INVESTING IN YOUR BUSINESS: How to make smart investments with high ROI
Thinking back over the years, my husband borrows and I have made many, many investments. We have invested in his manufacturing company and I'm talking about multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, to get his company to grow, to get the required equipment and machinery and resources and tools, as well as building the team that he needed to grow his company. I have invested in my company as well, and I've had many businesses before that includes advertising. That includes branding. That includes, you know, tools and materials and a lot of online systems, as well as team and staff and, you know, making the investment into myself, my clients and the people that, you know, work for me and work with me to grow and to scale faster. So I'm no stranger to investing. Of course.
And I also know that it can be difficult from a mindset perspective. And when I talked to a lot of business owners and they tell me, you know what, I just don't have the money to invest. I just can't invest right now. They might be thinking that they don't have the resources and they can't access the money, but the truth most of the time is that we just don't allow ourselves to do it. So it's a matter of you allowing yourself to invest in knowing what to invest in so that your investments eventually pay off. So today I want to talk to see grow in a very special guest on the show about investing forward to scale your business faster.
I want to ask her about the investments she has made and which ones have paid off and which ones maybe didn't pay off how she chooses her investments wisely. What we should be investing in a different levels of business and a lot of the mindset around investing in just growing your business in a really smart way. So I'm excited for Seagram let's dig in, and that's why I come here to the show. Okay. As always, before we get started,
make sure you hit the bell and subscribe to our channel. So you never miss a thing. Welcome to powerhouse business on YouTube. I'm your host, Carolin Soldo. I'm a business owner, business scaling master, and mom of two boys. I love thinking big pushing boundaries and doing things differently. Most of all, I'm all about achieving massive growth with ease and helping you scale your business by living the life. You love Mexico
sequences. So on a mission to accelerate gender equality through female entrepreneurship, she is the leading business mentor for female online entrepreneurs in Europe, a TEDx speaker and host of the Sigrun show podcast. She's originally from Reykjavik, Iceland, but has spent most of her life outside of her home country. In Germany, the UK and Switzerland Johnson has vast experience in the corporate world. She holds several master's degrees in 2014. She launched her online business and built it quickly to multiple seven figures in today. She helps women from all avant the world,
start build and scale their own online businesses. Welcome Seagram. So welcome sequence to the show. Thank you for having me. I'm excited. Awesome. Awesome. So the first thing I wanted to ask you is where you're located right now, because I know you like to be all over the world a little bit. So where are you like this very moment.
I am in my home office in Reykjavik, Iceland. Uh. Yeah. And so when I read your bio, I know you spend time in the UK. You've been in Switzerland, right. Germany, really, really all around.
Are you still traveling a lot these days? Well, no, obviously not. Uh, but uh, I live in both Switzerland and Iceland. My husband is Swiss. Uh, I have two stepsons and they go to school in Switzerland. And for the last 12, 13 years I've been living in both places, but my business has, of course, a lot of me to spend almost six months a year in my home country, Iceland.
I just bought a penthouse last year, still decorating it. Uh, yeah. But, uh, that's exactly what I wanted to live in two places and then travel when it's safe. Exactly. When it's a, yeah. I think, you know,
having a business obviously comes with, with all the challenges and struggles and ups and downs, but really the reward of having that, the lifestyle that you want, that we want, especially as women, that's everything. Right. It's the freedom. Absolutely. Yeah. So we're talking about a really interesting topic and that's the idea of investing forward to scale faster. That's our official title. So it's all about, you know, investing in your business, investing in yourself. So the first thing that came to my mind, and I don't know if this is how you think about it too, is the idea of letting go of this sort of, you know, I call it the employee mindset when it comes to spending money and investing and moving over to a business owner mindset and how business owners look at investing. So get me started with your definition of investing in and how you see that working out for business owners.
Yeah. I know I even had a business coach that was quite shocked at the way I think, and how I operate in my business because she thought I was just like wasting all my money. And, uh, it's interesting that now, uh, I am actually making at least as much revenue as she is and even more, my method has worked well for me. So just, uh, when I started my business, I knew right away, I did not want to have a business that was not scalable. Right. I ha I had been a CEO for 10 years and one of the first businesses I took over with no business education and no business experience was a small company with 15 employees, a website agency.
And the only way to grow the revenue of the website agency was to hire more programmers. Yeah. And at some point we ran out of programmers. Iceland is a small country. I was living in Iceland at the time. Uh, there was 1% unemployment rate, which meant employees could just stay for whatever they wanted to have as a salary. And you had to pay it or you have the risk of them going to another company who was willing to pay more.
And I said to my boss at the time I didn't own the company. I was just the CEO. I said, we have to sell because this is, this is, uh, you know, we cannot scale further. And I made the decision. I wasn't even thinking of starting my own business back then, but I made a decision. Once I started my own business, I will make sure it's scalable without having to always hire more people.
Now, obviously you, you have to grow a team as you grow your business, but it shouldn't be dependent on the only way to grow is to hire another person. There should be other ways growing. So when I started my business, I realized I have to invest forward. Uh, I guess I just had this mindset from doing an MBA.
I had to learn how to do business. I now have those decades of experience of running other people's businesses. And I noticed there was this difference between businesses are very cautious and always just like, you know, first all the money. And then, you know, then you pay and you, you, you, it becomes a stagnant business.
And if you're not growing, you are essentially dying. Uh, you know, growth is a fuel for business. And I started it in a little bit of a weird way. Some people think, uh, but now I've been proving, right? Is that I actually invested into traveling and meeting people. Okay. Connections. So, yeah. So because I wanted to grow an international business, but I was living in a little village in Switzerland. Yeah.
I was Icelandic. I was not a native English speaker, but I wanted to run a business in, in English. So I thought, where is my ideal client? Then I fought. They might be in the U S or maybe UK. No, that was my mindset at the time. It's funny now because about 70% of my clients are from central Europe and they are non-native English speakers, but they flock to me because I've been able to build an internet business.
So it's kind of funny. I didn't realize that at the time, but I spent a lot of money traveling to the UK in the U S meeting people, going to conferences, being part of seminars and workshops, and then starting to hire of course, business coaches and joined masterminds. So I was over spending. Some people could say, but from my point of view, I was investing. I was investing into relationships. I was investing into things that maybe didn't have a return on investment until a year later, until two years later. Now, obviously when people do a course,
like an online course, they expect immediate return on investment. Sure. But I was thinking they'd been more long-term it's funny. I didn't start my podcast until 2017. So I was like, you know, uh, four years in business almost, but I reached out to 50 or a hundred people I wanted to interview and not a single person said, no, I hadn't been investing into these relationships. And that does cost money. It costs money to travel, to stay in a hotel, uh,
to go to seminars. Uh, I went to Oprah super soul Sunday. I went to money. Bootcamp was the new stuff. Phil Tomas back when I had almost no money, uh, you know, I went to social media marketing world six years in a row. And for some people, this is a waste of time, but for me, this has definitely paid off. Super smart. And you also learned a ton, right? Let's not underestimate that. And I mean, for someone like you have, I have one MBA, I think you have like four or so. So you know,
the value of investing in your education. Right. And that's not cheap either because when you have the know-how and you have the relationships to your point, then you know, you can leverage all of that and have it come together. Yeah. I feel, I feel bad for so many people who are trying to bootstrap their businesses so much and believe what they're doing is they're just struggling for such a long time. And, you know, worst case scenario, they give up on it eventually, and it doesn't have to be that way at all.
So you talked a lot about investing and traveling and meeting people and relationships, but I wanted to ask you, can you think of the biggest investment you've ever made in your business? It's something where you thought, Oh my God, this is really big. And then maybe a little scary even, I don't know if you haven't had an example, but I would love to hear it. And then, then what happens when you did that? Well, it depends where you are in your business. You know, a $5,000 investment is huge when you don't have the money. Right. But then when you make a lot of money, 50,000 actually isn't that much. So it is not really the amount, but more of the relationship you have with your investment.
So I think the scariest investment I made was my $5,000 investment into my first business coach. In my first year of business, I have been trying to do it all on my own for nine months. It wasn't really working. It was like throwing spaghetti at the wall. And I thought by watching other people, and I'm pretty good at watching other people and learning from what they're doing, but that's not enough. And we can really clear that right away.
Now you cannot just watch other people and hope, you know, everything. You have to look behind the scenes and really learn from them. And I can, that's a part of, uh, building relationship, you know, by investing in a business coach or a mastermind or a course or a program you're also getting closer to that person. And you will learn more than by just listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube video.
But I think this first investment was the scariest one because it like, you know, I don't have $5,000. Here's my credit card. Will I earn my money back? Yeah. It was only a six or eight week launch coaching. It's exactly the topic that I'm so passionate about. I love launching, uh, and uh, something clicked just transferring the money a day later, I got an email from someone who said, Hey, dude, we do coaching. And suddenly the flood Gates open, and yes, it did help to work with the business coach, but it was my mindset. Yes.
Finally investing in myself and taking that jump. That, that, that changed everything. Yeah. Yeah. You became a business owner at that point, right.
It's I bet you work with a lot of coaches and consultants and maybe people in other industries too. But when I see, I see the live when people sort of say, I'm a realtor or I coach, or I do nutrition, or I do, you know, whatever the craft is, they see themselves as the sort of artists, but really what they need to look at is, is being a business owner. My itself, you go from coach to actually being a business owner, which is a whole different thing. So, um, that's interesting. That's the first one. I've a member asking my husband for his credit card, his business credit card to invest in Facebook ads.
And I was doing this life webinar. I was many years ago and I spent about $10,000. And that to me was crazy, but I thought, I'm just going to double down. If this thing doesn't work out, I'm done with the business. I'm just going to go all in and see if it can work.
And you know, it, it, it wasn't as bad and obviously I'm still here. Um, but, but yeah, so, so the mindset is, is the big thing. It's not that, you know, having the money is one thing, but then allowing ourselves to really invest is, is the other, um, talk to me a little bit about further on, in, in business. Most of the clients that I work with and the people in our community are not really startups anymore. They are already running an existing business,
mostly in service-based industries and they often wonder what they should invest in. So, you know, what are some of the smart things to invest to? Like, you know, you said scale and grow the business. Yeah, well, uh, before we started to record, uh, I was telling you that I've just been, I'm recovering from being sick. This is my fourth week. Uh, my voice is a little bit raw as you can hear. Uh, I got a virus, not COVID, but still has been very bad on me.
And I've been very blessed. I've been able to lie in bed and go, I was even hospitals for two nights. Uh, my business has been running without me completely. Uh, of course my clients know that I'm sick because I'm wearing transparent and I wouldn't want to hide the fact that I'm sick, but nothing has stopped. And I think everyone wants to get to this point.
I think normally you want to plan a four week holiday and see that the business can run without you, but in case I didn't plan on getting sick, but, uh, so what do you need to invest in? And I'm actually kind of analyzing this myself, like, okay, how was I able to get to this place where my business can completely run without me? And it's a coach in the business. Yeah. Um, so the first thing I took to scale in this direction was growing my programs, my coaching programs, uh, from being like six people to then 10 and 12 and 18. And I think I got to 18 on my own. And I realized that if I wanted to grow them further, I needed to hire coaches. And that was a big like, Whoa, you know, can someone else coach, like I do, you know, all these ego things because yeah, you think you are so indispensable and nobody can do it the way you can do.
Uh, and, uh, yeah, I think 2018, I asked two team members to join me. And in the beginning I did really treat them as proper coaches. I have to be honest that I was like, you know, they're providing technical calls.
I had a Facebook ad coach and I had a woman who's been on my team for years. And C was supposed to do some extra calls when people needed help with landing pages and sales pages and stuff. But I didn't really treat them at the same level, but something has shifted over the years. And uh, now I have six coaches in this program and it became easier and easier.
And I treat, I, I present them now to my audiences, all them being at the same level, nobody's more, you know, better when people joined the program. I say, well, there are three people you can go through when it comes to online business strategy, me, this person, that person, you know, I kind of like put us all on the same level, but it took some, I guess, a growth, you know, my own growth to get over myself and not say like, Oh, they all have to ask me and I must know all the answers. So I think you, in order to grow and scale and be able to step away from and be proper business owners, like you said, is, is once your business can run without you for four weeks, then you have made it. But the first step is the coaches. I, uh,
the second step is to, um, or it doesn't matter in which order you doing really, uh, is to get someone who can actually run the day-to-day business without you. Uh, some people call this a project manager, uh, integrator COO, uh, or you might even actually call this person a CEO and you become president. Uh, but in any case, it's a person that is executing your vision. It doesn't mean that you stop thinking about what's best for your company, but they take orders from you.
And then they can think things through and execute without asking you every little single detail. Yeah. And I think these are the two big topics for me is having all these coaches and making sure even my highest level mastermind. I had a call with them exactly when I was like so sick. I couldn't like speak. I had lost my voice. This was a couple of weeks ago.
I had a woman on my teams, worked for me for six years, step in help see, watch the last coaching call. And she was able to step in, I only watched like five minutes of the call because we stream immersing into a Facebook group. I watched five minutes of the call and I was like, yeah, see, what's the last coaching calls. He knows where everything is at. So who is on the hot seat now? And I'm like, yes. Got it. Great. So what I'm hearing is people, right? So, so the systems,
and this is so interesting, I find that most people don't want to talk about hiring, you know, when you, when you try out different marketing for example, or workshop topics, and I'm sure you do that too, like what's hot. And what do people want to know about? Not very many will, will, will say, I want to know how to hire a team. You know, it's all about the marketing and the sales and the shiny objects, but you're talking to us about having people you can rely on to replace yourself and having the mindset to, to let go. Right. And, um, yeah, it's, it's scary it delegation. I see it too, but eventually you'll get to the point where you just can, you, you can't do it all right. You, you, you burn out. I did the same thing. I have several coaches in different programs and people having me behind the scenes and without it, it's, it's, you know, it's not doable and it's not the life that, that you want.
So do you see a lot of people? Yeah. Go for it. Yeah. I would say the biggest obstacle is, uh, is, is, is you in this? Uh, and I remember I was on a hot seat in a mastermind. I was a part of, and I was telling them about a conference. I was planning and I was planning this and this and that. I had like a whole list. And, uh, they asked me like, how big is your team?
And we were three people at the time, my husband and this woman that I just told you about before has been a part of my team since six years. Yeah. And they were like syndrome. You need to hire people. If you're going to do all of these things, you need to hire people. And I was like, Ooh, who do I have to first?
And they were talking about, you know, hire an executive assistant and integrator and all that stuff. And they noticed I was so scared. And then there's a woman who was a bit older and then masterminds, rarely speaks up. And she said, cigarettes,
you need to stop proving to yourself that you can do this all on your own. You have proven it. You've already built a seven-figure business, almost alone. You know, now it's enough. Like now you don't,
it's almost like I had to. And it hit me. It was like a knife into the heart. It was like, yeah, this is it. I constantly, and probably still today, I'm constantly had the feeling, I'm proving something. And I think it's a part of being a woman, uh, to, you know, I noticed when I talk to my business about my business to a group of guides, my revenue numbers, one of the first things I talk about, I make this much money. And I'm like, yeah,
because this feeling of like, Oh, you have this online business, it must be a hobby. And, you know, especially if you, if someone says, Oh, lifestyle, like we said before, I want to be able to live in two countries and enjoy my life. And they think this is some joke. And I'm like, Nope, this is a proper business. And I have 15 people on my team, but I really had to get over this fact off.
I don't have to do it on my own. It's okay to ask for help. It's also okay to make some hiring mistakes, but, but you get better and better. And, uh, you know, you have all these tests now that you have people, you know, go through before you hire them. And when you have more people, you can have them interview. But yeah, I think the only way, you know,
when we're talking about multiple seven figures, and if someone is, you know, on the way to eight figures, it's people systems. Yes, of course we need systems, but honestly, if the systems can be so good, but if you don't have the people to, you know, operate the systems and make them work, it's the systems that are just, I would not get too hooked up on systems. I would say his systems. Yes. But it's more important to find good people, right.
And you said something off, we could go, this is a whole new topic we could unravel. It's proving yourself. I've done a lot of work on myself too and changing my business and reinventing it and, you know, scaling it up and then scaling it way down and really making it work, you know, on my terms and what I wanted and, and getting off that sort of, you know, having to prove myself, chase, because I've seen over the year. So many, especially women who will come back to me saying, you know, on the outside, I look really successful, but on the inside I feel really burnt out and I have to constantly keep it up and the constant pressure and I always need to do more.
And I don't really know why there's always this drive to do more and more and more. And for me, it was fully proving myself and proving myself to my mom. And there's a whole backstory with like family and all of that. Right. Um, but you got to get over it and also just to avoid the burnout, but to do things because they're fun. Not because you need to prove anything, but because you, you have this gift and this message for, you know, people in the world and, and just making that happiness priority.
I just so good. So good. I'm even seeing this sickness as a gift, you know, it's kind of hard to see it because I haven't healed properly, but I've been thinking a lot for the last three and a half weeks. And it's a gift to see that my business can run without me. Yeah. It is giving me almost some extra time because I'm like, well, when I come back, I don't need to go back a hundred percent because I can finally do some of the things that I've, you know, put on the back burner, like writing a book and things like that. But yeah. And you have to step away,
like you see people stepping up when they have to. Yeah. You know, I've had team members that constantly ask me, uh, what should the bonuses be for this launch? So then, and I'm like, can't you decide that, figure it out, but it's been hard when you're there. And you, you, you are in front of the person that are like, why shouldn't I tell them? But when I'm losing my voice and can only communicate over Slack to my team, they have to. So, uh, I, I'm not suggesting that people get sick on purpose, but you need to find a way where the team can not ask you all the questions. Right. And so it allows them to become more comfortable,
confident, and comfortable, and trusting themselves more. And you trust them more and you trust the business that it can actually give you that space. So I know exactly what you're talking about. It's beautiful. Yeah. It's awesome. So in the interest of time,
I want to ask you two more things. I want to know about what you have coming up and where people can find you, but is there anything in terms of investing that you think is important that we haven't talked about yet, you talked about the people and the systems and the mindset, anything else that you think is key? Obviously we didn't mention tools and I don't want to focus too much on tools, but I have definitely upgraded my tools over time. And I think people have to be not afraid of switching. Uh,
you know, I have tools today where I wished I wished I had decided on those three years ago, but Hey, I didn't. So there is a switching cost, but, uh, you gotta check. I would say there's an annual checkup you should do with the tools you're using in your business, smart and, uh, check what other people are using that have a similar business to yours and how was their experience. And then do the switch.
We have been switching and not just because the tools are better, but somehow 2020 made me think about ethical things, uh, companies that I don't want to be associated with and switching away from them to companies that I actually feel are better aligned with my values. Yeah. Uh, and that's an investment, uh, training employees. I think that was something that I didn't pay enough attention to in the beginning. And, uh, that's something you need to think about, like when you have a lot of contractors in the beginning, uh, you're not so much thinking about training them.
Like they should train themselves, but when you have a real team, people who are employed by you now half of my team are contractors, but that's because they live in different countries and I'm not going to set up a subsidiary in every single country. Uh, but thinking about your team as a proper team and then investing into them. Uh, so I have asked everyone on my team, what they would like to learn then of course, then of course, I look what they're supposed to be doing. What are their KPIs? And then, you know, if that is a match, uh, you know, finding them a course or program for them, and then ultimately you might need a team coach. Uh, that's something that we haven't done yet.
I had a team coach for myself when I was doing some organizational changes, but I think the next terms on investment is not just, you wait, we have to stop to think just about us. Like, we were so much in, like, I need, I need a coach. I need a mastermind. Right. What about, what about your team? I think that's the next level investors. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's beautiful.
And I asked them what they want to learn too. Right. It's there, if they're dedicating, even, especially if they're full-time and they're dedicating everything to you, right. To us, then there are the people who make everything work and they deserve it.
So yes. Powerful. Wow. Okay. So you go, where can people find you tell us about, um, I don't know, events or not really that you know, happening might not unfortunately, but how can we connect with you and what else might be happening in your world? So, uh, find me, uh, I have a podcast sticker home to show. I have also a YouTube channel.
Uh Sigrun and sigrun.com all the information, but I do have a conference next year. Uh, self-made summit in Reykjavik, Iceland.
I'm hoping to have women come in from all over the world. I know we have sold tickets to Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and all over Europe. Women are coming from all over. Speakers are all seven figure plus speakers, not a single person can speak on my stage unless see, is making seven figures. We have one exception, a 19 year old, a woman who has built a business, uh, non-profits in the U S and has worked with Michelle Obama and has been in Oprah magazine. So sees an exception. They're not a seven figure business yet.
Uh, but yeah, self-made summit was supposed to happen in 2020, obviously. Didn't, uh, 20, 21. We're not going to risk it because it's too risky. But 20, 22, this is a dream come true for me. It's a form of investment too. Uh, I feel like one, I want to give back. I want to reach more people. People who are maybe not online in the online bubble that we are in. Uh,
and, uh, my mission is to accelerate gender equality. And, and this becomes my new direction. You know, people maybe know me as online business coach, but, uh, ultimately I want advance gender equality. I love it. And Iceland who doesn't want to go to Iceland. I mean, c'mon yeah. So, and next year, you know, yeah. Count me in if the traveling is safe and everything, and it should be, you know, we have vaccines rolling out and everything. So yes, that's awesome.
And you're my being with people like in real life, there's, there's nothing like it. That's how we started with relationships. Why being with people and building connections. So that's awesome. Um, do you know when it is yet dates or Republic is still planned 22nd, 21st or 22nd of June next year. Perfect summer. Even better. Sweet. So, so yeah, audience, you're watching us here. Thank you for checking in again, definitely go take a look at sequence event, the conference pro website podcast, YouTube show, all the good things, especially if you are in Europe, but really all around the world where this big global family now off of people.
And, um, what I love about you sequent is your values, your authenticity, who you are, and the, the wealth of knowledge and the years of experience clearly that you know, we've seen today and that you, you have. So thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.
And now we would love to hear it from you as always give us a like, and most importantly, leave us a comment below. Let's talk about investing in your business. How do you make your investment decisions? What have you learned in this episode? What questions do you have? Leave us a comment we'd love to hear from you, and we'd love to help you invest forward to scale your business faster too.
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