Hello, friends! Today, I’ve got an incredible conversation with a business coach I’ve personally worked with multiple times. Her name is Morgan Rapp, and trust me, this discussion is a gem.
We delve into various aspects of business, covering everything from systems and marketing to funnels and leveraging different strategies. Oh, and we couldn’t miss the hot topic of passive income! We even tackled the burning questions of when to invest in a coach and how to navigate the world of courses.
Personally, I’ve benefited from Morgan’s expertise, having invested in a program she designed for designers back in 2021. We also collaborated in an intensive program over the summer, which was a game-changer for me—especially as I navigate new territories like maternity leave and plan exciting new offers and services.
We discuss exploring different avenues in your business, figuring out what works for you, and taking a holistic view of some hot-button topics. So, I’m really excited for you to dive with us. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, there’s something in it for everyone. Read on, or listen to the full podcast above!
CHLOE: Thank you so much for doing this! It means so much to me. Please, introduce yourself to my audience. I have talked about you a lot and I know people may have heard your name, but who are you in your own words?
MORGAN: Yeah, okay, so my name is Morgan Rapp, and I’ve had my business for over 10 years. So, I feel like I have been through quite the journey through all of that and evolution.I feel like I kind of started my business by accident. I graduated from college and struggled to figure out what I actually really wanted to do because I’m the kind of person who has a lot of interests. I just really loved to learn. Even when I graduated, I thought I would love to stay in college forever. I did art, wrote music, played the guitar, things like that.
I graduated in PR, business, sociology, and art, all minors, this weird little mix. When I began working, I felt constantly overlooked, undervalued. I cried all the time at the job I had. Then I got pregnant with my son, and that was the catalyst for me to quit that job and go full-time. Around that time, I started helping a friend with her wedding invitation business. It didn’t make a ton of money, but we started getting asked to do logos and websites, and we both quit around the same time 10 years ago.
I didn’t go back to the workplace because my initial win was having flexibility. However, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I started out charging hourly, like $25 an hour. It was exciting. Another catalyst point in my journey was realizing I was really undercharging. Much more of my time was taken up than I realized, especially with running and operating a business. After taxes, it felt like an espensive hobby. As a parent, as my plate got more full, and I had to pay for childcare, life was changing. I started taking my business more seriously because a low point was when we couldn’t pay our mortgage. I considered going back to a full-time job, but I wanted to maintain flexibility. So, I threw my Hail Mary, focused more on pricing and sales, really figuring out profitability. That was my first initial focus.
I grew my business as a solopreneur to six figures, a big deal. Then, I had my first 10K and 15K projects, implementing value-based pricing. I started to get questions from designers about how I run my business or how I doubled my income. Back then, there weren’t a lot of six-figure entrepreneurs. It felt like a huge milestone. So, I started Design Biz Mastery, my first group coaching program, and Amplify Shopify, my first course, teaching designers to offer Shopify sites. Then, I dove more into marketing, sales funnels, and messaging, because those things matter more at scale or with one-to-many offers. It takes time and a lot of work.
Even though they’re more leveraged, passive income is not passive, just different. It’s really fun, and I think everyone should explore it. A lot of skills from my service-based business bleed into how I run my business now. Last year was my last project for a Shopify site. It took so much energy, and with more babies, it became too much. I paused, evaluated, and fixed my client process. The end of last year was my last custom project. I said never again, but I’ll do a productized service. I still do one-on-one coaching. Now, I’m shifting my services from Shopify into another area. The more custom something is, the harder it is to systematize and offer a good experience as a solopreneur. So, I’m finding my flow.
CHLOE: You’ve mentioned before that, being a mom, coaching felt a lot more like it resonated with you. Is that still true?
MORGAN: Yeah! I see it as a catalyst for me becoming a parent and feeling like I can offer a lot of value in another way, not just through the service I provide. It’s about showing someone a roadmap for growing their business. But that’s only possible because of all the experiences I’ve had, the mistakes I’ve made, and the natural maturity that comes with being a business owner.
Recently, I hired someone to create Instagram posts and marketing assets while I was moving over the summer. It turned out to be quite an interesting experience. She didn’t deliver anything and still charged me thousands of dollars. I had a bad experience. I could see her mindset as a newer entrepreneur, really focusing on herself. She blamed me for being too busy when I hired her precisely because I knew I’d be busy. I wanted her to take it off my plate. Instead, she lacked a good onboarding process, didn’t collect the needed information, and didn’t even know what she needed from me.
It made me reflect on my old self, blaming clients for their experiences. From a client perspective, when you’re busy and hiring for done-for-you services, you want someone to take things off your plate. Each person’s needs may vary, but what matters most is the attitude. She missed the opportunity to understand my situation, not making it about her, and that’s a crucial aspect of maturity in business.
It really sucks, but it also made me reflect on when I might have done that in the past. And when I think about it, I’ve had some students say, ‘Hey, this course didn’t work for me,’ and I was kind of defensive. Now, I’m like, ‘Okay, what was it that they needed that they didn’t have? How are they different in terms of their learning style or lifestyle?’ So, I think with services or products, it’s just a learning process to figure out how to help people in a way that works for them.
No matter what your offer is, you’re going to have people who don’t have a good experience with it. I think there are two ways you can take it. You can say, ‘Okay, you’re the problem,’ to the client, or you can say, ‘Interesting,’ and be curious about it. Ask them.
One thing that has helped lately is a kind of script I have. I say, ‘I’m so sorry that you feel like you didn’t have the experience you were hoping for. In what ways? I’m always looking to improve my experiences and processes on my end. Do you mind if I ask you some more questions about what you were expecting, your learning style, or where you’ve seen support elsewhere?’
What’s interesting is they can tell you and give you ideas you may not have had. It’s such a powerful thing where you don’t have to guess what your audience means. They can tell you if you’re willing to put yourself in that position. That’s the key, but it’s hard because I haven’t always done that. When my ego was kind of fragile. Blaming our clients or customers gets you nowhere. Even if you’re thinking about what helps your business long term, it will be caring about your customers ultimately, for any business.
As a solopreneur in the online space, there’s often a push to scale quickly. In 2020, during the pandemic, my business hit a million dollars, and while it was a significant milestone, it stressed my systems. The larger enrollment in Design Biz Mastery brought varied feedback, revealing gaps and prompting me to embrace a season of reflection.
Scaling, I realized, has its seasons. There are times to grow and times to step back, addressing backend issues. Currently, I’m in an unleveraged season, refining my offerings based on valuable feedback. Despite the potential dip in revenue, I’ve come to appreciate these often overlooked seasons, crucial for sustainable scaling.
I’ve encountered businesses eager to scale without addressing foundational gaps. It’s like wanting more sales without a solid backend. I’ve advised clients to fix these ‘leaky holes’ before scaling to ensure a sustainable and quality customer experience. It’s a lesson worth considering for anyone looking to scale successfully.
CHLOE: I love what you said about passive income and courses. I feel like that’s a hot topic, where it’s like anybody can create anything and sell it online. My personal opinion is like that just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. I guess there’s a better way to do it and a not so better way to do it. What are your thoughts?
MORGAN: Yeah! You know, I often reflect on the overlooked aspect of creating courses—effectively transferring information to diverse learning styles while making it actionable. It’s a skill educators possess, yet many course creators overlook discussing the art of teaching itself. Think about teachers and professors; they undergo training on how to educate. Course creators need to embrace this dialogue.
Personally, breaking down my thoughts for others is time consuming. Recently, a course I created took 10-15 hours for every five minutes, from solidifying thoughts to creating content, slides, recording, and editing. The process kind of burned me out, leading me to pause on course creation and focus on one-on-one interactions.
Course creation involves much more than initial content. I learned that the course’s target shifted and evolved, and while some provided positive feedback, others found it too advanced. Initially defensive, I’ve realized the importance of being curious, open to feedback, and refining my messaging.
Understanding that people may not always share their experiences without prompting, I now appreciate constructive feedback as a tool for improvement. It’s valuable to know where clients haven’t had a good experience, allowing for adjustments that benefit both parties in the long run.
I even did my first one-on-one interview with you to gather insight on your experience, identifying gaps for improvement. This step was inspired by my commitment to building impactful offers for the long term. I aim to provide valuable resources.
This year has been slower than I’d prefer, but it’s a deliberate pace to ensure a well-thought-out direction. Although Q4 is relatively quiet for me, this intentional slowdown has been crucial. It allows me to rebuild and add valuable elements before relaunching in 2024. I’ve found that this gradual approach prevents hasty pivots and ensures a more confident and solid direction for my business. Despite the time investment, I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come.
CHLOE: What would you say is the heart behind what is next for your business?
MORGAN: Yeah, it’s a great question. At this point, I’m stepping into my purpose, driven by the belief that women often undervalue their offerings. There’s immense potential in online businesses, especially with AI, automations, and software for scaling solopreneur ventures. Women deserve time and financial freedom, seeking abundance not just for themselves but for their families and communities.
I’m passionate about empowering women to achieve substantial income goals – $300K, $500K, even a million dollars – by structuring their businesses strategically. While mindset matters, I emphasize practical business strategies, automation, and sales funnels. Many overlook the importance of these elements; you can’t scale without them.
In the online space, coaches often focus on mindset, but behind the scenes, they leverage automation and sales funnels for their success. I find it frustrating that these aspects aren’t talked about enough. In my next business phase, my goal is to provide practical strategies, systems, and automation for achieving time and financial freedom.
Building this kind of business takes time to figure out your tech stack, connect systems, create a productivity system, and perfect your messaging. Once locked in, it’s powerful because you can truly automate marketing and sales, making the journey exciting.
CHLOE: How do you recommend individuals to vet and select the right business coach or course? People often dive in without considering the coach’s track record or the experience they provide. What criteria do you suggest for choosing a reputable business coach?
MORGAN: I love this question! I believe it’s crucial to learn from someone whose circumstances align with yours. For instance, having five kids changes my capacity, so learning from someone with a similar lifestyle matters. Also, be clear on your business improvement goals. A red flag is when coaches emphasize scaling without tangible strategies. Understand if you’re hiring a coach or consultant—I position myself more as a consultant, providing hands-on support, like drafting emails for a client’s launch, a level of engagement I’ve missed from coaches in the past.
CHLOE: Are you saying that is the difference between a coach and a consultant?
MORGAN: I would say there are three key roles here. Given my background in ‘done for you’ services, my one-on-one coaching tends to be more hands-on, involving elements like reviewing sales pages and emails. I’ll fill gaps and fast-track progress. However, I position myself more as a consultant, offering clear next steps and guidance on specific areas. True coaching involves reflection and guidance without telling you what to do. The ‘done for you’ aspect is unique; it’s not a standard promise but something I might incorporate to overdeliver. I encourage clients to ask about a coach’s style and be clear on what they need—whether it’s consultancy, coaching, or hands-on involvement. My approach blends these, offering options based on your current capacity and business model, emphasizing choices without strict rights or wrongs.
I also want to say, I often emphasize cash flow because, personally being a sole provider, I’ve had to be conservative. But here’s the nuance: everyone’s situation is different. Some may have the flexibility to experiment due to a financial partner. So, my advice leans toward cash flow, but it’s crucial to recognize if you’re in a season to experiment without financial pressure. Managing expectations is key; a small course might not bring in significant money for years. Building assets and skill stacking are important, but maintaining high-ticket offerings with a small audience is still crucial if immediate financial results are needed in your business.
Business is such a journey, a process. If you’re thinking about transitioning to more passive income but wondering how to bridge that gap, sales funnels are my passion. Many think leveraging is only for passive income delivery, but an unleveraged sales process can hold you back. Building a ‘full bridge’ involves creating a nurturing sequence for your high-ticket offer, increasing conversions, and freeing up capacity before venturing into new things. I made this transition in my business, and I’m passionate about helping service providers leverage even in one-on-one scenarios. Jumping between business models is exhausting; building a bridge is the key. My summer course guides you in creating sequences for high-ticket offers, a crucial step before diving into fully passive courses. It’s practical, avoids burnout, and maintains income while gradually transitioning. That’s the practical approach I advocate for.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on a significant shift in my business. Looking back, I wish I had delved into sales funnels and automation earlier. It’s not just about the tech but also systematizing messaging. A solid messaging system includes core topics, problem-solving, and sales psychology. Repeatable messages maintain consistency, avoiding the need to start from scratch with every post. Taking charge of the customer journey is crucial. Instead of attributing lack of sales to reasons like people not having money, it’s about understanding touchpoints and messaging effectiveness.
You can use email automation strategically to guide your audience through problem awareness, solution awareness, and offer awareness. Mapping out top, mid, and bottom funnel messages helps you craft the right message at the right time. Often, service providers make the mistake of discussing their offer on platforms like Instagram, which is top of the funnel. It’s essential to address symptoms and make clients problem-aware before introducing your solution. Buyer psychology requires focusing on problems, not just benefits, to grab attention and provide value. Being intentional about messaging, automation, and the sequence is key. I’ve personally experienced the importance of a coherent messaging sequence, even with the best automation in place. It’s a crucial part of the strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked.
CHLOE: That is SO good!
So how can people connect with you and find all of the wonderful things you offer?
MORGAN: You can come connect with me on Instagram @morganrapp and just shoot me a DM if you listen to this if you have any follow-up questions.
I’m honestly here to help. I’m an open book, so if you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with all the things, shoot me a DM. I’ve been there and can empathize. I love problem-solving and can help you shift focus. My website’s in progress, but check it out later for blogs and deep content.
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Currently offering one-on-one intensives for specific areas or ongoing coaching based on your goals. If you’re into the micro-sales sprint, covering high-ticket nurturing funnels, DM me before I split and increase the price. Let’s chat!