, because most coaches and consultants are trying to do good in the world. They’re doing it through their work. They’re trying to make the world a better place through their work. So it’s a it’s a valiant cause to be putting that work out into the world.

Al McBride 26:02
Absolutely. Absolutely. And on that note, how can people learn more about you? Is it through LinkedIn? Or do you recommend YouTube or both? Or

Sheryl Plouffe 26:12
YouTube is great, yeah, YouTube, but certainly LinkedIn, there’s obviously more of that messaging capability through LinkedIn. So any of the socials, my signature card is linked there. So I update my signature card with all of the latest things that I’m doing. So if I’m speaking at an event, or I’m doing this or I’m doing that, I’ll put it on my signature card. And that’s linked up on all the socials at Sheryl Pluff. So certainly, you can always send me a message, you can send me an email and connect with me and find out what I’m up to. But social media is always a great place to do it. And then find out what some of the free tools that we have are there as well.

Al McBride 26:47
That’s sounding Thank you. And as I said, I linked all those below this video and in the information below the podcast. So thank you so much, Sheryl. It’s been great to have you on.

Sheryl Plouffe 26:59
Thank you, Alistair. Really appreciate being here. Thank you so much for having Thank you

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