Victoria Marshman

Episode Description

How To Scale Your Business: With Victoria Marshman

Sometimes everything feels a little black and white.  Lack of 'grey areas' can make us doubt ourselves and our decisions, both personally and especially professionally. Do we do this or that? Should we try or not?  Are we ready to scale or is it too soon?

Today I have the pleasure of talking to Victoria Marshman, Co-Founder of City MOGULS, a community of purpose driven entrepreneurs that are helping build the next generation of leaders through year-round programming, resources, mentorship, and experiences.

Victoria has been a part of the Frame of Mind Coaching™ community for quite a while, and now she brings a very interesting challenge to the conversation: how to scale her company. First, we discuss the different ways to scale: through partnerships, licensing, bringing a few more experts onto the team, and of course, through technology. And for this, she needs to pick one scaling option that sits well with her.

But making the choice is just the first step. While Victoria chooses to bring more people to the team, it doesn't end there! We then discuss the importance of good communication and how to bring these new people up to speed, as well as how to create a replicable training process that can easily be handed over to others to run on behalf of the company.

Are you struggling with something similar? Or do you have anything else you want to discuss? Let’s talk! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello! This is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.

Today, it's my pleasure to introduce to you an amazing woman. She is the co-founder of a company called City MOGULS. Her name is Victoria Marshman.

Victoria, welcome.

Victoria Marshman: [00:00:32]
Thank you, Kim. I'm excited to be here.

Kim Ades: [00:00:37]
So what is exactly City MOGULS?

Victoria Marshman: [00:00:41]
Well, City MOGULS is a community of purpose driven entrepreneurs, and really what we're trying to do is help build the next generation of leaders through year round programming, resources, mentorship, and experiences.

Kim Ades: [00:00:59]
But be more specific. What do you mean? What kind of programs? What kind of mentorship? Like, it's all very abstract.

Victoria Marshman: [00:01:05]
It is. And community is abstract, so it's hard to summarize in one to two sentences, but that's where we are right now. I mean, for my co-founder Dani and I, when we were first starting out as entrepreneurs, the struggle was real to get answers to the questions we had and it felt very lonely and overwhelming.

So we wanted to cultivate a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that we could lean on and network with and, you know, support one another. So we've built out, especially through the pandemic and being able to offers services and programming online, we've built out ways for our communities to stay connected, to have, you know, a group to be accountable to.

But also we have an incredible network of established entrepreneurs who we call our MOGULS, who are looking to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs. So we've set up an accelerator program, which is kind of like our flagship program, that allows early stage entrepreneurs to get access to a mentor, which is just so essential. Regardless of actually any stage you're at in your business.

And also, we do, mastermind groups, and I'm not sure if your audience is familiar with that concept yet, but we curate groups of entrepreneurs, small cohorts of entrepreneurs, five to six people, and they're meeting weekly to have really focused conversations on each other's businesses, personal lives. Nothing's out of the limit for those groups.

Kim Ades: [00:02:47]
And is everyone generally like, in the startup phase or are they more established? Tell me like, what's the... is that the target market?

Victoria Marshman: [00:02:54]
Yeah, I think startup is definitely our target, but there's a lot of people who... Like, really just desire to be a part of community and have-- constantly be surrounded by people. So we do have some established entrepreneurs who just love that community vibe...

Kim Ades: [00:03:14]
Okay.

Victoria Marshman: [00:03:15]
...and dig our energy, I guess.

Kim Ades: [00:03:17]
Dig your energy. Well, I know that you definitely have an energy. I've been exposed to Victoria and her partner, Dani, and they have become part of the Frame of Mind community, so we're super happy to have them around.

So, how long have you been running City MOGULS for?

Victoria Marshman: [00:03:35]
So it's been about six years.

Kim Ades: [00:03:37]
Okay.

Victoria Marshman: [00:03:39]
I would say the first four years Dani and I were treating it as one event that we did a year.

Kim Ades: [00:03:47]
Okay.

Victoria Marshman: [00:03:48]
So it was really a standalone event, that's now called the MOGUL Awards, and it was an in-person event celebrating entrepreneurs in a fashion show for charity.

Kim Ades: [00:04:03]
Okay.

Victoria Marshman: [00:04:03]
So very, very different from what we're actually doing right now. But that one event was what really stimulated this idea of community and bringing people together, bringing entrepreneurs together. But it was really around year four of doing this one event a year that we were feeling this is more than just one event a year. This is a community, we're building something here.

So we had actually right before the pandemic happened, we had all these ideas and had all these in-person events planned. It was going to be like, our first time really giving our all to City MOGULS, this brand that we had been building up. And then magically, we started kind of a new business with the pandemic that has actually worked out to serve our community better and allow us to grow quicker.

Kim Ades: [00:04:58]
Okay. So you went from a one event a year kind of concept to now we have a community that we're serving on an ongoing basis.

Victoria Marshman: [00:05:06]
Mhmm.

Kim Ades: [00:05:07]
Okay. Got it. I understand. And a lot of the listeners know what Mastermind is, they know what an accelerator is, they know what mentorship is, they know how that works, and they know what it is to meet on a regular basis with your pod, your group, your forum, your whatever it's called, and go along on a journey with your cohorts. So we're clear about that. Where are you now? What is your greatest challenge?

Victoria Marshman: [00:05:37]
I think our greatest challenge is we feel like we're finally standing on our feet. I think a lot of that has to do with your programming to getting coaching and really feeling confident to go and ready to go all in with what we're doing.

So we've established our programming, we've got an awesome membership community that we've been-- it has been running for about a year now. So we're trying to figure out, you know, how do we scale this community and still keep the integrity and authenticity of the interactions that we have?

So we're like, it's this scale of we want to grow, but how much, and how do we keep the integrity of everything that we've built?

Kim Ades: [00:06:28]
So what you're really saying is how do we get big and stay intimate?

Victoria Marshman: [00:06:32]
Mhmm. Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:06:33]
Is that what you're saying? Okay.

Victoria Marshman: [00:06:34]
I'm saying that.

Kim Ades: [00:06:36]
Great. Okay, so let's just talk about scaling for a minute because there are-- you know, I don't know if you've ever read the book The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. If you haven't, put it on your list. It's really all about scaling, so make sure that you get that one under your belt.

But it's the moment that comes where you say, "Hey, like we're doing all this stuff, we're doing all the heavy lifting. And in order for us to grow in a way we've got to get out of our own way. How do we do that?" and so you're at that stage right now, which is kind of exciting, given the fact that you're really only two years into this new model. So very cool.

So, there are lots of ways to scale, right? But you're really fundamentally running a service-based business. And when we look at how we scale service-based businesses, there are a few options available to you.

Number one, get more of you on the team, right? More Victorias, more Danis, more people serving your community. So you have a team around you. That's one way to do it. That means you need training, you need to ensure there's quality in place, you need to make sure that they are delivering up to your standards, etc.

So when I started Frame of Mind Coaching™, I was the only coach on the team, and slowly, slowly we grew. The way we grew is by creating a certification program that enabled people to learn exactly this coaching method and this methodology. Interestingly enough, in our case, every single one of our coaches started off as clients.

And so they loved their experience so much, they were exposed to it, they understood it, they knew how it worked. It became a lot easier to train and certified those people than it would be to train and certify anybody off the street. So you might look at your community and say, is there anyone here who could deliver the same quality and caliber of leadership that we have internally?

So that's one model of scaling. And I mean, one of the things I know about you is you have not just community, you have people who are in love with you. So, you know, I'm sure that there will be some people among that group that you could tap on and say, "Hey, will you play this one role? And I'll show you, I'll teach you".

You know, when I started, one of the things I did actually, your coach was my first ever coach. Your coach Dave.

Victoria Marshman: [00:09:00]
Dave.

Kim Ades: [00:09:01]
Dave. So he's been with me for, I don't know, 14-15 years. He was my first ever one-on-one coaching client. And when we started moving him into getting to coach, what I did was I said, "co-coach with me, do this alongside me, be my partner", right? "Everything I do just join me. Show up and do it with me and I'll train you to do it". So that's a model for you.

Another model for you is a licensing model, where you might say, "okay, we have City MOGULS and it's really locally based, Toronto based, and what we want to do is one, is have the same concept in New York and Winnipeg and Vancouver.

And so we're going to find a person in each major city to purchase, basically, intellectual property and licensing ability to replicate what we're doing in these other places. We support them with our model, with our approach, with our branding. We support them in all ways, but they purchase a licensing fee that they renew on a yearly basis".

The third way to scale is you say, "okay, well, I get it. We only have so much human capacity. We're going to build a product. Because when we have a product, we build, once we sell many". Right? "We sell it in bulk".

And that doesn't necessarily mean it reduces your need for human capital, because you need people to support the product, the delivery, the maintenance of the product or whatever it is that you're building. It could be a tangible product or something that you're selling online either way. But the need to rely on service deliverers is different. Right?

So those are your three main mechanisms for scaling. Now, the question is when you decide on how to scale, you have to ask yourself "what excites me the most? What do I want to build? How much control do I want to have over my brand and how it gets represented?"

You know, so for me in particular, quality and delivery and absolute high, high caliber of delivery was very, very important. So I wanted to have a high degree of control over the way that our coaches deliver coaching. So for me, licensing where you don't have quite as much control was not an option. Right?

So you have to decide what that looks like and how comfortable you are with every model. So I'll throw it back at you. How does any of this sit with you?

Victoria Marshman: [00:11:42]
Well, I aligned with you with the licensing like, that scares me a little because I feel so much of what Dani and I have built with the brand is based on our reputation and that quality. So passing the torch and, you know, giving people a license, really allows them to make it their own, which is great, but there's some quality that can dissipate over time.

I love the idea of, you know, just getting more of us on the team, 'cause the minute you said that it was like a light bulb, like, I thought of six members that are already in our community that are huge champions for us. They show up to everything, they're entrepreneurs themselves, but they clearly feel connected to the community and are really our biggest advocates.

Kim Ades: [00:12:39]
Yeah. And then the question becomes, how can we easily get them involved? In other words, what's an easy entry point? So that you're comfortable with their involvement and they don't feel suddenly like they're, you know, involved in something where they feel like they're in over their heads.

And once you test out, you know, kind of handing over the torch per se, what you start to realize is here are the things that need to be in place so that down the road it's not just 6, it's 16 or 26 of these people. And we have a system, a methodology for passing along the torch. Right? We have a training manual.

And so one of the most important things that I recommend is when you have someone new that you're bringing on, even one or two new people, really pay attention to how you bring them up to speed. What are you sharing with them? Your philosophy, your approach, you know, if you're leading meetings, how you lead meetings? What goes in an agenda? All the details.

And so the moment that you pass along the torch, you're literally creating a training process. And it's very important for you to capture that training process so that you can basically package it up and hand it over to the next person, the next person, the next person, and the next person.

Victoria Marshman: [00:14:03]
Yeah, and it just gets better and better with each person. I mean, even one big thing that I learned with my coaching with you guys, with Dave, is the importance of agreements, just in like, every detail that you can possibly think about when you're starting a relationship with somebody in a new way.

And I think one thing that I've learned, even in expanding our team internally, is how important it is... You can't assume that everybody operates and works the way that you do.

Kim Ades: [00:14:37]
Right.

Victoria Marshman: [00:14:37]
So coming to an even ground of understanding of this is how we do things and this is why these things are successful.

Kim Ades: [00:14:48]
Exactly, exactly. Like, I know that for me, our coaching is not traditional. It's not like every other coaching program and it's very important for our coaches to really know inside, outside and upside down the distinction and the uniqueness of our coaching and the same for you. That's what creates the brand.

I just want to throw one more thing at you, and it's funny that I didn't say this right up front. But one of the ways that you scale is through partnership and quite recently we created a partnership, you and us, and we're super, super excited and happy about that. And that's another thing is, who do you partner with strategically?

And you need to pick people who are aligned with your philosophy, your approach to doing business and people who resonate with your market, your audience, et cetera. So that's another piece too, another way to scale.

Victoria Marshman: [00:15:44]
Yeah. And I think one of the biggest things we've even learned through the few years we've been doing City MOGULS and building partnerships is it's also really important that you trust that brand, because there's been a couple-- like, we love Frame of Mind, so it was a no brainer to partner with you guys because we can talk authentically about our experience and how much it changed us and made us better.

Kim Ades: [00:16:10]
Right.

Victoria Marshman: [00:16:11]
'Cause there's been a couple of times over the years where we've done-- where we've said yes to things, 'cause it sounded really cool on paper, and then as we got deeper into it, we realized, "oh, there are goals that are very different from ours and our values did not align and this is not a good fit for either party".

Kim Ades: [00:16:30]
Right. So I have something to share with you right now. People who listen to this podcast are not only in Toronto, they're all over the world. So you might have people reaching out to you saying, "how do I learn more about City MOGULS? How do I get involved?"

So what do you say to those people who come from... let's say New York, California, United Arab Emirates. What do you say to those people right off the bat? How can they get involved?

Victoria Marshman: [00:16:58]
Well, it's definitely happening. We're getting-- we had our-- we do a networking happy hour, a monthly event where we do speed networking, and we had actually happened last night and we had people from Detroit, Alabama, also all sorts of places across North America.

So what I would say to them is come to an event for free. We offer your first experience on us, to get a taste of the community. If the vibe really sits with you, it's really something that is hard to explain until you come and just experience it.

Everything's virtual, so you can access it from everywhere. We do it at 5:00 PM EST, most of our events, but I would strongly recommend coming to our networking happy hour. It's really fun. It's really light. You get to connect and meet some other great like-minded leaders and just have a good time. You leave feeling with your cup full and realizing you're not alone, and that there are a lot of amazing trailblazers out there doing what you're doing and are willing to help you too.

Kim Ades: [00:18:04]
Well, I have someone who I'm going to connect you with, who is going to become a member, very shortly, of your community. I can't wait to introduce them.

Victoria Marshman: [00:18:12]
Oh! That's great!

Kim Ades: [00:18:14]
I'm going to show up at one of your events and say hi! I'm definitely going to. How do people find you?

Victoria Marshman: [00:18:21]
So if you head to citymoguls.com... City and then MOGULS, in case you're...

MOGULS is one of those words that's not used that often in English language. So clarifying that, go to citymoguls.com. You'll see all over our website that there's places to fill in your information and get that free event pass to start. And then, if you're really into what we're doing, it's only $18,99 a month to join and just attend--

Kim Ades: [00:18:48]
No brainer.

Victoria Marshman: [00:18:48]
No brainer! Canadian. That's like a Starbucks coffee for our American friends.

Kim Ades: [00:18:56]
You're right.

Victoria Marshman: [00:18:57]
So you can attend all of our virtual events at $18,99 a month, and then our yearly program, which includes the mentorship and the mastermind groups is $499 for the year. So...

Kim Ades: [00:19:10]
Also no brainer.

Victoria Marshman: [00:19:11]
Also no brainer. We're very grateful to have partners who help us subsidize a lot of our costs to keep our membership costs low so startup entrepreneurs can access this incredible community.

Kim Ades: [00:19:23]
Yeah. Honestly, ridiculously affordable. Super awesome. Amazing for startups. I know so many people in startup phase. I'm telling you, I'm going to send a whole bunch of people your way.

Victoria Marshman: [00:19:35]
Thanks, Kim.

Kim Ades: [00:19:36]
I just want to say it's been an honor and such-- like, I just love hanging out with you guys. It's just so fun. It's been an honor to have you in my world. So I thank you for that and I can't wait to be a little bit more part of yours.

For those of you who are listening, I hope you learned something a little bit about scaling, you know, the different ways we can scale through partnerships, through licensing, through bringing on a few more experts on the team, and obviously through technology.

But when you're ready to scale, you have to consider all the factors involved in your scaling process and really pick a scaling option that resonates for you that sits well for you and addresses some of the concerns that you have. And so, that's very important to keep in mind.
For those of you who are listening, if any of you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me. I'd love to hear from you.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

And for those of you who have a challenge, but you're not so willing to share it on the podcast, please reach out to me as well.

My email again is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

And if you're listening to our podcast regularly, as I know, many of you are, please share, please like, please comment, please do all the things that you're supposed to do on podcasts. Thanks so much. We will see you next time.

Latest episodes