Frederike Harms, founder of Katalyst Ventures, joins the show this week to dive into how to design a truly scalable offer. Growing up with entrepreneur parents, Frederike remembers that her family went on vacation once and only once. Her parents simply could not step back from their business to enjoy extra time with their family.
Having a front-row seat to that type of schedule and lifestyle, she decided she wanted to work with entrepreneurs, founders, and business owners to create scalable businesses that didn't solely depend upon their daily direction to thrive.
At the core of a scalable business is a scalable service or product. Listen in to learn tactics behind this strategy to leverage a scalable offer and grow a business beyond your own expertise, one that allows you to live a full life not chained to your phone or laptop.
Connect with Frederike on Instagram.
Welcome to the Small Business Big mindset podcast, where we dive into tactical strategies to grow your business. And to make an impact on this world. A huge part of success is keeping your mindset and vision on track. So this is a major part of our process. And this podcast, let's do this. Welcome to the Small Business Big mindset podcast this week, we have Freddie harmes, founder of catalyst ventures, Freddie, oh, my gosh, thank you so so much for taking the time to chat with us and be on the show today.Unknown:
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be speaking with you.Erin Geiger:
Very, very cool. Listeners, before we started, I was like making a Friday talk to me all about Europe, because I want to plan a trip there. You know. So as you know, I'm in the States. And I'm just like, I cannot wait to go just live out was one of the things I love about doing this podcast is that I get to meet people from all over the globe. So I'm so excited to hear on Friday, what you have to say as far as your business go. So let's dive in. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you got started and came to be where you are today.Unknown:
Sure. So I started my career as a business process consultant. Very, very boring. Very German, we love a process, don't we? So So yeah, so I'm German. I live in the UK. Now. I started my career as a business process consulting, who then went into project management and change management, I did a lot of integrations after acquisition, like the big corporate stuff. And while I did love doing that, I, I also have a heritage of a small business owner. My parents basically have their own business, my grandparents have their own business, we have a family business that's been in our family since 1898. So that is always a big, that's my heritage. And that's in the back of my mind. And as soon as I kind of started dipping my toe, into the kind of business world, the entrepreneurial world, I saw something that I recognized from my upbringing, which was that we started our business. Because we do something and we feel really, really passionate about something and we want to create a better life, we want to better work life balance. And we we end up working more days than we ever did in corporate, and the longer hours, but now we don't have any benefits to go with it and no regular income. So. So this kind of then kind of brought me to the place where I wanted to work with entrepreneurs, founders and business owners to, to create businesses that are scalable, beyond themselves, so that they can take the time off. And one example I just want to mention, my parents and I, we went on holiday and my whole life, we went on holiday once. Because we, they they couldn't remove themselves from the business. And they literally had to shut it. And we went for a holiday, a one week holiday was in my life. And that's not what I want for others. And you know, I did a lot of traveling myself, I've made up for it. But yeah, I think I think that that's not what we set out to do when we start our investors. So hence, yeah, May I now help founders create scalable businesses. And at the core of that is a scalable service, or product, even product in the sense that is something very defined, that doesn't, I'm not ecommerce expert or anything like that, but to make sure they can grow a business beyond themselves, and it doesn't break because they leave their phone at home one day.Erin Geiger:
Now, that's actually such important work, because a lot of us go from exactly that, that corporate life to entrepreneurship, or sometimes you straddle both, right? And then you think entrepreneurship is this, you know, amazing, beautiful, shiny thing, and all my dreams are gonna come true. And I'm going to set my own hours and be my own boss and everything right? And then you start taking on clients, and you're like, huh, I have 10 bosses now, instead of the one. And they're dictating my schedule, and you know, so I think people don't, they kind of like take what they've learned was kind of ingrained in their head of like, how working works and they just take that and they bring it on over to entrepreneurship and gotta try to like shove it in They're because that's all that they know. So I love that you do this. So explain to us, you know, cuz I know that you do it on like, an offer basis too, right? So like, how do you take what they're offering and what their focus is? Because that's the first step, right focus, like figure it out, because I know when I first started, I was like, I could do all these a million things. So I'm gonna offer them all you know, it's like, what are you doing? And so it's focusing, right? So tell us a little bit about that.Unknown:
And it's natural, because we when we set out, and we take that leap, and you know, as you say, some of us and I'm, I'm one of those that straddle both worlds, because I couldn't afford to take the leap. But yeah, we we say yes to everything, because we need the income. It's not that we want to do everything necessarily, but we need the income, we need to pay our mortgage. And, and we feel nervous about what's down the line. So it's a very natural process to go from, right. I can, yes, I can do that. Yes, I can do that. Yes, I can do that too, too, then focusing in on, like, taking the time out to look back and say actually, what, what create what brought the best client results? What did I enjoy the most? And what do I want to take forward? So I don't have to say yes, to every client and to every project and to every piece of work. And it's, it's, I guess one is, it's scary taking that time out. Because we're used to now we're on that hamster wheel, we were finally things are going great, we're really busy. It's scary to then say, actually, I'm gonna stop what I'm doing, and take a more strategic view. Because we may miss an opportunity, or we may have to say no to a client to free up that time. And it's what I found when speaking to my clients, it's almost impossible to do on your own. And that's the problem of being a solopreneur. Having a small business. And being the leader of that business. You you need to invest externally, whether that is whether that is working with a coach or consultant, like myself, but as a minimum, you need to join a mastermind or a group setting where you can find that sounding board, etc. Because in our heads, it's impossible to do it in a vacuum, and then go out and say, Oh, this is it. Because because we're so held back by what was in the past and what we what we know so well. And it sometimes takes someone to challenge us to say, actually, is that what you want to do going forward? Because he, you said you don't enjoy it. And just because it has the biggest profit, you know, there's so many levers you can pull to make something else work. So that you need that kind of that external input and sounding voice, etc.Erin Geiger:
Like, we don't know what we don't know, you know, and so, like you were saying, if you're kind of siloed away, and you're just going off of like, your personal knowledge and your personal experience, I mean, sure, that can get you so far. But you do need to expose yourself to other ways of thinking and other ways of, of doing things for sure. And so, once you've kind of like, okay, this is what I'm going to focus on. How do you counsel people after that, once they know this is where I'm going, this is the direction I'm heading, then what?Unknown:
I think it's, it's then working with them. So one, I helped them find what is their zone of genius, what is their strengths? And so kind of really drilling down on looking at the transferable skills. And like I said, that's the piece that's really difficult for people because, well, I've always done this, and I've all my experiences in this place. So it takes somewhat and we get the imposter syndrome, right? So it's sometimes someone else needs to talk you into actually there is other options and opportunities. So for example, if you feel if you're very, very good at copywriting and you feel very passionate about animal rights, you know, you can combine that you can you don't have to choose one or the other, for example, but sometimes it needs that that push and then it's about how am I going to deliver this. So how often do I talk to people? And that's the, I guess the the challenge with social media, etc. There's so much out there that we see that we think we should be doing. And so many times I have conversations about Well, like I should probably do a Facebook group with this. And I'm like, Okay, how would you use it? I don't really like Facebook, but I think I could do this and this and say, Well, if you don't like it, it's that's your biscuit. Like why do something that you don't like buying corporate something that you feel resistant to? Just because a lot of other people do it. And then it's you spend the next you building a service and an often you want to scale including something that you makes you feel resentful. That doesn't. That doesn't make sense. So it's kind of looking at very practical ways of what could this look like? How can we make it scalable? And how, what, what works for you, like what's, because just if you hate Facebook groups, for example of Facebook, there's going to be a huge amount of people that feel the same. And that don't want another Facebook group, but don't want the noise of that cetera. So don't be afraid to own that. Build it your way, basically,Erin Geiger:
thank you for saying that it needs to be said it needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Because, you know, we listen to all of these, I call it the billionaire syndrome. And you listen to all these so called billionaires and how they've, you know, crafted their successful business. And, of course, your stuffs just starting out, you're going to be like, well, I need to do that. So, okay, so this one has a membership, got to do that this one has the digital course, gotta do that. This one has this Facebook group. This one's big on Instagram, this one's being big on LinkedIn, this one has a huge email list, you know, and then you can drive yourself nuts. And, and you're right, it's like, this is your own business. So why wouldn't you craft it in a way that serves you, instead of just doing these things, because you feel like you have to, because then it becomes an obligation, and then you're gonna start resenting your own business? So how do you kind of help them? Choose one delivery method? And then? And then what? What do you recommend as far as delivery methods to because we do want to talk about scale, right? And so some of these, like the one on ones can't really scale? That is only one of you. So I guess how do you help them focus in and then scale it from there?Unknown:
Yeah. So let me hook into one of the there's two questions I probably get one is one, two ones. So I'm a huge fan. And that's one of the things I do niche down on scaling one to one services. And, because, and maybe that's because I've had my experience. I'm not a big fan, of course, I do love there's a time and a place for a course. And there is a time and a place for a membership and the I'm part of that have been part of memberships or have done all the courses. I don't think I finished one yet. Just because I yeah, I don't keep up because I'm busy. And then you know that the coming back to the Facebook group, the accompanying Facebook group, they're talking about, like module 10, and I'm still on to and then I kind of switch disengage and but I do believe that it's a great way to make someone's expertise accessible and to share knowledge for sure. I'm maybe not the right target audience. But I also believe, and often desperately crave someone to just help, they want to learn to just do it for me. And that could be talking to me as a coach or as a consultant. But it could also be someone just taking it off my hands. Like, like having an I had this this situation when I had my, my daughter two and a half years ago, and I was preparing for maternity leave. And just to take some time off. And I was desperately trying to find a copywriter. And it was almost impossible. Because every copywriter I approached. And you know, it wasn't big. I just wanted someone because I actually liked writing copy myself, etc. But I just wanted some consistency while I was offered something to publish. And almost everyone I approached, said, Oh no, I don't do that anymore. But I can teach you how to do it. And I said, I know how to do it. Thank you and that I literally need someone to do it for me. And so I think I'm very passionate about helping business owners scale their expertise in that space and helping them scale their one to one the done for you service model. And there's different ways to do that. Obviously, so just wanted to say that and so I think there is a market for that a desperate need for it actually. And I forgot your second question. I Do we?Erin Geiger:
Yeah. How do you? How do you first of all, let me speak to what you just said, I agree with you. And I think there was a trend, a very heavy trend of that where it was like, digital courses came on the scene. And it was like, start teaching your expertise to other people instead of doing it for them. And I was like, this huge wave of people doing that. And it was like, Well wait, because some people, like you said, want it to be done for them. They're, they're doing something else. And their business that they want me to focus on, and they need somebody else to do that. My only question with that is, since there is only one of you, how do you scale it? You know, and so? And, you know, do you combo it with something else that doesn't require your time? I guess, how do you think about it that way?Unknown:
Yeah. So for me, there's different different options? Of course you can you can you need to translate, that's always the first step. And that's the first step of any scalable model is to create your blueprint, your copy of like, what do you do differently? Why is it more effective? Why does it you know, what is it that you do that gets better results for clients? Or is it a certain niche, etc. So in getting that out of, I just do it instinctively, or, you know, tuition, onto paper, and a process that's necessary in any case. And then once you have that, and that's the bit where I help my clients a lot, because it's almost impossible, because we do things instinctively. And we do things because we've always done them or, because that's what we learned in our corporate job, so so. So that tacit knowledge to translate that into a process is almost impossible to do on your own. But once you have that, you could, you could grow a team, if you say, Okay, actually, I want to grow, and I want to grow my income, and I want to grow my company. That's one option. But if you say, Ah, I don't want to manage a team, that's not of interest to me, you could license it. So you could teach others what you do. You can take revenue from that. So you can pick take a fee for the teaching and the setting up. And then you could take revenue from their income. And all of a sudden, if you're, let's say, your niche, whatever you offer, you only work with nutritionists. You can without having to do more or less building more marketing, etc. You could tap into a completely different audience of tree surgeons, and now do marketing, tree searching using your blueprint, your methods, and applying it for a different industry through someone else. Can you take a recurring revenue from that, for example, but you do their social media marketing, etc. So it still follows your blueprint. It's your IP, it's your methods, and methodology. So that was is two ways, for example, to scale. Build your own team or tap into a network.Erin Geiger:
Gotcha. Okay. No, that's great. Thanks for explaining it that way. And yes, then my My other question was figuring out which way they should go as far as the delivery method and helping them to execute on it, and the most productive way possible.Unknown:
Yeah, so I think it's, it's about delivery, it's very much depending on our zone of genius of what we feel comfortable with. And whether we're more of a teacher. And we can, you know, there is you can work with someone one to one, but you can still give them you know, you can take them through the process still. Give them pre recorded videos without being a good programmer. So it could be certain checklists, it could be one to one calls, it could be in person meetings, the delivery, I think, and the support. And sometimes it's that hybrid model. So I was part of a mastermind, for example, or a group program. And for me, what made all the difference and actually completed that program was because I could submit a work every week for them to look at and give me feedback on specifically. So it was a group setting, but I got something out of it. I literally tick things off the list. As part of that program. I got feedback And I felt like I really learned something. But it also meant because I had to submit it every Thursday, that Wednesday night, I was like, focused, and I would get things done, because I didn't want to miss the opportunity to get feedback this week and make the most of that support available. So. So yeah, I think there's different ways you can obviously offer, that more high touch, you can offer Voxer access, or messaging or email or office hours. So it's, it's adding that I think that personal even in a group setting, if you do want to scale that way, to offer that one to one in one shape or form means you can immediately charge more, and people will get better results because they get feedback specific to their business and their setup and their the work that they're doing. Yeah. But as I said, I'm not never do something just because everyone else does it. Because it's not. No, IErin Geiger:
agree with that. And so, to connect the dots a little bit over, on all this great info that you've shared, can you give us like an example or kind of, like, tell a story about a client that you helped, you know, like, you know, so we can kind of just apply it in our heads of like, you know, how this has been executed, like I had this client and they had this offer, and I this is what they did. And you know, this, these are their results.Unknown:
Yeah, so I had recently worked with a client in the brand space. So the brand designer, and they wanted to create a scalable program. And their service is huge. I mean, she takes care of everything from messaging, from literally your logo, to setting up your social media profiles, your messaging, and so on. And that is great when you can afford to pay for a one to one service. And she does it for you, and you take them through. But she wanted to translate that into a scalable, more scalable model. And the first thing we did we cut the content by two thirds, like I said, Okay, it's too much. And based on my, my own experience, and actually, the experience from a lot of my clients and peers was, you know, do I want a 12 month program? Probably not. Because, you know, we've learned that in the last couple of years, especially that we we don't know what's around the corner in the next two to three months. So do I want to commit? Hopefully, my business is doing well, will I have the time to invest in this. So we cut it literally, one, we took 1/3 At the beginning of the journey, and then we could so that we could then actually take them on a journey and upsell, we could sell them the next stage of the process, once they've completed the first. And so out of her one, huge holistic service package, we created three offers that follow one from one another. But we focus in on the first one, we created it in a setting where it was person, that personal feedback loop, automated as much as possible. So there was an intake form every week. So she when she did, she had to look at it. She was scheduled at the time I looked at it recorded loom videos, so there was not even a call, she had to jump on, she could do it in her own time. And yeah, and then wrapped around with teaching, so weekly teachings, but for eight weeks, not like months and months and months. And we the second thing we did second or third, that was to make sure that the client gets a result quickly. That's the other thing that we don't do well enough is to make sure because we want to give so much we feel so passionate about what we do. And we have so much to share. And that we sometimes overwhelmed and it's just actually give them a result quickly focus them in on something that they can then use the leverage because that keeps them engaged and actually lets them finish the course or the program or whatever it is and get a better result overall, rather thanErin Geiger:
Yeah, yeah, I love that because then it's like you're giving them a sense of confidence and empowerment, you know, early on which is huge. And I like how you got it down to the three offers within it's almost like you can meet someone where where they're at? Right? So maybe they are at the level one, that's great. And they can kind of go through. But I'm assuming like, if you see there, they're further along than that, then you could start them off on the second, you know, in order for them for their. So instead of like it being this overwhelming behemoth of information, you can tailor it to right, to where, to what they actually need.Unknown:
Yeah. And you can make it really, as I said, like this brand is a great example. Because we've all been there, right? We had a business idea, we're making the decision to launch and then we're really excited. But I'm one of those people. And no, you can do it quick and dirty. And you can it doesn't have to perfect, absolutely. But I'm someone I love when something is aesthetically pleasing. So like the one of the first things I always do is like, tweak my logo and work on the logo. And so I said that to her, like how quickly could you get them to go out with a logo? So they couldn't you know, if it's new entrepreneur, how quickly could he get them to a point where they can share this beautiful logo on social media and say, I started my own business, because that's like, what excites us the most. And that feels like a huge milestone, which will then keep them engaged through the rest of the work. So it's really thinking about, Okay, what's what's most important to them? And what's most exciting to them, and then going from kind of making sure that's built in.Erin Geiger:
So how, how do you kind of take this into your own business? Like, how do you scale your own business? And still, you know, kind of keep a certain lifestyle? A certain like, how do you manage your boundaries? Like, do you have any insight into that?Unknown:
Yeah, so I am a very practical example. So my own business, I scale, I have my own blueprint of what certain pillars that I implement with clients. And the same as is with this example, I can take like the scalable offer is one of the printers that I work on with clients, there is some whole systems and processes piece and quality of revenue. So we don't just rely on one client. So this is like one big pillar of my kind of framework, I suppose. So in that sense, I do exactly the same when it comes to boundaries. And I've just introduced and this was an idea I picked up, I tried to think of where I got it from, but I literally create an onboarding guide that I share with new clients. So new clients get a dashboard, which I've built in lotion, but you could also do it in Trello, Cetera, give them access to it, where they can then upload relevant info, that's information that's relevant to whatever you'd work on with them. So it could be if you're in the marketing, or social media space, it could be color guidelines, and logo files, etc. For me, it's usually kind of documentation, logins to certain tools, or systems, etc. So they have all of that. And then I in my onboarding guide, I get very specific around, I only work for example, Monday to Thursday, I have Friday off with my daughter. And I make it really clear that I, you know, I sometimes work on the weekends, I have childcare, and they might get an email from me on a Sunday, but I never expect to hear back from them. That's it. So it's two ways, right? So I make it clear that they know, chances are if you contact me on a Friday, if it's an emergency, of course, I'll respond. And if they call me, that's fine. But generally, that day is reserved, and I'm off. So it's, they get that automatically on their dashboard. So there is a call out, please read. And then there is a PDF attached where it's broken down, and it looks nice, it's branded. And it kind of gives them the rules of engagement, I suppose. So that's a very practical example of how I work and how I set expectations, manage expectations, and then kind of maintain my boundaries.Erin Geiger:
Okay, that's great. Then how do you scale pricing? You know, do you kind of help people with that as well, like, don't do hourly do retainer, or do you have certain suggestions that you use for that?Unknown:
Yeah, I think I think pricing is it's very much down to industry and client and of course, it's a different, different conversation, whether you work in b2c And you, you know, in a certain market, or b2b and you know, like you're in Facebook ads You literally know how much revenue they're gonna get from you and the value add much easier. So I do help, but I'm not an authority on it because it's just too huge. What I do do recommend is always recurring retainer or recurring revenue. So I always try to find a model to say, actually, and sometimes back when, when I work with new retainer clients, I have a three months minimum commitment, because I know it will take me that long to get to really know them to their business. And in to make, like to start making a difference, you can't jump with me on a call, and then expect your system to, you know, to scale next month, and you will hire three people and three other coaches or whatever that. So that's managing expectation around that. And I tried to do that for my clients and say, Okay, you're investing a bit more time in the beginning to get to know that business and to get to know the business owner. So make sure that kind of evens out over the coming months and give yourself enough time to make that difference. So yeah, we'll look at that recurring revenue retainer. That doesn't mean you can't have one off offers, and I do that I have specific kind of signature. So kind of scalable Signature Service sessions I offer. But they're not. Yeah, they're just ad hoc. And sometimes I have not found them, etc. But that's not the that's not the core of my business. That's just mostly because I really enjoy it. And yeah, it's, it's fun, but it's not. That's not what my business relies on.Erin Geiger:
Yeah. Now, maybe it's like for a passion project or two on the side. awareness has been so so helpful. Where can people find you online? If they want to connect?Unknown:
Yeah. On Instagram, I'm Ed Federica, harms.com that come at Frederick hands. So that's where I'm usually best. Best to find Instagram is the place. And there's also links to my my lead magnet, which is a guy to take you through, like the four kind of characteristics of a scalable service, and what to do to start implementing that. But yeah, that's the best place to find me.Erin Geiger:
Awesome. We'll include that link on the show notes, as well as to Yeah, that guide because that sounds like it's so super helpful. There is a question that we ask everybody at the end of our discussions, which is, if you can only listen to one that music artists for the rest of your life, who would it be?Unknown:
While I have a bit of obsession with Eminem, I've been wanting to marry him ever since I was about 13. So and that's still the case. So I think it would have to be him.Erin Geiger:
Yeah, he's great. And he has so many good songs like he can't even pick one. It's kind of amazing. You're huge. And we're here to cool. So well. We do have a playlist on Spotify, the Small Business Big mindset playlist. And so we'll add him on there because it's kind of cool. It's like have like music in the background while you're working of other entrepreneurs favorites. So be sure to add him. Friday. Thank you so much for taking the time. I've really enjoyed this discussion. You've like you were so super specific with your answers. And I always appreciate that when people don't give like fluff or pie in the sky. Info. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. No, thank you so much for having me. It's been great. Thanks for tuning in to the Small Business Big mindset podcast. To keep the fun going. Check out our Facebook group start and scale an online business For even more free trainings and resources from fellow entrepreneurs. If you haven't already, head on over to muscle creative.com and click subscribe to join our email list for weekly updates. And if you've enjoyed this podcast episode, check us out on your favorite podcast platform to follow us and give us a review. As always be authentic bringing insane amount of value and keep crushing it