Horse Business Wisdom: How to Think Like a CEO
We have a surprise for you horse business owner. You’re a CEO! Have you ever considered that fact before? Whether you know it or not, you are, and you must think like one.
Horse Business Wisdom: How to Think Like a CEO
We are thrilled to announce that you can now listen to The Rein In Your Herd Podcast on the Horse Radio Network website and App. In other exciting news, this episode marks one full year of producing the Rein In Your Herd Podcast.
In this episode, we dive into a crucial topic for the equine industry. Horse business owners often put all their efforts into developing their trade, whether that be training, becoming a better farrier, becoming a better instructor, photographer, or whatever you do. It’s essential to be good at what you do, but as a business owner, you also can’t forget that you’re a CEO.
Your success depends on your ability to bring in clients and make money. This means you have to put time and resources into building the business side of your business. This is lacking across the board in the equine industry, so we are talking it head-on today.
Let it GOOOO
When you make decisions in your business, you should base them on data and not emotion. For example, if you love posting on Instagram, but it’s never brought you a client, it’s time to change. If you want to make Instagram work for your business, you need to invest in a coach or a social media expert to help you leverage the platform. If that’s not an option, you should use your time somewhere else.
It’s easy to get invested in a process and not want to give it up. Especially when everyone else is doing it. However, if a process is draining your energy and taking your time and not working for you, you should do something more productive.
We are giving you permission right here and right now. If something isn’t working for you in your business, it’s okay to stop doing it. If something is costing you more money than you’re making, it’s time to do something about it.
This is a common one. If it costs you more money in gas to travel to a client than they pay you for your service, you need to increase your prices or institute a travel fee. If you don’t think that client will want to keep working with you if your prices go up, you shouldn’t have them as a client.
It’s not okay for your clients to cost you money. You end up resenting them and providing lower-quality service. The arrangement ends up being a disaster for both parties.
There are no rules that say you have to keep posting on Instagram forever because everyone else is, or you have to keep serving Mrs. Jones even though she moved 2 hours away and only pays you $100 per visit. Your business, your rules. Don’t’ be afraid to change those rules as you and your business change over time.
April doesn’t get a lot of clients from Instagram, so she pulled back recently. She is using the time she used to spend on Instagram on LinkedIn instead. Each day she does a Marketing Minute where she reaches out to people and engages on the platform.
Failure Doesn’t have to be Emotional
Things are going to go wrong in your business. Stuff goes wrong in our businesses all the time. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and grow instead of wallowing in self-doubt and letting failure slow you down.
If you take on a client that isn’t a good fit, or screw up and don’t serve a client to the best of your ability, own it. Figure out how you can avoid it in the future, and keep your head held high. Mistakes happen, and they don’t define your worth as a business owner or horse person.
Laura can always give an example of a typo in a client’s content. She hates herself when she lets those sneak through because she is better than that and shouldn’t let it happen. At the same time, she is putting out hundreds of social media posts each month, and sometimes mistakes happen.
Over time Laura has improved her processes. Her VA double checks her writing, she runs everything through her proofreading software at least 2x, and she never puts something out the same day she writes it. Those systems catch a LOT of typos, and implementing them has taken her business way farther than wallowing in self-doubt and hatred ever could.
When something doesn’t go the way you want it to in your business, ask yourself what you can do differently. That’s the way a CEO handles a mistake. They don’t tell themselves they suck as business people and human beings. They don’t threaten to quit; they learn and change for the better. Changing your mindset failure is going to propel you so much farther than you can ever imagine.
Mistakes are Inevitable
Don’t think mistakes will go away as you achieve a higher level of success. Look at Elon Musk. In the revel of the Tesla truck, he threw a metal ball right through the “shatterproof” window. That was a massive failure in front of an audience of 1000s of people. But, the Tesla truck is still going to hit the market, and it’s still going to make a TON of money even though the reveal didn’t go as planned.
If you’re not making mistakes in your business, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. You just have to know it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be okay.
Plan For The Future
Horse business owners often tell us they’re just trying to get through the end of the month, or just keep their head above water until their kid goes into kindergarten, and then they can start working on their business more.
You can’t use your current reality as an excuse not to work on your business.
There is never a good time to sit down and work on the business side of your business. There is always going to be a horse or a kid or a spouse that needs your attention. There’s always going to be clients that need you.
This is a tough mindset to change, but it’s super important that you plan for ten years from now, not for tomorrow. If we go into each day thinking, “What do I have to do today, to make it to tomorrow?” We’ll always feel behind and overwhelmed. We’ll never get to where we want to go because we are so busy trying to survive today to make it to tomorrow that we never work towards the bigger picture.
Know your long term vision for your future. If you struggle with setting goals because you second guess yourself, or you never reach them, reach out to a business coach or a life coach. These professionals can help you overcome your self-doubt and help you set goals in a way that feels manageable.
If you wake up every morning and think about your dream positively and imagine your reality ten years from now, you’ll eventually get there. You will subconsciously start making decisions and taking actions that push you towards that goal. You just have to give yourself the space to make it happen.
When Laura was in college, she HATED leaving her dog alone all day while she was in class. He would look at her with his big brown eyes telling her how sad he was sitting at home all day. Every day Laura would tell herself, “someday I’m gonna work from home, and I won’t ever have to leave Tank alone.” That same dog was asleep at her feet when we recorded this episode.
Laura dreamed about being able to work from home for YEARS, and here she is, a year and a half of not having to leave Tank home by himself all day. Today, Laura has much bigger dreams, like purchasing a horse property and funding a farm sanctuary. They may take a little longer coming true, but they are coming.
It’s so important to have that long term vision for your business and your life. That way, whenever you have to decide on investing in new facilities, hiring a coach, or outsourcing something in your business, you can ask yourself, “is this going to help me get closer towards my dream?” If the answer is yes, your decision has been made for you.
It’s not always easy to make decisions with your long term vision in mind. If you find yourself in a spot of trouble in the short term, you may be tempted to slash prices, sell horses, or make other rash decisions just to get through your rough patch. Instead, if you can sit in your discomfort, rough out a hard month or two, and maintain your business’s integrity for the long term, you’ll see a lot better results.
You don’t want to be known as the business that slashes their prices 3x a year. People will just wait until you cut your prices and you won’t ever be able to charge what you are worth.
Pricing Your Services
If you want to price your services like a CEO, it starts with your mindset and filters down into your business strategy. People often price based on what they think people can afford. Logically, this makes sense; you will get a lot of clients if you make your service super affordable, right?
Pricing makes people pay attention. If you charge less than all of your competitors, no one is going to pay attention to you. You may get a lot of people to show interest, but only a tiny percentage are going to take action because they aren’t paying enough to pay attention.
Laura and April have both invested thousands of dollars into a business coach. They pay VERY close attention to Janelle because they paid a lot of money to learn from her. At the end of the day, you have NO IDEA what people can or can’t afford, and it’s none of your business anyways.
If you do a good job marketing your service, the right people will decide they need to find a way to afford you no matter what you charge, and it will work itself out. We have no control over whether or not people can afford to work with us. The only thing we can do is be ready to serve them when they can.
How do you set your prices? Step 1 is knowing your costs. That’s SO SO SO important. If your horses are part of your businesses, that’s your hay, your veterinary care, the costs to board or maintain your property, your fly masks, EVERYTHING you purchase for your horses to keep them happy and healthy are part of your costs.
You can expense all of that in your businesses, and your pricing on the front end should cover the costs of having horses. Once you know your costs (of running your entire business, not just caring for your horses), take a look at your competition. Don’t undercut your competition. You’ll attract low-quality headache clients, and the people in your industry will lose respect for you.
We can’t tell you exactly how to price your service because we don’t know what you do, but as a business owner you need to be charging a minimum of $50 an hour. That’s not just when you are actively working with a client.
That’s the time you spend traveling to the client, preparing for the session, or working with your horses so they can do their jobs once you start working with a client. Laura used to offer 2-hour strategy sessions that took her 2 hours of preparation. She charged $250 for those sessions to cover her time before, during, and after the session.
Once you establish your minimum $50 an hour, go back and make sure you feel amazing when serving your clients. Make sure you can give them everything they need and not feel like they are draining your energy or using too much of your time. If you don’t feel good about it, raise your prices until you do.
A fantastic book to read if you have a hard time managing your finances is Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. It will help you change your mindset around how you should be making money in your business, and what you should do with it once you’ve made it.
If you want a healthy profit, you probably need to price a little higher than you think you do. If you’re going to eventually be able to hire us to manage your marketing and tech, you need to be making enough profit to invest in our services 🙂
At the end of the day, we have to take care of our horses, which means charging a little more than we think we need to for our services. Today, very few lesson programs can afford to give their lesson horses a proper retirement. They face having to put them down before their time or sell them to a potentially neglectful situation.
If we can all start learning to put a little money aside and save for a rainy day, we will be able to better care for our horses. Every horse deserves a great retirement. We joke that we want you to make more money so you can hire us, but what we really want is the industry to charge more so they can live higher-quality lives as human beings and take amazing care of their horses.
We’ve got to stop thinking that we own horses, and we’re always broke, and that’s just life. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Horsey Update – Getting Back in the Saddle
Barns are slowly starting to open back up in Germany. They have strict sanitization practices and require social distancing, but they are allowing riding again. April’s babysitter is finally open again too. She is in full-on business mode right now, but hopes get some horse time in soon.
Back in Washington, April’s horse King is still living the life being ridden through the waves on the beach. At least he will be in good shape when he and April reunite in Texas. She is trying to get him shipped out in July. That way he can settle into his new barn by the time April and the fam arrive in early August.
Laura decided not to trailer anywhere during the quarantine. She didn’t want to be the person taking up a hospital bed because she wanted to ride her horse and got into trouble. Last weekend they were finally able to trailer out and go on their first big trail ride.
They did 6 miles with some pretty good elevation changes. The trail is set up to block motorized vehicles from accessing it, so the horses had to hop over a small barrier to get in. MJ followed her buddies and didn’t miss a beat. She also had her first exposure to a river. She went right in and drank without any fuss.
MJ handled herself like a seasoned trail horse and Laura couldn’t be any happier with her.
Celebrating 1 Year With GIVEAWAYS
This episode marks one full year of producing the Rein In Your Herd Podcast. We are celebrating BIG by collaborating with a TON of excellent equine businesses during July. Our first collaboration is a giveaway with Equivont that’s running the entire month of July. They were featured on Episode 24.
If you want one of Equivont’s awesome hats, all you have to do is review our podcast. We prefer you review us on Apple podcasts, but if you don’t have an iPhone, you can leave it on Shopify or Google Podcasts. Those are the three platforms we will be monitoring.
Leave your review by July 31 to be entered in the giveaway. Leaving a review on Apple Podcasts also gives you a chance to be featured on the show. We’ll be reading the best ones and giving shoutouts to our listeners.
We will announce the winner of the Equivont Giveaway on August 3.
Starting on Monday, July 6, we are running a giveaway on Instagram. It’s for horse business owners, a HUGE load of horsey stuff to remind you that you are worthy of investment, care, and love as a human being, not just a business owner.
Head on over to our Instagram account to see a full list of prizes. We got some BIG names for this one and are so excited to get it going!
Scarcity Vs. Abundance
These terms can sound scary and woo woo, but we are going to try to make it easy for you to understand the importance of an abundant mindset in your business. When you fall into a scarcity mindset, your first thought is that you need more money to survive. You are always stressed and overwhelmed.
When you operate with a scarcity mindset, you will fall into the trap of only planning for tomorrow, and never planning for the future. If you spend too much time in a scarcity mindset, you’ll start to feel physically ill, and your quality of life will suffer.
Once you get to such a low place, you’ll start asking yourself what the point is. Why not just go back to corporate where you can make lots of money and spend it on horses? The thing is, we all know you aren’t going to be happy working a desk job. You are going to hate not being able to ride whenever you want to.
Everything becomes about you when you are stuck in a scarcity mindset, and that makes it difficult for your business to thrive. Your business is yours, but it isn’t about you. It’s about the people you serve.
Maybe you’ve signed up for a bunch of courses or programs, and you’re trying to build your website and do EVERYTHING in your business yourself. That’s another common symptom of the scarcity mindset. What you need to do is sit down and decide who you want to serve and why. Once you accomplish that, you need to show up and serve those people. Make your business about them.
An abundant mindset gives you permission to hire someone else to build your website, do your taxes, and shovel your stalls. Every business does eventually need a website, but not every business needs a website today. It’s okay to wait until you can hire help to get your business fully up and running.
If you try to wear all the hats at once, you’ll burn out. The content that Laura can write and the tech that April can implement in an hour could take you a day or more to complete. Hiring people to take care of the things in your business that aren’t your zone of genius lets you kick your feet up and relax once in a while.
April was struggling with balancing her life last year. She was finishing her MBA, starting this podcast, and still running her business full-time with a baby. After committing to an abundance mindset, she kept pushing and keeping her head down and doing the work and TONS of wonderful opportunities have come her way because of that.
Your abundance mindset flows through everything you do. How you approach your customers, create your marketing content, and even the way you pay your bills. It also permits you only to take on clients that you can truly make a difference for.
With an abundant mindset, you’ll learn to let go of what isn’t serving you. If something is exhausting to you and drains your energy, you’ll either hire someone else to take care of it or let it go entirely.
One of the best ways to embrace an abundance mindset is to surround yourself with people who are already doing it. Join a mastermind or invest in a business coach. Follow accounts you love on Social Media. Don’t get pigeonholed in the horse industry, surround yourself with people who embrace an abundance mindset, and model your decision-making process after theirs.
When Laura adopted her horse MJ, she was determined to train her herself but also knew she was going to need guidance. She boarded at a barn with a great trainer and started working under her. Laura surrounded herself with people that had the horsemanship skills she wanted.
With an abundant mindset, it’s easy to adapt and try new things. What you’re doing today will probably not be what you’re doing five years from now, but keep learning and changing and making progress.
Embracing an abundant mindset won’t happen overnight. It’s something you have to work at continually. Start by just catching yourself when you find yourself operating from a scarcity mindset. Take a break, get some perspective, and move forward.
We presented a LOT of information in this episode, but the takeaway should be that small steps with an abundance mindset while thinking like a CEO will get your business where you want it.
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