Her clients go from hating sales and marketing to achieving 90% close rates and closing multiple five-figure deals. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Univision and many more.
Prior to teaching marketing and sales, Amanda spent a decade as a financial writer and wrote content for companies like Wells Fargo, Discover, Credit Karma, Santander and more. She's also partnered with companies like Capital One and Transunion in financial education campaigns.
She's also the Amazon bestselling author of Make Money Your Honey and has created a community of over 60,000 people across social media channels make more money and live a more affluent life.
- CEO Hack: (1) Get your hands off the business and hire A-Players (2) Be vulnerable with your team
- CEO Nugget: Let go off that which is not working
- CEO Defined: Leading two different people
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 00:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Amanda bay of Amanda bay.com. Amanda, it's awesome having on show.
Amanda Abella 00:38
Thanks for having me on. I am super psyched to be here.
Gresham Harkless 00:41
No problem. I'm psyched as well. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Amanda so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Amanda is an award winning content creator keynote speaker and business coach who specializes in helping business owners activate their persuasion prowess, so that they can make more money. Her clients go from hating sales and marketing to achieving 90% close rates and closing multi five figure deals. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post Business Insider Univision and many more. And prior to teaching, marketing and sales A man has spent a decade as a financial writer and wrote content for companies like Wells Fargo, discover Credit Karma, Santander and more. She's also partnered with companies like Capital One and TransUnion and financial education campaigns. She's also the Amazon best selling author of make money or honey, it has created a community of over 60,000 people across social media channels, make more money and live a more fluent life. Amanda, are you ready to speak to the imcl? community? I
Amanda Abella 01:37
am so excited. Let's get into it. Let's
Gresham Harkless 01:39
do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on what led you get started with all the awesome work that you're doing. Can you take us through your SEO story?
Amanda Abella 01:46
And what that means? Gosh, this is such a good time to be asking this question because I feel like I only really just made the shift to CEO maybe in the last two or three years, even though I've been in entrepreneurship since 2010. But for the first eight years, I was freelancing, I was content marketing, I was doing done for you services for people. And around 2016. I was like, This isn't scalable. We're gonna run into some problems, if you want to make good money and have the impact that you want to have. So I actually ended up taking everything that I used to build my first business and created my first program called persuade to profit created that in 2017. The first time I launched that I did $10,000 in cash in two weeks. And I was like, oh, okay, I think this is the thing. And ever since then it's been a transition like a year after that I had to hire my first you know, full time assistant. And now it's been actually in November, it'll be exactly two years since I hired her and we've completely systematize the backend. I have a sales team now, like, all our funnels are working this past week alone, when I'm interviewing you, we've done almost $40,000 in sales just in the last few days. So I feel like that CEO mindset thing has only kicked in in the last two or three years when I started thinking about scalability and team.
Gresham Harkless 03:06
Yeah, yeah, that makes so much sense. And I absolutely love you for being able to kind of talk about that process, because I think there's not enough kind of narrative and information about the process that it takes to getting and becoming a quote unquote, SEO and what not
Amanda Abella 03:19
Gresham Harkless 03:21
Most people are just like, you just wake up, and then all of a sudden,
Amanda Abella 03:23
you just wake up right here, SEO Yeah. And actually, what I did on my own podcast was I was on my Instagram stories, I was really honest with people like there were moments in 2019, where I was like, Guys, scaling really sucks. It is rough, right? Or, you know, you make bad hires or ads don't work, or there's a bunch of challenges and problems along the way, which are normal. And I tell people to embrace them, because that's how you learn. But I was very, I've been very, very transparent about the whole process. And then you know, we just finished the main systems. And then here comes the shutdown of 2020. Right, right. And then it's like, half our clients lost their whole business overnight. And then because I was in finance, it was a flood of stuff coming at me, as well. So I was like, okay, just finished building out systems already burned out. And now we have to deal with this. And I think honestly, that's the moment I really became a CEO. Because I walked into my team meeting, the Monday after the shutdown. And I said, This is what we've been preparing for suit up. I really happen to be a leader in that time and space when it was really hard and you're very tired, and you're worried about your team and you're worried about your clients. And now what are we seven months into this? Is that how long we've been into this whole situation ever?
Gresham Harkless 04:37
Probably seven, eight months,
Amanda Abella 04:38
feels like five freaking years. But now is when people are like, Oh my gosh, we saw how you showed up. We saw how you lead your team. Like we need to be a part of this like you were right the whole time. So I feel like that was that was like the rite of passage right there for CEO. And because I've been so transparent about all of this the whole time. On my own podcast and on Instagram stories, that's what everybody tells me. They're like, Oh my god, no one talks about this.
Gresham Harkless 05:06
Right? Yeah, you don't really get the the real vision. But as you said, you know, so well, I feel like that has no so much to do with leadership. And you talked about a little bit about your podcast. Can you take us through a little bit more about that? And talk a little bit more on how you work with clients, how you serve them?
Amanda Abella 05:21
Yeah. So we have our main program, which is persuade to profit and our sweet spot and persuade to profit is take people who've been doing one on one work, maybe one on one coaching, for example, or you're a freelancer, like I was, and helping you create your first scalable offer, we're going to help you build out your first marketing and sales system, and then I'm turning you into a closer because my secret sauce is the fact that I know how to sell I know how to train teams on how to sell and I know how to train people on how to sell.
Gresham Harkless 05:47
Yeah, and that sounds, you know, so simple to do. But I imagine that that's been a process for you to get there. And I feel like a great sign of being able to be an expert and be really, you know, known for that is to be able to teach other people as it sounds like it's what you're doing.
Amanda Abella 05:59
Yeah, not even just your clients, like try when you got to teach a team to sell things on your behalf. That's like, no, that's another level. I think it's the same, but it's not.
Gresham Harkless 06:08
Yeah, that's probably, and I don't know, if you find this or hear this a lot. I feel like that's a major hiccup with a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners were looking to try and transition to that CEO. How can I replicate myself? Because I do it so well, that I don't feel like anybody else can sell anybody else.
Amanda Abella 06:24
Real? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it's real. You know, I, with salespeople, specifically, I went through a few hires that didn't work out because I was trying all these different things. And then I was like, Amanda, just put your recruiter hat on, like, what is it that you need, and I was like, I need people with batteries included, as my mentor says, like, I need people who just understand sales, and then I train you on the product and we tweak you, but I don't have to, like explain the whole mindset of sales to you. Like, I'm not starting from square one, just because you've been aware of my brand for a while, because I think some people do that, though, like, hire their VA for like sales support, or they're like, oh, there's someone in my community on my email list who like really wants to learn how to do this? Don't do that. Just go find salespeople. Yeah,
Gresham Harkless 07:11
yeah, absolutely. I love that the batteries included. And I think so many times we forget that about the hiring process of that recruiting aspect. And sometimes it sounds like even to getting clear on what you're looking for. Because I think sometimes we just like oh, we want to Salesforce been a really drill down that step. You know, right above that, or right after that. Just say, okay, we want those batteries included, we want somebody that actually has that experience. And we can just show them the product or service that they're going to be selling
Amanda Abella 07:35
Yeah. Or when I hired my first assistant, I feel like something people really struggle with is going from like a fleet of contractors to employees, because for some reason payroll seems so much more serious. Yeah. So I was and I understand that. But at the same time, they're like, Oh, I'm so scared. I'm like, Yeah, but you're spending more money on like, for VA who aren't fully dedicated to you, when you can just go find someone who's 100% in and pay them?
Gresham Harkless 08:03
Yeah. And that's it. That's why I love what you talked about that mindset shift, because I think I've heard people talk about kind of like businesses like being on the jungle gyms, where a lot of times you're trying to go to the next rung, but you're holding on to the rung before you before you swing over.
Amanda Abella 08:17
Yeah, the last two years of my life. When you're in that scaling phase, you're like, in those two wrongs, be tough. You know, because you're building out, you're getting rid of old systems in order because that are no longer gonna work, right. In order to get rid of those old systems, you have to build the new ones at the same time. Plus, you're training people. And that's why I tell people who asked me about scaling, I'm like, you better know how to sell. Because scaling is expensive. And it evens out, you know, it's worth it. Like, you know, one of the things that we did is we brought a lot of our stuff in house with like in house systems. So we actually ended up slashing our expenses. Once we were done building that the thing is, you have to carry the expensive both while you were building it, right. So I always tell people like you best damn know how to sell all these scaling problems that you have could be solved if you knew how to sell.
Gresham Harkless 09:06
Yeah, well, you know, I've heard a might have been Mark Cuban or something. He said something along the lines is a lot of times, businesses go out of business, because lack of sales. And I think sometimes we think of all the other things, but sales can kind of cure all to some degree when you're able to kind of sell if you are having a hiring problem, or maybe that ad didn't work or whatever, you can make that episode of speak with sales and with the ability to be able to communicate and get your message and
Amanda Abella 09:31
yeah, ads is a big one, right? where people are like, Oh, I'm just gonna throw money at ads. And that'll be like the Holy Grail. Speaking of someone who has hired people for ads and is not learning them herself. You know, and I'm like, do you know how much money you need to throw into an ad budget for a few months just to get enough data to nail this? If you don't have data, you better learn how to sell.
Gresham Harkless 09:51
Yeah, exactly. A lot of times you hear those people they hit the big whale, so to speak, just just by trying something out but a lot of times that's that's more That's not for the case for a lot of people when they get started.
Amanda Abella 10:03
Yeah. And it's funny because the one thing that solves all the problems is the one thing everybody wants to avoid.
Gresham Harkless 10:09
Yeah. Interesting. So that's why I love that you empower, you know, people to do that. And that's part of your secret sauce. Yep. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a SEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or a habit that you have, but what's something that you feel like makes you more effective and efficient?
Amanda Abella 10:27
Hmm, I think there's a couple, I get asked about training a lot. And I used to be a recruiter, that was like my last job. Throw them in the fire, right? Like, just throw them in the water and say, swim, and the cream will rise to the top. Now you have to have the emotional fortitude to like not like sit on your hands. Which I actually I understand how difficult that is. And I still sometimes struggle with it, where like, my team has to be like, we have to back off. Right? Right, which I give them full permission to do to me, right, like barkoff, right? So I would say that's it. Like, if you have if you hire good people, like a player's a, they're gonna cost you more money, but be when you throw them in, they will rise to the top and they will figure stuff out, and they will bring you more solutions than problems, right? And for those of you who are worried about like, Oh, they cost money, well, you, this goes back to knowing how to sell. So you can grow into it, and pay these people. And I'd say the other thing that has been very effective, and this is a newer thing. It's okay to be vulnerable with your team. Like people think they can't do that. I thought I couldn't do that, right. And then what ends up happening is like, there's almost like a disconnect when you're not vulnerable with them. Right? So for example, I was with a team meeting a few weeks ago, and I'm like, guys, we've made all these changes, like I need to see the money coming in. Like I was very, like honest, I wasn't like panicky or breathing down their necks, but I was like, this needs to start working. Just so y'all know what's up, right. And when I was that vulnerable with them, they just wanted to go for me 100 times harder.
Gresham Harkless 12:03
Yeah, I wanted to ask you that for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger self,
Amanda Abella 12:13
what I would say I'm actually pretty good at Thank God, I just didn't know until it was brought up to me. And I have seen people struggle with this, where they will not let go of stuff that's not working. Either. Because they spent so much time they spent so much money, they expend so much energy, and they just hold on to stuff that does not work and takes away from the ultimate mission of the company. Let it go, like that frozen song, you know, let it go. If it's not working, right, let it go. It's okay. You know, you learn from it, and you move on and you adjust. But you got to let it go.
Gresham Harkless 12:44
I know we touched a little bit on this. So I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping out different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Amanda, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Amanda Abella 12:56
You're not just leading yourself anymore. I think when you go into CEO, mindset, I mean, there's business model changes, and all that kind of stuff. But your relationships within business also significantly change. And I think that's a shift people have a hard time with, because you're used to doing things by yourself or you're used to going hard by yourself, right? Or, but people are actually looking to you for guidance and leadership right now. And it's not just your community anymore. Now, it's people who are working for you as well. So it's almost like you have to lead to different people, and you don't necessarily lead them the same way. So I think learning that dance has been very cool for me and has really helped me just kind of become a better human being overall.
Gresham Harkless 13:46
Yeah, that's so powerful. And I love that answer in that perspective, because you just mentioned that you were kind of going through that transition, or had went through that transition and put that SEO cap on. And I think so many times, when you're a high achieving person, especially individually, it can be really hard to I guess, divorce that person and become this new person, that you need to be able to empower people to be able to let go to be able to coach them up, to be able to, you know, give them you know, a hug, I guess you say can say when it's not going as well, but you still know that they have it so that that dance that you kind of spoke to is so huge, and I think it's maybe more you know, art than science. And I think that's what sometimes makes it a little bit more of a challenge.
Amanda Abella 14:26
Yeah, well, you know, I teach sales. That's one of our main things that we do. And it's knowing people and knowing how to deal with people and talk to people and cater to people and serve people. That's all sales really is. And I'm noticing that being a CEO is the same. It's just you're not just serving your audience now. You're also serving the team that you're leading.
Gresham Harkless 14:49
Yeah, but you're still in the people business,
Amanda Abella 14:51
but you're still in the people business. Yep. Nice.
Gresham Harkless 14:55
Well, Amanda, I truly appreciate that perspective, and I appreciate your time, even more What I want to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.
Amanda Abella 15:09
Yeah, so you can find everything at Amanda obeya.com, that's a B as in boy, e Ll a. And for any women who are listening, if you want to get really good at high ticket sales, because that's our sweet spot, we actually have a free Facebook group for that where we're doing free trainings on it. So if you go to group dot Amanda abaga.com, slash join, you can get all the information that you need for that there. And we would love to have you we just started this group A few weeks ago, and we already have 500 women in there who really want to learn sales and negotiation and get good at it. It's a personal mission for my me and the company to just help as many women as we can get really good at this particular skill set.
Gresham Harkless 15:49
Nice. Wow, I definitely appreciate you Amanda, we will have the links and information in the show notes. And, and like we said, you know, a lot of times sales is the lifeblood of business. And often it's something people will run away from. But it's I've always seen it as a way by which you can take your gift, your product and service, whatever it is you have to serve the world and share with as many people as possible. And if you look at it sometimes from that perspective, and you approach it that way, then it helps out so much. So I love that you help so many people give their gift and serve their gift to the entire world. So I appreciate you for that. And I hope you have a great rest today.
Thank you for listening to the IMC o podcast powered by Blue 16 Media Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO CEO, I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five star rating grab CEO gear at WWW dot sceeto gear dot CEO this has been the mF CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Thank you for listening.
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