Today we're speaking with Sally Sparks-Cousins, who has an amazing brand that helps entrepreneurs build, measure, and optimize their sales funnels. You can find her at Sparkle Class Academy or TheFreedomFunnelFormula.com.
Our focus today is hiring, because Sally is both a visionary and an integrator. She has great ideas as a visionary. And as an integrator, she wants to plan and execute and get her hands dirty building things.
Sally is a rare breed. But it's very important to be able to understand when to let go of certain things, and who to let them go to.
Today's session is actually a little therapeutic in a way, because there are a lot of things Sally wants to hold onto—but a lot of things she knows she'll get back if she hires the right person. So who does she hire, and how does she maximize her time and effort and investment?
AP 1228: Who Should My Next Hire Be?
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to episode 1,228 of AskPat 2.0. You're about to listen to an intense conversation between myself and an entrepreneur just like you. And today we're speaking with Sally, Sally Sparks-Cousins, who has this amazing brand who helps entrepreneurs narrow their funnels and focus and optimize them. She helps them build, measure and optimize. As she says, you can find her at Sparkle Class Academy or thefreedomfunnelformula.com. And we'll talk more about that later, but we talk about hiring because she is both a visionary. So she has great ideas and wants to execute on them and an integrator, somebody who can actually plan and execute and get their hands dirty and actually build things. That is a rare breed. However, it's very important to be able to understand when to let go of certain things and who to let them go to.
Pat Flynn: And today we talk with Sally, we actually do a little, it almost feels like a therapeutic session in a way, because there's a lot of things that she wants to hold onto, but then there's a lot of things that she knows that she's gonna get back. If she hires the right person, who does she hire and how does she maximize her time and effort and investment? Well, we're gonna talk about that today. So here she is. Sally Sparks Cousins. Here we go.
Pat Flynn: Sally. Welcome to ask pat, thanks so much for hanging out and spending time with me today.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Ah, it's an honor. Honestly, I've been stalking you for a long time. Been in SPI since its inception and amazing. When I saw the opportunity to come in and ask pat a question, how could I not right.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I'm your in-house automation nerd and I love sexy numbers and conversion numbers, but I predominantly, I help coaches consultants and course creators to scale to six and seven figures using just one specific dialed in funnel. And I work mostly while I work predominantly in Keep and Kajabi to set up all the automation. So I'm software focused as well. And yeah, I'm, I geek out on all of that. I dream about tags and squiggly lines and how to simplify processes.
Pat Flynn: You're one of those people.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I am, I am,
Pat Flynn: So when you say like dialing in funnels, what does that usually mean specifically?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: You know, you see a lot of people building multiple funnels. We have one specific funnel that we like to use using live events. So boot camps, live webinars, live challenges, those types of things, but choosing one and moving people at a build it phase. So rather than having them building, you know, 3, 4, 5 bridges, we have one and they're not allowed to build another funnel until we're at least at five figure consistent months. And so like I have a, a rule of three, so build it, measure it and then optimize it and then just keep optimizing and optimizing and optimizing until you get that consistent sort of five plus figure months. And then we can add on another type of lead magnet at the front. So generally we start with a, a five sort of day challenge because that's the most forgiving webinars you've gotta kind of be on point and, you know, raise the energy really, really fast where like a over a five day event, it's a bit more forgiving and you get to spend more time, I guess, talking with your people so you can get your messaging and honing that in as well.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: So yeah, that's what we do. Yeah. Love it. Love
Pat Flynn: It, love it. I mean, I'm in that industry, obviously that seems to solve a major problem, which is just squirrel syndrome and doing all the things. And I think the biggest advice that anybody could use is just narrow down and focus on optimizing the one before moving on totally
Sally Sparks-Cousins: To the next, like I used to teach all the software, right? Click funnels, lead pages, you know, all the things. And then as soon as I said, you know what, I'm just gonna focus on keeping Kajabi. That's when the business really made that massive shift, you know, we got to multiple six figures and it was as soon as I just started stopped jumping from between software and trying to fix everyone's problem. And just saying, I'm only working with people who use, keep and Kajabi.
Pat Flynn: Well, good for you. That's awesome. Before we move on, where can people go to learn more about what you have to offer in case they're now very curious, cuz that was a great, by the way,
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Sparkleclassacademy.com is our main website and we also teach our formula at the freedom funnel formula. So it is thefreedomfunnelformula.com. Um, and we run a different ways of teaching our formula through there as well.
Pat Flynn: Very nice. Awesome. Well, what can I help you with? Sounds like things are moving along pretty well. Where, where do you wanna go?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Well, the main reason I reached out to you I guess is, you know, we're really at that scaling part of our business right now and what I'm struggling with the most is team. You know, I'm growing, but the revenue can't support the size of the team that I need to fill all the gaps. I guess it's hard to now work out where to delegate who to bring on. And, and I've had a lot of problems with finding the right types of people and, and the budget to hire experienced people. Maybe I can get one, you know, good experienced person, but it's not enough to hire people that you know, so we've got, we've got a few VAs, we've got a few of those and we've got some experts that come in and they help like, so within our community, we've got experts that teach in different areas, but in regards to on the team, it's just really it's me and another girl that do all of the, I guess the harder sort of sales I'm, I'm the bottleneck in my business right now. I'm the only one who closes and I can do copywriting, but I don't wake up in the morning and I'm not excited about writing copy
Pat Flynn: Oh, it is a very hard thing to do for sure,
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Because I'm good at it all. Well, you know, I'm, I'm pretty good at most of the things. And so traction was a huge help. "Let go of the vine, Sally. Let go of the vine," um, was a one sentence inside attraction. So I finally started to hire and delegate and in the early days I used to trade, right. So I used to trade for clients who wanted to help. So they would come in and help and then they wouldn't have to pay for my services. It was a nice bit of [inaudible], but I'm beyond that now. I don't just need helpers. I need experience, but I guess the budget's...
Pat Flynn: Yeah. So you've, you've built the business, you know, you've measured and now you're in an optimized phase essentially. Yeah. And that's definitely where team can come in when you wanna scale. Now I do wanna pull back a little bit and ask you about scaling up. What is your ultimate desire? Because sometimes scaling is not actually the answer and I don't want us to just scale because you can or because that's what everybody else is doing. I wanna know what your goals are because in many cases, the answer is, well, you don't need to scale and you can build this amazing lifestyle and just have exactly what you have now and, and be happy with it. So I'm curious to know the psychology around scale for you.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: So for me, it's filling the gaps of my business that I might be good at, but I don't wanna do so that I can focus on the things that I enjoy the most. So I would like to show up and, you know, do the podcasts and run the high level strategy sessions. But even though I'm really good at building out the tech, I don't wanna be in there. I feel like the chef that doesn't wanna cook at home
Pat Flynn: That's a great place to be. And it's so good to know that you don't wanna build this like giant agency because that's, there is a way to do that. You can do that and you can say, no, I don't wanna do that. I wanna do this. So let me ask you, if you could snap your fingers and you were only doing what you wanted to do, don't even worry about the team right now. They're in this scenario there already. Like, what are you doing?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: So for me, I like the strategic planning and thinking. So I love looking like at the high-level business and looking at all the little, you know, gaps and holes and then delegating out the jobs that need to be filled.
Pat Flynn: So you would do that for your clients. You still wanna do that for your clients.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I still would wanna do that for my clients. So I'd like to turn up a couple of days a week and do the high level strategy with our clients. But then within the business, the same, my business, the same thing, I wanna be able to just sit down and whiteboard for the day. You know, like think actually have thinking time to, rather than just constantly having to get things done. Then once I've planned things out, then I can sort of delegate them. So like my team almost becomes like my best clients and they're serving my clients. So what I've created is an academy with different success coaches. So I've got an ads expert, I've got a, a Kajabi expert she's amazing inside of Kajabi. You know, she was originally a client and just fell in love with Kajabi. And I brought her on a keep expert, but people I can talk that high level language to so they can support the business, but also have other sort of success coaches that monitor our clients. We're very hands on with our coaching style. Um, we have an open zoom room. That's open eight hours a day that our clients can just jump into. So that's cool. Um, yeah, I will. I've been using and running my business like that since 2015.
Pat Flynn: Right, right. That's, that's so funny.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: It is an online academy, but with like the elite type of business owners. They've always sort of been in business for at least a year or two or three. I guess being the figurehead, branding, doing interviews, being the founder of the business, rather than the, the CEO and the COO of the business, I would love to find myself a COO, you know, who, who can manage all of that and, and manage me
Pat Flynn: So it sounds like you have some team members in place or coaches, right. Specialty coaches that are able to do some of the things that you can also do. So I'm curious about how your mental is about letting go of things. Are you somebody who has a hard time letting go and letting another person sort of take responsibility for that or that has that been okay with you?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: At the beginning, it was really hard because I was worried that they wouldn't show up as well, but, you know, I get to stalk in the background and listen to them running sessions and it's, I've gotten more comfortable with that. So like I do like people who show initiative and, and, you know, not, not, I thought I gotta tell them what to do all the time. So yeah, I think delegating will be fine as long as I've and getting them to show up because I really, I want success coaches that I can delegate, you know, 12 people to, and they manage those people through our program for 12 months. And then I just do the high level strategy, the planning with them, and then they're checking in with them and assessing their work as it's coming in.
Pat Flynn: That sounds like it's on its way or there already, which is great. Yeah.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah. I think my, my biggest thing is like, I I'm hopeless with my time. I need like,
Pat Flynn: Yeah. You're gonna burn out if you continue to be both. Yeah. I mean, or you're not gonna be the doing what you wanna do. Yeah.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I, I just wanna do the visionary stuff.
Pat Flynn: I mean, we know what the answer is. You need a COO or an integrator, right. Similar to, to my Matt, but it's an investment, right. You're not paying for them. You're paying to get your time back and your happiness back and like, to be able to do these things, like what would ha let's play a game? What happens if you have a COO who's able to take care of those things? What are you now able to do? And how's the business running and what does it look like to you? Does the business go under because you have a COO?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: No, no, no.
Pat Flynn: It's the opposite. So why are we struggling to make that happen? When we know that if again, I know there's, we gotta find the right person and it's gonna cost this much. But I mean, yes, we see their like annual payment, but you're not giving them the annual payment all up front. You're giving them a 12th of that up front. And then if it doesn't work out okay, fine. You find somebody else.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah, no, I, I get it like, cuz I was like, oh, should I just get a copywriter in first? Because I hate copywriting. Yeah. I guess. Well, that's it, it's a 12th, right? It's a 12th of the payment and it's biting the bullet. I guess I can just keep thinking that that adds money
Pat Flynn: I mean, okay. Yeah, it does. It does. But in what ways will that come back? Like tell me all the ways that that investment will come back.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah. Well, it'll free up time. I can spend more time closing because I literally don't get to do as many sales calls as I'd want to.
Pat Flynn: And closing equals more what
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Money, and then I can like, duh, right. And then I can, um, hire a closer like, cuz this is my thing. Do I hire a COO? Do I hire a closer?
Pat Flynn: Do you like closing?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I would like to get... I'd love. No, I, I mean I can do it, but I would like not to like, I've been speaking with a guy to bring in a closer for me, but he wanted 10 consistently booked new people a week. And at the moment I haven't been because I haven't been able to handle the workload to consistently be booking 10 people a week. We had a set on, but our leads weren't great. So like I, I worked and, and I love Amy, but I worked with Amy Porterfield back last year. And then what I did was I was like, oh, you know what? I'm gonna show these people how easy it is to make a course. Right.
Pat Flynn: Guess who would tell you not to do that? If you had 'em. Your COO would tell you not to do that.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Right. I know! Another shiny ball. Um, yes. My COO would've totally told me
Pat Flynn: That's okay. That happens. So, I mean it's a lesson learned, right? It's a lesson learned, but it's, it's just funny cuz I think, you know what the answer is, what you need to do.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I know, I know.
Pat Flynn: And this, this is how you get to there. Right? What got you here won't get you there. And this is like the next step and it's not as big of a commitment as probably you're making it out to be honestly. Yeah.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I just keep thinking of, you know, that hundred, $150K and I'm thinking, I see it as like the lump sum.
Pat Flynn: Right? You should be able to see the ROI from that in the first month, right. Or at least second month and, and the training and on the closing stuff, I think you still continue to start doing that. Your COO is not gonna be the closer. Right? They, they have other things to take care of. The more annoying things that you don't wanna do, but you can always train people to become closers. And sometimes it might be similar to some of your coaches, people who are in your brand already, it could be somebody on the outside. Yes. You can hire for closers who then get a commissioner, whatever. And again, there'll be more leads coming in because you're gonna have more time.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yes. Okay.
Pat Flynn: I'm sure you've said that to your clients before, too.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: I know I do all the time. Yeah.
Pat Flynn: I know you've said that
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Before. I totally have. It's just like go and hire that VA you'll get your time back in so, so much time. And as soon as they do, they they're thanking me I guess, just because it's such a high level job.
Pat Flynn: I mean, but at the high level you get high level return.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yes. Yes. And I know there are people on my team that should be paid more as well. Like there, the way I feel like I'm giving is paying well right. To my team. I feel that's it. And I know there's also people on my team that should be paid more as well. And I'm like, and then I'm going out and hiring somebody else that still I should be paying them more money. And I'm like, oh, so yeah. But then I'll make more money and I can give them a pay raise.
Pat Flynn: Right. And on that, there's other ways to make your team feel loved and, and special without a pay raise. There's, you know, we implemented a four day workweek in our business, and that's been huge. There are other incentives and benefits and you know, all that kind of stuff. And but yeah. Ultimately considering the COO or the integrator an investment is gonna be the biggest mindset shift, right?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: Um, cuz that will come back with that extra time. You have, I mean, that's just, what are the other ways to get time back? There are none in, in this scenario, right? This is the only way to move forward. So I think that this is going to give you major returns, not just in, you know, cash and, and whatnot, but uh, just your excitement to wake up and do the things that only you wanna do. Like...
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah. Yeah.
Pat Flynn: That's priceless.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Even. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I mean, I think that the COO needs to be able to use the, the software. Like I'd like, so at the moment I'm building, right. Like I can have, I'm building in keep, especially all the automation and things like that. That is a huge, huge time suck for me.
Pat Flynn: You're not the only one building in keep who's an integrator. I mean they're out there
Pat Flynn: I mean. I mean, those are the only people who are in Keap, right? Yeah. I mean, it's such a, uh, like I tried to get in there when it was Infusionsoft and it was like, Ugh, I'm gonna hire somebody to do this for me. Cause this is, this is insane. So I mean, you, you have a blessing and a curse, right. You are both a visionary and an integrator and you can do things and execute on them and have high vision. But the problem is handing that part off so that you can do more vision.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I I've had, I've got a mindset coach who actually did the wealth dynamics test on me. And normally, normally it's like this weird triangle shape right. Where you're good, and mine was a circle
Pat Flynn: It's not a bullet. It's a pinch.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: It is a pinch! It is.
Pat Flynn: Oh man. I think a lot of people are gonna need to hear this episode two and, and even myself, uh, too, at the same time. But anyway, I think, I think we know what to do, and I'm excited because I wanna follow up with you. I, I love what you're doing. I think again, where can people go to dig into your work and perhaps be a client one day? Where should they go?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah. Yeah. So if they wanna come and check out our formula, it's thefreedomfunnelformula.com. And we run trainings on that all the time. And then also you want to sort of just dig into the sparkle world. You can go to the sparkleclassacademy.com and that'll take you to all the things, all the socials, all the things there. Yeah. Thank you, Pat. Okay.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. No, this is great. A therapeutic session.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Now I'm going to start planning a um, a job description for a COO who can use Keap
Pat Flynn: And you know, you can also get your current employees involved in that conversation. So they know what this hire will do. Not just for you, but for them as well.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah,
Pat Flynn: Right?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Yeah.
Announcer: In the long run, especially. And if you can get them involved, they can be a part of the hiring process or at least some of the higher ups that are in there.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: And I'm well known in the Keap industry. I should just go straight into the Keap groups and talk to people in there. I don't think, oh my goodness.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. What are they doing?
Sally Sparks-Cousins: It's like... those moments.
Pat Flynn: That's what we do here. So anyway, Sally, this has been incredible.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Oh, thank you, Pat. Yeah. You're awesome. Thank you so much.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, we'll talk soon.
Sally Sparks-Cousins: Bye.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Sally. What an epic and perhaps life changing conversation, hiring somebody like a CEO, just like I did with Matt back in the day, who' now become the CEO of the company to take myself even more out of the weeds of the business and to be able to just create content now has just been absolutely incredible. And I know it's gonna come back in many ways for Sally. It's just a big sort of, you know, investment for sure. But it may not be as big as we think because you know, it's yes, a salary of six figures likely for a position like that. But remember those ROIs will come sooner, right? And it's one-12th for the first month, not the whole thing. So anyway, just a different way to approach this so that we can actually just be more comfortable with the things that we need to do to get to where we want to go.
Pat Flynn: And hopefully this helps you in some way, shape or form. If you wanna check out Sally, you can check out thefreedomfunnelformula.com, and I think it's gonna help you out. So definitely check her out and again, thank you, Sally. I appreciate you look forward to chatting and catching up with you again in the future and for everybody listening. Thank you. And if you haven't yet tried to check out SPI Pro. It is a safe community where you can come in as an entrepreneur, see if it's right fit for you. And if it's not, we have some other options for you as well. But head on over to SPIPro.com, you can read what it's all about. And we have hundreds of entrepreneurs in there just like you, who are helping each other out who are serving each other, who are asking questions, who are presenting to each other, who we help hold accountable, who are finding mastermind companions with.
Pat Flynn: It's just such an amazing, amazing thing. If you haven't checked it out yet, SPIPro.com, go ahead and apply. Cuz we have a big, big announcement coming up very shortly here and I don't want you to miss out on it. Anyway. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. And just again, thank you for all the reviews and all the amazing feedback we continue to drive more AskPat episodes. So make sure you hit subscribe so you don't miss out on that until the next one. Cheers, peace out, take care, and as always, team Flynn for the win. Peace.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at AskPat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess, our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.