Podcast

Episode: 460 |
Sam Lee:
The IndeCollective:
Episode
460

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Sam Lee

The IndeCollective

Show Notes

Sam Lee has held numerous prestigious positions: he was a consultant at the World Bank, the chief of staff, Executive Office Division at Goldman Sachs, and the head of business planning and operations at AOL. He is now the founder and  CEO at IndeCollective, a company that offers expert guidance to the most seasoned professionals, and that is what he is going to talk about on today’s episode. You can learn more about the program at IndeCollective.co.

 

Key points include:

  • 02:45: What IndeCollective offers members
  • 04:36: The 10-week experience
  • 21:30: Authentic ways to stay top-of-mind
  • 31:18: Sales conversations

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

  1. Sam Lee

 

Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host will Bachman. And I’m excited to be here today with Sam Lee, who is the founder of indie collective. That’s i n d, collective one word. And they have programs that help independent professionals step up their practice. Sam’s gonna tell us all about it. I know several Umbrex members personally who have gone through it and have great things to say about the program in the community. Sam, welcome to the show.

 

Sam Lee 00:36

Thanks so much for having me. Well,

 

Will Bachman 00:38

so Sam, I, I did an inadequate job. Give me the the actual description. How do you how do you talk about the indie indie collective? Give us a give us an overview?

 

Sam Lee 00:50

Absolutely. Well, to give my my quick background as I as I introduced Indy collective, I am an independent worker myself after a career as a commercial leader across a few industries, finance at Goldman Sachs to internet companies, and then leading the commercial side of the business that we work, as we were growing that company to about, you know, four and a half billion in revenue over a couple of years, I stepped into the independent world because we worked in work. And as I was doing the independent work myself, I found very quickly that while I knew how to help companies build their commercial strategy and team, which is what I do in my direct consulting, I didn’t necessarily know how to build the book in business that would make for a successful consulting practice and a balanced life. And I found having now talk personally to more than 1000, top independents, that so many of us have the same questions and are grappling with the same building blocks to build that, that successful business and balanced life. So Indy collective, I like to think of it as a modern MBA for a modern independent worker. And that means we’re offering through our 10 week program, the right combination of tailor made education, supportive peers and expert mentors, people who have built seven and eight figure independent businesses that help our members to take the right next steps to accelerate on their path to building that ideal practice and, and balancing it with lifestyle and loving relationships.

 

Will Bachman 02:25

I love that. So tell us about the different ways that someone can, you know, access your offerings, I think that you have a kind of a basic, what 10 week program as that’s one option, and there’s a longer option with a community walk us through the different offerings.

 

Sam Lee 02:45

Absolutely. So what we offer is a cohort based experience, I’ve found that personally, too much of independence is done in corners, it’s done in isolation. So our Executive MBA style 10 week boot camp, is designed to bring together about 150 to 200 really distinguished independent people who like Umbrex members span 18 Different disciplines. They include strategy, ops, organization, design, change management, DNI, all the digital disciplines from product design engineering data. And these folks come together over the course of 10 weeks. And in that 10 weeks, we offer them the right combination of modular education. And we can talk through, you know what that curriculum looks like that education is delivered by seven and eight figure business builders, folks who have built their businesses to the next level and who are sharing their superpower. And a really actionable format. It begins with pre work so that you’re primed, you’ve got access to a live demonstration of the framework where you’re operationalizing it with the expert, and then you’ve got your clear next step so that the very next day you can execute. And then alongside that, you’ve got peer support. But then that cohort, you’re not just one of 200, you’ve got your 18, your personal advisory board and a group of six that we match you with based on your vision and goals, and the stage in which you are building your business. So So 10 weeks is the format. It’s a cohort based experience, and you have access to the right combination of education, expert mentors, and of course, your 18 so that you can shift into action and have accountability partners.

 

Will Bachman 04:29

Can you walk us through the syllabus week by week, so we have a sense of what is covered?

 

Sam Lee 04:36

Absolutely. So we begin every one of these 10 week experiences with what we call designing for independence. And that’s, that’s a two part series led by executive coach Dan Savage. So Dan is the coach who’s worked with the leadership team at LinkedIn. He’s worked with two dozen Sequoia ventures back CEOs and his superpower is Life Design. So in week one of 10 of indie collective, each of our members gets crystal clear on his or her vision and goals around what we call the three L’s, your living, how you’ll make money through your independent practice, but also your lifestyle and loving how you want to show up in the world and how you want to prioritize the people that matter to you, both personally and professionally. I’ve had members who are 10 plus years into doing their independent practices, who said, Oh, my God, I wish I had met Dan sooner. Because he, he helped me to get the clarity in terms of what it is that I really want. But no matter where people are, whether they’re embarking, or whether they’re scaling their businesses, the data points that members get in this first week are powerful, because they help members and I to direct them to the right modules. So the right education, to introduce them to the right mentors. And of course, to connect them to the appropriate 18, that accountability group that’s going to help them to shift from ideas into action and great outcomes. So So week one is your table setting, designing for independence. And then starting in week two, we we cover thematic weeks, where members are learning from an expert on one of these points of leverage in their business. And we generally encourage members in a 10 week period, pick three or four topics and go deep. So I’ll walk you through each of them. So you have a flavor of what those entail. So we two we unpack productization. And this is a three part series primarily led by Joshua Nexus. So productization starts with niching down. It’s all about identifying your ideal client profile, we then help you to second, think about your ideal engagement format, what’s the format of doing your work that’s going to deliver more impact and income for every hour you work. And then three, we culminate with your product position playbook, we help you identify the right levers for you, the right processes, the right people, the right platforms, the things that are going to help you to stop trading time for money, and instead start driving more scale in your business. So you are achieving those income and impact goals that you set for yourself in our first week of designing for independence. And this is a this is a set a three part series led by Joshua NECA. So Josh is a marketer by training, he built his first independent consultancy P XP to the million dollar level in less than 18 months. And after doing the direct consulting work with cmo clients for about two years, he saw his through line he thought was his whitespace. And it was around a lack of data being used by great companies in their marketing. Fast forward six years, he’s now built his second company, Simon data, and that is now doing north of 100 million in revenue and has a team of about 100 supporting and so he’s he’s personally walked this entire continuum of productization from solo consulting, to scaling to an agency to building a piece of product technology and marketing data platform Simon data, and he is is able to beautifully and quite simply help each of our members do the three things that I described niched down on your ideal client, figure out that engagement format to drive income and impact and then identify and start to test on your, on your levers of productization. And our headline here is that, you know, about 40% of members in any given cohort, actually productize a service before they exit their 10 weeks, which is pretty cool.

 

Will Bachman 08:24

So I want to just make sure I understand what we mean by the term productize here, to some people, saying a product might mean that you’re building some kind of software, or some kind of content thing or some kind of tool that you would sell to other people a product might be rather than just doing a I’m an independent consultant, I’ll kind of do whatever sort of project you want me to, you might say, I do this three week due diligence. And here’s what I do week one, week two, week three, here is a standardized report that you get at the end with you know, you can see the ghost document and a sample document. So some people might say that that would be productized. Okay, I do a three week due diligence. I serve private equity firms, and I do typically 15 to 20 expert interviews. And that’s a standardised quote unquote, product or, or are you talking more about a technology product or a content product or something else?

 

Sam Lee 09:22

Yes, that’s a great question. I’d love to just elaborate, frankly, with an example. So to give you an example of a member of ours who has been with us for a year, so she graduated from our first 10 week experience and then like many members, upgraded to our annual membership, and she’s she’s now done three of our cohorts. And in each cohort, she’s tackled different points of leverage, and she’s continued to iterate on her product position. So Claudia Richmond, she’s a change management leader. She’s worked with some of the best agents she she was an executive at BBDO for years and you know, COO and a leader through Indy collective she niched down she figured out that she wanted to work with high growth entrepreneurial companies and specifically to partner with CEOs who needed an experienced leader like herself to help them to, as she says, grow without leaving employees behind. So she niched, down on that client profile. And then gradually over the course of last year, so we’ve been working with her, she’s been productizing, both her consulting, as well as productizing. Her services and I make a distinction there, because much like you described, you can productize your consulting, by having niche down figuring out the packaging, the processes, the value based pricing, the things that are going to make what you deliver more standard, right, taking the repeatable and stop doing it again, and again, again, and also allow you to more consistently pitching close to your clients. So So Claudia has done that. And what she has done on productized Consulting has been to establish an evaluative phase that she does with every single client, there’s a very clear price tag on that value two phase that takes six weeks, off the back of the evaluative diagnostic phase, after she’s worked with the client, there’s a set of recommendations, and that clearly segues and on ramps into either retain engagement, and she’s got very clear pricing and parameters around what those engagement involved, as well as project based engagements that she’s going to come in or bring team behind her to deliver, to deliver on further work and very clear kind of deliverables and very clear processes and ways in which you can work with people off the back of those. So that’s kind of productized consulting, because it’s still her trading time for money, but there’s clear framework process packaging, and and it’s allowed her to streamline and, you know, take the repeatable and not do it again and again, as she was going and doing that she realized that there was a whitespace, something that she could further productize that would take her out of this trade of time for money. That’s what I’m calling a productized service. So in the last quarter, Claudia teamed up with another indie collective member, Heather Carollo, also a change management leader from the agency world. And they’ve launched their mindful manager training program. So for these entrepreneurial organizations that don’t leave, don’t want to leave people behind, they are now going in. And they are delivering a 10 week experience, where they can train dozens of new managers on how to be mindful managers. And this is a templatized program that has pre work that has recorded sessions that has live components, but that once they’ve done it once for a company, they can repeat, repeat, repeat. And for some companies, they work with this last quarter, they’ve already put through 100 plus employees in multiple cohorts. So a lot of the legwork has been done, and therefore they’re able to scale and get away from this one to one trade of time for money. So that that I’m calling a productized service versus productized consulting, because on this continuum of time for money, they’ve moved further over to the right, further away from one to one, and therefore we’re getting more and more scale from their business. So I’m not thinking of technology, though some of our members end up graduating into technology, right if they’ve been doing it long enough, like Kyle Westway, and I can share his example too. He’s a lawyer who is illegal as a services firm. He’s actually started to build some technology that’s allowed him to grow several 100%. Right. He went from directly delivering legal services himself through Westway. What’s the way.co is his website, to building a bit of a legal agency. And he’s now building some technology to to scale just beyond what he and a team are able to deliver against to serve his client, which is a high growth mission driven startup that that needs a general counsel on demand. So so there is this continuum, and members walk it bit by bit.

 

Will Bachman 13:54

Fantastic. Let’s go on to week three. So we talked about product decision. Let’s keep going. Yeah, absolutely.

 

Sam Lee 14:01

So once people are clear on their ideal client, they know that engagement format that delivers value, and they’ve identified some of these productization levers they want to pull, we then turn to brand, each of our members is already quite distinctive and distinguished at what they do. So they’ve got a cool brand. But once you’re got the clarity of client engagement format, you want to revisit that brand, so that you can really tease out the most salient points that you want to be consistently communicating across your channels. So it’s at this stage, we bring in cat coffin, cats, an alumna of our program. So she’s been through this herself, and like many of our speakers, you know, she she’s been through the program, and she helps our members to do just that. So it’s teasing out those most salient points. And then we get people on assignment where they are revisiting their LinkedIn refreshing their websites and updating the way that they communicate through their channels. You know, I’d say, he says It’s a super powerful one. So that’s week three. Once Once you’ve done your branding, we then shift into one of my favorite weeks and it’s on value based pricing. You know, I like to say that nobody dumb prices. And I say that jokingly, because there’s there’s nothing dumb about pricing, but, but most people don’t value based price. And value based pricing is simple, but it alludes. Many value based pricing starts with clearly articulating the value that you create for clients. So knowing your worth, so that you can use the framework to consistently pitch and close on premium terms. And that word premium is what rubs people the wrong way. For those of us who are, you know, making making pitches and submitting proposals, were sometimes concerned like, if we’re charging a premium, or we gouging and for clients, you know, but it also rubs them the wrong way. But the truth is, for the members that we work with, who are top notch consultants who’ve been doing their craft for a long time, they should be charging a premium, because they’re not John Doe, or Jane Doe, and they should be commanding, commanding their worth. So what we help our members do over the course of this week, is we help them to clearly articulate their worth. And we do it across a couple dimensions of their business, helping them estimate the value they’re creating, from a money perspective, from a time perspective, from a quantity that they’re helping their clients to increase or quality that they’re helping them to deliver on. So we help them to to walk through this value estimation quadrant to clearly articulate the aspects of value that they’re creating, so that on the back end of this week, they’re really confident in what they’re creating from a value perspective so that they can then revisit their pricing. And on average, we’ve seen our members typically raise the rates by 25 to 50%, within this 10 week period, as they’re submitting new proposals as they’re renegotiating existing relationships, because for the first time, they’ve really unpacked the four, four pieces of this quadrant and therefore gotten that much more confident in in the value they’re creating and what they should be charging their current and future clients. After pricing, we shift to the Predictable Revenue machine. So many people that I meet, who are really great consultants who have come from great backgrounds and already seven great clients say, you know, a year to three years in sometimes independent consulting still feels gig to gig even hand to mouth. I’ve met people who are you know, BCG, pedigreed. I have one one person in mind right now, who, who literally was having trouble finding work in the middle of COVID, which, which, which was, you know, really disappointing to hear. So this, this three part series, it’s a three week series, led by three different speakers is powerful because it helps our members shift from client attraction to sales process, from from getting the leads in the door to moving them through the sales conversation and pitching and closing those wedding proposals. So we kick off this week, this first week with one of our alums, Ashley Quinto Powell, who shares her framework, relationship building and sales. So at scale. So Ashley, as a sales leader has personally delivered some 30 million in career sales, helping independent consultants and small agencies to do relationship based sales. And her framework is super simple. She likes to say that, that really high quality consultants who have walked in interesting paths, they’ve, they’ve had great clients, they’ve gone to great schools, they’re plugged into their communities, those individuals, while they may have a handful of tight referral partners, they shouldn’t just have a handful they should have what she calls her list of 200. These are the 200 people that should be activated in your network, and consistently sending you high quality opportunities that meet your ICP, your ideal client and your engagement format profiles. So how do you get to that place? How do you get to an activated List of 200? Well, over the course of the week, Ashley helps our members to do three really powerful things. First, she helps you to get really tight on your sales storytelling, who you are, what you offer, and the impact that you have. So that as you are having conversations with your network, those three things come through every single time. Second, she helps you to frantically build that list of 200. And these are not necessarily sales prospects, but instead the right people in your network that you need to get in front of over the course of the year and recalibrate to those three aspects of your sales storytelling. And then third, and Ashley is a pro at this. She’s a public speaker and she is a thought leader and she’s you know, all over the web, but but she helps each of our members to identify the at scale authentic ways in which they can stay Top of Mind, so that once they’ve recalibrated this list of 200, their top of mind and receiving the referrals when the time is right. So that’s week one. It’s all about relationship building at scale. And and I’ll say I personally use this framework on my own independent business, e three ventures, when I went full time independent. And within six months, this framework alone from a sales perspective had me making more than I did as a full time executive, and doing the work and about half the time, so so it really cut out a lot of a lot of the sales that I would have otherwise had to do outreach, doing outreach by cold methods, and allow me to do it in fun ways. Because I was activating my network and connecting with people that were meaningful to me. The second, the second week is actually one that I lead.

 

Will Bachman 20:45

One question about that actually is, yeah, and it totally, totally resonates that before you can really activate that network and get people to help you. You really do need to have a hook or a fishing line, as David fields calls it, or some sort of story that people can remember. Because if you just say, Oh, well, you know, I do strategy and operations for high tech and pharma and energy and financial services. People can’t remember any of that, right? They don’t know who to refer to you. You need to have gone through that process of niching down and getting clear on what you’re what you’re offering is what I wanted to ask you a little bit about what are some of those authentic ways to stay top of mine that kind of intrigued me that that Ashley shares?

 

Sam Lee 21:30

Yeah, absolutely. So so so we’re already so one it starts with picking channels through which are going to stay top of mind at scale that feel authentic, right. So we have members who love LinkedIn and and who are on it, because they’re looking for information. They’re, they’re on it, because they’re sharing, they’re on it, because they’re RSVP to events. And for those members, they they double down on that channel, right other members, we’ve actually had influencers who are influencers on Twitter or, or on Instagram moved built massive followings in the 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s. And they live on those channels. So they’re gonna do more and and authentically engage through those right. So it starts with picking channels. Some are some are, you know, already have newsletters, or some have podcasts, right? And they’ll anchor in those channels, right, that starts with picking channels where you already live or you enjoy kind of putting in time and you get energy. That’s part one. Part two is figuring out what are the touch points through those channels that you love, that you can double down on and use to get in front of the people on this list of 200. So you might be hosting a simple event, right? I’ve had members in our network, who have started to, for example, host co working power hours in quotation marks for fellow agency leaders, right, and they are hosting these every other week, or perhaps monthly, they’re an opportunity to quickly shoot a note right through the channel or over email to a handful of people from that list of 200 and invite them to join. Right and this is a way to stay top of mind because they’ve recalibrated them and and even if they can’t, if they can’t attend no problem, right, that’s actually perhaps the benefit to some extent, because they’re able to extend the invitation to somebody else, but but now they’ve thought about this person they’ve been remembered. And next time that person might opt in for the opportunities, right? So creating a very simple, free, lightweight event that keeps keeps somebody thinking about you and creating value for them. You might have found an article, right that you can just quickly pass along because you remember that this person, like so many in your list of 200 care about this topic. And it’s a quick note Hi such and so thinking of you and thought you might enjoy this great article. What do you think about it right? Or when can we catch up next best session? So, right? You might, you might go ahead and actually publish a piece, right? And similarly send that out to people. So there’s there’s a gazillion different ways that you can do this. It’s events, it’s, it’s sharing content, it’s creating content. It might also just be sending a casual text message, right one that feels personal because it’s colloquial, but it’s something that you could be sending at scale, right with very lightweight personalization, if any. An Ashley style if you follow Ashley Quinto Powell on LinkedIn is incredibly personable is incredibly colloquial, and and it just, it vibrates with her ideal client. So it really is about authentic communication and finding the channels and the types of things that you want to be doing at scale. And then weaving those into that list of 200 so that you’re staying top of mind with those important people who can and should be sending you the right opportunities.

 

Will Bachman 25:00

Awesome. Okay, so that was the first week of three for the predictable revenue stream. Let’s keep going.

 

Sam Lee 25:06

Absolutely. So Week two is one that I is one that I lead. So when I was at we work, as I said, I was leading the commercial side of the business, we built a huge sales team of 1500 250 of those people were inside sales. And as I was growing that organization from six people to 250, in my tenure, what we developed was our predictable sales methodology. So this is complementing Ashley’s, right? Actually, this is about relationship building at scale, but predictable sales methodology is about cold outreach. So in week two of Indy Collective, we really get into how you take your ideal client profile and build look alike lists. How do you build lists through LinkedIn, through third party tools that look like your clients, but that are not currently in your network? How do you take those lists and begin to run multi touch campaigns? campaigns that are kind of that typically convert five, even 10 times better than industry average? How do you actually find a sales development rep, that’s going to help you to do all the above, build those lists, run those campaigns. So that like me, you can be doing the pieces of the sales process where you can add the most value, and where you can get enjoyment, but not the doing the early stages of it, doing the building, doing the prospecting, doing the qualification, all things that take a ton of time and energy, and that probably aren’t well suited to, to most of your listeners, certainly not to me. So those are the three things that I cover over the course of the week, how do you build those lists? How do you do the multi touch campaigns? And then of course, how do you find the sales development rep and the right kit, the process systems to do this, I’ve done this myself, for indie collective, I actually haven’t needed to do it for my solo, you know, consultant practice, because I use relationship building, it’s still there. But for indie collective, it represents about 20% of our members in any given cohort come through cold outreach, I’ve had members say to me, I don’t know how you found me, but But you hit the nail on the head, this is something that I need. And, and that’s the type of reaction that I love to see, when using this predictable sales methodology. And many of our members who grow past that seven figure level in their, in their solo practices in agencies, they will take Ashley’s framework as a foundation, and then they will bolt on this predictable sales methodology as a booster rocket, because in order to have a sustained pipeline, one that you can be confident in, you know, in a year or more, when you’ve got a team that’s growing behind you, you really need to make sure you you’ve mastered cold outreach as

 

Will Bachman 27:42

well. So this would be and when you mentioned sales development representative, you’re actually hiring someone who’s either under their own name or under your name, somehow sending LinkedIn messages and emails and so forth to try to set up calls. Is that kind of the idea?

 

Sam Lee 28:00

Yeah, that that is right. So from from my, you know, specific case, I actually have my sales development rep, emailing, and also, you know, doing LinkedIn outreach through my accounts, so they are doing a founder to founder sale and we help you think through what is the right type of sale to be doing given the size of your firm and, and the and the type of rapport you’re trying to build with the person you’re selling to. So for me for Indy collective, it’s a founder to founder sale, I’m speaking to fellow founders as the founder. And they’re emailing direct from a SAM at Indy collective dotnet, it’s, of course, not my my actual email, because you want to separate your cold outreach from your, from your direct, you know, inbox for a variety of reasons that we cover in in the week long program. And, and they do it for my LinkedIn account. For other members that have used this playbook. You know, we make different recommendations, it really comes down to what kind of a sale they’re trying to do.

 

Will Bachman 29:00

Okay. And that’s just a lever. And that point, that’s you don’t want to do a lot of cold outreach with your own standard domain, because that could get you flagged as a spammer. So you want to set up some kind of subdomain or alternate domain, if you’re doing a lot of that?

 

Sam Lee 29:17

Absolutely. And we walk people through the playbook and the toolkit to really minimize the likelihood of that happening. But but for exactly that reason, there’s always a chance that when you do larger scale outreach, even if it isn’t spammy, even if it isn’t considered that you could be flagged and if you’re flagged, it could, you know, both impact the quality and the deliverability of your email. And because your email is generally speaking, as a business owner tied to your domain and your website, it could impact you know, the ability for your website to show up on the web. So, so yeah, always send send scaled email, whether it be you know, cold outreach, whether it be your your You know, newsletter or anything of that nature from a separate account?

 

Will Bachman 30:03

Yeah. Cool. Let’s go on to week seven.

 

Sam Lee 30:07

Yeah, perfect. So, so the final week of our Predictable Revenue machine is that is a tag team effort. We’ve had different speakers come in on this, from Leon Webster or Charlie gada. And this week is all about shifting from client attraction, which is where we anchor in our first two weeks of Ashley, myself, to moving your prospects through a sales process, we get into sales conversations, we get into proposals, all with an eye to taking those warm leads and getting them to a close, close one deal. So that’s kind of where we round out the round out our week three. And I’d say this is this is powerful, because you know, in the context of a cohort, and in the context of you know, you’re at your personal advisory board. You’re not just learning these things, but you’ve got real time opportunity to pressure tests, and actually test your pitch and get real time feedback from peers and make sure that you’re walking away from each of these weeks with a greater degree of confidence that you can do this in real life.

 

Will Bachman 31:14

Cool. Let’s go through week eight through 10.

 

Sam Lee 31:18

Yep, absolutely. So So our final, our final weeks of Indy collective are dedicated to streamlining your back office and developing your bulletproof psychology so, so streamline your back office. This one is now a week that’s led by indie collective alumni, Kyle Westway. So Kyle Westway. I think I already mentioned him but he’s the lawyer. He’s got a legal as a services firm when we met now, gosh, more more than a year ago. He was about 10 years into building his practice. Westway westway.co, and and, you know, he had kind of maxed out at the impact and income he was able to make. And he was really interested through end collective and unpacking the business at that 10 year mark and figuring out his points of leverage. So in the last year, since graduating, he’s done a bunch of things. He’s productized, his offering. It’s called General Counsel, it’s a really extensible legal as a services package for that early stage startup, that that needs the right type of legal support to grow. He’s also rebranded and niche down to a social enterprise and mission driven startup. And as he’s scaled dramatically, he’s grown 250%, in the last year, largely off of this productize service. He’s had to figure out the processes, the systems, and the third party tools to streamline his business, otherwise, it would have completely consumed him. So so in this week of Indy collective, Kyle walks through his last year, step by step, and he uses, you know, the, the example of a Sequoia, he walks through each of the stages of how he’s put in place process systems, and third party tools from from seed to sapling, you know, eventually to the sequoia tree, and talks through what he did in order to save eight hours a week, which is what he’s done as he’s been building to this level of scale over the last 12 months. So that so that’s what this this week on, you know, streamlining your business is all about. And then, as I said, we round out in the collective with a week on psychology. And I like to say that, that the whole 10 week experience is a bit of a psychology boot camp, because you’re doing it alongside, you know, 150 to 200, distinguished peers, people who, like you are rolling up their sleeves, really pressure testing and questioning the assumptions they’ve made around their business and their lives. And as you do that, and you’re in breakouts or in one on ones, you quickly, quickly realize that the hang ups that you’ve had the limiting beliefs, holding you back are actually quite similar to those of your peers. And because you’re all tapping into similar framework and shifting in action, you gain, you know, the confidence that you’ll get through it. But we’ve introduced this this capstone in the last year that’s that’s led by Dr. Donna Marina. So she also is an alum of Indy collective. She’s a PhD psychologist and author. And she’s worked with hundreds of leaders, female and men, to help them to use some of those scientifically proven techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, some things that she uses over the course of this week, to help us to identify and debunk the most, you know, thorny limiting beliefs, the ones that hold us back around money mindset around around imposter syndrome around things that unfortunately, if left, you know, undealt with can can frankly be the biggest obstacles to true financial success and personal and professional fulfillment. So, so this last week is on bulletproof psychology and it’s frankly one of my favorites and it’s one that many members don’t realize they need but but having been through the full 10 weeks, they realize that this is kind of the cherry cherry on top of the cake.

 

Will Bachman 35:08

They might have said this earlier, what’s the typical in a format of each week? Is it one general plenary session? Or is it lots of breakouts with your peers are lots of asynchronous chatting on some kind of forum? How to how do people engage on in the week by week?

 

Sam Lee 35:28

Yeah, absolutely. So you know, just to give give a sense of the arc, and also just the the expected time commitment every every week, we deliver four hours of live programming. And that’s, that’s done over zoom. It’s done in real time. And, and you know, in week one, we try to encourage members to actually show up live to that first full week, because it’s about setting your table and getting clear on your vision and goals, data points that help us to help you pick the right mentors, figure out which weeks matter most, and then put them on your calendar. So you commit to attend, integrate and execute. So that’s week one, and it’s four hours thereafter, over the next nine weeks, we actually help members with the data points they provide to pick the right weeks that matter most, because most of our members join us for a full year. So they don’t just do one cohort, they frequently do more than one so that they can parse out this work over multiple 10 week experiences, and really focus to integrate and execute on the most important things at the most relevant time. So we’d say pick three, or four and go deep. So you’d pick another three or four weeks. And in those weeks, you would come to our Wednesday Capstone. That’s where there’s leader on the thematic topic is doing their live hour and a half session. A week prior to that hour and a half session, you will have received the pre work so that from wherever you are on that topic in your business, you’re primed, and the pre work generally takes about an hour. It gets you acquainted with a topic that has you asking some of the right questions. So you’re thinking about your business from the context of the topic already. And then following that live hour and a half session where you hear the framework operationalized, where you actually have a breakout with your peers, because there’s others on the line doing it with you, you’re given the very next day through our app and desktop site, access to the follow up work. And that includes the replay, in case you missed it, it includes the deck that was presented, so you can see it and printed if you’d like. And then importantly, it has the clear next steps. And we usually have three next steps that we recommend people who are focusing on that theme, try to start to accomplish the literal week that they that they learn it. And it’s just very actual next steps. So to summarize, there’s four hours a live programming every week, it’s all done live over zoom. And and we provide the pre work and the follow up work, you know, via our app and desktop site where people can continue the conversation, connect with their peers via our directory. And also continue, you know, continue to break out in the groups that they form through these live sessions.

 

Will Bachman 38:09

Fantastic, great overview of the program. Sam, for people that wanted to find out more about your program, where will you point them online?

 

Sam Lee 38:20

Yeah, absolutely. So to find out more about the program, you can you can check us out at Indie collective.co. That’s spelled i n d, collective co ll EC t i v e.co. And there you can read all the fine grained details about our programming our community. And I’d say the last important thing that I that I frankly didn’t cover because it was talking so much about curriculum and experts, was the third leg of the stool, and that’s our community that I think is actually as powerful as the education and expert mentors. So I might if it’s if it’s okay, we’ll just share a few things on that. Sure. Go ahead. Yeah, so I’d say first, you know, when I went independent, my, you know, immediate, immediate feeling was was of isolation. And I had always been building teams are part of great teams and didn’t want to pursue this path if it meant that I was going to be doing all my work in corners and not feel supported by great mentors and peers. So so our mission at Indy Collective is as much about education and mentorship as it is about making sure independence doesn’t come at the cost of great community. So so our ambition is to every single time you run one of these great cohorts pull together 200 exceptional people, people I personally interview not just for their excellence in craft, but also for a desire to be a part of a community where you’re building business and life together. Our members in just this most recent graduating cohort in the fall, span 40 cities 20 states a country’s coming from a bunch of Great companies and clients and 18 different disciplines so that they’re interlocking complementary networks lead to really interesting opportunities to collaborate. About 70% of members in any given cohort, are actually trading referrals, collaborating on projects and, and using each other’s services within 10 weeks. So that’s a bit about the community as a whole. And once we get to know you, through that first week of Indy collective designing for independence, we use the data points we have around your vision and goals, to in week three, set you up with your personal advisory board, you’re 18. I know I’ve referenced that a couple of times now. The 18 concept is actually was my first foray into this, this this notion of a modern MBA, and it’s something that I stood up for myself more than two years ago. And 18 is is a group of six people. They are at a similar stage with a similar ambition for their business in life. But importantly, they’re non competitive. So let’s say you’re a management consultants, I wouldn’t put you into an A team with five other management consultants, you might be in an A team with a lawyer, a salesperson, a marketer, a designer, an interdisciplinary group that share a stage and an ambition for their business and life so that as you are consuming the content, as you’re tapping into these expert mentors, you have a non competitive group where you can ask your tough questions, you can get real time feedback. And then as you’re shifting into action, hold yourself accountable. And the beauty of having an interdisciplinary group, aside from the fact that you feel totally open and non competitive, is that you have people with different strengths, by nature of their disciplines able to help you see around the corners and answer the questions from different perspectives. And I know for myself, that interdisciplinary nature, and it has just been absolutely game changing. For me, it’s helped me to think differently about opportunities to negotiate with different perspectives to, to, frankly, challenge some of my limiting beliefs. And you know, my first year of independence, I’d say, I probably would attribute half of my income to that 18, because they pressure tested me on so many areas and pushed my thinking in such positive ways that I took, took more ambitious action, and didn’t let myself get in the way of what was possible. So that’s kind of the third leg of the stool is the community and you’re 18

 

Will Bachman 42:32

Yeah, having that group to turn to sounds incredibly valuable. Sam, it’s really super impressive. What you built the sounds like could be a very useful program for a lot of independent consultants, that really can get a lot of value from helping get clarity on their positioning on how to generate the work and then how to streamline their back office and have a group of peers. I’m very impressed and admire what you’ve built. So listeners will include that link in the show notes in the collective. And if you want to explore it further, Sam, thanks for being on the show. Well,

 

Sam Lee 43:10

thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

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