Episode 50: Craig Severinsen
Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast
EC 01 | 4min
About The Guest
Craig is a business growth expert and founder of Bright Work training a coaching and consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs grow their business by implementing the right marketing sales and operational systems.
Craig is passionate about helping entrepreneurs create exceptional life when not training or consulting.
Craig will often be found with his wife and four children, probably playing a guitar.
Virginia: Welcome to entrepreneur conundrum with Virginia Purnell, where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online.
Hey Everyone today, I’m talking with Craig Severinsen about how he helps businesses grow. Craig is a business growth expert and founder of bright work training a coaching and consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs grow their business by implementing the right marketing sales and operational systems.
Craig has worked with companies such as the Walt Disney company. And at Delmon P R and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs create exceptional life when not training or consulting, you can find that. And Craig, with his wife and four children, probably playing a guitar. Welcome Craig.
Craig: Hey, thanks, Virginia.
Really happy to be here.
Virginia: I’m excited for you to be here today. So can you let us know, like what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Craig: I think I was sitting here, I’ll just tell you the story. I was sitting in my office, I’m at my last corporate job and I had just finished a huge project.
[00:01:00] And at the same time, my second child, my son was born. And so I’m sitting in my office and it was just this weird time in between. A huge project wrapping up and another one getting started. And so there’s like a two week period of nothing was really going on. There were no, nothing do nothing really moving forward.
And the whole team was just taking a breather in between and I’m sitting in my office and I’m sitting at my desk and I’m pretending to be busy. And I just kinda sat there and I had this moment of what the heck am I doing? Like my kids at home brand new and I’m at a desk in an office pretending to be busy.
And it just was really the culmination of a lot of frustration. I think a lot of us entrepreneurs feel of man. Yeah. I just, I’m pretending to work. It wasn’t even that I was pretending it was that like, I wasn’t in control of what was going on. I didn’t have control over the the environment.
And I was only there because that was the nine to five corporate world, where you have to be there from nine to five, there is no wiggle room. And I just you know what, [00:02:00] there’s gotta be a better way. And there’s gotta be, there’s some other things too about, I didn’t like the way the corporate world treats me and all that stuff or anybody for that matter.
But it was kind, kinda like my tipping point, where I can do this better and I can go out there and make a better life for myself and for my clients and for my kids. And so I dove in head first.
Virginia: Awesome.Was it uphill, like head above water type of thing, or did you have to tread a whole bunch first?
Craig: So I was already consulting. I fell into the consulting world in that I was At the time working for a nonprofit and I was their head of fundraising. I was doing really well with it. And all the other nonprofits in the area were paying attention and they asked me to tell them what I was doing.
And then suddenly I was consulting with a lot of them. Some of them paid, some of them not, I was just kinda like working , my job and helping out where I could. And when I decided that, yeah, I wanted to quit my job and start my business. Or go, I guess full-time into the business cause I was doing it.
I actually quit my job and moved across the country. And so I the business was nowhere near ready to [00:03:00] support me in terms of revenue, if nowhere near it. But I just took that leap of faith and made it happen. So I don’t know that I suggest that for everybody, but for me it was the right choice.
I was able to, take that leap and. By sheer necessity. I was able to like make the business.
Virginia: That’s good.
So what do you like most about the work that you do?
Craig: I like helping people grow their business. I talk a lot about sales and marketing and structuring your business. So that you’ve got a nice solid foundation. And so when my clients come to work with me, lots of times they’re feeling lost or they’re feeling alone, or they’re feeling frustrated like I’ll man I just, I want more clients.
I want more money, want more revenue. And at the same time, a lot of them are at a point where like they’ve grown. And their capacity is just full. So there’s a lot of frustration. And so I get to come in and help them kind of restructure their offers, restructure the way they run their business and watch them grow while also getting a lot of their time back.
So for me, that’s really enjoyable is to do something that [00:04:00] allows entrepreneurs not only to make more money, but to live more balanced, more fulfilled lives. To me. That’s awesome.
Virginia: Balance is key. Hey. Is there some common mistakes that you’re seeing entrepreneurs make?
Craig: I think it’s just this hustle culture, you get to a point where when you first start your business, you have to hustle.
Like you’ve got to put in those extra hours and you got to do what it takes to get some clients coming in. But at some point, the analogy I put as it’s like a light bulb, if the light bulbs. Burnt out, no matter how many times you flip that switch, how hard you hustle, the light’s not coming on.
And so there’s, there comes a time where you have to take a step back and start actually building systems into your business. And looking at your marketing, your sales And your service delivery as a system allows you then to stabilize your business and actually hire help, whether you want to build a multi-million dollar company, or you want a lifestyle business that just makes a couple hundred thousand a year building those systems and getting at least a few people into a, to be your team and to support you is really key for having a [00:05:00] nice foundational business and a nice, having that balance.
Virginia: Are there any techniques that you wish they knew more about? Like going along with that?
Craig: I mean for me, I there’s I feel as entrepreneurs we’re always diving into man, I want the automated funnels. I want the webinar, I want this like passive income. And I think the secret that no one wants to talk about is that passive income isn’t really passive.
Like you’ve got to work on it and you’ve got to pay attention to it. So to me, the best way to grow your business and the best tools to leverage when you’re, especially when you’re first getting traction. We’re talking, going from maybe pre six-figures, like maybe five or 10 K a month, getting up to that multiple six-figure level where you’re making 30 to a hundred K per month.
Really you should be leveraging as much as possible, the organic tools available to you. Facebook, LinkedIn using just like the, elbow to elbow type of marketing conversations. To grow your business so that you can build and prove out those funnels so that when [00:06:00] you’ve got the money to invest in it, guess what the funnels already proven out.
If you can get in thereand sell your service via an organic social media funnel, where you’re putting out content, people are raising their hand to talk with you and you’re moving those to sales calls. Man when you’re ready for it, you can turn an ad on behind that and make a lot of money.
But lots of times we try to jump into the ads and the funnel, quote unquote funnel way too soon. And. Ads are like putting gas on the fire. If you do it way too soon and there’s no flame, then it doesn’t really do anything. It’s just getting the floor wet. But if you throw it onto a flame, it blows up.
So it’s you’ve got to know, sequencing is what I’m saying. I wish people, more people would take advantage of organic marketing methods. To get that momentum and go from 10 K a month, even up to a hundred thousand dollars a month. And then that’s when you start looking at those automated funnels and ads and all that stuff.
Virginia: I liked your analogy of the fire and the gas.
Craig: Yeah. If you [00:07:00] don’t have a flame, if you’re not like if your stuff’s not working and you put paid ads behind it, you’re just going to be throwing money away. It really is you’ve got to make sure that there’s a spark there’s a flame there that you’re, prove out your offer, prove out your, if you’re thinking about running ads to like a webinar or something like that, organically, fill the webinar first and make sure that it actually converts. And I’m not all I’m suggesting is that you make money first before you start spending money and you’ll go, it’ll go a lot more smoothly for you. Who’s an ideal client for you? No, I work with B2B service providers.
So mostly people in the marketing space who are growing like a marketing agency. So social media managers PR professionals Marketing strategists email marketers, content, marketers, anyone in that realm, great fit for me. And I mainly work with people who are already having some success and are ready to go from like maybe pre six figures or six figures.
You’re making maybe between 60 and $120,000 per year. And [00:08:00] you’re ready to get up to that 500, $600,000 per year level.
Virginia: Okay. How do you. Get in front of them. So how does your ideal clients find you?
Craig: I practice what I preach. So a big part of what I do is using Facebook and LinkedIn to connect and start conversations.
And then I just use a really simple content strategy. That actually drives people to raise their hand and reach out to me. And so I have a lot of, that’s how I do it. I connect with people and I do stuff like this podcast where I get in front of people and I grow my audience and then I just provide a lot of really good value in my content.
And that gets people to to come ask what I do.
Virginia: Okay. With your business, do you have any. Big goals that you’re looking to achieve for the next year or two.
Craig: So for me, no, it’s moving into bringing on more team, more staff and and really getting the systems in places as my business moves towards seven figures.
It’s a really exciting time in terms of just growth for team and growth for bringing on [00:09:00] more clients. And, I’m not in a rush to To just blow up. I think that’s something that. We like, of course everyone likes speed. Everyone likes to grow really quickly, but the truth is like my business is profitable as it is.
And so I can take my time and really make sure that my clients are getting served and really make sure that my business is structured well. So that my growth is not just a big hit and then deflates, which I’ve totally been there. I watched a six figure business that I built go from six figures to the last month was $500 like to go from 15, $20,000 a month to $500 is a big hit.
And a lot of that is just speed of growth. If you are both intentional about how you grow. And also smart about making sure that you’re on solid ground, you can get really good, consistent growth. So that’s what I’m working on personally.
Virginia: So basically getting your infrastructure there
Craig: and it’s at the same time growing, it’s just like making sure that you’re taking intentional steps forward.
Virginia: Yeah. Makes a big difference. How would those [00:10:00] goals, like, how has that changed your business?
Craig: I think it’s an evolution . Of moving from small business owner into the CEO seat, which is something I actually talk a lot about with my clients is, the first transition that we all have to make is from freelancer or solo pro to business owner, where it’s like. At first it was all hustle hustle, and now it’s no, we’ve got to build systems. We’ve got to, we’ve got to make sure we formalize our marketing, our sales, our service delivery. We gotta build reputation, be known for something in the marketplace and prove out our product so that we know people want to purchase it.
And then from there, and this was the transition I’m making, it’s now time to step into building a leadership team and getting out of the day-to-day work and stepping more into the visionary leadership role, which is a super exciting. So for me, longterm my position and my day to day will change, but the organization itself will remain pretty constant.
Virginia: Do you find it hard given the reigns over to someone else?
[00:11:00] Craig: Oh, definitely. But I think, this is the benefit of thinking in systems is that if you can document, that this is a great question, because if lots of us lost times are like lightning in a bottle, right? Like we’re successful because of us, because we’re awesome as the entrepreneur.
But if you can start just capturing what you do, then you can actually turn around and start training other people to do it. And when your business runs on systems and you’re just hiring the right people to run the system, then you don’t have to worry about handing over those rains because you know that it’s going to be done the right way.
You just have to make sure that they’re following the process. And if you hire smart, capable people, they’re going to improve on that process. So instead of it being like really, and yes, so yes, I do feel a little bit of Oh man, I can’t believe I’m handing over the reigns. But if you put in the groundwork beforehand, it’s not as scary as it sounds
Virginia: so true.
Do you feel like there’s a roadblock or what’s your number one roadblock. That’s holding you back from achieving this goal?
Craig: Oh, man, [00:12:00] you stumped me. There’s always stuff that we’re looking at. I think just developing the right. I think the thing that’s always on my mind is making sure that clients are successful, growth for growth’s sake is nice. But like you want to ensure that. Your clients are getting great results.
And so in my case, it’s making sure that the training is right and the staff is right and the support is right, so that my clients come in and they have success in terms of their business grows. They get more time to spend with their family or whatever it is. It’s a combination of making more money and gaining more time.
And so for me, I think that’s the biggest obstacle is making sure that stuff is in place so that as we grow client quality doesn’t drop off
Virginia: and that’s key too. Cause you don’t want. Basically to hand over the reins and then everything falls apart.
Craig: Yeah, exactly. And there’s no better way to kill your growth and to get a bunch of clients and then not deliver on it.
So you’ve got to, you’ve got to make sure you always balance those and again, it can happen [00:13:00] quickly. I just think that it’s, you need to be smart about putting the pieces in place as you grow.
Virginia: I’m going to switch it up just a little bit on you. What was the best advice that you feel like you have ever received?
Craig: The best advice probably goes back to when I actually made the switch and quit my job. So I did this thing where I emailed, I made a list of all the colleagues and people that I had met that I thought could potentially be a client or could give me a referral.
And I sent them on email. And it was basically saying, it was like a launch email Hey, I just started my business. Do you know anybody? And in that email, I think I apologized at least six times for emailing them. It was like, Hey, I did, I apologized six different times and one guy responded and it was this guy that I really looked up to.
He ran a successful business and. He was like, Hey Craig, thanks so much for sending me this. And I really am excited for you. And then this was the piece that he said. He said, you, apolo, if you go back and read that you apologize like six times he [00:14:00] said, here’s a little bit of advice for you. If it’s wrong, don’t do it.
And if it’s right, don’t apologize for it. And that just really stuck with me. Like it was, what was really coming out was my insecurity of starting a business and asking for referrals and getting clients, that’s what was coming out in that and him saying, if it’s wrong, don’t do it.
And if it’s right. Stand next to it. Just as always stuck with me, it’s guided my actions. If marketing is wrong, that I don’t do it. And if it’s right, I don’t apologize for it. I stand firm and that I have something valuable to offer. And it’s a huge, it’s a huge thing. You mastered that and you master a lot of your entrepreneurial struggles.
Virginia: It was nice that he was. That he did write back to you and give that advice.
Craig: Yeah, totally. And I, I was really, he and I had some personal interactions, so it’s not like it was just a stranger, but he definitely could have just been like, Oh, okay. He’s a newbie, or something like that and just moved on.
But yeah, he took the time to respond and give some insightful advice. I really appreciated it.
Virginia: What’s the best advice you have ever given?
Craig: Oh, everything. No, I think for me the best [00:15:00] advice is to think in systems, honestly you’re only gonna get so far on your own like hustle, and if you can take a step back and identify.
These are the key parts of your business, and really start thinking in systems. That’s how you get sustainable growth. And it’s easy to say and a lot harder to do, but with the right guidance and the right strategy, man, you can get those systems in place and turn your business from something that sucks up all your time into a a, something that provides a great lifestyle for you and is also growing.
And it’s its own beast.
Virginia: Is there anything that you would like to share with us that I haven’t asked you yet?
Craig: I think that we we covered most everything. I really think that, if I were to boil it down you make sure that you are leveraging your organic. Tools, facebook and LinkedIn are both huge platforms and great places to interact with people, get on there and just start conversations.
Treat it like a networking event, right? Like you go to a networking event and you talk to people and then you leave with business [00:16:00] cards you follow up with them and you talk with them, right? Like that’s the sort of thing you want to do is get on these social media sites and do a great content, provide great value and start conversations and you will get clients and you’ll see your business grow.
And it’s just such an amazing tool. That more people need to take advantage of or need to like, make sure that they’re not being the salesy person, just cold pitching all the time, go in there and provide value and start conversations. It’s the best thing you’ll do for your business.
Virginia: And thanks for being with us today, Craig.
Craig: Yeah, you bet. And if anyone wants to learn more about me, Brightworks training.com is where you can find me or I’m really active on Facebook. Craig Severinson and you can connect with me there and happy to keep the conversation going.
Virginia: Great. Thank you.
Craig: You bet
Virginia: have a great day.
We’ll chat soon.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some love through a review and I’ll catch you on the next episode.
Funnel & Visibility Specialist
Distinct Digital Marketing
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Virginia lives in Northern Alberta on a small farm with her husband and three children.
Virginia is a master funnel builder having been certified as an FG Society Master Marketer, Funnelytics, and ClickFunnels Certified Partner.
She also helps businesses with their visibility through online searches.
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