Parker Stevenson: Understanding Your Financials to Get the Most From Your Biz

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When should you get serious about know your financials and what do you need to know? Are you leaving money on the table? Parker Stevenson is co-owner of Evolved Finance and is a financial strategist who works with online business. We talk to Parker to dig into everything you need to know.

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by, there may be errors)

Parker Stevenson 00:03

Welcome to the Change Creator podcast where entrepreneurs come to learn how to live their truth get rich and make a massive difference in the world. I’m your host Adam forest co founder, Change Creator and co creator of the captivate method. Each week we talk to experts about leadership, digital marketing and sales strategies that you can implement in your business and life to go big visit us at Change to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the change credit podcast show Sorry for the delay getting this episode out. We’re usually out on Wednesday mornings we had a serious studio crash with our computers as we tried to update to a new operating system. And we ended up having to erase our hard drives and start all over from scratch again. So we are back in action here and ready to rock and roll with a great interview today with our buddy Parker Stevenson. He is one of the Co-owners of a company called Evolved Finance. Evolved Finance is a great, great company that is designed strategically to help you with your bookkeeping as an entrepreneur, coaches, course creators, whatever it might be service companies, and they help you really understand your numbers, make better decisions and see where you might be overspending. underspending, where money is left on the table, and how to really start forecasting for the future. So you can increase your revenues in a very smart way. And it’s such an important part of running our businesses. So we’re excited to have Parker on today. And we’re gonna dive into all kinds of good stuff regarding your financial management. If you missed the last episode, I highly recommend you go back and check it out. It is an episode with Amy and myself here at Change Creator talking about why so many entrepreneurs start on a high, but crash later on down the road. Lots of good insights from our experience in there. It’s a good one to dive into guys. So check that out. When you get a chance. Don’t forget to stop by Change lots of good stuff going on there with updates and content and goodies. And at the same time, follow us on Facebook. That is our primary spot guys. We share all kinds of stuff there and on in our Facebook group. If you want to get inside the Facebook group, be a Change Creator. That is the Facebook group. All right. I’m not gonna hold this up anymore. Let’s dive into this conversation with Parker. Okay, show me the heat.

Adam G. Force 02:35

Hey, Parker. Welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How you doing today, buddy?

Parker Stevenson 02:39

I’m doing great, Adam. Thanks for having me, man.

Adam G. Force 02:41

Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to have you here. So for people that don’t know, and I don’t think any of you do. Parker and I met, actually right before the Coronavirus in California at a, I guess I call it a mastermind summit of some kind, right, this was for a program that I was actually invested in. And he was doing a presentation out there to support entrepreneurs like us in the finance category. And basically, they’re masters of your books, and they help you optimize, grow your business, do all this great stuff. So I want to bring Parker on here because he’s just a really valuable expert in this space. So he’s going to help you understand what you need to know about your finances, especially in the early days of your startup. So Parker, if you could just kind of give people a little bit of insight on your background so they know where you’re coming from. And that kind of in a nutshell, really.

Parker Stevenson 03:42

Yeah. So again, my name is Parker Stevenson. I am the CO owner and Chief Business Officer for a bookkeeping firm called Evolved Finance. We really specialize in doing bookkeeping for online businesses. So a lot of you know, all of our clients are selling coaching programs and courses and membership sites and online services and influencer business models. just pretty much anyone not selling physical inventory. That’s been our primary target audience. And I will admit, for me, I never thought I would be co owner of a bookkeeping business. It just was not the path I thought I’d be on but I was I kind of grew up feeling like I was a, you know, a creative identified as a creative and when I went to college, I started a band. I was a musician for a number of years and Los Angeles had a great time. And when the band broke up, decided, hey, what else do I like to do as I really like golf, and then move back down to San Diego from Los Angeles and go work for one of the big Gulf manufacturers. So I ended up getting a job at Adidas golf and I worked there for another five years. While I was in the band. I worked for an automotive consultant, which was kind of like a small online business really, at the time. It was a website database that all the big manufacturers subscribed to. So I kind of had a little taste to entrepreneurship, being in a band and working for a small business, make the move to Adidas, which was a tremendous experience. I kind of look at It is my NBA, because I just learned so much had some great mentors there. But also kind of realize, I don’t think I want to be a little cog in a big machine. And so I was talking with my business partner, now business partner, Cory, who’s really friend, him and his wife were best friends with my wife. And I was like, I think I can help you guys grow this business. And so took the leap of faith taught me how to do bookkeeping taught me about the financial side of online businesses. And I share all this because now I feel like, I’m kind of an expert on finance for small business. And I thought I was a creative, I thought I was gonna be a rock star. And so I like to use that as a story just to show people that, you know, we have so many clients that don’t start businesses, because they’re like, Oh, I can’t wait to dive into spreadsheets and talk about taxes, you know, where we get into our businesses, because we want to make an impact, we want to make a good living, right, like all the reasons, but we get afraid that all this finance stuff, I don’t get it, it seems to complicate I don’t have to deal with it. And I’m a perfect example of someone who very easily could have been that person that would just avoid avoided numbers. But once I got exposure to it, with my time at Adidas, and, and obviously growing this business, and of all finance, I think we just all make it so much more complicated that we need to and that’s a big part of what we’re trying to do at Evolved Finance is just demystify this stuff and make it less intimidating, and really turn your numbers into an asset that helps your business grow.

Adam G. Force 06:23

Yeah, so important. So a lot of good background there. Thanks, Parker. And you know, what I, one of the things we love, and just so you guys know, we do work with Evolved Finance here at Change Creator. And, you know, we love just the insights we get, because we were, I don’t know, nonchalantly, like keeping an eye on our numbers, and you know, all that kind of stuff. And we never really saw the overhead. So clearly, right? Just how much money you’re really spending on all the reoccurring subscriptions, and tech and software and all those things. And then where I like, you know, really how we can start seeing where a certain percentage of our money is being spent. So it’s like, oh, well, you got 80% of your expenses are on, you know, ads or on, you know, VHS, right. And so, it really starts giving you direction. And what they do is they give you insight to these things to read between the lines, so you can make better decisions. So Parker, just, you know, coming from your perspective of a service company, and supporting so many different entrepreneurs, who coaches, you know, online course creators and stuff. What are some of the things that, based on your experience now work with so many that you feel that some of the newer entrepreneurs are… let’s say… first five years of business, even first three? Like when do you really need to get serious about looking at your numbers? Like, what, when is that time?

Parker Stevenson 07:59

I mean, honestly, with where I’m at now, I wouldn’t even start a business business before I do the math, and I do the numbers and figure out what is this business going to look like financially? I know, that’s not necessarily everyone’s instinct, they go, okay, what’s my offer? How am I gonna market it? Where are my customers? For sure, and you need to figure all that out. But I think as business owners, and especially, I’d say people who are very visionary based and very marketing and sales based, just because you can sell somebody something, doesn’t mean that it’s a business model, a business model that functions has profit, and the only way to know that is to figure out like, what’s the math behind this business? And so I think for most online businesses, it’s not a matter of if the business model is going to work. I you know, it’s a proven model. And I think for most of us, we understand that, you know, we’ll be able to make a living from this business. But I think the sooner you can start thinking about your business, from a financial standpoint, even if it’s like, Okay, I’m getting my business started, I have $4,000 a month and expenses. And I know what those things are, I need to hold myself accountable, make sure I’m at least breaking even and making four grand a month on average, or maybe I need to figure out, Okay, I want to make eight to 10 grand, cover my 4000 expenses and start to make a profit, so I can use that to invest back into the business or to pay myself. And so I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, we just go, I’ll just see how much money I can make. And I’ll just spend whatever money I need. And it’s very much based in feelings. It’s based on emotions. It’s based on instinct, and we need all those things as good business owners, but we also need to have some sort of data, we have to have some sort of feedback, we need something that’s going to make the business tangible. So it’s not just this like nebulous things that you just look in your bank account and go we have money, I guess we’re doing okay. Like for me, I want to know from every step of the way, even if I’m just tracking my income and expenses in a spreadsheet for my first couple years, but I want to know what is actually happening with the money coming in and coming out of this business. So I can start to get feedback on, do I need to change my pricing? Do I need to be ready to make a big investment? Do I need to figure out how to replace my income so I can quit my job or whatever it may be. So I think the sooner we can start thinking about the financial side of our businesses, just I think the more we’re going to set ourselves up not to just be successful salespeople and marketers, but to be successful CEOs and business owners.

Adam G. Force 10:26

Yeah. Yeah, you know, I love that you talk about emotion. Because that’s, that is what it is, it’s like, you don’t take it as seriously in the earlier years, because you’re like, I’m trying this thing. Let’s see if it works. I’m not going to invest too much in, you know, book management, and all that kind of stuff. And I have now learned that if I was starting a business, you’re right, know the numbers, but also know, what are the benchmarks and triggers to look for? Because how do you know if you’re okay, or not? And I would say that, you guys probably could have saved me about $80,000. In the first two years of Change Creator, because you know, we were running the digital magazine, which I love, and it’s our app, right? But imagine you’re coming out of the gates, you have no proven revenue stream, yet. You’re taking on the overhead of writer’s design magazine, like, you know, creation and all this stuff. It was just I kept going and investing saying, oh, when I get Arianna Huffington, this is gonna blow up. Okay, wait, when I get Tony Robbins, we’re gonna blow up. And the marketing margin was so small, because the magazine sale is only you know, it’s like 15 to $50 subscription. Right? Yeah. And so you guys would have been like, Adam, hello, red flag over here and kind of put a stop to that. And that, guys, that’s what is so important. So you can jump on calls here, when you have the right mentors and support and who are experts in these spaces. And they’ll help identify these red flags, right? Because they can I literally when I say you could have saved me $80,000. I’m dead serious when I say that, because we spent that kind of money. And at some point, we had to look at the magazine, even if we were getting 1000 new subscribers a week that took so much marketing power, that we weren’t profitable. So it was just kind of like, Okay, what do we do with this? Right, and that was a that was a tough road. And that’s part of like doing the right things at the right time. I think that if I did it over again, I would reorder our priorities and products that we put out the door.

Parker Stevenson 12:38

And that’s where I think the power of numbers come comes in. And I feel like this has just been coming up the last couple days for me doing podcasts and workshops and stuff like that is priorities, like the word you just use. There is like if there is a word that defines entrepreneurship, it’s, do you know how to prioritize, and it’s a skill, I think you learn over time, you have to have experience in order to start to understand how to prioritize, or you need to have a mentor or someone who can help you see what the priority should be in your business. But our numbers tend to show us what we need to prioritize. Because if you look at your numbers, and you’re like, wow, we’re killing it with this offer. But we have seven other offers we’re trying to sell. Why are we even trying to sell the other offers, the numbers are showing us this is our winner, let’s double down here. Or you’re like, Oh, it’s showing us that because we have all these offers, our labor expenses are through the roof, if we don’t change the way we deliver on our offer, because our team expenses are so high, this business isn’t going to work, we need to reprioritize how we deliver our offer and how we serve our customers. Right? So the numbers are the feedback we need, right? It’s it’s the scorecard or the report card that shows Hey, good job here, or, hey, pay attention to this because this might not this might mean the business isn’t going to work unless we make some adjustments here. And I don’t think it’s reasonable to have the expectation that a business owner should just buy feel no, and things are working or not working. Like we need feedback, whether it’s from our customers giving us feedback, or team members or numbers are marketing metrics, right? Like smart business owners get the information they need so that when they’re making business decisions, they’re doing it with empowered with information, and not just instinct and feelings.

Adam G. Force 14:25

Yeah, I think that’s so important. And you know what I you know, the other thing that happens, like when you look at numbers, like you can sit there and estimate and you also can be just way off in your expectations. For example, you could be like, hey, so my audience for this market is 10 million people. I got a huge market if all I have to do is get 1%. This is what I hear all the time. I’m like, dude, you’re like you’re not getting 1%

Parker Stevenson 15:03

I’ve heard that so many times myself. But I relate to that so much.

Adam G. Force 15:06

Yes, yes, we hear it. This is one of the most common things I hear from a new entrepreneur, I know the marketplace size, and I’m gonna get it, all you got to do is get one, even if I get half a percent, it just doesn’t really play out that way. Not that you can’t get 1% Yeah, but when you’re starting a revenue stream, there’s so many other factors to actually making that possible. So you can deceive yourself and you need someone to be like, hey, let’s, let’s think about this a little differently. And I think you’re right, like, looking at the numbers first, does help you to prioritize your efforts. Because if I ever did anything, again, which I probably will do I have already had talking about another business, somebody, it’s like, we need to be profitable, like, right out of the gate with a revenue stream. Like I’m not even playing around with Well, we’ll create a year of content. And hopefully, yeah, no, no, no.

Parker Stevenson 16:00

To be fair. There are certain business models, if you’re going to start a restaurant, you got to put money up front, there’s no like, you can’t really like bootstrap a restaurant or a business model like that. Or a retail store or something like that. Because you need to buy the inventory, you need to rent out the space, you need to hire the team before you ever have a customer walk through the door. Yes, which is just really risky. But that’s how most businesses have been for the last, I don’t know, 1000 years, or however long businesses have been around for years. Usually, you’re putting money up front to get your storefront to get your team. But in the online space, the internet’s changed the way we we run businesses so much that you don’t have to put so much money upfront, you have to put a little bit, right, because you need that software, you might need you know, someone to design the website, you know, it’s a one time project or something like that. But really, the upfront costs are so low that you’re right, you can be profitable really quickly if we balanced some strategy with hustle.

Adam G. Force 17:07

Yeah, right. You come up with Yeah, exactly. And it’s a it’s a game changer, obviously, the online stuff. And I think, you know, let me know if you agree, but I think that there is such thing as healthy debt as well. Right? So in the sense of how we use debt in order to grow a business, so if you’re taking on a loan or taking on some kind of funding, that the risk is really in yourself in the sense of, are you making an educated decision? And do you know what you’re doing? Right? So do you agree that there’s healthy debt?

Parker Stevenson 17:42

There can be and I know, and I think it depends on your outlook on entrepreneurship. Like, for me, I am. I’ve taken many calculated risks throughout my life, even partnering up with Cory out of my finances, I left a cushy job at Adidas and took a massive pay cut. So I was willing to sacrifice income. But if you had said, hey, let’s start a haircut shop, and let’s take out a loan of $75,000. For me, I’d be like, Okay, I know that’s what you have to do to start this. But I don’t know if that’s the kind of risk I want to take on. But we have we’ve you know, what, we have one client in particular, I’m thinking about where they’re very much comfortable operating with debts, but it just can be a double edged, double edged sword. So it’s not for the faint of heart, but if you really are experienced, yeah. I mean, especially as you get into higher levels of entrepreneurship, that becomes a big part of the deal. Even in corporate America, I mean, corporations managed debt, big time, even if they’re sitting on boatloads of cash. So it can be it can be a big factor. But for small businesses, the less you have to deal with just the less risk you have and if you’re in a business model where you can turn a profit sooner than if you can limit the amount of debt you have to take on why wouldn’t you do that if you don’t have to, but like but you but it can definitely be I mean, debt can definitely be a tool to get you places that either would take forever to get to without it or it literally just wouldn’t happen without somebody funding

Adam G. Force 19:09

Right, and your business should become more of what people will define as a passive income model should start generating income like as a machine so if you take that debt to make that happen, and then you have the income coming in that’s that’s valuable. And isn’t there some kind of tax benefit like earned income is taxed but debt when you’re using debt is that isn’t that like not taxable or something?

Parker Stevenson 19:34

Yeah, I mean debt so because I’m not an accountant. I don’t want to quote anything. Yeah, but the debt shows up on the balance sheet and can affect how your taxes overall your debt to revenue, which can affect your your tax situation. But I mean with our clients, so few of our clients are taking out loans they might have like about you know, some balances on their credit cards from like investing last year and now their businesses are blowing up this year, and they’re starting to pay down credit card debt, but in the online space Very few of our clients have enough like low, like really classic loans or lines of credit? Where it’s a super common thing from our perspective.

Adam G. Force 20:08

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think you would see it more in like real estate businesses and stuff like that where they’re, you know, this is why guys, like, you know, Donald Trump and all those guys have like, millions and millions of dollars of debt. They’re doing that on purpose. You know, it’s like they’re playing a game with taxes and all that kind of stuff.

Parker Stevenson 20:27

Sometimes. Yeah. Sometimes it can be.

Adam G. Force 20:32

Yeah, God anyway, I don’t know why I brought him up. He just came to my brain. I hate that guy.

Parker Stevenson 20:38

But there is, but there is this like, high or low? And I think again, it all comes down to what’s your, what’s your experience level? What kind of business model Do you want to have? Because again, if I if I want to start a software company, I either have to get investors or I have to get along. Yeah. Because I have to pay someone to develop this. And if you believe in it enough, and you have some experience, but that’s where love them or hate them. I think Gary Vee, what he really nails is self awareness. And like, are you self aware enough to understand what it really takes to start a business where you need to get a ton of funding, because a lot of those businesses fail, versus our clients are self funded, or have very little expenses. And it’s just a matter of getting those clients coming in, because their overhead is so low right off the bat, that managing that risk and your opportunity, just the chances of success increased so dramatically from that standpoint, because the window, you have to try to pay back that loan is going to put tremendous pressure, and give you a lot less room for error when you’re starting a software company and a super competitive market. And it’s like, Alright, see if you can do in an app a better than the 35 other apps trying to do the same thing as yours. And obviously, there’s there’s success stories that come from that. But that’s where again, I think these online course businesses and coaching businesses and influencer businesses and stuff like that, and online service based businesses, it’s just if you don’t feel like you’re the next, Elon Musk. I think I think the vast majority of people can have success with an online business, and really thrive and replace their incomes from their job and make even more money than they would ever make from whatever job they had before that.

Adam G. Force 22:19

Yeah, yeah. And I think since you brought up Gary Vee, something else that always stuck in my brain, he was on stage once and he’s like, Listen, if you work hard, you have the willpower, you know, like you said, be self aware, be realistic, he’s like, in 10 years, you might have a nice little business, you know, he’s a cuz so many. He’s like, if one more, you know, 20, something comes up to me and says, I’m gonna be a millionaire in the next 12 months or before, I’m 30. He’s like, I just want to punch him in the face. Just thinking about it all wrong, you know, like, any, you know, I mean, everyone has their own perspective, right? I don’t know that there’s any real right or wrong, but he does give that reality check. Like these things, take time Be patient, do something you care about, you know, stuff like that. And the wrong motivations can lead to an unsustainable business. Right?

Parker Stevenson 23:10


Adam G. Force 23:11

So, so Okay, so we’re talking about, you know, managing the books and stuff. I’m just curious, too. Are there any, anything that you’ve seen with your clients that make them have better profit margins? Like, I’m curious about types of business, because, you know, we’ve done things like if I’m running a service business, and I only have like, two people on the team, or you’re doing it yourself, so you just started and you’re, you’re coaching or doing something, your overhead could be super low. So you can get two clients a month and make $5,000 a month, right. But then there’s courses, we’re growing staff like of coaches and all these things. And so I’m just curious if you notice any trends in the size of a company and like, you know, types of companies that really have good profit margins?

Parker Stevenson 24:04

Yeah, that’s a great question. So what we typically like to see for our clients who are doing like less than half a million is the margins are usually pretty high for online businesses, because like you said, if you’re selling a course, there’s no, there’s no inventory. There’s no cost to build a course. I mean, they’re kind of indirectly but it’s not like a shoe like when I was at Adidas, I was slinging golf shoes. There’s a very tangible cost to building the shoe, that then we have to price the shoe to cover the cost and make our profit. So like with courses and coaching and online services, when you don’t have these direct, like materials, costs and manufacturing costs. You’re absolutely right. If we can just get in front of the right people in the right audience is and we can make sales, you can make money and generate revenue without having to spend a lot of money on marketing. And what we saw in the past was that I’d say When I got into this industry six years ago, it was a lot of joint webinars, it was a lot of blogging, to build your email list to, you know, to build an audience to sell your offer to. And there’s still some of that, you know, around today. But building up your audience, whether you’re doing it through Instagram, or you’re doing it through SEO, or you’re doing it through podcasting, or whatever you do, the more it can be kind of, quote, unquote, free. I mean, there’s obviously a cost of time and stuff like that, in the early stages of your business, as much as you can build an organic audience without having to jump into ads right off the bat, that tends to be an advantage. And our clients that build on that is definitely a cost advantage. But then it’s getting more competitive in the online space. So we’re seeing more of our clients investing in ADS early on, and it could grow their revenue a lot faster. But really locking in your return on investment from your ads is where whether or not you’re profitable, can be tough. And so that’s where our clients were able to blend some of the advertising expenses mixed in with some of their organic traffic or mixed in with making sure they’re still consistently really promoting and communicating and cultivating relationship with their email list that they’re paying for through ads to maximize that return. That’s when we start to see profitability really get a lot better. But obviously, advertising can scale your business to a level that maybe is going to take a lot longer to do organically. So it’s always going to be this kind of like, give and take unless you got really lucky with building an audience organically really fast, which sometimes it’s like something going viral a YouTube video going viral or something along those lines, which is not something we want to bank on, then I think ultimately, what can we do in the initial stages of our business, through hustle through networking, through organic marketing means and when we have that cash flow available, and we’re generating revenue more consistently, then I think that’s when experimenting with ads and giving up a little bit of profit, there starts to make sense, because your total profit dollars will increase pretty dramatically if we can nail the advertising game.

Adam G. Force 27:05

I think that makes a lot of sense. And you know, for people that get overwhelmed, like, Oh, I gotta spend years building an organic audience, I would almost say that, yes, like, you got to start connecting with people, they got to know you exist, right. But if you could validate your product, you know that you can sell it to this audience, you could probably start testing out some of that ad spend as long as because what I what I think is really tough for people is you start running ads, but you really have no idea if anyone really is buying your product, you just think that’s how I get in front of people. And then you’re doing all your trial and error through paid advertising versus the organic that organic is a great stomping ground for testing and validating.

Parker Stevenson 27:54

Well, and there Yeah, there’s that experience you get from from the organic traffic and people kind of finding you and just getting into your right network, your right target audience that if you are killing it with launches and promotions to an organic audience, that and they really liked your offer, then that’s big. That becomes like a situation where it’s like, you know, how do we mitigate risk with with our investments? Yeah, what’s safer? investing in an unproven product and putting ads into something you’re not even sure if people want yet right? We’re doing it organically, people loving it and raving about it. And then putting the ad spend into it. Of course, you want something that’s tested? And what’s interesting, Adam is we we’ve had clients who have had multi, six figure email lists like 200-300,000 people who struggled to make as much money as someone with a 10,000 person email list.

Adam G. Force 28:54

Yeah, what a great point because people get really hung up on, you know, the size of the email list, the size of the social media following. And I think there’s value in both of those things, but the value diminishes if you don’t have relationships, like you haven’t earned their trust and you don’t have the offer that really resonates with them. So you haven’t built an audience that’s actually around this idea of that need, right? That they have. And we’ve done that to like, we had to purge our lists in the past where we would take them from 20,000 to 10,000, we’d cut the list in half, put half of them in a parking lot, and say, well, we’ll get some creative ideas to try to re engage those people. Right? And then you take the people that you do have, and you know, you still have you continue to work them. But it’s like, that happens. And you know, what I think I see a lot is people are putting a lot of time and effort into all these lead magnets, these freebies, and they don’t do things that are cohesive with their offer enough. And so they’re bringing in people just to try to get the email number up. So they’ll do anything that’s like, oh, let’s run a contest. And you get all these contests, people, which they never become buyers of your offer. We did that we done that stuff ago, we just added 5000 people in one day. Okay, great. No one ever buys anything. Yeah

Parker Stevenson 28:54

And that’s where it’s not about the size of your audience. It’s about connecting your offer with the right people and being clear with your messaging to the right people that you can build momentum off of 234 or 5000, person email lists. And as long as we’re clear about what we do, who our target audience is, and the problem we’re solving for them, the numbers just, we see it all the time, the more focused our clients are on being really targeted with their niche, their revenue grows more quickly, and their profit tends to stay healthier along the way. Yeah, it’s quality leads over the quantity of leads. And that’s where I think working back into the numbers. If you’re not thinking about your business, from a numbers standpoint, if you’re like, Okay, I just want to try to cross the six figure mark. The offers 1000 bucks, it’s 100 people divide 100 people by 12, that’s less than 10 people per month, that’s roughly 8.3 people per month, you have to sell all of a sudden, you’re chunking this down into very digestible, bite sized pieces, and you’re like, oh, okay, that’s the first step. That’s fine. You don’t have to get 1% of the market share. In that first year, let’s start with how do we get half of half of that? How do we get for, for customers our first month? And how do we work towards that eight, because then it’s just like, that becomes a very doable number. And what I learned when I was in the in the corporate world with Adidas, I worked very closely with just world class sales professionals, you know, everyone from our sales reps who are working with our really big key accounts like Dick’s Sporting Goods, all the way to the client, or the the sales reps who were managing Greengrass accounts like Pebble Beach, you know, really, really white glove clients that we treat really well. And what I learned from that was that each year, their target went up a little more whatever territory, you have sales rep, you don’t get to just sell the same amount you did last year. But what the sales managers were so good at was they would sit down with each rep in their territory and go, alright, we need to see 10% growth over last year, what’s our game plan there? Well, that means maybe we need to sell in an extra $300 per account of apparel or footwear, or we have this one big client that we think we can get more space in the shop, and they start to work backwards from what that number is. And that’s where again, when we can start to make things more digestible. And we’re not just going, Oh, I want to be a million dollar business, let’s just sell as much crap as we can. And start to be more strategic around how we’re chunking off the growth of this business and prioritizing what we need to work on, then it just starts to become this natural progression that, you know, it doesn’t feel like you’re constantly disappointed, you’re not a million dollar business yet you go, oh, wow, we hit our target this month, that fires you up to make, excuse me to hit the target again, next month, and then the month after that. So then as like I think about my six year journey, and my business partners, 10 year journey with a bowl finance, you know, I think about where we’re at now. And I’m just like, wow, we’ve come such a long way. But it wasn’t like every year I was there, I was disappointed or performance, we were always growing a little bit, learning a little more, making more progress, hitting the numbers and the targets, we’re setting ourselves from a financial standpoint, and mapping out the business model to make sure we could pay our team well, while also making sure that the business was staying profitable. And doing all that work and seeing it all come together. Now it’s like, it’s just so crazy. But it’s this gradual thing, nothing just happened like overnight. We’ve had years for a lot. We’ve had years where we grow incrementally, but that’s where that journey is so important, and set setting these goals for ourselves, these financial goals for ourselves steadily. So we’re not setting ourselves up for maybe expectations that just aren’t going to be realistic to achieve. Exactly. I think that’s good advice. So you know, anybody listening? Parker, you know, I think what you’re saying is, you can have big aspirations, but you have to actually map out what it will take to get there. And if you want to be a million dollar company, the first year might be $50,000. Right? And so it’s how do I get to that point? And what does that look like from the number of sales I need per month. And I think it’s critical that you make it digestible, like steps. And that makes all the difference in the world. So you’re not you don’t feel forced to do things that I guess get kind of out of sync with what you’re doing. You’re just you get into a flustered mindset where it’s like, you’re going to try to create 10 different products, you’re going to be all over the place and it gets really stressful. So having a plan to back I like the reverse engineering concept of like backing into, alright, you’re this quarter, the second quarter, the third quarter, the fourth quarter, what are they doing Look like to get where I want to go. Right? So really breaking that down and understanding the numbers, if you don’t know what it takes, and what the that looks like, I think, you know, it’s like the guy you mentioned, you know, here’s your sales manager, he sits down and he’s like, well, what would this look like? How do we do that? Well, maybe it’s $300 more per account, or it could look like something else. It could be a new client that we add on, right? So you kind of figure out what the options are, what it looks like, Yeah, what are their opportunities, what opportunities are in front of us that we haven’t jumped on yet? Exactly. And, and so when the one thing that a little story here, just as a lesson, I learned, I was very fortunate with my time at Adidas to get to work on some projects with the executive team. And I had no business really, I had no business working with the executive team on anything. But I was a go getter and had lots of ideas. And I came up with this idea that the company like, the company was really pumped about the Adidas golf tailor made section that golf section was really excited about, and they kind of we kind of did this contest in the company to try to pull up new ideas and innovate. And so the idea was a little bit of a bigger idea, but it was there’s a lot of potential there. And so it was an idea that was gonna be like a $10 million investment for the company, it was going to be massive. And I remember one of my mentors was like, Well, what if we like broke this down to where like, we did a test of concept, and it was only 100,000 or 500,000. Now we might be able to get the executive one of the executives to jump on this and start to test it out, we’ll find the money. And it was but it’s being young and a little inexperienced, I was like this is Adidas was $10 million. But it’s just again, if I if I was a little more mature and could have like, walked through the steps to get to the bigger idea, and would have maybe had more opportunity to be successful, I think we can kind of do the same thing within our own businesses is just really like, again, setting financial targets for ourself, these financial forecasts that are achievable, but a little bit out of our uncom or like our comfort zones. And that’s usually the sweet spot. If you feel like, that sounds doable, but it also sounds uncomfortable getting there, then you’re usually studying pretty good targets for yourself.

Adam G. Force 37:10

Yeah, that makes sense. And, you know, I heard recently like Elon Musk is like, Oh, you should have your 10 year goal. Try to do that in six months. And if you don’t hit it, see how far you get? You’ll get a lot from like a I guess that’s that’s the Elan musk perspective. He’s a very unique person.

Parker Stevenson 37:31

And you’re talking about risk factors, right? You’re talking about risk aversion. Again, there’s some entrepreneurs who are going to like they mortgage their homes, they are refinance their homes, they get money from family, just do everything max out credit cards

Adam G. Force 37:48


Parker Stevenson 37:48

and more power to you, if you’re comfortable doing that great. But most people aren’t comfortable with doing that. So it doesn’t have you don’t, it doesn’t have to be one extreme or nothing, right?

Adam G. Force 37:59

It’s not necessarily smart, either. Like I think, because think about it this way, too. You have the big goal, we set the steps right to get there. We know our numbers. Now we’re working with Evolved Finance. So we got we got our they got our backs, right. And so let’s say you’re like, I gotta get two clients a month for the first two quarters. All right, that gets me my jumpstart, just like you said, the 500,000 was a jumpstart to the 10 million. So but maybe in month two, you get four clients, and you’re like, Oh, I was able to actually get four. I can maybe accelerate my plan, I could sit down. And you should be looking at your numbers every two weeks or four weeks, right anyway and know what’s going on. And maybe you can adjust and you can get there faster. So you can always pivot along the way. So make I like what you said you kind of like, set a goal that pushes you in the right direction. And it’s a little uncomfortable, but achievable. It’s not like some crazy idea that you know, you already in the back of your mind or unconsciously sabotaging yourself like yeah, that’s never gonna happen, right? Yeah, you gotta believe in the back of your mind that Yeah, I can do this. Like I can do this. You can’t just like, like, fool yourself, you know what I mean? It makes a big difference.

Parker Stevenson 39:12

Totally makes a big difference. And I think when you have these big jumps in success, or something really clicks, yeah, great. Let’s now Let’s uplevel the way we’re running the business and start making investments, right? Like, especially if you have a business that’s already generating revenue, it’s already established, you have something that that’s functioning. It’s all about pivoting as business owners being ready to adjust. I mean, and that’s the benefit of being a small business is you can, you know, you can move on a dime if you need to, versus big corporations. It’s like moving a giant, you know, a cruise ship, where it takes, it takes it could take you an hour to turn this thing around in the other direction. So that that’s the benefit we have, but it’s always How can we balance like our flexibility In our ability to adjust to the moment with intention and strategy, and again, that’s, that’s why again, at all the inexperienced, I think entrepreneur tries to do that all from feel, and all from just a sales and marketing perspective. And we need to have the full picture of the business to be strategic. And that means not ignoring the financial side of the business as well.

Adam G. Force 40:19

It’s just so important. I know a lot of people like I literally people in the social entrepreneurship space, and we’ll wrap up here in a minute. They’ll say, Well, I don’t care about money, I’m just here to help people and all that stuff. I’m like, you know, like, I hear that I’m like, I get like this, I get where you’re coming from with that mentality. Like, they think money is like, the root of all evil kind of concept. We’ve all heard that before. And you’re gonna have a really hard time being successful as a business owner, if you if you think that way, right, that’s like

Parker Stevenson 40:52

Start a charity do if you if you’re really about helping people, start a charity, and then get a job doing something else to make your money. But most people who say that that’s not really what they want. And when, when I hear people say that my answer to that is, there’s nothing inherently wrong with making money from what you do and what you’re good at. And the reality is, if you’re not charging enough for what you do, then you’re only going to be able to help a small amount of people. Yeah, and the beautiful, the beautiful part about a business is if you are a smart business owner, you can start to hire the team, you can start to market more to where you can make an impact on even more people’s lives by focusing on making or not focusing by at least giving the attention that your business needs on the financial side. Because if the finances aren’t working, you’re not going to be able to do this for very long, because you’re not going to make enough money. And you’re not going to be able to help that many people help anybody. Because you’re you’re gonna have to go get a job. And so that’s where I think it’s just these mindset things where we find ways to try to get in to make excuses and get in front, you know, get in the way of our own success, and needing to look at maybe the parts of ourselves that we feel like, I’m not as good at this, or this is something I’m scared to have to dive into and learn. Instead of, you know, instead of going like, Okay, how can I help more people and make money along the way, it’s like, I’m just gonna sabotage myself and come up with an excuse that says money is bad, and I don’t make money, right? So that you could have your cake and eat it too, I think in that regard

Adam G. Force 42:27

Well, and they learn that as time goes by, and they’re struggling, and they’re not making money, and they realize, you know, they have these blocks. But I remember a friend of mine, I was talking to on the phone with Rachel Miller, I don’t know if you know her.

Parker Stevenson 42:40


Adam G. Force 42:41

So I connected with her a few times, we were talking and she is just such a ball of energy. I love that woman, she’s great.

Parker Stevenson 42:50

She’s so positive and full of life.

Adam G. Force 42:54

Well, she said something to me that really stood out. And she was like, Well, if you love your customers, if you love your audience, then you have to sell to them. Because that’s how we transform their lives. That is so true. And I so when people say things like money is the root of all evil, and and selling is dirty, and all that kind of stuff. That’s what I remind them of, I’m like, if you love your customers, then you’re going to sell to them. I had someone today who was like, Oh, I don’t want to go on Facebook. And I don’t want to I don’t like doing social media and all that stuff. And I was like, Well, do you want to sell your product? Do you love your business? Do you believe in your product? I’m like, then you should be so pumped that in this day and age, we have all these social media platforms where you can go and tell everybody about it, because it’s so amazing. Don’t you want to go tell everybody? She’s like, Oh, you know, you don’t think about it. And like you got to change the way you’re thinking about this, right?

Parker Stevenson 43:51

And I’ve said the same thing. And I feel the same way about our business. I never thought I mean I do all the sales calls for Evolved Finance and I do all the promotion. I could talk about this stuff all day because I see the difference we make in our clients lives and their businesses. Why wouldn’t I want to do more of that for more people

Adam G. Force 44:10

That’s it man and I you know, I love what Russell Brunson said is like guys, you can have the best offer the best product, all that stuff he goes, but if you don’t love the marketing, if that’s not something you just love doing, you’re gonna struggle. He’s like, you gotta love selling your product because you believe in the product, as I say, yeah, people just got to get their minds right. And that’s a big part of entrepreneurship. Because if you go from employee world to entrepreneur world, totally different frame of mind and how you are creating assets and cash and all that kind of stuff. It’s, it’s, um, it was a real whirlwind for me out of the gate. And, you know, we’re not a billion dollar company, as you know, so, you know, yeah, we got a long ways to go still.

Parker Stevenson 44:52

But it’s just learning a new game right like, there. There’s just rules to this game of being a small business owner. And the faster you can learn those rules, whether through experience through mentorship through coaching, the the more you’re understand you’re going to understand what you’re trying to accomplish. And the faster you’re going to get there.

Adam G. Force 45:10

That’s it, man. Well, listen, let’s tell people how they can find you, connect with you. And I know you talked about the $500,000 and the million dollar clients, but I think you guys are open to people who are smaller clients as well. So tell us a little bit about who you typically work with, and how they can connect with you guys.

Parker Stevenson 45:30

Yeah, so is where you can if you’re interested in learning more about what we do, I have a podcast there as well, where I just do 15-20 minute kind of lessons. It’s like one giant course where I just talk for 15 to 20 minutes about a lot of the stuff we’re talking about here. We also have a workshop on there, where it’s called Know your Numbers Now. We give away a free budget for your business and a free budget for your personal life as an entrepreneur. But otherwise, yeah, if you go to our website, you’ll see we work with only online businesses. So if you’re selling again, courses, coaching, membership sites, influencers, online service based businesses, and if you’re making $100,000 or more a year and you’re operating in US dollars, that will likely be a good fit to work together.

Adam G. Force 46:20

Okay, and we’ll have this information in the show notes and stuff like that. For you guys as you check it out. So, Parker, thank you for your time. We definitely went a little over so I appreciate you hanging in there.

Parker Stevenson 46:32

No, it’s because we have too much fun talking to each other man.

Adam G. Force 46:34

I love talking man. There’s so much to talk about. I can go on and on.

Parker Stevenson 46:39

You and me both

Adam G. Force 46:41

Alright, well listen, I will catch up with you soon. Thank you for being here and we’ll talk later.

Parker Stevenson 46:47

All right, thank you take care.

Adam G. Force 46:51

Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast. Visit us at Change forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.

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