28: Reaching Your Financial Goals with Profit Strategist, Jamie Trull

business entrepreneur finances goals how to scale your business increase profits online business systems podcast tax time track expenses Jan 07, 2023

🚀 In this episode, I chat with CPA and profit strategist, Jamie Trull, about strategies for reaching your financial goals. Find out why it's important to look back at past performance and get resources to improve your results. Tune in to learn about key metrics to focus on and get practical tips for achieving your financial goals in 2023.

🔥 Click here to get Jamie's FREE workbook, an annual planning guide for your business finances. 👉 lydiamartin.biz/financeworkbook

✅ Then register for Jamie's LIVE Annual Planning Workshop 👉 lydiamartin.biz/planningworkshop 

🙋‍♀️ Want a simple tool to track your revenue, expenses, and profit margin? Get my 👉 Business Profitability Tracker

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Lydia: Hi everybody and welcome back to the Launch Perspective podcast. I'm Lydia Martin and so excited to be sharing with you this first podcast of 2023. Happy New Year to everybody. Hope that you had a wonderful holiday. I hope that you are excited about coming back to your business here at the start of the new year. I personally love the new year because it's always a new time of possibilities. I also love looking back, seeing kind of how 2022 went. Where are the places that went well? Where are the things we want to tweak and work on for the upcoming year?

And in today's episode, we're going to focus on an area of your business that you are definitely going to want to set some goals around. You're definitely going to want to make a plan. You're going to want to think through some strategy because it's all about creating the habits and the systems that you need to reach those goals that you're setting for 2023.

And very excited to have a special guest with us today on this episode. Jamie Trull I actually met through an Amy Porterfield community. So excited to have connected with Jamie there and was so impressed with her because she is a CPA and profit strategist. And how many of us want to earn more profit, right? We all want to learn from somebody who has this as their expertise. So, very excited to welcome Jamie today. Hello Jamie. So glad that you're here with us.

Jamie: Hey Lydia. Happy New Year. Thanks for having me.

Lydia: Absolutely. So, I am curious before we get kind of chatting about finances and financial planning. How did you get into this? What was your story that kind of brought you into this whole world? I mean, I don't know if in fifth grade you were thinking I want to be a CPA one day.

Jamie: No. I can tell you I wasn't. Although, like, looking back and my family would probably tell you I had all the signs that that was going to be my career, because I was a compulsive saver from, you know, basically the womb.

Lydia: I love that.

Jamie: I have always been. I grew up, my father is a business person. He taught me about personal finance really early on, and I also am a very risk averse person. I've kind of changed a little bit of that and as I've gotten older. But I really wanted a career that wasn't seemingly as risky, which is funny now that I'm a business owner.  And an online business owner at that, which is, you know, a completely different world from being a CPA sometimes.

But yeah, I just wanted to make sure, you know, I had a job in doing something that I was good at and I was good at numbers. And so I just kind of went into it. It was kind of a guaranteed job after graduation. So, I worked in the corporate world for about 15 years.  And then decided it was time to kind of go out on my own and started my own virtual CFO business first, where I was working one-to-one mostly with women business owners, helping them be more profitable, manage their finances, make those strategic decisions, right?

And then I just kind of fell into teaching, right? I just fell into, you know, wanting to impact more people. And then Amy came into my life. And then the rest is just kind of history where it became this digital online course business. I'm sure other people in your audience have a similar story about just, you know, how that evolves over time, and you end up a place you never knew you were going to be. But I absolutely love it here. This is my passion  that I didn't even know I had.

Lydia: So, that's why I think I connected with you so early on, because I'm a numbers fanatic too. I've shared on previous podcasts I could live in a spreadsheet.  

Jamie: Mm-hmm.

Lydia: So, I love the numbers.

Jamie: Yep.

Lydia: And like you and many of my audience members we love to teach and we took something that we learned over time, something we're passionate about, and now we teach it in an online space, which is so exciting. So, I love that you're doing that. What a great way to impact so many business owners in what you're doing. So, love that you teach, love that you love numbers, and I love that you're helping online business owners and that's what we're here to do today. So, let's jump into it.

I have to share this story though because I want to ask you, you know, what are some of the mistakes that business owners make when it comes to financial planning? So, I'm going to ask you what you think and I'm going to share some of my story because I think some people might maybe feel a little embarrassed on their financial planning up until this point and I want them to feel encouraged that change can happen.

Jamie: Mm-hmm.

Lydia: And just kind of give them some tips from you today on some pitfalls to avoid or some steps that they should take. So, what is one of the first things that you're encouraging your audience to do right now as far as planning for 2023?

Jamie: Well, I think there are a few things, but I definitely first want to say it's important to kind of take the shame out of things. Because I think that's where we tend to sit in a place and that keeps us from making progress. And I will tell you the financial world, right? When you look at, like, other financial kind of gurus out there, there's a lot of shamey language. There's a lot of just, you know, that language that is very negative. And it keeps us from really making positive change, right? Kind of keeps you where you are versus motivating you to kind of empower yourself with that information.

And so, you know, the first step I usually tell people is don't jump. Especially, we're in January, right? Like we are at that time where everybody's excited about the new year, right? We're all starting new habits. I've already got a new workout habit, a new food habit, all the habits, right? Which I know, we'll see how long they last, but there's that exciting new year energy.

And sometimes we want to jump right straight into that without looking backward, because looking backward isn't fun. It might make us feel like shame or, frustration or, you know, some of those negative feelings come up. And looking forward feels more hopeful, more exciting, and we want to do that. But the thing that we're missing out on if we don't look backward, so in this case, looking back, let's say at 2022 to say, okay, let's look at our finances. Let's make sure we get those things together. Let's look at it. Let's make some, you know, observations about it, that our data shows us.

So, what does our data say about what we sold a lot of, or didn't sell a lot of? What worked? What didn't work? You know, what kind of conversion rates, right? We're talking about online business here. So, what kind of conversion rates did we have? And really digging into the data is going to be critical. Not from a place of like, man, I wish I had done this, this, and this better and to harp on what we didn't do, but instead to learn from it. There's always so much that we can learn from that.

So, we can go back into last year. If we can kind of, you know, delve a little bit in and just, you know, resist the urge to just say, eh, I'm done with last year let's just move on to next year and spend some time in it. There's so much that we can learn from it. We just have to kind of put our CFO hat on, right?

Lydia: And  before you go on, I do want to say you almost do need to remove your emotions and one of my previous interview guests said, "It's about the data, not the drama."

Jamie: Yes. I love that. I'm going to use that.

Lydia: Yes, right? Yes. I mean, you need to just look at the data because the data tells you so much. You know, numbers don't lie. 

Jamie: Mm-hmm.

Lydia: But you don't ever want to approach it, like you said, from a place of discouragement, but to look at it just matter-of-factly because when you realize what's working and what's not, it just empowers you to make more informed decisions. So, I love that. I just wanted to jump in and share.

Jamie: Yes. There's just a treasure trove of information when we look back and we so often miss that step because we just want to set these big, huge goals, you know, which is another part of it, right? Is that we set these big, huge revenue goals for the next year, but we haven't really gone in to see, you know, what we can learn, you know, from all that time previously. And we're just missing out on so much valuable information that is going to make it so much easier to reach our goals, right?

Lydia: Absolutely. So as people now are looking at 2022, one thing I do love about you is you actually create resources for people to help them know what to look at.

Jamie: Yes.

Lydia: Because often, you know, people go into the numbers, they're like, okay, well, like what numbers? Like what should I be tracking?

Jamie: Where do I start? Yes.

Lydia: Where do I start? What should I be tracking? And so, I do want to share a link to one of my favorite resources that I've gotten from you. And it is your annual planner. I was literally finishing it up this week. You have it. I have a link for it right here.  You can grab this at lydiamartin.biz/financeworkbook. This is Jamie's 2023 planning guide right here, lydiamartin.biz/financeworkbook. And I absolutely loved going through this because I thought it was a great tool to pinpoint what we should be looking at from 2022.

Jamie: Yes. Because I think that is the big question that I get from people is what am I even supposed to look at? Okay. I get that I need to look at something, but it just feels like a jumble of numbers, and I don't even really know what I'm looking at. And that's because we tend to be almost like wired for thinking about numbers for compliance purposes, which is like taxes, right? Like, we're thinking about our P and L and all of that from a tax perspective, but not necessarily from that strategic business owner perspective, like the CEO/CFO perspective.

So, we kind of have to shift a little bit and so this takes us a little bit out of the details because taxes will bring you into the details, right? Taxes are going to have you, like, where do I need to classify this. And we're going to just, you know, overanalyze to death and we miss the forest through the trees. Now that's important.

And I do think, you know, eventually people want to get bookkeepers who are doing the compliance piece because that will actually make it easier for you to pull out and see, okay, what's really important as a business owner? What do I really need to be seeing here and paying attention to in here? And it's not all the little things, it's the trends, right? It's how are we trending, how did we do month over month? What products and services are selling, right? Which ones maybe aren't? Like those types of things and this will help you get much more big picture.

Now you start with last year, right, of course. So, the beginning of our planner is going to be your 2022 review. So, we're going to go through just the most important numbers. You aren't going to have to pull all your numbers into here, but it's just the most important things to show you where you are at. And to really kind of get you thinking what have I learned, like, what did last year teach me before you can then walk into your 2023 planning?

So, this workbook goes through a lot. This is not, you know, a fluff workbook. This is something we put a lot of work into and it's something that I actually do in my business. That's where it came from is it was things that I was already doing behind the scenes and we decided, you know what, I think this could be helpful to other people to walk through as well and get them just thinking in the right direction.  And there's a lot more analysis you can do, and you know, based on your business type and what's important to you, right? But this just goes into some of the high level things to get your mind in that place.

And once you get your juices flowing, like that's the amazing thing about finances. Like people get excited about it who never get excited about numbers, right? You don't have to be like Lydia, or I who love numbers to like, get excited about this. Because once you just, you know, allow all of that to start going and you put aside like the fear, and the frustration, and the ugh feeling, it can actually be pretty fun. I promise.

Lydia: I love that. I always, always want to share authentically and be transparent. 

Jamie: Mm-hmm.

Lydia: And I just want everybody to know. So, the first business I had, I had a 20-year direct sales home base business. And I'm sure at least the first 10 years of that business, this was of course late 90's early 2000's, and I just simply didn't have a system for tracking things.

Jamie: Yeah.

Lydia: And you were talking about compliance and you're right I always looked at, you know, the financial numbers of my business. I instantly would go to taxes and then I would, like, want to just curl up in the fetal position because my system for taxes was literally throwing receipts in a shoebox. And then come April 1st of the next year I can't even tell you how many extensions I asked for. Because I literally didn't have a system. And I always thought that, you know, knowing your expenses and figuring all that out was just  related to taxes, exhausting, overwhelming, and I didn't realize that if you're tracking key things like where you're making investments in your business, and sure where you're spending that money, you're not only tracking sales, you're tracking that profit.

And I had never even considered back in the day to track profit. I was only tracking sales .And you end up losing so much money because you don't have an eye on those key metrics like your expenses and your profit margin. So, is that what you find?

Jamie: Yes. And you don't know where you might have leaks. Right? Like that's the thing that is really interesting. Like you have, if you're we're just tracking top line sales that are coming in, which is an important metric, you do want to know that. But you could have all kinds of money leaks going on that are leading to you not having very much profit left at the end of the day. And  you're kind of like, wait, I'm making money, I'm making sales, but why do I not have any money to pay myself? Right?

Lydia: Well, and that's what was so surprising in my first business. I just spent money without understanding how much I was really not bringing home. All that sales I thought I was making I actually had such a low profit margin that when I started this business in 2020, I was like, I want to know my numbers. I want to know what I'm bringing home, not just the revenue that's coming in. And I had heard from various gurus, you know, that many of them shoot for, let's say 50% in my space. And I was like, well, I'm going to get 60. But just knowing that goal and tracking my revenue and my expenses that last year, I know we had a 62% profit margin and this year we hit 67%.

Jamie: That’s amazing.

Lydia: So, the cool part of this is even if your revenue isn't always increasing as much as you hope, if your profit margin is increasing, that is an amazing thing to celebrate because you're keeping more of what you're making. So, this is a great example of why what you teach is so important.

Jamie: Yes. I mean there are different levers, right? So, that's what I talk about a lot is the levers. The lever that comes into our mind is always more sales, more sales, more sales, I need to make more sales. Well, yeah, that's helpful, but there's more levers than that. There's the price you're charging for your products. There's the average transaction value, right? Is there something you can add on to increase your average transaction value? There's cost associated, both direct costs and indirect costs. I mean, there's a lot of different levers that we can pull to increase our profit without having to increase our sales and consequently, without having to increase our effort which is the amazing thing.

Lydia: That is the amazing thing and this is why I love this planning exercise. Because you're right, it's not seeing an increase in a number, but what were you able to work in a way that gave you more freedom, more flexibility, more peace, more confidence. And if you're just hustling, hustling, hustling, I always think of the example of the people, you know, there are people out there saying, I earned a million dollars in revenue last year  and their expenses were $950,000.

Jamie: Yes.

Lydia: And they hustled and spent so much money on advertising or whatever the case may be. So, you definitely need to look at all the levers, and that's what I love about what you just shared. It all matters.

Jamie: Yes. I mean, which sounds easier? Does it sound easier to make a million dollars but net, you know, $50,000 or does it seem easier to make $100,000 and net $50,000? Right? 

Lydia: The latter for sure.

Jamie: Or maybe we sell a million dollars and we, like, work on how we can take home more.

Lydia: Yes.

Jamie: So, I think there are just so many strategies that we forget because we're so focused on the sales element, which is part of it. Not to say that it's not. But sales tends to lead to hustle, which tends to lead to burnout. And if you're not managing the money within your business, more sales isn't actually going to really help your bottom line at all. It's not. If you've got all these money leaks going on, then more sales just means you're also probably going to spend more, which means at the end of the day you're just going to be more tired with the same amount of money.

Lydia: You hit the nail on the head. It really is. We don't want to just make money to make money. We're making money to create the life we want to live.

Jamie: Absolutely.

Lydia: And if it's not doing that it doesn't matter what amount of money is coming in, you know. It really needs to serve what your goals are. Absolutely. Yes. I love that.

Jamie: Yes. Hundred percent. And I think a lot of people, like, go into this business because of the idea of a business that is easier, right? Maybe they're transitioning from one-to-one work, which was me and which was also you, right?

Lydia: Yes.

Jamie: Okay, we’re trading dollars for hours, but at some point that's not super feasible to scale. So, we've gone into that business for this idea of, you know, oh, we're going to have all this freedom. And then we find, oh, actually there's a lot to do in this business, right? So, part of it is managing your finances well, part of it is if you are spending your money, and I don't shame people for spending at all, because actually spending is necessary to build a business and to build a business that gives you that freedom, right? If you really want the freedom. Where I finally got that freedom in my business was when I hired a team. Well, that did decrease my profit margins a bit, but we were able to make more money, right?

Lydia: A hundred percent agree.

Jamie: And I was able to have more time in my life and just focus on the things that only I could do in my business. So that's where, again, like those are those key financial decisions of, okay, maybe if I stop spending so much on things that don't actually yield anything. And instead use that money, if I'm going to spend it, either pay myself more, great, or use that money or part of that money to spend on things that are actually going to yield an investment, right, or return. And then you're going to be able to see in the future just this completely transformed business where it isn't fully based on you, but instead we get just caught up in this hamster wheel and can never get off.

Lydia: It's so true and I agree. One of the best decisions I made too was hiring a team. Because you can only go so far yourself and that investment reaps a great reward.

Jamie: Yes. And so often we say we can't afford it. Yes. And so often it feels like, well, I can't afford a team. Well, where is that money going otherwise? Right. Like, what are you doing with it that maybe you could repurpose? It could also be systems, right? Also investing into systems that can save you time. We end up expending all of this time and energy rather than letting our money work for us on the things that are actually going to create more money and more time. And that's all part of the planning process, right? That leads like very well into this workbook. Because we talk about that too in this workbook, about, you know, what types of investments, how do we use our time and our money within our business to provide what we're really looking for, right?  So, you want to grab it guys.

Lydia: Definitely grab the planner. That I would say is the first place to start.

Jamie: Yes.

Lydia: And if you're thinking to yourself, even if I go through this planner, you know, I would love a little bit more guidance of, you know, how I can get to those goals. I love the page and the planner where it has you break down, like, your different offers and how many you would need to sell or, you know, what that would look like. And I do know I love planning with others. Because it's more motivating when you're kind of working together. And so, I love that you have a workshop coming up. And in that workshop, you're going to be going through some of the details of this planner. Can you tell everybody what's coming up with that workshop? And then I'll share the link for it.

Jamie: Yes. I'm so excited about this. This came out of people asking for it. So, we have had this planner. I've updated it every year, but we've had this planner for a couple of years. And people said, well, I want an environment to be able to do some of this work and really work through it. Because it's a robust planner as well. And we know, like you just said, it's easier to plan all together. There's just a collective energy that you can get when you're kind of doing this work with other people. You might get stuck when you're doing it yourself or distracted. That's the thing that happens to us. We get distracted by all the urgent things around us and then we let the important fall to the wayside.

The important being those things that are going to help us, right?  The important things are going to help us have less urgent things in the future. But there's always, you know, somebody pulling on us, you know, with some urgent matter that deserves our attention. But we really have got to make the time to focus on the important, and that's easier to do all together. It's much easier to get distracted when you're by yourself, I know this for a fact, than when you are with a group of people and you have time set aside for it.

So, we're doing an annual planning meeting, first time ever, January 18th, that everybody needs to be at. And we're charging a super low price for it. It's $47, which is kind of funny.  The reason we wanted to do that is we wanted the buy-in. We wanted people to put some money down. We find that people do show up more for themselves when they have a little bit of money invested. So, we wanted to go ahead and make this a paid annual planning workshop. Plus we are limited in the number of people that we can hold.

So, we are going to be doing this workshop together January 18th from 12:00 PM Central Time to 2:00 PM Central Time. But there is a five-day replay. So, you will get a replay if that time doesn't work for you. We want as many people as possible to show up live, but we know that there are schedules in life, right? So, you will get a replay for a full five days that you can watch it and do it on your own time. But like I said, it's so much more fun to do it all together.

Lydia: I definitely have it on my calendar. So, it's on my calendar. I've already got access here to our workshop, so I will share the link for everyone, especially those listening on the podcast and not necessarily watching on YouTube or on our video. So, it is lydiamartin.biz/planningworkshop. That's what's going to get you access to Jamie's $47 workshop on January 18th. So, lydiamartin.biz/planningworkshop.

I will definitely see you there. I cannot wait to go through this with you because I love that, you know, with your expertise and the different things that you teach. I think it's just going to be so nice to have you going through it with us.

Jamie: Yes.

Lydia: That is what I'm most excited about. 

Jamie: And a lot of planning workshops I think focus, you know, I've been to other ones and they are very sales focused. And this is more than just sales-focused, right? We're looking at the whole picture, and I'll help you kind of look back, like I said, at 2022 so that we can make those observations and walk into 2023 with kind of a head start basically.

Lydia: I love that. And all it takes is enough movement of one of those levers that can make such a difference.

Jamie: And it's not as much as you think. And I will show you that. I have an ROI worksheet that comes too. I know you'll love this Lydia because you probably love spreadsheets, right? But it's super plug and play and it will help you see the impact of really small changes. Sometimes we think in order to make big changes on our bottom line we have to like double our prices or something. You do not. I can promise you. Or cut all of our expenses. You don't. Small changes add up and make a really big difference. And I can illustrate that for you on the ROI worksheet that you'll get if you join the workshop as well.

Lydia: I am looking for that. I cannot wait. I can't wait. So, I love this. In fact, at Banish Business Clutter, we are all about systems. We're all about habits. We're all about taking small steps, taking imperfect action. So, everything you're teaching and sharing just is so aligned to what we help our audience with. So, thank you so much for being today's awesome guest. It has been awesome.

Jamie: You're welcome. Thanks for having me. 

Lydia: Yes. It's been awesome having you, Jamie. And if you are joining us for the first time, I just want to thank you so much for listening to the Launch Perspective podcast. Of course, you can also find us on other social platforms. And you can also go to launchperspective.com to learn more and listen to other episodes.

Thanks so much for joining today, and I just want to encourage you, again, to get Jamie's planning workbook, join us in the workshop. I think this is going to be an amazing tool for you as you start 2023. I can't wait to celebrate with you as you reach all your financial goals this coming year.

See you next time.

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