Here’s what we’ll cover
Today on the Simply Smarter Numbers podcast I’m talking to successful Business Coach Rachel Lubchansky from REL Impact about the things she did to build not one but two successful businesses. Rachel is a business coach from Denver, Colorado and over a period of time she built a great community of business owners around her.
We talk about the 3 key things Rachel has done to grow her community and build a successful business.
We get practical and real about
- creating a brand and a community;
- investing both dollars and time into your own growth; and
- The role that process and systems play
Rachel E. Lubchansky is a triplet mama, entrepreneur and Startup Business Coach. Her passion is lighting the way for women to realize their full potential and step into their power. As the founder and CEO of REL Impact and Sheer Impact Conference & Community, Rachel provides the step-by-step process, support, and connection to community women need to launch and grow their own businesses, challenge the status quo, and intentionally craft a life they love living. Between creating and selling a fashion business in her 20s, and being the founder and operator of a non-profit for 8 years, Rachel has the perspective and expertise to help women turn their passions and talents into successful, sustainable businesses. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Adam, and 10-year-old children.
Here’s the shownotes
Over twelve months ago now I posted a random question about my business in a Facebook group that has over 300,000 members and todays guest Rachel Lubchansky answered my question, we got chatting in the group and within a week we were on a zoom call together talking like friends from way back about our businesses.
Rachel and I found ourselves at a similar stage in our businesses and we both decided that we each need a bit more accountability to get stuff done, so we agreed to meet online every week to keep each other moving along and keep each other accountable.
All that sounds easy enough except that Rachel is from Denver, Colorado and I’m near Melbourne, Australia. Despite a 16 hour difference we met weekly, we gave each other advice, we held each other accountable and got stuff done.
I should say that I wasn’t paying Rachel and Rachel wasn’t paying me, we were just two business owners trying to grow our businesses and were looking for someone to bounce ideas off.
I’m happy to call todays guest a friend of mine even though we’ve not yet met in person.
Thank you so much Jen I love the story of how we met.
It’s actually really interesting, I love the story of how we met as well.
Perhaps at some point we might even go into that a little bit further around the conversation of accountability partners. We’ll see if we get to that.
Tell us about yourself, your business, your family, what life is like over in Denver, Colorado at the moment.
I love the community out in Colorado, I moved there in 2016 and I was looking to start another business, having started my first business in 2004 in my mid-twenties and at the time I was embarking on this new journey of figuring out everything about how to run a business.
Once I did that, ran that first business for five years, fast forward to 2016 I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I turned all of that experience and knowledge into processing programs that could empower other people and everything they needed to launch their own business.
That’s when I launched ‘REL impact’ which is a business coaching program where I walk people through stuff, I set business processes, I give them tools for accountability and give them access to the community they need to be successful and launch their businesses.
That’s a piece of what I do now, running different coaching programs, and courses, then I also built an entrepreneurial community that was originally based in Denver, and now we’ve taken it nation wide with you as our first International member.
That’s very exciting and it’s a great community that you’ve got going on there I’d love for you to tell the listeners a bit more about it.
I learned in that first business that entrepreneurship was not meant to be taken alone and that the most successful people really surround themselves by communities of support, those trusted partners, friends and people that will help lift them up, give the partnership that they need, the space to work through challenges and the arena to celebrate in when things are going well.
That’s the premises behind cheer and pact was to create this community, this sisterhood that would support all women who are starting businesses because that’s really the key to them being able to build something that’s going to be joyful for them.
As you and I both know starting a business can be a bit of a rollercoaster and there’s that feeling, specifically in solo spaces or small business owners, that we’re alone and so the cheer and pact community values that and gives that circle of support that they need to feel like they’ve got a whole community of women cheering them on in this journey.
It is so valuable and I think sometimes we can get a little bit stuck in our own world and space and we can forget how much we need help and advice and people around us to help lift us up and keep us interested in the things that we’re doing. We can feel quite lonely out there in business worlds can’t we?
Absolutely, and I didn’t mention that we wear so many hats as women, I’m a wife, I’m a mum, I’m a community volunteer, my kids are 11 year old triplets at the moment so we’ve got two girls and a boy, so you know as women in wearing all these hats, it’s also great to have that space to not just talk about professional topics and the things affecting our businesses, but also have that space to talk about all things in life.
That’s something that we focus on as well.
Before we get into talking about your community I want to touch on the fact that you have bought all of this together between the business coaching business that you’re running, the community that you’re building as a side to help other people grow their businesses, you’re a mother of triplets. That’s tough work.
What I want to do is chat with you about the two or three different things that you can attribute your success too.
I know there are so many things we can attribute our success to but let’s try and focus on a couple of those things and one of the things we wanted to talk with you about is actually creating that brand and community.
Absolutely, so again going back to 2004 when I started that first business, I got an email from somebody who said they saw I was in the fashion business and I had created these branded tote bags and somebody sent an email saying that they saw the tote bag from my business in another country and I thought wow that’s the power of branding.
When I started creating REL Impact and added in Sheer Impact, I knew already the power of branding and the ripple effect of investing in creating a well-constructed brand from the outset.
A lot of time people think of branding as just the colour or the logo involved with their business.
That’s actually so true Rachel, there are so many people where the first thing they think of with branding is get the logo and I have spoken to so many branding experts and professionals and that’s their biggest frustration is that’s where people go but there’s so much more to it.
Absolutely, and in my business when I’m helping women launch their businesses, I encourage them not just to call that graphic designer and ask for a logo, instead to think about the strategy behind their brand, the message that they want to convey, what the brand voice is going to be, what the tone is, what do they stand for.
All these elements are the pieces that make up your total brand experience. That people feel an experience when they come in contact with your brand.
It’s really important to put some intentionality behind it and that’s what I did with REL Impact and Sheer Impact.
I started with the strategy and then created the visuals to accompany that, so when people started experiencing the brand and seeing it all over the place, on social media or though event marketing, they started to recognise Sheer Impact for what it is and REL Impact for what it is.
Sheer Impact is the community you have where you gather women together, has it typically just been an annual conference and now you’ve created more from that?
It started at that first conference in 2018 when I just put out a message to the Denver and surrounding area entrepreneurial community, hey let’s get together and see what happens when we collaborate under one roof, when we connect business owner to business owner, really come together and support one another and learn together.
150 women showed up to the first event and asked for more, so from that we started to run some small scale events throughout the year, and recently in April at our annual conference we launched community membership.
Now we’re building a membership community of women that span the spectrum geographically but are primarily in service based businesses who are looking for that connection and the growth opportunity.
Kind of along the lines of what you do Jen, those very practical, actionable strategies and tools that they can learn to continue levelling up in their business.
We’re doing everything from events to education to community building, and just loving one another over Sheer Impact.
It’s such a great place to be, and to think that you can create something like that and have 150 people turn up at your first event, that just says that there is a need for that in the community, then from there, had you branded Sheer Impact before your first conference or did it all come from that first event?
I did, I believe that if you’re going to embark on anything, an event, to support a non-profit or an event for your business, or you’re launching a new business, putting in the effort to think about what it is that you’re trying to convey, will just magnify the results of what it is you’re going out to do.
I think that speaks for itself. I had invested in the branding experience and the logo process and worked with someone who was a top notch designer who really understood what Sheer Impact was going to stand for, and through that we created the visuals which really spoke for themselves and that’s what bought people into that first conference.
We had three to four months of some pretty heavy social media marketing where we were just putting the brand out there and that’s what attracted people to it.
And the numbers just grew from there.
Do you cap it at 150 for your in person events going forward or is that growing?
I guess this year you went online for other reasons, a lot of us have gone online this year, but do you find that it’s growing?
We did have 150 people at the second conference as well and there was a significant number of repeat attendees and a lot of newbies as well.
I don’t know if we’re going to go back to the big conference in person model or if we will maintain this virtual event space.
With Covid being a wild card at the moment I don’t have plans for moving forward but we’ve definitely changed our strategy for who we’re connecting with and how we’re connecting with them.
Going virtual has really given us the opportunity to be of service to women who are not part of communities that have the same eco-system of support that we Denver entrepreneurs have here.
We’ve started attracting women in smaller towns or mid-sized cities where they haven’t tapped into the right community for themselves or found the right resources where they feel safe and excited to learn with the women who are in the room.
I kind of feel like the sky’s the limit and we aren’t really bound by that anymore.
It’s amazing how the world has changed and Covid has come and changed a lot of things for a lot of people, but isn’t it amazing what it’s done for some businesses in that it has forced that pivot, that change, we’ve really had no choice to take it all on board and make the most of it.
It’ll be interesting to see how many businesses keep doing what they’re doing at the moment.
Absolutely, and I think while I agree and understand that a lot people have been negatively affected by the effects of Covid, it really is an opportunity, and on the topic of branding, it’s an opportunity for businesses to look inward and take the time to reassess their brand strategy, maybe look at where they haven’t fully developed it, and think about what changes they can make now while they maybe have some extra time in their business to do that.
We’re talking about you bringing a lot of people together in an event space or the online space, bringing them together so they can grow their community, businesses and help each other out, but you’re also running your business coaching in the background, and are a mum of triplets, that takes a lot of work, organisation and we discussed earlier a lot of processes and systems.
Maybe that’s a good time to start talking a little bit about how those processes and systems are helping you do all the things that you’re doing.
Absolutely, well if I can just say one word ‘Trello’, the truth is I can be out there and tell Trello as much as I want but really any project management or productivity app is so essential to managing all the things.
Starting with your goals in your business, and then breaking them down.
So looking at the annual goals then breaking them down into quarterly goals, or monthly goals or maybe you have your top three for each quarter, but whatever they are you can use that project management tool to break everything out in a way that creates those bite sized actionable steps so that you can be moving forward towards the things you’re hoping to achieve while counting your successes, measuring your progress and seeing that you’re indeed moving forward and getting closer.
I can’t say enough about having a project management tool.
The other thing that I find is I document all my processing systems. So as I’ve been able to bring on a copyrighter over the years, and a virtual assistant, having in place the processes for the various tasks that I was initially doing, because they’re really helpful and seamlessly aligning the person with my brand so that they know the language that we use, how we post on social media, the kinds of images we create, how we create content and develop those ideas, and so forth.
All the way to client onboarding processes. So just anything that you can document that can become a repeatable task that you don’t have to think about, and can automate becomes so essential in being able to grow and scale your business.
Such an important point Rachel, yesterday I sat and recorded a podcast and one of the most important things that I was talking about was exactly that.
The fact that we need to force ourselves to sit down and create systems and processes, and as boring as they may be to think about, talk about and even to do, they are the lifesaver aren’t they?
They really are.
Even from, I have blog checklists, the number of action steps that need to be taken from getting a blog from idea to published is 35 or something. To have all of that in a template that can be replicable each time it’s created, just makes that process so much easier, so I can focus on the writing, the developing content and then pass off some of the other pieces to my virtual assistant.
Another great tool when it comes to passing off the systems and processes, or creating them, and I’m finding it right now with my podcast, I’m sitting down I’ve got my VA sitting down and mapping out step by step all the different processes that we go through from idea, to who we’re going to talk to on the podcast, to what it is that we’re going to talk about, right through to the social media side of it where we blast it out into the world.
And there’s a lot of steps in that. We haven’t finished the process yet, we’re working on it now, I could say there could be about 40 different steps but the point is that by putting that together, both her and I will both end up on the same page, everything is stream-lined, I’ll know what she’s doing, she’ll know where I’m at and if she ever leaves me someday and I have to find somebody else, I can just hand that over and it makes the whole transition so much more seamless.
Absolutely, and I know you talk a lot about profits Jen so if you want to talk about the time aspect of training somebody new well you really reduce the number of hours and time you need to spend training somebody when you have all of these systems documented.
Much easier to pass something off and say take a look at this, and then we’re going to review it, and they can refer back to it.
Once you have all those created it just becomes easier for everyone, and this really relates to every aspect of your business.
When I work with clients that get overwhelmed, where do I start in creating those systems, I always recommend that they start with the processes that they notice they’re doing over and over, social media posting or a Facebook group, creating all the content and the process for that and how it gets from your ideas to published.
Blogs, plan onboarding, invoicing. Just look at the low hanging fruit, the things you’re doing every single day and start documenting those things and then maybe putting on your list each week adding one more system so you can create that entire handbook.
Absolutely and if that feels overwhelming going one a week then I’ll say go one a month, in 12 months’ time you’ve got 12 systems that are ready to help you that are fully fleshed out and ready to hand over to anybody that comes your way.
Another thing that works really well, I don’t know if you’ve worked with it before Rachel, have you used Looms?
Loom is a great screen recorder, it’s free, and it’s a screen recorder so if you’re actually doing something, you know sometimes it’s just easier to show someone on screen, I’ve been using that a little bit lately and working through ‘we click here and do this and I want you to do this’ we do that on Loom and it’s just a quick, easy video and I can just email that to my VA so she knows what she’s doing and she can map out the processes for me.
I’m finding that to be a really effective way of mapping out systems and processes as well.
Absolutely, I don’t use Loom but several of the free lancers with whom I’ve worked use Loom and so I’ve been on the receiving side of many Loom videos.
What I love about the Loom platform is that if you are a mum, or if you have a job and you’re running your business on the side, you can create those Loom tutorials anytime so you don’t have to schedule time.
If you’re looking to pass off a project you don’t have to schedule time at 2 in the morning but if you happen to be awake and you want to record something then you can share with the person without having a full on meeting.
So yeah that’s a really great tool.
So Loom is a great tool, Trello is a great tool, I know that you use Trello and perhaps I need to sit through one of your tutorials to show me how it works exactly, I think we may have discussed it a while ago, but I ended up going with Asana which I do love, but I am really intrigued to what the differences are between Trello and Asana.
Project management is essential. I’ve been using Asana for my client meetings so any of the profit coaching I’ve been doing with my clients, we’ve been setting up a system in Asana and doing it that way.
That’s been a real life-saver for us, it sort of saves all of the emails going back and forward, getting lost, so all of the conversations are sitting in one place so I’m finding that really great with Asana.
I’m really intrigued to check out Trello as well and see what else that can offer.
Sure and both Asana and Trello, there are others as well, are all great platforms and I always tell people you’re going to listen to podcasts, watch YouTube tutorials, learn what you can and then make a decision and go with it. Right?
Because I know so many people who are in the Trello camp, I know a lot of people who are in the Asana camp, it doesn’t matter what camp you’re in, you want to find the system that will work for you.
You can listen to experts as much as you want but ultimately you need to create the kinds of systems that you’re going to be able to maintain.
That’s really key when you’re crafting these systems and picking the tools you’re going to use.
Of course whenever outside of systems or going deeper within systems is automations.
Anything you can automate from scheduling appointments, I use Acquity Scheduling and I love that platform and the breadth of tools that they have within that platform to be able to accept payment, auto-schedule with clients, keep track of the number of sessions that they have left.
There are a lot of different tools out there you can use and it can be overwhelming to dig through them so the process I recommend is to think about ‘what am I trying to do’ what you need a tool to do before you start shopping around, and then go and find the top three, assess them, make your decision and don’t look back.
Use them for 3-6 months and then if you’re finding some challenges or some areas of weakness then you can go back to the drawing board.
But I think taking that next step is half the battle.
I think it’s also important not to go down into the vortex and never come out again because we can be looking at these things for an eternity, you can spend hours looking into all of the different options and I think at some point you have to put aside a couple of hours at some point that you are going to start and the goal of that couple of hours is to come out the other end with a clear vision as to which of these you’ll use in the future.
The next thing is sometimes it’s really hard to get your head around these programs, I use Asana and I love it but I did struggle to get my head around it to start with so what I did was reach out and invest in some support.
That might reach in nicely to the next topic we want to talk about Rachel which is the fact that you have mentioned that you attribute a lot of your success to investing in support and other people to help you out along the way.
Absolutely and when you were talking about Asana or any of these programs, it did have me thinking about being part of a circle of support, or an accountability partner or coach or someone you can ask these questions to, or a thought partner with other people who may have used these tools.
A great way to get some first-hand experience from people who are using these on the ground level and use that to inform your decision. I really believe that investing in our own development is one of the best ways to get ahead.
There are multiple ways to invest. There is investment of money, hiring a coach, business coach or hiring people to support various areas of the business, I’ve already mentioned hiring a copyrighter, virtual assistant, website support person.
But the other kind of support that I invested in is time. You mentioned at the beginning, we were accountability partners for a while working across the pond and when the time difference became a little bit much we scaled that back but I have another accountability partner as well that I meet with every single week.
It is a chunk of time, we spend 90 minutes together so it’s a huge investment of time but finding someone who can be your accountability partner, hold you to your goals and help you move further into them, somebody whose potentially 2-5 steps ahead of you in the specific areas you’re looking to grow, and then also your 2-5 steps ahead of them in the areas they’re looking to grow.
It is a bit of this magic recipe and finding that special person with whom you can spend that time and focus on each other, and support each other and building from where you are.
It’s invaluable. So just to be clear, you don’t pay the person that you’re meeting with every week and they don’t pay you. It is just a friendly accountability partner?
The rewards are huge right she’s not paying me but we get off the phone or zoom call and every single week we’re just thanking each other for the opportunity to help each other along.
It’s amazing, it’s a power that is amazing.
For anyone out there listening that feels like they need some support or help it’s actually so worthwhile to think about who it is that you could reach out too, connect with, who else could be sitting there having the same issues, and experiencing the same blocks that you might be that can help you start getting things done.
It’s an invaluable process to go through and I highly recommend it.
Then, there are also the paid versions. If you’re looking at a paid business coach, I personally am a paid business coach, and I have had business coaches for years.
I have to say that any of the times that we have not had a business coach, things just flat line in our business.
Yes I’ve experienced that as well so either from the business coaching side or the accountability side, not having one or the other is when my business is flat lined as well.
As long as I am investing in myself and I was recently at a cross roads where I was questioning or not whether I wanted to work with another business coach at this time and what I got to thinking about was the difference between hiring somebody and finding that accountability partner.
What I was looking for was that ongoing accountability, the person whose going to encourage me to keep moving forward, give me ideas, help me celebrate different things, sort of push me in a way.
I wasn’t looking for a step by step process and I think if you’re looking to specifically learn something and walk through a step by step process, you’re looking for a coach or consultant, that’s what the time is, also if you’re looking for some experience or learning or process that’s going to be definitive in a specific period of time then that’s a coach or a consultant.
I was looking for ongoing support accountability so I knew I didn’t need to pay somebody for that, I needed to find the right partner to go through that with.
That’s such an important point to make. For you to get the most out of your investment and for your business to get the most out of your investment, you really have to have that clarity about what it is you’re looking for in that investment.
If you’re thinking that marketing is holding you back, then maybe you need a really good marketing consultant that feels right for you and if it’s your website that’s holding you back then maybe you need to pull up and say I need to invest in a good website person to come in and take care of this thing, let’s get this done and dusted and that problem will be done and out of the way.
I guess it’s about looking where your business is at that point in time and looking at where you want to be, this is where your goal setting comes in, looking at where you want to be in 6 months’ time and what’s the one key missing factor that you need to take you to that next level.
Absolutely, you said that so succinctly.
I know it’s something that you feel really strong about, it’s something that I feel really strongly about as well but reaching out and connecting with other people, whether they’re paid, or not paid, whether they’re a friend, acquaintance, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re connecting with people and learning something from somebody else.
It also actually helps when you’re helping somebody else, that in itself lifts you as a business owner.
Absolutely, when I say that my accountability partner doesn’t pay me it feels as if she does because I feel so lifted, I feel so full of gratitude that I could create space to give her the support and ideas that help power her fort, it’s so gratifying.
You give her confidence to move forward and she gives you confidence to know the advice you’re giving, to know that you’re capable, you can lift somebody else’s business and its such a nice feeling to help somebody else move forward with a particular problem that they’re having.
You can find these people anywhere, if Jen and I can meet across the pond you can find your person anywhere.
It really is just a matter of taking some of those social media conversations that we’re having and making them more personal.
Hopping on a call one on one getting to know each other and with time I believe that accountability partner will reveal herself.
I think that’s what happened with you and I. When we were first talking on social media, I was not the kind of person that would reach out and DM somebody and neither were you.
I think at the time we were both sort of like we don’t really do this but it just felt right didn’t it?
It was a funny first date wasn’t it?
We were both a little bit awkward and a little bit cautious but it just kind of felt right.
And I think what interested me about you was the topic of work that you’re doing and I thought gosh I would love to learn more about what’s going on in your sandbox, talking about profit and working with small business owners and helping them increase their profit has such alignment with the work I’m doing and so I think for your listeners it is looking at ‘who else is out there doing something that overlaps with my sandbox?’, they don’t need to be playing in the same place but somebody who peaks your interest, you want to learn more about, that’s where the conversation starts and then you never know where it’ll go from there.
Yeah I think that’s a beautiful way to end it.
Thank you so much Rachel for coming on the show I have loved having you here.
Where can people find you? Would you like to put out your website? Tell us where people can find you.
I’m at RELimpact.com and then we’re on Facebook and Instagram as well at REL Impact
I’m going to put all those links in the show notes below so RELimpact.com is where you’ll find Rachel.
You also have a free Facebook group that people can join up to too?
We do it’s called the REL community, so if you find me on Facebook then you’ll be able to join the community.
It’s a great community too so I highly recommend you all jumping on and checking out Rachel, she’s a great person doing some great things and I look forward to seeing where to next for Rachel Lubchansky.
Thanks so much for coming on Rachel, and wherever you are in the world, have a beautiful week.