#007: Pivoting, Personal Branding and Working Less
Personal Branding for individuals doesn’t need to be hard. In this Episode, Sage Polaris previously known as Sarah Grear shares how she transitioned into her new business persona.
She also shares her journey around pivoting from a client-based business to a mentoring/coaching business. She explains how her systems and team allow her to take 4 months off a year. (no not a typo 4 full months a year!)
Sage Polaris (AKA the artist formerly known as Sarah Grear) has written high converting copy for more than 350 clients earning them millions of dollars. She helps personal brands and service providers sell more of their service or offer with the words on their website.
Her emails and sales pages are responsible for generating as much as 7 figures in a single launch. She has worked with Chrisette Michele, James Wedmore, Rick Mulready, and Amber McCue. Basically, she makes money for the “internet famous” people we all look up to.
And in turn, has been an international speaker in exclusive private Masterminds. She can SHOW your audience how to go from storytelling to story-selling. This is what truly makes a brand legendary.
You can find Sage at http://www.sagepolaris.com
Sage’s Free Gift
Todd Hermann’s Book – Alter Ego:
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Today we have Sage Polaris. Hello Sage. Thank you for joining us. Hey Steph. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here. We’re very excited to have you. Sage is a launch strategist to the online stars and she is a workless earn more mentor and we are very excited to hear more about working less, of course, but before we jump in, say I actually have a something that I know that my audience is very curious about because a lot, a lot of the people I deal with are women. And sometimes the question of the ego and this persona that we put out there and alongside imposter syndrome becomes a big thing. So I’m really interested in the fact that you, you actually changed your name to Sage Polaris, which is a fantastic name, but I would really like to know the story behind that.
Sure. Yeah. So I’m Sage to the artist formerly known as Sarah Grear. And the reason I decided to change my name is I was really stepping into a new identity in my business. I’m eight years deep into my business now and around like the six-year Mark, I realized that I no longer wanted to hide behind my client’s success. I was doing a lot of client-based projects. They were having wonderful success with their launches. It was so beautiful to see, but I knew I was kind of hiding behind that and not really stepping out into my own identity. And so I decided to switch my name because I felt like it would signify something from myself like, okay, I’m not hiding anymore. I’m going to go into the spotlight, and since then I have been doing more, of my own launches for myself.
I’ve also created co-created mastermind with my business partner, Tarzan Kay, which was a hundred per cent event that we ran in Niagara falls and then turn that into a mastermind. So all of these things were a way for me to kind of signal to myself and to everyone else that I was taking on a new identity for myself and my business. And it’s really been beautiful to see how I am perceived differently now. And it’s like, it’s basically a new, a new brand that I’ve created for myself. And it’s been really fun to see how it’s all played out.
Oh, wow. So, so you have felt the difference.
A New Name for Sarah’s Individual Branding:
Yeah, definitely. I, well, for me, like also there’s a lot of incredible artists that I really love out there who created their own identities. Like if you think about Sean Carter is Jay Z or Banksy, like we don’t even know his real identity. He chose his own identity. I really admire artists who decide that they are going to inform how people perceive them in the world. So that was another thing. Like I was inspired by all these artists, Macklemore, his real name is Ben something. So like all these artists out there who choose their own identity, I was like, well, I can do that too. So, and then they create all this incredible work and I really see like working on launches is very creative work. So it’s been very fun for me to step into this new identity.
Yeah. That sounds like a lot of fun. Actually. I’m just finishing off Todd Herman’s Alter Ego. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the book and I actually heard Todd speak, a couple of months ago and I was just intrigued by this idea of creating an alter ego and stepping into this new persona. So yeah. It’s, it’s great to see that it works.
Yeah, totally. It’s fun. And it’s just a way for people to perceive you in a new light. And so it’s been really cool to see like how interested and intrigued people are by the change. That’s been fun. Like it wasn’t something I expected, so yeah.
Yes, indeed. Of course. Cause you, you would probably of course worry. You know, did you have any worries and facts about, you know, maybe losing the audience before, you know, did you think that maybe some people may not like the change?
No, I didn’t think too much about like how people would perceive it, but I will say like I sent an email to my list that said, don’t call me Sarah anymore. And that’s my biggest ever opened email. So it’s like, I knew right away that like people were very open to it. And so I think it’s been for me, like a very positive thing. I didn’t really feel any concern or worry about what other people would consider, you know, it’s my choice, my business, my identity I get to choose. So the only thing I knew is that like my family members would, they, they definitely laugh at my expense. Yeah. And it’s fine. Like when I wanted, I remember when I first started my business, around like 2013, 2012, 2012. And in 2012, like I wanted to dye my hair, green and family members were like, nobody’s going to hire you if you dye your hair. And I was like, I’m going to do it anyway. And it’s kind of the same thing with the name change. Like eventually they’ll come on board, it will work on them, but for now, it’s like, I get it. Like it’s changed and it’ll take the time to get used to it.
Yes, indeed. Fortunately, things work a little bit differently in online business, so you can get away with a lot more stuff like green hair. Yeah, totally. And I, it was a way to
Signify to myself that I wasn’t going to be going back to working in a corporate environment or at a job environment. So it was just like, this is another way for me to step into this next phase and stage of my business
And then great. Then that’s, it’s so much more fun. And in fact, I wanted to touch on this great line I read on your Facebook page. It says you are the escape from client-based biz-jail. And I just love that because I actually run my own agency with my husband for over 10 years. So I really know what that means apart from all the clients. Of course, I also had a brick and mortar business with lots of employees in the office. So I am totally with you. And I would really like to hear sort of how this ties in with the work-less and earn-more mentoring that you do. And, you know, I believe you also do masterminds and events around this.
Freedom from client-based biz-jail:
Yeah, totally. So basically the idea of escaping from client-based business jail is something that I came up with because I saw a lot of people who were starting their client based businesses online. And they would be at like stage one of their business. They were getting, you know, leads and depending, highly on referrals and building out their businesses in that way. And what I noticed is that eventually they would get burned out on the client work. Like it just would be too much. They, they weren’t putting systems into place to better serve those clients. And so a lot of them would just skip to stage three. So in stage one is they’re getting referrals. They’re working on working with clients and they’re trying to get as many clients as they can. And then often they cap themselves at a certain amount of clients cause they’re still trading maybe dollars for hours or whatever it is.
The Right Time to Launch a Course
And then they try to go to stage three and they skip stage two, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. But stage three is essentially like launching courses and they’re like, okay, I’m burnt out on client work. I’m just going to go do some kind of one-to-many program that will alleviate this issue. And I see a lot of people do this and often they will pivot their entire business. They’ll go from, okay, I’m no longer serving clients. I’m just going to do courses now. And I actually don’t recommend going from stage one to stage three in between that is stage two. And stage two is creating systems around your client based work so that you don’t have to be as involved in the work, but you don’t walk away from a profitable revenue stream in your business. So you continue to serve clients, but you have systems that make that service a lot easier on you so that you have the time and the money to invest in stage three.
I’m not saying don’t launch a course. I’m just saying before you do that, don’t walk away from your profitable revenue stream and you can do much better with those clients and feel like it’s not so intense if you first build out some systems for it. And one of those systems that I put into my business was I committed to taking four months off every year. And I’ve done that now for the fourth year in a row. And that system, I know I love it. That system is very simple. So basically one week off every month and then one month off every year, total to four months for the year. So I’m not taking like four consecutive months off. But once I put that system in place, my team was on board. We had the scripts, the templates, the things that the clients needed, the intake forms. So that even when I’m gone, this work is still being done. My team is still supporting it. But I can take some time to kind of put my head back into the creative clouds and just, you know, I’ll do staycations or some fun things for myself. Sometimes I’ll travel, but those things have really helped me to be excited to be away from my desk and be excited to be back at my desk.
Yes that’s okay. It helps to keep the energy up definitely with, with so much time off. So what would your support team look like? You know, so to allow you to actually step away for a whole week a month.
Taking 4 months off a Year!
Yeah. So now my team has built out quite a bit in the very beginning. Like I started small and I wasn’t taking one week off every month. I was taking one day off a month. That was it in the beginning. And the very first person that I hired in my business was a bookkeeper. But then, that wasn’t really alleviating the client work. It did help some with like tracking things in terms of client work. But then I hired a VA for five hours a month, $16 an hour. So $80 a month total. And that was my way of like testing the waters of having support. And then after that, I really started ramping up. The next hire that was really important for me was a project manager. So someone who could track all of the clients and the projects and the intake forms and the deliverables that really helped me to be able to step out of the work as much and let a writing team and a project manager support me.
So I wasn’t the only one doing the writing for the clients. I was still quality control on everything. So I was making sure that everything was optimized for conversions and that the sales page and the emails, like nothing would get passed to the client without me looking at it for hours. And I was still on all of the meetings for clients. So I’m still showing up on video doing live edits with them so that I really made sure I wasn’t missing a beat when it came to delivering a product that the client needed. So those were some of the people I had on my team since then. I’ve definitely expanded even more. One of the main things I’ve started doing more of, I mentioned earlier, I had that a hundred percent event and Niagara falls. So I started doing more speaking. So then I wanted a speech writer to support me, and of course, like a makeup artist and a photographer. So those are some more people that I’ve hired on to my team and everybody’s subcontracted. So when we’re working on projects, we’re working together and then when there are no projects, I encourage them to build their own team, their own businesses and do other projects as well.
That’s right. That’s amazing. So you’re, you’re helping them do what you’ve done for yourself. That’s great.
Oh yeah. And I encourage them, like if you outgrow me quickly and you need to go do your own thing, go for it. So I’m really grateful.
Uh, that’s great. It’s, it’s great to be in a position to do that. In fact, one of the things I find that, I have found maybe more in brick and mortar businesses, so more people who don’t have a totally online business, they kind of take a long time to find the right hires and then they become a little bit scared of losing them. But like Richard Branson says you’ve got to train people and have great relationships with them and just, you know, push them with
Yeah. A hundred per cent. Yeah. I wish everybody to have even more. I definitely had people who were on my team for a short amount of time and then went on to have even faster success than I have. And I love seeing it. I’m like cheering them on I’m in your corner. That’s awesome.
You ended up mentoring your own suppliers. Yeah. So, excellent. I’m still curious. You were going to mention your stage two.
Oh, okay. Yeah. So stage two, was putting systems into your business. So that’s where, yeah. Where you’re either outsourcing hiring or you’re using better project management systems. Those areas really help you to serve your clients better. And one thing I hear people talk about when they are looking to build out stage two of their business. So like, okay, I hear you. I need to hire support. And I’m thinking about if you’re like, for me, I’m a copywriter. And if I’m going to hire another writer, the concern often is, well, are they going to do as good a job as I did on creating things. And I actually am of the mindset that they often will come up with ideas that are better than mine, because there is more people, more like it’s a group think. And when you get all of those minds together, better ideas come up just from having more brains on it. Right. So I am of the opinion that the work doesn’t suffer, the quality actually gets better when you hire a team.
Absolutely. I totally agree with you. Yeah. The more people pitch in the better, there are always, however, sort of, I deal with mostly, you know, coaches, copywriters, marketers, people who are sort of at that stage where maybe they have their first hire or they’re just before. So, most of our listeners are probably at that phase. I find that a lot of people have this sort of fear of two things, you know, charging enough to be able to afford to hire somebody and maybe sort of waiting for the right time to hire somebody when you don’t know what the right time to hire your first hire really is. So do you have any advice on how to actually know when the right time is?
The systems in your business
Yeah. So in terms of knowing when you need the support, honestly, I feel like it’s best to test out a little bit of support and see how it feels for you instead of going on like a binge hiring spree and getting too many people on your team. But what I look at are the profit sweet spots in business. So essentially look at all your revenue streams and see where is your highest revenue coming from? And then I would start there in terms of where to invest and when to invest if you can see that your profits are coming in. And there’s enough there. I usually break it down by percentage. So, 10% for admin, 30% for the facilitator, 30% for the creator and 30% for marketing. And I work on flat-rate projects, right? So if I have a flat rate and I can cover some of those percentages with a customer with, so with someone supporting the project, then it helps me because I can see like how much I should be investing in that project.
So really as you and I know people raise their prices to overtime, right? So as you raise your prices, you should build in these expenses so that it’s covered as you serve these clients. And for me, like when I see my clients are getting big results from our work together, that is a clear indicator to me that I should get more support in that specific area, because I know that the profits are going to keep happening. They’re going to keep getting the results. I’m going to keep getting referrals from that. And so it’s a good time for me to support that revenue stream with a team. And in terms of like dollar amount, like, I feel like for people who are making anywhere between six and 10,000 a month, like that’s a good time to start getting that support. That was kind of the threshold I hit, where I was getting up to like 6,000 a month or more, or I was like, okay, I need this support. And I knew it would serve me because then I could spend my time going out and getting more clients. So that was definitely worth it for me once I got to that level of my business.
Excellent. Excellent. Sounds really great. So your business today is divided between mentoring and creating events as well as the done for you business. So how, how do you balance that in terms of, so now how much time do you spend mentoring?
Yeah. So what I’ve decided in my businesses, I took way fewer private clients that I’m serving. And I started doing VIP days with my clients. So some of my clients who come to me who need like a full launch overhaul, they need all of their copy redone from top of funnel to bottom of funnel. Those clients take more time to serve. So I take way fewer of those. And what I’ve done is I added a VIP day, which is something I learned about from my business partner, Tarzan. Kay. She calls it a day rate, but basically for those clients who I couldn’t get them in because they, I was already booked for some bigger projects, I would then offer them a day where we would just go over their copy for one full day. And when I could add those into my calendar and you know, their price.
So that it’s makes sense for them because it’s a less time investment for them and me. And I priced it in a way that I could continue to serve private clients, but I could do way fewer. So that really helped me to manage my time. So a client who in the past, maybe if I was doing like a complete overhaul and it would take us six weeks with the VIP day, it’s just one day. Right? But the price is also less expensive to do a VIP day with me. So once I added that mid ticket offer, then I could save a certain amount of VIP days on my calendar. I think right now I have Thursdays marked off for that. And it would allow me to serve some clients each month. And then the rest of the time I could focus on my group mentoring. So the mastermind that I have is called of legends. And when I started doing those VIP days, I had more time to do the mastermind. So that’s how I built things out is basically doing fewer high tech, like really involved projects for clients. And then more of just like one off days and mentoring in between those one-off days.
Excellent. I love the name of the mastermind. Thank you.
Yeah. Yeah. The live events called legendary and the mastermind is league of legends. So we are having fun with it.
Yes, it’s got that superhero thing to it. Totally love the superhero-themed thing. Excellent. Well, thank you so much for sharing so much information with us. Sage, I would like to, I would like to ask you one final question, which is a question that I ask everybody that goes on the podcast. That’s really quite a difficult question. As you know, the podcast is about content. So what is the one most valuable piece of content you have created? You know, maybe something you have sure that’s going viral or something that’s, you know, being really good for your business in the long term. Is there one piece of content that you’ve done that really stands out for you?
Sage’s best piece of Content
Oh, that’s such an awesome question. I love that the most valuable piece of content that I’ve created in my business is surprising, I wouldn’t call it like one piece of content, but more so that when I started showing up with my email list and I let them in a bit more and told them more about my personal life. I mentioned earlier, the email that said, don’t call me Sarah anymore. It was like the most open email. And then also like emails, like one week off with Sage and sharing, like my personal life. That to me has been the most important content that I’ve put out there is when people truly feel connected to me and they write me back and tell me what they do with their time off. I just love that stuff. So it really lights me up. And I feel like that’s been the most valuable thing is really connecting with people and showing up consistently for myself and writing emails every week. Like that piece has made such a difference cause I was doing it so much for my clients, but not for myself. And so when I started treating myself like a client, everything changed in my business.
That’s, that’s such a great point actually because I think very often we end up, especially people who do done-for-you businesses and come from, you know, different fans of marketing. We treat our clients better than we treat ourselves.
Oh my goodness. I wish it wasn’t true, but I think it’s natural to go through that evolution and my heart goes out to everyone who feels that way.
Yes, indeed. It’s, it’s great to see that you’ve conquered that. Yeah. All right. So Sage, thank you so much for being with us. I would like to, allow our audience to find you and maybe work with you and get to know you a little bit better. Where can they find you?
Oh my goodness. I would love to give your audience a free gift. Actually it is. If they go to the link, Sagepolaris.com/profitable, I have a triple email, open rates guide. It’s three emails that you can copy-paste and personalize. It’s really good for like keeping your list clean and what I call list hygiene. But basically a lot of people who come to like, okay, I have a list, but I’ve ghosted them. I haven’t written to them in a long time. Okay. Here are some emails for you to send to them so you can reconnect with them and start getting a conversation going again. And it’s also really good. Uh, the way that I’ve created it, it helps with email deliverability. When your open rates go up, your deliverability gets better. So it solves quite a few problems in your business. If you have an email list and I’m excited for everyone to dig into that.
That’s great Sage, thank you so much. Thank you for listening to the profitable content marketing show. Did you enjoy this episode? If you did, please share it with friends and colleagues and anyone you think is going to find this useful.
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About the Show
In the Profitable Online Coaching podcast, Stephanie and her expert guests answer the most common online coaching and coach marketing questions to help you unravel the facts and take the right next step for your coaching business.
On solo episodes and with guests, she talks about popular topics such as marketing for coaches, blogging, digital marketing strategies, pricing, mindset, and how coaches build successful businesses.
Stephanie is an experienced SEO Content Marketing Strategist as well as a Marketing Coach for Coaches. She talks about online marketing strategies, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), marketing tools, books, and much more.
She learned programming as a fresh graduate and has worked as a trainer, programmer, and web consultant for over 15 years before becoming an online coach. For the last 6 years, she has offered 1:1 coaching and Online Programmes designed for coaches, therapists, and online service providers. She also offers Content strategy sessions and SEO Content Consultancy services to 6, 7 & 8 figure coaches. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.