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Small Biz Buzz—142—Big Grit: Monica Kline

Monica Kline, founder of IDentity Brand, joins Small Bizz Buzz in our newest interview for the Big Grit docuseries to talk about how she leveraged automation to grow her business through some of the most difficult challenges of her life.

“If automation didn’t exist I probably would have lost every single client because I was not capable of sitting down and working at those moments...”

After an epiphany thatd she had everything she needed to succeed, Monica pivoted (as so many small businesses have had to do), re-branded, and implemented marketing automation to build her business into what she always knew it could be.

“I will never give up. It’s ingrained in me, more so now that both of my parents are gone.” Monica continues to lean into all she has gone through in hopes to impart the life and business lessons on others and show them it is possible, “If I do that, I know I’ve done my job.”

Click play for more.

Transcript:

Ryan Carrillo:

Hey, everyone, this is your host Ryan Carrillo with the Small Biz Buzz. I'm here with Monica Kline today. How you doing, Monica?

Monica Kline:

I'm wonderful. How are you?

Ryan Carrillo:

I'm doing great. It's so nice to meet you. Like I said before we started recording, I feel like I already know you. I'm so familiar with your story now, and I can't wait to dig in a bit and share your inspiring and challenging entrepreneurial journey that you have gone through.

Monica Kline:

Thanks, Ryan. I know, there's a lot of messy parts of it.

Ryan Carrillo:

But it's so relatable. The whole purpose behind Big Grit is to share these stories of entrepreneurs who embody these superlatives; perseverance, tenacity, fearlessness. But that's not to say, we don't have fear or at times, we don't have these moments of weakness because we're human and I think your story is so inspiring and relatable because it really encapsulates all this. It is not just this inspiring [inaudible 00:00:58] story like you tend to see [00:01:00] on the internet nowadays, it's authentic, and real, and super relatable. You've gone through such immense loss, but also such huge triumph. That's why I'm excited to share your story with the folks who are going to listen to this today. I want to get a little bit more intimate than we just did with the Big Grit video. So, please feel free to be open and share your thoughts and feelings with the world today. Okay?

Monica Kline:

Absolutely.

Ryan Carrillo:

So, I want to get started just diving in a bit to [00:01:30] how you started at being the business person you are today. I love the story of your father ingraining that discipline, desire, thirst for business from a young age. You were the first to have a lemonade stand, kind of the quintessential Americana. Can you tell me a bit about your memories of being a little girl with your dad inspiring you to start businesses?

Monica Kline:

It's interesting because at [00:02:00] the root or at the core of who you are, you really reflect on your upbringing and how your parents raised you. I get emotional talking about it because I feel as you're going through the motions of life, you don't stop to appreciate it, what your parents have instilled in you as much as you do once you lost them. So, going back to when I was a little girl, my dad always said he wanted a boy. He liked to play. He would take me to the junkyard to pick up car parts and I would go through there with cut-off shorts and a tank top and I'd come home greasy and dirty. And we would always take his motorcycle to the junkyard. My mom would be like, "That is not how you treat a little girl, she needs to be in a dress and proper and polished." But the conversations my dad and I, from a very young age, used to have at a donut shop as I had overloaded in sugar and it was so hyper, I get a Slurpee and a glazed doughnut, was about business and all his different endeavors. He was always like, "I reflect..." He was a serial entrepreneur back in the early 1970s. When that wasn't like a cool catchphrase or, "Oh, it's cool to say you own a business." But he had his hand in so many different pots of doing good, giving back, building businesses. [00:03:30] He was very future forward-thinking in that regard. In the early 80s, he was involved with a three-wheeled electric car concept. Think about where we are today. This is like 1984, I think. I remember he would take me to his office, his home office, or his actual office, I would always tag along with him. So I feel like a lot of what he instilled in me back then carried through and I didn't realize [00:04:00] it until opening my own business.

Ryan Carrillo:

So many entrepreneurs that I know and me personally, as an entrepreneur, I realize it's generational. If you look back in your family's past, you see how that journey has happened. And you're the current state of your family's history of entrepreneurship. So, where did your dad get that itch from and that desire and entrepreneurial spirit? I have to imagine he wasn't the first in his lineage to do [00:04:30] these kinds of things.

Monica Kline:

I have to say, he actually was because everybody was definitely a blue-collar worker and lot of my dad's side of the family did not go to college or get an education. My dad and his younger brother, my uncle who I'm still super close with, they did and my dad was a forever student and he ingrain that in me that no matter what you want to do, you can but educate yourself. So my dad had a master's degree. And he just said, "Whatever you want to do, follow that, but learn, educate, and you can do anything. It's always stuck with me because through trial and error in life, in business, you feel like certain days, you've failed, and you want to give up and throw in the towel. And then I can hear his voice echoing whenever he would have a challenge, which were many, whereas I reflect, and we're not built that way. [00:05:30] If you have this ingrained desire and passion, you have to pursue it. I owe that to both of my parents. My mom was like, "You don't quit. You make a commitment, you see that through regardless." That really has stayed with me being a business owner, in my career, but more so as a business owner, it's really resonated with me.

Ryan Carrillo:

But so well said and you just encapsulated what that Big Grit is about. Hear that gritty, you never quit, [00:06:00] you know challenges are going to come, failure is a part of the process. And sure enough, the outcome is always wonderful, for the most part. I don't want to speak in absolutes all the time, but look where you are now, and you have the perspective now. You can look back at your journey and have these great pieces of wisdom to share with everyone. I just love that.So, just to wrap up what we were talking about with your upbringing, I love the story of being the tomboy with your dad, going to the junkyard. What [00:06:30] about the lemonade stand and those other businesses as a young girl, do you look back on and really just reminisce about and see those lessons learned embodied today in your business?

Monica Kline:

It's funny because one of the first things I remember my dad purchasing for me was one of those old-fashioned cash boxes like the aluminum, you have the latch on it. I remember I think I got it as a birthday gift. It was the best gift you could have [00:07:00] given me. I was so happy because back then, I envisioned that cash box full of quarters because I will charge a quarter for a cup of lemonade. And it was a fresh homemade, fresh-squeezed. And I would make all my signs, there was my branding and marketing right there. My mom would help me with that. I remember at the end of the day, I had a graph paper, and I would write super small in each square, how many lemonades I sold. And then I'd show my dad at the [00:07:30] end of the day. I did it once every weekend, like on a Saturday or a Sunday. He would say, "Keep going. Just aim for more next week." And part of me, as a little girl, I'm like, "Oh, maybe I'm not doing it right. Or he's not happy with my results."And so, I personally applied more pressure on myself to escalate. I'm like, "Okay, next week I'm going to sell 10 more cups of lemonade. The next week, I'm going to double that." So that mentality [00:08:00] was by who you're surrounded with, it became just second nature to me. And I always upped the ante on how many more lemonades I would sell every week. But that was at nine years old.

Ryan Carrillo:

Nine years old, already hustling. I love it.

Monica Kline:

Yeah.

Ryan Carrillo:

Well, one thing that I want to talk about briefly is you come from a multicultural household, right?

Monica Kline:

I do.

Ryan Carrillo:

I do too. My last name is Carrillo. I don't roll my [inaudible 00:08:27], but I am Hispanic. I'm [00:08:30] just very fair skin. I wasn't raised Latino, and that's strictly because my grandmother, and how she raised my father who's Hispanic. And so, I'm curious at someone who is a Latina, and you were raised by a father, who obviously his roots were that, any struggles and challenges that come to mind in entrepreneurship because of that? Can you share those with me?

Monica Kline:

Yes, you [00:09:00] really hit on something that's such a passion of mine. I'm happy you brought that up. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. So not necessarily in Los Angeles, which if you're familiar is primarily Hispanic. But I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. Back in those days, it was the valley girl, I used to [inaudible 00:09:18] myself. But I have a surname that's German. But the spelling was changed going back in history, [00:09:30] Jewish in German, so people will look at me and with my surname, I didn't match the name with tan skin, dark hair, almond eyes. They're like, "No, she's a Latina." But in the neighborhood I grew up in, predominantly middle class, but I have a lot of different walks of life with friends, but everybody would look at me and would get confused and my mom would say, specifically, "You need to hide [00:10:00] that you're a Latina. You're not going to have as many opportunities." We talked about this later in life. But she said, "You are not going to learn to speak Spanish because you will have an accent." And my mom spoke with an accent, which I just adore. And I did not learn to speak Spanish. And my grandmother would speak to me and my mom would say, "Respond in English." And I was just told to be as, and I don't mean this in [00:10:30] a bad way, "to be as waspy as I could." And I did. I really grew up not acknowledging or embracing my roots, until I think my second or third job when it became cool. And then I'm like, "I don't know, I was really torn." I'm like, "I've been taught my whole life that I'm not going to be able to scale my business or my career path if I'm a Latina. There's only so many jobs out there for my type."So, I hid. [00:11:00] I really hid behind the scenes until one day I said, "You know what, screw this, I am going all-in on who I am, my roots. And at the end of the day, at my heart." If you came into my home, you're going to be eating spicy food, there's going to be Latin music playing, I have a lot of very animated, but you'll see me dancing around the house or the kitchen. I wake up to music and dancing. It's like it's in my blood. So I can't deny that. And then seeing what is going on [00:11:30] with women in the workplace, that's where I said, what I'm doing myself, and any other women that are struggling with this a disservice by not owning my roots. And I jumped all in.So, I'm definitely a proud Latina business owner. And the sky is the limit. There is no glass ceiling, there is whatever you want to accomplish, no matter your race, your color, your religion, there is opportunity. So, it's starts with your mindset, it all comes to mindset.

Ryan Carrillo:

[00:12:00] I'm so glad that you are embracing your heritage. And now you're shouting it from the rooftops because like you said, it is so important to have that message out there and show other Latino women and Latino men, that it's possible and that you don't need to hide your heritage or your roots. In fact, it's a strong point, it's a benefit.

Monica Kline:

It is. There was a "acquaintance", who, I'm going back over a decade, and [00:12:30] she wrote a book. This book was about her life, but I have an influence in this book. I'll never forget what she said. She said, "The Girl with the weird shaped eyes." And to me, I'd have these almond eyes. And I remember thinking like, "I'm still being punished for the way I look." I'm like, "That's not cool. That's called bullying. And I don't care, the shape of your eyes. [00:13:00] I care about what's in your heart and what's in your brain. How are you using that gift in your knowledge to better your life and others? How are you leading by example?"So, all of that is really, when I come back full circle, who are you as a person? What good are you doing? No matter if you have a business, a lemonade stand, or if you're in corporate America, [00:13:30] what are you doing that makes an impact on people? For me, specifically, my passion, like I shared, is women. So that is where my heart really resides is helping women get out of their own way. Because society has taught us that women pretty much, "You should take this path, be polished and well-groomed." And as my mom used to say, "You'll find a really good husband." I'm like, "I'll pass on that. I can do it myself."

Ryan Carrillo:

No, I'm so glad that narrative is changing. [00:14:00] And you're an agent of that change. You and the others like you in your fields, in the world, are a big important movement that I know is going to have these big waves of effects. They already are, you're already making a difference. But hopefully, a few generations from now, the things you're talking about are of the past, no longer are women feeling that they have to fit into this role and that they have to do X, Y, and Z to be considered successful. My [00:14:30] partner is launching her business and she is deep in that entrepreneurial journey. And so, I get to live it every day and see a woman learning that she is capable, that she can do it, and that the things that society told her growing up aren't true. People like you influenced that because we see you, your name is up in lights right now with Big Grit.

Monica Kline:

Yes.

Ryan Carrillo:

What a cool opportunity. And so I'm glad the story is getting out there because the right person is going to hear it and like you [00:15:00] said in your interview, if you can affect just one person and carry on your legacy that your father and your mother taught you, then it's a win, it's a great thing.

Monica Kline:

I didn't understand the importance of legacy until I lost both of my parents. To me, it is so important. It's 100% why I'm doing what I'm doing to carry on what they [00:15:30] instilled in me and make sure that it's passed through to others, whether it's my immediate circle, family, my son, what's going to happen in his future, or just people that I can impact. The things that were imparted on me from my parents, they're things that others need to know about. Others, if they're struggling with maybe being a single mom and raising their child or children, they need this kind of support, [00:16:00] and it may not come in the form they anticipate, but that's why I'm here to share, to lead, to guide, that's why I'm doing what I'm doing. And to make a healthy amount of money. Well, you do it because money solves problems.

Ryan Carrillo:

It does, money empowers people to make the change that they want in their life. And that affects generations, it affects your kids, it affects their kids, their communities. And we believe that at Keap but Ryan really believes that too. And that's why I'm so [00:16:30] excited about being here is I do think and I know entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the global economy. And yes, we're talking about all of these really warm, fuzzy feeling, inspiring things. But you're right, at the end of the day, it's a money-making engine. And when the individual entrepreneur can do that separate from these big monster corporations, that's what we're about, empowering the entrepreneurs to control your life, control your time, and do exactly what you want when you want.

Monica Kline:

[00:17:00] Technology has come so far with what we can do, with nurturing your clients, with automation, with a product like Keap. I was just on an interview before I hopped on here with you. I was talking about being a, let's just say a small business as starting out entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom amidst this world we're living in who has to take care of her children. And what kind of revenue are you creating [00:17:30] at home? How creative and out of the box are you being? It really doesn't matter. You have to have a strategy. This is a starting point. It's not the same results for everybody, as we all know, but with products that we use today, and I share this with keap as well. In 12 months with the right strategy, you can scale to $1 million in 12 months to tell a stay-at-home mom who maybe just lost her job [00:18:00] or maybe her husband, was the breadwinner, and he's lost his job and she's taking care of the kids. If I told you, you can make a $1 million in one year if you follow my plan, it would change their lives. They can provide, they can keep a roof over their head, they can keep their car and fuel it, and food on the table. And then some depending on where they live. But that's the whole thing. Scaling a business, yeah, it feels good, it looks good. It's [00:18:30] not about boasting what you have. It's about what you're doing. If you're doing it for good and the right reasons, and you're seeing individuals benefit, and then the ripple effect of their family and their loved ones that have just that in a world that feels so insecure right now, you need to envelop your loved ones with that. And money does that. No matter what people may say about money, money solves problems, and you're able to go [00:19:00] out and take care of others. So, that's why I'm like, I can talk about this all day long and give you the strategy to scale to get there but you have to start with the mindset, it's number one, what you believe and what you feed yourself, how you feel, and really not caring what others think about you because not everybody is going to like you. You need to be okay with repelling people as well. Because those that do are meant to be in your circle, they will. They're going to naturally [00:19:30] gravitate.

Ryan Carrillo:

That's such an important point that I hear talked about a lot on social media. Don't give a crap what other people think about you. It's a lot easier said than done.

Monica Kline:

Yes.

Ryan Carrillo:

Do you have one or two tips that you can give our listeners to help them overcome caring what other people think?

Monica Kline:

This is a common one, but at the end of the day, their opinion isn't going to pay your bills. So, who cares what they think of you? Two is usually [00:20:00] when you have your "trolls" or your haters or people that become either envious of you or they think you've done it overnight, jealousy or whatever it is, it's usually something within them that's broken, that they're stuck, or they're not seeing themselves in a good light. And it's internal work that they need to work on. And they're projecting on you. So, I have learned this the hard way, I have [00:20:30] my worn those shoes, and it takes a lot of mindset work to push through that, and being an entrepreneur, you have no choice but to push through that. So, those are the biggest two pieces of advice, I can parlay into just really focus on you. Focus on what your mission and your goal is, and what sets your soul on fire.

Ryan Carrillo:

I love it. That's super important because I think it's a part of everyone's entrepreneurial journey. [00:21:00] No matter how you enter your entrepreneurial journey, if you're leaving your job and going all in, you lost your job, and you're left with no other choice, or you just consciously flip your side hustle into your primary means of earning, you're always going to have people that either are your friends, or you thought were your friends, or outsiders who don't even know you from [inaudible 00:21:20], that are giving you their opinion. If you're mentally not ready, it can be a struggle to overcome in that early part of the process.Obviously, when you get down the road, like where you are Monica, [00:21:30] now, those haters are your fans, aren't they? They may have said something negative years ago, but guess what, now that you've made it, they don't have anything negative to say, right?

Monica Kline:

Yeah. You have to be very cautious. Your circle gets smaller as you start climbing. It's heartbreaking, it's sad. Unfortunately, because I say no, I've learned to say no a lot, I've had people not understand and it's not their job to understand, it's [00:22:00] my responsibility to the commitment I made to myself and to my clients to know that what I'm focused on and what I'm building is a million times more important to me than going in for a weekend girls getaway.As much as I may need it or want it, it's just the discipline. Being an entrepreneur, you're responsible for not only your own livelihood, your team's livelihood, your client's livelihood, it comes down to the bottom line, if you [00:22:30] are not on your best, or you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you better shift out of that mindset very quickly because you have other people depending on you to create revenue, to take care of their families, their teams, their employees, and it's a heavy load until you do it. Do you understand?Coming from corporate America, I'm like, "Oh, great, I get a paycheck every Friday." Now, it's like, "If I'm not working, there's no money [00:23:00] coming in." But you figure it out, you automate it, you build and you build and you build. This is where Keap comes into play. There's so many things that you put on automation that you start creating money in your sleep. That's the goal.

Ryan Carrillo:

Wow, are you advertising for us? That was a great ad.

Monica Kline:

You can use it, you have my permission.

Ryan Carrillo:

I love it. I didn't even have to lead you on. You got to there. I want to talk about Keap. Obviously, [00:23:30] it's important because that's why we're both here. But you hit on something that's super important to us as a company and to me. And I know it's important to you now. This is for all those entrepreneurs out there who maybe have yet to have this epiphany on your journey. What Monica said is so true, people depend on you on your team, not only are you dependent upon yourself but think of all the people that you're impacting. ou may be producing $10,000 a month in revenue, but what are the impacts beyond that? The vendors that you're using, the other small [00:24:00] businesses that you're engaging, or if you're in a consultative role, the small businesses you're helping grow? Think of the total economic impact of your work. That is huge. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs lose sight of that, they get into entrepreneurship or their product or service thinking about their bank account, they're thinking about paying their rent, and buying the things they want. But in time, I think every entrepreneur discovers their impact is much greater reaching than that. And that [00:24:30] is so exciting. I hope everyone listening, can take a moment and understand the impact that you have in your community and those around you.

Monica Kline:

It's important. I literally sit down and being an entrepreneur, you don't have a lot of free time. It's what you choose. I can't remember exactly, I think it was Matthew McConaughey and the book he wrote last year, he said, "I'm always striving to be the best [00:25:00] version of myself in five years." So you're always striving for that next level. So even though you hit those goals, and maybe you hit that dollar amount, are you at your peak? What's next? It's not always chasing the golden egg, per se, but you want to continue providing value. And so, when I sit down, very rarely is there a fancy dinner or a weekend getaway. I'm not there yet. [00:25:30] When I hit this very massive goal I have, that might start to slide back into my life. But I sit down for a meal, what am I eating? Is it one, filling me so I have the energy to continue moving forward? Health is so important as an entrepreneur because you're going 18 to 20 hours a day, are you getting sound sleep? Are you taking care of yourself?But when I sit down to a meal, what I think about is, for instance, I have a client who is a single mom [00:26:00] and a widow. She has two children in college, she is paying their living expenses or college tuition. I think about, what are her kids eating for dinner tonight? Because that's the trickle effect that it has. You need to pay attention, you need to have that empathy ingrained in you as well to see the bigger picture of it's not, "Oh, what's in my bank account?" What's in your clients' bank account? What's in their children's bank [00:26:30] accounts? How are they surviving? How are they living? Because it all comes back. It's all connected. And so, I really, when I do something, if it's a splurge, I sit back and I'm like, "Do I really need this?" You need to ask yourself, because and I'm on seven years of this entrepreneurial journey, and every single penny I have made, I have reinvested back into my business. Because that's what you do. I'm still growing and you have to keep [00:27:00] technology with everything you need to so you can grow, so your clients can grow. People look at me sometimes, and they're like, "Oh, you're probably out at these fancy restaurants, you're jetting away for the weekend. I'm like, "No, I'm at my desk." But I love it. I love it. It's a passion for me.

Ryan Carrillo:

It's always easier when you feel that way about it and if you talk about technology and making money while you sleep, which is [00:27:30] a great byproduct of using Keap. What are some other benefits that you found from choosing to automate your sales and marketing?

Monica Kline:

Oh, my gosh, where do I start? At heart, I'm a total numbers nerd. Going back to the cash box that my dad gave me as a child, I initially wanted to go to school to become an accountant. So, I love numbers. I love analytics. And so, with [00:28:00] automation, when I was watching, when I literally had zero money, and I just launched my business, I went, it's going through hell and back. I was watching these "experts and gurus" and I was watching their redirects on their websites. It's smart enough to know, it's not seamless to me, I know where it's redirecting me to. So I was making a list of all of these platforms or software and Keap was one [00:28:30] of them. And I made a wish list. Once I started to research, I'm like, "This is automation. This is how these people are scaling." If you don't have a strategy that includes automation, you're going to be exchanging time for money for the rest of your life until you burn out, or you die. If you create multiple revenue streams, and you set it up as a passive income revenue stream with automation and platforms, [00:29:00] and services like Keap, it's a no brainer, you are literally sleeping while you have a product or a service that sells itself because you have put everything on autopilot. And learning how to do that, it's no small fee. But once you invest in it, and you know and you understand, and then like me, I got to the point where now I just hire the experts to come work for me. And that's how we're able to scale, we replicate [00:29:30] it. And we can take on more clients, we can take on automated clients. I have an entire online course curriculum on top of my branding agency that I launched about a year and a half ago. And that's passive income. I recorded those courses at the start of our "walk down" and I can go to sleep tonight and sell three courses tonight. That's an extra $4,000 in my bank account for something I did two years ago or almost two years ago. So, [00:30:00] automation is key to scaling. It's a necessity, it's a must as an entrepreneur, and there's different ways to do that.

Ryan Carrillo:

You talked about exchanging time for money, that's a really big thing. And I've been seeing more and more information out there about this concept because prior to living in the reality, we have now where we have this powerful technology, that was how you made money, you had to do something with your time to provide a service or a product, and you got to exchange that for money. [00:30:30] But this is a really powerful concept. Can you talk a bit more about getting away from exchanging your time for money?

Monica Kline:

It's the entire digital blueprint. It is creating an online presence. I practice omnichannel branding. Omnichannel is multiple touchpoints and a brand. So a brand, a lot of people misconstrue that it's your logo and your colors. Or it's the impression you leave on somebody, it's not. That's your starting point. There [00:31:00] is your foundation and all your brand collateral, but then we build touchpoints that are all we monetize each and every touchpoint. So let's say, you can start with something as simple as, and this is where automation and Keap comes into play. So, let's just say I'm a life coach, or I'm offering a service. You cannot go out into the marketplace in today's environment and start selling $1,000, $2,000 coaching packages, people are [00:31:30] not going to buy. You need to start with your low-hanging fruit. So this is how we start to build the Omnipresence. So you start with maybe a video tutorial, are you stuck? You have a bad mindset. Do you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Etc. You build whatever your hook is on that. And you put something out at a tripwire price. A tripwire is your entry-level, it's $7, $17, $27, and you start there, then you automate that, that's [00:32:00] a recorded course. You start building from there, what's your next level? Maybe that's a $97 product to a $400, $500 range.This is how you start to create multiple revenue streams. And once you automate each one, and key is to nurture every single person. Every person that comes in that you attracted, they must start to get nurtured by you. That's like sitting down with a girlfriend having lunch, meeting her [00:32:30] for coffee, but you're doing this virtually on autopilot. And this is where Keap comes in. This is where automation creates a very lucrative revenue stream into your bank account. You literally go to sleep, and you are still creating revenue. So it starts there. And then you work your way up your value ladder. For me, I have 22 touchpoints when I'm building an omnichannel brand. Yes, there's 22 of them.

Ryan Carrillo:

22?

Monica Kline:

Yes.

Ryan Carrillo:

Wow. [00:33:00] You hear that everyone? You need to have 22 touchpoints, no, I'm just kidding. That's incredible.

Monica Kline:

You don't need all of them. Some people want to start with maybe two or three, maybe they wrote a book. And maybe they offer a product like a journal or something that goes along with them being a life coach that people can take their notes. And they mark that journal at $70 or a planner, that's their product. And then they have a book, [00:33:30] and then you upsell into a coaching package. Those are three of the touchpoints. A podcast, you can easily monetize a podcast with adding a "sponsor" in there, interjecting having a 15-second commercial from somebody.I had somebody years ago that did this. I won't share the details of it. But she was in the financial industry. She was a Wall Streeter. And she left, she retired. And she literally said, "Just pay [00:34:00] me $1 a download," and she understood what was going on in the social media advertising marketplace. She got a million downloads in less than one year. So she walked back to her former employer with the tried and true, the analytics. You can't manipulate those analytics. And it showed one million downloads, and they wrote her a check for $1 million. She had to give him a 10-second commercial inside of her podcast. But, does that really matter? No, it doesn't, we listen to it. That lured [00:34:30] me over to go check out and open a checking account with them or something. But that's how it's done with every touchpoint, you should be creating a revenue stream and by the end of the day, that's how you can monetize to let's just say the starting point is $1 million in 12 months. But if you know your stuff, and you have that authority figure or you're educated in what your specialty is, you can scale that upwards and you're seeing that happen. There's a ton of amazing experts out there, [00:35:00] they're making a heck of a lot more by having the Omni presence with their brand.

Ryan Carrillo:

Wow

Monica Kline:

Did I just dump a lot right now?

Ryan Carrillo:

You just dumped on everyone. Are you kidding me? Is part of your business teaching... like you have clients that you teach and educate because I feel like I just got a free sample of one of your courses. I'm over here inspired like, "Man, why don't I have 22 touchpoints as an entrepreneur?" [00:35:30] That's awesome, very inspiring.

Monica Kline:

That is part of my brand strategy session. When they first meet me, that's what we do, we spend 90 minutes getting to know one another. And I will go through and do a brand audit. If they have a website, I'll audit their website, I dissect it. I've been told I leave their heads spinning, they usually need a couple of weeks to comprehend what I just shared. And then the right ones gravitate right back towards me. And I only take 10 one-on-one clients per year.

Ryan Carrillo:

Oh, wow. [inaudible 00:35:59], isn't it?

Monica Kline:

There's only 10 [00:36:00] of them. And the rest, they get nurtured into my online courses.

Ryan Carrillo:

That's so wonderful. We've had a great conversation. We're about 40 minutes in right now.

Monica Kline:

Okay.

Ryan Carrillo:

I'd like to wrap this up in the next 10 to 15.

Monica Kline:

Okay.

Ryan Carrillo:

You've said so many great things about business already. I'm just blown away. I can't wait to edit this. Let's hit a bit more on your story. Because like I started off as [inaudible 00:36:26], I talked about your journey, the setbacks, the triumphs. [00:36:30] Let's open up a bit right now and talk about some of your worst failures. People love talking about success stories, that's all we tend to hear. Let's be vulnerable for a second. What is the, when I say failure, I'm very familiar with failure as well in business and in life and in sports, which have been a big part of my life. I can think of a few right away that are like, "Man, that really hurt." But then I can also think down the road, "Man, the lesson I learned from that failure is the reason [00:37:00] why I succeed today." So, what's one of those failures that you think back on that is a reason why you're succeeding today?

Monica Kline:

One of the number one things that I learned the hard way, not once, not twice. I can probably count it on two hands how many times I did this because I have a lot of trust, and a lot of faith in others. I believe when people give you their word that they mean it and little, I guess you would call it being [00:37:30] naive as a fresh entrepreneur, learn everything in your business about your business. And do it yourself first. Learn it, repeat it, implement it for you, don't go and try to implement it on a new client, do it on your business, and massage everything out that is not working to get it to work first. If you [00:38:00] have that knowledge base, well, one obvious, you can charge a heck of a lot more. But two, I was paying and hiring all the best experts out there. And no one delivered what I thought I was getting. I am talking like a very hefty mistake that left me almost homeless, that left me having to get a line [00:38:30] of credit at my local grocery store on my business account because I couldn't even afford... I share a story about, it was for a couple months, where my number one meal were frozen waffles because that was all I can afford. Because I had to make enough money to pay that line of credit off at the grocery store so I can afford groceries for the next month. And being single, living by myself, it was groceries and it was cat food for my cat. And I literally [00:39:00] walked in, I said, "I have a business, I saw a sign someplace that you cater business events. Can I get a line of credit?" And it was the week before Christmas. And I'm like, "What am I going to do?" I literally was investing every cent I had back into my business. I had taken a few hefty hits. In my personal life, I was going through a divorce. So that was a very costly mistake. I had signed up with every penny I had [00:39:30] for these experts to build my brand, my website, my this, that, and the other, and none of it came to fruition. And so I'm sitting there about ready to lose my home. I'm like, "What am I going to do?" And so that was my biggest lesson was it costs a heck of a lot less. It's a fraction of the price and hiring the bright, shiny object to the new expert and guru. That's why I'm very discerning now, [00:40:00] when somebody says they're an expert. I believed it, I invested, and I did not get what I thought I was getting. So, after that, I said, "I will figure it out. I will now go in and learn, and it's going to take me a heck of a lot longer because some of these programs or courses or certifications, they're 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and you have to do the homework and the research, and trying to learn five [00:40:30] or six different things at once, my brain was scrambled eggs for about two and a half years. If you asked me to put one and one together, I would drool. I'm like, "I don't know," because I was so deep into studying. And at that point, I had no money to even accept social offers. And so, that's how I learned to say no. And I hid it from my friends and my family what I was going through. Only about [00:41:00] two people really knew the truth. I was dead broke, I was losing my house, I was walking to meetings in New York City. I had a designer closet, I sold off every single piece of designer I had to keep a roof over my head, pay that monthly minor credit I had at the grocery store. And there was some months where there [00:41:30] was really nothing left for me to commute to meetings. New York is a walking city, I don't own a car. Subways prices went from $225 to $275, that extra dollar for a round trip, $1 to get to a meeting really hit home. I'm like, "Am I going to be able to get to this meeting?" This is way before everybody knew what Zoom was or [inaudible 00:41:53], a teleconferencing. So you were doing in-person meetings, and I'm closing these clients and I have to show up and be polished. [00:42:00] And so I went and I remember I bought my first pair of hard-toe Converse shoes because one, had to be comfortable, two, they had to serve as a weapon in case I needed to dropkick anybody. I would take the subway to the meeting, so that's $275 to get there. And then I would walk home. It was also doubled as my fitness because sometimes and I lived uptown and some of my meetings were downtown like Financial District or Wall Street. And so, [00:42:30] I'm talking 40, 50, 60 blocks. And if the weather was good, of course, I'd walk and if not, I would scrape together and I figure it out. I'm like, "Okay, I have another bag or pair of shoes I can sell." That's how I bootstrapped myself into my business until I started to see some momentum.And once I got that strategy on the first two touchpoints, I just started duplicating it over and over and over. And then I would add more touchpoints. And then that was more revenue. And then more [00:43:00] and more. And every cent that came in, I invested into the next piece of education, knowledge, technology. Next week, I celebrate seven years of owning my business. I feel my business is thriving, but it's not where I want it to be yet, but it's definitely night and day from where I was.

Ryan Carrillo:

What a story and outcome. You said [00:43:30] it perfectly. You gave us the whole journey from basically rock bottom failure. You never gave up, did you?

Monica Kline:

No.

Ryan Carrillo:

You had that grit, you thought of your parents. And You did it. You're proud, right? Tell me you're proud.

Monica Kline:

100%. But you know what? We're our own worst critic.

Ryan Carrillo:

Of course.

Monica Kline:

I'll be honest, I'm sitting in this beautiful home right now. It's pretty big for me. But I look around and there's some days where [00:44:00] I'm like, "Do I deserve this?" I'm like, "I don't need all this space for myself." But I get emotional because I do, I struggle with that because I feel like I can downsize and put that extra money into my business. But I'm like, "I have a safe place. I have a beautiful home office. I have a backyard that I can [00:44:30] walk into and enjoy." Especially what we're coming off of. I can actually be outside and get some fresh air and some sunshine. Where before, I literally was working in a closet, the size of... I don't know if you're familiar with New York apartment sizes are not very spacious. When I had was forced to downsize my office, literally, I don't even think it was a five-by-five space. That's where I put my head down and just created and implemented, and [00:45:00] I wore those headsets until my ears hurt just to cut out any distractions out the window. You can you hear everything in New York. I just literally turned the volume, and I just learned and learned and I read and read and read. I know we're on audio-only, but I'm going to just tell it, you can see my bookshelves.

Ryan Carrillo:

Yeah.

Monica Kline:

These are the books that changed my life and the trajectory of my business. If I did not invest in the knowledge, [00:45:30] or sit back to learn, I wouldn't have been here. I would have still been wasting money paying experts. Not everybody is a waste, let me preface that. But I was definitely attracted to the shiny object, and I was throwing money at building something that I had the vision for, but they didn't. So you have to make sure that you implement your own business, and then go and hire the expert to take you to the next level or scale you, [00:46:00] whatever that is because nobody is going to protect or love your business. It's your child, the way you will.So, learn how to do it all yourself as tedious as that sounds. People are probably like [inaudible 00:46:14], they're off right now. They're like, "No, we don't want to do that." It's not the only way obviously, but for me, it's what worked.

Ryan Carrillo:

That's a perfect place to end, Monica. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful wisdom, your stories of Big Grit [00:46:30] throughout your life, and your journey. And thank you for the free lessons you gave on scaling your business with all the touchpoints and using your brand to success. Thank you for your time here with us at Keap and the Small Biz Buzz. I'm Ryan Carrillo once again with Monica Klein.

Monica Kline:

Thank you. I appreciate it, Ryan.

Ryan Carrillo:

Hey, everyone. Thanks for listening.


To learn more about Monica, visit her Instagram.

To watch her full Big Grit story, visit keap.com/big-grit