November 10

Episode 100: How to Become an Authority in Your Industry With Christina Hooper

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Your business should allow you to take worry-free time away, provide for you financially, and leave you with time to spend with the people that matter most to you. – Christina Hooper

Christina Hooper‘s Biography

Christina has been speaking for over 10 years in front of audiences of all sizes. She specializes in messaging and translating the complex topics into high-value content for your audience at any level — subscribers on a newsletter, followers on social media, butts in seats at live events, and everything in between.

100th Episode!!

In today’s episode, Mike talks with Christina Hooper. Christina is the one who encouraged Mike to start a podcast. So let’s celebrate the 100th episode together!

Links & Resources Mentioned…

Read The Transcript

Mike O'Neill: [00:00:00] Welcome to the 100th episode of the Get Unstuck and On Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders and as a coach I work with owners who are trying to grow their business, but they're struggling with people, process or planning problems process. Since this is the 100th episode I wanted to invite someone special to celebrate this milestone.

That special person is Christina Hooper. Christina is the founder and CEO of Sparkitive. Her company specializes in helping service space businesses improve their lead generation and sales. It is c. Who encouraged me to start this podcast, and she's been very helpful to me and my business in so many different ways.

So I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Christina Hooper. Welcome, Christina. 

Christina Hooper: Hey, thanks for having me. I'm [00:01:00] excited for the 100th episode, that's so cool. 

Mike O'Neill: Well, I, I am too. I decided not to do the party hat or the whatever things you, what do you call those things? You blow out. 

Christina Hooper: Yeah.

We'll have to add the sound effects in there so that we've got the, you know, 100th episode. Like. 

Mike O'Neill: Gosh, that has flown by. But Christina, you're the one who suggested that I do that. And in the spirit of full disclosure, what you said is, Mike, this might help position you. In the marketplace as a bit of an authority.

And it's that topic that I would like us to spend our time together discussing. And that is how does one, and why should someone strive to be seen and act as an authority in their area? 

Christina Hooper: I mean, the simple answer is to make more money. Which is what we all want to do. That's kind of the point. Um, probably [00:02:00] breaking down some of the why.

It, it shortens the sales cycle and it enables you to charge more for your services. So if we look at, you know, if I've been following somebody in all of their content, listening to their podcast episodes, reading their blog articles, watching their YouTube videos, and I get ready to hire them for that service.

I already trust them. I already know them. I would go to them and be like, Hey, here's my situation. How much money and for what do I need to give you , like the sales conversation changes versus if somebody's doing their, you know, due diligence and they're checking out three or four different people and they send a little contact through the website and they're like, Hey, I would like a quote.

And you know, now you have to do the song and dance, right? You have to do the, Here's what I do, here's how I help. Here's how I, you know, would you like to book a discovery call with me so that I can see if I can help you and make some recommendations? And, you know, they're gonna get their quotes and they're going to try and figure out, do I go with the cheapest one?

Do I go with the one that I [00:03:00] vibed with the best on the discovery call? And you're gonna, you're gonna spend potentially weeks, months, maybe even years working this person up into being a, you know, a good client. And then you're gonna have to be priced competitively and all that other. Versus if they know you, they've seen you, they recognize you as an authority, and they're like, Can I just throw my credit card at you?

And you give me back awesome stuff. like, you've maybe only had one conversation with that person and they're ready to buy. Like, it's a, it's a huge change, not just in how much you can charge and how fast you can sell, but also for the business owner yourself. I mean, a lot of us are doing our own sales at, you know, smaller companies and it's exhaust.

To have to prove yourself to people all the time and be like, Look, can you just trust me? I can help you. Will you just, will you just gimme money and quit making me have to justify why and how and like, just, just hire me. Right. You know, it just, it gets exhausting to have to prove yourself all the time and it, it [00:04:00] beats you down.

So being in authority has a lot of advantages in a lot of different ways. I think I was kind of a little bit long winded on that and a little bit soap boxy, but I feel like it's so important. Well, 

Mike O'Neill: You may view it as so boxy, but I have obviously subscribed to what is it you're recommending? Um, and so you've rattled off a number of things and so my hope is that we can have this conversation and make it kinda relative to everybody a business.

Who is seeking business. Obviously this would apply. In many respects, this applies even to those who are in the corporate world. But in terms of your typical client, my understanding, it's primarily those who are in the service based industry. Yeah. And you're working what, primarily with the business owner?

Christina Hooper: Yep. Um, we call 'em ACEs for short. So agencies, coaches, consultants, and other expert entrepreneurs. And yeah, I mean [00:05:00] it's people who essentially are trading not just time, but experience, skill, advanced training, you know, for money. And, you know, they're doing that in a variety of different ways. Some of them are doing just like coaching services.

Some of them are doing done for you services. Some of 'em have like masterminds, group coachings, things like. Um, or a combination. But the biggest thing that they have is a lot of passion, a specialized skill set, and, you know, really being willing to go in and serve and deliver for their customers. If they're just out to make a buck, not usually a good fit client, it's the ones that actually care and wanna build a deeper relationship with their clients that are a great fit.

Mike O'Neill: So, Christina, if I'm a business owner and I have passion for how I can help clients, and I have a process in which that. Be done. Walk us through what are the first things that you encourage your clients with Sparkitive's help to kind of get in place to be [00:06:00] seen as that authority? 

Christina Hooper: Well, most people would jump straight into marketing, right?

And they think about all the marketing things that you need to do. But what we've discovered is that businesses evolve in a pretty particular way, especially the business owners. A lot of times they start with a business brand that they're trying to. So they're not really marketing themselves. You know, the marketing and company, When you first started, it was all about bench builders.

It wasn't about Mike, it was Bench Builders. Most people start the same way. I know I did. It was all about the company. And then as somewhere along the way, somebody kind of drags you out of your shell a little bit and they're like, Hey, would you like to come speak or Can I interview you for my podcast?

Or can I like, somebody pulls you out into the world and now you've begun the journey of marketing you as a. , right? So it's like now you're out doing stuff as Mike O'Neill, you're being interviewed, his podcast, you're applying to speak on stages, you're, you know, doing stuff with your local chamber. And now Mike has a presence in addition to bench builders.

And that's a pretty common progression that we really start to see happening. The next [00:07:00] evolution is when the company starts to run on its own. Mm. You have to set it up to scale. You hire someone else to run and manage it, and you do more. Right? Like you're out there doing more speaking, you're traveling more.

I mean, like I'm traveling a lot right now. We were talking about that before we started the show. Like I've been in Tampa, San Diego, I'm heading to Nashville. I'm gonna be in Austin all within about three or four months. Well, my company has to run largely without me during those times. So that's kinda the next evolution is the owner starts to break free, the company starts to stand on its own.

Once that kind of break starts to happen a lot more, the owners out here doing a lot more stuff, right? Like I'm meeting a lot more people, making a lot more connections, doing a lot more networking, making a lot more partnerships. What ultimately ends up happening there is you start becoming more of an entrepreneurial investor.

You have enough time and enough freedom and enough relationships and access to more people and information that you end up investing in companies, either like the Roll and Frazier Epic model where you donate your time, your knowledge, your experience [00:08:00] exchange for a piece of the company so you don't even, it doesn't even cost you anything to buy in.

And you know, you get equity off the company or straight investing. Then you end up not only marketing your business and your personal brand, but also all these other businesses that you're , you're now part of as well. So that kind of tends to be the journey. So with that journey in mind, back to the original question, how do you really start down that path of building your authority?

You understand that that journey's gonna happen and you think about what it's gonna take to make it happen intentionally. Mm-hmm. , right? If we just go and we take this initial brand, like Fish, take the bench builder brand initially and we just market the crap out of it, okay, that's cool, but eventually Mike's gonna get yanked out.

If we don't plan for that and we don't plan for, Mike's gonna have more demands on his time, he's not gonna be able to be tied to the company. Then all kinds of like problems and issues and bottlenecks and stuff start to happen where your company growth actually gets. So what I like to do instead is we go back and we call, we started calling this a maximum impact [00:09:00] map and we focus on kind of six core fundamentals.

We focus on what your superpowers are, what you can be known for, what your expertise is, who it is that you're gonna help, who's your niche. Let's get kinda refined down. And really think about who you're really specialized to help with. We think about your scalable product catalog. So like what are the products and services that it is that you're going to be delivering, and how are we setting those up to be scalable, even without you involved with them.

Mike O'Neill: Mm-hmm. 

Christina Hooper: You know, cuz we're planning for intentional growth. So get that nailed down. We put in some guard rails. I started calling this a happiness, happiness defense system. Hmm. So how do we put guard rails in so that as your business grows, you continue to. Yeah, because I keep talking to entrepreneurs over and over again that have fallen out of love with their business.

They don't like it anymore. So what guardrails we need to put in place? Like do you have to have Saturdays off book or Saturday nights off? You cannot work on a Saturday night. You don't wanna work on a weekend at all. You need Monday mornings where you're not dealing with clients, you don't like doing one on [00:10:00] one stuff.

You prefer group or you don't like doing done for you services. Like what are the guardrails that we have to be able to put into place to make all of that work? What is your core message? How are we gonna communicate what you do to the people that you want to do it for in the right way so that they understand it, and then the marketing plan, the visibility plan, What are we gonna do to get you out in front of a whole bunch of people?

Right? That's a lot of stuff before you even start marketing that you really want to think about because like you wanna plan for the smoothest growth ramp possible. Cuz when you start being an authority in your niche, you can grow very. Like you can go from not having a whole lot of business to being pretty slammed pretty quickly.

And if you're not vetting for the right fit client, if you're not selling the scalable services, if you're not able to communicate what you do very efficiently and the impact it can have for PE on people, it's gonna get painful very, very, very quickly. So that's all kind of the first step. That was a big first step. That's first step. 

Mike O'Neill: But you've laid out a [00:11:00] very clear kind of roadmap by which business owners, they wanna grow their business. But all too often when you grow the business, that business is dependent on you. And what I'm understand you to be saying is that you have to be in a position such that as you grow, you understand that your role as a business owner might change.

But what I understand you to say is it's, it really kind of starts with have a clear idea of where you want to take your. And you made a comment earlier that applied to me. As you know, I spent 25 years in the corporate world. I was a corporate HR head. That's what I know. That's what I knew. That's how I kind of identified myself.

And early on I kind of created a corporate website. You know, the fact that I was even involved with was kind of buried on page. Of the, of the website, and with your encouragement, you've kind of said, Mike, you've got [00:12:00] people who affiliated with Bitch Builders, but most likely they came to Bench Builders because of you.

Something that you have done and it's that. establishing people as authority. So let's go down that path a little bit. If you start with an understanding of where you can take your business, and if you do that, what that would require, what are those first things that you encourage business owners to kind of get down? Locked in? Um, to establish themselves as an authority. 

Christina Hooper: Yeah, I mean, once you kinda have that, that fundamental piece down, you know who you're trying to target, you know what your superpower is, you know, kind of what you're trying to sell to people. The next thing you have to do is really get in front of 'em.

I mean, you have to produce massive amounts of content, or you have to be scrappy as hell, right? You have to be willing to go knock on doors, drop stuff in the mail, pick up the phone, talk to people. You use what I love, which is the podcast, right? Like podcast is a great way or any type of collaborative content really.

But podcasts are kind of having their a big [00:13:00] heyday right now and they produce a lot of content in a relatively short timeframe, and they're relatively easy on the business owner to do so that's why they're kind of gaining such popularity. But essentially collaborative content is like, Hey, you're really good at a thing, or you had something amazing happen recently, or, I would love to talk to experts in your field like you and get some insights and inspiration that I can share with my audience.

Would you be open to that? And that is a way easier knock on the door than going over there and being like, Hey, I wanna sell you my thing. Can I talk to you about it? Do we have time? Would that be, you know, like that? Most people are gonna be like, No, I don't wanna be sold. But like I would like to feature you on my podcast as an expert and share some of your knowledge, insights, and experience with other people like you who may be going through some of the things you're going through.

Would you be open to that? Yes. Cool. Yeah, of course. Right. And over the course of producing something like a podcast or even a blog article or some people do, like they go live every week with a different person and they live stream it [00:14:00] out, or whatever your format, whatever you're comfortable with, podcast or blogs or whatever, you have an opportunity to have multiple touchpoints with.

Because you had to do the initial reach out and conversation, explain what it was and why, you know, something that they should maybe participate in and da da, da, da. You had to schedule it. Then you do the actual interview. There's always some like pre-chat, the actual interview, some post chat. Then you can follow up later when the content's actually published and share it with them and.

If you're dripping that content out over multiple months, you know, like you take a podcast, you split it up into multiple social posts, into emails, into, and they're getting notified. They're getting tagged every time you do this. I mean, you can have like a two to three month relationship with a potential client through the course of producing content, right?

So if you're on the scrappier side of things, looking for those first late 10, 15, 20 clients, that's a fantastic way to do it. Absolutely. F. , Once you're starting to scale a little bit more, then public speaking is absolutely [00:15:00] great. I mean, you're getting, you're basically borrowing other people's audiences.

Hmm. Right? So first you're trying to get one on one with your target client. Stage two is, can I borrow someone else's audience? Cause you're still trying to build yours. Right. So it's like as you're producing all this content, while you're doing the scrappy side, you're putting cont, you're putting stuff out on your blog, you're putting stuff out on YouTube, you're putting stuff out on, you know, social media through email.

So you're starting to build your audience. You're starting to build your tribe of raving fans, right? You're getting there, but in the meantime, let's go steal everybody else's , right? So let's go co-create content with other people. So look at somebody who already has your. And is already doing things with them.

They've spent time building them up and they're a good collaboration with you. They do something that your audience needs cuz that's why we wanna niche down and really think about who we need and what they need. Because then we can find these people that's like they're doing something else. Your audience also needs, and they've already invested the time in the building and audience, they already have them.

How can you co-create something together like a workshop or a [00:16:00] live event or do they have an actual. Is there a trade show style event potentially like uh, when you niche down into manufacturing, that was immediately Okay. Well there's expo trade shows and events that happen just for manufacturers. So it's like, now that's a goal post.

Like let's get you on as many stages as we can with an audience full of manufacturing managers. Right? Cuz who goes to the tra? Who goes to these shows? It's the decision makers. It's people that have influence inside the company. If it's not the owner themselves, it's somebody who has. . They don't fly just to anybody out.

Company's not footing the bill to fly just anybody out to these things, right? So getting on those stages is kind of the next step, which you've already done the groundwork. You've already set yourself as an expert. You already know who you're targeting. You already know how to help. So, coming up with a few topics that you can stand on a stage and speak on easy bey, right?

That authority building. So it's like you're building the authority, creating content with somebody and featuring and highlighting a lot of notable experts. Meanwhile, getting clients, turning [00:17:00] those experts that you're interviewing into clients and then getting on stages and building up that expertise even further.

And even something as simple as being able to walk around an event with a speaker badge on. Cause most of the time they label speakers. 

Mike O'Neill: Mm-hmm. 

Christina Hooper: You know, little things like that. It just, it goes such a long way. 

Mike O'Neill: You know. That's interesting. We've talked about the benefits of, of hosting a podcast to position you as an authority in how you could use the podcast as a platform.

The majority of, uh, podcast guests are people who I've come in contact with who just intrigue me, who I think have, uh, something interesting to share. And I think it would be interesting to, to a listening audience. Um, and so I go about doing that. I learn from. But in developing that rapport, they get a better feel for me and how I help clients.

And it really kind of comes back to relationships. Yep. You know, and we've talked about hosting a podcast, but one thing that you've kind of stressed is [00:18:00] that if you wanna be seen as an authority, you may not have to host a podcast. Why wouldn't you take that same expertise and make yourself available to podcasts that cater to your target?

Christina Hooper: Yep, exactly. So being a guest on a podcast gives you a lot of the same advantages without having to do the actual production. Mm-hmm. doesn't mean like you're aware of. It's a. You know, you have to find, you have to vet, you have to make sure that you've got the right guest. You have to do the actual interview.

And then you either have to be able to do all the backend production work or be able to afford to hire someone to do the backend production work. Right? And it, it's a lot, You're producing the videos, you're producing the audios, you're creating show notes, you're creating social posts, you're creating emails.

Like there's a lot of backend work. So being a guest means you don't have to do any of that. You can just do like what I'm doing right now and you can just show. Be amazing and be done and still get a lot of exposure to someone else's audience and then, you know, really cement the relationship. And I think that happens.

You know, you, you mentioned [00:19:00] relationships and so important and I think it happens on both sides of the fence. So as a guest, you still have a responsibility to the host, yes. To a, make sure that, you know, you're showing up the way you need to show up. You need to have good lighting, you need to have good microphone, you need to look good on stage.

You need to be thinking. You know, the topic, what you're gonna talk about, how you're going to, you know, make it as succinct as possible and do all that kind of ahead of time, be a good guest, but you also need to do your due diligence on, you know, sharing out the content. So when the host sends you over and says like, Hey, we've published it.

Right? Oh, this is amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. This is fantastic. I'm gonna send this out to my email list. I'm gonna put this out on my social media channels. I'm gonna get the word out and send some traffic back over to you because it's relat. Right, And it still looks good.

You're, you're looking at your audience and being like, Hey, I got interviewed . You know, so it still helps establish you as an authority, but it also helps cement the relationship with the host, which is why I think it's so, so, so important [00:20:00] to think about your relationships when either as a podcast host or a podcast guest, what value does knowing this person bring to your life?

What value can you bring to. You know, like is this somebody who can be a potential client? Are they a potential referral partner? Are they somebody who's gonna expose you to the right audience that you need to be exposed to? Do they have access to a stage that you're trying to get to? You know, what? What are you gonna be doing with this person?

Potentially, you know, in a strong relationship. It doesn't necessarily happen past, and I think that's one thing people maybe don't think about sometimes when you're doing this kind of stuff. Is it. It. It doesn't happen overnight. It's not gonna happen in one interview. You know, it's like if you're the guest on a podcast and you're trying to build a relationship with the host and you want them to know who you are, start a conversation and continue the conversation.

Continue to check in, continue to get to know them a little bit more. It might take you six months before they even, you know, fully understand what you do or refer people to you, or whatever door you were trying to open gets opened. But it's still important to think [00:21:00] that through, you know, you have a limited amount of time as an entrepreneur, you need to spend it wisely, . 

Mike O'Neill: So naturally we would start with podcasts. The advantage of hosting a podcast or being a guest on the podcast. But for folks who've been watching or listening, they may say, Ah, yeah, yeah, I can't go there. But there are other ways that you can establish yourself. You mentioned blogging and we kind of very briefly talked about social media and how that, uh, works.

Kinda walk us through how can. put high quality content out there that's meaningful, that does position the writer, you the writer, as an authority. What goes into that? 

Christina Hooper: So the cool thing is that the two levels of strategy that we talked about also apply to written content, like blogs also apply to social media.

So stage one, be scrappy. Go find your target client, find your referral partners. Find the people that you really need into your life that are gonna generate the revenue. That you need to generate, right? You can do the same thing, like I could even [00:22:00] write one blog article that's like 10 quotes or 10 tips from the top manufacturers in the industry or something like that.

You could go interview 10 people, go get your first 10 clients just off of doing that and just write one piece of content, right? Like that's super scrappy. One block article's. Really. You can still do the same thing. You still had to reach out to them, explain what you're doing. You still had to do the actual interview process.

You still have to produce the piece of content and share it with them. They can still share it with their audience, but you still get all of the same value, but with a blog article instead of a podcast. Mm-hmm. . Or you can do one blog article per interview if you want. That would kind be the next level up.

Same kind of thing with social media. You can go live. So you can be like, Hey, I want to like do a live interview with you and I'm just gonna like go to Facebook, Hit go. Or go to YouTube and hey, go live and just interview somebody and create social content. You can do the blog article and share it on social media like, Hey, I interviewed 10 of the top people in the field and here's what I had to say about it.

And you link them over to the blog or you create little quote graphics that it's like, what one of the top, you know, [00:23:00] engineering firms in the United States had to say about what did do and make a little. So you can still use that same, you know, low end strategy of let me be scrapping and go get conversations with people that I wanna do business with.

Then on the higher end of it, where it's like you wanna leverage somebody else's stage, you can guest post on their blog. Hmm. So you find someone else that already has a blog and you're like, Hey, I would love to write some content that would be helpful for your audience. Is that something that you would be interested in?

You know, here's a couple of topics that I would propose. Is there one of those that. You do wanna do your due diligence on this one. Again, look at their existing blog. Have they talked on that topic before? Is this gonna be relevant to their target audience? Look for some signals that you know they do have an audience so that you're not just publishing on a blog that has like nothing.

There's some tools that can help you check the domain authority of a website. So if the domain authority's over, if you're a smaller company and you're really still looking for those first few really good leads, if the domain authority, the website's over 10, it's pretty good. If it's over like 20 or 30, it's even better.

The [00:24:00] higher up the domain authority gets, the more you know, the better that site is performing overall. Mm-hmm. . So if you're gonna guest post, that's a cool thing to do and there's tons of resources. If you just Google like domain authority. , there's a bunch, and you just put their web address in there and it'll tell you what their domain authority estimates.

Every tool's got a different scale, so check it against your website. If it's higher than yours, go for it. Um, and just put out a quick blog article on their site. You can, um, reach out to them and, you know, ask them like, Hey, I would love to go live on your social media channel and deliver some value to your audience.

Would you be open to that? Um, so you can still use both strategies for written content like blogs, email. And social just the same as you could for a podcast. It's just those two levels, like how can I be scrappy and get my first clients? How can I steal someone else's audience? And then the third is, you have your own right?

Like after you started building all of this, eventually you have your own audience. You have a big email list, you have an active social following. You have a community that's paying attention to you that recognizes you and you [00:25:00] know, you still can do some of these other things, but it, you have people hanging on your every word at some point.

So it's not that big of a deal. 

Mike O'Neill: You made a comment a moment ago about you gotta be. and that is, you can't ex expect to get immediate results on that. Um, in practical terms, if a business owner says, I really would like to purposely work on positioning myself as an authority within my industry, and I'm willing to do the things we're talking about, be it, be it website, there's social media presence, be it profile posting, and what they actually post and how that might do.

You probably encourage your clients to give a little bit of time. Is there a general rule of thumb that, that you advise them? 

Christina Hooper: Oh man, that's a fun one. So if you're going out and just putting out blog content and you don't have much of a following, you don't have much website traffic. You're putting out content and you're trying to just get your own audience built up.

That's gonna take anywhere from 12 to 18 months minimum before [00:26:00] you're even getting any kind of traffic. Hmm. And then you can start optimizing from there into leads and optimizing from there into customers. And I mean, it, there's a reason why most businesses failed in their first year, then again, within their five, like the high, high, high numbers of failure because it's what they're doing.

Right? Because I mean it, if it takes you 12 to 18 months to even get enough traffic, get enough eyeballs on what you do to even start to generate. Right then you're gonna end up with having to troubleshoot leads. Mm-hmm. . Cause your lead quality's not gonna be great right outta the bat. Doesn't matter what you do.

There was nothing to measure against. You had to start getting something so that you can start optimizing well and then when you start getting more leads and you start getting better leads, now you have to optimize your sales . So, I mean, it can take between two and five years to go through that. and really get it dialed in where you're getting traffic, you're getting high quality leads, you're selling the right thing, you're good at selling it and you're, you know, like it can be a pretty long involved process.

That's why I like some of these scrappier [00:27:00] methods because it's like, if you're, if you can get past some of the mindset issues, and I know this is something that we're up against a lot, like people are like, Well, I'm not an expert, or I'm not an authority, or I don't wanna position myself that way. If you can get past the mindset issues and kind of just do that out of the.

people connect with people a lot better. And so if you're willing to reach out and be like, I want them as my client, I'm going to use a podcast or a blog article to make that happen so that I can have a conversation with them so I can have that cup of coffee with them so that I can be like, Hey me, you wanna pay me money

And then you start, your sales process gets optimized faster cuz you're having more conversations with your target customers, even if they don't. So you learn how to explain what you do. You learn how to sell, you learn how to, you know, really figure out what their pain points are. Really hone in a lot faster.

So, I mean, it's like talking to people is the ultimate hack. It's the one that nobody wants to do because it's the one that are the most uncomfortable with, right? You have to reach out, you have to start conversations, you have to build relationships. You have to have uncomfortable things. You have to be like, Hey, I [00:28:00] really thought you were a good fit client, but you don't seem interested.

And I would just for future reference so that I can get better at what I do. I would like to know. , why are you not interested in hiring me? What's the barrier? What could I have done better? And just really awkward conversations, , that you can streamline that and start getting your first clients within months instead of years.

If you can get outside the comfort zone, if you can own that expertise, if you can narrow down your niche, like even myself, like I fought the nicheing thing for way too long, way, way too long. And I. Dipped my toes into the water of Ning and probably the slowest way possible. It's like I'm gonna walk into the Arctic water and I'm gonna do it like one tip of the tippy toe at a time.

Mike O'Neill: Mm-hmm. 

Christina Hooper: And it's gonna take me like, it was ridiculous how long I fought it. And I mean, we went from, I'm gonna niche to professional service providers, and I was like, Cool. That's narrow. Not even. [00:29:00] Professional service providers could be everything from the person who cleans the carpet at a corporate office, to a business coach, to the person who scrubs the toilets or changes out the light bulbs or installs the, you know, like professional services is a lot.

That's a lot. Yes. And then we narrow down into coaches thinking, well, it's coaches. Coaches are narrow. No. How many coaches are there? How many different types of like, it's. Like you need to have, you know, people talk about, you know, these, these big, uh, big, big companies with these huge law firms on retainers, you know, and it's like you step into court and you're backed about like 10 attorneys.

Mike O'Neill: Mm-hmm. 

Christina Hooper: You almost need to do that with coaches. Hmm. Like, cuz there's, there's a coach for everything that you're currently screwing up on and you need to hire them all and have like a whole wall of them helping you with all the different things. So it's like coaches is not very. And so then we ended up nicheing into ACEs, which was a little broader actually, but with a focus on expert entrepreneurs and people that were really, you know, like we talked about earlier, selling their [00:30:00] expertise.

And then we niched even harder and niche into neuros spicy entrepreneurs. So people have like a d, adhd, ocd, autism spectrum, and they're trying to scale their business as an expert entrepreneur that eventually wants to, you know, speak on stages, become an entrepreneurial investor, blah da da da. Like that's.

So we got really focused in, and when you do that, your messaging gets so much clearer. You know exactly who to talk to, have a lot of the right conversations, and a lot of that came from conversations. It came from very awkward conversations. My journey, my path to mission came from a lot of really awkward and weird conversations, but it's what helps, you know, really get your messaging clear and get yourselves.

So the original question was like, timeline to start generating. . It really depends on how quickly you can push yourself outside of your comfort zone and how much you're gonna stick to doing traditional versus being a little scrappy and having relationships and doing things. Cuz otherwise, if you try and go to the traditional, build a business route, [00:31:00] uh, it can take you three to five years before you've even gotten like your first 10 good clients.

You know the ones that you love, that you enjoy, that are profitable, that are, you know, cuz you're gonna, you're gonna sell to the wrong. , you're gonna sell things that you shouldn't sell to the right clients. You're gonna sell things you shouldn't sell to the wrong clients. You're gonna like the learning curve on all of that is massive.

And I mean, it can be five years to get 10 good, profitable. You're happy. They're happy. Clients go on the traditional route. So get awkward and go have conversation sooner rather than later. You know. 

Mike O'Neill: I like that term, get awkward, be willing to be. Uh, that's what you've obviously encouraged me. You encourage other clients.

I think you've already answered this in several different ways, but I wanna give you a chance to revisit this as we kind of begin winding down our time together. And that is thinking about the theme of this podcast getting unstuck and getting back on Target. Can you think of [00:32:00] an example perhaps where a client or perhaps even you got stuck and what did it take to get unstuck?

Christina Hooper: I feel like it's always somewhere in the niche. always, always either not wanting to do it, being afraid to niche, you know, the wrong way. Being afraid that you know, you're not gonna like the people that you niche into or whatever. But I mean, the biggest thing is when you do niche, everything gets easier.

Like we've been talking about it, it gets your product, deliver your products or services, gets easier, gets more efficient, you deliver a bigger result, your messaging gets easier. Identifying your target audience gets. It gets easier for your target audience to, to identify you. As soon as I started saying that I do authority marketing for Neuros by entrepreneurs, and I said that at these last couple events that I've gone to, the introductions just kept happening.

I mean, people kept bringing people over and being like, You need to talk to her. You have adhd. They don't even know what, Some of 'em didn't even know what I did. Hmm. They honed in on the fact that ADHD thing or the [00:33:00] ADD thing or the autism thing, and they're like, Do you have adhd? She could probably help.

And we're just making these introductions. You know, I got introduced to people that I would've never expected to get introduced to. ADHD performance coaches, ADHD, networking groups for entrepreneurs and the people who were running those. And it just, it immediately started happening. So I feel like nicheing is a thing you really get stuck on.

I mean, I've been in business for over 15 years and I just really niche heavily down and went the last six months to a year. Like that's how long I fought it, and I got stuck there for a long. Most of our clients do too. They're afraid that they don't know enough about that industry, afraid that it's gonna be the wrong one.

Afraid that there's just so many fears attached to it, that it is probably the one thing that most people get stuck on the longest. But I think the biggest thing to break down that and get unstuck is to realize that you're nicheing for scale initial. Right. You're nicheing, initially. . Mm-hmm. as you become more [00:34:00] known.

You know, we've talked about that transition where you're having to be really scrappy and just go get as me one-on-one conversations as you can to getting on other people's stages and stealing audiences to having your own audience. As you get bigger, as you have your own audience, as you get better at being in front of other audiences, as you build relationships with other entrepreneurs that can generate sales and referrals, as you have more happy clients that are sending in referrals, you can start to expand.

You know, a lot of my services would work for a wide variety of people. It doesn't necessarily have to be authority. Marketing doesn't necessarily have to be neuro spicy. Like I could work for a lot. I do marketing, you know, I mean like I could work for almost anybody and everybody in a variety of different ways.

But by finishing down initially, well, I'm able to really solidify my company, solidify how we serve and deliver for our clients, solidify my messaging, build my. Get, you know, reliable resources on other people's stages, really start building it up. And then I can expand. I can expand [00:35:00] later. You're not stuck there forever If you get profitable.

If you get good at the one thing, then you have money, you have time, you have credibility, you have authority, and you can expand later. So to get unstuck, you just kind of have to pick and. 

Mike O'Neill: I love how you just kind of circled back and covered almost everything, and it basically means I didn't have to ask that next question, and that is, you know, how would you summarize in terms of takeaways, Christina, for those watching or listening?

I'm confident. That they've heard something that resonated and I know how you like or don't like that word resonate, but I don't know what it is about that word. It's a weird word, . Maybe I'll just, I'll edit that word back out, but if they heard something that they want to hear more, what's the best way for folks to reach out to you?

Christina Hooper: Uh, the easiest way is just to go to my name, so christinahooper.com and all of the [00:36:00] links to all of the things are on that page. So your social media platform of choice. I think I'm on almost all of the, um, my podcast, Everything. You can get to everything from that page. 

Mike O'Neill: Excellent. We will include links to all of those in the show notes.

I was looking forward to spending this time with you to celebrate the one. episode. I would not be doing this if it wasn't. Your encouragement and your help. Thank you for all you have done for, for me personally and professionally, Christina. 

Christina Hooper: Aw, you are amazing. I have so much fun working with you, helping you, and it's like anybody listening right now, manufacturing or even otherwise, I know we just you into manufacturing, but anybody who has people, I've never met anybody like you, Mike, that is so, so, so good.

At coaching entrepreneurs on their people issues, and that is one of the huge barriers to scale. It is such a huge barrier to scale. We talked about how you [00:37:00] can't be in your business doing all the things all the time if you're gonna scale correctly, and people is a huge one. It's a huge one that everybody trips up on.

I mean, everybody trips up on, and Mike is just such a natural. You are just amazing at helping people conquer those problems. Props for you. Celebrations on the hundredth episodes is amazing. 

Mike O'Neill: Thank you so much, Christina. I, I also wanna thank our listeners who have stuck with us through all 100 episodes thus far.

We upload the latest episode every Thursday to all the major platforms, including Apple and Spotify. So if you enjoy this episode like I did with Christina, please subscribe. Christina's had spent quite a bit of time talking about, you know, what goes into growing an organization. And so from a people side, if you're trying to grow your business and you wanna make sure you've got the right people or processes in place so that you can grow smoothly, if that applies to you, [00:38:00] let's talk head over to bench builders.com.

And we'll schedule a call. We're gonna talk about what those growth goals are, and we're gonna explore very practical steps that you can take right now to make sure that that growth happens. So I wanna thank everybody who's tuned in to this special episode. I hope you have picked up on some tips from Christina.

They'll help you Get Unstuck and On Target. Until next time.

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