Michelle Onyango was last on the show in episode 1037. It's funny, because we talked over a lot of issues at that time related to validation, prioritization, and next steps, but the biggest takeaway for Michelle wasn't actually the big “aha” she had from that chat at all. It's always interesting to see what happens after an important coaching call and that's what this episode is all about!
Following our last call, Michelle sat down and did some brainstorming, and that simple exercise gave her some amazing clarity on what her next step should be. And it turns out that step positioned her perfectly in her space once COVID hit. Michelle takes us through it all and dives into her next-step strategies. We go over her business offerings, whether she should make a price increase, and the struggles her business is having due to COVID, and Michelle gives her advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves at a similar crossroads. Click play and let's catch up with Michelle!
AP 1149: Where Are They Now: Michelle Onyango from Stride Wellness
What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to episode 1149 of AskPat 2.0. And as we are just a couple of weeks away from 2021, I'm excited because this time of the year here on AskPat is all about the Where Wre They Nows? We go back in time (one of my favorite things to do) and chat with a couple of people who have been on the show before. And we get caught up with them, we see how they've implemented something, how things are working out for the better, maybe for the worse. We'll see.
And today we're chatting with Michelle Onyango from StrideWellness.org. Again, that's StrideWellness.org. And the last time she was on the show was episode 1037. So this was a couple of years ago, and we were discussing some things about validating business ideas, trying to figure out how to prioritize, figure out what your next steps were going to be. Really just charting a course for the future. And it's interesting because we start this conversation that you're about to hear with Michelle pointing out that the thing that she actually came to me for wasn't actually the biggest realization that she had from our last chat. And she tells us what that realization was and exactly, then, what she did next.
So I'm ready to kick this off for you, except I have to let you know, for whatever reason, whether it's human error or I don't even know what, but the sound on my end is not as great as it usually is. That's all I'm going to say. I think I had the wrong input device and I sound a little tinny. A little tinny. Pat Flynny, a little tinny. But it's all good because you still get the good info from, not me, this isn't about me. This is about Michelle and you learning from what had been done and what we can do better. So cheers. And here we go.
Michelle, welcome back to AskPat 2.0. Thanks for coming back and the quick update you're about to give us. How are things going for you?
I'm super excited. Thanks for having me. I feel like I have quite a bit to update you on, so I'm very excited about that.
I'm excited. Why don't we just get started? So where is your head at in terms of what you want to give us some insight on?
I think the biggest thing ... It's funny how when I did the first call I had this idea about what it is that I wanted to know, but that wasn't really what I took away from it. There was two little snippets right at the very end of our call that made the biggest change for me. The first was that I really needed to narrow down and find something that I could do to push my business forward the fastest. And so I went away and just brainstormed about what that might be and did that thing. And whoa, what a huge, massive change that made for me. And the second thing was just in regards to not having so many fears that other people around me had. So those were the two real big takeaways that I had.
Pat: That's amazing. So let's dive into the first one in terms of the specifics of what you took away. And you spent some time, you said, and brainstormed. How did you brainstorm? I think a of people want to know ... what environment were you in? Did you just clear out time in your calendar to do that? And then what was the outcome of that, and what did you build?
Yes, I did definitely clear out some time in my calendar, and I sat down with a pen and paper and I wrote down a number of different options that I could do. And then I just wrote down how much it would cost me to do it, how much time, and what I thought would come from each of those activities. And when I did that, I had a glaringly obvious thing that I should do which was something I had been avoiding, and that was taking one extra masters-level course to get a certification. I'm a counselor, so it was to get a certification. It was very time consuming and a little bit pricey but I knew that with the designation that I received, that it would just help bring the authority that I think I was lacking in my space.
Ah, okay. Now I'm curious, was this authority that you feel you were lacking from the outside, meaning you felt other people may not take you as seriously because you didn't have this? Or was it actually more of an internal thing like, "Hey, if I get this I am qualified to talk about these things. I am qualified to share this information and have people pay for access to me and whatnot." Which side was it more of, do you think?
I think it was actually both. Part of the way that our certification works in my area, people can use extended health with the certification that I had, so they were able to use their insurance. And that gives people the opportunity to say, "Okay, I'm actually not paying out of pocket for this." But it was the second as well. I think I was new to the field and I think there was a little bit of that imposter syndrome going on too. So having both of those made a really big difference for me. It took me about three months because I chose to do it online, and it was multiple hours every single day. All my weekend time. The cost of it wasn't astronomical, but it was a few thousand dollars. And at that time in my business, I wasn't making a whole lot of money. But as soon as I got that certification, everything changed.
Pat: Yeah. What changed? I want to know, now that you have the certification, what did you do? What's now different?
Well, let me pop back to the other portion and the second piece, which was, we had a little bit of a discussion about doing things online when other people in my field thought that wasn't a good idea, and they were projecting their fear onto me. So I also spent a ton of time creating online resources, PDFs, checklists, actual videos, audios that my clients could use. So then combining those two things together, it just made all of the difference because I was able to offer something that other people weren't necessarily offering. And on top of it, once COVID became a thing, I was primed for online coaching and counseling. So I went from literal maybe eight to 10 clients per week, to now I see 30 clients per week, I have a wait list. I have more clients than I know what to do with, to be honest.
So cool. Congratulations on that. And it seemed like it was just perfect timing with everything too, with COVID coming and the pandemic. And now, I don't know if this is true, now those others who were projecting fear before are maybe looking up to you now in a sense, I don't know if that's the case, but it's just so interesting, and how this unlocked this in your brain is an amazing thing because now you're likely going to ... You're on a whole new trajectory line and now you're turning clients away. And I'm curious, and we're asking this with everybody who's coming back here, what got you here won't get you there. I want to know where there is. Where do you want to go now that you know this has opened up? And what's next for you, do you think?
Michelle:: Definitely. I think the biggest thing that I've taken away from the one-to-one coaching-type clientele that I have is that I just can't meet the needs of everybody that I need. So what I'm doing currently is trying to move that more into group or to do-it-yourself type aspects. So I'm in the midst of creating an online course. The lovely thing about doing one-to-one work is that you really get to know people and what it is that they need, and so there's some stuff that I've learned through that process that I've been able to say, "Wow, this is a big need in my market," and I can then transfer this into a one-to-many or more of a course-type product so I can see more people, I guess.
Pat: Nice. And this becomes a great spot to put people who you just cannot serve because you don't have time anymore to do it on your own. And the one-on-one service provides a nice price anchor for the one-to-many service. There's almost like a, "I'll do it for you," which is the one-to-one. There's a, "I'll do it with you," which is the group. And then there's the do-it-yourself type. You're going to have this whole ascension ladder and you can have people who want the one-on-one, people who will not be able to have access to you or can't afford it and then get into those other courses. You're still being able to serve them. And then it can come the other way, too. Some people will come in through the course and go, "wow, I want to work further with you. I want to go even deeper." And now you'll have the opportunity to do that, too.
I can also imagine, now with all these things, maybe even a price increase for your one-on-ones. I don't know if you've thought about that before, but this is pretty typical of the time when price increases start entering the picture, because now you see the whole spectrum of things that you can offer. Has that come across your mind at all?
It actually hasn't. I had thought of the two-way, people coming into one-to-one and using the course and vice versa. I think I'm in an interesting spot because I have a number of clientele that wouldn't be a good fit for a course just because of their mental health severity. And then there's others who would fit really well with more of a coaching or a course-type aspect. But yeah, I'm open to things.
And the reason why I'm saying this is because sometimes, one, with all these things going on ... you're adding more to your plate with the different things that you're offering. So managing your time, managing your focus and energy is going to be really key moving forward. And a lot of times, the one-on-ones start to become a drag because they're seeing a lot of success in the others and it almost becomes a ... I've seen people transition fully out of one-on-one to go full into one-to-many or the online course stuff. And one thing that you could potentially do ... I'm not saying this is the right thing for you to do, it's just an option that I've seen other people do, and it's increasing their price on their one-on-ones to do a number of things. Number one, it actually would reduce the number of one-on-one clients that you would have, yet still be able to keep the same dollar amount and potentially maybe even make more.
But that way you get really good clients that you know are fully committed because they're investing even more in you, because some of those who maybe would come in at a lower price would be perfect for the group program at a medium level price. And so you're able to get to the best clients who are going to pay the most and take all the action and whatnot at the higher tier. And you'd have less to worry about. So you can actually go deeper with them, if that makes sense.
And I've done that a little bit in my business too with some of my accelerator students. High level but high action, 100 percent success rate kind of stuff, versus if you were to lower the price, you'll have more people come in but less time for each. And again, that higher price point for the one-on-ones, it'll have people go, "Oh, that's too expensive but that makes sense because she's premium. But this group stuff sounds really interesting and it sounds very affordable compared to that higher price too."
So just something to think about. I'm not saying that's what you should do, but that is an option I've seen many people around this time and their business career do that to open up more time for other things plus go deeper with those who would invest more.
Yeah, makes sense.
What else is coming up that may be a growth challenge for you, or a growing pain, if you will?
Well, we're really in the midst of trying to do more group via video because of COVID. The one-to-one, we've transitioned to that, awesome. It's been a really smooth transition. We're struggling a little bit more with the group, just trying to find platforms, trying to ... Because of COVID, not having people in the same rooms. So having a platform but also meeting our compliance. So I think that's the focus for us right now, is how we can bring that into the fold while also meeting our regulations and meeting COVID restrictions.
Pat: Right. There's health requirements and things, obviously government-related issues. Zoom is not the easy answer. Is that not a platform that would work with what you're trying to do?
Michelle:: Partially no, just because of our requirements. There are Zoom options, the cost is just astronomical for what we would be needing it for.
It may be interesting to look into other people who are doing something similar to you who may have found out the answer already. I don't know if you're involved in any groups or memberships of any kind where you can just go, "Hey, this is what we need help with. Anybody find any good solutions?" These solutions probably exist, we just don't know about them yet. And getting word from people who are in the same space or a similar space could be a simple way to check it out. And that way at least you're getting somebody who's used those before versus a Google search or something like that, which you kind of never know because companies like to share their best stuff and don't tell the truth all the time. So anyway, this is really exciting. I'm very, very thankful you came back on and shared how some bits and pieces from our initial episode actually were more helpful than what you came in for.
And it's funny, because that's kind of usual. We don't often know what we need but we have some ideas, and it's usually not exact.
What would you recommend to somebody who perhaps is at that decision point where they have that opportunity to do something like invest in themselves? It's a big decision. That was a lot of money you put in. That was also a lot of time. And I'm curious, I would imagine that there's moments where you really doubted that that was the right decision. How did you feel confident in that direction moving forward for you?
I think that when people are looking to make a big investment in taking a pivot or taking a different direction within, I guess, the business, the biggest win for me was probably just having the opportunity to speak with you because it was speaking with somebody who had been through something that I had already been through.
The second thing was having those conversations and being able to speak to other people was really, really important. So maybe not in a one-on-one fashion such as being able to speak with somebody like yourself, but getting into a mastermind or getting into a group of like-minded people.
So much of my problem was just solved by hearing myself say it out loud and then having the conversation with you, who has been already down that path. So I think that those were the two most important things. Now, investing the money ... In reality, so many of us are asking our clients to do the same. So if we're not willing to invest the money, why would they? That was just my thought process. If I'm going to ask people to invest in me, I also need to invest in me.
Love that. Leading by example and growing yourself much like how you're offering how to grow your clients. When it comes to, you had mentioned mastermind groups. I know a lot of people want to be on AskPat, for example, or wish they had a mentor that they could just go to. And if they don't have an opportunity to do that, you'd mentioned getting involved with other groups or other people, masterminds. Where did you go and find them? How did you connect with others?
The funniest thing happened. After I got off the call with you and it went to air, a number of people sought me out on social media, and I started meeting with those people over Zoom and meeting other people. And I just got so much encouragement from people. People would be calling me from a gas station. They'd be like, "I just heard you on AskPat and I'm at a gas station and wanted to let you know." And I was like, "Wow." So I have since taken my phone number off the internet. But it was super fantastic that I was able to touch base with people who were interested in the same thing. So that was one thing. And the second thing was just actually looking into some things in my local area, and I was able to find a group of other people in my niche who are looking to do the same thing,
Love it. Big ups and thanks to the AskPat listeners out there making it happen, inspiring other people. I had no idea that happened. That's so cool. And I think it's just a big lesson. When you put yourself out there, you ask for help, you might receive it. And a lot of people are afraid to just even do that. So want to commend you for reaching out initially and also taking action and investing in yourself and bringing us along for the ride. So thank you once again, Michelle. Where can people go to learn more about your program and just discover more about what you have going on?
I can be found on all the social media platforms at StrideWellness, that's the name of my company. And I have a website, StrideWellness.org. We'll be putting my course offerings and things on there. So those are the places that I'm most easily found.
Pat: Perfect. StrideWellness.org and Stride Wellness on most social media platforms. We'll go ahead and check that out. We'll put it in the show notes, of course. Michelle, thank you so much for the inspiration, all the wisdom, and just everything. Keep up the great work, and we'll talk soon, okay?
Okay. Take care.
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Michelle. You can find her and her business at StrideWellness.org. Again, that's StrideWellness.org. And Michelle, congrats on all the accomplishments, all the success, all the forwardness of your business. And I look forward to even more progress in your work. And thank you, again, for inspiring all of us who are listening in right now.
And if you are listening in right now, number one, thank you. Number two, if you'd like to get coached next year, just like Michelle did back in episode 1037, or again today, I'd love to interview you, potentially. I can't get everybody but I do need you to apply if you want to get a chance. So if you go to AskPat.com, there's an application button there to apply. Hey, new year new goals. If you want to be on the show, let's pop it in now.
We don't have to wait till the beginning of the year. So pop it in there in the application, and I look forward to potentially reaching out to you if it's a good fit. And yeah, looking forward to making that happen, hopefully.
So anyway, thank you again. Appreciate all the reviews that have been coming in like rapid-fire here at the end of the year. It means so much to me and my team. And I'm looking forward to serving you next week, next year, and ongoing. I don't see me stopping this at anytime soon. So hopefully you'll stick around for the ride. If you are here for the first time, hit subscribe, and I look forward to pinging you next week when the next episode comes out to finish off the year.
Anyway, thank you so much. I appreciate you. And as always, Team Flynn for the win.