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Ep. 370: How to Sell $30K VIP Days with Pia Silva of NO BS Agency Mastery

I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Pia Silva of NO BS Agency Mastery!

Pia Silva is a partner and brand strategist at Worstofall Design where they build entire brands in 1-3 day intensives. She’s also the founder of No BS Agency Mastery where she helps small branding agencies increase profits and freedom without hiring employees. She’s a TEDx speaker, a Forbes contributor, podcast host and author of Badass Your Brand.

Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!

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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 370 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, and I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest Pia Silva. Pia is a partner and brand strategist at Worstofall Design where they create entire brands in one to three day intensives. She's also the founder of No BS Agency Mastery, where she helps small branding agencies increase profits and freedom without hiring employees. She's a TEDx speaker, a Forbes contributor, podcast host, and author of Badass Your Brand. Pia, thank you so much for being here today on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about who you are and what you do?

Pia Silva: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me Shannon. I built this two person branding agency with my husband. We started it over 10 years ago. We went through all the challenges that I think every single creative entrepreneur in this world has gone through. The ups and downs, the roller coaster, the learning on the job, the school of hard knocks. And we ended up three years into it after a very low point, building this unique model where we only work with clients in this intensives model. It worked so well for us. It was super profitable. It allowed the two of us to have the lifestyle that we wanted. We made a lot of money after that. We had a lot of free time. It was like, this is the dream. This is what we were looking for. And so I promptly turned around and said, I need to help more people do this

Pia Silva: because there's so many people who don't wanna hire a team and don't know how to have employees, and it scares them. I actually had employees and I did a terrible job with them. So I was a little shell shocked by that. And I didn't want them after. So, that's what I do. I teach people how to implement our specific intensives model so that they can make more and more money working less and less and not have to go that traditional agency route of bringing on employees and having very high overhead that you have to support.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, I cannot wait to dig in to all of this. So can we kind of get in our time machine and go back to 10 years ago when you guys started. You said that you went through all the ups and downs and the hard parts. I would love to know what that looked like for you when you guys got started, and what some of those early challenges were.

Pia Silva: Yeah. So we decided to go out on our own while we were actually woofing. Have you ever heard of woofing? It's this organization called Willing to Work on Organic Farms. We went to Portola with a one way ticket and we lived on this farm. We lived with no money. We had no money. We were like bartering our time for the farm. And we were there for about four months with some little trips in between. And so we were living off of nothing. That's an important piece of this story because we were literally living off of no money and we were thinking about our life and thinking about the world and what really matters. And we said, you know what? We should go back to Brooklyn. And when we get back, we're not gonna take any more gigs.

Pia Silva: We're not gonna work for anyone else. We're gonna do it for ourselves. So we were eating rice and veggies off a farm, right? So we were really used to a hustler mindset to begin with, which I think really helped us because living in New York city, I remember we only needed $3,000 a month to break even. So I was like, we can do that! I was like, you and me working all the time, we can definitely make $3,000 a month and just break even. And that was really our only goal at the time. And actually, I'm a New Yorker, I'm a hustler. Like I put my feet to the pavement. We did pretty well in the beginning, but it was all because I was just pounding the pavement all the time.

Pia Silva: I was networking to get clients. And it was a piecemeal, lots of different jobs, charging hourly, charging these project rates that were very low, not having any idea how long things took. Steve and I were just working seven days a week, super stressed out, never knowing where the next client was gonna come from. Always starting at zero at the beginning of of the month, wondering, okay, fine, we did well last month, but can we do that again? And I don't know. And who knows? And so we did that for a while. We did okay. I remember we had a $10,000 month like a few months in, but again, this is from pure hustle. We're charging $40 an hour, two people. two people working all the time. $10,000 is actually not a lot. Right? But at the time it felt like a lot to me. It was probably the most I had ever made in a month.

Pia Silva: So I was like, oh, we're rich. I was still living the dream. I don't have to "report to anyone". Of course I was reporting to everyone. I was reporting to all these clients, but it felt like I wasn't reporting to anyone. Anyway, this got old really fast. Now we're a year into it. It's like, okay, fine. We're making enough money to live, but we're working so hard. And that's when I started to say, we need to make more money. We need to bring people in. And we ended up hiring two employees in-house. We got an office. I was like, this is the only way we're gonna be able to charge more money, get bigger clients. And that's what we did. We kept going for bigger and bigger clients.

Pia Silva: We kept raising our prices. We kept growing the projects. So, three years into it, we were charging 20 to $30,000 a project. But they were taking six, eight months to complete. I had two employees March, 2014, and I read about this, I kinda opened my book with this, we were in $40,000 of debt. So we're working all the time and we're in debt. I mean, what a horrible place to be. And we were also maxed out. Our credit cards were maxed out. Our bank account was maxed out. So we had no choice. We were really painted into a corner. That's when we had to get rid of our employees, which I cried. I was so sad. I felt like I'd let them down. I had felt like I'd let myself down. I felt like my business had exploded and I was a failure.

Pia Silva: And this is when we kind of had this epiphany moment where we said this business could look a lot of different ways. And actually, we're pretty skilled, and we have happy clients, and we have good work. Wait a second. We've got a lot of great stuff going on here. . we need to rethink how we do this. And it was a business coach of mine who said to me, you're having a hard time finding and closing $30,000 clients, but you've got a lot of people around. I mean, I networked my face off for two years. I knew a lot of people. He said, they wanna work with you. How come, how much money do they have? I said, they have like $3,000. He said, 'well, what could you do for them for $3,000?' And I said, well, we could bang out a lot of stuff for them in a day, if they would just let us do it for a day and not make this so it drags on.

Pia Silva: And he said, why don't you try that? And that was where this intensive model was born. So in retrospect, we were doing a VIP day, what people consider a VIP day now. It was an executional. You pay us $3,000 for the day, we would do like a logo, a business card, maybe the homepage and interior page of a website, and we'd teach you how to do the rest. This was early Squarespace days, by the way. . So nobody knew what that was. And it was amazing that you could duplicate a page and put your content on it. But over the years, I started to get clearer on the fact that we could increase the value on the price, and we could do some of that work ahead of time. And a year later we were charging $10,000 for that "one day", or we did work beforehand, and now we charge $25,000 for that one-day and $30,000 for that two-day.

Pia Silva: So that's the journey that we went on and it was all by iteration. It was just tweaking it. What's a little bit better? How can I make this a little bit more profitable? And the shift for me, the mindset shift, was going from high high, like trying to go for revenue, to being very focused on what's more profitable. And a $3,000, one-day was way more profitable than a $30,000 project that took four people and eight months to implement. So that was a long-winded way of answer your question, Shannon. Did I answer your question?

Shannon Mattern: If you guys could see me in this conversation, I'm like, tell me more, tell me more, tell me all the things! Because the point at which your business broke down is the point where so many people are like, I guess I'll just go back to corporate. You know, this didn't work. At what cost. This isn't the life that I want. And they peace-out and they go back to what feels safe and give up on that dream. And you, like any good designer or developer are like, let's troubleshoot this. Let's troubleshoot this and figure out how can this work? I wanna ask you a little bit more about the mindset, because I know this is such an important piece that I see with web designers who are just constantly undercharging and over-delivering, undercharging, over delivering, and they just get stuck in that cycle. What had to happen for you to really shift from even charging $3,000 for a day to charging $30,000 for a day? What was that shift?

Pia Silva: Great question. It's more than one. it's more than one shift . The shift in the execution that came with the mindset was, the $3,000 one-day was much more executional, right? The $30,000 two-day, $25,000 one-day is all about being a leader, building trust with a client, really getting to the heart of what their problems were beforehand, right? So we don't just come in and do it. We do something called a brandshrink beforehand. Actually, you can't hire us to do your brand and your website until you do a brandshrink. So that's the first step. A deep dive into understanding, not just what do you want your brand to be, or what you want your website to look like, but what are your goals? What's your business?

Pia Silva: What's your actual problem? What are you trying to accomplish? And then from there, figuring out based on what you want, this is the whole plan of what you need. So that is how we evolved from a design company. We're still Worstofall Design, but it's a branding company, right? We evolved from a design company to a branding company. And really there's some business strategy in there too, because as I learned it, I couldn't help it. It's like, oh gosh, you need to redo your pricing too. So I would start to do all of these other things, whatever I needed to do in order to get them to their goals. So the change was really going deep on the strategy and solving their problem. Don't call it strategy by the way. But solving their problem and showing them what it needed to look like.

Pia Silva: And once I take them through that process, the execution of the brand and the website is easy. It's a foregone conclusion almost, you know? We just have to do it, but the way that we take them through that process in that one or two days, the project is done, actually. We've completed the project. We don't show it to them. We kind of give it to them. We step them through it. And we take them through this process where they get on board, but we have almost no revisions. We have almost no changes. It's really just a processof getting them on board and getting them to understand why we did the things that we did. And because we went so deep on the strategy and the thought ahead of time, they are on board. And it's, I would like to say it's magical, but it's very process driven.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And, what I hear you saying is that you're not selling a deliverable. You're not selling a website. You're not selling a logo. You're not selling a day. You're not selling your time. Like, that's not what you're selling. And that is the big shift that if you want to charge more than everyone else is charging, that's the shift that is required for you to stop selling your skillse., Stop selling all of these things and really start selling the solution. Right?

Pia Silva: A hundred percent. And I can already hear people saying, yeah, but people want websites, or people come to me for a logo, whatever it is. And I felt that way too. And you can absolutely help those people by doing it this way. So just because they want that, in order for me to do that, we need to do this first. And that's it, you know? And then it's about taking them through that process. People don't know what they don't know about branding, websites, messaging, positioning. They just don't know. And if you try to sell them things they don't know, they're gonna run away because they're gonna say, I don't need all of that, I just need a website. So it's a very specific strategy that we use to meet people where they're at, sell them what they want and then give them what they need. And if you do that in a very elegant way, they will see you as the only solution to their problem.

Shannon Mattern: Oh, I love that. And it's authentic too. You know that your clients need a website and a logo. So that's how you connect with them. But you also know that if you just design a website for them, they are going to be like, I just wasted $3,000 on a website that does nothing for me. That's gonna be what ends up happening, because they don't understand their role in their business. After they have a website, a website is not just like a magical tool that automatically creates revenue for your business. Right? And so, I love how you're like, oh, we meet them where they are. Of course your clients need a website. Of course they need a logo. People that need websites and logos also need these other things. And that's where you come in. It's brilliant. What do you say to someone who's like, well, I don't wanna be responsible for all of the rest of that part of serving the client. Cause I hear that a lot. I don't wanna be your business coach. I'm just curious as to what your response is to that?

Pia Silva: Yeah, absolutely. So, that's the path I've chosen. I get really deep in all of this stuff. I would say two things. One is, you can stay in your lane, for sure. I have helped people who are much more conversion focused website people and maybe they're working in e-commerce right. I only work with service businesses, so it's a different kind of thing. It's different. And that's great. There's still strategy there. And I think a lot of people don't actually realize how much strategy they are using because it feels like second nature to them. And so a lot of what I have to keep reminding people that I work with is, you know a lot more than you think, and you're not great at communicating it at the right time so that the client can see it and understand the value of it.

Pia Silva: So it's really not that you need to be responsible for all these other things you don't know. It's that you need to be better at communicating what you do know and doing it in a way that connects with the client and what they need and want. So you can absolutely do this brandshrink part based on whatever it is that you focus on. So I would say that's one thing. The second thing I would say is, you can absolutely specialize and be wonderful at something, but I think there's something beautiful and aspirational about wanting to know about other things even if it's not the thing that you are doing. And the more things you know about, the more valuable you are to your client. I'll give you an example. I wrote my book. I self-published it. Half the reason I wrote that book and self-published it was just to go through the process so that I could know what it's like.

Pia Silva: Now I don't coach people in writing a book. Well, not yet. I'm gonna start doing that with some of my higher level people in my program because that is a good step for authority. But I haven't officially offered teaching people any of that process. And yet having gone through the process myself makes me so more potent when it comes to advising people on how to position their business, whether a book would make sense for them, how they should go about that. So do I sell that as a product? No. Is it valuable for me to have had that experience and have that knowledge? Absolutely. And I like to learn things in order to be more valuable to my client in that way, even if it's in a tangential space.

Pia Silva: So I would offer not only that, but these are all things that help my business tremendously. So if you are a website designer and you don't wanna be "responsible" for that, I would encourage you to learn those things anyway, because it's gonna help your business. And once you learn them for your own business, you'll find that you can't help but kind of help people with that as well. And again, you don't have to be someone's business coach. But I think that's more of a kind of fear of not knowing enough. And I would encourage you to really lean into it and say, this is helpful for my business, so I should learn it. And it will also make me more valuable for my clients.

Shannon Mattern: I love that so much. And I think there's also this mindset shift that needs to happen, kind of the employee mindset to the entrepreneur mindset, or ' I'm responsible for these certain things' to 'I'm consulting and guiding and giving you the best information I can give you to make the best decisions for yourself'. Ultimately, you, as my client, get to decide how you would like to move forward, but it's my job to give you everything that I can give you to make sure that that you're successful. I'm not your employee. I'm not like going to do the things. But it's my job to help you get the most out of this. So I just absolutely love that so much. I wanna shift gears and talk about authority building and talk about marketing. You talked about how you hustled hard, you hit the pavement, you were networking, you built all these connections. I'd love to know a little bit more about how you have marketed your business and grown it, and then built this authority that you've built.

Pia Silva: Yeah, sure. Well, in the beginning, it's all about one-on-one connections. I mean, until you have a critical mass of content, it's about one-on-one connections. And I know that people who are starting out want some quick fix. But if nobody knows you and you don't know anybody , and you have nothing online, there's no quick fix. You gotta connect with people. So I think networking is an amazing short- term marketing strategy. And it's something that I absolutely, much to their chagrin, tell my people, you gotta connect one-on-one with people. Either you have a great network and you need to tap into it and nurture it and warm it up, low hanging fruit, or you need to go out and make a network, a hundred percent.

Pia Silva: And, by the way, also list building. Unless you're gonna spend money on ads, you list-build one person at a time. You meet people online at events, you meet people in person at events. My first thousand people on my list I met every single one of them at some networking thing. This was back when it was still not clearly illegal to put people on your list. This was a long time ago, right? I would never do that now. And I wouldn't recommend it, but in 2011, I feel like it was kind of okay. I definitely didn't know it was wrong. But you know, just unsubscribe. And then around 2013 is when I started to write my first articles.

Pia Silva: Once every two weeks. It was hard. I was a terrible writer. I would send these emails out. I was so embarrassed. I would refresh the unsubscribe and feel awful every time. You know, the whole thing. But as I shifted into a more profitable business that opened up time and money, what I did and what I highly recommend is reinvesting that extra time and money into authority building because authority building is the long-term strategy. It takes some time. You've done over 300 podcasts. I am so impressed. , you've done over 300 podcasts. That is a lot of time and effort. But it pays dividends forever. I started writing for Forbes in 2017. There are articles that I've posted in 2017 that still bring me leads and clients.

Pia Silva: Okay? And that's incredible. And it took a little bit to get to Forbes, but I had to write a lot to even be worthy of writing on Forbes. I had to be better at writing. More recently I've been doing more videos. God, those first videos a couple of years ago, and some of them are still up and I'm so embarrassed. I so embarrassed. And I just said this on a podcast episode I did a couple of weeks ago. If you're not embarrassed, you're not growing, you know? So just embrace the embarrassment. You should be embarrassed every six months because that means you're doing better. But I have invested heavily every extra cent of time and money into authority building. So it was the blog turned into the Forbes column, turned into the book.

Pia Silva: I created an online course and bootcamp. I then started doing videos. I did a podcast. I did a Ted talk. I mean, these are all the things. I'm like trying to rack up the accolades, right? They're all useful. And they're all a lot of work, but they go on forever. I'm forever a TEDX speaker, you know?, That's great. Like that was a lot of work, but I only had to do it that one time. And now that adds to my resume. So I think that's the level jump that allows me to not have to network anymore. And I would say that's different than connecting. I love connecting with high level people, but in the beginning it was networking. I just need to meet people. I need people to know who I am. I need to know who they are. I need to keep in touch with them. And that's, I think at least in my experience, is the evolution. You can't just jump to the second part. But if you invest extra time, when you can, into building authority, you will be able to completely stop the low level networking and it will become a snowball effect. And that will be a sustainable part of your business for years to come.

Shannon Mattern: I could not agree with you more about one to one connection in the early days of your business is what is going to get you, your clients. They'll plant all kinds of seeds that are gonna grow in completely unexpected ways that you have no idea that they are going to continue to bear fruit for you years and years and years later. And what I see so many people do is that they wanna start with, you know, oh, I'm just gonna start blogging and I'm gonna start posting on Instagram and Facebook and all of the strategy. And I'm like, you're creating content for no one that is just going down the feed. And you're delaying your success. And the opportunity cost of spending your time there in the beginning is just so huge. And I always tell people, you do not have to have a social media presence to build a clientele and build your business now.

Shannon Mattern: Later on, when you want to point people there to showcase work or different things, great. But actually talking to real people, being a real person, genuinely connecting and learning about them so you can identify opportunities to continue the conversation and support and help them. All you have to do is be a real person. . It's like we think we have to be somebody different sometimes to do this. And I did for a long time. I thought, oh, I have to be this professional buttoned up corporate version of Shannon in order to get clients. Oh my gosh. I took like one picture in the blazer and I was just like, you know. And it was horrible. I was like, I don't want to recreate the job I have now. I don't want that. So, everything that you said, I'm just over here nodding my head, because why are we doing this, right? Serving ourselves, obviously, but the greater mission of you built your authority while serving other people, because the content that you created and provided for them has had an impact on them in some way. It's not just all about you and how amazing you are. It's service.

Pia Silva: Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm of the opinion that you give it all away., . Give it all away and your best people are gonna come and hire you. And especially when you're in a service business, it's even more so. I can tell you everything. It doesn't mean you're gonna be able to do it anyway. I mean, I could literally tell you how to do it and you still wouldn't be able to do it. And that's great. So be a resource. But to your original point, and I completely agree, it's like you have to start with the one on one connections. And there is a huge opportunity cost for posting on social media. And that's why people think social media, you know, why isn't this working? You're right. You're speaking to nobody. I think that is a symptom of the marketing messages that we get and not being able to put them into context.

Pia Silva: There's just so much advertising. And I'm part of that, right? I do ads for my program. You know, if you don't have the whole story then you can project your own story onto it. Oh, this person, I hate when people do this, by the way, and I don't do this. This person did a hundred thousand dollars launch with no list. It's like, yeah, cuz they spent a hundred thousand dollars on Facebook ads . And they didn't tell you that little detail. So there's always a detail. And when you're in business long enough, you know, now I'm like, okay, what's the part of the story that I'm missing here. That's not possible. So what's the part of story I'm missing. And there's always a part of that story. But when you're new in business, I didn't know anything so I believed everything and I just took it for as truth. So I think that's a big challenge for people starting out.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. So I do an income report on this podcast every single month, since I quit my day job back in 2018. And I was like, here's how much money I made. Here's how much money I spent. Here's exactly what I spent it on. Here's all the stuff I screwed up on. Here's all the stuff that I learned from that. Every single month. Because back in the day, I was like oh, I gotta buy this course. I gotta buy this. I gotta do this thing. Oh, okay. And I was like, nobody is sharing what the actual bottom line looks like when you're running a business. And I'm not gonna be a part of that. And so I share the bottom line and I literally did not start running Facebook ads until this year because I'm like, I now have a proven ROI for this program.

Shannon Mattern: I know exactly what this is gonna look like. And seven years into my business now, it makes sense for me to run Facebook ads. I love what you said, like someone could project their story onto me. And I used to do this all the time. I'd be like, oh, well I'll just reverse engineer what she's doing. I'm techy. I'm smart. I can figure it out. I can look at everything. I know how to make an ad. I know how to do all this. But why isn't it working? Why is it working for her and it's not working for me? Well, one, I'm making the assumption that it's working for her. I don't see the bottom line of her business every single month. And two, I am a different person with a different background, different limiting beliefs, different things that I think are true and not about the world.

Shannon Mattern: I cannot try to copy someone. That's why I can't even take an online course without mentorship and duplicate, just like I'm a cookie cutter. Like put me into this online course and I'll just do all the things and I'll spit out the exact same results. So we are so aligned on that because I just feel like you can't go it alone. I mean, you can. It's just gonna be hard and take you longer. If you want to like trial and error and touch the stove, get burnt, start over and be a trail blazer. Awesome. Cuz someone has to do it, right?

Pia Silva: Oh my gosh. Thank you. Thank you so much for doing that income report. That is what people need. Nobody wants to do that. I've been pretty transparent with numbers over the years, too. Not on a monthly basis, but I like that

Shannon Mattern: That's for my own accountability. That's truly for me cuz I'm like, I gotta look at this and I gotta coach myself through some of the BS I think about myself, you know?

Pia Silva: I love that so much. And I also love that you said, "first of all, I don't know if it's working for them". Look, I know that, but my husband still has to remind me of that. So I'm like, wait, look.... He's like, we have no idea what's going on with that person. We just project. I'm seeing 5% of this and I'm just assuming the rest of it is whatever. I'm assuming that they took that private jet and it's not their parents' private jet .

Shannon Mattern: They work 10 hours a week and they're happy.

Pia Silva: Right. All of these things. And it's not to say that some people aren't. It's just that you don't know. So I love that you bring that into the real world. And I hope and would like to think I do the same because that's what we need more of, transparency in what business really looks like.

Shannon Mattern: Yes. I think that it's so important. And it's not always supposed to be going well and good either. I think that that's the other piece that we as business owners can do a disservice when we're only sharing the good things. It's like, let's talk about all of the normal challenges that we had to go through to get here. I love that you shared that the worst thing you ever had to do was let your team go. I've been there too, where I had to let people go. And I'm just like, ugh, I never wanna have to go through that again. So instead of throwing in the towel and going back to a job, I'm gonna figure out how to never have to do that again. right?

Pia Silva: Yes, that is a hundred percent. The other thing that you might like, and your listeners might like, that I teach people to do in terms of numbers, that I think is very different way of approaching it. It's a complete mindset shift. So it it's really hard for people to glom on to, but I do kind of reverse budgeting. So I take people through a process of what do you want to spend on your business? What do you want to spend on your life? What does that look like? Plus taxes? What do you need to charge in order to make that? And how long do you have to spend on that pro process and project in order to make that money? And it really just spits out a number. This is the price you need to charge for that.

Pia Silva: And then if you do that, you will have the life that you want. And I focus solely on generating that number instead of budgeting or even trying to save things here and there, because I budget in my savings. I budget in my retirement, I budget in everything. So it's funny because I even noticed recently, emotionally, you know, I hit the number. I'll hit whatever number that is. I'll almost never go over it because I have no drive to go past that number. And then sometimes it's like, oh, I hit it. And I feel like, okay, I hit it, but I didn't go over it. But I did go over it because in that was profit and savings and all these things. And so it's just a little mind trick that I did for myself. And I find it so helpful.

Shannon Mattern: We are such kindred spirits cause that's exactly what I tell people too. I'm like, if you say, oh, $10,000 a month would be my dream life, I'm like, and? Awesome. How much do you have to tack on for taxes? What about your business expenses? What do you wanna pay yourself? Okay, great. Now we're at $20,000. Awesome. Let's work back from there. And then there's this process of, I can't charge $20,000! Okay, well, what do you believe about yourself? And what do you believe about the value? And let's unpack all of this because there are people out there willing to pay someone that much. And you're amazing and you're awesome. And you're gonna take crazy care of them. And you're probably gonna over-deliver on $20,000 when you over-deliver at $2,000. So it should be you that gets to work with them, and not this guy over here who's just gonna give them something crappy that doesn't work and disappear.

Pia Silva: Well, I agree with you a hundred percent on people finding that value in themselves. One thing I'll add on to that, something I think is important. We have this amazing guy who comes in and does some social media reels for my husband who's an artist. He's a very creative photographer and I'm kind of unofficially coaching him on his business. And what I needed him to get this, like a one on one, but most people are not thinking about this. It's like, your work is amazing. And as much as I know you want that to be the reason that people hire you, it's actually not why people are gonna pay the high prices. There are lots of amazing people out there, not to take away from you. They'll hire you cuz it's great, but they'll pay you high prices because you have process, because you have something proven, because you're able to manage it in a way that makes them feel trust, because you're able to take them through and experience where they feel taken care of and they trust you

Pia Silva: and the outcome that they're gonna get, and they're gonna get that deliverable at the end that is worth that high value. And so when you have someone who's charging $2,000 and we wanna charge $20,000, to me, a big part of that is, it's not really that your work is not worth it, it's that you don't have the business structure around it to be worth $20,000. I personally, no matter how good your work is, if you don't have that kind of structure and process that I'm gonna feel taken care of with it, I don't wanna pay that much either. I pay for that. So I just wanted to add that on.

Shannon Mattern: A thousand percent. I could not agree more. And it's like, when I pay for things at that level, I don't wanna have to work. I'm not gonna lie. I I'm paying you this cuz I don't wanna think about it beyond when we're sitting down to think about it. And then, you're handling it and I am happy to pay you for that. Like happy, because it's not just like, oh, how much money that's gonna help me make in my business. It's like, I have peace of mind. I can go do other things. All of these things that, especially us hustlers, we got other stuff to do. We know how to work. This is not a problem of not knowing how to work and how to do the things. It's like, I feel like I buy my life back, a lot of the times when I spend that kind of money.

Pia Silva: That's a great way to say it. Yeah. A hundred percent. You just said something really brilliant that I wanted to respond to and I've just lost my tune of thought.

Shannon Mattern: Why, thank you.

Pia Silva: it was really good. Um, yeah. I don't know. It'll come back tome.

Shannon Mattern: Well, if it comes back to you, we'll circle back to that. But I just wanna shift to you have this mission to help other people work in this way that you worked because it's worked so well for you. Can you share more, a little bit more about how your training was born and a little bit more about what you do to help designers?

Pia Silva: Yeah, absolutely. I have always been a very independent-minded person and I like the whole ecosystem of building a business and how it forces you to do personal development and work on your mindset and work on yourself. I mean, right? Someone described it as your personal growth gym is your business. And I think that it has a really positive impact if you go the right way, right? If you go into the dark hole, you can kind of do the fall. But, but if you work on your mindset and you're kind of constantly growing, I think it has the potential for any person to have a very positive ripple effect on the people around you, right? Not just in terms of being able to make more money, have more time, be more generous, all of those things, but also just be more generous with your time, be more generous with your mindset, being able to support other people.

Pia Silva: I was an economics major. And so I was always thinking about high level, like, how do you use incentives to motivate on a more global scale, incentivize things to work in your favor? And what I ended up coming to in this was this is the other way to do it. It's a very micro way to do it. If you empower lots of individual people to go on this route and you kind of give them more of a roadmap, you're gonna inspire a lot more change and it's gonna be more of like a 'be the change' kind of thing. right? How do we get lots of individuals to be thriving? I think it's gonna have a much bigger ripple effect. So that's really from my background and where I came from. I was in social entrepreneurship for a little bit.

Pia Silva: And I did not like the nonprofit worlds at all. It was so inefficient for me . It was driving me nuts. So instead, this is my way of doing that. And doing it in a way that really works for me too, because this is how I thrive, and I should be helping people in a way that I also enjoy it. I'm very good at it because I think I'll be more impactful that way than kind of like, well, I'm doing it for the mission, but I don't like how this works. That was never gonna work for me. I can't really do things I don't wanna do, ever . So that's how I ended up here. And that's what I do. I help like one/two person small design, website, branding agencies.

Pia Silva: I just show them how to put these structures in place, how to put these processes in place, how to use, I call it a lead product. My brandshrink is the lead product. I teach them how to use that process to gently bring people into a place where they really do wanna pay you more and they trust you. And, oh, that's what it was. Okay. this is what you said, that reminded me. There's a mindset. You pay for people to take care of things for you, right? And I think that there is an ecosystem in that, in your ability to charge people for you to take care of them. And I think in the beginning, when you would never pay more if you didn't have to, to get taken care of, it's very hard to understand why somebody would pay you to take care of it.

Pia Silva: And, you know, I think you have to kind of work up to it, but there is a definite shift when you get to a place where you are paying lots of money for people to take care of you and to be experts where you have a much easier time going, yeah, you're gonna pay me $30,000. And my clients, they're not gonna see anything until after I've been completely paid in full, and you're gonna come in at 10:00 AM and it's gonna be done at 6:00 PM and you're gonna fucking love it. And that's how it is. And I'm okay doing that because I'm happy to pay someone else to do the same thing for me. And so if you've never done that, it's like, who pays that? Lots of people, . Lots of people, and you wanna go find those people because those are great clients. I bet you're an amazing client., I'm a good client.

Shannon Mattern: I experienced the shift of being totally fine with charging more when I was totally fine with paying more. And it was. It was like a visceral shift in me. Like, oh, this is it. Like I had to experience it. I am the kind of person that I can take in information, but it's the experience that like solidifies it for me.

Pia Silva: Me too, me too. And I have to learn all the mistakes too on my own. I hear you guys saying don't build the whole course before you sell it. I hear you, but I'm just gonna do that anyway. And I'm gonna spend six months building it and oh, now I see why you don't do that. Okay. Got it.

Shannon Mattern: Same exact way. So you have this commitment to really incentivizing people at a micro level, to influence change like a ripple effect. And, and you want to help other people

Shannon Mattern: shift out of how they've been doing things, which is very burnout driven and it's a grind to thriving.

Shannon Mattern: So you decide to start teaching?

Pia Silva: Yeah. So I built a bootcamp to teach service businesses how to do this five years ago. As soon as I hit my stride with our business and I had all this time, I was like, okay, well, that's the next thing I wanna do. And that was great. But this year, at the beginning of this year, so back in January, I decided I wanna teach my process. So I don't wanna just teach this more high level concepts about productizing your services, charging more, simplifying your business. I wanna teach people who do exactly what I do exactly how I do it. How do we do an intensive? How do we deliver this whole brand? How do we even create a whole brand and website and copy and all of that in a couple of days and then deliver it.

Pia Silva: We had built this process over many years through many iterations, lots of trial and error, and it works so well. Can I package this up and teach this process? And so this year has been all about teaching people exactly how we do it. It's actually a lot of micro things that we do that all add up to this experience for the client. And so I teach exactly how we do it, but I also teach why we do all those things. And then I say, make it your own. You know? It's not that you have to do it my way. It's that the principles behind every single thing can be applied to whoever your clients are and however you wanna do it. But the overarching idea is we're looking to create actually more value for the client, right?

Pia Silva: More value. You don't have to wait six months for your website. You don't have to get on these fricking phone calls every week and give feedback, you know, all the stuff. It's called no BS Agency Mastery. No BS, right? We're gonna get rid of all of that. And we're gonna focus on just spending our time, 95% of our project time, on just the high value stuff. The thing that we do best. And if we do that, we can actually deliver higher value to the client. It's high value but it's less time. They can pay us more. We can make more profit. Everybody wins. So that's the overarching concept of the model. And, at this point, I've got over 50 people that I'm teaching how to do this.

Shannon Mattern: That's brilliant. Brilliant. And I love that you said there's all these little nuances to every piece. So everybody could go to your website right now and be like, oh, okay, she does this, she does this, she does this. And you could try to replicate it. But if you're trying to be like 2017 Shannon, and you're trying to reverse engineer what everybody else is doing from the outside, I would say, don't be me. Don't be me! You're gonna go so much farther faster getting to where you wanna be with a mentor. I mean, that's been my experience personally. Especially from someone who is very much like, oh, I, you told me not to do that but I'm gonna do it anyway and learn for myself. And even having coaches helps me speed that experimental process up, cuz I'll still do it. I learn a lot from doing it, but I'll still do it. So I just wanna know what your experience with mentorship has been throughout the growth of your business?

Pia Silva: Oh my gosh. I always have at least one coach and/or I'm in a high level program. I'm in a program now, building this program, and I've been upfront with my group because I'm teaching them something that I feel like I've really mastered, but I'm doing a completely new business here, because growing a group coaching program and doing it in a way where I feel good about it, right? So there's 50 people, but I want everyone to feel like they're getting an individual experience and they're getting all the support that they need. And I know what's going on in everybody's business, but it's not killing me, right? This is really challenging stuff. So this year has been very challenging because every day I'm doing something I haven't done before, which can be very exhausting.

Pia Silva: So I tell them, I'm like, you know, I'm right there with you. I'm teaching you this and I'm saying it like, just do it like this, but I understand that you've never done it before. And I'm also doing things I've never done before. And it's hard. So you need people around you I'm in a high level coaching program teaching me how to do this. So I'm having the same experience with the people in my program, just learning something different. And I think it's just so invaluable and anything that can help me get somewhere faster is basically my MO. if it can help me get there faster, it's always worth it. Because, again, opportunity cost. If you take just three more months, especially the more you make, every month that it takes you longer to do something is just money that you are not making and time that you are wasting and you know, life is short. So you gotta get there faster. I'm a huge proponent of that.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I could talk to you for the rest of the morning, but unfortunately , we are coming up on the end of our time. , I have just one more question for you that I ask everybody that comes on the show and that is what belief about yourself did you have to change to get to where you are today?

Pia Silva: Good question. I am constantly trying to change the belief of whether or not that next thing is actually possible for me. Constantly. So I don't know if that's a fair answer, but no matter where I am, I'm like, yeah, but not that. Even though I'm going for that, I'm like, but .not that. And I'll go for it hard, but until I get there, I'm like, I don't really see that happening.

Shannon Mattern: I love that you're like, I know that I think that, and I do the things anyway. I prove myself wrong.

Pia Silva: Constantly. My husband is like, you literally have never not hit the thing. At some point, it always takes me longer. That's what he says. It always takes so much longer than I wanted it to. And I always move the goal post. I don't know about you, but before I've really hit the goal, I move it forward so by the time I get there, it's like, yeah, but you know, I'm trying to get to that thing over there. So I think that's part of that cycle. So I'm hyper aware of it, but but are you gonna do?

Shannon Mattern: So it's not changed. You're just aware and you deal with it. That's really what we do, right? You have to be aware and work around those things. Oh my gosh. So I could talk to you forever, but can you let everybody know where can we go to connect with you, learn more about you, learn more about your process, learn more about No BS Agency, all of the things.

Pia Silva: Yeah. You can go to and I would highly recommend, on the front page I have the blueprint, it's a download. And I basically just write out the whole blueprint of what our model looks like, what it looks like to build an agency with just one or two people, where you can do like $30,000 a month and not work more than a couple of weeks with clients. So that would be the best place. And I also have a Facebook group that it will definitely suggest you go join. Of course, because I'm a good student. That's No BS Agency Owners and that's all people just like us. I love it in there cuz it's all our people and all the conversations are specifically to all these issues we've been talking about.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here. I'll link everything up in the show notes. You guys can go to Go get into Pia's world because you're gonna take your business to the next level. So thank you so much. This was awesome.

Pia Silva: Yes, it was a great conversation. Appreciate you so much, Shannon. Thanks.

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