Momentum Podcast: 515

Charfen Update: 24 Months in Business

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

We just had the close of our second full year in business. The last six months have been exceptional for us. Our company has been growing like crazy. One of the major things we’ve focused on is planning. I always say that if you don’t have a plan, you’re going to be the biggest bottleneck. We’ve used our strategic planning process to coach 100’s of millions of dollars in growth with our clients. Another thing we’ve really cracked down on is documentation of key processes and simplifying everything we possibly can to scale.

To put things into context, in September of last year, we pulled all of our paid marketing so I could get out of sales and delivery. As a result, we grew our team to 15 people and had our most profitable year yet. We also launched our newest product, Billionaire Code Foundation. We started the Foundation with a small beta group. Our goal was 25 sales, and we ended at 32, with NO paid marketing. In the past few months, we also dealt with some serious health issues with my wife, Cadey. With my wife out of commission and me working at 30% productivity, our business still grew thanks to our incredible team. I can’t stress this enough…having the right team is everything.

We’re currently at a $3 million run rate and on our way to the $3 – $10 million growth phase on the Billionaire Code. Stepping into this leader phase and delegating success has led us to have an amazing team culture. But the biggest and most exciting thing that has happened in the last two years is our client success stories. So many of our clients are exploding and hitting new milestones. Tune into the show for a full overview of what the past 24 months in business have looked like for us!

Full Audio Transcript

June 30th, just a few days ago, marked the end of our 24th month in business, so two full years. This is an update about what's going on in our company, with our team, and what it feels like to hit the second year in business at CHARFEN.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.

Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.

While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

I haven't done one of these update podcasts in a while, but the last time I did an update on our company and what was going on, I got a lot of positive feedback. So I figured since this is, or since we just had the close of our 24th month, two years in business, and for us we run on a July to June calendar for planning calendar. So it's actually our second full year in business and it's exciting.

There is so much going on and a lot of stuff happening. And I wanted to actually record this yesterday so it would come out on July 1st but I've actually been under the weather, sick feeling like... I had a nasal infection for the last few days. I've actually been kind of out of commission for the last four days, which for me is a record. I asked Cadey if she can remember any time in our marriage when I was in bed or not feeling like I could work for four days or more and she couldn't. So this is a record.

And it's actually encouraging to me. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm 46 years old. And I've observed a lot of patterns in the world and what I've seen is when we go through struggle, and resistance, and challenge, and sometimes even illness, and frustration, and challenges in relationships, and challenges in our business, typically when they get to the point where you are getting resistance you've never had before in your life, you are coming up against a massive breakthrough. And that's how I'm choosing to look at this.

I'm looking, choosing to look at this as I am on the cusp of a massive breakthrough. And I think when I give you this update on our full two years in business, you'll see why I absolutely feel that way. I feel like we today have one of the most intense companies I've ever run and I've run a bunch. I feel like we've had, have one of the best teams I've ever had and specifically one of the most cohesive, and integrated, and excited to work together leadership teams that I've ever assembled.

So, I feel like the breakthrough is going to be massive and whatever resistance I'm working through right now, I know it's going to be worth it. So, let me jump in and give you some of the summaries. So first, full transparency. I'm going to give you a ton of information and share with you what's really going on in this business because we have nothing to hide.

We use all of our own materials, we use all of our own stuff. We actually run our business on the exact same cadence that we coach our clients to run. We run our personal lives on the exact same momentum planner that we advise our clients to use. And we use our models, our frameworks, everything.

And so, this isn't just us growing a business. This is us growing a business and proving that our systems work while we growing. While we growing. While we are growing. And the more that we grow, the more we show that our systems work.

So on a day-to-day basis for us, it's not just about growing the business, it's about proving who we are. It's about proving our materials. It's about proving what we teach. And I mentioned earlier, I'm 46 and I'm realizing this, I'm realizing more and more and it's becoming even more clear to me that this isn't a practice round.

I'm 46 years old. I launched a business in July of 2017. This is a statement, this is who I am. There's a lot riding on this for me. And so that's part of the reason I've been so transparent. And I can tell you that in the last year I've become so much more committed to what we train our entrepreneurs. I've become so much more obsessed with what we train entrepreneurs and doing it in our own business, and I'll share some of that with you.

One, is planning. I always tell entrepreneurs, if you don't have a plan, then you are going to be the biggest bottleneck. It's why people don't take initiative. It's why your team's not working hard enough. It's why you don't have things happening fast enough. And we have taken this to the next level.

Our strategic planning process now that we're using in our company and sharing with our clients is just extraordinary. We've coached over a hundred companies in the past few years and we've gotten tons of feedback from them. We've helped people grow hundreds of millions of dollars in growth, not tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars in growth.

In fact, most of the clients that are in our programs are growing. Like over 80% which is an unreal figure for entrepreneurial growth programs. Most of the time there's a very small percentage of people who are growing in programs. And I've become more committed to not just planning, but there's a documentation of key processes to making sure we really know what's going on in the business to leading and growing people. To understanding the team that I work with. To my personal routines. To my morning routine. To my daily planning routine. To my alignment routine with Cadey.

All of these things are habitual ways that we create success. I have a quote that we're actually putting on a T-shirt that says, if success is important to you, make it a habit. And I think so many people think success is an event. Success has never been an event. In the history of time, success has never been an event.

There has been successful events where the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work comes together for someone to experience a successful event. But success is not an event. Success is a process. It is something that takes time. It is something that happens over time. It is something that develops.

And so that process of being committed to creating success through planning, and processes, and personal routines and leading our people in the right way, it's become even more indelible in what I do.

I think a big thing that we're going through right now and a big thing that our company is going through right now in our two years in business now hitting, stepping into the third full year is simplifying. We are simplifying everything we possibly can for scale. We are making things easier on us for scale. We are doing what we can to make it so that as we scale, we don't scale complexity. We get a massive and incredible customer outcome. So people who engage with us are successful.

But on that, in that same way, we are simplifying what we do, we're simplifying our messaging, we're simplifying our promises, we're simplifying our delivery systems, making it easier for our clients and easier for us to continue to be successful. And here's what all of that has resulted in. I'll give you kind of a summary of where we are.

So, let's go back to the beginning. If we go back to July of 2017, Cadey and I shut down the business we had, we went down to one team member. And from July of 2017 to December of 2017 we generated $481,000 in income. So note that it's actually the fastest growing business Cadey and I have had.

To do a half million dollars in the first six months is really, really fast growth for us and for anybody else. So, it was a very successful first six months. From January to June of 2018, we did $969,000. So we didn't quite double... well, we came really... Actually we did, we doubled. We were $7,000 over doubling. So we did 481 in the first six months and then 969 in the second six months. And for a total in the first actual 12 month period of about 1.2 or 1.3 something.

Then from July to December of that same year, we did another 1.2. So in our first calendar year we did 481, in our second calendar year we did 2.262, which I think has us on track to get on the Inc. 500 list again. Cadey and I in 2011 had the 21st fastest growing company in the United States. And I think we're going to get on that list again. I don't know where we're land, but we're on track to get very high on the Inc. list because it, we kept growing.

From July to December of 2018 we did another 1.2 million and then January to June of this year we did 1.4. So we just finished a six month period where we did 1.4. And here's what's interesting. In that same time period, we've made a huge amount of changes.

Now I would have liked to have grown faster. I would have liked to continue doubling, but we had to make some massive changes in order for the business to actually work. And so, here's what we focused on for the past six months, really more than six months.

In fact, if you go back to September of last year, we pulled all of our marketing in September of last year. So we haven't had live marketing or paid marketing in eight months. We've had our podcasts and we've had other things that drive warm traffic, but we haven't had paid marketing in eight months because we needed to get me out of sales.

We had to create processes, and structure, and systems, and hire a person so that I was no longer the person who was driving what I was before, 80 or 90% of our sales. So now I am driving 0% of our actual sales. I'm not on any sales calls, I'm not responsible for sales. Which is incredible because that's one of the biggest steps when you're in that $3,000,000 run rate business when you're around a $3,000,000 business, which is where we are right now.

You look at January to June was 1.4. You extrapolate that out to the year, it's about 2.8 but reality is if you look at where we're really headed, it's much higher than that because we're ramping like crazy. And so, getting me out of sales was huge. And then we spent that same time period getting me out of delivery.

A lot of our early coaching programs was me on Voxer, me in Facebook groups, me interacting with people. And so, over the past two years we have documented all of our coaching models. We have created systems and processes for what we used to do in person with people. We've taken the material that we had and made it infinitely more easy for people to understand so that we could get me firmly out of sales. And I wasn't, I'm sorry, not just sales but delivery as well.

And here's what that resulted in. Our team has gone from seven people to 11 plus four contractors, which is awesome. Seven people in the last six month period. And then we released a new product last month in June. It's the billionaire code foundation product. So we have our billionaire code accelerator coaching group, which is our high level coaching group for people who are growing their businesses.

We came out with the billionaire code foundation product, which was a $2,000 Beta at this point. Moving forward it will be a $3,000 product. And it's all about creating a strategic plan for any business. And here's what's so awesome about that. We released it as a Beta. We did not do a big launch because in our company we like to do a small Beta, have people test the product, figure out where all the issues are and then we'll come back and do a big launch.

But on that small Beta, our goal was 25 sales of the $2,000 product to our list into warm traffic. And we actually ended up with 32 or 33. So we went past our goal. We have more than enough people who are going to help us really refine that product. And so, the last six months for our company have been extraordinary. Without paid marketing, we've grown like crazy. We have reduced our high end group, the growing scale group that was all we used to sell to under 10 members. And now most of the members we have are in our billionaire code accelerator group and it's growing like crazy.

And we're about to add new features and benefits to that group to keep people in it for multiple years instead of just one year. So we've had a really extraordinary six months, to get... And while we were doing all that, getting me out of delivery, getting me out of sales, making massive changes, documenting everything in the business, hiring people, onboarding them, we went from 1.29 to 1.4. So we still grew.

And here's another part that might just be even more extraordinary. In the past couple months, we had some really severe personal challenges. Cadey, my wife who runs the company with me, and we work in the business every day together, had a really serious health issue. A kidney stone that became life-threatening and ended up with her completely out of commission. Like down to being able to answer a couple emails a day for over a month.

And because she was out and we homeschool our two girls, Cadey being out for a month, took me down to probably 30% productivity. And so while Cadey was out, and I was at 30% productivity, we still experienced this growth. We still got our new product out, we still upgraded everything we were doing. And it's just a testament to how incredible our team is right now. So here are some reflections on this last six month period.

At $3,000,000 run rate where we are right now, we're about to cross into that three to $10 million growth phase. In the billionaire code, if you go back and listen to those episodes from 180 to 200, when you look at the billionaire code builder is from 300 to a million. Promoter is a hundred to 300 and then builders 300 to a million. We went through that last year, operators one to 3,000,000. And now we're in that leader phase, 3-10 million where you delegate success. And that has been extraordinary for me this time around growing a business because we have this incredible leadership team that is ready to take on the world.

And Haley started it all. She's our operations manager. She's absolutely amazing. She's helped recruit every member of our team today. That's why we have such an incredible culture and why everybody fits together so well.

We Have Deanna who runs our coaching and content. She has so much experience and so much knowledge in this area. It's just been incredible working with her. She's helped me get better at what I do. Then we have Greg who is our systems and IT manager. And Greg is, he has to be the best person I've ever had in this role. His personality, his knowledge, the amount of experience he has is just incredible. There hasn't been a problem or an issue that has gotten his blood pressure up, I think like one decimal point. He's just the smoothest and calmest and ready to just make things happen person I've had on my team in forever.

And then Dustin recently joined us for marketing. And the reason we are able to make those 30 sales of our Beta product, 100% was on Dustin.

In fact, last week I was supposed to be on Facebook at least once, maybe twice a day selling that product and I've been ill and wasn't able to and Dustin was still able to hit our goal, which is just incredible. And I think with that, with being in that three to $10 million phase where I'm delegating success and I'm becoming a better leader and asking the question, how does my team get ahead? It's all about the leadership team. It's all about scaling the team to consistently deliver our product. It's all about simplification and making sure that we have the right things in place and I feel like we're really there.

I'll say it again. I said it earlier. I'm a hundred times more committed to the cadence, to the systems, and processes we have, to our strategic planning to not getting in the way of my team. When I look at strategic planning and metrics, the numbers that your team reports to you on weekly reporting where your team tells you what they're doing. All of those things are great for the entrepreneur because then I get to know what's going on. They're great for you because you'll know what's going on, but they're even better for your team because it protects your team from you.

Let me just let that sink in for a second. I'm well aware that when it comes to people management, I need data because if I just go on my feelings, I'm going to mess things up. I'm going to criticize people where they shouldn't be criticized. I need to look at measurements, I need to look at what people are doing, I need to understand what's happening. And so, having those things in place has made it so much easier in this business and any business I've run in the past.

So my commitment level to what we do as a company and what we help other people with has never been higher. And here's what's another thing that's really interesting. We have the billionaire code. If you go back and listen to episodes 180 to 200 of the podcast, I go through each level of the billionaire code in detail.

And even though I know what's coming, even though I know what's going to happen next, I can anticipate it. I'm training people to do this. We have people in our coaching programs that are doing this. It's not easy to scale a business. This is not my first time up this bridge. I've done it a bunch of times and I've helped hundreds of entrepreneurs do it. I think we've had, Cadey and I have had over four $10 million businesses and I had one before her.

And so we've done this a lot. We're award-winning business owners and we have a ton of knowledge, and a ton of information, a ton of experience. And I say all that, not to brag, but to tell you that I still get imposter syndrome. And some days I wake up and I'm like, "Hey, am I the one that should be doing all this?" And sometimes when I'm about to hit record on a podcast, I'll get that feeling of like, "Hey, they're not going to listen to you this time."

And so, I share that with you because the more that I am an entrepreneur, and the more that I put myself out there, and the more that I create new challenges for myself and go to new levels of growth, I realize that along with all of those things is new levels of imposter syndrome and doubt and feeling like you're not worthy, and feeling like you're not good enough.

And I think that people have this impression that once someone gets to a level of success, like maybe the level of success I've achieved in my life, which I don't feel is that high, by the way. I have a lot of friends with 10 figure net worth and higher. So I always think like, "I need to catch up."

But I think people think that once you hit a certain level of growth or certain level of achievement, imposter syndrome goes away. I just want you to know it just morphs. It just changes. It becomes more cunning. It becomes more challenging to diagnose. It becomes more difficult to get past and it actually becomes a lot more pronounced as you become more successful.

So I just want you to remember that, that as you're growing, and as you're building your business, and as you're expanding who you are and making things happen, and creating new outcomes, and creating progress, and making a difference, there may be, in my experience for almost every entrepreneur, you included, there may be an increasing feeling of resistance that comes along with it.

And if you're feeling that, understand that it's normal. Pick up a copy of Steven Pressfield War of Art, open it to any page and start reading and it will help you. Because it's a book about the war of producing art that goes on in our minds. And every entrepreneur I know is an artist, and every artist I know as an entrepreneur.

And so, that book is game-changing if you ever want to check it out. So I think that is, that's our update. I think the biggest, most exciting thing that's happened in the past two years is our client success stories. We helped Alison Leila Hormozi at Gym Launch go from a couple million dollars a year to over $40 million a year. We helped Brandon and Kaelin over at Lady Boss go from just under 10 million to just under 50 million. And then there's a lot that aren't that dramatic, but still incredible growth and success stories.

Emily Hirsch's agency went from around a million dollars to well over three and a half million dollar run rate. Edward Tang, who teaches business owners in China how to grow businesses started with us about a year ago. He was at a $166,000 a month run rate and now he's over $300,000 a month.

So, our clients are exploding and they are reaching new milestones, they're hitting numbers they never thought they could hit. And I think it's all due to the fact that they have strategic planning communication systems and they have a process to make sure they have a system in their business to analyze the company and understand what processes to document, what projects to achieve and what people to hire and onboard. And when you have that growing a business is a lot more linear. I would never say it's easy, it's a lot more linear, and it's a lot more predictable, and it happens a lot faster. And we're seeing that with our clients around the globe. It's been amazing.

And so, I just want to thank you for being the listener. The Momentum Podcast is still getting consistently 50 to 60,000 downloads a month. We don't really grow a lot in downloads, we are very consistent in downloads. So do me a favor, if you have a minute, leave a review for us that helps us a ton with the ranking.

And I'm not going to ask you to go anywhere today. I just have one favor to ask. If you can recommend or share the Momentum Podcast with one friend sometime in the next week or share it on social media, or give us a shout-out somewhere and help us improve our listenership. I would really appreciate it. And I will check back in in six months with another update on where we are as a company.

Thank You For Listening!

I am truly grateful that you have chosen to spend your time listening to me and my podcast.

Please feel free to reach out if you have a question or feedback via our Contact Us page.

Please leave me a review on iTunes and share my podcast with your friends and family.

With gratitude,


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