Welcome to Series 6 of the Plutus Awards Podcast hosted by Michelle Jackson. Our community is filled with hundreds of stories from creators and entrepreneurs just like you. And through this show we share these stories of challenges and successes from bloggers to podcasters, from writers, speakers, and more.
In this season we talk about a somewhat taboo topic — the deadly sins that personal finance (and other content creators) can make. We share lessons learned, how to avoid these mistakes, and the fact that we’re all human, putting our creative work out there into the world. This season’s conversation is about the inherent risks we’re taking in developing online brands, our own hubris, and the impact that how other people perceive us can make us or break our online brand.
Today’s guest is Rahkim Sabree and in this episode we talk about hubris. Just because we built something doesn’t mean that our audience wants it. Learn the lessons learned from the mistake of building out a product without talking to your audience. We’ve all done it before and how Rahkim is avoiding making that mistake in the future.
Rahkim Sabree – The Sin of Hubris: How to Use Insight From Your Audience
Notes and summary from this episode
Rahkim-I’m Rahkim Sabree, I’m an author, columnist, speaker and financial coach. Got into financial education about 10 years ago. I talk about financial empowerment, financial trauma and financial mindset.
Michelle-How would you describe what your business is to other online entrepreneurs?
Rahkim-It evolves part of me feels like I act like a consultant and stepping into an influencer role. My business model is definitely digital media.
Michelle-This season of the Plutus Awards Podcast we’re talking about the 7 deadly sins that creators need to be aware of making in their businesses. We’re definitely talking about this with a lot of empathy. How did you even get into this space?
Rahkim-I fell in by accident. A happy accident. I spent 10 years in the banking industry. And one of the things I realized was that there was a lot that I didn’t know about money. In my banking career I had to learn about the products in order to sell them. I realized what I wasn’t exposed to growing up. For example-the idea of homeownership. It didn’t occur to me that homeownership was available to me. I shared my knowledge with my friends and family because they also didn’t know.
Michelle-What’s interesting around your brand and mission is that it’s positioned around firing your boss.
Rahkim-The best decision I’ve ever made and the hardest decision I’ve ever made. I had to figure out how I was going to move forward and figuring out how I was going to survive. It’s been a liberating experience, but the biggest takeaway for me is that my mental health has improved significantly. The idea of “I fired my boss” is to take back your power.
Michelle-What are some of the ways your building out your brand and components of your business?
Rahkim-I like this question. When I first started I didn’t know what to do. A lot of the growth I’ve experienced is based on a combination of things. Being active on Twitter, reels, etc. But, what solidified my credibility was contributing to publications and being featured. People look at you as a thought leader.
Michelle-You’re talking about building up your authority. What about building out how you’re making money? Let’s deep dive into the product’s conversation and the deadly sin related to product.
Rahkim-Most of my money comes from solidifying that credibility. I do a lot of writing and the writing brings in income. I wouldn’t have gotten paid for my writing if I was writing for free first. I also do some social media management, get paid to speak and one-on-one financial coaching. Going into products I was approached by a coach to build out a course. I was like “oh, ok.” I’d never thought about creating a course and this should be easy. I was convinced to do it and paid the coach to help me with it. I drank the kool aid. I thought I was going to pay a high ticket price, etc. Then, I would invest in Facebook ads. I spent 4 figures in Facebook advertising no sales, 4 figures in retaining the ad agency, 4 figures for the coach. And the thing that I learned in hindsight I didn’t ask my audience is this what they actually wanted (from me). The difference between my content and the course is that it’s not sexy. It’s not “I’m going to bring your credit score to 850 in 30 days” I was advised to market it differently and I knew that I couldn’t because the content was about abstract topics and the psychology of money. Not sexy. I really didn’t test the market and I assumed that I knew best and that they would buy.
Michelle-That’s a hard lesson especially because you developed a course and you have to factor in the time that you took to do that. I think a lot of content creators make this mistake. It’s hard to hear from people to pre-sell a product. It feels weird to make sales on a product that doesn’t feel real.
Rahkim-The coach did give me the advice to run a pre-sell and it didn’t really work. The coach and I even worked out what the revenue would like for pre-sells vs. post sales. The coach and I were friends prior to this and I trusted that their expertise was aligned with what they were articulating based on our friendship. This did have a negative impact on our friendship. There was very minimal involvement with the coach; they were theoretical versus on-hand. In hindsight I should have asked for a case study showing their results with other clients.
Michelle-You’re in the process of developing new products and how does this experience influence that process?
Rahkim-There’s definitely trauma associated with it. I haven’t abandoned the course and it lives in two places and rebranded the content and repriced it. As far as moving forward, I have a better pulse on what my audience resonates with. My favorite platform to test content on is Twitter and then Instagram is a close second. And then launching a pre-sell around these products to see the pace of buy in versus engagement. Because someone likes an idea on a post doesn’t mean that they’re going to buy something. There’s so much momentum with the Great Resignation and Work From Home because of the Pandemic. It doesn’t just mean quit your job.
Michelle-What types of products are you looking at and why?
Rahkim-I am working on a book. That’s the biggest product that has gained a lot of momentum. I’ve started some pre-sells around that. The process of emptying my mind of all of those experiences and the real, raw things about being in corporate America (has been hard)
Michelle-I know that a lot of people in the PF space write books as a way to get in front of other people and launch your brand. Are you prepared for some of the energy around the book and the reception of the book? What are you doing to get the book out there?Are you worried about missing out on this wave of interest?
Rahkim-That’s a good question. But, I got burnt out. I got to a point where I felt like I was done and then I looked at the word count and it wasn’t enough. I took a pause and in taking a pause to take the time to decompress and heal. I’ve been able to reflect and let those experiences marinate. I’ve asked my audience for some grace. I just continue telling my story. My audience has grown during this time due to viral posts and national television coverage.
Michelle-It’s an evergreen topic. I think that you’ve tapped into a feeling and sentiment that had really good timing with millions of people (in the U.S.) quitting.
Rahkim-When I hit a one year mark having made that decision and people congratulated me.
Michelle-What’s your goal for next year?
Rahkim-To continue to be free. Continue the momentum, continue to find ways to make income as an entrepreneur. It’s a little scary. Making smart choices financially to allow me to sustain this lifestyle.