Breanne Dyck helps micro businesses grow their revenues and their impact by blending adult learning, customer experience and business strategy. Her results-driven strategies help thought-leaders like Chris Guillebeau and Tara Gentile maximize referrals, retention and repeat buyers by creating programs and products that customers can’t stop talking about.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Breanne did a TON of work for a ‘Big Name’ client… and NEVER got paid. She blames herself, and she shares how YOU can avoid the same fate! Every scenario needs to be a win-win, Fire Nation, and we’ll explain how you can ensure that happens.
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- An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Breanne Dyck: Let’s do this thing! Yes!
Interviewer: Breanne helps micro businesses grow their revenues and their impact by blending adult learning, customer experience, and business strategy. Her results-driven strategies help thought leaders like Chris Guillebeau and Tara Gentile maximize referrals, retention, and repeat buyers by creating programs and products that customers cannot stop talking about. Breanne, take a minute, fill in some gaps in that intro, and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Breanne Dyck: Yeah, absolutely. This is actually a theme, I think, that’s gonna come up quite a bit as we talk. It took me a long time to figure out how to describe exactly what I do in a succinct fashion, like what you just reeled off there.
Breanne Dyck: So that’s something that it took a long time for me to get to. And it actually took a long time for me to even be able to see all the threads in my life and how they add up to something that makes sense to other people.
And then pretty recently, actually, it hit me. I’m obsessed with figuring out how to take things apart and put them together. I love pulling stuff apart, assembling them, building puzzles, both figuratively and literally. I’m the kind of person that – you know, some people really love coming up with brand new ideas, but not me. I actually – my joy is taking ideas that other people have had and figuring out how to make them work, and how to make them work even better.
So I’m in my office right now. And if you could see my office, you’d see a whole bunch of Lego sets all around the top of my desk. And I actually always build them according to the instruction manual that comes in the box because that’s the process that I love. There’s this vision, and I wanna figure out how do I get to that vision? And that’s what I do in my business and in my life is I help people take these really big ideas and turn them into experiences and products that people can’t stop talking about.
Interviewer: Well, let’s get a little glimpse into that personal life as well. I mean, I heard a couple “outs,” so I’m guessing maybe Canada?
Breanne Dyck: Yep, you got it. The glorious north/northwest of Canada. I’m in Alberta.
Interviewer: Oh, cool, cool. Good area. Very nice. Now Breanne, let’s just say that you get to a networking party in Alberta. I mean, I know you guys have those, like, seven days a week. And somebody asks you, “What exactly do you do?” How do you respond in ten seconds?
Breanne Dyck: That’s a really good question because most people that would go to a networking event in Alberta would have no idea, anything about online business. So the way I would say it to a crowd of probably oil and gas execs or the people who would be at that networking event is I work with small business owners. Most of the time, they’re coaches or consultants or authors or speakers, people with big ideas. And I help them to apply the principles of adult learning so that they can have a bigger impact and make more money.
Interviewer: Sum it up nicely. But you said the word money. And I’d like to kinda hone in on that because let’s be honest, Breanne. We as entrepreneurs are looking to generate revenue. We need to ring that cash register every now and again because we have businesses that we are trying to run. We have bills we need to pay. We have families we need to support. So let’s talk the Fire Nation. How are you specifically, within your business, generating revenue?
Breanne Dyck: Yeah, you bet. I actually have a mixed business model. And like I said, I like breaking things down, so I’m gonna break it into three main categories.
So the first way that I make money in my business is a small group accelerator program. I call it the Master Class. It’s three months where we go through a process together to help you created a world-class online course or group coaching program. And we spend about two months putting in place just this rock-solid strategy for your curriculum, and then a month where you actually start implementing it and developing it. And I support you in the process. And that program is something I’ve developed over the past few years. And this fall, it’s gonna evolve further even to where I’m actually gonna be licensing out the rights for it.
So this is fun for me. I get to do all of the delivery. It’s also my IP. But I’ve got a partner that’s going to be able to do all the sales and marketing front end to be able to bring it to the public in a really wide and amazing way. So that’s the first kinda stream in my business model.
The second stream is what I call my Elevate Sessions. That’s one-on-one consulting in a very short, intensive format, where I help you take what’s already working in your business, especially if it’s an information business – if you got courses or information products or any of that kind of thing where you’re teaching what you know – and I help you turn it up to eleven in less than an afternoon.
So say you’ve got a speaking engagement or a workshop coming up, and you wanna know – this is a big deal. You wanna make the best stuff you’ve ever done, the kinda thing that people will be super engaged with, get amazing results from, that’s what this particular stream in my business model is for. So I’ve consulted on creative live courses or people who are developing workshops, membership sites, online courses, that sort of thing in this intensive one-on-one consulting.
And then the last piece of the puzzle, the last of the three, is I have one client who is on a really significant retainer plus revenue share arrangement. And my role in her business is to advise on all the operations for the educational training product in the business. So I am overseeing and running everything related to client experience, strategic planning, managing product lifecycle, and developing the team and the systems. And that’s a contract position where, like I said, it’s a retainer plus revenue share.
And when you take those three categories of things together, that’s the main bits. There’s a few other streams. I do longer one-on-one consulting for people who are creating online courses or programs or business strategy for people who are ready to evolve their business model. But for the most part, when I’m doing my revenue planning or sketching out my business plan, those are the three main arms that I do my projections and consider as the core of my model.
Interviewer: I actually think that’s an underutilized business model. I mean, Fire Nation, we need to think about potentially doing rev shares. I mean, it’s a great way for somebody to break into the business, by you going to somebody and saying, “Hey, like, I can do this for your business. I can provide this value for your business. And because I’m so confident of my capabilities and what I can do, I’m only gonna take a share of the revenue that I bring in the door.”
And that can be a great way, again, for you to work with really high-level people who are saying, like, “I get bombarded by people that can do this and this and this for me. But hey, if you can bring in an extra $10,000.00, an extra $10,000.00, I’m happy to give you five. That’s an extra 5K for both of us.” And that’s exciting. And then when you get to Breanne’s level where she’s proven herself, you can add that retainer to it as well, which is pretty exciting. So give that thought, Fire Nation. I like that.
And Breanne, I want you to now tell us a story. Take us back to a time in your entrepreneurial journey which you would crown as the worst entrepreneurial moment. Tell us that story.
Breanne Dyck: Oh, you’re gonna rip out my heart here, and –
Interviewer: Yes! Stomp on it.
Breanne Dyck: Well what the folks listening in might not realize is that I didn’t actually start out doing this consulting for information products and information businesses. I actually started off at a day job. I left the day job, and I decided I was gonna be a web designer. And I did that for a little while before I realized that the online training community, these entrepreneurs who are putting out courses, needed help, right? Like, there are some courses that are really good, but there’s also some courses that could really use some help.
So I was making this pivot. And let’s just say there were a lot of growing pains during that time. I’m gonna tell you one specific growing pain that happened as I was making that pivot, one particular client. This was actually a really big-name client, someone that honestly I was kind of star struck that they even wanted to work with me. So I was over the moon. Like, this was my first – honestly, almost the first real client I had ever been doing exclusively this kind of curriculum consulting-type thing for. I didn’t even know what to call it at the time because it was so new.
And so I was star struck, just so excited. And so I didn’t do any of the normal stuff that I would have done as a web designer onboarding the client, like, oh, you know, determining scope, or even – I didn’t even really set a price. I kept telling myself, “I trust this person, and we’ll be able to work something out. They’re a big name. I can trust them to hold up their end of the bargain.”
And, well, you can kinda tell where the story is going. The great opportunity basically fizzled out from the start. I was stuck doing work that I didn’t really wanna do, wasn’t my strength, and it didn’t even really pay that well. It was just a terrible experience. I was so disappointed because I thought this was gonna by my big break. But that’s not the worst moment.
The worst moment is what happened a year or so later when this same client came back to me and said, “Hey, we’re working on a really big new thing. It’s this big event. We need your help to develop some curriculum to make sure it’s really awesome. And we need your help, and I’ll make sure that you’re compensated appropriately.” And I said yes. So went off, did some work. Same mistake: no scope, no pricing, no nothing up front. Like, this is worse than not having a contract, which everyone says is the No. 1 rule when you’re doing this kind of business arrangement is have a contract. No, no, no. I had nothing, no ideas because again, for some reason I didn’t learn the lesson the first time.
The long and the short of it is that at the end of the day, I actually never got paid at all that time. They ran out of money putting the event together, and I got zero compensation for my work. I actually even paid to attend the event. I bought my own ticket. And I didn’t get paid at the end of the day. That time, the lesson stuck.
Breanne Dyck: I am a serious stickler for scope and clear expectations now. Like, probably if it’s possible – I don’t actually think it’s possible to go too far in terms of setting expectations, but I’m definitely on the we’re gonna make sure this is super clear upfront front.
But the other thing is that at the time, I wasn’t clear about the value that I was bringing with the table. And so I wasn’t working with or attracting clients, sure, big-name clients. But they didn’t respect the value that I was bringing because I wasn’t clear on that value. Now that I’m clear on my value, I’m working with people who respect that value. And that also makes it a lot easier to get paid.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, when it does come down to it, getting paid has to be incredibly high on the agenda. I mean, every scenario needs to be a win-win. And the reality is Breanne was in a couple situations back to back that were a win-loss. It was a win for the people she was providing value to, but she was not getting that win in return.
So there is definitely that time in your business where you can say, “Hey, like, I’m going to cut a deal, do a break, or even potentially do this one thing so I can get this big-name person, like, as part of my clientele so I can get a testimonial from them.” I mean, there is that. But when you’re doing something this big a scope, it needs to be clear what that scope is and how you are going to actually be compensated for this. So great takeaways, Breanne.
And let’s shift now to another story. This one’s gonna be your ah ha moment, the epiphany that happens at some point. And girl, you’ve had a ton of these. But you know Fire Nation. What’s one that you think’s really gonna resonate with our listeners? Take us there.
Breanne Dyck: Absolutely. So let’s look at the flip side. I said that in my worst moment, it was – I didn’t know the value I was bringing, and I didn’t get paid.
Interviewer: Was it at least a good event?
Breanne Dyck: It was a good event, yes. And actually, I didn’t get paid by that client, but going to that event actually led to this next ah ha moment. So you didn’t even know that, but that was a perfect lead in.
Interviewer: That’s perfect! So you see, Fire Nation, she wasn’t bitter. She didn’t turn her back and landed her ah ha moment. I love this. Let’s go.
Breanne Dyck: Yeah. So I mentioned right off the top that it’s taken me a little while to figure out how all these threads of what I in my business do and how that all comes together into something to offer that people would value. And this process actually really started to crystallize for me in – last fall. So that would be fall of 2014. It’s July of 2015 now as we’re recording this.
But last fall, I was doing some business strategy work with Tara Gentile, who we mentioned in the bio. And I was working with Tara to really nail down what is this value that I’m providing. And Tara issued a challenge, which was create a plan to generate $8,000.00 in unplanned revenue during the course of this coaching program, which was four months long. Of course, my gut response was, “$8,000.00 unplanned?” Like, not just $8,000.00, but $8,000.00 that you weren’t planning on making. Come up with that out of thin air in four months. Sure, no problem, right? Yeah. No. No.
It’s not like I didn’t want the revenue, right? I just didn’t – it felt like I had to invent money, and I didn’t know how that could be possible. But with Tara’s help, and just by stripping away everything I thought I knew about my business, I realized that I had been making a lot of fundamental assumptions that I didn’t even realize were assumptions. For example, I assumed that the people who would best respond to my work would be new entrepreneurs or people who wanted to become entrepreneurs, and that I was gonna be helping them build a business by creating online courses. Makes sense, right? There’s a lot of people whose business model is doing that right now.
Turns out, those aren’t actually my people. That was an assumption I was making, and Tara called me on that. Turns out that my people are actually already business owners who want to be recognized as best in class, providing world-class experiences every time they show up and every time their business shows up in the world.
So what’s really interesting there is that my best customers – and this is the kinda takeaway if we wanna focus here is what do your best customers value about you? Not just all of your customers, but your best customers. So for me, my best customers valued my experience, my sparks, and my ability to kind of take this theoretical stuff and make it apply to the real world. But even more than that, they loved that I have a drive for excellence, that I can quickly zero in on opportunities, and that I was dedicated for making them and their work stand out.
So that’s the value piece. How does that translate into the money piece? Well, once I realized that I had a false assumption about the value I was bringing and I course corrected, I completely redid my business model into those three streams that we talked about earlier. There’s literally nothing the same in my model, from what I offer to the price point to how I talk about it, because I now have a clear understanding of who actually values my work and what they value about it.
In business, of course what matters is does that translate into revenue? Does it translate from there into profit? Well, I didn’t make $8,000.00 in unplanned revenue. I made more than $10,000.00 [inaudible][00:15:58] –
Interviewer: I knew you were setting us up there!
Breanne Dyck: Absolutely. More than $10,000.00. It took less than four months, and it’s been exploding absolutely ever since because I continued to focus in on what is that overlap between what my people think they want and what I as the expert know they actually need? It’s the intersection of those two. I call that the core promise, the intersection between what people think they want and what I know they need. And once you get that right, everything becomes easier.
Interviewer: I mean, Fire Nation, Breanne didn’t even know who her best customers were. And she still might not know that if she hadn’t invested in herself with the right mentor. I mean, uncovering gems of wisdom. Tara Gentile, just rockin’ and rollin’.
And Breanne, you do have a lot of great things going on right now. But what’s the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Breanne Dyck: You know, it’s been so amazing because over the last few weeks and months, after going through that transition, a lot of the puzzle pieces have just clicked into place. I think a lot of Fire Nation will just recognize that there’s a lot of business soul searching that we all go through, especially when we’re going through periods of transition and change and growth. And a lot of that has, like, clicked into place.
And it’s just become so exciting to see that stuff that used to be hard doesn’t feel hard. Finding clients used to feel hard. That doesn’t feel hard anymore. Find new opportunities, like I mentioned that I’m gonna be doing a licensing agreement. That was an opportunity that I never would have seen coming before. But now that I have the foundation right, everything else, that licensing opportunity, some new client work, some new opportunities just in general that I can’t even wrap my head around them are starting to come.
It’s like, as far as I’m concerned, there was only one movie version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ever made, and that’s the Gene Wilder version. I completely ignore anything that happened in that storyline since then. But there’s a scene at the end of the movie where Willy Wonka turns to Charlie, the little kid, and says to Charlie, “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted.” And Charlie turns to Willie and says, “What? What happened?” And Willie says, “Well, he lived happily ever after.”
And that’s kind of honestly where I feel like I’m at right now. I suddenly got everything I ever wanted, and it feels so incredible to be able to execute on these things that I’ve been putting in the work for for so long.
Interviewer: Man, what an analogy. And I can actually picture that scene and that great movie. Gene Wilder, I mean, that guy could just knock ‘em dead.
And Fire Nation, we’re about to enter the Lightening Round. But before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Breanne, are you prepared for the Lightening Rounds?
Breanne Dyck: Let’s do it.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Breanne Dyck: When I was thinking about leaving my day job, I had actually been doing some freelance work on the side. And I remember having a conversation with my mentor and saying, “You know, if I actually tried, I could probably make this thing happen.”
Because I knew myself, and I knew that really – I don’t know, I guess – Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the big people who always talks about hustle as being this thing you have to do an as entrepreneur. And that’s not my nature. My nature is not to hustle. My nature is to build slow relationships, build a strong foundation, and to build things brick by brick, step by step, and to take it a little slower and not be what I thought hustling meant which was super aggressive and super in your face. I didn’t know at the time that there was a different way to go. And so I held myself because I knew I can’t be what I thought it meant to be a hustling entrepreneur.
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Breanne Dyck: The best advice I’ve ever received comes from my grandma, and my mom says this a lot too. But when I think of it, it comes from my grandma. And that’s the phrase, this too shall pass. In the moment, it doesn’t help as much as you hope it would. In the moment, you don’t wanna hear that this too will pass. But when I’m able to catch myself and remind myself, that actually reminds me of my grandma.
Now, my grandma’s elderly. She’s still alive, but she’s not doing too well right now. When I think of this too shall pass, it pulls my attention to her and to my family and to what really matters. And it’s the connection with the people who I love most and who care about me and love me the most. When you can keep coming back to that time and time again, then yeah, this too shall pass.
Interviewer: Yeah. And I do love the quote too that it’s never as bad as it seems. But it’s also it’s never as good as it seems. And it’s really good to remember that, to kind of keep you a little more level as an entrepreneur and not the highs and the lows of the roller coaster journey.
And Breanne, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Breanne Dyck: As we’ve well established, I love patterns. Anyone who has been following my work for awhile knows my favorite word is the word perspicacious, which I love arcane words that happen to mean exactly the right thing. Perspicacious means having a keen, discerning insight into things, being able to break them down and put them back together.
And I actually leverage that ability into a habit where whenever I have something that isn’t making sense, I break it down to figure out what’s actually going on behind the scenes. A few weeks ago, I was thinking, man, I’m not working enough. I feel like I’m not working enough. And so I used that habit to actually do an analysis and say first, is that true? I actually used RescueTime to figure out where my time was going. And I was working a lot more than I thought.
Then the flip side of that is I had to then use the habit to turn it into a system so that I would be able to stop worrying about it and would stop taking up mental RAM cycles. I actually went through and built into my business model plan, I went back and said, “How many clients and sales do I need to make in each of my product lines to hit not only my revenues goals, but to also make sure that I’m working within the time bounds, both upper bounds and lower bounds that I wanna work?” As long as I’m building in the right number of clients now, I know I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m working enough.
So that’s an example of this habit that I’ve formed of let’s figure out what’s really going on underneath, and then build a system to take advantage and leverage that so that you can free up those mental RAM cycles for future iterations.
Interviewer: Perspicacious. You know, I would have guessed that it’s something to do with sweating. I don’t [inaudible][00:22:57].
Breanne Dyck: Yeah.
Interviewer: I guess not. Fire Nation, I wonder what your guess was. Now, do you have an internet resource like EverNote that you can share with our listeners?
Breanne Dyck: Absolutely. I tried for a long time to figure out the perfect CRM to be figuring out how to stay in touch with people and manage projects and that kind of stuff. I tried a lot of them. The one I keep going back to is Streak CRM. It works within Gmail. I can manage all my projects, all the progress of those projects, all my clients, all my contacts, all my everything from within Gmail. And it’s got my CRM and my project tracking. It’s beautiful.
Interviewer: Streak CRM. I love that. If you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Breanne Dyck: I think everyone should go out and read Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, and not just because Chris Hadfield happens to be a Canadian superstar. He was the commander of the International Space Station. Lot of people probably saw some of his photos from the International Space Station because they went all over Twitter because he just took all these great photos. This is his autobiography. And it’s this really awesome and kind of intense look at what it really takes to overcome incredible odds to become the best in the world – or in his case, out of the world – at what you do.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, I know you love audio, so I teamed up with AudioBooks. And if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at EOFirebook.com.
And Breanne, this is the last question of the Lightening Rounds, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Breanne Dyck: You know you’re right. That’s a doozy of a question. And I know that I’m very glad that I knew to expect it because when I was preparing for our discussion today, I wanted to come up with something that would be, like, a really great answer for this question. And everything I thought of was not authentic or true. So here’s the actual real –
Interviewer: I love it.
Breanne Dyck: – true answer. I’d probably go look for a job. Now, why would I do that? Well, my natural tendency, whether it’s online or offline, is to be a bit of a hermit. I need something to get me out and about, interacting with people, forming that support network. Plus, honestly, I’m pretty risk averse, and just having food and shelter taken care of isn’t gonna actually give me much of a life. So I’d wanna make sure that my life was in order first. And then probably after about six or eight months, I’d be sick of the job and start looking for another out. But by that point, I’d have the support and relationships around me that I’d be able to take the next step and feel really good about it.
Interviewer: I love it. I mean, that’s really the core of this question is what would you, Breanne, do? And I love that answer because that is just honest, genuine. And let’s end today on fire. So share a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you. Then we’ll say goodbye.
Breanne Dyck: Awesome. So for guidance, I just wanna make sure that everyone remembers that lesson that I had to learn to go from my worst moment to my ah ha moment, which is you need to know the intersection of what people think they want, what you know they need. And in the middle is how you can provide your highest value.
And John, I’ve actually prepared a free gift –
Breanne Dyck: – for Fire Nation that is exactly how to do that, especially if you’re in an information product or online course-based business, or if you wanna build that into your business.
So if you head on over to mynameisbreanne.com/fire, you’ll find my perfect participant guide. Which like I said, it’s all about helping you unlock what they think they want, what you know they need, and how you can pinpoint the value that you’re gonna give them in that offer.
So that’s what I’ve got for Fire Nation, and that’s also the best place to connect with me online is at mynameisbreanne.com.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with BD and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Breanne into the search bar. Her show notes page will pop right up with everything that we’ve been talking about, recommend a book resource, all the goodies. Of course, your gift, Fire Nation, awaits at mynameisbreanne.com/fire. Grab that gift. You can tell from this interview it’ll be a goodie. And of course, mynameisbreanne.com is where you can find out a little more about BD herself.
And Breanne, I just wanna say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Breanne Dyck: Thank you so much.
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