Resources for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

Scaling Your New Product to Big Sales!


Annette de LanceyAnnette de Lancey is the Founder and Owner of CastCoverz!, a made-in-the-USA preeminent global manufacturer, e-tailer, and innovator of essential orthopedic soft goods (brace, splint, boot, and cast covers), orthopedic accessories, and patient-requested orthopedic gear for arms and legs. As the Founder and Owner of She Makes Products, she transforms struggling product entrepreneurs into profit-making CEOs. With years of experience, Annette is a career entrepreneur, manufacturer, business and profit strategist, and champion for small businesses.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [04:50] Annette de Lancey shares her personal background and the businesses she founded
  • [12:55] The concept behind the Profit First system and how it works
  • [18:37] How entrepreneurs should structure their financials when developing a new product
  • [21:59] Annette talks about the typical accounting and financial mistakes entrepreneurs make
  • [24:52] How to scale an existing business: first steps
  • [28:46] Why it’s valuable for female entrepreneurs to join business communities
  • [36:35] Why should entrepreneurs prepare their businesses for a sale — even when they don’t plan to sell?

In this episode…

Being a female entrepreneur in the manufacturing industry is no easy feat. Running a successful business requires mastering a variety of tasks, from ensuring production efficiency to maintaining product quality and keeping costs under control. Without the necessary expertise, these responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming.

Annette de Lancey is a serial entrepreneur who has founded five successful businesses. She knows the ins and outs of running a business and has overcome numerous hurdles along the way. One of her secrets to success is the Profit First strategy, which helped her scale her product business and achieve financial freedom. By prioritizing profits over revenue, Annette grew sustainable companies with purpose. Now, she dedicates her time to sharing her knowledge and helping other female entrepreneurs achieve the same level of success.

In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Pat Yates and Ethan Alexander sit down with Annette de Lancey, Founder and Owner of CastCoverz! and She Makes Products, to discuss how manufacturing entrepreneurs can thrive. Annette shares how the Profit First framework works, how product developers should structure their finances, what steps existing businesses should take first, and why it’s a good idea to prepare your business as if you’re going to sell it.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:07

Hey folks, it’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.

Pat Yates  0:32

Hello, again, and welcome to Quiet Light Podcast. I’m Pat Yates. And I have Ethan Alexander with me today. How are we doing Ethan?

Ethan Alexander  0:38

Doing good Pat.

Pat Yates  0:39

I would reintroduce the fact that you’re my taco guy on the road. But we talked about that later in the podcast, which has nothing to do with Quiet Light to begin with. But we always find something to talk about. When I’m excited about this one today, Annette de Lancey, I know she’s in your city, unbelievably dynamic lady does a lot of things entrepreneurial. I’m excited just to hear what she’s doing. I know she works with Profit First, she worked with Lady Entrepreneurs tell it tell us about Annette.

Ethan Alexander  1:03

Yeah, so what’s really cool is we got connected because I had a need. So I ended up acquiring a company that did cut and sew manufacturing. And so we were running the company, we started to run into some manufacturing issues. And I realized, hey, I don’t really know much about this cut and sew manufacturing world. I know about operations and logistics and marketing, like these other things about a business, not so much on like this very specific subset of manufacturing, let me find someone who does, I ended up getting connected with Annette, and she is just so helpful, took me under her wing shared everything she has to know, because she has been in this space for a very long time. And so I am, I guess a testimony of what, just the help and support she provides. And from that her and I built a really great relationship and friendship from that. And so I’m very thankful for her and kind of the wisdom and knowledge she has to be able to share because she’s a giver, she just shares and provides whatever she knows about the subject, she’ll let you know about it, which is fantastic. So she’s never holding back. And she just wants to see you succeed, which I really appreciate. And I know that’s the mentality here at Quiet Light. And so she fits very well with that, which is why I’m excited to talk to her today.

Pat Yates  2:12

Annette is really after spent a bit of time with her. She’s so giving with her time, like you talked about It’s really amazing how we talked to so many marketing agencies, other agencies are always selling us something or here’s new widget, add this to your business, they’re looking for new business, she’s looking to add value in every way she can other people. It’s really amazing. Because she’s almost working a little too much. Not only is she doing a lot, she’s getting ready write a book, which is crazy. Because look, Joe wrote a book and look how that turned out. He was not very good at all. Just kidding, I know he’s gonna be Listen, Joe is gonna text me on now. But now she’s gonna take on doing a book. But I mean, your overall impression of her is just an amazing person giving back right? I mean, what about products? Have you seen anything she’s developed other? What about her new her brand? She has that you’ve been working on? What’s that thing?

Ethan Alexander  2:54

Yeah, so as far as kind of the physical product companies that she’s been a part of, and has established, I mean, she’s been in this space for a long time. And from that she’s gone through a lot of iterations. And we’ll talk more about this later today, just how she has pivoted through obstacles. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, which is what I like, she’s not afraid to like, hide that part of her story. She’s upfront about, hey, these are the challenges I experienced, instead of the hard decisions I had to make. This is what I had to go through in order to get where I am today. And so like she’s done a lot of cool things. It’s been through a lot of adversity in her life to be able to kind of come out and be able to serve other people, which is what I appreciate. She’s just a genuine person that just tells it how it is and is very upfront and honest with everyone.

Pat Yates  3:35

I think anyone’s gonna get a lot out of this. And especially if you’re a female entrepreneur out there, who she specializes in working for you really should reach out to a niche. She’s an amazingly dynamic lady. I can’t wait for this conversation. Let’s get right to it. Get to Annette de Lancey on the Quiet Light Podcast. Annette is great to have you in the Quiet Light Podcast today. How you doing?

Annette de Lancey  3:53

Thank you very much for having me a little chilly here in San Diego which is unseasonable for this time of year but doing great thank you.

Pat Yates  4:00

You’ve got your advisor sidekick who’s in your same city there Ethan Alexander with us today. How are we doing Ethan?

Ethan Alexander  4:05

Hey, Pat what’s going on? Doing good excited to join today?

Pat Yates  4:09

Ethan is my man we usually tour taco places everywhere we go. He’s got my wife and I eat all kinds of wild tacos all over the world. We were I think we did where we actually did the United States and Puerto Rico. I think that was it last year. That was still a lot though. Mexico maybe.

Ethan Alexander  4:23

There we go. See we make a world tour out of it. So it’s also what I’ve known for. So if you want tacos, hit me up.

Pat Yates  4:29

That’s Ethan’s thing. If you need taco recommendations email [email protected] He’ll be able to tell Annette, enough about that. I know we’re in here to talk to you because you’re amazingly dynamic person on the verge of Ethan for why did nothing but rave about you so why don’t you introduce yourself to the Quiet Light family here. Tell us all about yourself and where you’re from, or you said San Diego. Tell us about your background and you?

Annette de Lancey  4:50

Sure? Well, I originally I’m a girl from Minnesota and I am very proud to say that but I moved to California about 20 years ago when I started a family here, but it was up in the bay area, we had a vineyard and an all of orchard everything you’ve heard the romance about it, everything is true. And so is the work involved. That was a great way to raise the kids, but then landed in San Diego. I am the founder and CEO of CastCoverz a rock and fun manufacturing company based right here in the United States. And we make fun and functional products for the orthopedic patient. And I’m also the owner and CEO of She Makes Products where we help women product entrepreneurs break through the six figure revenue barrier, so they can grow and scale profitably and have fun doing it.

Pat Yates  5:37

That’s really amazing. Because I have a personal story in that now. And Ethan kind of knows this, my wife retired from the school system last year and started a small Amazon brand. So she’s in the same position where she’s trying to empower herself as an independent businesswoman and learning along the way with mistakes and things like that. And that’s really amazing. So tell us a little bit about how you approach that what kind of clients typically come to you is it new product development, or is existing.

Annette de Lancey  6:00

So it’s typically existing, they typically have a year under their belt, they’re excited, they created something, the first thing that I do is congratulate them, because they’re a creator, they’ve actually made something out of nothing that is really unique and very special. And so I want to make sure that they feel very special. And so they continue that because we have our bad days and bad weeks, or sometimes bad months. And we just have to remember that we did create something out of nothing, just like I did with my company CastCoverz. And first of all, they come to me after about a year of being in business. That way, they’ve got some highs and lows, some seasonality, they could kind of get an idea of customers, it’s find out what they liked, they don’t like and then they also realize, oh my gosh, I’m in business now what. And so I helped them get through and a lot of them struggles, particularly women product entrepreneurs struggle to get through that six figure revenue barrier. And I did it took about three years when I started the company CastCoverz, which is 15 years old, by the way, seven-figure company made in the USA, all that good stuff. And then when I hit that six figure revenue, that was a big celebration, and you do have to make a high five win. But what I realized is I only brought home $6,000 in the family conference. That’s it. Now I understand that there are a lot of fees and dollars spent to get something up and running. But I had been running for about two or three years when I hit the six figure revenue. So I realized something wasn’t right. And so I started on this journey with CastCoverz to find out what was wrong. So I uncovered every rock I talked to business colleagues, I talked to my CPA, my business attorney, I talked to so many different people. And the one reoccurring theme that came through was profit. Now I still don’t have my answer like how much am I supposed to pay myself until I discovered or stumbled upon Profit First. And Profit First is a book written by Mike Michalowicz which has over yeah, I think there’s over 15 derivatives in other words, people have written Profit First for Lawyers Profit First for Hairstylist. Profit First for E-commerce Sellers. I think you’ve had Sydney Thompson on your podcast. There are so many different variations and derivatives. Well, one thing that I have discovered is there isn’t really a good system for manufacturers. So Mike and I have talked about having another book presented Profit First for Manufacturers. Currently I am a co-host with a colleague of mine, and we have The Profitable Manufacture Podcast. And I’m very excited about that. Because he and I will be writing the book together. So manufacturing is a unique breed again, we’ve created something out of nothing. And the journey really start with that profit journey. And when I finally stopped doing Profit First ish, or Mike ish, is when it really took off. And that’s when I realized I don’t want anybody else to go through really the suffering that I went through, and the worry and the concern and the frustration, anxiety. There really is a system out there. And I’m a great guide for it because I have gone through it. And I want to shorten that learning curve. And I also I’m on a mission to save 1000 women product entrepreneur, businesses from going under war, accepting mediocre results that sadly, what a lot of women product entrepreneurs do, oh, I can only do this much. I can only do this. I can’t go bigger. I can’t do this. That’s not the case. And they just need somebody that can help elevate, get them on the road.

Pat Yates  9:48

It’s really incredible. Like you don’t have enough to do that. You’re an entrepreneur, you’re writing a book on top of it. Now you’re gonna mentor hundreds of entrepreneurs. How do you have enough time in the day? That’s the biggest question.

Annette de Lancey  9:58

Ethan and I just got together last week and I explain to him I said, I’m an empty nester. My children are grown. I am a grandmother of two and a half year old love of my life. He’s the man in my life. And so my business is set up so I can have that time to be with him unencumbered. And that is what I like to teach my students to come through, she makes profitable products. So we get them profitable. And then they learn how to get their business in operational efficiency so they can actually fulfill success as they see it. Yeah, and everybody has.

Pat Yates  10:42

One thing that’s kind of interesting is I’ve gotten and Ethan will talk about this too, because I’ve spoken him many times about becoming more philanthropic, as I’ve gotten older, Ethan’s still young with me, I started my e-comm business that I’ve built for 20 years, once I sell it work only on Quiet Light, I want to do a lot of consulting and helping entrepreneurs and a lot of ways. So I have that set, got a mission, it’s weird that when you become an empty nester, and you have a little more time on your hands, you’re not doing family, you start thinking about those things. So I’m really kind of in that same boat, and I’m excited you’re doing that.

Annette de Lancey  11:10

And that’s actually been a real motivation for me, the idea of, well sadly, I know a lot of businesses owned by women that have had to shut down. And or they chose to because they didn’t see the options. And it’s such a sad tragedy, mind is a terrible thing to waste. To me, it’s the same thing is, this would be just a tragedy if there were solutions out there, and the support and encouragement that they needed, is out there and they could if they want to, they have to have that passion to grow the business that’s really kind of important. So I love it. And then I’m actually a little preamble here, I am building out an equity fund that I would be able to help women product entrepreneur.

Pat Yates  11:59

So you got another thing you’re doing any other stuff. You got like a night job a bartender.

Annette de Lancey  12:03

No, no, no, but that’s funny. No, no, no, I do want to travel.

Pat Yates  12:08

That’s amazing. I mean, like, you’re so active, and you’re so bubbly, you’re going to add a lot of value to things. Ethan, I know you’ve worked with her for a while. Tell us your thoughts get what are your thoughts on our business and things he’s doing?

Ethan Alexander  12:21

Yeah, so Annette is as active and as energetic as she seems here today. And so I know she’s a woman of many sorts. Annette I want to start off and go over, you mentioned this profit first concept for anyone who doesn’t know what that is what those fundamentals are, I’m going to start there. So can you walk us through? What really is Profit First? How is it helping entrepreneurs get from this place? Like you said to your example, you were making revenue, you weren’t taking home a lot of money, obviously, what matters is what we take home. So walk us through kind of what the concepts are of profit first to help entrepreneurs actually…

Annette de Lancey  12:55

Happy to do that. So basically, if you think about it, it’s turning the general accepted accounting practices on it’s head, which is sales minus expenses equals profit, right? We all know that, right? Sales minus expense. Well, guess what? Most entrepreneurs, we have a very unique brain. And we’re always thinking forward and we’re always looking at what is in our bank balance, typically. And so if I had a $10,000 month was like, whoa, I could spend $10,000, you know, and then my husband would ask, well, where’s our money? Oh, well, we don’t have any. And so what profit first has done is turn that upside down. And taking sales minus you take your Profit First, which is your pay first. And then you take out money for taxes, because how many of us have gotten hit with a tax bill, we weren’t prepared for it. And then that’s what this is in summary, this is what is left over for your business. So then you have to allocate resources, you have to get more creative. It’s like that tiny tube of toothpaste a little tiny bit left, if you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze to get it out, versus the big full tube and use go. It’s the same thing. So if I had $10,000, guess what I would spend 9950 and say, well, here’s $50. In essence, that’s kind of what we do. But if I took 10,000, and then I have a percentage based on my business, that’s the Profit First system, I would take out roughly 30 to 50% for my salary, and then have what’s remaining for taxes as well as for operating expenses. You have to get lean and mean and boy, does that make a big difference in you and so the other thing is as entrepreneurs, well, let’s put it this way. CPAs and accountants will look at your invoices, your credit card statements, your balance sheet, everything what’s has happened, right? Everything that has already transpired as entrepreneurs again, our brain is different. We’re thinking forward, we’re going I made my next marketing campaign. Who am I gonna hire? What’s sales gonna be like next month or you’ve already forgotten what’s going on. So it doesn’t make sense to us when our p&l shows up. And it says, oh, you’ve made a profit. But where did where’s the money in the bank? And I remember even when I had a discussion recently, because I had him on as a guest, on my she makes profitable products in 90 days program. And we talked about the fact that a lot of times you have this profit showing on your p&l, but it doesn’t show well, you got to look at your balance sheet and see what you get owners distributions, what our distributions, what taxes are saved, what taxes are you saving, those type of things. So it makes all the sense in the world when you go through the program. And it’s the way it works for the entrepreneurial brain.

Ethan Alexander  15:42

So it sounds like it’s being very purposeful with pretty much every dollar coming in, as well as spending out and so someone, I guess someone started on this journey in the sense of, okay, this sounds like a good idea. You mentioned okay, you allocate your percentage to what’s going into your pocket? How does someone start in that journey in the sense of how does someone calculate okay, this is how much should be going to my pocket? Like, what are some factors people should be looking at?

Annette de Lancey  16:09

So, can certainly pick up the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, absolutely Can you do it by yourself? Most people can’t. It’s very, very difficult. And so you could find a bookkeeper, or CPA there’s over 600,000 of them. Excuse me, 60,000 of them, excuse me 60,000. And, actually, I hope you can cut this out. Actually, it’s 6000 of them. There’s over 1 million businesses that have incorporated profit first. And then I’m a coach, I’m a business coach. And so if I had had a business coach four years earlier, I would have saved myself so much pain, I would have paid myself so much more, so much faster, because we live it, eat it, breathe it. And it can be kind of daunting at first, because it’s very confusing, because you’re just still kind of working on the old principle. But you can read the book, but then I would recommend that you either go to Profit First blogs, and or any kind of YouTube videos, just make sure that Profit First, not somebody else’s, or somebody that’s been certified the Profit First system, which I have, it saved my business twice, twice from going under. That, to me is the biggest testimony. And that’s what I said, that’s what I got to offer. My She Makes profit Products. And to me profit is the X factor of success. If you don’t have profit, you really can’t get successful, and you won’t have a sustainable, successful business. And you could get the Oprah effect where all of a sudden, something comes in some big influencer or whatever, which I’ve had, but that those are anomalies, those are things you can’t count on. So you have to count on what’s real, and Make Friends With Reality. That’s the name of my other book, by the way, Make Friends With Reality, and have that basis and you have those accounts set up for those things that come along, even if it’s a pandemic, but you save for taxes, you save for salary, and it’s all based on formulas of fiscally elite companies. And so you find out what your revenue ranges and you find out what, and we can all help you with that. And it’s it works. It’s just, it works.

Pat Yates  18:20

One thing I’m curious about Annette is how do you pivot, let’s say that you have a brand new person developing a product and it came to market today, and they are going through Amazon, you know that advertising is that they’re going to lose money every month until they build it up five, six months. How does someone in a startup if they know they’re gonna have to bootstrap and begin it even begin to do that? I guess the best way to put it.

Annette de Lancey  18:37

Oh, I love this question. Thank you. So what you do is you take your sales, let’s just say it’s $10,000 and you pay yourself 1%. Just pay yourself 1%. Just put it aside, pay yourself, and then you put 15% for taxes, just put 15% away. And then you have to look at Amazon because I want to Amazon, you have to look at Amazon as a wholesale account. I can’t get over how many people think they’re like a direct to consumer account. They’re not a direct to consumer account, they’re a wholesale account, so you can’t expect the same margins. And so you’re doing well if you get 35 to 40% margins with Amazon depending on products but as a general rule, but so you get started you get in the habit. That’s the key is oh, I got $10,000 I’m gonna take 100 and put it aside. And the other thing that’s important is every three months you take a profit distribution, you congratulate reward yourself and celebrate what you’ve done. Now, an example of that is I had somebody who said, my quarterly distribution be like $300 kind of celebration, can you have and I said you’ve got the Cincinnati Zoo, and the animal pass is $300 buy your family and annual pass of the zoo. You could take them every weekend and say the company bought this she just did just opened her mind up. And you can do it while you’re in debt as well. And we formulas for that and methods and then I’ve added my own because of manufacturing is unique manufacturing, you got to consider your cost of goods that takes a substantial amount of your capital and your revenue that comes in. So getting started, it’s just about building that habit getting into the habit. And then once you’ve got kind of a pattern down, and that’s why I kind of like seeing women product entrepreneurs who’ve been in business about a year, because then they kind of got a handle, they see kind of what’s going on. And then I did have a client who I have a client who was doing about 150,000. And then she got on Tik Tok. And she blew up and didn’t know what to do with the cash, she didn’t know how to do inventory, she didn’t know how to plan for cost of goods, she didn’t know, and so I could help with all of that. That’s the unique thing about manufacturing. And that’s not in, there’s just a small section in the book. And that’s what Mike and I have talked about. That’s why Jason and I, my colleague and I are going to be writing, he’s got the bookkeeping side, that’s just fine. He’s got that book up, I’ve got the octuplet experience. And so between the two of us, we’re going to make a great book for manufacturers. And again, we’re creators.

Ethan Alexander  20:04

And so I know our conversation is very financially focused here today, and Annette you’ve been, through this process yourself, you’ve helped clients go through this process, what are some common pitfalls that you see whether you self-have made them whether you see clients making, or just other businesses, making them kind of in this scenario, that would be just good to know. So people would be like, Oh, maybe I’m making that mistake. And maybe I should be at least aware of that mistake. And if as long as your problem where you can then become solution aware. And so what are some common pitfalls, mistakes, errors, people are making kind of along this line of accounting, finance, planning their profit, things like that.

Annette de Lancey  21:59

Number one, is I’ll do this when I start making a profit, number one, and don’t do that. Because I did that. I kept saying, well, when I get to I will. And or when I make this much per month, I mean, revenue, I will. So get started. Now, just like I explained to Pat, when you get started, take that first. It’s bought habits, it’s about creating habit. So number one, don’t wait. Number two, don’t do profit first ish, or Mike ish, like I did. I started out on spreadsheets versus separate bank accounts. And that just was got messy. And then I did bank accounts, but I still didn’t have all the real bank accounts. And so don’t do profit first ish, or Davis go all in. And we can help you any of us can help you profit first certified professionals. And it’s actually kind of fun, we’re kind of going against the mainstream is what we’re doing. And by taking control of our habits and our behaviors, and putting them into the business. So some of the other pitfalls are not doing your monthly bookkeeping. I’ll get to that later. If you can’t get to it. And that’s not your strength. Hire a bookkeeper. Typically, they’re not very expensive, especially when you’re just getting started. If that’s not your jam, if it’s your jam, do the bookkeeping. And then another is when they get a little bit lazy. And they all of a sudden don’t take the profit distribution, and they’re not celebrating their wins. This is a big thing that has to happen in the entrepreneurial world. We’re in our head, or by ourselves a lot. And we just don’t celebrate our wins. Many times I’ve asked Ethan when something cool has happened. I’ve asked how are you celebrate? And that’s my way of just reminding him and anybody I am. But what’s really interesting is something happened to me recently, and one of my students said, how are you celebrating? Oh, you’re right. I wasn’t celebrated. So again, you just need that support that accountability, that reminder. Even I do you and I need that.

Pat Yates  24:14

I mean, that’s great stuff. I think that they’re really actionable tips. And I’ve checked out the Profit First, I think that people that are established and businesses have a hard time pivoting to it. I think you’re right. It takes incredible discipline. I mean, one of the things I’m curious about, I’m more curious about you and how you help develop women entrepreneurs, give me an example of things that you’ve done. Let’s say there’s a woman entrepreneur out there that’s thinking, hey, I have no idea what to do. But I had this idea of a product. I mean, how can you help them get to market in scale? I mean, what steps do you typically go through?

Annette de Lancey  24:43

Are you talking about somebody who’s already been in business or somebody who’s not?

Pat Yates  24:46

Yes, well, I mean, I guess somebody in business if you’re gonna help them develop to that $100,000 mark, what are the first steps you do?

Annette de Lancey  24:52

So if they’ve already been in business, so they’ve already got their business license, they’ve kind of decided they’re gonna be on Amazon or eBay or whatever the best thing what I do is I review the product I review their pricing and where they’re getting their product made. Is it in house? Is it? Are they farming it out? Is it offshore? Is it onshore? What’s better for them, we look at their distribution channels and what the makeup is going to be. So for example, in my world CastCoverz, so we go direct to consumer. And then we have wholesale accounts such as Amazon, we’re the largest provider on Amazon, or, well, we’re the largest in the world, actually. And then we also have distribution channels for medical supply stores, retailers, and orthopedic surgeons very, very different mix and then have different messaging. And so you have to think about that. And you have to think about, are you going to expand your product line? Is that a good idea? Or will that dilute what you’re trying to accomplish? For example, during the pandemic, I was asked, because I had production facilities to make masks. And I said, no, because my mission is fun and functional products for the orthopedic patient. Masks were not it. And the reason, and I’m so glad it was, I guess some people say this is a smart decision on my part. But I didn’t do it, I could have done it, I did other things for the cause. But I did not do that I did not risk my business. And one time, actually, Ethan and I were at a sewing contractor in San Diego, and they had 1 million masks, waiting to be paid. They hadn’t been paid in a couple of months. And so that’s an example of the risk. And so if you go outside your scope, so we identify what your scope is, we identify what your mission is what your Y is. But then I also get into promotion. And pricing. Pricing is really critical to make sure you get the margins that you need, we identify that. And we also identify the promotion. In other words, how are you going to be visible? Everything’s different now than when I started the business 15 years ago, we didn’t have influencers. I think I still had a fax machine back then. So things that really changed. So we have to look at that. And we have to be able to be nimble enough to pivot.

Pat Yates  27:10

Yeah, it’s really amazing. You say that, because I was talking to someone, I think it was on Friday, and I was reflecting on my business that I still own My Account business. And I said the efficiencies that have come from 2020 have really changed the way that I do my business like even to reverse engineering how I get product in the United States, whether it’s an Amazon FBA or wherever it is, there’s so many new options and people learn so much in the last few years. I think businesses have the ability to overhaul their entire company. And I think, you did that you do that. Ethan, what else do you have I know obviously, the Profit First the manufacturing stuff, I mean, you’ve spent enough time what other, she’s got to have some other dynamic things she can teach people.

Ethan Alexander  27:51

We can probably be here all day. But I do want to continue on this path as far as I have a lot of friends acquaintances who are female and are obviously looking for community. Just because of the entrepreneur, ship world, it’s not the most common things, it’s your most circles is male dominated. But I guess with that, Annette with what you’ve seen, what you’ve built, I guess what would your message be for someone who may be listening a female entrepreneur who maybe hasn’t started a business yet or is in the very beginning stages and is looking for community or like-minded other females out there to be able to connect with to learn from to grow from just because I know there’s a need. I’ve talked about it plenty of times over the years. And so you’ve obviously had a very good experience a good resource and knowledge base here. So any tips? Any other helpful insights?

Annette de Lancey  28:46

Yeah, so it’s really interesting, you brought this up, because so I have, as I mentioned earlier, I have the X Factor, which profit is right in the middle. And then I have my four spokes, which we’ve already talked about, but the circles around it is support. And the support is a really interesting thing because a lot of people say well I’ve got support well okay, let’s talk about that. So there’s a support spectrum. So on the far right are the cheerful people then on the far left are your dollars you don’t need doubters in your world, you’ve got enough critics in your head. You need to make sure you surround yourself with people who support you and have your best interests at heart. And what I mean by that is so you’ve got the Debbie Downer as a negative Ned’s and other ones say who do you think you are? You don’t know anything about this. My dentist had an idea, woman dentists had an idea of a product and it was something far outside her field actually that was a really cool product for her sister, who’s a lawyer actually said who do you think you are? You don’t know anything about this. And I mean, just shut her down. And so you don’t need those kinds of people in your world. And then on the other side you think walk out the positive people? No, actually. So how many of us remember Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell doing the cheerleader on SNL that did those they were just happy, positive people will sometimes what that can do is derail you, because they say, yeah, go for it, you haven’t given it the real perspective, and the due diligence, it needs to be able to get the right support. So you need the right support. So to answer your question, Ethan is, I would identify with any of my clients, my students that come to me and say, okay, let’s talk about your support, let’s go through the support spectrum, and see and engage them. And often they don’t have the right support, they don’t have the person that has the experience has the knowledge, and has their best interests at heart. And so you want to make sure that that’s around so you can get that from family and friends. But it is better to have somebody and to always have people in your corner, they’re a little bit more experienced than you are always because they have that experience, and they can help you. So where to find that. I think that was also what you were asking about Ethan, there are a number of forums on Facebook. And what I recommend is that you go into the forums, pay attention for the next two to three, four weeks, and then start commenting, asking questions. And if you like the forum, then I would stick with it. If not, then you move on and find another one. There’s also your chamber of commerce, your local chamber of commerce is really a great resource for businesses Join your local chamber of commerce, you’re gonna find other business people. So there are a number of different groups there are. And of course, the pandemic has changed everything, as we all know, and we wanted to go down that rabbit hole. But there are so many other zoom opportunities in my she makes profitable products, we get together on a weekly basis. And we also get together on different events as well. So we support and encourage each other. In fact, I just had a dinner recently. And they were all talking about all the problems that they had and face to face, it was really fun. And talking about, oh, we’ve had this problem, this bag manufacturer, we have this problem with this designer, and so it’s just like they all walk away saying, Okay, I’m not the only one in the world with the problem.

Pat Yates  32:20

It’s really funny, because I think those groups, a lot of times entrepreneurs are very guarded to admit they don’t do things well, I think when you get in groups like that, it makes it easier to throw yourself on the sword and understand that other people made mistakes. So until a solopreneur, really reaches out and tries to learn that they could probably be in a situation, they’d worry about it. One thing I found interesting about your site, it’s like you give them an opportunity for free to come in and find out so you do like a free call with someone to say, let me see how I can help your business. I mean, there’s absolutely one out there. That’s a lady entrepreneur that shouldn’t do that. I mean, at least get some great information. So what do you usually do on that initial call, just if you’re…

Annette de Lancey  32:55

Oh, this is one of my favorite things. I love to ask the questions to extract the knowledge out of there. So they’re actually saying things they didn’t even realize were in their head, about their business and about why they started their business and what the problems are. And I can pretty much sense and it’s a zoom call, so I get a good face to face. I’ve never had one where it’s just a call back. I think there was one woman that wanted to call, just voice call. And because of her schedule or something like that. I said, I really prefer face to face. And I really want to get to know you. And she okay. And she said by the end, she was very glad that it was face to face because she really got a sense of the sincerity I had for her business. So what I’d love to do is pick businesses apart and be able to find where the underperforming assets are, and things that you need to kind of like let go of, and sometimes that’s really hard to do. And I’ve had many product lines throughout the history of CastCoverz. One of my favorites was my designer color crutches, loved that product. I was a distributor first and I bought her out and it was a huge seller for us. But it took a tremendous amount of inventory because crutches take up a lot of room because it took a lot of labor because I had to disassemble everything. I didn’t do it but the purchase had to be disassembled, then sent to a powder coder, and then brought back and then reassembled. And so there were these beautiful, gorgeous crutches. Well, what happened is a few years after I bought it Pinterest came out and shipping dimensions changed and shipping dimension when you ship a crutch box. I mean, it’s 48 inches long, and it’s heavy. And so what I had to do is increase the price of the crotch to include the shipping. And so then it became more of something for somebody with chronic like maybe they had maybe amputation or they had cerebral palsy or something like that. And they use crutches all the time. And then Pinterest came out and it was the explosion of creativity, you could put down all your crutches and add ribbons and all that kind of stuff? Well, I would have done that for my daughter, my daughter was broken 22 bones. She’s my inspiration company. And I would have said, honey, let’s go to my goals. Let’s go get the dazzle and does our crutches. So I totally got, I had to let them go. They were taking up huge amounts of storage space. They weren’t selling. I mean, the sales were slowing down. It just wasn’t worth it. And I had to let them go. And so I tried to actually donate them to Shriners to children’s hospitals to adult hospitals and nobody would take them. I got phone calls during pandemic, by the way, do you have any of those crushes left because we could use them. There was a run on aluminum acids already. That was a few years ago. But I remember taking them to the recycler and watching them getting crushed in the recycler. But I had to let them go. And it was a good decision. And even though they were 25% of my revenue, we came back next year like it never even happened.

Pat Yates  35:58

That’s just amazing. I mean, I think that you have such a diverse background, what’s interesting is is that at Quiet Light, we talked a lot about how we want to be actionable for the client first, like we want to give them to actionable tips that improve their business, basically, same thing you’re doing from another standpoint, but at a ground level, which is incredible, because I think a lot of people are in such a formative area less than 100,000 in revenue. So the target of people you have versus saying I’m going to work with someone that’s 500,000 goes to a million. The great news is, is you’re taking those base entrepreneurs that really need that help, and you’re given the opportunity, it’s a really amazing. So tell again, how people can get in touch with you the site and your email or whatnot.

Annette de Lancey  36:35

I also wanted to leave you with, and this is so interesting that I’m on your podcast, because I tell all my clients to always prepare your business for a sale, I’m not going to sell it well, I’m going to give it to my grandchildren, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that with it. And you could have an ESOP, we don’t know what’s going to happen. But the point is, you’ll become very efficient if you prepare your business for sale, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You could end up with a catastrophic injury or an illness or somebody in your family and you need to leave the business and you have to leave it like that you don’t sometimes have time to prepare. So I do always tell my clients prepare your business like you’re going to sell it, you don’t have to, but just prepare your business and profit is one of them. And the operational efficiencies is the other one. So they can get in touch with me at And my email is [email protected]. And my manufacturing company has CastCoverz. And that’s And you can find me all over the place. Instagram, whatever I’m all in.

Pat Yates  37:48

That’s amazing and I think that the great news is having someone like you on here that’s I can tell you’re just basically invested in everyone else you work and even though you develop your own products, you’re much more invested in other people, which is where the best relationships I think start. Annette it’s been amazing having you in the Quiet Light Podcast today. I appreciate you taking the time and I’m sorry, you got to work with Ethan all the time, though. You just tell me if you need something he’s not very nice guy. Actually, believe it or not. I’ll brag on him. I think Ethan is the smartest guy at Quiet Light. I’m not going to kid you. Every time there’s an answer needed, Ethan knows about everything there is to know. I’m too old to know everything I just asked him.

Annette de Lancey  38:21

He’s been great too. I consider him a call.

Pat Yates  38:25

Awesome. Well, that sounds good. I appreciate you being here today. And we’re looking forward to talking to you in the future.

Annette de Lancey  38:30

Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Ethan. Thank you everybody.

Outro  38:35

Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at [email protected]. Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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