Ep 291: How to Sell a Business with Sara Frandina + Cristina Roman

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Okay I’m so excited about this interview today because had I not crossed paths with these two women back when I started my business I probably would have quit.

It was 2015, I had just transitioned from charging barely nothing for web design services to making the Free 5 Day Website Challenge. I was still working full-time, and I still had a really negative mindset about my day job, like I was a victim to it and I didn’t understand that I could choose my thoughts and choose ones that didn’t drain my energy and choose ones that supported my goals. I was “unenlightened” so to speak.

The Free 5 Day Website Challenge had started to take off, and people were joining the Facebook Group I’d made for them to get their questions answered.

And my notifications were BLOWING UP. And my email inbox was BLOWING UP.

And I still had this “employee, people pleaser” mindset, like, “They emailed me, I have to respond. They asked a question in the Facebook Group, I have to respond. I can’t make people wait, if they have to wait they’ll get mad and tell other people my training sucks.”

I was going it entirely alone, I had no support system, I only knew how to be an employee that jumped when someone said jump and not an entrepreneur that actually gets to decide how things run – and needless to say, I was totally burnt out.

And then, I came across One Woman Shop, a blog and resource started by Sara Frandina and Cristina Roman (and now owned by Crissy + Danielle), and it put me on this path to learning how to collaborate and set boundaries and manage my time and not try to do it all on my own.

So over the next few years Sara + Cristina ran One Woman Shop and I did my thing and our paths would cross from time to time in ways that they probably didn’t realize were life-changing for me because they were just doing what was natural to them – creating community and connection and a place for solopreneurs to get support.

So I get an email one day late last year that One Woman Shop was for sale, and I just had SO MANY questions about how they came to the decision to sell vs. just closing the doors, the logistics of pricing and selling a business, all the things.

So I invited Sara + Cristina on the show to break it all down for you and what’s next for them.

And I’m also working on having the new owners, Crissy + Danielle, on the show sometime to talk about the story of buying and taking over One Woman Shop.

Today we’re talking about:

  • How + why Sara and Cristina started One Woman Shop.
  • Why collaboration is the best marketing strategy you can have.
  • Tips for getting over the fear of rejection and humiliation.
  • Why you need to take action to get a result, even if the result isn’t what you expected.
  • Advice if you are thinking about creating a membership site.
  • When Sara and Cristina decided it was time to step away form the business.
  • The logistics behind pricing + selling the business.
  • The process for finding a buyer for the business.
  • What Sara and Cristina are doing now.
  • Their best advice for you if you’re struggling to grow your side hustle.
  • The beliefs they had to change about themselves to get where they are today.

My favorite quotes:

  • “People that we surround ourselves with really make a huge difference in our journey”
  • “You just have to choose what works for you and really double-down on it.”
  • “A lot of what we were selling is the potential for what could be built based off the foundation that we created.”

Shannon Mattern: I'm so excited to be here with Christina and Sarah. This is like I gotten my time machine and went back to 2015 when I was sitting in my office at a day job that I hated trying to figure out how the heck I was going to work a nine to five and grow my business so that I could eventually, um, be where I am today, which is running this thing full time from home. I got the dream and, and you guys were a part of that. So first off, I wanna just thank you for, for creating the amazing resource that, uh, that is one woman shop back in the day and I will be having, um, the new owners of one woman shop coming on the podcast to talk about their story. But with you guys, what I wrote really love to do is kind of, um, take you back

Sara Frandina: to when you started one woman shop, why you started it and just have you tell us the story of the evolution and then the decision, um, to ultimately have it change hands on what that looks like. So I will hand it over to you, Christina, to um, you know, tell us how did one woman shop get it start.

Cristina Roman: Well, first I just want to start by saying thank you so much for having us on and you've already made, I think probably both of us emotional, just hearing that you've always been so amazing in the way that you have always hustled, for lack of a better word, but you have always impressed us and the fact that we could be a small part of that journey is really exciting. Not to be too cheesy from the get go, but seriously, I'm getting Misty Ida right here. So you're just going to have to start talking. Okay, here I go. Okay. Everyone, no more tears. No seriously proud of you. But, um, so I actually started one woman shop and I had gone through a series of really interesting career shifts. So I had gotten laid off from the same company twice and that was an interesting adventure. And then I started my own digital marketing company.

Cristina Roman: So back in the days of blogger outreach, that was a big thing. And Twitter was the thing. Before Instagram I was managing different accounts for small businesses and as a solo business owner I felt like I was on my own. I felt like my friends and family did not understand the journey and adventure that I was on. And so I decided that I wanted to form my own community for partially for supporting me, but also for obviously supporting other people. And in that whole membership adventure, one of the people who I connected with most was Sarah, who's here as well. And I just remember thinking from the very start how dedicated she was. And she is just one of those people who gets it. Like anything that you throw her away, she gets it. And I respected that so much from the get go. And so slowly but surely, we started working together in a small capacity. She was doing some freelance for one woman shop. And then over time I think I just kinda kept upping the ante. I was like, Sarah, what about if we become partners? What if we become official partners? And so slowly but surely we became partners in one woman's shop and worked together, virtually met in person once, which was so cool. Um, and it's been a really just wild ride since then. So Sarah, do you wanna pick up from your part?

Sara Frandina: Yeah, I think, um, you know, Christina really had the idea and ran with it because she is an amazing starter. She's just, you know, she takes an idea and two runs with it. And that's something that I've always admired about Christina. Um, and when I, so I actually met Christina, I think you were doing some career coaching. So I was in that position of wanting to leave my job and I had a brief call with Christina and had that same feeling of here's somebody who really knows how to go out and get what she wants. Um, and I always wanted to be part of the community, but I didn't necessarily want to start my own. So when I saw the opportunity to work with Christina on something, I could really get behind. It just made absolute sense. Um, and then I think we both were so excited to have people like you, Shannon come in and actually see what community could do for people. Um, I think we all know the better the, the, the people that we surround ourselves with really make a huge difference in our journey. And so just having that ability to spend time with amazing people like you just gave us all the motivation we needed to keep one woman shop going.

Shannon Mattern: Well for me it was, you know, I was inventing the wheel by myself and my mind, it was just like, I don't, I did not spend any time online in communities. I wasn't like active in any blogger communities. I had no online community connection whatsoever. And so when I go to start my business and I'm really just trying to figure out how I'm going to grow this thing and make it work. And I stumbled upon you guys and I was just like, are you kidding me right now? Like there is this, this group of people who understand what it's like not only to, you know, be a solo business owner but also to be a woman solo business owner. Cause there was not a big voice, um, back then for, for women. Um, and we do approach business differently than, than men a lot of the times.

Shannon Mattern: So that was really, really impactful. And then, you know, the whole, the whole side hustle thing too. It's like there were so many people in that community who were, you know, going after so, so much more than just than just their, their day job or building their own business. So I really felt like I found a home for myself that, um, that I didn't even know I was missing. Right. And so that's, that's the important work that I really did. I really feel like that you guys did. And I know I've even, um, you know, developed relationships with other women. I think Monica froze is someone who is really, really active in, um, in one woman shop. She's built a, um, million dollar business by now if it's not million yet, it's multiple seven multiple six figures at this point. I just had her on the podcast. Um, and it was just crazy because when I was, um, researching her interview, I was, I always search my inbox for like correspondence to see like, have I ever talked to this person before? And we went all the way back to like 2016 where we had connected, um, in that community. So it's just, it's just one of those things like if you're out there listening to this podcast and you do feel like you're going, it, you're

Shannon Mattern: not, there are people out there like you, you just have to search for them. And it's just so important to, to, not, to, not to not try to just handle it all yourself. I mean, I have very, uh, handle it all. You're by yourself kind of person. Um, I don't know. I need community until I fall into one. And I think that that's, that's um, what woman woman shop provided. So yeah. Um, you had this idea, Christina, to start this community. How did you grow it from nothing into, into really what it became when you sold it. Oh my goodness. How did you get that first person to, to, to join you? Cause I mean, we all start at zero, right? I 100%. I mean, I think it's so funny listening to you report it back. I feel like we're kind of dating ourselves, but I do think in a lot of ways there wasn't, like you said, a ton of support and a lot of online business activity at that point.

Cristina Roman: I mean this wasn't like in the 90s, we're still talking 2020 10. Yeah, exactly. But it was a totally different world. I mean if we were talking basically before Instagram, so one of the things that I just instinctively knew very early on was that to take one of the hashtags is collaboration over competition. I just knew from the very beginning that that was going to be how the best opportunities, projects, connections for the business, but, but also like you said, forever and who is part of the business. I knew that that was where everything was going to start. And so I actually did that even before we launched the website. So I launched the website in September and we used to celebrate the September anniversary, but we would also celebrate the July 15th anniversary, which is the day that I came up with the idea, came up with the name, bought the domain, and built the website all in that day. So I like to move fast. Um, and that day I remember sending out emails to these people that I had just crossed paths, whistle paths with a little bit and asking them, will you be a part of the launch team? Will you be an ambassador, will you be a contributor? And I think it was just evident from the very, very beginning that we had to have other people ballpark of the groundswell in order to really get it off the ground.

Sara Frandina: Yeah. And I think to add to that, so it's, it's really interesting because you talked about how at the time, so you joined, I think you said 2015 Shannon, this is 2013 when, when Christina came up with the IBM kind of birth, the website, um, I had just finished my MBA in 2012 and there was not a single thing talking about online business. This was 2012 and you would think that the internet didn't exist. Right? So you're right, you're right. Resources were really scarce and I think that, um, so what happened was, you know, Christina got this idea and just went and ran with it, but what she did really well is she just, she didn't let anything hold her back. She started making those asks. And that's what, um, you know, even as our time went on and we ran one woman shop as a partnership, it was always our side hustle.

Sara Frandina: So we both always had full time jobs. Um, and that looked like different things throughout the years. But one woman shop was always our side hustle. But what became really important was that we could identify our strengths. And Christina's was always that direct outreach, always just being, not being afraid to just reach out to people and ask for things. Um, and I think now it's almost that sense of, because there are so many resources and because there are quote unquote best practices sometimes that can actually hold us up from just starting because we feel like we need to know more and we need to do more before we can take that next step. So we were almost in at an advantage of not having a lot to learn from or look at because it that way we didn't have anything to compare to. We could just start.

Cristina Roman: I'll just add onto that. I think that one of the things that we were good at in some ways and struggled with in other ways, was really honing in, really focusing and to Sarah's point about there so many best practices. And so I say this to my clients now, they're like, well I should have a podcast that's 20 minutes cause that's the ideal length. And I'm like, well, look at Joe Rogan, who's episodes are two and a half hours and he has one of the biggest podcasts out there. I'm like, there's an audience for every single platform. There's an audience on every single um, means of communication, whether that's LinkedIn or email marketing, they can all work. You just have to choose what works for you and really doubled down on it.

Shannon Mattern: I cannot agree with that more. I think that, you know, when it comes to strategies and tactics for growing your business, it's like, Oh, that means there must be a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. And um, you know, I remember when I was just starting out and I didn't know any better. I would just try things. I would just try different things and see what happened. And then at some point I became aware of strategies and tactics and, um, you know, exploding your page fees overnight and all of the hype that's, that's really out there online about how to grow a business. And then it was like, Oh, well, there must be a, there must be something. I don't know that I need to know and be, I must be doing things wrong or I, or if I'm not doing them wrong yet, I need to know what the right way is so that I can make sure that I do them right.

Shannon Mattern: And it just like sucked me right off the path of [inaudible] all the things that I had been doing, which were exactly what Christina you were saying. Uh, and, and Sarah, what you were saying Christie is really good at is just like going out there and asking, um, and making connections with people who, who know, who, you know, can, can kind of help you, um, connect you with the right people, get you in front of the right audience, all of those things. And so, you know, I love what you said about how there is, there is an audience out there for everything. And the good news is that you just get to be you and do things the way that, um, that works for you and makes you happy and excited to run your business. You know, if you told me that like Twitter was going to be the place that I had to grow a following, I just could never have done it cause I can't get it down into 280 characters.

Shannon Mattern: Like it's just not, even when one 40 was hard, I was like, Oh, maybe I could do it at two 80 like it's just never going to happen. So I would not have flourished there. I would have struggled and I would have been frustrated. And so [inaudible], you know, you get to make it, you truly, truly get to make it, whatever, whatever you want to make it. But I want to ask you, Christina, like I am not the kind of person who, it comes very easily to just be like, Oh Hey, you know, and, and, and make that ask what, what is it that makes that so [inaudible] easy for you? Or,

Cristina Roman: or does it not come easy or do you not know the answer to that question? I'm like in some ways it comes super easy and always has and in other ways I think in my new business I'm actually having a harder time than I was back in the day. Um, I would say part of that actually, I've never thought this that before. So ads we're doing this podcast, this just occurred to me that one woman shop was very much, I'm speaking on behalf of one woman shop and yes it's my quote unquote baby. And I think especially when Sarah came on board, it was our joint project and our community and we got to, we got to talk about it as an entity outside of ourselves. Whereas I think I'm probably overly grabbing onto my current business as my identity. So I think that's part one.

Cristina Roman: And it's really interesting you ask this question because I was actually just talking to another former one woman shop member about the idea of rejections. And so she had come on, we were doing some speed coaching and she kept coming up against this idea of getting rejected and the fear and the humiliation and the panic. And so I think when you embrace that, that is going to happen and you're like, you know what, I am prepared to feel completely rejected and be crippled with fear, but I'm going to do it anyway. You end up chasing those rejections. And so I've started doing a hundred rejections challenge, which is I go for a hundred rejections. So I win both ways. I either get a client or I get a rejection, which is what I'm going for. So it's kind of a win-win. So different ways to reframe it in your brain, help with that a lot. Um, and I was going to add in just one point and then I'm actually really curious what Sarah has to say about this as well. Um, but yeah, actually, Sarah, do you have anything to add in?

Sara Frandina: Yeah, well I think, um, you know, there's, there's definitely what you're saying is kind of almost thinking about that worst case scenario. It's, it sounds negative, but you go there and you realize it's as bad as you

Sara Frandina: think it might be. Um, and that really helps. But what we did, um, I forget what year we did it. It was pretty early on in our partnership. We did personality assessments and one of the things that stood out the most for me, um, was doing the Colby index and Christina ranked really high as a quick start and I ranked equally as high as a fact finder. So those are two opposite things. Um, and I think that's actually why our partnership worked out really well. But knowing that about us really helped us evaluate where, where we could bring the most value to the business. And it's also like, just knowing that about yourself, it gives you kind of the grace you need to say, well that's, you know, that's why that is easier for me or that's why I struggle a little bit more with that. Um, I think that can give you a lot of insight into why certain things operate the way do they do in your business or how you respond to things. But it definitely gave us a lot of insight into how our partnership ran too. But I think that speaks a lot to why Christina has that, that ability to go out and just ask because she, she ranks very high as a quick start, which is amazing.

Cristina Roman: Yeah. I'll just add in. Sarah was the one who brought the Colby and so that's K O L, BI. And that was so helpful because there would be situations where I'd be like, I don't know, let's just go and we'll figure it out. And Sarah is like, let's talk about it. Let's talk about the possible scenarios and how this might shake out. And I think if you, to Sarah's point, if you don't know that information, I'm just like impatient. And she's just like, why is Christina in a rush? And as soon as you get that information about each other, you go, okay, Christina just wants to get things done and do trial by error, baptism by fire. Whereas Sarah is gonna think through the different scenarios. And there are so many moments that we would have done things very wrong had Sarah not been there. To think about the potential consequences for sure.

Shannon Mattern: I love that about you too. And I that makes me think of my team member Laura, who is the Sarah to my Christina where I'm just like, Oh, let's just try it and see what happens. And then it's always like, well, what happened was four more hours of work for me, cleaning up the mess that I made for myself where Laura could have saved me, you know, all of that time. So I think that that's, um, that's just so valuable to know because then it's not a friction and it's really like working, working together. But I love what you said Christina, about, you know, getting a hundred reject rejections because like one of the things that I, when I talked about like I did some things early on in my business that worked really well for me that I didn't know worked really well for me.

Shannon Mattern: And I got distracted by strategies and tactics was, you know, the relationships I was building with people inside of one woman's shop or in different, different areas that like led to opportunities for collaborations and partnerships. And now I'm doing that very intentionally and very strategically. But every time I go to think about doing it, I'm like, I have this. Like I start to sweat and I get the fear and the anxiety and the thing. And I think it has to do with like what you said, like, you know, it's my identity at stake or it's like my ego at stake or whatever it is. And I had to do a lot of like mental work to just be like, I'm going to do this because I have a greater purpose. This isn't about me. This is really about like, you know what I want to help people with and I know that this is the best way to do it. And the outcome is whatever the outcome is. And I love how you're, how you're making it. The a hundred rejection, um, challenge. Cause I'm totally gonna steal that because that's what, how I need to frame it. It's like I just need to take the action to get a results. It doesn't matter if the result is the result that ultimately I want it to be. It's just, I'm not even giving my chance to get the result by not doing anything. If I'm, you know, kind of stopping myself before I even get started. So

Cristina Roman: yeah, steal away. Um, it's gonna be amazing and probably terrible, but that'll be great too. Um, and yeah, I think to your point, the more steps you take, the more information you get and you can tweak and hone. And I know that you have worked with somebody from the same school that I'm certified in for the life coach school. Um, and it's that idea of there's always a feeling that's driving your action or an action. And so it's taking a step back and saying, well, why am I not following up? Why am I not reaching out? What feeling is driving that and understanding that more? It can be really helpful as well.

Shannon Mattern: I, yeah, it's, it's hugely helpful. And we'll talk in a little bit about, you know, what you guys are doing now. Um, now that you want the Baton for one woman shop has changed hands, but I want to go back to, um, you know, you've, you've built this community, you really re recognize that you, you weren't going to do this on your own, that it was a community that you needed support to, to bring people in. Um, at what point did you, uh, choose to monetize, um, what you are doing? Uh, let's see. So I think that, um,

Sara Frandina: in the beginning, you know, we, we were very much producing a ton of free content, but Christina, you introduced the membership pretty much right away, I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So our, our goal is really to build a very intentional membership. Um, so we never wanted a membership with hundreds of people. It was always an application process so that we could kind of have a feel for the integrity of the group. We wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be people that wanted to join one week and leave the next. Um, it was very important to us that you could create a super safe and intimate community. Um, from there we did introduce courses and other things too to round out, I guess our offerings. But the membership is always the crux of it. Um, but I think it's important to note that we never intended for one woman shop to be our full time gigs. So the monetization was always going to be within kind of certain constraints. And um, you know, again, we, we intentionally kept things small in terms of what we are selling.

Cristina Roman: Yeah. And then I would say from membership, the thing that generated the most income, so if we're talking just pure numbers, it was the solar preneur success bundle where we basically took a bunch of different products from different creators, but Joe led into one product and sold it, but only for five days. So you've got the urgency, you've got the different creators, you've got these different products that are really showcasing different parts of your business. So, whether it was productivity and time management or um, what development you are in the solopreneur success bundle, you can speak to it as well. Um, but that, that was an interesting point where we knew that the thing that was going to earn us the most money was not the thing we were most passionate about. So we knew that we could become a bundle business and just do bundles, but we didn't feel like that's really where the value was most for people. And so we definitely grappled with that is do we chase the money or do we double down or the thing that we feel like is actually provided him

Sara Frandina: that's value. Yeah, that was, I mean that was honestly, um, so we did work with a business coach for a short amount of time. And um, even in that curriculum, because this was kind of a curriculum based coaching program, you know, it was very much chasing the revenue and it's just something that we never really got on board with because we knew it was going to be going after things that we didn't necessarily want to spend. The limited time that we had to spend on the business doing. So we really had to look at, um, the balance between loving what we did and, and making the money. But the solo preneur success bundle is that perfect example of the fact that everything that we did enjoy doing with one woman shop, he usually came down to community. And that's what that was really about. It was about bringing together a bunch of different creators, um, and as well as affiliates, we had so many different subgroups that were part of making the solo preneur success bundle a success. Um, and, and it was awesome because we got to collaborate with so many different people. The other big thing that, you know, was always the biggest hit at one on one woman shop was a a hundred best sites for solo preneurs. And that's something that wasn't monetized at all. But Christina and I would spend pretty much an entire month working on that, if not more. And it was one of the most fun things to do, but again, it wasn't a moneymaker, but it really supported the mission of, of cultivating community.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. The, the, I, this is going to sound so cheesy, but like the, that I was like,

Shannon Mattern: what, I'm on the hundred best sites for solo printers. Like I was just like, Oh my gosh, this business does help people. You know? And it was just such a like a moment where it was like, okay, this is for real. You know, like somebody actually nominated me for this thing because they got like value out of what I did. I ended up on, on that list and I was just like, what is happening right now? Like is this business really going to be a business? And it was that, um, that thing that's like, I didn't, it wasn't like, Oh, I want an award. I didn't feel like that, but I felt like, okay, like this is legit. Like this is real. This actually helped people so much so that they like went and filled out a form on my behalf, like behind the scenes.

Shannon Mattern: And I think that that was like, you know, for me as someone spotlighted on that list, that was like a huge, like keep it going even while working full time. Because I am helping people and people are getting value out of this. And you know, that's just one of those community aspects that it was just like, that was just one of those amazing things that I think one woman shop did not only to um, you know, curate the list of like the people that you could trust in business. And of course I use that list all the time to like make connections with people that I wanted to interview and, and you know, be in touch with. It was a hugely, hugely, massively valuable resource. Um, but like it just did, it shifted something in my brain with like what was capable for me and my business.

Shannon Mattern: And so those are the little things that like, I don't know if you know, like touched people in, in a certain way that you did, but like you guys had such a huge impact in so many ways and then you know, your solar preneur success bundle was like, I couldn't even believe like one as an affiliate. I was like, I'm so excited to get to like offer all this value to my audience at like a crazy insane steal of a price. Like it was amazing to be able to do that. What the value that you guys put forth, um, with what you did was huge and it was like, I'm more than happy to pay this membership fee every month because like this is, that's the kind of community, like if you're listening and you want to like look at how to really create a community and a membership that adds value. It's like people think, well I have to create more courses and stuff it full of all these things and um, you know, be the face and like, you know, all of that and it's like you guys just facilitated this whole thing and like let it take on a life of its own. And there was so much value in that that I just want our listeners who are thinking about creating a quote unquote membership

Shannon Mattern: to know that it's like the value comes from holding the space for all the people in there to procreate, whatever it's going to be that they end up with in five years. So I know I just said a whole whole lot. Um, I do want to ask like, did you guys ever intend to quit your day jobs and take woman one woman shop full time? Did you ever discuss doing that?

Cristina Roman: I just, can I just pause real quick and say that it was not somebody who nominated you for a hundred best sites. You were always consistently one of the most nominated sites. I mean every single year. And I think to your, it's amazing. I think it's such a Testament like when people are willing to go out there and promote your work with no incentive, like they didn't people nominating, sometimes they would get a mention on a hundred best sites, but for the most part people are literally doing it because you've created so much value for them. And that is incredible and you absolutely do that. So amazing. Thank you. That makes me feel weird and I need to like [inaudible] on that, but thank you. I hope you're super uncomfortable right now.

Cristina Roman: Um, I think we have pretty, Sarah and I are pretty much on the same page at most times, but I think we, we have probably pretty aligning answers but I think I'll just speak super briefly to to me is I was always recruiting. So that was my other work that I was working on and it was awesome. It was never super, I was never incredibly passionate about it, but I really, really enjoyed it and it was honestly good money. It was solid work. It was collaborative, it was interesting. It challenged me and so I loved it and I definitely saw a time when I would've been willing to give it up for one woman shop. It didn't happen except like Sarah said, and little ebbs and flows and we both had a lot of flexibility. So we would like bundle week we were on with each other on video all day, all night. That was the most exciting week. That was the week that the solopreneur success bundle went live. Um, so [inaudible] float, but that's my entire thing.

Sara Frandina: Yeah. You know, when you were asking about monetization, the, the caveat I should have said as we were in a position where we didn't need one woman shop to provide a full time income for us and um, you know, I think Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this and big magic is taking that pressure off of things, um, can really actually let you dive into them further. So we had that, we did have that, um, you know, I guess fortune to be able to run woman one woman shop without the pressure of having it be our full time income. That said, we loved the work we were doing. And so there were so many moments where we thought, okay, Oh, could we take this full time? Um, you know, I've, I've run my copywriting business since right before I joined Christina with one of them in chat. So it's been a a six, it's been almost seven years and the whole time, like I've loved doing that. But there was always those moments where we looked at one-on-one and said, you know, we could easily spend 40 to 60 hours a week on this. Is that what we want to be doing? But I think for us it, we liked the ebb and flow. We liked that sometimes it was in what we called maintenance mode. Sometimes it was in growth mode, sometimes it was in launch mode. And we kind of liked the quiet periods to, to step away and do other stuff as well.

Shannon Mattern: Were those periods intentional in the business? Because like as a, as a member I noticed it and it seemed very strategic. It was like, you know, it seemed like, okay, this is the season of this, this is the season of this. And it never seems like, Oh, where have they been? It just seemed like, um, it seemed very strategic and I think that that is something that, um, I ha, I'm like foot on the gas, go, go, go all the time. And that's one of the things that I've always thought about. Like how could I implement more of a, um, more of a cyclical structure in my business? Um, I have not answered that question yet, but that's why I ask. I ask, you know, if it was intentional and, and how that, how that worked. Cause I'm always looking like give me the answers so I can make it happen in my own business.

Sara Frandina: Yeah, I think that, I think, I think it's easy because now you know, hindsight is 2020, it's easy to say like, yes, it was cyclical. It made sense. I don't think at the time it was intentional. I think we saw that, you know, there were times we needed to step away, but it would happen and there was almost always guilt associated with it, especially on my end probably. But then it always became that, that feeling of no, that's exactly what we needed at that time. You know, one of us might be traveling or what one of us might be moving or whatever it was. Um, w it might not have been an intentional decision to slow down, but in hindsight it was easy to see that it was the right thing to do.

Cristina Roman: Yeah, I think I would add into that that a lot of times we were reactive and I think now with the wisdom that we've gleaned from life and selling the business and our other adventures, um, I think we would probably be a lot more proactive about that. And so Sarah mentioned that, um, that structure that we ended up, again, I think understanding because it had happened so many times, so we always like to look back and glean lessons from it. But that idea of the launch mode, the growth mode and the maintenance mode was so helpful for us to keep things in perspective and to name the different modes helped us realize that they were normal. And I also wanted to add in another resource. I just read this. Um, I was referred to it on Instagram through Lauren Caselli. She linked to strategy. [inaudible] has a blog post about the, um,

Cristina Roman: the different cycles of life. It is genius.

Cristina Roman: And it, when I read it, I was like, Oh my God, that makes so much sense. And sometimes just understanding that life is so cyclical can just put you at ease when you are again in those slow periods or in those hypergrowth fast periods.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Especially when you think it's going to last forever. I will definitely check that out and link that up in the show notes because you know, I do find myself like feeling like I always have my foot on the gas, but I don't always have my energy, the energy to have my foot on the gas. And on the flip side of that, like Sarah, you said you felt guilty, but it's like people don't want to give you 100% of their attention all the time as a business. And so if you're always coming at them with here's this and this and that, it's just like they just, they're going to stop paying attention whether you're there or not at some point if you don't kind of cycle through, um, these things. So I, I just find that, I just find that really interesting. I love the concept of, um, launch growth and maintenance. So you guys had several successful years of growing this amazing community, creating fantastic resources and just holding space for, um, you know, solo preneurs, female solo preneurs who really, um, you know, grow their businesses, kind of figure out how to navigate it all together, create lasting relationships and friendships. When did you guys decide two, you know, step away from, from, from what were you doing and what was that decision like?

Cristina Roman: We were actually on boxer yesterday and we were like, let's make sure we're on the same page. You may remember this, we were going over details. We're like, yeah, no, we both remember it exactly as it happened. So, um, so I'll kind of share my perspective and then Sarah can jump in. Obviously everything's happening concurrently. Um, so I had, I was living in Guatemala. I had landed there after backpacking through central America and then in 2000 and set the end of 2017 I decided I wanted to move back to the States and pursue a full time job. I just felt like I hadn't really given myself that opportunity and I really wanted to explore it. Spoiler alert, I don't ever want to do that again. So I'm future employer, don't listen to this episode. I'm sure a lot of people listening to the podcast probably relate to that. Um, but it was just a strong feeling that I really wanted to test it out. So I ended up long story short movie back to the U S and going to a corporate job and I had to take a step back from one woman shop because of that. But it happened to be at a very coincidental time. So sorry. You want to share your, your big that happened.

Sara Frandina: Yeah. So around the same time I got pregnant, um, and I thought, you know, this is the perfect time to go hard and get everything done in the next nine months. But at the same time it was my body very much telling me to slow down and take a step back. So it, those two things kind of happened concurrently and we both, um, you know, we both, again, this was at a time where we could look at it and say, all right, we're, we're gonna slow down in this, excuse me, maintenance mode. But that maintenance mode was kind of extending for quite awhile. So then, um, it was about February 28th, 29. Oh my goodness. What year are we in? Yeah. So it was about February, 2019 where we decided to actually sit down and say, all right, what is next? And I'll let Christina pick the story back up there.

Cristina Roman: Just pass the Baton. Um, so we had this long conversation and we actually w this is all virtual, right? Cause we've never lived in the same place. And so we were having this conversation. We had been on the phone for probably like an hour or an hour and a half and we were just kind of tossing around all of these ideas and at the very end we're about to wrap up. And I just said,

Cristina Roman: let me just sort this out there. What if we sold it?

Cristina Roman: And Sarah had the best reaction.

Sara Frandina: I think w you know, we were on video and I think it was just like that moment of, I feel like I had that thought before but I just squashed it cause it was like absolutely not. But the minute she said it, it was like this is absolutely the right thing to do right now. And at no other time, what do we have both locked in on that opportunity but it just, yeah, it was the only answer at that time

Cristina Roman: Sarah just, she was like, okay, okay. I feel really weird. I feel good. Okay. I re I really liked this and it was like this slow build and we both just had this moment where like that's what we want to do. And it was so, so we are both so sure about it and we never, I questioned it. I mean we had conversations about it but we never questioned it. And we had both been the people who, again, I put it in quotes but called the business our baby. And we're so much attached to it that the idea of selling it in the past had been like, absolutely not. No one can do it. Like we can. Um, I imagine a lot of other business owners listening probably have that feeling too where you're like, no one knows how to do it like me. Um, but it just was this moment that struck us that it was time to just let it go. And we keep saying pass the Baton, but really fast at the time.

Shannon Mattern: So, yeah, I mean, the concept of like selling my business, I don't think would ever have occurred to me like, and I've had other people on, on the show who have sold their blog when they're, when they were their blog. So Carrie Smith, Nicholson is, is one of those people. So if anybody's listening to this is considering selling their blog, like she talks about how I sold my blog when I was the brand behind my blog, you know? Um, so it's really fascinating to, to think about, you know, how, how that could work. But once you guys decided to sell [inaudible] then what? Cause I'd be like, okay, well I don't even know how to go about deciding how much to sell it for, how to like find the right people to sell it to. Like what are some of the like, logistical things that you guys had to really work through to determine, um, what that was going to look like.

Sara Frandina: So I think

Sara Frandina: to point back to our previous conversation here, Christina being the quick start, she is, I'm pretty sure by like 24 hours later she had three valuations for, from online calculators. Um, so she immediately went into info gathering mode and I think that's where we both went. Um, the first thing was we did gut check. So it was, um, you know, let's just sit with this for a little while and just make sure that we both still feel good about it and never, like Christina said, never at any point did we question it. Um, but from there it was really, you know, we didn't know anything about it either. So it's funny that you bring up Carrie because Carrie was also a one woman shop member and we both had relationships with her. Um, so we reached out to her and we actually had her do a consulting session with us. So we did learn from her kind of what we would need in place. Um, what kind of information a seller might or a potential buyer might need from us. Um, so that we knew where we actually needed to do our research and what numbers we needed to get and all of that kind of kind of put together the perspectives for the business. Um, and then Christina let you fill in, fill in the gaps there.

Cristina Roman: Yeah, there's definitely some online tools that you can use, but the caveat there is that they are all over the map in terms of value. Um, and I just wanted to say quickly to your point that selling the business would never occur to you. I think it's really interesting again, in this online world and we, we act like it's totally separate from the rest of the business world, which it is in some ways. But I remember taking an entrepreneurship class and exiting. So selling was always, always one of the things that was mentioned. And I think because as solar preneurs we become so attached to our businesses, we forget that often there's value to having it stand alone or even in Carrie's case where it's still part of her identity, it still has standalone value. So I guess to anyone listening, I would just encourage you to remember that that is a viable option and that you can create something outside of yourself that has longevity beyond you wanting to work on it.

Cristina Roman: Um, so in terms of the pricing, yeah, we just got a lot of different perspectives. But I would say that the single most helpful thing that we did, and it helps that we have two brains, was just individually say the price that we would be willing to let it go for. And there was a threshold where below a certain number, it just, one wasn't worth our time and two would feel like such a knock to our egos that it wouldn't have felt worse. So we both had to come up with those prices and we, I think we aligned for the most part with some adjustment about what number makes us feel good about this. Yeah. So, um, I should've said that when, when Christina came back with the valuations, it gave us a bit of a benchmark. But honestly what we ended up doing was just absolutely going with where our guts were telling us.

Sara Frandina: And like Christina said, knowing, knowing kind of the threshold of what wouldn't make sense was super helpful. And then we kind of set our, here's what we're willing to sell for, here's what we'd love to sell for. So having a few different benchmarks was really helpful. Can I add one more piece about pricing per se? You were saying a lot about pricing, but we also used to do this exercise, I don't know if we did it with you Shannon, but back in the day we had this exercise for pricing called high low. And so if we ever had a client that would come to us and was like, I have no idea how to price my product or my service, we would. We would say, okay, how about a dollar? And someone would be like, no, I will never sell it for a dollar. That's ridiculous.

Sara Frandina: It's like, okay, good. We know that it's going to be more than a dollar. What about $10,000 and then someone's like, no, that's, no, that's crazy. I would never sell it for 10,000 that's not the value. And we're like, okay, well that's our top threshold. And so you started these ridiculous extremes and then you whittle it down bit by bit until you find a number that someone is stretching but also comfortable saying out loud and that's where you settle your price. And I think that's kind of what we did with the selling of the business as well is we knew we weren't going to do a dollar, but we knew we were probably not going to get 100,000 sadly. Yes. It's funny because we used to apply that to, you know, a workbook or a service, but this was our business. So I think there was a lot more gravity to it. But at the same time we both looked at it and said, this is absolutely no different.

Shannon Mattern: Well, yeah, and, and it's, it's also, you know, about the value that it brings beyond, you know, down the road to whoever buys it. It's an asset that can, you know, generate revenue to, to the buyers of the business. And, and that's how we have to think about the services that we offer to our, you know, assets that generate value beyond just the, the transaction. And I don't, I don't know, we probably did do that high low exercise at some point, but I can imagine that like my high price was like nothing near where I ended up being like five years later because I think that you do, well, at least me, I don't know everybody, but like where I was, I didn't value what I had to offer and in a way that like now I can look back on it and see like, Oh my gosh, like I can't believe my prices were so low, but at the time I needed, um, pick that high price that felt so uncomfortable, which now I would, is not even my anywhere near my low, you know, do some work at that price and, and then really decide, okay, you know, I, I'll charge more next time.

Shannon Mattern: I'll try, you know, and work my way up into it. And so [inaudible] I just think, you know, everybody wants an easy answer on the, on the pricing, but there's no right or wrong or you know, there's nothing wrong with like starting out really high and being comfortable with that start. Like, it's, it is just very, um, it's very arbitrary. It comes right down to it.

Shannon Mattern: [inaudible]

Sara Frandina: I was going to say one of the challenges with, with a business like one woman shop, um, is it's there a lot of intangibility. So, um, a lot of what we were selling is exactly what you said, Shannon. It's the pet 10, the potential for what could be built based off the foundation that we created. Um, so that did give it that that meant that we didn't, you know, we had concrete things like analytics and traffic and stuff like that, but really a lot of it was, you know, what do we see as the potential and what it is, you know, what could somebody build with it?

Shannon Mattern: So I got an email in my inbox one day that you guys were looking for someone to buy one woman shop. And I was like, okay. And it was like so tempting to like fill that application out, but just, you know, because I knew what an amazing saying it was that you created. But of course I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. Like don't even like don't even go there cause that's not anywhere on your goals. Like you already know what you're doing, all the things. Um, but tell me about the process of, you know, deciding like how are, how are we going to go about finding a buyer for this? Obviously you sent an email to your community. Um, was there anything else that you consider doing or anything else that you did to, um, to find the perfect [inaudible]

Shannon Mattern: buyer? Yeah. Well, good for you for staying committed to your goals. We ended up with awesome, fantastic owner. So I think everyone kind of came out a winner on this one, but um, but I'm sure you would have been fantastic. Um, so it was a lot of trial in there on essay. We decided we set parameters of what was really important to us and one of the things that we knew it was a non negotiable was we wanted somebody who was going to really carry on the mission and really value what we had built. And that didn't mean that they were going to adhere to every single thing. Like we were comfortable with the branding going, but we really wanted the name to stay. And so we, we always, the analogy we always use is we didn't want someone who was going to take it to the junkyard of online websites and like break it up into pieces for parts.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Just buy it for the list or buy it for yeah. The traffic or, yeah, exactly. Buy for the SEO ranking or whatever.

Cristina Roman: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So there's a lot of online websites where you can list your website. And we weren't opposed to that because we knew we were always going to have conversations, but then the obvious people to go to where the people already in our community who already understood what the mission was all about, who were already solid businesses. So business owners themselves. And so that's what we decided to do. And that was a risk because we figured if we don't sell this, all of a sudden this giant list of people knows that we're thinking of selling it. Um, and it's, it's risky to put yourself out there like that, but we decided to run an auction and that did not work. And so we pivoted. Um, we had some side conversations going and lots of different things going on here, but the two people who ended up buying had both reached out to us separately and asked if anyone else was interested in buying it. Co purchasing. We made an email introduction and that's how the two of them started conversations to buy it together, which is freaking cool.

Shannon Mattern: I cannot wait to talk to them about that because they are going to be guests. I'm going to be talking to them very soon this up that their episodes going to be coming out right after this. So we can continue on, um, with that conversation. But did you intend to have two people take over one woman shop

Sara Frandina: when you sold it? It's so funny because you know, we've always joked that one woman shop is run by two people, which is just ironic. Um, I don't think either of us imagined that it would be bought by another partnership. Um, but when it happened, it seemed perfect. Um, and to Christina's point, like we had, we had different levels of outreach we had planned to do. So we both had kind of our list of, Hey, these are people we want to make aware that we are selling it, but we really knew that we would ideally have it come from our community. We really wanted people that already were in tune with the mission and really wanted to carry it forward. Um, so we were willing to then go further after that if we needed to. But when this, when this transpired, it was perfect. Um, but the fact that it was sold to a partnership just seemed like it was actually therapeutic.

Shannon Mattern: Very cool. Very cool. I, I'm, I'm really excited to, um, you know, pick up the story, um, you know, next week with them and, and talk more about their decision to purchase and you know, their decision to kind of carry on that mission. Um, but I want to, I guess wrap this up because I would, I wish we had like a whole nother hour to talk, but, um, I want to wrap this up just by each of you to share, you know, what are you doing now? What do you have, um, what are your plans for the future of your business? How can people connect with you? Um, online? And I know that that's, I'm asking like seven questions in one. So if you guys want to start off, I asked this question, um, of every person on the podcast and I would love to know, no, what about both of you in terms of whatever you want to share it about. But I always ask everybody that comes on the show, what beliefs about themselves, about themselves that they have to change to get where they are today. And so I would love to wrap this up with each of you sharing that belief and then just telling us a little bit more about like what you're doing and you know, how we can connect with you. So [inaudible] who wants to [inaudible]

Cristina Roman: sorry, I'm on it. I love the belief question. It's amazing. As a life coach I'm like, yes. Yeah. Um, so I am full time life coach@peakcoachingpeoplecanfindmeatpeakcoaching.co that's PIQ you eat. And I work with clients who are distracted, rushed and overwhelmed in order to bring more sanity into their lives, um, and have more peace and fulfillment. My people can download my deep work guide. So it's how to get into a deep work state in 15 minutes. If you go to just P coaching.co you can grab it right there and then boom. Did I answer everything so far?

Shannon Mattern: The one belief about yourself that you had to change to get to where you are today? Just one.

Cristina Roman: Um, well a bunch, but I'll answer one. The single biggest belief that I had to shift was I don't follow through on things.

Shannon Mattern: Mm.

Cristina Roman: Just changed my life to be able to change that belief.

Shannon Mattern: That's fascinating because from the outside looking in, that would not, that's definitely not something I ever would have thought about you.

Cristina Roman: I get really excited and I get really motivated and I take a lot of action. So if anyone listening is like that where you're like, no, no, I have no problem starting. But I struggle with the follow through. That's also where I really struggled with sustaining it. I'm not much of a, I have historically not been much of a sustainer and that's, that's how I to change the belief system of truly following through and not just starting.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. That's amazing. So I will link up peak coaching in the show notes and the deep work intensive and all the things I'm, Christina also has a podcast that you all need to listen to and check out. It's amazing. Um, Sarah, what are you up to these days?

Sara Frandina: Yeah, so I am a certified conversion copywriter and you can find me, find me over at Sarah, Fran, dina.com. Um, and I work mostly with actually memberships and people who have monthly recurring revenue of some sort to really hone in on their messaging and fill the gaps in their communication so that they can not only bring new people into their, into their communities, but keep them there. Um, so the single greatest belief that I've had to change, um, that, you know, this is going to cause hours of journaling here, but, um, the thing that came up first for me, and this is honestly still what I I'm working on today, is that it is absolutely okay to show up as you are. Um, I think we all get caught up looking at other people's papers and trying to keep up with a certain race that, that isn't our own and being able to accept that it's okay to show up exactly how I am and who I work with, who I am, um, has really, I just made me feel better about certain decisions I've been able to make with my business.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. I think that that's just one of the, I could, I can relate to both of you when it comes to this, when we've changes, but yeah, just being able to, to decide like when, when is enough enough, right. Like that's kind of my biggest like thing that I'm contemplating right now. It's like, for, for what purpose? You know, am I continuing to pursue this and do I like the reasons and do they, are they good enough for me? You know, and I think that that's, that's really, that's a really good one. I'm like, gosh, why don't we have two more hours to talk, do a whole? Yes, we could absolutely. Um, tell our listeners, Sarah, more, where we can connect with you and learn more about, um, your copywriting and all the things.

Sara Frandina: Oh yeah. So, um, my website is the best place to learn about my work and to jump on my email list. Otherwise, I'm pretty sparse on social media, but I do exist on Instagram @Sarafrandina.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for being here. And you know, talking about the journey to building, um, one woman shop. And you know, I think just the biggest takeaway I have from your story is that like this can be an evolution, right? You don't have to be locked in to the one thing that you decided to do and there's value in all of it. And if you have created something that you're, that, that, that the season in your life is such that it's not serving you anymore, you don't have to just put it out to pasture and, you know, just ignore it. It has, it could have value beyond you. So consider exploring how your hard work could enable to someone else to like pick up the Baton. And you know, almost just like how you guys have that, you know, each of you has the strength that the other one doesn't have.

Shannon Mattern: Like maybe the person who you pass that on to doesn't have the strength of starting like Christina does, but has the strength of the longevity like, like Sarah does. And you really could take that and take the thing that you created, um, and really grow it into its next evolution. So I just think I love the story of passing the Baton of, of one moment woman shop. And I just thank you so much for being here to share it. Thank you so much for having us. Thank you. This was amazing.

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

Bio:

Sara Frandina is a conversion copywriter with a voracious appetite for learning, all of the books, and popcorn. Her superpower is translating the thoughts and stories of others into meaningful insights that fuel empathy-based marketing + communication for her clients. When she's not busy reading between the lines of qualitative customer research, you can find Sara hanging out with her toddler, walking her pup, or warming up her coffee. Again.

Learn more about Sara — and how to get to copy that converts — at www.SaraFrandina.com.

Ready to take your projects from half-finished to done? Cristina Roman is a Washington, DC-based Certified Life Coach who helps distracted, rushed, overwhelmed small business owners free up their time and energy, so that they can finally refocus on that project that they've put on the back burner. She half-jokes that she’s the Cross Legged Coach; her goal is always to keep things casual but wildly impactful for her clients. To connect with Cristina and grab the guide for how to get into a deep work state in 15 minutes, head here.

Connect with Sara + Cristina:

Websites: sarafrandina.com + piquecoaching.co

Instagram: @sarafrandina + @cmroman

One Response

  1. Thank you so much for hosting us on the podcast, Shannon! Could have chatted with you for hours 🙂

    And thank you so much for this: “…our paths would cross from time to time in ways that they probably didn’t realize were life-changing for me because they were just doing what was natural to them – creating community and connection and a place for solopreneurs to get support.” It means the world!

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