So everything that was hard about it, it was so worth it to actually be in a room with my clients and see how my work was changing them.
– Angela Lauria
Darla LeDoux: Welcome everybody to our guest expert call with the fabulous Dr. Angela Lauria. And Angela has an amazing company that she started in a castle.
Angela Lauria: Which is where I am right now.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah, it’s called the Author Castle. But she’s since actually purchased a building and she’s creating a space where her authors and coaches can come lead workshops and retreats and all of that. So it’s really quite amazing. And, Angela, I want to, we’re recording this and while I have you, I want to ask you a little bit about your business and your business model and your growth journey. Because, guys, Angela works the same business model that you do, and she has, is your business like 10 million right now?
Angela Lauria: Yeah, so we just had a million, we just will do 1.2 I think in June. So on track to hit 20 million this year. Last year we did 9.6. So I started in 2013 and in 2013 I made $60,000. This is the big, the hard way.
Darla LeDoux: I mean, a lot of people are like, “Oh yeah, I can make $60,000 as a coach.” And that’s just been the beginning. So I do want to share a little bit just with your bio Angela and then we’ll dive into some questions. So everyone listening, if you can just- I’m going to make sure everyone’s muted and then we’ll open it up for questions- and Angela let me know if you want to take questions or you guys, you can pop them in the chat as well.
Dr. Angela Lauria is the founder of The Author Incubator, creator of The Difference Process for writing a book that matters. In 2018, The Author Incubator was ranked number 275 on the INC. 500 fastest growing companies and number 87 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s entrepreneur 360.
Dr. Angela won the coach mentor of the year award and her program, The Author’s Way, was named coaching program of the year by the Stevie Awards. Dr. Angela was also named by Ernst and Young as a finalist for entrepreneur of the year and Entrepreneur Magazine named her one of the top 10 most inspiring entrepreneurs because of her compelling journey.
She recently launched a documentary film that she was featured in. I had the pleasure of being at the opening. Angela has several books, including “Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client,” which I think all of you guys might want to check out. And one of the things that’s really amazing is she works with, you know, hundreds of authors each year and has a 98% completion rate, maybe more, of people who join her program actually complete their book. So Angela, I would love to hear just a little bit, we’ll dive into your business, but, like, why you love books and why you love coaching.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. There are two separate answers that came together like peanut butter and jelly. My very first job I was a senior in college and it was as the researcher for this book, Night Mover: How Aldrich Ames Sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million. My career started in espionage and political books. My dream in college was to be an investigative reporter and so I started working for some very famous authors, New York Times bestselling author David Wise. I started working for all these investigative reporters in DC that were doing, like, bigger books. So they were journalists, they were doing bigger books and I got referred by one of my professors and I’ve never been without work on books. So my first job was spring break of senior year and I’ve just gone from like one book to the next and I’m 46. So I’ve gone from one book to the next for the last 25 years and loved working on these investigative, political books, cause that’s what I thought I was going to do for a career, and did do it for awhile.
And meanwhile I had a really big personal problem, which was that I had a lifelong weight battle. So I was about a hundred pounds overweight starting in college. And in 1992 I dialed 1-800-92Jenny to Jenny Craig and lost a hundred pounds on Jenny Craig. And then I gained it back. And then I did Weight Watchers, and lost a hundred pounds, and gained it back. And then I did Nutrisystem, and I lost a hundred pounds, and gained it back. And it consumed most of my non-work life, trying to figure out how to lose weight.
And I found a book called A Course In Miracles. There’s that, and this was the actual book. So I would leave work and I would go to the bookstore and I would try and find the answer to my problems. And this was the answer to my problems. I did A Course In Miracles three years in a row, every single-you guys actually know it, so that’s cool.
And I thought that I had a personal life and a business life. My business life was helping people write books. And then my personal life was this whole spiritual journey. And I found coaching and became a very active student in A Course In Miracles, went to a lot of meetup groups, and then people from my Course In Miracles life coaching world started asking me for book advice. And of course I knew how to write books, cause I did that with work, but I didn’t know you can actually do, like, spiritual things from your personal life in your business life. This was like crazy to me.
And in 2013, I actually, I’m 20, I was turning 40 and I had a little thing and on my 39th birthday I decided, which was in 2012. I decided I was going to make a hard shift and stop doing-not that I didn’t love the books I did, but I was doing political books, technology books, -and I just made a new year’s resolution that I was going to switch over and only work on books that I felt were, like, aligned with the things that I believed in the world.
And so I started working on purely spiritual life coaching, personal development, law of attraction related books when I started my business in February of 2013. So I was still working in publishing, but before that I was a freelancer. I was charging, like, I started at $10 an hour and I worked my way up to $50 an hour freelancing as a journalist, a reporter, a ghost writer and editor, and worked on all these books, and then actually started my business only serving people like you guys, heart-centered, miracle workers.
Darla LeDoux: That’s amazing. I read something recently that you were also like, had a side gig doing internet marketing.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. So what would happen is I worked on these books and actually, even for David Wise my first author, so this was 1994 and I have this passion for a band called Crowded House- you guys might know them. “Hey now, hey now…” So I spent four years on the road touring with the band as a groupie and I did all the fan club website pages, so I just knew how to do website pages. So all the authors that I would work with would hire me to do a website page for them, just as, like, an extra thing that I did, it, like sort of, was a differentiator.
And then the publishing companies started hiring me to do book marketing for them because they would just hear through the author. So it was all, like, word of mouth. And my entire Internet marketing training comes from being a fan girl for Crowded House. So strange.
Darla LeDoux: So you had all this kind of perspective on the industry coming into it. Both from your own journey and as a client of life coaching and then, you know, understanding books and online marketing and brought those together.
Angela Lauria: Well, and I want to say one thing about that. I got a book which is also right over there, I’m called “Finding Your Own North Star,” on my 39th birthday-I got it, by Martha Beck, and she had this section that was like write what you love to do that you lose track of time doing. And I was, like, reading self help books, like, playing around on the Internet and talking about philosophy and the meaning of life and spirituality. And I was like, like there’s a career in that Martha Beck, that’s dumb.
Who’s going to make money doing that? Reading self help books and talking about the meaning of life. There is no money to be made there. So I kept looking for like what my thing should be. I thought I should be a personal injury attorney. I felt like they would make money.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah, that makes total sense. Total sense.
Angela Lauria: So ridiculous.
Darla LeDoux: I spent a good year interviewing people about what they did for work because I was working as an engineer and I was trained as a coach in my company and I loved it. But I again, I was like, well you can’t, you’re an engineer, you can’t go be a life coach.
So I interviewed all these people about like legitimate careers I could do that were sort of like coaching. I said, you’re doing it.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, that was what I spent a year figuring out. I’m like, there has to be a real career. I have to get a real job.
Darla LeDoux: Yes, yes.
Angela Lauria: I’m still working on the real job, but I live in a castle, so that’s fine.
Darla LeDoux: So how did you come to bring live retreats and experiences into your work? Because that’s, you know, feels like it could be totally different, but it really is the core of the way you work. Like we have a similar philosophy.
Angela Lauria: It totally is. And I should say I’m an introvert and I have a fear of public speaking. I know I’m outgoing, but I am an outgoing introvert. What I really want to do is sit alone near a fireplace, reading a book.
So I never had that Tony Robbins, I want to be on a big stage. Like I never had, this was not a dream. And I hired a coach, I was doing about $20,000 a month, and I hired a coach to- my goal was to get to $40,000 a month. And the way he told me to do it is he had this concept called “big money from small events.” It’s a guy named Kevin Nations. He doesn’t teach anything on how to do the event, but when you have the event, what he taught was how to upsell people at the event to a bigger package. And so I saw events as a means to an end. Like, I just hire this guy and I paid him a lot of money, and he said that I had to do events. So I did them.
And I really want to share this because I think a lot of people feel like they have to have everything figured out. So this was my very first event, but I was on a stool in front of my bathroom, in my living room, at my house, in a dress from modcloth. I was very excited about it, which maybe didn’t look that good on camera. And I had an easel and this was my first event.
There were eight people in the room and they came to my house and I didn’t know I was doing retreats. Kevin just told me I had to invite people to my house and make them an offer. Well, I invited people to my house and made them an offer, and-now at our last event, which was two weeks ago, I had an $829,000 day. So at that event that you saw a picture of me, that was- I made my very first sale that day. I sold to one of those eight people and I think it was $15,000. And then now, and that was 20- what was the date on that- that would have been to January of 2015 and then I just did $829k two weeks ago. I look significantly better at my events now.
Darla LeDoux: So what was it like? Like, did you fall in love with doing that work in person or was it like, oh my God, I survived it and someone paid me.
Angela Lauria: It was really scary for me to do. I liked that it was at my house because I felt comfortable at my house. I didn’t, I, like, hotels, and the logistics, and the contracts, and I don’t have the Bali Yoga, like we’re going to go do yoga and Bali fantasy. So this felt very manageable. And the thing that happened at that very first event- and by the way, it was catered by me. I went to Costco and I purchased sandwiches, Doritos and Snapple. Those are the available food items for my first event. We also do that better now.
So I did everything wrong. But the thing that happened is people came to my house, gave me hugs, and I watched their lives transformed. So everything that was hard about it, it was so worth it to actually be in a room with my clients and see how my work was changing them. So now I love it. Like, now I love it. But, like, that day it was like, are you kidding me? This is the hardest thing in the world. And now I’m like, there’s just nothing more transformative than being in a room with your clients. Incredible. And I love teaching on Zoom. I see my clients every weekend. It’s amazing. But having them, like in my home, there’ll be, I guess next month we start the academy and, like, seeing those Ahas happen- cause you don’t see someone watching your videos or watching the recording of this or listening to it. But in person, I watch people, like, their lives changing in front of me, which is so cool.
Darla LeDoux: So you went from- you bought the castle so you could host in your home. And also because it’s cool. Like your website is really cool because you’ve got all these pictures of the castle and it feels like you’re going on an experience, but now you’re moving people away from the castle.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. So…
Darla LeDoux: So growth, but is there also a piece of like distant, like not bringing people to your home anymore or…?
Angela Lauria: Not so much, so we started at my house, which I had a very nice house but I didn’t have an ideal place to do events. I was sitting next to the bathroom door and so I was just trying to sell my house and buy a slightly nicer house that would have a better side entrance. Like I wanted a basement that had an entrance that people could come straight in.
So my basement is the ballroom at the castle. But I was just trying to find a house that had a good event space. And in the process I accidentally found the castle, which was like so clearly made for us. Like it’s the most amazing place. And we went from doing one event a quarter to one event a month, to two events a month to now three events a month. And it started off as like me, and my husband, and an assistant. And then there ended up being like 15 people working at the castle and these big events. And then- that funny thing happened, but the county did not like it so much. So one day at one of my events, a sheriff showed up and said, could y’all please leave? So it turns out you may want to think about the legality of what you’re doing. I maybe didn’t.
So the company sort of outgrew the home. I haven’t actually told that story before, but that’s the truth of what happened. My husband answered the door. There was a big yellow notice posted on our door.
Darla LeDoux: What did you do? We talk about-I just did a series on retreat fails and like, well, what’d you do? Did you find a local place to finish the retreat?
Angela Lauria: No, we finished there. The consequence was $150 fine. Which is really interesting because I thought it was the end of the world that night. I’m like, what are we going to do? We’re going to pick people up. Do we find a hotel tonight? Do we, like it felt like the end of the world. I was like, I quit. I’m fired. Everyone’s going to post on Facebook. I’m going to have to move to Vietnam. Like it was the end of the world. And then I kept reading and it was like, “if you continue this event, you will be fine. $150.” And there was like, “oh, okay.”
Darla LeDoux: “ I think I can handle that.”
Angela Lauria: Right, it was very funny because it looks very scary. So that was in March of last year and we’re recording this in April. So that was 13 months ago. By the end of the month I had found a new space. We moved in six months later. We still haven’t really moved all of our events over. So we’ve moved almost all. We have one more event left to move over.
Darla LeDoux: You just add the $150 to your budget now?
Angela Lauria: Yup. That’s the answer. So I gave them the lease. I’m like, we’re building up the space and please send me your fines. But it was so much- like that sounds like nothing as I’m saying it now. It sounds really boring. It, let me tell you, it’s about $20,000 worth of coaching. Like I was ready to quit. Like who am I? I’m a fraud. I’m an imposter. Like, I can’t have people over, no one’s going to ever buy from me. How can I be teaching people? And I’m like, literally all the thoughts. My brain will just run wild if left on its own. It needs a lot of parental supervision.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. I think that’s so, so important for people to get is whatever level of success, like we imagine that then the ego goes away or the triggers go away and somehow it’s smooth sailing.
Angela Lauria: Nope. Everything feels exactly to me like it did when I was first starting. So we’ll do $1.2 million this month and I remember having a $27,000 a month and thinking like, why isn’t this enough and how come I still don’t feel like I have enough money? It still feels that was. We clearly do, we have 35 employees. We now have two buildings that we’re managing. Like it’s $1.2 million dollars, you feel like that would solve all your problems. I think- we save, we’re investing, but it’s not like I come home and roll around naked in cash or something.
Everything feels like a path uncharted, sometimes. I had somebody, one of my clients, Kathy Parks did a photo shoot that way. She got like $20,000 in cash out and did-she’s a money coach- then she did like photos rolling.
Darla LeDoux: That’s awesome.
Angela Lauria: But yeah, it’s like I think you’re thinking there’s someday when things like feel easy and don’t know. I haven’t found that. Everything feels like the stakes are higher. I know I’m affecting a lot more people’s lives. It’s super exciting how many books that we produce. It gets a lot more fun. I fly private now, like, it’s super fun, but it actually just feels harder.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. “Well when you said, I know we’re affecting a lot more people’s lives,” there’s this sense of, “Oh, I’m affecting a lot more people’s lives,” which, like you said, a mistake like that- like there are mistakes, but that felt so scary. Even though you have this established business and you’ve got lots of clients and all, you’re affecting a lot of people’s lives.
Angela Lauria: The stakes just get bigger. Like I think whatever, because you’re all including Darla and me, you’re all going through something now that feels hard and whatever that thing is, if you have the thought on the other side, things are easy, you’re going to get to keep working on this problem and the universe has no judgment about that. But if the thought that you have about this hard thing is, I’m so curious about what the next hard thing will be, then you get to really quickly solve this hard thing and get the next one.
Once I realized that, like 50% of all emotions are going to be negative anyway, I don’t have to wait for some day when I’m going to be happy. Because it’s always going to be just like a different kind of good and bad.
Darla LeDoux: I love that idea of just getting curious about what the next hard thing will be. And they go, oh, can’t wait to see what they told me next.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. Yup.
Darla LeDoux: Otherwise you just stay in the same thing. That’s great.
Angela Lauria: Right, then you just get this lesson, this chapter, which is fine. You can keep getting this lesson different ways. Like, I literally spent- the first time I lost weight it was 1992, the last time I did it was like 2011-2012 right around my 40th birthday. So that was 20 years I wanted to work on that problem. Like, I’m just like gimme other problems. Like that was a good one. But like give me something else. I want another way. Let me something else to work on.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing. So Angela, can you share a little bit, because I personally have been reflecting a lot on your business model and the elegance of it. I love the word elegance. Like, what’s the elegant solution? And so you have a model where you have front end retreats and backend retreats, which I also teach, and you do it in a way that they’re streamlined. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like what you’re, what your offerings are and what your schedule looks like?
Angela Lauria: Ugh, it’s so good and it is totally elegant. It’s my favorite thing about my business. So I have a rolling admissions model. What that means is if you want to write a book, we start now, so there’s no start date. We always start now. Now is when we start.
So we’re always getting applications. I run a free masterclass that’s just on EverWebinar. We get about 10,000 people through that. So we get about 10,000 leads a month of people who watch our webinar. From those 10,000 people who watched the webinar, about 2000 people apply to work with us. We only take 25 people a month. So it’s roughly one a day- that’s kind of our rule. So we looked through all the applications we got every day and we decide who we’re going to grant interviews to based on who fits our criteria. And by the end of the month, we’ve accepted 25 to maybe 30 people, somewhere between 20 and 30 but on average 25 people. So it’s super easy. We just have to make a sale a day out of a huge pile that were just, we call it cherry picking.
So we just pick the best person, we call them, we’re like “we think you might be the one.” And then and we do a lot of dousing. We do a lot of card reading, so we actually get the applications and we have a whole like meditation that we’ve created. We meditate over them, then we douse, one will come to the surface. Then we say a little prayer- we call it “the love sales method,” but it’s totally woo woo.
And then when we call them, we’re like, we looked at 142 applications and yours is the one that spirit told us to reach out to. And if they’re like, you’re not our person, we’re like, cool. Just checking, merry meet, merry part, merry meet again. And we make no bones about the fact that we are all witches. Amazing, cause people get on the call with us and they’re like, you’re weird.
And we’re like, you are so right. Bye.
So we know our people and they know us and it’s like super magical.
Darla LeDoux: We have a sales challenge going on right now so I think people are maybe appreciating that perspective. Like, oh you mean I can say no?
Angela Lauria: We say no so much more. In fact, I just paid a- I’m going to read this to you-I just paid a $500 bonus. So we only pay a bonus to our salespeople when they say no, so they get a flat rate salary about a $100k, and then if they say no to somebody who tried to work with us who wasn’t a match, I like surprise bonus them. And we just had a really good one today where it was somebody who you would think we would have wanted them. Like a lot of you guys think you want clients, but when I can tell that somebody’s just going to be a pain in the ass, I give my sales people a bonus for saying no because I want them to say no more than yes.
So this person, this applicant was not a good fit for our program. She’s not willing to work with the process and wants to change it to fit her needs. She’s a doctor of Oriental medicine with a successful business and she wants to include information on awakening and her business. After the call I got requested to see what was included in our fee, although she knew I would be covering it in our interview. I sent her the program description and our terms and in advance. Then she requested to see the entire terms and conditions, which I also sent her. Then on our Zoom call, her office computer wouldn’t allow voice or video, so I had to call her by telephone. She wanted to go ahead with her only being able to listen through the telephone, and I asked her questions but she wouldn’t answer our questions.
Then she wanted to schedule the interview to go on Zoom. She asked for a reschedule date. She kept insisting she wanted to work with us, but just had more questions. In the end I decided, I felt like we weren’t a good fit for her and told her she could not be accepted into the program.
Like that woman was going to be a pain in the ass the whole time. And even though she’s probably an amazing doctor of Oriental medicine, like if she was difficult with our sales person, she was going to be so much harder with me and all of our, like, I was like here’s $500 thank you for saying no. So that’s our weird bonus system is when you say no to somebody who’s going to be a pain in the ass, I will give you a bonus.
Darla LeDoux: So counterintuitive and I love it and it feels like Angela, you do a lot of things that are counter-intuitive. So I think it’s interesting because I know you get a lot of support and a lot of coaching and you’ve invested a lot in mentors. And then there’s a place where it feels to me like you really, your intuition guides and a lot of times it might be different than what everyone else is doing.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. Like one of our big philosophies in the company is the customer’s always wrong. I always thought the customer’s always right is the weirdest concept. I’m like, why would they hire us? They should not give us $15,000 if they’re always right, that would be stealing people’s money. So my staff has to learn how to think completely opposite, but I’m like, wait a minute. If they’re always right, then they know how to do a book and then we’re just stealing their money. So they have to be always wrong.
Darla LeDoux: Well, right in that, is there a place of empowering your team to be right and you’re, because they’re not?
Angela Lauria: Well kind of, because otherwise we’re a services company and then people are telling us how to do a book, which they can’t be right about because why would you pay us $15,000, it wouldn’t make any sense. So then we’re going to do a bad job for them but make them happy in the short term and not in the long term. So we do a lot of training with our staff to make sure they know they’re experts.
But I want to go back to business model cause it’s super cool. So now we have 25 kickass clients that came in any time during the month. But what we sell them is a nine week program, at the end of the nine weeks is a retreat. But here’s the trick- and it’s so simple you guys, if you can get this it will change your lives.
Some people are in the program for nine weeks, some are in it for 10, some are in it for 11, and some are in it for 12. If they came the first week of the month, if they came on the first, they’re in the program for 12 weeks, but we tell them it’s a nine week program. So they just got a bonus four weeks. And if they come on the last day of the month, let’s say it’s the 30th, they’re in the program for nine weeks. But everyone starts tomorrow. That’s it. So simple. So if you sign up on the first you’re in the program for 12 weeks, if you sign up on the 30th you’re in the program for nine weeks. Nobody does the math. They don’t read at all.
Darla LeDoux: Because they go do the program and then the retreat is whenever the retreat is.
Angela Lauria: They know the retreat dates. So I don’t know, I guess they think it’s nine weeks, in the middle there’s a retreat, no one cares. They just know the retreat date and it’s a nine week program and everybody gets at least nine weeks and we never explained this to them.
The day they start they get access to all of our videos and then there’s a weekly call and everybody’s at a different place in the program. Then they get a weekly call I do with everyone. So it’s Tuesdays at 4:00 PM, I do a call no matter where you are. Some people are finishing tomorrow, some people started yesterday. Everyone’s on the same call. So my obligation is one call, which is the two hour call, but I do one call a week.
That’s my whole job, one call a week. Everything else my team handles. I really liked doing the calls. I can probably give them up at some point, but I don’t want to, it’s my favorite part of the week.
Darla LeDoux: Probably also your face on those calls, probably it makes a difference in there connection to your company…
Angela Lauria: And in the conversion. Cause that’s why they’re excited to come to the live event, because they get to meet me. And what they all tell me is, like, I’m the soundtrack in their head because they’ve been watching all my videos.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So is the original nine week program to write their book or is the nine weeks to learn the system?
Angela Lauria: At the end they write their book. So this is the program- so design your book, prepare to write, write your chapters, complete your manuscript, submit for editing, plan your book launch, then you come to the retreat. The retreat happens here, and then we unlock, publish your book, sell, love sales method, like all these bonuses happen after the retreat.
So in the nine weeks they do these six modules, design your book, prepare to write, write your chapters, complete your manuscript, submit for editing and plan your book launch. Then they actually come to the retreat, and here is the most amazing thing about our retreats, if you do not submit your manuscript, this is why it’s a 98.76% completion rate, and this is why it’s so high. What we have them do when they sign up is book their travel to come to DC for the retreat, but they are not allowed in the door unless they submitted their manuscript two days before the retreat.
So retreat starts Wednesday. By Monday at 11:59 PM in any time zone in the world, they have to submit their manuscript. Tuesday morning we get to work and we make sure they’ve submitted their manuscript and if somebody hasn’t submitted, even if they’re on a plane, we will not let them in the door. So pretty much everyone finishes and it’s straight law of attraction, right? Because what happens is as soon as you sign up, you buy the plane ticket and we have a concierge, like a travel concierge who’s just making sure, send me your reservations, make sure everything’s set up. I’m going to call the hotel and order a blender for your room to make smoothies. And we make it seem like it’s all about the retreat and making sure they’re having an amazing time at the retreat. But it’s straight law of attraction, cause they can’t come unless they finish their manuscript. So you have to finish your manuscript, you have a flight, there’s a blender waiting for you and green smoothies. And I have somebody on my team who’s run to get kale and strawberries for you.
So they have to finish and most of our clients write their books in the three days before the deadline. They do all the work from the nine weeks in the three days before the deadline. Almost everybody, they all think they’re going to fail, but they do not want to walk away from the $500 they spent on their plane ticket. Even though the program is $15,000. They’ll walk away from the $15,000 before they’ll walk away from that plane ticket. It’s all psychology.
Darla LeDoux: Because they’re visualizing themselves getting on the plane…
Angela Lauria: And they’re visualizing themselves in the castle. They want to tell you, they’ve already told people they’re going to a castle. That’s why what we’ve done with the academy will blow your mind. It’s like, we’ve built Hogwarts in the middle of Georgetown. It’s insane. For my person, Jennifer, who’s local, feel free to stop by. It’s at 30th and M in Georgetown and is filled with crystals. It’s one of the largest collections of giant oversized, geodes on the east coast. So we have over $1 million worth of crystals. It’s the most magical place on earth, like tons of art everywhere.
I know it’s all about social media. They want a picture at The Author Training Academy, they want to come to Hogwarts. And so we want them to be able to picture themselves standing next to at 10 foot geode.
Darla LeDoux: So go on, there’s a difference between, you know, Angela, you said, “I don’t have the, like, go do yoga in Bali vision.” And you know, a lot of times I’m talking people out of that vision, at least to start until you have a following and a list, and because it’s a whole different model.
What I love about what you’ve done is they just keep coming to the same and there’s a familiarity. There’s a branding to that. Like you’re not gonna invest in, you know, a collection of crystals that you have to take with you to all the different places.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. I got this from 30 Rock. I had a roommate when I was starting my business. Her name is Shauna Thomas and she was the White House Bureau Chief for NBC during the Obama administration and she’d come home from flying on Air Force One and would talk about 30 Rock, like it was, I don’t know, Mecca or something. They’re like, “yeah, you gotta go to 30 Rock or back in 30 Rock.” They’re saying this. And like there was this whole thing of the White House and Air Force One, which was just this sense of place, and then this 30 Rock thing.
And she was just like, I learned so much about how sense of place creates tribe. She was in this 30 Rock tribe of NBC reporters and she was in this White House tribe of White House reporters and people who had flown Air Force One and Air Force One had its own M&Ms. So our house had all these little packets of Air Force One M&Ms and we had like 30 Rock t-shirts and I was like, I need a place where my authors will feel like this is a safe space for them. This is their version of 30 Rock. And it’s your house. Like, it could just be your, like for me, it was my living room for the first million dollars. I didn’t get to the castle until, I think we did $3 million our first year in the castle. 2016 we did $3 million. But in 2015 we did a million. And that was all in my like regular four-bedroom, like standard house in a not super nice neighborhood.
Darla LeDoux: So these are retreats where people come with their manuscript, talk about the intention for them of that retreat.
Angela Lauria: So they’ve written their manuscript. And what we want them to do is in three days they’re going to create a publishing plan and a book marketing plan. So we’ve got three days, your editors are going to be editing your manuscript in these three days. So while the editors are editing your manuscript, we’re going to do your marketing plan together and your publishing plan together. And at the end of the three days, your editor will show up with your edited manuscript and you’ll get some time to get some feedback from them.
Darla LeDoux: I teach, you know, you map out the rooms in your castle, you have a castle, but in the rooms in your castle, like, the book writing is just one room.
Angela Lauria: It’s one room.
Darla LeDoux: And then there’s the marketing, the publishing and the, you know, developing their offers and all of that.
Angela Lauria: Right. So one of the things we tell them from day one, like even before they are a client, is you can’t make a difference with a book if it sits behind an unclipped link on Amazon. Your book has to be in people’s hands and hearts to change their lives. So even if I got Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammad together, they read your book and said, it’s the best book in the world. If nobody else reads it, it can’t make a difference. And so I get their buy in on that. So I’m like, one piece of this is there has to be a book, cause it can’t make a difference if there’s no book. The next piece of it is we have to get it into people’s hands and hearts.
And that means we have to publish it and we have to promote it.
Darla LeDoux: It feels a little bit like the nine weeks to write the book is like in alignment with that idea of “I can spend a long time on this problem of getting my book written or I can get through it quickly to get to the next challenge.”
Angela Lauria: Totally. Yup. So the first piece of it is writing the book, but then I’m like, you have to not touch it for awhile and I’m going to make it easy for you to not touch it cause we’re going to do the other two legs of the stool. We need to know how we’re gonna publish it and how we’re gonna promote it. So we do, we do visualization exercises. We do like fun, like little contests. I teach a bunch about marketing, we do some fun publishing stuff. We go out to an amazing dinner, there’s a whole photo op opportunity. We have lunches together. Like, there’s a lot of fun stuff that we do. We do the secret handshake thing that’s like super fun and there’s like all these fun things. They get to be at a castle and we do a walk down to the river cause I’m right on the Potomac river. So we have a path. We do that. We talk about how they can go with the river. They can chart their own course. Do they want to be in a boat or do they just want to float down the river? Like great.
And then at the end I’m giving them a choice. And the choice is, I say there’s three things you can choose. You can choose to just have written your book and you can be proud of that accomplishment. We use this metaphor of how people spend $15,000 to go golfing at St. Andrews in Scotland. I mean, like, people spend $15,000 to go golfing or skiing in Vale. You can be proud of this and you can have this book and just throw it up on Amazon. We’ve already done that piece with them. So you don’t have to do anything else to publish it. You don’t have to do anything else to promote it. This is a great use of $15,000, every single day people spend $15,000 on a cruise. This is better than a cruise like so option one is you’re done. This was enough and we’re going to be proud and we’re going to celebrate that.
Darla LeDoux: And I love that you address that on the investment they’ve made and what they’ve done.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, it’s great. People spend $15,000 and lots of things that are less valuable than having a book on Amazon that nobody reads. Give it to your granddaughter. Be proud of it. That’s cool.
Option number two is you now have your publishing plan and your marketing plan. We just created it together at this retreat and they’ve become best friends with everyone in the room. You’ve got your publishing plan, you’ve got your marketing plan. Go do it on your own. I give them a timeline, how many hours they should spend on each thing. I give them a budget, how much it’s going to cost them. I tell them who they’re going to need to hire. They may have those people on staff already. So option number two is I got the plan, I’m going to go do it on my own.
And then option number three is you can work with us for the next year and we’ll just do all of this for you. So the whole plan, I have them build on the retreat. One option is pay us lots of money and we’ll do it for you.
So my front end is $15k that includes the retreat and getting their book done. My back end is $50k, it’s 14 months and we do everything. We do their book, we do all the editing, we do all the design, we do the Ebook, we act as their agent, we do translations, we get it in multiple countries, we get it in bookstores. We do all of their marketing, we do book launches, we set up their free book funnel. We provide all their social media graphics, all their emails, right? Like we literally do all of their book marketing and all of their publishing and they figure it out. It’s going to cost him 50k on their own or 50k with us. But if they spend 50k with us, we’ll do it right?
And so the real, only option is you either do nothing with your book and be happy you wrote it or just invest with us. And that’s the decision they make. So we have about a 63% conversion rate of people who come to the front end and then you’re in the back end. Our average lifetime value, which we manage all of our spend too, because one of your next questions should be how the hell do you get 10,000 people to take your webinar every month? Take your masterclass every month? And the answer is we know our lifetime value is $32,500 per client because we know when our all of our conversion numbers are. So I’m very happy to spend $3,200 to get a client. And because I’m willing to spend $3,200 to get a client, I’ve got a pretty big advertising budget. If you do 3,200 times 30,000 it’ll give you, I think we do 3,000 but 3,000 times 30 people a month. I’ve got a budget of about $90,000 that I spend every month to get people to come to my masterclass.
So it’s super easy to get 10,000 people to sign up for the master class, which leads to 2,000 applications, which leads to 20 to 30 total rock stars.
Darla LeDoux: It’s super easy, but we both know there’s lots of people who are willing to spend money on Facebook ads, but nobody’s clicking there. Things are coming. So your marketing is really, you know, extraordinary.
Angela Lauria: The easy part, the part is I think a lot of people aren’t willing to really spend money cause I don’t think they calculate what the lifetime value is. So they’re willing to spend $20 to boost a post, but they’re not really properly doing advertising, which is identify your lifetime value for a client front end and back end, including what percentage will convert. So you know, every time you get a client what that client is worth, take 10% of that value and spend that in advertising based on how many clients you want.
And you have to learn how to do it smartly. So we couldn’t, like we’re at 30 clients a month now on a good month, we’re consistently doing 25, but we’ve had a couple months of 30, but I started with five a month. I mean, so you have to be able to work up to spending. My conversations with my friends are all like, how much are you spending now? We’re trying to spend more, not less. Like you have to earn the right to spend $90,000 a month.
Darla LeDoux: Totally. Yeah. A lot of times people can’t even spend that much with.
Angela Lauria: Oh no, I mean I’m, like, very proud of the fact that we can spend $90,000 and that’s five years of consistent effort spending two to four hours every day. When I can spend $180,000 in advertising a month, I will be making $2 million a month. It’s fucking magical.
I have an ATM where I can put in a dollar and I get 10 out. Yes, please.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So Angela, when they go into the back end, so they get their, all this stuff done for them.
Angela Lauria: And three retreats.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Talk a little bit about that piece, because a lot of us, a lot of the people listening don’t have a done for you agency. Actually, some do, but…
Angela Lauria: You don’t have to, I mean, that’s a piece of what we do.
Darla LeDoux: And my question is, if you just intuitively were to say how much of the reason they buy the back end is to stay in the community and stay in the energy.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, I mean that secret handshake, that’s sort of the key to everything. They may, at that three day event, they just made the best friends of their lives and they don’t want to say goodbye.
If I didn’t do a retreat on the front end, I mean, I didn’t do a retreat at the beginning and we closed 26%, so now we closed 63%. So that can probably give you some idea of how many people just want the services versus like the community, the events. There’s four events. One is their book launch event, which we call their red carpet launch, and then we have three retreats on top of that and that’s, like, there’s weekly Facebook calls, there’s our weekly Zoom calls, a Facebook group, and then there’s four events. The red carpet launch, which is eight weeks later, and then every four months we do a retreat where they get to come to the academy and basically just co-work.
Darla LeDoux: And is that only for people in the back end?
Angela Lauria: Yeah, there’s no other way to, I only sell two things, so the only thing you guys could buy from me, including Darla, is write a book. It’s called The Author’s Way. It’s nine weeks. Get your book written. That’s the only thing I sell, one thing.
And then I have a second product I sell, which is called The Order of the Quill, but I only sell that to people who come to my retreat. You can only buy it at my retreat. You can’t buy it later. You can’t call me three months later and say I want to join The Order of the Quill. There’s one day you can buy it. That is the last day of the retreat. It is your only option.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So to translate that, she’s got a gateway program, which is her nine-week course with the retreat and they are bundled together. Right. So the gateway program and the rich retreat she’s selling in a bundle. And then the high-level program is the back end. And I love that you know those percentages that it went from…
Angela Lauria: 26% to 63% yep.
Darla LeDoux: By adding that live experience, because the 26% they’re buying logically, right? Oh, I want these services. But that other percent, there’s an emotional component and a really, an understanding, and you can tell from this conversation that Angela is walking her talk in terms of using the tools that she’s teaching them. She’s demonstrating using them. And so when they get to come back and be with you again, they get more practice at using those tools of manifestation of, like, all of the witchy the tools that you use, right?
Angela Lauria: Totally and they want a safe space to be who they are. Like I would say, we have clients that are like super active Christians and their clients want a safe space to talk about Jesus and use the language they use. Like, whatever your thing is, it’s you being you that’s the key to unlocking it. Like the more I embrace my new age, witchy, crystal loving ways, the more my tribe has an easier time finding me and people who aren’t my people have an easier time saying she’s weird.
So everybody wants to be with each other. And, like, a lot of my Christians and I do have, I have probably 10% to 20% are Christians. They’re actually witches who grew up in a very Christian environment and they still love those people and speak that language too. And they want a safe space to be their Christian self and they want to safe space to be their witchy self. Cause none of us are all of one thing. I’m still plenty Catholic. I love a good Catholic song. Like, so, there are ways to that.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So Angela, how do you work with your authors to use a retreat or use their book to market their retreat? Because the book is kind of the start but it’s the framework that makes it really easy for them to do all these next steps.
Angela Lauria: Yup. So the middle part of your book, we call your book content. That is basically the outline for your retreat. So almost all of our authors, 80% of our authors come to us wanting to do retreats and they’re, like, most of them are picturing yoga in Bali, but there’s no outcome, there’s no problem that the retreat is solving. You just go and you relax and you have self-care. And the joke I make is all of our authors come to us selling self-love for women in transition, but there are no women in transition who wants self-love there.
There are women going through a divorce who are trying to figure out what the fuck to do next. There are people who just got fired who are trying to plan their next career. But nobody’s like, God, I’m just a woman in transition and I need self love. Do you know where I can find that?
So we identify what specific transition and even though we know the answer is self-love, what do they think they need? I need a plan for how I’m going to have a baby. Like my transition is I’m turning 42 and I still haven’t had a kid. Great. We’re not going to call it women in transition. We know what she needs is self-love. We know we can’t guarantee the baby, but we’re going to have a program called, like, “should I have a baby or not for women whose last chance it is” and the retreat is going to be making your go or no go and making your plan to have a baby.
And of course, the whole thing revolves around self-love for women in transition. But we’re never gonna use those words, right? So almost every single person who signs up for my program, they what to do a retreat for women in transition on self-love. They want to do yoga, they want it to be an amazing, curated, luxurious experience. And I say, great, you can only do that if we know what problem we’re solving and what are the steps to solving it. We call that part their book content. It’s like the meat of the book and that ends up being what they will teach at the retreat.
So we start with all that stuff before they get to any of the other stuff that they think is going to be fun. They think are going to write the book on self love, put it on Amazon, people magically find it, and then they’re going to beg them to come to their retreat. That is not the order of events.
Darla LeDoux: We’ve talked about this offline, how so many of them write their book, they have the content for the retreat, but then when it comes to do the retreat, they think they need to do something different?
Angela Lauria: Can you please tell me why this is, like, the biggest problem in my business?
Darla LeDoux: I can tell you why…
Angela Lauria: We spend nine weeks. We map out the whole fucking content that is the whole program. And then at the end of writing the book, they’re like, “well what do I do at my retreat?” I’m like, listen, you hire Darla, that’s why we had to bring you in to teach for them. Cause they’re like, “I have no idea what you do.” Like, you wrote the book, but they lose their minds.
Darla LeDoux: Being in front of the room on retreat is being seen in a whole different way. And I mean I think you bump into the same thing with writing a book. I know for me, I had plenty of heart palpitations when I was writing my book and writing these stories that’s like, okay, should I really, you know, put this in writing where people can find it, have it, and my parents will read it. So it’s similar, but it’s live. Like with the book there’s like a little bit of a, you can disconnect. Like, okay, I wrote it down. Now it’s in this book, it’s out there. But when you’re leading it in front of the room and getting real live feedback, like it’s either working or it’s not, there’s a different level of vulnerability with that. And so the whole like, I don’t know what to do often is just a procrastination tactic.
Angela Lauria: Yep. Which by the way, when I did that first event that I showed you guys in that very ugly dress next to my bathroom door, I remember saying to my coach…
Darla LeDoux: It wasn’t ugly.
Angela Lauria: It was not good for camera. I probably spent two months saying, “but what do I do with this event?” I’m like, how? So I have people over, I get it. I say, “do you want to come to my house” and then what do I do? And he’s like, well, what do you normally do? I’m like, but I’ve already done that with them. I’m like, they know all that. And in my head they had, like, read my book, memorized it. They remember everything I taught in every one of my classes. They’ve implemented it perfectly and they have no questions. So now I have to, like, come up with something new. What the hell am I going to teach them?
Yeah, yeah. It took me months to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do in this event. And now I’m like, you just do what you do- again.
Darla LeDoux: The way we talk about it is you’re inviting them to actually integrate it. Cause it’s one thing to read it and hear it and get it here, but when you’re in person, you can embody the information and try it on and go, “Oh for me it fits like this, for you it fits like this.” Where, you know, even if we read it and know it, which as we know most people don’t. Most people haven’t finished my course. That’s nine weeks, you know?
Angela Lauria: Yeah. One of the things my coach said to me at the time, when I was being a jerk, was you don’t go to a Journey concert and expect them to not sing “Don’t Stop Believing.” Like, if you go to Journey they’re going to play, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Do you think their job is to sing “Don’t Stop Believing.” Yeah. I’m like, really? I don’t have to write a new song. He’s like, nobody wants the original. They want to hear, “Don’t Stop Believing.” We don’t want to hear your new shit. Like play, “Wheel in the Sky.”
Darla LeDoux: So true. I’ve heard my first mentor, I’ve heard his, you know, Hero’s journey story, I don’t know, 45 times at least. And it’s still interesting. Every time I’m like, oh my God, what would I do in that situation? Would I have had the courage? Like would I have made it, every time. So what would you say to people who they have clients, they’re starting with their retreat and they’re maybe wanting to write a book. How does the book help?
Angela Lauria: Yeah, so basically if you’re already doing retreats, the bulk of the book is going to include a lot- it’s “Don’t Stop Believing”- it’s going to include a lot of the same stuff. But we set it up in a way to attract leads. So most people want to keep everything a secret. They’re like, but they can’t know what happens at the retreat until they get there.
There will be things that are a secret, but people want to know what it’s like to work with you. So the biggest difference with a book is it’s all about case studies and stories that I can imagine myself as the character. So I might write about Jen McRobbie, who was working on a book with me and had writer’s block and we decided the best thing for her to do was to organize her kids’ toys. And I’ll talk about her, how organizing her kids’ toys helped her write the next chapter. And as I’m reading that you’re like, “oh I don’t have kids, but I would really like to put all my jewelry away neatly cause it’s all out and I have all these mismatched earrings and I can see how that disorganization would probably make it harder to write my content.”
So every single step in the process, everything that you do at your retreat, you want to translate it into case studies and stories with actual clients. So that I can imagine myself doing that. And the whole thing is there’s no, you can’t include everything in a book. So each chapter in a book, if you were to read it, we’d take 15 to 20 minutes. So chapters, if you talk your book, a chapter is about 18 minutes. So obviously if you’re writing, you know, whatever a 150 page book, you’re not going to cover nearly as much as you would at a three day or five day retreat. But I don’t purposely hold anything back. We include everything in the book that we can fit in the space allowed to let the reader see themselves there.
Now only about 27% of people will actually read the book, but you still have to write it and it still has to be good because some people might. But the real key is getting the cover and the title and the book description and the table of contents, right? Cause that’s what people actually read. And when they read it, they say, “oh my God, that’s exactly what I need. I need to know how to do retreats.” So they see Darla’s book and they don’t necessarily read it. They may not even buy it. But if she can give them a copy or invite them to a class covering the topics in the book, they’re basically raising their hand and saying they have the problem that your gateway program solves.
So we use the book as a way to get people to raise their hand and say, “I have the problem that your program solves.” Most people don’t actually read my book until after they sign up with me. Most people who read your book, well not actually be buyers. It’s the people who see your book and say, I need that. I want to get on a call with you. Those are the people you sell your retreat to. Then you give them the book and you say read this before you come to the retreat, but they’ll read it after they pay you for your retreat.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Isn’t that interesting?
Angela Lauria: It’s crazy order of events.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Well if you actually read my book, it’s all in there total.
Angela Lauria: Totally. I did read your book like, like yeah, you want to give away as much as you can. Most people who read it are not really action takers anyway. Like you know, and you guys, you probably didn’t read Darla’’s book before you signed up with her. You’re like, “retreats- that’s what I want to do! I’m going to buy this program and I’m going to take action.” And then once you start watching the courses you’re like, “I should read that book.”
Darla LeDoux: Yeah, exactly.
Angela Lauria: And that’s the right order of events. There’s nothing wrong with that order of events. You still have to write the book and there’s still a very specific way to write it that will lead to getting clients from the book.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. I’m curious, Angela, when you guys screen your clients, do you want them to have a certain number of clients already before they write their book.
Angela Lauria: Our rule is actually three great case studies. And what we do at our application is we ask, “do you have three great case studies?” And we tell them we’re going to ask them to share their case studies with us on the interview. The truth is we don’t always ask them. But what we think is happening is on the application it will just scare them. There are other ways we tell if they’ve had clients in the interview, but we basically say we’re going to check your references and then they will just not apply if they don’t have that, most of the time.
The way we actually tell if they have clients is we’ll, you know, we’ll say like how far along is your business? How much revenue do you have? How long have you been doing this? A lot of times people are pivoting, so we get a lot of doctor, functional medicine doctors and therapists that want to transition from doing like insurance-based practices to more of like coaching or non-insurance based practices. So we can get a tally, even if they haven’t done it, that they have clients.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Amazing. I always think that if you haven’t worked with actual people, how are you going to write it in your book? Like what the advice is. So, and it’s similar, which is why I love, you know, when you have a retreat, you’re working with actual people and you see how the content lands. You know, so it’s either order, but you have to be talking with people, right? You have to be working with actual clients to know what to put in a book or what to put, I mean, I don’t want to even say what to put in the retreat because I believe that what it happens in the retreat is people end up channeling wisdom that they didn’t even know they had.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, and most of the…
Darla LeDoux: Oh, I should write that down.
Angela Lauria: Totally. Most of the book writing process my goal is to, we call it freeing your inner author, but what that means is co-creating your book with source. So most of my job, the reason it takes 24 to 48 hours to write a book in our program is because we’re just clearing the energetic space to let source work through you. And there’s a lot of work to be prepared as a channel for God. So we’re plenty busy. But the actual writing part is the easy part cause mostly we let source do that.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Amazing.
Angela Lauria: And that does, I will say that is my experience with events too. Like what’s the line, like “man plans, God laughs.” Like, I do plenty of planning and then I’m just like, use me as an instrument of peace.
Darla LeDoux: And all that shit comes up in your own life to heal in advance of that experience every single time. So guys, you’re not unique. This is what happens. This is how we’re being used by source.
Angela Lauria: Hundred percent. And I always, this isn’t mine, this comes from Elizabeth Gilbert, but it’s my version of this was “I’m willing to suck” and Elizabeth Gilbert’s version is, “I’m willing,” but I would say like before an event, that’s like my biggest prayer is like “I’m willing, bring it.”
I just say, another thing I say to myself all the time is “feet in the dirt” because whenever I think I have it figured out, it’s like I detached from source. I can feel myself just like lift up an inch off the ground. And I think I’ve got it all figured out. And I’m like, I have my feet in the dirt socks, you know, socks that look like they’re the dirt and there’s a grass coming up around my ankles. I’m like, put your feet in the dirt, connect to source, and you don’t get to be in charge. You just get to create the safe space for source to do its work. That’s the real work. It’s so funny. It’s like nothing that I thought. You have to know how to do your thing. Like I know how to edit books, but then you just gotta get the fuck out of the way and it’s so hard and the shit that gets brought up.
I was in the hospital this year- so this was an interesting one. I had a three-day event in February, and two days before I had a blood test that came back that my hemoglobin was like at four, and I think three is dead. So immediately they were like, you must go into the hospital for a blood transfusion. And I was like, “mm, I have a retreat. Can I come after the retreat to your hospital?”
And I know, like, I teach self-care first and, like, cancel your damn retreat. I was like, all these people have finished their book, they are on flights right now. Like who am I supposed to be like? Am I supposed to, like, am I really going to die? Like what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to cancel this event? Refund everyone pay, for their flights? Like, there’s no one else who can teach it. Do they play videos? Like everybody comes to my house and we play videos?
And ultimately I was like, I’m going to do this event and then I’m going to go into the hospital this weekend and we’re going to see what happens. And I started the event by telling everyone what happened. And I was like, I’m going to take lots of breaks. Our schedule is going to be different. We’re going to cover a different amount of stuff. If you want to come back to another event, you can. I don’t know how I’m going to do, but I knew you flew here and I wanted to be here for you and I’m going to try my best to get through these three days. And I was totally transparent. I was in sweatpants for the event, like, and I was just like, I’m showing up as best as I can and I’m sick. So we’re going to do a little combination. Like breaks are going to be longer. I’m going to take naps. I’m not going to have lunch with you guys. I’m not gonna come out to dinner. But I also knew you were on a plane when I found out I had to go into the hospital.
So you like got to make calls like that all the time. I’m like, who do I want to be? Who is the person who has a $20 million business? What did they do for this event? And for me, the answer always comes down to like transparency, vulnerability, I don’t have it figured out. I’m like, I don’t know the answer. This is the one I came up with and if I feel worse…oh, and I did an IV treatment. I had people come in to do massage after the event. Like, I put as many boundaries around myself as I could and then I did the best job I could do and I went into hospital on Saturday after they left.
Darla LeDoux: And I imagine that that group was profoundly impacted by your transparency.
Angela Lauria: One of our best sales months ever. So many thank you’s, like so much gratitude. I had another person come in and teach a couple things that I thought I could get away with not teaching. Then I just did my best and I was honest. And now I feel like those are the ones who are like, they watched me almost die and teach them instead.
Darla LeDoux: And did you make that choice, like, I’m going to be someone who’s not a victim to what’s going on with my body or was it…?
Angela Lauria: I think what it felt like to me was- in a lot of this I have to credit my authors with- I felt like the doctors were being histrionic. If I didn’t happen to get the blood test results that day and I got the blood test results on Monday, they would have wanted me to go to the hospital on Monday. Like I’d obviously been walking around with this problem for weeks. So what was three more days? But they were like ready to, what did they want to do? They wanted to do some sort of surgery. Like they were ready to, like, they were like, let’s go, let’s take action. And I’m like, so I was like a little bit, like a lot of my authors write about being the CEO of your own health, and I was like, “I think I’m fine.”
But then it’s scary cause there’s doctors and they have the stethoscopes and they’re like, “you’re going to die if you don’t go to the hospital immediately.” And I’m like, I get that one’s hemoglobin should be a 10 or higher. I don’t know that mine should, do we look at my before? Like it’s always been an eight and this is just a bad day. Like, I don’t know. I felt like I didn’t, I knew I was sick, but I was also not willing to give up my power. Yeah. So Western medicine completely in that moment I was like, I think I can do this.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing. Thank you so much for all of your energy and wisdom and do you want to take a couple of questions?
Angela Lauria: I’d love to.
Wendy: First of all, fabulous. I love every minute of this. What do you think is the biggest difference that you see yourself now as compared to when you first started?
Angela Lauria: I love that. This is going to sound really weird. My expectations are so much lower.
So I think what I started, I thought 75-90% of things I do will work. And then when they didn’t work, I was disappointed. I now think 75-90% of things I do will fail. And when they work, I’m delighted.
I was very entitled. So I’m going to tell you, this is, I’ve now told you guys a couple of like confidential stories. So, I told you guys, Martha Beck, I read this book “Finding Your Own North Star” and I ended up becoming a Martha Beck life coach. And then when I started my publishing company, I just like called Martha Beck. And I was like, “hey, why don’t you send all your clients to me? So everyone who is a life coach that wants to write a book, send them to me and I will give you 20% of all of my revenue.” So like zero times 20% could be yours.
And I didn’t understand why she didn’t just give me all her clients. Like I did books like this one, that had nothing to do with coaching. Like I was a freelancer. I hadn’t like no track record. I had done nothing. I made no money and I just thought Martha Beck should give me all of her clients. She should just send a letter, “hey, if you want to write a book, please do it with Angela. She’s super nice and seems to know a thing” and I was so shocked when she said no, like she wasn’t just going to give me all her clients.
I literally took to my bed for two weeks. I’m like, she’s so wrong. I could do such a good job. How could she not take me up on this incredible offer to make her all of this money. It’s 20%… of zero, but it felt like 20% of a kabillion. So now I’m like, now I can look at that. I see every day people pitch me and they’re like, could I come teach for your authors? Like, no fuck off and die. Like, you know how much work it takes me to get my clients?
Like the amount of trust I would need to have to let you teach my clients- what would make you even ask that? Like, by the way, Darla never asked me that. I saw what an amazing teacher she was and what an amazing leader she was, and I was like, well yes I would trust you with my clients. But anybody who’s pitching me and was like, “hey, I haven’t done anything yet but I have lots of great ideas. Could I please come have all your clients that you’ve worked your ass off for?” Like no, fuck off.
So I was super entitled at the beginning. Like I thought everyone should just give me things and I had no idea I was being entitled. So I’m very sympathetic when my clients do this to me. Like they’ll often try and sell me things and I totally get it. Cause I was that person. I did it to Martha Beck. Right.
So yeah, I think I just thought I was amazing. Everyone should recognize that. And then I thought everything I did should sell really well. Like I did this program called Media School for Life Coaches. It was how to get publicity because as a book coach, I did a lot of publicity for my authors. So it was just teaching all the publicity stuff that I knew and I was like, I’m going to launch this at $97, I’m going to get 24 clients. And I got one client and I was so pissed that I only got one client. I was mad at this invisible 23 people that didn’t come that I forgot to love and serve, Victoria Hall, was the one person who paid.
Like she like gave me her her time and money and I was just so pissed at the other people who didn’t come. I forgot to show up and serve. And now if I had a month where I got one client, let me tell you, they would get 30 times my love. Like I have space for 30 people. There’s 30 people’s worth of love that is going out. And if I get one client, they’re going to get all of it. Like that’s what it’s there for. I was so fucking entitled.
I think that’s the biggest thing, like just be so grateful if you have a webinar and one person shows up, like give them everything you have. Stay twice as long. Offer them a free follow up call. Like, I just would have given so much more and expected so much less.
Darla LeDoux: That’s really awesome. Especially because a lot of people in their first retreats end up having two or three people.
Angela Lauria: Which is amazing- two or three people gave you money! Like give them everything. That should be the best retreat of their life. You only have three people. You know what I would do if I could like afford- I could not afford to have three people at a retreat. It would be incredible, but I can’t afford it. I have so many staff members, like everything is so much bigger, but what an amazing experience to get to like focus for three days. If I had just three people, I would know everything about them.
The other thing, all of you, learn your clients’ partners names, learn their pet’s names like actually love these fucking people. They are giving you their money, they are trusting you. You are a servant of God. Like it’s your responsibility. I know where all my clients live. I know their partner’s names, I know their pets. I know whether they’re cat or dog people or no pet people. I love them enough to know who they are.
Darla LeDoux: Who else has a question? Amanda…
Amanda: Did you have, did you know that you were meant for such a big role in life?
Angela Lauria: It’s a great question. So I am 46. I think I said that before. I used to watch before school, just cause my mom would put it on, she would put it on Good Morning America and she was really into like Joan London, I forget the other guy’s name, but Joan London, and I had this recurring vision when I was like, I would leave home and I would walk to the bus stop, which was like at the bottom of the hill, and I always pictured myself being interviewed by Joan London on Good Morning America.
Like I had this recurring vision from the time I was like seven and she was interviewing me and I always knew that it was about other people that I was helping. So I didn’t know what this job was, but it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t the star, but there were these other people and I was being interviewed by Joan London, who obviously I’m never going to meet, I have not been on Good Morning America, I’ve never been interviewed by her. There’s Joan London, it was Good Morning America and it was about these people that we’re changing the world that I was helping. And I thought for many years I was going to be a casting director because I was very active in theater. So I thought I was going to be a casting director, but I knew it was some sort of like behind the scenes role where I was going to help other people.
And it was this very clear message that always came through and I wrote poems about it and songs about it. And then, and I like believed it 100%. And then the only thing I had to do for that to happen was lose weight and everything in my life was about weight loss. Like nothing, my life couldn’t start until I lost weight.
So I was like, once I lose weight, then I’m going to be able to help all these people. All these people are waiting for me, but I have to lose weight first. And this just felt like the biggest pressure in my life. Like I have to lose weight cause these people are waiting for me. And when I found A Course in Miracles and when I found life coaching, what I discovered was I had to show up for those people before I could lose weight.
And that was like, for me, the big transition was like, stop waiting for everything to be fixed. Just serve people right now. And so I did always know, but I was also the biggest thing standing in my way. And I think for a lot of people, I have this really weird relationship with money. Which if you guys want to hear, I’ll tell you my money story, but money has always been incredibly easy for me, but my weight story is very similar for most people’s money story.
Like it was like, once I lose weight, like once I have enough money except I always had enough money, but once I lose weight, then I can do all these things and I had to do it at 350 pounds. I had to like show up on stage serving people. You can find all the videos online, like, I actually started and then all the things I had learned about weight loss, like finally kicked in for me. Because it was just the way I was holding myself back.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. What was that about, that being willing to start at the way you were at?
Angela Lauria: Yeah, I was like, I can’t possibly do it. It was, I think for me like, I didn’t own that which was truly holy about me. Like it just seemed weird and obnoxious and sort of arrogant to be like, I’m meant to be a channel for God’s work to come through me.
I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, and I remember at the award ceremonies, Michael Jackson would always start by saying, first I’d like to thank the Almighty Jehovah. And I was like, this is fucking bullshit and weird, you’re only saying that because your mom, you love your mom and you know this will make your mom happy. And I know you don’t really believe that. Like you’re the one who wakes up early. You’re the one who practices, you’re the one who is the amazing dancer. You’re the one who is the amazing singer. Like it just, it was the one thing about Michael Jackson I hated is he would give all this credit to God when he was clearly the talented one.
And then I did an event called Three Days to Done. When people come to my house and they write a book in three days and there’s a very specific rhythm to this event, and I did this one about in Oahu. At the end of day one, there’s the certain milestone they’re supposed to be at. No one was there. At the end of day two there’s another milestone. No one was there. I had no idea what to do. And so I’m like, this is going to be the first time I’m going to have to refund everyone. But this was so expensive. I don’t have the money in my account. Like I don’t know what to do. So just totally prayed.
And at the end of the third day, everybody finished their book and there, it’s an amazing collection of books. It was a retreat, but literally nothing happened. The first two days of the retreat, everybody was just confused and spinning and none of my coaching was working and all my tools failed. And at the end of that third day I was looking out, we always say, “finished by sunset.” So your book will be finished by sunset on the third day. Yeah, just sort of like a fairy tale magical thing. And I was watching that sunset. Everybody had finished their books and it just came to me like, oh my God, God did this. Like I didn’t do this. I had all the tools. I had all the things like I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I know I’m good at my job, but there’s no way these people could have written their book in a day without God. Like this was a total co-creation.
And after that I was like, oh my God, this is not me. That was the moment where I was like, I have become a channel for so much more. Like, yeah, I gotta know how to edit and I gotta know how to market, but this isn’t, there’s no way, I can’t build a $20 million business. So then I got all those things Michael Jackson had been saying. There’s like, “I’d like to thank the Almighty Jehovah,” but or whatever you would like to use, I’m good. Let’s go.
Darla LeDoux: That’s an amazing story. I love it. I had a retreat once where it was kind of like that. It was like people were stuck and they weren’t, they weren’t popping. That’s the word I use, and it was such a heavy energy in the room and there was a lot of resistance and I literally prayed and I didn’t sleep that night and I always sleep, but I was tossing and turning and I went in the next day and everybody looks completely different. It was like a totally different group and I asked, I’m like, “what happened overnight? Like did things happen?” And they were like, “oh my God, let me tell you what happened overnight.”
Angela Lauria: Same. Exactly. 100% same exact experience. Every single thing about that was what happened to me and then I just started, let me be preemptive. That’s what I always say. Well I’m going to pray before, I mean not wait until day two. That’s really hard. So now I’m just early and often like great.
Darla LeDoux: Awesome. All right. Is there one more question. We’ll start with Veronica.
Veronica: Angela, thank you so much. I’m loving listening to you and I love your bookshelves.
Angela Lauria: Yay. Me Too.
Veronica: Yeah. I feel I’m never happier than when I’m surrounded by books. So I hear you. It’s funny I was going to ask the money question, but you just explained that you’re, you’ve always had an easy time with it…
Angela Lauria: Do you want to hear where that comes from?
Veronica: I’d love to, and I just, I’d love to know, kind of, how you made the transition from when you began to charging more and more and maybe what, how you decided on what you charge and owning that value.
Angela Lauria: Totally. So here’s the deal. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so my dad made hot rods. Some of you made know ZZ Top, he did The Eliminator. He’s in the hot rod hall of fame and Darla knows other things about my dad cause she’s seen the movie, but growing up, this is what I thought happened.
So I thought sometime between the ages of 12 and 16, you identify the thing you love most in the world. For my dad, that was hot rods, and then you spend the rest of your life getting paid lots of money doing the thing you love. That was the case for everyone I met growing up and when I was 21, my roommate, her name is Stephanie Inglis, Stephanie’s father was retiring. I grew up in Connecticut. Stephanie’s father was retiring from the number one industry in Connecticut, which is the exciting industry of insurance. And I went to her dad’s retirement party and I went up to him and I shook his hand and I said, “Mr Inglis, this is such an amazing party, congratulations on your retirement. I’m just curious, when did you know you loved insurance?”
And he looked at me and he laughed and he patted me on the shoulders like, “thanks for coming. You’re so fun.” And then he walked away. I was very confused and I got in the car to go home with Stephanie that night. And I was like, so I had this question, but he didn’t answer like, do you know his story? How did he fall in love with insurance? And she’s like, what do you mean, my dad hates his job, he’s hated his job every day of his life. I’m like, he hates his job? Oh my God. And she’s like, what the fuck are you talking about? She’s like, I hate my job at Bill Bateman’s. Who the hell likes being a waitress? I’m like, you don’t, you don’t love your job? Are you kidding me? And she’s like, nobody loves their job. What are you talking about?
It was, it never occurred to me. There’s that, like, “children learn what they live.” I had no idea. When I was between 12 and 16 I discovered that I loved investigative journalism. I was an activist and I was protesting against apartheid and active in the Live AID campaigns. And I was an investigative journalist on international issues. And then obviously I got a job doing that and I made plenty of money because I just thought everybody made lots of money doing what they love because what else would you do? So I was not 21, it wasn’t until I was 21 that I discovered people don’t make lots of money doing what they love. It was a rude awakening and there are so many things, like my dad is arguably a horrible human.
Like really super weird. Like, just as one example, when my sisters were 15 and 17 he would find men in the industry that were in their forties and fifties who thought they were cute and he would set them up on dates. Like he’s really like, he’s not an A+ human, but I have, I totally am in love with my father for giving me this incredible gift of never knowing that I wasn’t going to make tons of money doing what I loved. Which is so fucking amazing that, like, he has lots of problems, but I’m like so incredibly grateful for that gift. It doesn’t make the other stuff go away, but it definitely like gave me such a source of gratitude and a place for like total forgiveness and a way to build an incredible relationship with my dad.
So I always knew I’d make lots of money and I’d always had lots of money. It’s just I changed my definition of lots of money. So lots of money for me was, I had a two bedroom apartment in Alexandria and I paid all my bills and I had a 1994 Dodge and, like, I had a car, and I shopped at Target and Old Navy and I never spent more than $20 on a piece of clothing, and there was nothing, and I followed Crowded House all around the world and stayed at friends houses, and there was nothing I ever wanted to buy that I didn’t get to. And for most of my life, that meant living on $100,000 a year, which just felt like all the money in the world. Like what would you do with more than that?
So $100,000 a year let me serve somewhere between three and six authors a year, making somewhere between $10 an hour and $50 an hour, which was fantastic. My very first year out of college at 21 I made $55,000 a year working on books, and then the very last year before I started my business I made about $150k so, like, it’s pretty fucking good. Like I had everything I wanted at 21, I had everything I wanted at 38, like money was just super easy for me.
But then when my goal changed to actually, my goal is to affect a billion lives on this planet with books that we’ve published, I had to become a steward for more of the universe’s wealth. So it’s not my money. I feel like it’s the universe’s, it’s all made up anyway, like just read books on money. It’s completely fake. It’s just this, like, paradigm that we’ve created to show what energy means to us.
So I know it’s totally fake, but I just want to be somebody who is worthy of affecting a billion lives on the planet. And when I claimed that goal, I had to create space for more and more of the universe as well to come to me because otherwise I just couldn’t serve more people. And that means managing a staff of 35 and having expenses every month over a half a million dollars and being able to handle the stress of lawsuits and lawyers and, there’s so much I have to be willing to deal with.
And I think a lot about Mother Teresa and, like, Mother Theresa wrote 30 books and raised over a hundred million dollars. She obviously wasn’t using it to fly private- I think she should have, but like she still needed to manage all that shit coming at her. Like just Google Mother Teresa Scam, like a million people hate Mother Teresa. Are you fucking kidding me? Really? That’s what you’re going to spend energy hating? But, like, I have to deal with haters and lawyers and I’m a 10th of what Mother Theresa had to deal with. So I’m just like, prepare me for more, prepare me to be able to handle more.
You asked like how did I learn how to charge what I’m worth… so I don’t. I charge what my clients are worth, so I know I will always be fine. I will always eat. I don’t think you should charge what you’re worth. I think you should charge what this solution is worth to your clients.
Veronica: I love that. Charge what your clients are worth. That’s brilliant. It just feels really good. Thank you.
Angela Lauria: And I do always know I’ll be fine. Like that is, I think my, I don’t have that with my body. And so I, everything I know about my body, if you have an awesome relationship with your body, you can do what I did with money, which is transfer it. So like the way I ended up losing weight is I took all my thoughts about money and I pretended those were my thoughts about my body.
So my thought is like, I’m always going to have enough money and I just switched that to like, my body’s always going to go back to a natural weight. Like, that’s just what my body does. And there were all these thoughts that I heard people who didn’t have weight issues think and I’m like, oh, that’s how I have money all the time. I just, obviously I’m gonna have enough money. What is the other alternative?
Darla LeDoux: That’s amazing. Wow, thank you. Maryanne. Last question.
Maryanne: Oh, thank you so much. I so resonate and this group knows how I so want to be able to have retreats in my home and, and VIP days and things like that. So I so resonate with that. And, and I’ve spoken with Darla and Julie about, even my way, I’m a life and wellness coach and yet I’m overweight. I am very healthy, but I’m overweight. And so many times I’ve let that get in my way and stop me. And just recently, again, I thought I just, earlier, over the weekend I made, just to get started, I just started making some teaching videos where I have to stand up. It doesn’t show a whole lot, but I’m making those strides.
So, and I just so appreciate you and appreciate your business. I’ve looked into your, I think I’ve been on one of your webinars before and I wasn’t even close to ready yet. So anyway, I so appreciate you. Thank you so much for doing this for us.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, and I just want to say like the, one of the things with imposter syndrome, so most people teach it and possibly- Darla and I agree on a lot, but this might be one where I even pushed the boundaries here-most people will teach you like you’re not an imposter and you should know you’re good enough and recognize your worth.
Whenever one of my authors comes to me and says, I feel like an imposter, what I say to them is, you are, let’s figure out exactly how. Because I don’t think, if you’re like a wellness coach and you feel like an imposter because you’re overweight, you’re like, oh, I’m healthy, but I’m overweight so I’m worried that people will judge me. My whole thing is put that out there. Don’t serve people who would feel that way. So my messaging for you, if we did a book would be something like, I help women who are overweight get healthier in the body they have today. And then there’s no, like if you’ve been through every diet and you’re willing to just hang that up and maybe you just, you’re going to be the weight you are, but what’s your maximum health without losing weight? Then I don’t want some skinny bitch to teach you that. I want someone who looks just like you.
And I want you to stand up there and say, you know what? According to the insurance charts, I’m 42 pounds overweight and I am the healthiest I’ve ever been. And I know next year I’m going to be healthier. Will I lose weight? Maybe. Do I try? Sometimes. There are reasons to and reasons not to, but that’s not the only aspect of my wellness I work on. Right now I’m working on this aspect of my wellness. Flexibility, which is also important.
Maryanne: Yeah. I was such a sick young woman with autoimmune diseases and inflammatory and migraines and all that. So the last 20 years of you know, healing all of that and coming to thriving. It’s just like, I don’t have any…
Angela Lauria: I don’t only want that metric that really weight is one metric. It’s a great metric. But let me just tell you, there are about 55 other metrics and if you’re interested in working on some of the other ones and maybe giving weight a rest, I’m the perfect person for you to work with.
So one of the things I do with our books, it’s like any area where you are being an impostor, stop fucking immediately. So for instance, I’ve worked on a half a dozen fiction books. None of them are very good, none of them are sold. None of them have sold very many copies. I’m a terrible book coach and editor for fiction books, so I just don’t sell them. I don’t feel bad about it. I’m just like, I would love to help you with your fiction book. I actually suck at it, but like, so I’m not going to sell it. Like I know how to get you $250,000 in clients from a book. I could do it in my sleep. I’m the best in the world at it. If you want to make $250,000 from a book by getting clients for your wellness business, I am the best in the world. So that’s the only thing I sell. Children’s books. I have a collection. I love children’s books. I’ve never edited one, written one, published one, sold one, know nothing about it. So I just don’t sell it.
So I don’t think you should sell, like, being skinny because that’s not your gig. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have something amazing and even more valuable for your people to sell. So whenever people tell me they feel like an impostor, I’m like, you for sure are stop it immediately.
Maryanne: Very good. I appreciate that. Thanks so much.
Darla LeDoux: Brilliant. Thank you so much, Angela.
Angela Lauria: Absolutely. Good luck everybody. And there is nothing better than face to face, so don’t wait to have your retreat until you have things figured out. Have your retreat, you’ll learn so much from just doing it and then it’s all gonna work out. I really believe the reason why I’m so successful today is I was willing to do an event with sandwiches and Snapple and Doritos in front of my bathroom door, like, in a not cute dress, but I was willing to do that. And so stop trying to figure it out and just do your crappy event. And now I, like, share that with all of my clients and I’m like, this could be your first retreat and then you could be here in a few years.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Amazing. Thank you.
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