Rita Barry (00:00):
Revenue goals started to irritate me a couple years ago because what I realized was happening was that I'd hit one because you hit that 100,000, 500 million and you keep moving the goal posts to a higher number. And it was at that point where the revenue for the agency was more than I had ever imagined. I didn't have the context to dream this sort of thing. And then the initial urge is like, "Okay. Well, now, we're going to 5 million, 10 million, whatever." And I was like, "Why?" So the immediate reaction of like, "This is what we should do because this is what capital society and everyone on the internet is telling you, you are supposed to make more."
Susan Boles (00:45):
I think there are three different stages when it comes to your business and your personal finances. There's pre-enough, enough and post-enough. And at each stage, you'll have different priorities, way different choices and view your world in very different ways. I'm Susan Boles and you're listening to Break the Ceiling. The show where we break down unconventional strategies you can use to save time, boost your profit, and increase your operational capacity.
Susan Boles (01:15):
Now, these definitions are mine, and I think everyone will probably interpret the idea of pre-enough, enough, or post-enough in their own terms, but here's how I tend to think about it. Pre-enough is that stage when you may have a decent business, but you haven't hit that level of revenue where you're covering your costs and comfortably paying yourself what you need to be in order to be able to support your personal financial needs.
Susan Boles (01:42):
In this stage, you're usually taking whatever work comes your way because you can't afford to be choosy. You have bills you got to pay. It can be a difficult place where you're lacking in both time and money because you're just trying to do whatever you can to get to that enough benchmark. Now, enough is where you have, well, enough? Your costs are covered both business and personal. You're paying yourself and your team enough. You have enough to start building up some cash reserves and the choices and decisions you're making become a lot more about is this worth it for me? Is this client someone I want to work with?
Susan Boles (02:23):
Is this the kind of work I want to be doing? Is this choice worth my time or my energy? It's not necessarily about is it worth my financial investment? It's about using your resources effectively and the kinds of choices you make. And then eventually, you might find yourself in the land of post-enough where your question might be more like what do I do with all of this money? Where am I supposed to put it? How do I use it responsibly? In these stages, pre-enough, enough, and post-enough, don't necessarily come at a particular dollar amount. It's all relative based on where your benchmarks are, and quite honestly at different points in your life, you might be bouncing back and forth between these stages.
Susan Boles (03:08):
It's not necessarily a straight line and well, life happens. You might be in post-enough when you're younger and end up having kids and bouncing back to pre-enough. Life happens. And I wanted to explore this idea of pre-enough, enough, post-enough by trying to follow someone's journey through these stages and beyond, to look at the choices they made, what helped them break through that enough ceiling and how their perspective changed in each of the different stages.
Susan Boles (03:42):
So meet Rita Barry. Rita is a certified measurement marketer. She founded her company, which is a boutique digital marketing optimization consultancy based in the Canadian rocky mountains in 2009. It's a relationship driven company focusing on metrics and they help select six to eight-figure female-led businesses, take control of their numbers so they can transform their marketing campaigns and drive more sales. She deals with numbers and measuring success all day long and this journey to and through enough has been one that she spent a lot of time thinking about.
Susan Boles (04:19):
Rita and I talk about what enough means to her what it looked like pre-enough and what she did to break through and past that enough benchmark. We'll talk about how her goals and what she was concerned about changed throughout her journey and we'll talk about what she does now that revenue benchmarks don't mean quite as much. Hey, Rita. Thanks for being here.
Rita Barry (04:43):
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk about it.
Susan Boles (04:46):
Yeah. So we are talking about the concept of having enough, but I think that probably means something a little bit different to everyone. So talk to me a little bit about what having enough means to you.
Rita Barry (04:59):
Yes, it is one of those super loaded phrases. So I think for me ultimately there's two big enoughness pools because I grew up in below the poverty line with a single mom on social assistance. So for me initially enoughness is that because that definitely was not enough, right? So there's that actual survival enough to pay the bills we're doing okay bar that was really important. I wouldn't ever want to diminish that because that's always like an ever-present thought for me is that never seems that far away, but that piece of enoughness and then now as life has become a very different place for me than it was when I grew up, and in the success of the business and everything else, enoughness was, I always thought it was something outside like some kind of external marker whether it was revenue or the team or at what point is enough, enough, right as far as like what are we chasing with all of this?
Rita Barry (06:00):
What occurred to me or just landed, I guess in my being as woo-woo as that sound, a number of years ago was that it's enough when I kind of decide that it's enough, which seems a little bit strange. Because I have this beautiful honor and privilege to work behind the scenes in some really large kind of like online businesses that are quite enviable by a lot of people. They look up to these businesses going, I want to create a business like this person. And what I've seen over the years is that all of these CEOs and founders who have built these seven-figure, multi-seven-figure businesses, they all have these differing views of it where some of them always had this scarcity thing like I have to earn more.
Rita Barry (06:47):
I'm not worth the amount of money I'm making. I need to prove it more. And then other people were very calm with how much money they made whether it was a little bit or a lot, how that changed over the years. Their view of it didn't change and that really started to inform my own view of enoughness where I'm like, "You know what, it is not in any way tied to revenue." Because I can see quite clearly in front of me, all of these examples of a variety of different feelings of enoughness, and a variety of different revenues like extremely so to people making 100 to 500 and then people that are making eight, nine figures, right?
Susan Boles (07:24):
Rita Barry (07:24):
Like ridiculous amounts of money. I was like, "Huh, okay. So I think I just get to decide that maybe that this is enough and that it's something that lives outside of revenue and it's really just an innate feeling of worthiness. We can pay all the bills, we can pay the team. I'm not worried about making payroll. We're checking all the boxes." So that's what just settled for me now to be like enough is once we have all the bills paid. But we've been really far away from that for a long time now. So now, it's more just that I have decided that we just don't need to quest for revenue anymore that kind of sense.
Susan Boles (08:04):
I mean, I think the answer to what is enough is really highly personal and I think you're... I love the aspect of it's really all about your approach. Do you have a benchmark where at that point things are covered, and you feel comfortable, and you feel secure, and that's enough? Or are your goals something different? And it is tied to revenue and I think that's a personal question. A lot of it has to do with your own mindset, your own relationship to money and your trauma that has to relate to money and how you process that. I think it's it is definitely different for everybody. So I like your take on it. So talk to me a little bit about what kind of pre-enough looked like felt like for you particularly like in your business before it was at enough. How did that feel for you?
Rita Barry (09:03):
Oh, it was gross. I'm like... Even just in the hearing of that question, I was like... Because honestly it feels like a different person and that's what is so interesting just because that kind of the change in the way I've thought about it. But the pre-enoughness for me was like hustle and not in that fun way that Gary Vee makes. It sounded like gross like graspy and desperate. A lot of commotion, I guess without a lot of results. That's what hustle looked like for me in my business where you're just... Just that graspiness and we've all seen people that are just like pay me money. Oh my god. It felt gross. It was like this people you don't want to date, because they're super desperate.
Rita Barry (09:45):
I would try to do things all by myself. I think that's one of the biggest things I noticed about the pre-enough versus now is that before there was those feelings of unworthiness that the imposter, if I don't do this myself and prove that I can do it, then I'm not good enough and I don't deserve it. Just all of shiny object syndrome, people always looking outside of my business and my own mind for the answer like someone else had the secret, I needed to just find out what it was and then my business would be fine.
Rita Barry (10:17):
So just a lot of busyness without any results to show for it at all. So the fun part is, is I was literally doing the activities that would keep me in pre-enough even though what I thought I was doing was trying to get me out of that, which was super funny. So it wasn't that it was like chicken before the egg. I had to stop doing all of the pre-enough behaviors before I could actually settle into what my worth and value was in my business and start creating that result in the end, which was something that took me a really frighteningly long seven years to figure out.
Susan Boles (10:53):
I mean, I think there are real challenges in the pre-enough stage. If you don't actually have enough money to pay someone else, it is really difficult to make a different choice than doing it yourself. Sometimes because you don't see the resources or because you legitimately don't have access to get those resources in place to run your business a different way.
Rita Barry (11:21):
Exactly. And I think-
Susan Boles (11:22):
So some of it, you're right is totally chicken or egg, because I understand that this is what I should be doing in my business and there actually aren't the resources to make those choices, so it's just how do I get the resources to be able to make that choice that I know that I'm supposed to make.
Rita Barry (11:38):
Completely. You don't even know what you don't know at that point and the other piece of the alone part that is money independent that is pretty much what I see is the key to breaking my whole business wide open to where it is now is that even though initially maybe I didn't have money to hire people is that I was also self-isolating from a network of people that... Because I like people, talking to people, like I should get to know people. And that I wasn't doing either.
Rita Barry (12:12):
So even in the absence of having that additional revenue to hire people and to assist me, I wasn't also getting out there and meeting people and doing so much of that quote-unquote networking, but just in a really genuine way of like I just like to hang out and chat with people. I wasn't doing that either. So that was a huge piece that was keeping me stuck even outside of just not having enough revenue because it is that switching to actually hiring people and having enough money to pay other people to do things is game changing, but it's a weird rocky road to get.
Susan Boles (12:48):
Yeah. And you're stuck in this do I hire to grow? Do I grow to hire? Are my choices actually limiting me from growth and the choices that I'm making are keeping me in pre-enough? Do I take a risk and maybe a financial risk to hire somebody who will allow me to get to that stage where I can hit my enough benchmark or do I keep cycling where I'm at and I understand what I need to do and it just needs to happen. I think that that pre-enough stage is so difficult in trying to evaluate how you're making choices and where you're spending your time and your resources. And I think it's interesting that you were actually isolating yourself from those conversations that could potentially have gotten you out of enough.
Rita Barry (13:38):
Completely, yes. And also just like the busyness, what I've seen the people who have moved from the pre-enough, myself included to being more comfortable and more successful is monetarily wise.
Susan Boles (13:51):
So talk to me a little bit about the kinds of choices you were making or the specific challenges you were facing in your business during that pre-enough phase that you think kept you there. Were there choices that now in retrospect you could have made earlier to push you from pre-enough into enough. Were there pivotal decisions that you made that transition for you or do you think it was just a gradual evolution of you needed to find the right positioning and the right process? You know what I mean?
Rita Barry (14:26):
That's an excellent question. There's definitely some positioning product market fit settling just into my... I hate zone of genius, but there's definitely doing what I do now, which is the... Almost like a CMO, external CMO like doing marketing audits with analytics and things and giving people that feedback. Plus the paid traffic like the expertise that lives in those two services for my agency. That was hard earned. There was just a lot of reps that went into those two pieces that earlier like I just don't know that I would have had the same success because the experience wouldn't have been there.
Rita Barry (15:09):
So I think there's definitely that. But the other piece, like just as far from the process side of things and from kind of biz dev and stuff like that, it was that isolation from other people. The three things that I did that really made a difference, completely transformed. My agency was I started to meet other humans and not with the skeezy like, "What can I get from you?" But literally like, "You're another human. Let's just sit and talk about our businesses." I geek out on that stuff. Honestly, what would I rather talk about all day is then business growth marketing. That is just everything that I would want to talk about.
Rita Barry (15:48):
I just really love what humans and women particularly are doing in the online space and just all of that stuff. So it was just meet people and have conversations without any sort of expectation of what those would turn into or et cetera, right? So doing that, like letting them know what I did and not once again, just in the natural form of the conversation, which always comes up when you're talking with other business owners, right? Everyone is like, "Oh, let's talk about what we do." Then when the time was right, usually they came to me asking for help and that was it.
Rita Barry (16:22):
So I met people. I told them what I did and I offered to help them if it was appropriate. That's literally what changed from me just being in a hole trying to make stuff work to just this entirely different business it seems, some days, that has a team that has some of the most amazing people that I have an honor to work with, and it's just like night and day. But it was literally those small things whereas before I figured that part out and it wasn't nearly as obvious to me as it is when I say it that way.
Susan Boles (16:55):
Because it's never as obvious when you're in it as it is after the fact where you're like, "Oh, yeah. That was a really stupid thing that I was doing that now I can totally see that that was the issue."
Rita Barry (17:04):
I could have done those three things. That's not hard, right? That's still all I do today as far as marketing goes.
Susan Boles (17:09):
But it's hard to see that when you're in it.
Rita Barry (17:12):
It's impossible. So I was trying to do like large-scale marketing like write a blog and have a newsletter and fiddle with my website endlessly, and all the junk that literally doesn't matter. It was the distraction work from actually making the business work, and that was it. That was just the stuff that I busied myself with where I could have just... Honestly, I wouldn't even need a website, right? At this point, I could have had the most basic of things. I don't need to do large scale marketing because that is not how my business model works.
Rita Barry (17:44):
I could maybe two to three new clients a year at this point where we're at and that's all we need. There's no amount of newsletter broadcasts and huge social media pushes that I need to do. I just need to chat with some people and then those clients will find me. And just had I known... But I learned that the hard way and that was the biggest difference between then and now.
Susan Boles (18:07):
Well, I think that exemplifies the real power of working with somebody high level very early on like somebody who specifically does strategy. Early on when you're thinking about who should I hire and how should I scale? How do I get from pre-enough to enough? Sometimes it's as simple as somebody being like, "Hey, you don't have to do that." Somebody just sat down and been like, "So you don't... That's not a thing that you need to concentrate on. Just ignore that." Which for me [crosstalk 00:18:44] was having a friend really early on that was like, "Hey, I don't think social media is a thing that you need to worry about right now." So I just ignored it for the first three years because it really-
Rita Barry (18:54):
I love your friends.
Susan Boles (18:55):
It really didn't matter because like you, I was working with high-level clients. It was very much people just needed to know that I existed and that I did this thing that was unique and going out and meeting people worked and that's all I needed to do. I didn't need to have an email newsletter or have a social media strategy because that's not where I was going to get my clients.
Rita Barry (19:21):
And you're very like much me.
Susan Boles (19:23):
That was so powerful really early on to just have somebody be like, "Don't worry about it. Just ignore it for now."
Rita Barry (19:29):
This is not important for you. Correct me if I'm wrong but especially with the amount of access that you need in a business, you probably get your best customers from the referrals because the people that would hire you really want you vetted.
Susan Boles (19:43):
Rita Barry (19:44):
Susan Boles (19:44):
Yeah. That's the reason I decided to do a podcast. A podcast works really well for people to understand who I am, how I think, build the trust. I'm literally speaking into their ears every week.
Rita Barry (19:57):
Susan Boles (19:59):
There was a conscious choice behind it besides the fact that it's just really creatively interesting for me. There was a reason behind it. But I think having somebody in that pre-enough stage say that part doesn't matter for your business because we get sold this like, "You have to be doing all of the things and you need all of the blog content and all of the newsletter and all of the social media." It can be really, really distracting away from the strategy of how do you actually get your clients? Well, focus on that thing. Ignore everything else.
Rita Barry (20:33):
Right. It's all you literally need to do. So 2017 and 2018, all I did was just go and find ways as an introvert to meet people in a way that felt safe and comfortable and I could show up as my best person and not thousand person conference or not even thousand person conferences. That's even too big, but conferences or not, I'm just saying.
Susan Boles (20:53):
You're just saying that I'm like, "Ugh, that just made me feel gross." It was like, "That's awful."
Rita Barry (20:57):
Where do I show up best? Where are the people that I find interesting hanging out that potentially one day might be a good client. I have people that I've met in 2017 that are now ready to work together. And it's not because in 2017 I was sitting there like Mr. Burns when in a sense he was going, "Hmm, you're a good person." No, I was like, "This is a cool person. Let's just hang out and chat." And then it all just works out as it's supposed to.
Rita Barry (21:23):
I wish somebody would have just been like, "Hey, if you only need X amount of clients a year, why on earth are you..." Because also, I get better clients that way and then when I know them ahead of time, I know whether I want to work with them long term because we're all up in each other's business. If we don't jive personally, that's terrible for everybody.
Susan Boles (21:42):
Yes. It's that time of year, time to set some new goals or consider your new year's resolution. And if you're like a lot of business owners I know, you might be thinking that this is the year you're going to get your shit together when it comes to your money. You start reviewing that P&L statement you get every month. You're going to be more intentional about how you spend and closely tracking the ROI you're getting. You're going to get clear on exactly how you're making money and how you can make more of it without working yourself into the ground.
Susan Boles (22:17):
Now, if you're both nodding your head and feeling the anxiety rise in your chest as I describe these financial goals, I see you. We all have the best of intentions about how we're going to manage our business finances. But few people actually follow through on learning how to manage their businesses money or execute the financial plans they create. You want to feel like you're on top of your money stuff, but it's tough to climb over all the questions and reports and bank accounts and spreadsheets. That's where I come in.
Susan Boles (22:50):
I help you think like a CFO. Working together, you'll learn the skills you need to confidently make database decisions about how to spend your money and how to structure your business so you make more. You'll build a more resilient business that's efficient and easy to run, and you'll create meaningful financial processes so you're never caught with your pants down again. Think like a CFO is a six-month accelerator online workshop and coaching program that will teach you to think about your business like a CFO would.
Susan Boles (23:22):
We'll cover six core topics including risk and resilience, investing in your business, scaling sustainably and your relationship with money. You'll also get dedicated implementation time and live support so you don't get stuck on the details or the execution and you'll get a clear path to true small business financial literacy, so you can connect your money to every other aspect of your work from daily operations to long vacations.
Susan Boles (23:52):
Think like a CFO is enrolling right now and when you register before December 31st, you'll also get my course, Not Rocket Finance, which is the perfect primer for Think like a CFO. To find out more about Think like a CFO and finally get your business shit together, go to scalespark.co/cfo.
Susan Boles (24:14):
All right. So let's start shifting from pre-enough to that enough benchmark. So when you hit your enough benchmark, what did it feel like? Well, first, did you notice or did you... You know what I mean? Was there something where you're like, "This is the amount of money that I need to be making every month and that's my enough benchmark and you are gradually working towards that"? Or was it you looked back and you're like, "Oh, All of a sudden I feel like I have enough. Cool." You know what I mean?
Rita Barry (24:54):
Just, yeah, folding the card and work on it.
Susan Boles (24:56):
I think sometimes it just happens and sometimes it's a goal that people are working towards that they can then celebrate, but sometimes it just happens and you don't notice it.
Rita Barry (25:04):
Well, I guess mine was interesting because I'm very much a rule follower and I'm intensely risk averse, which are not normally two things that when you hear like entrepreneur that they don't really... Those don't come in the list of qualities. Because of my husband's job, I left my career in social work and he at that point, because we notoriously obviously pay social workers so much money, he with his new job made more than both of us combined at that point. So that was like 11 or 12 years ago now. So I never had to work to pay the bills with my business.
Rita Barry (25:41):
So it was a very unique situation that also probably created a very long runway for me because there was no urgency there. It was always like, "We're fine. Whatever Rita's business make us fun money." So there was never a point where I had to worry about that. So it was a really privileged position to start the business from and honestly I probably would have not ever started it had that not been the case. I'd probably still be doing my job. We often laugh about that. I'm like I would be working, be in my social work self and just doing that at this point if life hadn't kind of intervened.
Rita Barry (26:15):
So on that path where it was always just as long as I could pay to run it and pay myself a little bit, I started with a goal of paying our car payment, I was like that would be so amazing. Just do that. And for me the enoughness slapped me in my face. It wasn't even like just, "Oh, look at that." It was when I made more with the agency, like so the monthly revenue for the agency was more in one month than I used to make in an entire year. It was what I brought in, which is some profit.
Susan Boles (26:49):
What you kept?
Rita Barry (26:49):
Yes, what I kept, was more than I used to make in an entire year before tax. So then I just sat there and it was heavy. It was more like an existential crisis than it was a celebration because it was like this is excessive. It was crazy. And now we're to the point that we make more... There's more in a month than my husband makes it an entire year, which he thinks is amazing and delightful and I still grapple with that because it's like it's just so much, right? So we have surpassed enoughness and it's to the point of like now, how do you manage all of this responsibly and redistribute it, and make sure everything is very equitable and like kind of put the values into the business with the money differently? It was more of an existential crisis. It really was.
Susan Boles (27:41):
I think that's interesting because I think there are really very different mindsets and choices that you make between like pre-enough that kind of middle enough like, "Okay, I'm making enough." There's like a third stage that, at least in my head, I kind of just call stupid money, where you're just at the point where you're like there's just so much. What do I with it? Then it becomes this choice of like how do I responsibly use all of these new resources that I have that when you get to the stupid money point, some of that is life-changing amount of money that you can really have major impact on exactly other people's lives with that power.
Rita Barry (28:29):
Exactly. That's not something we think about.
Susan Boles (28:31):
I mean, money at least in a capitalist society, money equates to power and choices. There's a real responsibility I think that comes with, especially a stupid money.
Rita Barry (28:44):
Yeah. I feel like we're like borderline because I mean I guess because I'm always comparing... Because I have clients that were... I mean, it's like private jets.
Susan Boles (28:51):
You're like, "What do I do with all of this?"
Rita Barry (28:53):
Yeah. It's just worse.
Susan Boles (28:54):
This is so much more than I could ever have imagined having to make choices about.
Rita Barry (28:59):
Right. And it's funny to even talk to clients about it. And of one of the joys of my business, we all can just kind of sit and chat about this kind of stuff. But it's like what do you do when you get to a stage in life where your biggest issues are your private jet problems? And I was like... And these are often... We have like a hashtag in a few of my clients' Slacks where we're like, "Yeah, total private jet problems."
Rita Barry (29:25):
The vast majority of the people that I work with did not... Some of them came from privilege, some of them came from a certain degree of financial security anyway in growing up, but a lot of them were just normal middle class, lower middle class people and this level of stupid money is very, very uncommon for them in their family tree. So they don't have a lot of reference points for what you do with it, right?
Susan Boles (29:53):
Rita Barry (29:54):
And that's what we really struggled with too because I did not have a lot of examples. I had no examples in my immediate family group where it's like, "What do you do with this?" It is a lot. I feel like we're like the lower cusp of stupid money where I haven't really thought about a bill in a long time and you just do what you want to do and it's not really... You don't really have to think about the money in the same line.
Susan Boles (30:23):
You're not making the choices, you're just, "Yeah, that sounds good. Cool."
Rita Barry (30:26):
Yeah, exactly. It's just-
Susan Boles (30:27):
There doesn't need to be as much of a weighing of is this the right way to use my resources? Is this the best way that I could be the most efficient with using my resources because efficiency becomes less of an issue?
Rita Barry (30:43):
Right. Those are the kind of conversation where like a team member will come and be like, "You know what, I think this tool would really streamline this process." And it's like, "Oh, sure. That totally makes good sense." This is redundant. We can reallocate some time for you to do like some bigger thinking and remove some of this technical work. So that's kind of a non-issue now. It's like, "Well, of course. Let's just get that. That's a no-brainer where before it be like, "Okay. How is this going to work? How do we swing this?" We're evaluating things differently. Is this bringing a better value to our client? How can we bring more value obviously within scope because there's a lot of value you could bring that would be outside of that? But how do we just really do the very, very best, and always try to push the edge of how well we're doing and what we're providing the client.
Rita Barry (31:30):
And that's the discussion rather than some of those really nitty-gritty like, "No, we can't have that tool because that's outside of the budget right now or we can't hire that person." It's more like, "What is the best way that we can do this?" Also, with an eye for building for the next three years because I'm always planning. In my brain anyway, I'm always thinking three years out because I'm okay letting revenue go today if I'm building toward that kind of vision that's three years out, which I've found to be a lot more of a successful way for me to think about things than to do annual goals because then I often get too short-sighted with things.
Rita Barry (32:07):
And that's I think a bigger change that's also happened with the enoughness because I don't need to chase... I was like change on the floor. It's like, "I don't need to worry about that." If by worrying about the money that's directly in front of me, I'm sacrificing either a bigger strategy pivot or some more time freedom for myself, which I'm very protective of now that all of that stuff. It's like when I'm looking three years out, I usually plan a lot better and then I also make better decisions in the moment too.
Susan Boles (32:39):
Yeah, and I think that's one of those choices that becomes different pre-enough versus post-enough. When you're pre-enough, it feels like you don't have the luxury to think long-term, think strategically. Because you literally aren't sitting on the money to get you there and some of it is you're taking work that maybe isn't ideal because you need the cash flow to get you that extra couple of months while you're building. And there's this like you have to be building and executing day-to-day stuff at the same time in pre-enough that I think part of post-enough is being able to think much more strategically.
Susan Boles (33:28):
I think it's kind of the same as like when we're thinking about cash reserves and the way I'm talking. I talk about cash reserves. That's literally you're like thinking money. That's your reaction time. You want six to 12 months there so that if everything comes crashing to a halt, you're not in that desperate scarcity of what the hell do I do, you have time to sit and think and process and go, "Okay, great. Now, I can make choices. Now, I can think strategically because you actually have a cushion to literally get you there."
Rita Barry (34:03):
Right. It always seemed like when I would talk to entrepreneur friends and I... Before I hired anyone, I actually said, "Because this is risk-averse, let me tell you that. I saved six months worth of that person's paycheck before I hired them, so I could prove to myself that the money was there to do it." So inadvertently, what I did was I created a six months emergency fund.
Susan Boles (34:26):
You created your cushion.
Rita Barry (34:27):
And it was just because I didn't believe that I could do it and it wasn't from this really wonderful strategic standpoint, it was just something my bookkeeper had suggested. She's like, "You know what, I can see that this is here. You've got the track record for the cash flow and everything. You are totally fine." But my brain was arguing with her about it. So it was just like, "I will get evidence for this." Then when the pandemic hit and there's all the uncertainty there and I'd let a client go this year because it wasn't a good fit.
Rita Barry (34:58):
And to have nothing in that decision other than this is not a good fit, rather than like, "Okay, we have to keep them. This money is important." I was like, "No. You know what, it's like we have got so much cushion between us and anything else that even if this person isn't replaced as far as that budget, we're totally fine. And it just opened up and of course it opened up other opportunities, the team was happy.
Rita Barry (35:25):
Everything was benefited from doing that. I wasn't able to do that or I didn't think I was able to do that in pre-enough because it felt like every single thing, every client, you couldn't let them go because when would the next one come and all that kind of stuff. It's really been a game changer to be honest. So the best part of your brain versus the reactive like lizard-brain. It's just like, "Death is coming and there's nothing to eat," and all those things. It separated those two things for me so that my higher level self that can have some logic and time and really deep thought about stuff can make better decisions for the business.
Rita Barry (36:02):
And that's all been just the cash flow buffer, which has been amazing. So maybe that's part of the enoughness too. Once there was a big buffer between me and the end of my business, that also felt really good.
Susan Boles (36:17):
And I think the size of that buffer is going to be different for everybody. What size of buffer makes you feel secure because that security level is really heavily dependent on your own relationship with money and your own experience with either insecurity or scarcity.
Rita Barry (36:38):
Exactly. It's really-
Susan Boles (36:39):
I always think it's interesting to see what amount of money made you feel secure? How many months was security for you?
Rita Barry (36:48):
Yeah, and it is. It's so interesting how different it is for everybody because some people are like at the edge. They're just like, "You know what, I could deal with like a month. I would be in hives all the time, right?"
Susan Boles (36:59):
Yeah, I couldn't handle them.
Rita Barry (37:01):
Susan Boles (37:02):
You saying that, makes me nervous.
Rita Barry (37:04):
Even saying it, it's like not anymore. Oh my god. We have a line of credit that I have never used, but I have it. That's just there because if all of the money-
Susan Boles (37:11):
It's there. If you need it, it's there. It's an extra cushion because when you really need that cushion and you're trying to get it at a point where you need it, nobody's going to give it to you.
Rita Barry (37:27):
Susan Boles (37:28):
Things like getting lines of credit works so much better when you do them proactively when you're in a good spot versus, "Oh, crap. I'm out of money."
Rita Barry (37:36):
Susan Boles (37:36):
And everybody's looking at your business, you're like, "Well, no. You don't have any cash flow. I'm not going to loan you money." That's the horrible secret of debt and financing is that nobody gives it to you when you need it. They only give it to you when you don't need it.
Rita Barry (37:47):
It's true. I just needed it as the... The reason I decided to get one for the business was so that I could activate that part of my brain that thinks better, which only happens when I feel safe and that security. And just the combination of having that as the ultimate fail-safe versus and then the amount of money that's just in the bank. It's just the emergency fund outside of the regular operating expenses. For me, I'm like, "You know what, we're good." Right?
Susan Boles (38:13):
Rita Barry (38:14):
And ultimately if we needed to just like fold everything up and head home, that we'd also be in a great place for our team to have a huge runway. I always like to explore all the options fully. Even if that does ultimately happen one day and I just decide that I am done. We've got room and we can do it in a really respectful and wonderful way for the team and for the clients and everything else because there is such a big runway. And all that feels good. So whether I do it forever or at some point, and I'm 85 and I don't want to run Facebook ads, then I can totally make that choice too.
Susan Boles (38:48):
You're like, "I'm done." Yeah.
Rita Barry (38:49):
Susan Boles (38:51):
I think there's so many choices we can make in our business and none of them are improved by making it short term. The more runway, the more space, the more time that you can give yourself to react to crises and the more fail-safes you have in place, it ultimately just builds a stronger foundation, a more resilient business because you have these different ways that you can react to whatever is happening in your business.
Rita Barry (39:23):
Completely. It was everything from just like the little things of we can get yearly subscriptions on every tool we use and save money because we have the cash flow, right?
Susan Boles (39:31):
Rita Barry (39:31):
To do that like all the way up to those bigger, like how do we hire people? How do we bring people on without feeling nervous, it really impacts everything. And then it just becomes a snowball because once you're getting into that a little bit more stupid money where it's... It keeps getting better because it's easier and then you have more runway and less fear and all of that kind of stuff. So it just keeps getting easier.
Susan Boles (39:55):
So let's talk a little bit about revenue benchmarks. So revenue benchmarks and goals feel like the pinnacle when you're pre-enough. Most people pre-enough know what their... At least, this is what I have to cover stuff cost. You need to hit those goals because you're in this place of real actual scarcity. But kind of post-enough, you have enough. So how do you approach revenue benchmarks or goal setting now that you are in enough, and it's not really a concern. Do you even pay attention to it anymore? Are your goals based on something else? Do you still pay attention to revenue goals? How does that play out for you now?
Rita Barry (40:41):
Revenue goals started to irritate me a couple years ago because what I realized was happening was that I'd hit one because you hit that 100,000, 500 million and you keep moving the goal posts to a higher number. And it was at that point where the revenue for the agency was more than I had ever imagined. I didn't have the context to dream this sort of thing. And then the initial urge is like, "Okay. Well, now, we're going to, whatever, 5 million, 10 million or whatever." And I was like, "Why?" So the immediate reaction of like, "This is what we should do because this is what capital society and everyone on the internet is telling you." You are supposed to make more, because I need gold-plated insoles in my shoes or some kind of like what ridiculousness that I need.
Rita Barry (41:37):
So I don't because I actually live quite simply. As far as like personal needs, we're good. So there was none of that. So then it was like why are we potentially working harder, potentially doing things that I enjoy less, right? Why are all these decisions being made on revenue? Shouldn't they be made from a different place? I'll always be moving these stupid goalposts down the field and I was like, "What is the whole point of this?"
Rita Barry (42:06):
So like I said, it was seriously like an existential crisis like why are we here? What am I meant to do? So I realized that revenue is not the thing. It does not get me up out of bed in the morning to be like, "Okay, let's go make X amount of dollars." That really does not sit. It never really has. That's not outside of that, "I can pay the bills. We're all happy and healthy. We have everything we need." That doesn't hold a lot for me.
Rita Barry (42:32):
Then I realized that like, "What are the things in my business that I love the most? Why do I enjoy what I do so much?" And it is very much rooted to helping other women make ridiculous amounts of money. I think women spend money differently. They think about it differently. Just the act of existing in the world as a woman who has created a business out of her own mind and just commanding the amount of wealth and privilege and outlet which is so different than what so many people see. And the act of just existing in the world as that person just speaks to men, women, everybody, right? It's just unbelievable.
Rita Barry (43:13):
So for me, helping women do that and be the first in their family tree that have financial security growing these amazing businesses they're super proud of, that is what is super exciting for me and my team and it is amazing to see the transformation that has happened to some... As we've worked with them from pre-enough to post-enough to stupid money, what do we do with them? That whole path. Just to see that is so gratifying.
Rita Barry (43:40):
Having people pay cash for things that would have never... Just all that stuff, right? My clients will share pictures and different things with us. So it became like, "You know what, this is the thing that is super fun for us. Why don't we tie our revenue goals to them instead?" So what we have done for the past number of years is that we're working toward creating $500 million worth of trackable revenue for clients.
Rita Barry (44:08):
So just shy of 50 million. I haven't seen the numbers for October yet so we might have created 50 million for female-led businesses. So that is actually what we use now. It also ties into the values in the company that we're here to create value for a small group of clients in a really big way. How can we do better, think outside the box, expand our knowledge, pursue mastery with what we do for them because when they grow, we grow. And it's all tied together, so that just feels a lot more authentic for me and for the people that have come on to the team with that being our volumes.
Rita Barry (44:50):
So we're working toward a half billion dollars for female-led businesses. It'll probably take us 10 years, but that's okay. I'm really good with that being the north star and that also helps keep everything in perspective around the amount of clients we take, which clients are the best fit for us, and who do we think we can have the most impact with, things like that. So that's what we do right now.
Susan Boles (45:11):
I love it. Yeah, I think that is a great place to start wrapping it up on. Is there anything you think we should talk about that we haven't touched on yet?
Rita Barry (45:21):
I don't know. I think we managed all the things. I mean, I got to talk about like shoe insoles and growing up on social assistance. I think we've got it all.
Susan Boles (45:30):
And we snuck private jet problems in there, which is my main favorite thing.
Rita Barry (45:34):
If a few clients who listen to this, they'll have a good laugh because it's like it is. A lot of them recognize just how ridiculous they know the stupid money or like this is insane.
Susan Boles (45:47):
Awesome. So where can our listeners find you if they want to connect with you or learn more about what you do?
Rita Barry (45:53):
They want to learn about what it is that we do, ritabarry.co is the website. That's B-A-R-R-Y .co. That's the best place. And then if like just wanting to say hi in chat then Instagram in the DMs is always a good place. I'm not on social media. It's kind of like a prolific spreading of message kind of way, but I do check the messages there. So if anyone just wants to say hi, that's the best place. And then learning about the greater ecosystem and all of the offerings and things, the website is the best place to go.
Susan Boles (46:24):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming and talking to me about it. This was so much fun.
Rita Barry (46:28):
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Susan Boles (46:31):
Figuring out where enough is for you, can be a very powerful tool in helping you evaluate the choices you make around your finances and the growth of your business. Do you feel compelled to grow your business because you genuinely want to grow a bigger business or because that's just what you think you're supposed to want?
Susan Boles (46:50):
Understanding what your enough benchmark is can help you bust through that hustle culture mindset and make choices based on your wants, desires, and values rather than on someone else's. When you can get really clear on your values and priorities as part of evaluating or improving your relationship to money, it can help illuminate what you should really be doing with your money. And how to use it most effectively to accomplish your own goals, whether those goals are to hit one million in revenue or to take a month off of work each year.
Susan Boles (47:25):
Next week, I'm talking to Brian Plain, who's a certified financial planner, all about rethinking financial success and failure, and this idea of enough is a huge part of his work with clients. So hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player so you don't miss it.
Susan Boles (47:41):
Break the Ceiling is produced by Yellow House Media. Our executive producer is Sean McMullin. Our production coordinator is Lou Blazer. This episode was edited by Marty Seefeldt, with production assistance by Kristin Runvik.