Celebration Pro Podcast

#75: Transforming Passion to Profit with "Agent O"

May 02, 2024 Carin Hunt Season 1 Episode 75
#75: Transforming Passion to Profit with "Agent O"
Celebration Pro Podcast
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Celebration Pro Podcast
#75: Transforming Passion to Profit with "Agent O"
May 02, 2024 Season 1 Episode 75
Carin Hunt

MEET AGENT O:
Olivia Scholz aka "Agent O" helps your business go from struggling with frequent cash flow crunches to having enough cash in the bank to survive the ups and downs of a typical business. She found that 1 in 2 businesses fail within the first 5 years NOT because they are “bad at business” but because they do not have a profit strategy in place. So she created her Clarity to Profit Method to teach small business owners how to finally be and stay profitable.

In her 22+ years in business, Olivia Scholz has been a small business owner of a manufacturing firm, a wholesaler, and even a luxury retail jeweler. Her early years were spent listening to "shop talk" over the dinner table since all of her family members were entrepreneurs.

She eats, dreams, and thinks in spreadsheets and her passion is helping YOU keep more of the money you make. Seriously. Small business is her thing.

There are a ton of coaches, consultants, and gurus out there. Work with one who is technically savvy, LISTENS, CARES, UNDERSTANDS, and DELIVERS.

IN THE CONVO:

  • How to strengthen your mindset around money for a profit-forward business.
  • First steps towards building profit for your wedding business, from newbies to the OGs!
  • Resources and tools to track progress and support your growth.


CONNECT WITH OLIVIA:
📸 @agento_profitcoach
🌐 https://www.agentoconsulting.com
🎁https://www.agentoconsulting.com/profit-freebie/

CONNECT WITH CARIN:
Hey CEO! Join us over at our new membership the Success Cellar 🍾 - exclusively for growth-minded wedding pros just like you!

🌟Write a review, share, and tag @celebrationpros for your first month free!
📸 - @celebrationpros
🌐 - www.carinhunt.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

MEET AGENT O:
Olivia Scholz aka "Agent O" helps your business go from struggling with frequent cash flow crunches to having enough cash in the bank to survive the ups and downs of a typical business. She found that 1 in 2 businesses fail within the first 5 years NOT because they are “bad at business” but because they do not have a profit strategy in place. So she created her Clarity to Profit Method to teach small business owners how to finally be and stay profitable.

In her 22+ years in business, Olivia Scholz has been a small business owner of a manufacturing firm, a wholesaler, and even a luxury retail jeweler. Her early years were spent listening to "shop talk" over the dinner table since all of her family members were entrepreneurs.

She eats, dreams, and thinks in spreadsheets and her passion is helping YOU keep more of the money you make. Seriously. Small business is her thing.

There are a ton of coaches, consultants, and gurus out there. Work with one who is technically savvy, LISTENS, CARES, UNDERSTANDS, and DELIVERS.

IN THE CONVO:

  • How to strengthen your mindset around money for a profit-forward business.
  • First steps towards building profit for your wedding business, from newbies to the OGs!
  • Resources and tools to track progress and support your growth.


CONNECT WITH OLIVIA:
📸 @agento_profitcoach
🌐 https://www.agentoconsulting.com
🎁https://www.agentoconsulting.com/profit-freebie/

CONNECT WITH CARIN:
Hey CEO! Join us over at our new membership the Success Cellar 🍾 - exclusively for growth-minded wedding pros just like you!

🌟Write a review, share, and tag @celebrationpros for your first month free!
📸 - @celebrationpros
🌐 - www.carinhunt.com

Speaker 1:

And we're back everybody. Thank you so much for popping in. Every Monday we are here with Olivia and we call her Agent O, and she is taking our businesses from going from struggling with frequent cashflow crunches to having enough cash in the bank to survive Ups and downs of typical business and in the wedding industry, don't? We know the ups and downs all too well and Olivia and I actually connected.

Speaker 1:

Uh, and you hear this a lot, and the reason why I like to share it is because it's all about the networks that you surround yourself with. So Olivia and I actually met through um, our high level coach, who has really helped us bring the strategies that we can then bring to all of you. You know our listeners and our clients and the people that we love to help build their businesses. So, olivia, thank you so much for being here. I'm so excited that you know we've connected on a few different things. We you know you were part of the summit. You had a little freebie there as well, so why don't you tell our listeners a little bit more about you and then we'll dive into all of the things about profit and um. You know how how we can harness that in our own businesses.

Speaker 2:

Great. Well, thank you again. I'm very excited to be here. Um, it's always great to meet new people and talk about business finances because most people find that to be a painful and boring subject. So I love to come in and you know kind of bust that myth.

Speaker 2:

First and foremost. But a little bit about me first. I grew up in a family who, let's say, pre high school it was fairly typical my dad had a corporate job, my mom stayed at home with us, but entering high school my mom became a realtor. But entering high school my mom became a realtor. So she went out on her own to be that entrepreneur and my dad lost his corporate job and established his own business. And from there on I have been a part of a whole group of small business owners, from my mom and dad, my sister, practically everybody I've ever dated, my cousins. You know I just kind of opened my eyes to.

Speaker 2:

All of us are doing something in some way, and so dinner table shop talk was, you know, all about clients and vendors and managing expectations, and it's just been in my blood and there's nothing I like more than to talk to people who have their own business and find out what makes them tick and why they started and what challenges they face.

Speaker 2:

And I think I'm just kind of born to do these things and my passion is numbers and finances and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, and I recognize very quickly that is not everybody else's passion and that is okay. You know, you, you get into business because you do something that you love right, and so you want to stay in that, and so the first thing that I really talk about with people is owning whatever it is that gives them joy and not being afraid to bring in the help they need when they need it for the other pieces. So, for example, I really get excited to dive into a budget or look at somebody's chart of accounts or help them with profitability analysis, but please don't ask me to create any sort of artwork or bake something for a bake sale, because then I claim up and I'm clearly very quickly out of my zone of genius. So, yeah, we all have different things that we'd love to do, and this is mine.

Speaker 1:

I always joke that I'm. I've always been like the more creative. I love marketing. I love all of that. My brother is a CPA he's actually. He just made partnership at his law accounting firm and I'm like you took all the math genes like anything that has to do with numbers.

Speaker 1:

He like took it away. So definitely, you know, there's some people who just love a good spreadsheet and, uh, I and I do, I can appreciate it, yeah, but yeah, no, this is great and I think a lot of people who are listening in they're like, Ooh, tell me more, because that is. You know, it's hard to find somebody who is not only passionate about that but, like you have my brother who's the accountant, and he can only help me so much right, where you're able to come in and say, okay, let me look at your actual business and get on a level with you and what you do, and I think that that's really special.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, cpas are a vital part of our teams. You know, no matter what business you're a part of, but they are not the same as somebody who's, you know, looking at your profitability and strategy right, it's a different animal. Both are very much needed.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And, and on the same subject, I think you know there's a few buzzwords that feel a little taboo, money definitely being one of them, and yet you've, of course, built your entire business around this subject. But for those of us who got a little nervous around the idea of talking about money or finances or maybe they're just nervous to even reach out to somebody like you what? What are some of those mindset shifts that we need to start taking as entrepreneurs to really help us get to that next level?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Yeah, I grew up in a house where we never talked about money either at all like ever. So you know how did I shift to this? And I will say that you know I have. I think the very first blog post I ever did was profit is not a dirty word, and I still go back to that over and over again. I think that's the first big mind shift.

Speaker 2:

Mind shift that I coach people on is that not only do they need to be going after profit, but it kind of needs to become a non-negotiable that you have to have it. If you don't have profit, then you're not going to have a long-term healthy business. And if you don't have a long-term healthy business, you're not going to be doing whatever that thing is in life that you're supposed to be doing, because in the end, it's about service, right? Why do people go into the wedding professional industry? Having never done it, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it's because they want to make somebody's big day like this absolute special milestone in their life and they want to be there to help that person. You can't be there to help that person long-term unless you have a profitable business. So it's time to stop thinking of that as a dirty word and it's time to stop apologizing for for designing our businesses to make profit.

Speaker 1:

So that's and we'll just expand on that, you know it that used to feel like such a cutthroat business. Maybe it felt that way just coming into the wedding industry I think a lot of industries can feel that way but there's this new layer that's been added on, which is collaboration over competition, and so, instead of I think that's really going to help us be able to talk to each other more about hey, what's working in your business and where are you seeing your leads coming from? And you know, even I mean, I've had conversations with people as far as like, hey, what are you pricing right now? I'd be happy to open up my books and share a little bit with you. Um, so I think having that collaboration mindset might be a nice addition to the mindset shifts of. This should be something that we're to help each other grow together.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I think there's plenty to go around, you know so that's the other thing to think about is that if you get very crystal clear on what it is that you do and what your niche is, then I feel like that collaboration comes easy, because there's going to be things that are finances being painful or boring, but they are actually the key to unlocking your business dreams.

Speaker 2:

So if, instead of being like, oh my gosh, I got to look at this business money thing again, hire the right people around you that you can enjoy working with and look at it as I get to do this, because this is how I figure out the next step right Like I started this business, I had this original vision for it. I had this original dream for it. How do I actually achieve that? And the way to achieve it is to make this business finance aligned so that you're maxing profit and you're staying in your zone and then every day doesn't feel like work right and you're still achieving those financial and then every day doesn't feel like work Right, those financial dreams that you had.

Speaker 2:

So you know, when you truly know your numbers, you don't have to do your numbers Right, but when you truly know them, you're going to unlock a whole new world for yourself.

Speaker 1:

Right, oh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. So let's say we have somebody who's listening in and they're either toying with starting a business or they've decided they want to be a photographer or an officiant or a planner or something. What do you think is that first step they should take, or what are the early things that we need to keep in mind when it comes to making sure that we're setting our foundations for profit? That's okay, we all got puppies.

Speaker 2:

I do have a puppy and she's super adorable, but sometimes she wakes up and parks. It's weird, okay. So startups are one of my favorites because you get to reach people before any habits set in place or before they put themselves into contracts or agreements that they can't get out of. So, first and foremost, it's to really look at debt and stay away from it for one and, if you do bring it on, to slash it as soon as you can. So in the startup phase it's easy to get into this mindset of, well, businesses don't make a profit for the first five years, but that's dangerous thinking. You can design profit from the very beginning and it's imperative to do so because the debt as it grows and as your business grows, that's going to limit your choices. So I would say, first and foremost, it is making sure that that is not happening. Foremost it is, it is making sure that that is not happening and even if it makes you, you know, take your vision and get there in incremental steps.

Speaker 2:

One way that I teach that is barter right. So simply, trade things If you, you know you're starting a business and you need a website, but you can't afford to hire a big designer and you don't know how to do it yourself, barter, that even if it's just your first website, right Like you might have four or five websites over the evolution of your business, but at least that tends to be a big ticket item for people. So, really getting serious about building this business and getting creative about how can I do it without adding debt, first and foremost, that is where to start, I would say. And then, as you're, as you're doing these weddings each and every time especially when you're starting out, because there'll be less each and every time you do it, it's, it's going through that review of what went well, what didn't, and, more importantly, looking at you know, was it profitable or not? So most of the younger starting out folks are going to think, ooh, big projects are better.

Speaker 2:

So in the wedding case, it would be big, big, splashy weddings. That's where I need to be, that's what I want to try to achieve. But that may not actually be where your profit comes from, but that may not actually be where your profit comes from. So it's, it's looking at each and every single interaction, um, with a wedding client to say did that work? Did I make the profit I expected to? Where did those pitfalls happen, but did I price it right, et cetera. Um, those are very critical, especially in the beginning, when you're really trying to dial in what your product offer is going to look like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. We do a lot of revenue forecasting in our membership and it's all based on I was just talking to somebody today where she's a planner and she's looking at. We were looking at her, you know product suite and her full planning. She runs off of a percentage which is um, it's common with planners to run off a percentage and but it included all the pre and post and all the events leading up to the wedding. I was like oh, you're losing money.

Speaker 1:

Like we need to break some of this off, so so we need to find a different differentiator for you that isn't going to cost you in the end. And just listening to you I'm like I have all these little like stories in my mind, like if we're able to sit down and like really yeah, and to to think forward from where we're at and say, okay, if this is what our packages are, are we actually going to? Is this actually going to create the profit that we're hoping for? Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and not just the profit of that particular wedding, but, thinking through, did that suck up my time and prevent me from doing this other wedding? Could I have done another wedding alongside that, like having not done that business before? But thinking of other service businesses, you know how many clients can you serve simultaneously, and maybe you can serve more simultaneously if you don't have, you know, this really big one that takes up a lot of time and resources. So, yeah, there's a lot of factors that go into it, but sometimes it can be very surprising when you, you know, sit down and, uh, the analysis after the fact of what did I actually make? You know, I know what I tried to forecast, but how did that actually turn out?

Speaker 1:

well, and I think too, looking at the research within your own company, we're always worried about everything that's happening around us and we're comparing our prices to that person's prices, to how many weddings that person did to who's on that team, and it's like let's look at what we have and how can we make what we have better and have that bring in? I always call it like the income producing activities. What are the things that are gonna drive the revenue in Absolutely? And so if we're talking about the other end of the wheelhouse here, absolutely Maybe they're just not seeing the growth anymore. They've just become a little bit stagnant. It might be a similar process, but what do you think for somebody in that scenario?

Speaker 2:

Well, it is somewhat similar, but typically there is already debt there. So, first and foremost, no new debt right, and have a very serious plan to slash the debt you have, because, keeping in mind that you have to have a profitable company to pay off that debt, and so you're going to have taxes. So if you think about the dollar that's going to go towards debt, you're also going to have to have, on top of that, the interest on the debt itself and also the tax rate. So it is not easy to get out of once you're in it, and so the faster you can get out the better. And you know, usually an established business, they've done that at some point. So there's that for sure.

Speaker 2:

And then the other part of it is also the analysis of what worked, what didn't. Even more so, where was I aligned right? Like I'm sure there are people that when you look down at your phone, you're excited that they're calling, and then there are other clients that you look down at your phone and think I'm just going to let them go to voicemail and figure out what they need and then I'm going to call them back. You know we all have that right. And so how do we get more of the people we're excited to talk to, because then that you know that's going to up your creativity and also an experienced wedding planner is likely going to have a network.

Speaker 2:

And so what can we do within that network? How can we leverage ourselves to be able to serve more people simultaneously and you know, right now, with the internet, this is a great opportunity. Is there something digital we can do that we can leverage this brand we've built over time, this reputation that we've built over time, and help more people simultaneously in some sort of digital capacity? And you know the collaboration piece. Is there a, you know, a need or a hookup where we can partner alongside of somebody and really drive some profits, because we're not having to do all the work and take all the risk?

Speaker 1:

on. You know I talk about that a lot here in the Florida Keys because we're such a small town and we don't have, I mean, we're islands, we don't have giant warehouses and things and and a lot of times when people from we say, the mainland, from like Miami, fort Lauderdale, they come down and they do these huge big production events because they have the capacity, everyone down here is like, oh no, you don't bring them here, like they're stealing you know. You know the the opportunities from us. But the way that I see it is that if the opportunities from us. But the way that I see it is that if, if I'm a florist and somebody comes in and says I have this huge installation idea that I want and I want, you know, just, they want like A to Z of flowers at their wedding and I don't have the capacity to take it on, but I would love to do something like this.

Speaker 1:

I want to be able to say, yes, because I have somebody I can collaborate with. That's on the main, that I can say, hey, I just took this bit, can you come in on it with me? You're going to make X amount of dollars, right, like having those conversations ahead of time to say, hey, if we were to collaborate, what does that actually look like financially? Does that make sense? And then we don't mind those maybe people coming down, because that money's getting spent, you know, for the businesses that are here in our own economy, and then we're also just being able to broaden our horizon. So when you say that, like collaboration is everything it really is.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely 100%.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So let's see, are there specific things? Well, actually I want to go back a little bit. So we talked about debt some, and I think when people think about debt, they instantly think of, like credit cards specifically, what other, what other items might be debt Like? In my mind, I'm like, okay, if I have a floral shop, maybe I have, like a car or a big truck that I've purchased and I have debt in that. But what are some of the other things that you see that are common, that maybe people aren't thinking of?

Speaker 2:

Well, and certainly credit cards is the first one, I believe, because it's the easiest to obtain as a new business. It takes a while to be able to get a business loan, establish a line of credit, et cetera. You know another one that I see pretty common are, you know, starting out? Most people will turn to the stripes and the PayPal's of the world to get started when it comes to taking payments. And then you know, once you've established some history there, then you're immediately marketed to hey, you know, we can give you this loan. You just, you know, fill out these three things and click a button, and now you've got this loan and every time a deposit is made they're taking a percentage back to to pay it off. So you know, there's, there's credit card debt, and then I call those like merchant services type loans, and then the traditional bank loan and traditional bank line of credit. Those are the big ones.

Speaker 2:

And then you do have things asset-wise right, like you bought a building, or you bought a truck or or what have you, and you know. So that comes in many forms right, and I always say the easier it is to get, be even more cautious, because there's a reason. It's easy, right, when we go to the grocery store and we buy three apples right? That's a very different price than if we buy a fruit tray that's already been washed and cut and put on a tray for us, right? That's a very different price than if we buy a fruit tray that's already been washed and cut and put on a tray for us, right? You're paying for convenience, and whether that is your convenient way of taking payments through things like PayPal and Stripe and whatnot, or the convenience of getting a loan through them, you are certainly paying for that somewhere, right? And you know it pays to shop around and get a little more creative.

Speaker 1:

Right, and you know it pays to shop around and get a little more creative, and so if it's easy to do, there's usually a reason behind that. So, yeah, half of my mail they're trying to get me to sign up for something where you go to a store and they're like would you like to?

Speaker 1:

sign up for a rewards program and we have to ask is this a credit card or next thing? You know, you're putting in a social security number and you're confused how you got it. Yeah, so I think that that's, uh, you know, a great red flag to bring to mind, for sure.

Speaker 2:

So, on that note.

Speaker 1:

Are there any resources that you recommend to kind of help support our profit journey as entrepreneurs?

Speaker 2:

Oh, absolutely. First and foremost, I have a profit guide, so that is a great starting point. Whether you started your business last week or started it a decade ago, it's a great starting point to just get a foundation. After that, there's certainly, if you need budget help, there's a tool called you Need a Budget, otherwise known as YNAB. In the world, that is a great one for forecasting and budgeting your money, and I even talk a little bit about that. In the world, that is a great one for forecasting and budgeting your money, and I even talk a little bit about that in the guide, and there's some other ways that I share that with my community. But I have found that to be a very helpful tool to move alongside of, you know, the QuickBooks and the FreshBooks of the world. Those are what I call, after the fact, accounting, whereas the YNAB is helping you with the forward thinking piece of it Right right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, two very different pictures. So those are great, great resources. And then if somebody is in debt, then I do have a cash crunch, like another free guide that I have that talks a little more specifically about that, the highs and lows and how to plan for them. And you know, because really that's where debt comes from right, it's from those lows. And then you get hit with something that you probably should have remembered that was coming, that you forgot. So you know it's like how do you, how do you change your vision from one week out to 90 days out? You know, and that's, that's a process and it takes time and it's a skill you learn.

Speaker 1:

It brought me back when you were like Lowe's. I'm like, oh, that brought me back to when, uh, we were hit with hurricane Irma and I mean COVID too and it was like SBA loans, who wants one handing them out? And, frankly, we were. We didn't have to go that route. So we were always. We were always pretty good when it came to like debt ratios. So, um, well, this was great. I mean, this is a topic that we don't talk enough about. Um, and again, I I want to encourage everyone listening in that you know who are the people in the industry that you want to run with, and just making sure that you have these conversations with your fellow entrepreneurs, because these are the important conversations that you can use to see how you can help each other run. So I absolutely love this and even being the non-numbers person that I am. Well, olivia, would you be ready for a little bit of a Q and a portion that's more personal?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, let's go. I'm an open book.

Speaker 1:

So what is the last thing that you bought for your business?

Speaker 2:

Oh, that one's very easy. So, um, there's a bookcase in the corner. That is a new addition. So, um, so I was getting very jealous of all the backgrounds that I was seeing in the digital space, and so I was like, what can I do? These are all gifts I have. I really like art, but I'm super stuck at it, so these are all wonderful gifts that I've gotten over the years. And then I was like I need something in that corner. So that bookcase.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, is there a certain? This isn't one of the questions, but I'm asking it anyway. Is there a certain book that is like your go-to? Oh?

Speaker 2:

well, uh, there are two that I constantly recommend from the business perspective. One is profit first, um, and the other is the power of consistency and those two books life-changing.

Speaker 1:

I actually found the power of consistency first and then profit for a second, but boy oh boy were those game changers for me and I like compound effect, atomic habits, like sounds like power consistency probably falls in line with those, but they're, I mean just those mindset shifts are very helpful and I tell everybody profit first. Yeah. I mean that's how I run things and you know I don't have to worry about whether or not I have tax money to pay back to the man.

Speaker 2:

So exactly, and you're going to have to right Like you just can't ignore it, it's going to come. And if you don't, if you try to put your head in the sand and ignore it.

Speaker 1:

It's just going to be even more expensive. So just own up to the fact that you're going to have to do it. Yeah, the money aside, oh, and it feels good to just know that it's all taken care of. Yeah, okay. So the next question I have is if I gave you a hundred dollars, how would you spend it?

Speaker 2:

Well, so this is a super boring answer. It's a super boring answer, but debt, because that is something that you know. When I started my very first business and this is going back like 20 some years I had this mindset that if you could write it off your taxes, then it was okay, not okay. So I'm telling you now not okay, so for me there.

Speaker 2:

there's still some debt there and it drives me crazy because I see it as a restriction on freedom of choice, right Like I am all about being able to choose what I do next, and right now I have to pay that off.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I, we, my family, owns a lot of different houses and things and things like that, and so we're always trying to figure out, okay, who can sign for the next house, because this person's, like, debt to income ratio isn't high enough to so yeah, I know that game all too well and it can be stressful because sometimes we're not able to grab the property that we want because we don't we, you know, we don't have enough, uh, I guess, income for the bank to say yes.

Speaker 2:

Um, okay, and then?

Speaker 1:

if we were sitting across the table from each other one year from today being, oh, today's Mardi Gras, by the way, very yeah, it was about Tuesday, you know, um, and tomorrow is Valentine's day, so lots of celebrating here. So, a year from today, what would we be celebrating for you?

Speaker 2:

Oh goodness, Well, um, for me, it's expanding my uh, my reach and getting to meet more people. So I do things like what I'm doing today to talk to your audience, but one year from now, I hope I'm celebrating that I am repaying that favor. So I want to create a vehicle for that, whether it's a video blog type deal or a podcast. But one of the things I love the most is you know, how did you, how did you get into business? Why did you get started? You know, tell me what, what your passion is and what your challenge is. I love those conversations and I could sit and do that every day, and so I can't wait to launch that. So that is what I would be celebrating.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that you and I are very similar in that thinking, because, gosh, it sure lights me up when I'm able to see you, when you're like talking to a client and you just see their like eyes start sparkling because the solutions are like flowing. It's just the best. Well, olivia, thank you so much for being on with us. Actually, if you could tell everybody where they can find you and then if you have anything coming up, we'd love to hear it too.

Speaker 2:

Well, they're kind of the same answer. So my website is agentoconsultingcom. On there I have a media page, so anything coming up is usually listed there. It's also where I put blog and latest teachings and whatnot. I'm also on Instagram at agent O underscore profit coach, um, so that's another way that people can reach out.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. I love it. Well, again, thank you so much. I'm so glad that we're in each other's circles and, uh, yeah, we'll be chatting with you soon, I'm sure. So thank you for all of us. You're very welcome. Thanks, have fun.

Achieving Profitability in Your Business
Setting Foundations for Profit in Business
Navigating Debt and Business Growth
Agent O Consulting Media and Updates