⚡️Kristen Kalp - Breathwork, biz coaching, and simple tools to help you navigate your interiors.

Ahoy there!

I help creative entrepreneurs make more money and meaning through breathwork, books and classes, and business coaching. (Get on the January 2020 coaching waitlist!)

The 2019 Gift Guide loaded with promo codes and amazingness is here!

Keep going.  Keep growing.  You’ve got this.

New?  Please start here so I can properly introduce myself. 😉

Let’s talk Steady and Experimental income.

Before we dive into this episode of the podcast, please click here to find your enough number. That way, you’ll have precise and accurate estimates to work with as we create a strategy for the coming months in your business.

This podcast episode comes as a result of looooots of coaching clients (spots open in January, get on the dibs list!) wanting to abandon projects and services they’ve worked on for years to start something entirely new, then pushing on that new thing to start making income immediately. Like, it launched on Tuesday, and by Wednesday we need to be making $4,000 a month, every month until the end of time.

What if we could actively arrange for you to earn two types of income in your business?

And before you ask, NOPE, they’re not active and passive income. These are much bigger, broader, and more interesting categories than those served up by cis-white-male marketing gurus.

There are two types of dollars you can earn in your business at any given time: steady and experimental.

Steady, as in, a product or service is selling well, and it’s been selling well for a while.

Experimental, as in, it feels risky to make the work, and/or you’re in some kind of new territory.

If you’re completely new to business, it’s all an experiment, but this might help you reframe some of your ambition in interesting ways, so keep going!

Let’s walk through my numbers, with my steady and experimental breakdowns from years past, so you can see what I’m talking about in practical terms.

In 2013, the biz income was 31% steady and 69% experimental.

The steadiness came from ghostwriting, previously launched programs, and a few coaching calls.

The experimenting came from creating a summer camp for adults and then selling the shit out of it.

That experimental nature paid off, so the pendulum swung to experimental in 2014.

High on just how much amazing and wonderful shit had panned out by experimenting, I went even more experiment crazy. 83% of the year’s income came from launching and holding Brand Camp, writing Introverts at Work, and hosting a few coaching sleepovers.

The remaining 17% of income came from steady, previously released or available sources: coaching, books, workshops, and ghostwriting.

And then the pendulum swung the other way.

In 2015, I swung wildly toward steady income, as Brand Camp the camp was like dropping a financial devastation bomb on my business.

65% of income came from coaching, previously-released programs and books, and ghostwriting.

Experiments made up only 35% of the year’s income, in which I repackaged the (admittedly brilliant) Brand Camp classes as the Business Blitz, launched a program, offered a 1-on-1 year-long coaching package, and founded three new workshops.

Less risk, more month-to-month work. Less launching, lower costs, more 1-on-1 clients.

And on and on it goes.

In 2016, I paid off the $43k in debt I’d accrued the year before, and in 2017 I released a bunch of new and exciting stuff: a different coaching package, lots of breathwork classes, and one-off courses to help peeps communicate and break up with their phones.

I’m always playing with the balance of how much work is entirely risky and how much is completely stable.

The trick of earning income through your business without being utterly bored or utterly broke lies in balancing your steady and your experimental income sources.

Further, steady work funds experimental work.

I’ve come to learn about valuing steady work the excruciatingly difficult way: by devaluing it and then scrambling to make ends meet at the last minute.

I always want to throw out what I’ve done and start over. I want everything I do to be an experiment. And yet.

The way to build a sustainable business is to innovate on some fronts while remaining stable on others.

2020 is about taking on a few more yearlong clients while playing with breathwork programs like The Softness Sessions, podcasting regularly, and keeping an ear to the ground for what’s next.

AND YOU, FRIEND! HOW DO YOU WANT THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO PLAY OUT?

STEADY QUESTIONS:

Which income is steady in your business?

Which products or services consistently bring you income, month after month and year after year?

Which income-generating elements of your business do you want to keep?

Exactly how many clients do you need?

How many products do you need to sell, as your steady baseline?

The more you feel your health or your personal life is wobbly, unsteady, or overwhelming, the more likely it is that your business should be focused on steady income.

Steadiness requires time, energy, and consistency. Releasing a weekly podcast, showing your work on social media, sending regular e-mails and updates, responding to client inquiries in a timely manner, talking about what you’ve got for sale, and following up with inquiries: these are consistent practices that bear fruit over time.

If your work is consistent but sharing your work is not, that tweak alone might fix the income weirdnesses that ail you.

Once more, in case you missed it because you were skimming: if your work is consistent but sharing your work is not, that tweak alone might fix the income weirdnesses that ail you.

With steady work squared away, we move on to trying new things in experimental phases.

EXPERIMENT QUESTIONS:

What are you dying to try out in small doses?

Do you want to hold an event, start a class, write a book, release a project, try out a new product line, or offer an all new service? You can choose anything, but you’ve gotta choose one. Just one.

Do you want to collaborate with someone else? Do you want to try something entirely new and completely unlike what you’ve been doing all along?

What does the experimental thing look like, and what would be a first step toward making it happen?

If you’re like, ‘I can’t possibly talk about that while I also sell THOSE,’ think again.

I sell business coaching and also host regular gatherings for breathwork, both in person and on the internet. You can say those things are entirely unrelated, or you can say that when people opt in to hearing more from Kristen at Kristenkalp.com, it all fits. It’s all welcome.

Unless I start selling buckets of canned food and potable water for the apocalypse while spouting Biblical verses about the end times, because WOW I’ve been presenting myself as the opposite of that for a decade, I’ve got free rein to experiment with whatever has captured my fascination, has helped me, or has borne fruit in my life.

You get the same freedom, too.

You can absolutely be a photographer and a painter. A writer and a maker. A health coach and a reiki master. A coach and an author. A floral designer and a teacher. (Of course these are real examples of past coaching clients, by the way…)

You deserve the right to experiment. Period.

Further. Instead of deciding you have to give up X entirely in order to start Y, you can do both.

You can design t-shirts and see how they sell while you continue to be a doula, or plan larger and larger events while you keep on podcasting and mentoring colleagues in the wedding industry.

LIFE IS AN ‘AND.’

When we treat it as a series of ‘or’s, we limit our potential and clip our own wings. Whatever it is you want to do, yes you can do that AND you can keep on being a person with that degree or those experiences. ‘Or’ people end up switching focus a bunch of times, while ‘and’ people make room for ebb and flow. Some products come in, some go out. Some services last a long time, and others are offered only once.

You don’t have to do that mental and energetic thing whereby committing to a single project suddenly means committing to doing that same thing for the rest of your life.

Clipping your own wings is fucking tragic, so let’s not do that, okay? Let’s make some stuff, sell some stuff, and then repeat the process all over again.

And let’s not make any of this a BIG HUGE DEAL HOLY SHIT WOW while we’re at it! Amping up the energetic value of a new product or service is a sneaky asshole brain move to keep us stuck in fear and overwhelm.

STEADY AND EXPERIMENTAL QUESTIONS:

How much steady work do I need to sell each month to reach my enough number?

EXACTLY what sort of experiment do I want to make in the next six months?

And how much money will that make me, in a perfect world?

In a realistic world?

In a horrible world?

What you want to make as an experiment is entirely separate from how much money you want to make.

In fact, for our purposes, it’s safe to assume your experiments will cover costs and make very little money. That way, you’re as free as possible to make an amazing thing, and then to iterate on that thing with profitability in mind.

Assuming minimal profitability instead of a sold-out spectacular keeps you from blowing $20,000 on an experiment your first time out of the gate.

If you assume you’ll be making only your minimal costs back, what shape does the experiment take on?

It will generally get smaller and more doable when you limit the budget to something entirely reasonable. This is not downsizing your dream, but testing the viability of your dream before you swipe every credit card you’ve got to rent an arena. And a 7-piece orchestra. And a team of trained dogs. And a donut wall.

How can you build sources of revenue elsewhere in order to fund that project?

How can you use stable income sources to build experiments for yourself, and vice versa?

Can your experiment be added as a bonus gift or limited edition offering for something you already sell regularly?

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND TIE IT IN A BOW:

For the next six months, I’ll sell #___(quantity) of ________________ each month to reach my enough number.

I’ll also offer ____________ as an experiment.

#___ (quantity) are available, and will be released on this date: ___/___/___.

Again, this is a super-chill, low-key, NBD way to do business. You’ve just banked on your steady income while opening yourself up to an experiment, too — thereby assuring that you won’t die of boredom in the coming months!

If you dig this podcast episode and it helped you out, please leave a token of gratitude.

Tipping means I don’t fall into the despair of working for free, and it means you’ve actually enjoyed the material, too! We both win!

P.S. Here are six potentially devastating side effects of bringing your business dream to life — and why you should do it anyway.

Finding Your Enough Number

Over the years, I’ve found that most business owners don’t know their enough number.  You know, your enough number: the precise amount of money it takes to cover your business and personal expenses, as well as account for taxes so you don’t suddenly owe ALL THE DOLLARS on April 15th.

In this special edition of the podcast, I’ll show you how to figure out precisely how much money you need your business to make each month, then break down exactly how much of your work you’ve got to sell to make that number happen. We’ll even account for taxes, and of course I’ll make you laugh the whole time.

Finding your enough number will help you prioritize your marketing activities, stop overwhelm in its tracks, and generally stop your asshole brain from going on and on about needing the vague and ominous “MORE” money.

Listen in below.

HEAR YE HEAR YE THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT.  This could be a paid class with a bunch of videos and bonuses and blah blah blah, but then you’d never actually do it because it would be one more thing you mean to do but never get around to completing.  (When asked to take a long-ass class about finances, 100% of humans suddenly have something much better to do.)

Please treat this like a no big deal, just-hanging-out-on-an-average-Tuesday sort of podcast, but grab a notebook and do the work.

If you’d like my help to go a step further and get yourself a rad workbook that will walk you through all of this, because diving into your financial health is intimidating AF, I’d be happy to help!

You can purchase this class in workbook form so that you actually complete the tasks instead of just listening.  Grab it for $10.

Buy Enough workbook

If $10 isn’t something you’ve got right now, we can also exchange value when you write a review, leave a rating, or send the podcast along to others.

Again, this is an experiment.  The trend right now is not just to give away simple things, but to make free courses and programs and challenges and audio and video and send 4,233 sales emails with timers and LIMITED OFFERS and tripwires and webinars and MY GOD IT’S EXHAUSTING.

This is me modeling more of what I would like to see in the world: fewer people doing things for exposure dollars.  Less content marketing, more making things that are truly useful and not simply a ploy to build an email list.  (I’m not giving this to you to build my email list because most freebies end up in your downloads folder, only to be found and deleted in roughly 2027.  And that does neither of us any good.)

P.S. This experiment is anti-capitalist in nature, as you get access to the goods first and pay second.  Translation: there’s TRUST here.

If this type of experiment is interesting to you, check out my anti-capitalist, pro-abundance-without-any-manifesting interview with Bear Hebert.

How to overcome perfectionism and just keep shipping.

At its most simplified, you overcome perfectionism like this:

Make something up.
Get the word out about it.
Accept dollars for the thing you’ve made up.

(Of course that doesn’t always work, because have you seen the photo to the left and WOW do I suck at being posed sometimes.  But you keep going.)

This is an episode of That’s What She Said, my weekly podcast!  Listen in below, or read along for the transcript(ish).

This thing you’re sharing may or may not require: a website, an e-mail list, a social media presence, and/or a change of job.

It will most definitely involve: risk, leaving your comfort zone, asking for help, and failing. Lots.

We hide behind plans and structures, strategies and investors, sure things and experts, but there’s no real way to know how a thing you’ve made up will do until you introduce it to the world.

So go on, make the thing.

And then introduce it to the world.

“I’ve had many many many products, the vast majority of the things I’ve written, or created, the organizations I built fail, but the reason I’ve managed a modicum of success is because I just keep shipping.” — Seth Godin

We’re tempted to hide, to give up, or to go back to the old way of doing something once we’ve perceived something as a failure, but Seth tells us to just keep shipping.

That idea you’ve got? Ship it.

That thing you’re sitting on? Ship it.

The movement you want to start? Ship it.

Ship 10 things, and 2 will succeed.

That’s better than shipping 1 thing and having it fail, right?  It feels too big, too important, or too grand. It’s not ready, it needs more of this and less of that.

IT WILL NEVER FEEL READY. SHIP IT.

What are you perfecting, tweaking, or planning?

What’s been an idea lurking in your brain for the past few weeks, months, years, or decades?

What is it you want to do but you feel like you just freaking CAN’T because you’re too scared, because you don’t know enough, or because someone else has a slightly similar version and you’re afraid you’ll end up copying him or her, even though you know that’s a lame excuse and really, yours is completely different?

What do you need to set a deadline for, NOW?

I dare you to set it.

And then JUST FUCKING SHIP IT.

When we give one idea, concept, or blueprint too much attention, it can suck away our momentum, tank our mojo, and keep us from shipping.

Your brain will tell you that shipping and shipping and shipping does your clients a disservice. It will say that you should tweak and twerk, that your clients deserve only perfection, that they couldn’t possibly embrace the state of your creation as it is right now.

Only what if it launches and it’s missed the mark? Three months of work into it, that’s devastating.

Three years, or three decades into it? You’ll never recover.

That’s the part where you let your people have at it — whatever it is — and then you tweak.

You listen. You add features or streamline the whole venture. You let the dead bits fall to the wayside. You add life to the parts your peeps embrace. You let your clients inform your work, and your work inform your clients, in a glorious cycle that goes up and up and up and up into something way better than you could ever have created without their input.

When you’re holding tight to perfectionism, you’re not holding tight to your clients.

They deserve to see your work, not to be teased with it until it’s been beaten and battered to within an inch of its life.

When you’re striving for perfection, you can erode the fundamental spirit of a thing.

You lose an edge here, a corner there. You keep chipping away, and suddenly the life is gone.

Sometimes the spirit is in the flaws. Sometimes the charm is in letting us see your humanity. Sometimes the most sacred bits are the parts your detractors might call mistakes. Sometimes the best parts of a program are found in the outtakes.

The world makes a big fuss about perfection, but the act of iterating is infinitely more sexy. When you find yourself in the ‘make it perfect, make it perfect, make it perfect’ loop…ask yourself whether what you’re making hums with life.

Ask a friend who loves you where it sings and where it falls flat. Ask if the whole thing reflects who you are and where you are in the world, or if you’ve accidentally picked up someone’s else’s voice. (Or worse, someone else’s aspirations.) Ask them if it feels like you.

Does it feel like kids covered in mud, or dogs digging in the sand, or those moments when you first picked up the instruments of your profession and thought ‘This is what I want to do with my life…’? If it does, no further polishing is required.

Let us see the work. Let your slightly-wibbly bits sing out to ours and make new off-key-but-lovely music together.

We’d rather have a spirited something than a lifeless lump of perfection.

What have you been sitting on, waiting for, or polishing for way too long?

Where are you dragging your feet?

What can you get to market in the next 6 weeks?

No, really…if you give it your all, what can you get to market in the next 6 weeks? The next 8 weeks?

Pablo Picasso painted his masterpiece, Guernica, in under a month. New York Times bestselling author Jane Green writes her novels in six months. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road in less than thirty days. My favorite poems always fall out in twenty minutes or less.

Don’t discount something just because you haven’t wallowed in it for a decade or more.

P.S.  If you need help to overcome perfectionism and bring your work to the world, I’ve got three pay-what-you-can books to help!  Go Your Own Way: free yourself from business as usual is ideal if you’ve got no idea where to begin with owning a business.

Introverts at Work will help you explore selling and marketing techniques that make the most of your Quiet-with-a-capital-Q nature.

Calling to the Deep: business as a spiritual practice will help you figure out why your money issues affect your business, and your marital issues affect your bookings, and your own personal failings somehow seem to be far more pronounced the minute you opened your doors.  That’s normal.  Let’s talk about it.