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The Encore Entrepreneur



We’re delighted to bring the expertise of Racheal Cook, the founder of The CEO Collective and our business coach, to the show. Racheal's entrepreneurial journey has been one of overcoming significant challenges while scaling her business. She shares her story with us, along with the biggest mistakes she sees entrepreneurs making.

We cover a lot during this interview, and we hope you find as much value from it as we do.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Shifting from one-to-one coaching to a more leveraged model
  • The time factor required to grow a profitable business
  • The importance of self-care as an entrepreneur
  • The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make

You'll hear that and more in this week's episode. Click the player below to listen in:


[01:05] Deirdre Harter: As an award-winning business strategist, host of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, and founder of the CEO Collective, Racheal Cook is on a mission to end entrepreneurial poverty for women. 

Over the last 15 years, she has helped thousands of women entrepreneurs design predictably profitable businesses without hustle and burnout. A sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, marketing, and productivity, Racheal has been featured by the US Chamber of Commerce, Forbes, Inc. Fast Company, and the Female Entrepreneur Association. 

When she's not helping women entrepreneurs, you'll find Racheal hiking along the James River and playing board games with her three kids. Racheal, we are super excited to have you on the show with us today. Welcome.

[01:55] Racheal Cook: I'm so thrilled to be here. I love getting to talk to both of you. It has been so awesome getting to know you all over the last year. So thank you for having me.

[02:03] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Oh, we're so delighted to have you. We feel the same way. It's a big love fest over here. We absolutely have had the best time working with you. 

So for everyone who's listening, Racheal is our business coach. Because we believe in coaching so much that we believe that coaches need coaches, and we go and find the coaches that can help us the most. And Racheal has been that for us over the last ten months, and it's been awesome.

[02:25] Racheal Cook: Well, thank you so much.

[02:27] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: You're so welcome. And you have a really rich story and an interesting story. And so, I want to ask—the first question I want to find out—I know that you used to offer one-on-one coaching, and then you shifted to the group/mentor/mastermind model. Can you tell us a little bit about that journey? Because that journey in itself is, I think, really important for people who are trying to figure out how to create their business, how to make it their own, and when to decide to make changes like that.

[02:57] Racheal Cook: Well, this journey actually started at the very beginning of my business because I started my business as very much a boots-on-the-ground consultant, as in I was going to clients' yoga studios or wellness centers or whatever it was that they had. Because that's where I launched as the YogiPreneur. I launched helping yoga business owners. And what happened was I got pregnant with twins about nine months after I started my business. And all of a sudden, I couldn't travel, and I couldn't go out. In fact, I was on bed rest for the last three months of my pregnancy, and then I had the twins. 

So that's when I shifted everything from boots on the ground in person to online. And I was still doing one-on-one. And this was in 2010, and 2011, when everybody was using Skype. That was the only video conferencing. GoToMeeting was really expensive, but it was finally available, and that's what I started with just one-on-one on either of those platforms. And then I realized I could take what I had been talking about with all these clients and put it into a course. And it took me probably a few months to start putting together that first beta version of a course. And that kind of kicked off this huge transformation of my own business back in 2010, 2011. Because instead of saying the same thing over and over and over again, I started packaging the things that I was saying over and over again up in a way that more people could get access to it without it taking up time in my calendar. 

And that was a huge win for me as a new mom with twins because I needed something that allowed me to help people without it all being my time because I didn't have the time. I remember, at that point, literally waiting for my husband to get home. He was a school teacher, and if he wasn't home by 3:30, so I could get on my first one-on-one coaching call for the evening, I was like texting him, like, Where are you? Get out of that meeting. I need you home right now. 

So once I launched that, it really took a couple of years for me to make the shift out of one-on-one being the primary profit center of my business to more leveraged offers being more primary. And I think this is important because most people don't talk about how long that takes, but it does take time to build the audience that can sustain more of a group type of program.

[05:20] Deirdre Harter: I think that's such an excellent point, Racheal, because we get that question a lot from our clients. They think that, well, if I just go straight to group, I'm going to save time because there is that leveraging in there. But the part they miss is the fact that you have to build the audience to begin with, and you have to be paying for it along the way, which is a great thing for one-on-one coaching because you don't need as many of those typically as you need to be in your group program. 

And I think that the timeline is the big factor. They don't realize that you have to really build this strategically, and that's why we get so much value working with you, because you understand that strategy is the basis of it all, just like we do.

[06:06] Racheal Cook: Yeah, it takes time. And I think there's a lot of misrepresentation, especially in the online entrepreneurship space, about how fast it can all happen. We just keep seeing these super hyped-up headlines everywhere and these amazing-sounding stories. But the reality is, for the vast majority of small businesses, it does take time to grow your business. It takes time to shift your business. And going from a business model that does not require a lot of people, which is more of the one-on-one service-based business, to one that's more leveraged, it now is an entirely different model. 

It takes so much more marketing, it takes so much more audience size. And those things don't happen overnight. They take time to build. So as I started all of this, I had a period of about ten years where I was primarily doing courses. Prior to launching the CEO collective, which you are both part of in 2020, it was all courses where the majority of my business and running online courses was the majority of my business for about ten years. And I loved that so much because it did give me a lot more time freedom. It put me kind of more in my zone of genius, which is definitely creating content and strategy and frameworks. Like, I come up with that stuff all the time. 

But I also found that I really missed the connective tissue that happens when you get to know your clients. Like, for me, this was a big challenge. It really bugged me that it seemed like the only way to “scale” a business was to create courses, put as many people through them as you can, and who cares if you ever talk to that person who just spent money to learn from you? So that's why when I shifted to the CEO Collective, I really knew that this was going to be more of a hybrid type of business model that allowed me to get to know all of the members inside of the Collective and also allowed me to share my strategy and my frameworks in a way that was more leveraged for me.

[08:11] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And you bring up such a good point because the one-on-one is critical—especially when you're starting out—to really understand who your ideal client is and to find out who they aren't, right? Because we all work with people who we think are ideal, and then they turn out not to be. And you don't know that unless you're right there one-on-one with them. 

So that gives you the great data that you need to then be able to hone in on those ideal people and then put in the time, effort, and money to scale. If you want to. But if you just started with course creation and you never talked to a soul, well, someone that does that or people hear about this, the laptop lifestyle, all you have to do is digital products and all that, and it's like, okay, well, there's some truth to that, I guess. But if you're not talking to real people, then you're not solving real people's problems.

[09:03] Racheal Cook: I absolutely agree with that. And I think going straight into a high-leverage info product course business model can work if the topic is very low risk and very much like a linear process like step A, step B, step C. If I want to learn how to, I don't know, build a bookshelf. It's pretty low risk, and I probably can follow the directions in order to do that. I don't necessarily need somebody to answer every question if the directions and the course was really good. 

But when we get into spaces where it's a higher risk, and there's more variability between our clients, there are more differences between our clients; we can teach foundations, we can teach framework, but if there's nothing that you have in your back pocket where you can understand why this wouldn't work for this type of person or the tweaks that this type of person might need to consider, you'll never learn that unless you're talking to actual people.

[10:05] Deirdre Harter: That is so very true. And I think that's where the frustration from entrepreneurs comes in, is that they never truly get to know who their ideal client is. And we do the exercise right, and then we think we've got it, only to find out six months later, like, no, we don't quite have it yet. And it's this iterative process you have to go through again and again.

[10:25] Racheal Cook: Yeah, I think this is a big disservice that the online education space has done for small businesses because, in a more traditional business world, we would be doing market research. Like, companies have entire research and development departments. They have entire market research teams where they're going out there and doing test groups and trying to see how people respond to things. 

So the rest of the business world is very much like, we got to understand who our ideal client is. This is something that they know about. But I think a lot of times in the entrepreneur space, because it doesn't seem that exciting, and it requires a lot of time to talk to a lot of people and gather these insights. It feels like something that a worksheet would handle, but it simply isn't. 

And that's why I still love one-on-one. I feel like if you're not having conversations with your people, you're missing out on so much. And honestly, one-on-one is paid market research. I'm always going to advocate for people to do one-on-one because you're going to get so much clarity and so much insight, and you're getting paid to do that. You're getting paid to get that information. It's invaluable. It's absolutely invaluable.

[11:34] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I will say, as someone who was maybe shy, I'm introverted. And at the beginning of my journey, I resisted one-on-one. I wanted to do the digital course thing, and I did, and I followed that a little bit, and I found that it fell flat for me because it's like what you were saying. You never then talk to a human. And then it's like, well, that's not fun because I want to actually see the transformation that can happen and understand what needs to happen to make those transformations. And you just cannot do that unless you're talking to people. 

And I think in the beginning, people might be shy, and it depends. We work with a lot of women who are starting out. They're brand new, and so the idea of hopping on calls with “strangers” gives them the willies, and they don't want to do it. But once you start doing it and you start realizing how much you get from that, it becomes fun. And then the one-on-one, when you start seeing transformations, then you start learning. And really it takes, we like to say if you get on ten calls with people, you're going to learn so much, and it's like, gather the data and then they are they're like, oh my gosh, I didn't realize this until I talked to these people. And it's like exactly. That's the reason behind it.

[12:50] Racheal Cook: Absolutely. And I think the other layer of why I love one-on-one, and I will still take on a one-on-one client here, and there. You'll never see me promote it, ever. But what I see happens, and this is what happened to me, is as my programs became more of my income, more of my revenue, and my business, what started happening was I was able to make sure that the first step to work with me was going through that program. And then the people who I took on one-on-one, they already had the foundations, they already had the frameworks, they already had the shared language, and I knew that we were having a next-level conversation. 

So this is another place I think one-on-one can be really helpful, is once you've used it as a way to kind of launch your business and get that market research and understand what people want and see the patterns to create maybe your more leveraged offer, then your leveraged offer becomes the first step. And I think that's so cool. It totally makes it easier for a lot of people when you're not feeling like you have to start from scratch with every client because they already have a relationship with you established from your group program, and then you can get into a more detailed type of work.

[14:04] Deirdre Harter: That's one thing Carmen, and I realized, not through conversation with what we've been talking about, but just through watching you and listening to all the foundational stuff that you teach. And so we have gone to that model as well, where we offer a hybrid as well. 

So we have our one-on-one, but we also have that hybrid, and it's fairly new. And it is, what we're seeing is that not only are we they're building the foundation, and we're no longer on Business 101 with everybody over and over again. But what we're also seeing is that the people who are really wanting to grow their business, like some want to grow at a very slow pace, and some want to grow at a faster pace. But the ones who really are ready to dig in and to really make it happen, they come to the forefront in that program. And so they are the ones that would benefit the most from the one-on-one relationship.

[14:58] Racheal Cook: Yeah, it's way more fun, too honest. Isn't it just so much more fun when you talk to somebody who you know that each conversation, they're going to take what you talked about and then show up the next time saying, I did exactly what we talked about, plus I started these things too. To me, that's the best. And it helps you really position yourself to get just incredible, amazing clients when you shift like that.

[15:22] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: It is the best. And we try to be that way. So hopefully, you feel that way about us.

[15:28] Racheal Cook: Absolutely.

[15:29] Deirdre Harter: All right, so now let's talk about one of the things we love so much about working with you is you're a huge proponent of self-care and family as a priority, and that's something that really resonates with us. Carmen and I are in the midlife phase of our life, so we don't have the young kids at home, but there’s still family, right? I think people think that once the kids are grown, family is no longer a priority, but it's not the case. 

We know that you're committed to working only 25 hours or so per week, and we've learned how you've done that. But could you tell our audience a little bit about how you are able to effectively run your business working less than full-time hours? Because the general idea out there, everyone thinks that they're having to put in 40, 60, 75 hours a week in order to run their business.

[16:23] Racheal Cook: This is such a great question. I love talking about this because I think these are holdovers from a lot of our time in more traditional corporate work environments where we basically leave those and feel like, okay, to be professional, we have to work from nine to five every single day. But if we are just doing that by default and not actually questioning what am I creating here? Then we're just recreating the same challenges we might have had before, right? 

What I know to be true is the majority of women entrepreneurs are creating businesses because they want more flexibility and they want more freedom. We also know that at least around 30% to 35% of women entrepreneurs are caregivers, either of children, school-age children, or elderly adults. That falls the majority on us. And then the biggest number of people with chronic illnesses are women. 

These things all impact me personally. I have chronic illnesses that really limit my energy and my capacity. I have small children. They're not small anymore. To me, they're thirteen, thirteen, and ten as of the time we're recording. But I've also got elderly parents who I'm caregiving for. So a lot of how I've been able to do this is I question everything right away. As soon as I started my business, I was like, do I really need to work 40 hours a week? I sat down and figured out exactly how many clients I needed at what price point to see every single week. And I kept asking myself, does this fit my capacity? If I only have this much time every single week, can I make enough money with just this number of clients? 

And that was the first thing for me, was crunching the numbers. It is very unsexy, right? And saying, if I only have six spots per week for clients, how much do I need to charge if I'm alternating week A versus week B? So I have twelve total clients at a time; how much do I need to charge in order to make sure I can pay myself? And as I was doing that, I was also asking myself, like, okay, what are the things that only I can do, and what are the things I can get support with? And this is a huge question to start asking yourself right away. 

And because of my background, I mean, I've always been in the world of entrepreneurs. I grew up with entrepreneurs, so I knew I needed to get help as quickly as I could. And also twin mom, like, literally outnumbered from the beginning, so I had help. The first person I hired was a nanny. That was my biggest hire when I had the kids. And for me, that was a no-brainer. It was a no-brainer that I need to outsource anything that someone else can help me with so that I can focus on what only I can do. And I knew that was working with my clients, and I also knew that was driving most of the marketing and making connections, building the relationship. So that's all I focused on. 

And I started getting an assistant as quickly as I could. That freed up so much bandwidth for me. And I made sure when I was setting up my initial client docket, I literally went into my calendar, and it would be like blocking out dream client number one, dream client number two. And I would have these blocks in my calendar until they were filled. And I knew that if I had that filled. I was not only meeting my income goal, but I was meeting my income goal plus creating enough income to pay for the nanny and to pay for an assistant. And that was the beginning for me. It was just getting really clear.

[19:48] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I love the way that you line that out, and I think what happens is this is where the online space does a disservice to entrepreneurship as well, is people think that they can come in and start out working like 4 hours a day. We've heard people say, well, I have to do all the things you “are supposed to do.” Like you're supposed to meditate in the morning or run or do yoga or whatever. And I remember one person was like, well, I really only work ten to two, which is great everyone wants to do that. However, her business was brand new and so you can't do that. 

And so when you talk about crunching the numbers is not sexy, but it's essential. You need to know how much you need to make. And on the flip side of this, we see people who are starting out, and they just don't know what they don't know, and they start building up ideas for programs where now they're going to be booked every single week for 52 weeks of the year, and they don't consider the fact that they have to build in. I like to call them islands of calm, but it's time where they are not front-facing. 

So yeah, luckily, Deirdre and I kind of learned that early on. We structure our schedule so that we are only front-facing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the first three weeks of the month. And the fourth week of the month—we're working all the other times, but we're not front-facing. And that makes such a huge difference because we've got time to focus. We know that if something's coming up or we want to take some time off, that fourth week of the month is already clear. We don't have to worry about clearing it off our schedule. But we're also not being unrealistic where we're like, well, we're only going to work 4 hours a day because we aren't at that point in our business, and it's going to take a heck of a long time for people to get there until you build up the revenue that you need to survive.

[21:43] Racheal Cook: Yeah, it takes time again. And another unfair advantage I had in starting this way is I started in a very small niche when there was no one else talking to this audience. There was no one else in 2007 or 2008 talking to yoga business owners. So if you were a yoga business owner and you typed in how to market my yoga business, how to market my yoga studio, I was the one that showed up. So that was a huge unfair advantage. 

It's really hard to duplicate that these days, but it goes to show you having a strong niche can really be a powerful asset. The other thing is I really focused on my visibility as much as I could. So I wasn't working many hours, but I was building as many relationships as I could. And because I was in the yoga world and I knew the yoga world, I was getting great referrals from people. Because, again, people talk. If you have a small business that's running a yoga studio and they happen to know another yoga studio owner, they're going to tell each other. So referrals really kickstarted a lot of my business, but that also parlayed itself into speaking opportunities. 

Back then, it was tele-summits dialing into 1-800-ConferenceCall.com or whatever for a tele-summit. I was on every single one you could imagine. If there was a big teacher training happening, I was like, hey, I've got a business of Yoga module, I can come teach it for you. I was making sure I was plugging myself into as many conversations as I possibly could. And when you are one of the first people in a space, that is a huge advantage. 

Now that is something that would be really hard to do today because there is a lot of people trying to talk to this audience. But I have continued to build relationships and to focus on the visibility that I know drives results for my business, which is speaking, which is interviews. Those are the two things I'm constantly focused on. And even though I only work twenty to twenty-five hours a week, on average, I have at least one interview or speaking gig a week.

[23:53] Deirdre Harter: And that is such an important point, Racheal. We hear that same thing happening. People are going, oh, it's just too crowded right now, and you just can't do it. You're trying to combat all these other people who are doing the same thing. And yes, there are more people, but there's also what they forget is that there are more people paying attention to online marketing, too, than there were. 

So really, it may not be much different than the old school way that we used to all have to market with putting flyers around and taking out ads in the paper. And I think that the visibility piece that you talk about is so critical, and that's the piece that most entrepreneurs are really resistant to, but it should be the very first thing that they're doing.

[24:38] Racheal Cook: Absolutely. And you all have heard me say this over and over again. Business grows at the speed of relationships. I think another huge myth that has been perpetuated online is that you can just automate absolutely everything, and you don't have to have any real human interaction. You can just schedule everything, and automate everything. 

But people don't want to buy from a bot. They don't want to sign up for something if they feel like you're just broadcasting things all the time but never actually engaging and having conversations with people. And I think this is one thing. We are seeing the pendulum swing the other way. People have signed up for all the automated funnels. We've done the evergreen thing. We've seen everybody automate so heavily that it's taken the humanity out of business. And right now, I think we're seeing that if you can add some high-touch in there and you're building relationships, those relationships are going to open way more doors than your automated funnel ever would.

[25:40] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, the whole funnel software thing drives me nuts because most people that we work with do not need that fancy funnel software. 

Another thing people don't realize is the funnel software is simply a tool. But what you put into that tool is what makes it or breaks it. I think people buy hope. They buy what they think, oh, here's the thing, this is going to be it. This is going to change things for me. But it's not if you don't have your offer figured out, if you don't know your ideal client if you haven't worked one-on-one so that you honestly know their pain points, their aspirations, their dreams, and their goals, and you're speaking to that, and you can help them. You have a proven method for helping them, then. 

Adding a funnel or throwing Facebook ads out there. You're just amplifying the fact that something that you have isn't working. It's not going to work, and they think that it's going to be some magic bullet, and it's just not that.

[26:43] Racheal Cook: Yeah, it's absolutely just not. I think this is one of the things that we are all talking about so often is just—it comes back to basics, and you cannot skip it. You just can't skip building the foundations of your business. You can try, you can try, and just keep churning and dumping money into the latest trendiest thing. But what we end up seeing is this constant cycle of people seeking the silver bullet, and it doesn't exist. You just have to come back to the basics, the foundations, and often that means talking to people.

[27:23] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Exactly. So what would you say is the most common challenge that the women you work with face?

[27:34] Racheal Cook: How much time do you have? Oh, my goodness. We tend to see a few different things, and I'll preface it with this. We have really focused in, in the last couple of years on working with more established businesses because that's where my framework can make the most impact. 

So we're looking for women entrepreneurs who've already hit their six-figure mark, and now they're looking to make six figures in personal income. They're looking to build a team, and they're looking to make sure they have a scalable infrastructure in their business. And that's a very different stage than early startup stage businesses. 

Some of the biggest things that we run into are honestly around the CEO mindset. Even though I teach a lot of the strategy, it's often CEOs getting in their own way and not being willing to relinquish some control, to let people support them, to hire the team, to really step into leadership versus having a death grip and control over every little thing in their business. I think that's really what a lot of the challenges come down to. Like all of their people challenges in their team, all of their marketing challenges, it all comes down to the business owner becoming the bottleneck. And a lot of the reason they're the bottleneck is the, you know, mindset. 

[28:52] Deirdre Harter: I think that no matter what stage, whether you're in startup or growth stage, scale stage, it's always there. Carmen and I always like to say that when there's a new level, there's a new devil. And that devil is the mindset. It's always there. 

The early entrepreneurs are starting out with the I'm scared of all this stuff, and I'm resistant to all this stuff, and then we get to the next level, and then it's exactly what you're talking about that now, we've built all this, and we know how it's supposed to run, and we know we need help, but yet they're not going to do it like, I can do it and all of that. So it is a real big shift in mindset. In order to change, you have to change your role. You change your mind, and then you change your role.

[29:44] Racheal Cook: Exactly. This is something we just see all of the time with the women that we work with. And I will say it takes time, and it also takes normalizing the things that we're talking about. 

So we started this conversation by talking about how I only work twenty to twenty-five hours a week when most people think they have to work forty to sixty. When people hear me talk about this, they might, on one level, like on a surface level, be like, okay, she only works that much, okay. And they don't really understand how that happens, like what is actually going into it. But as you spend more time with me, as you spend more time with me and your earbuds and then the community that we've built where more people are putting these systems in place, you start to normalize that things can be different from the status quo. 

And that's another huge shift because a lot of us are trying to build businesses that we don't see a lot of examples of. And if we don't see it, it's hard to believe it. So a lot of our work is just to talk about and normalize the things that need to happen. Because then when people can see, oh, that's what she means, I can actually see how she's doing that. I can see that she's spending most of her time doing these activities. I understand now how it's all fitting together. When you see the example enough and then more people in the community start talking about how they're doing it, too. It normalizes it, and you start to believe you can do it, too. 

It's so funny because I always say I'm not a mindset coach. I understand a ton about mindset—don't get me wrong. That is not what I lead with. But this is what happens, is we can attract you by talking about you're a bottleneck, you need more systems and support, and structure. We've got you. But really, we need to normalize the mindset shifts that go into place when you're getting the systems and the structure and support.

[31:40] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right. And that's why we love having conversations like this because we want people to understand that, first of all, you can craft the business of your dreams, but it's going to take strategy, it's going to take implementation, and most of all, it's going to take time and money. 

So it's like people come in, and they want to help people, and they get excited, and it is, it's thrilling to be an entrepreneur, and the whole idea behind it is thrilling. But I love how a couple of times during this conversation, Racheal, you've mentioned that it takes a lot of time. And that's what people always leave out—the time element. They think, I'm doing all the things, I'm doing all the things. And you may be doing all the things correctly, but you're forgetting that there's a time factor involved.

[32:26] Racheal Cook: Yep, there's always going to be a time factor because you either have time or money to invest in getting a business off the ground. And even businesses—think about what's happening in Silicon Valley. All these businesses get pumped full of financing and funding. But you know what? Most of them aren't even profitable. They're literally getting handed millions and millions of dollars just so they can build up an audience and then exit someday. It's not even a profitable model. So we can't just lean on pumping dollars into our business. We have to lead with the strategy and take the time to build it.

[33:03] Deirdre Harter: Yeah, and I love what you're talking about here because it's always a balance, and it's not 50/50. I always think of it like a seesaw when one side's up, the other side is down. Every once in a while, you get where both people are on equal footing, but you're still going up and down all the time. And I think that's how I look at time and money because it takes both, and sometimes it takes more of one than the other. And there are people who are resistant to investing the money, and then there are people who are resistant to investing the time, but you've got to be able to do both. Otherwise, you are never going to build a sustainably profitable business.

[33:42] Racheal Cook: Yeah, I love that you said that, Deirdre, because it absolutely is a bit of a seesaw. You can try to do it all on your own and figure everything out on your own and just play time, right? Like just time is going to pass, that's all you're doing is putting in the hours. But if you don't have people who are further along the path turning around and telling you what you should and shouldn't be paying attention to, you're wasting a lot of time too. 

And that's where I think, mentorship, that's where getting in a mastermind, that's where taking courses and continuing education is such a huge part of your own professional development. Because when you surround yourself with people who are on the same path or further along, you get the shortcuts, and so you start to save time that way too. So it's a little bit of both, right? It's a “both and,” and sometimes we can invest into hiring some support. You unlock here's the next step. I don't have to guess. I can just take what they have and run with it. And then sometimes you just got to keep putting in the reps. You got to keep doing the thing, showing up week after week after week.

[34:46] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: One final thought here that it's really important that people understand that as the CEO of your business, you have to decide and understand how things are going to work. We've seen people try to hire too soon, and what they're trying to do is rely on that professional to come in and do the work for them. And that never works.

[35:09] Racheal Cook: No, it never works. And I think it's really easy, especially if you aren't an expert in business, as so many of both of our clients are experts in so many other fields. And they never thought of themselves as a business owner or as an entrepreneur. They just ended up being, I don't know, a doctor who has a business. It's really easy for them to want to outsource everything and just say, you know what, I'm just going to let someone else take over. But at the end of the day, your name is the one on the door. You've got to be the one making the big decisions, setting the course, and saying, this is where we're going. This is what our purpose is. This is what we are focused on. 

If you try to outsource that, what happens when that person leaves? What happens when a team turns over? And these are things that happen. You still have to be willing to lead your own business.

[36:00] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: This has been so awesome. Racheal, can you let our listeners know how they can learn more about you and connect with you?

[36:08] Racheal Cook: Absolutely. You can come over to theceocollective.com and actually I'm going to add a special link just for you all because I talked about how I crunch the numbers, and I've actually got a calculator. I call the Get Paid Calculator. You can get that at theceocollective.com/encoreempire, and you'll be able to go in there and play with your numbers and actually look at your numbers to make sure that the math is mathing. Because if the math doesn't work if the numbers don't work, then you're going to be putting in a ton of hours without getting the return you're looking for. So I'd encourage you to go check that out. Otherwise, I spend most of my time either creating my podcast Promote Yourself to CEO, or over on Instagram. So you can find me there at @RachealCook.

[36:55] Deirdre Harter: Thank you so much, Racheal, and thank you for that calculator that everyone can take a look at. We're big proponents of that around here. As you know, as a CPA, I'm a geek about all the numbers, and it is really important. And everything you do is put in a way that makes it approachable and easy to use. And that's one thing we really appreciate about all of your content is that you're breaking down some things that might seem complicated, but you're making it to where it's really user-friendly. So thank you so much.

[37:24] Racheal Cook: Oh, thank you so much. I love hearing that. And I have really appreciated this opportunity to chat with both of you. I love being able to talk with both of you. It's been amazing that you have been able to come all the way out to Richmond, Virginia. I know Deirdre, you're just down the street, basically, but Carmen's flown across the country to come to our amazing CEO retreats every quarter, and it's been so much fun to get to know you both. So I just really appreciate the work you both are doing in the world.

[37:52] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Thank you. We feel the same. Thank you so much.

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