April 20, 2023

Make an Asset Out of Yourself for a Fantastic Finale, with Stephanie Hayes

Make an Asset Out of Yourself for a Fantastic Finale, with Stephanie Hayes
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We're living longer, and retiring later (if at all), but that doesn't mean we're not evolving! More likely, we're figuring out what to do NEXT. Stephanie Hayes, host of the Real People, Real Business podcast, is the founder of the Entrepreneurial Offramp - a pathway for established business owners to move from revenue to wealth, and to plan an eventual exit from their business. Most business owners think an exit is only for Silicon-Valley startups, or venture-funded product companies, but in reality, they've actually created value already, and with a few tweaks, they can start leveraging that value and multiply it over time. Stephanie has a Masters degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management of Technology, a BA in Communication, an Internet Marketing Diploma from 1998, and is a Certified Management Consultant, with additional certifications in change management, business agility, and technology operating models. 

Chapter Markers:

00:00 - Talk Through Your Plans

03:51 - Fantastic Finale

6:13 - Almost Like Therapy

8:58 - Mining Your Assets

15:00 - Who Are We (as People & Business Owners)?

17:14 - The 100th Episode!

21:54 - Creating Critical Mass

Stephanie has started up multiple businesses, and is a partner in a software product company serving the K-12 education market. She believes strongly in supporting entrepreneurship, and has been an entrepreneur mentor in various startup accelerators and university programs. 

Stephanie lives in Squamish, British Columbia with her two teenagers, a crazy dog and an overprotective cat. She enjoys mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking and thrifting and hopes to one day travel the world in a van

Find Stephanie:



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Stephanie Hayes - Final Transcript

[00:00:00] Stephanie Hayes: I think that one of the, one of the most important things that you can do when you. Facing up a change is to go and talk about it a lot until it becomes clear and succinct and you can see the reactions that you get when you use your words and when you speak through, you know, what you're planning and then sometimes you, you hit a roadblock and you're like, ah, that wasn't right.

[00:00:22] Stephanie Hayes: So I like this. This is almost like therapy. I am, you know, almost 50. And when I speak to other women who are my age that are in business, We're all sort of thinking about the same thing, not how are we gonna start up, but how are we gonna finish? And nobody's talking to us in our demographic. And so I really wanted to be able to offer something to those business owners who are at that place where they've been in business for a little while and they have all these skills in this experience and this expertise, and giving them some more options to figure out where they go from.

[00:00:59] Hersh Rephun: When I [00:01:00] hear that somebody's, you know, nearing 50, I think, oh man. Yeah, I remember when I was young. Remember when I was young? It's a milestone though, isn't it? It is. It is a milestone. When you hit 55, you don't want to hear about stones at all anymore. You don't. You definitely don't even want to hear that word.

[00:01:17] Hersh Rephun: Martians landed? Yes. Wearing Prada suits. Yes. Drinking Henry Seltzer. Yes. Chewing Juicy Fruit. Yes. And your branding here? Yes. Brand. Your message here? Yes. And a verse about Yes. Your product here? Yes. I rush. Re. Yes. I'm a message therapist. Yes. And I have a podcast. Yes. Brand. That's right. That's it. Yes. We'll help you fix the world.

[00:01:43] Hersh Rephun: Yes. For your bottom line. All your bottom line. Get it. Welcome to podcast.

[00:01:55] Hersh Rephun: Hey everybody. Okay. If you're doing something with your business, you probably come across people [00:02:00] who would love to work with you, but they. Pay you on the day that they see your offer and that they talk to you about it and that they want to work with you because perhaps it's a little high ticket for them.

[00:02:12] Hersh Rephun: And so I've aligned this season with a partner by the name of Numeris Capital and my friend Todd Aaron, and they are there to help you grow faster, close more deals, provide. Customers with more realistic credit options, financing options, they do all kinds of things. Credit card processing, if you are doing that kind of volume, and that's gonna be helpful if you are interested in better financing options, credit card processing, and also better lines.

[00:02:46] Hersh Rephun: Of credit with more vendors across a wider swath of financiers. Then of course, go to Numeris, N u m e r u s, capital C A P I T A [00:03:00] l.net/yes, and get your complimentary consultation there and see what they can do for you. I love those people. I am very grateful they are in the game making us all winners. So here we are on.

[00:03:13] Hersh Rephun: Episode of the New Season of Yes Brand, my conversation with Stephanie Hay. Well speak for itself and you don't really need me to, to speak for it, but I hope you're doing well. So enjoy and I will see you on the flip side, when you leave a review, a five star rating, you go to whatever platform you like.

[00:03:34] Hersh Rephun: Um, go to our YouTube channel and subscribe there cuz you're gonna be getting bonus material there all season long here on Yes brand. Anyway, take it away. Hirsch. I know that you have an amazing interview coming up because I.

[00:03:51] Hersh Rephun: Are you looking for an entrepreneurial off-ramp? You might be. And if you are, today's guest is Stephanie Hayes. [00:04:00] Stephanie is an expert in what I called now. This was just from listening to her. I was thinking of calling a fantastic finale. You mentioned the finale when you were talking, and I thought, At the moment, I wrote it down, I was listening to Stephanie speak earlier and it prompted me to want have her on the show and she was talking about what happens when you are kind of ready to move from revenue to wealth and you wanna make an exit from your business, but you don't know what to do next or how to do it.

[00:04:30] Hersh Rephun: Uh, and you mentioned finale, but I thought, oh, she's an expert in the fantastic finale. And then people would be like, what does that. So reason I like

[00:04:40] Stephanie Hayes: this because everything, like we keep coming up with this alliteration and we had, you know, tried to name my program and it was the elegant exit. So now I've got the fantastic finale.

[00:04:48] Stephanie Hayes: I like it.

[00:04:50] Hersh Rephun: Well, the elegant exit is kind of cool. And you know, I, because eventual exit doesn't sound as promising. It sound eventual exit,

[00:04:59] Stephanie Hayes: it sounds like, [00:05:00] doesn't have the same energy,

[00:05:00] Hersh Rephun: does it? No, no. That sounds like something my insurance agent would say, well, in the event of your eventual exit, eventual exit, the company will no longer be funding your anyway.

[00:05:13] Hersh Rephun: So, okay. Well, so tell me how we got to this moment where you're kind of, I understand you're shifting a little bit, right? You're going to, which is good for this show because a lot of the people who are coming on Yes. Brand and that I work with are about to do something. And they're not sure exactly how to do it, and it's instructive for others who are listening to learn how to do stuff and make shifts in their lives.

[00:05:40] Hersh Rephun: So tell me what's going on for you and your brand right now.

[00:05:45] Stephanie Hayes: Oh, well, it started when I was a kid. Now I see. I like this because I think that one of the, one of the most important things that you can do when you. Facing up a change just to, to go and talk about it a lot until [00:06:00] it becomes clear and succinct and you can see the reactions that you get when you use your words and when you speak through, you know, what you're planning and then sometimes you, you hit a roadblock and you're like, ah, that wasn't right.

[00:06:13] Stephanie Hayes: So I like this. This is, this is almost like therapy. So I am a, I am a business model designer. And in the corporate world and with small businesses and medium sized businesses, what I do is I look at, you know, all the things, the organizational design, the business model design, and I help you realign all of that to get to where it is that you really wanna be.

[00:06:37] Stephanie Hayes: You know, a couple of years ago I had my own little existential crisis when I was looking around at all of the things that I had done, and I thought, gosh, I'm not building anything. You know, I've got all these skills, I've got master's degrees, I. You know, experienced in so many different things, but I don't feel like I'm building something.

[00:06:55] Stephanie Hayes: And it got me started down this rabbit hole of [00:07:00] trying to figure out how people use business as an investment. And you know, rather than buying real estate, can I buy a business? Can I sell a business? Can I. Create value inside of a business. And when I thought about that in terms of my clients, I thought, gosh, all of these businesses, no matter what kind of business they are, they all have have value.

[00:07:20] Stephanie Hayes: They all have assets inside their business that they don't even recognize that they're creating. And so the big shift for me is to move away from sort of that more generic business strategy, business coaching into this piece of the journey. That feels really pertinent and really relevant, especially at my age right now.

[00:07:43] Stephanie Hayes: I'm, you know, almost 50. And when I speak to other women who are my age that are in business, we're all sort of thinking about the same thing. Not how are we gonna start up, but how are we gonna finish? And nobody's talking to us in our demographic. [00:08:00] And so I really wanted to be able to offer something to those business owners who are at that place where they've been in business for a little while, and they have all these skills and this experience and this expertise, and giving them some more options to figure out where they go from here.

[00:08:17] Hersh Rephun: When I hear that somebody's, you know, nearing 50, I think, oh man. Yeah, I remember when I was young. Remember when I was. It's a milestone though, isn't it? It is. It is a milestone, and I think at this point, first of all, that's a milestone, but when you hit 55, you don't wanna hear about stones at all anymore.

[00:08:34] Hersh Rephun: You don't, you definitely don't even want to hear that word. The truth is that I think the asset part is really interesting as well, because we're so busy building. We're so busy doing stuff, we don't know what, we haven't looked at our output. As value per se, unless, you know, you could be a, a recording artist and say, oh, I have my whole catalog.

[00:08:58] Hersh Rephun: But it's almost [00:09:00] like everybody, in your view, maybe everybody has a catalog hits that they're not aware of. What are some examples of that, of mining your assets?

[00:09:11] Stephanie Hayes: Yeah, I mean, this is one of the questions that I wanted to answer for myself too, and. Put this little collection together. It's free on my website if you want it, but it's, you know, like the, I identified sort of nine types of assets that you can build inside your business that.

[00:09:27] Stephanie Hayes: Someone who might buy it, would find, would attach value to, right? These are the financially valuable items that you can build within your business. And if you start looking at your business, you might identify that actually some of these exist. So you know, the very obvious one would be products, right? So what kind of products do we have in our business?

[00:09:46] Stephanie Hayes: What's some of the creative assets that we've created in our business? Is there content? Are there other creative. That we have built is, do we have an audience? An audience is worth something? Do we have subscriptions and retainers that our clients are committed to? That's worth [00:10:00] something. Do we have formalized partnerships that we have entered into that's worth something?

[00:10:04] Stephanie Hayes: Do we have investments we've created inside our business? Do we have productized services those can be sold? Do we have licensable ip? Do we have brands and and trademarks? So all of those different types of assets. Are areas to focus on. Like maybe you have them or maybe you don't, but maybe that's part of the strategy that we build together is, is, you know, I'm not working with my clients the minute they decide they're going to sell and now it's a rush to like get a business broker, that kind of thing.

[00:10:32] Stephanie Hayes: We're not talking about transaction, we are talking about a longer runaway. We are talking about planning for this too, five years down the road. What can you do now to put yourself in a position that at the time when you're ready to make an exit, whether you're selling your business or you're just taking yourself out of your business, what can you build inside the business that is going to make it more valuable and, and set you up for a really great wealth event at that

[00:10:55] Hersh Rephun: time?

[00:10:56] Hersh Rephun: Now, a lot of people, as they look toward [00:11:00] that, let's say they look at that two to five. It's not like the old days is the only word I can think of. It's not like old days where, you know, you retired and you went and played golf and you sat on a boat and that's really all you wanted to do. The people these days are finding that they would like to stay in the game.

[00:11:18] Hersh Rephun: They may not want to do exactly what they're doing right now with their actual business, but they wanna stay in game. In the game. They wanna work, they want to invest, they want to come up with ideas. They want to. Have an impact in the world. Do you find that as well?

[00:11:34] Stephanie Hayes: A hundred percent. And I think that it's actually an important part of, of the strategy.

[00:11:39] Stephanie Hayes: So I have these sort of two phases of the program that I would work with my clients on. The first phase is like, what are we gonna do to get there? And then the second phase is, once you're there, what, what are you gonna do then? And what I insist on building is what I call a deceleration plan. And you have to very intentionally decide before you get there, what's gonna happen with your life [00:12:00] once you hit that exit.

[00:12:01] Stephanie Hayes: Because there's this. Massive potential for an existential crisis. There is, you know, we need an off ramp. And that's, that's exactly where the off ramp came from. You know, I have a very good friend of mine who went through the sale of her business and she had built it over 20 years and she was, you know, it was her heart and it was a bit of an unfortunate circumstance, but she had to sell it and she sold.

[00:12:24] Stephanie Hayes: And then spent, you know, a year and a half kind of going, what am I doing right? And what do I do next? And do I just, you know, contribute in some impact way? And she, she spun, she spun for a long time and it was really, it was a harder situation for her to be in than when she was in a stressful business running a stressful business.

[00:12:43] Stephanie Hayes: So the, the. The importance of meaning and identity to us as entrepreneurs is like, is high. And so we need to figure out what life looks like on the other side. And I wanna bring in, you know, a financial coach. I wanna [00:13:00] bring in maybe even life coaches if necessary to work with my clients to help them decide what that.

[00:13:06] Stephanie Hayes: Post exit world looks like for them because I think they have to go straight into something that is meaningful, that is active, and maybe then they slowly decelerate from there. But I don't think it's prudent to take an entrepreneur who has spent 15 years building a business and throw them into nothing.

[00:13:26] Stephanie Hayes: Yeah.

[00:13:28] Hersh Rephun: Yeah. It's obvious that it's a recipe for disaster and. You know, I had a guest on both of my podcast named Martin Pisani, who's an entrepreneur, mountain climber author, and his book, the Secret to Aging Well Get Outside, is his first book is all about, you know, staying young and staying active, and this myth of retir.

[00:13:54] Hersh Rephun: At 65 or something like that. And what happens when you do that and what [00:14:00] happens when you lose me? And meaning can come in all forms. It's not, doesn't have to be the business, it can be all kinds of activities. But I think we, the co, we spend our whole life becoming good at something and adept at something.

[00:14:17] Hersh Rephun: And I feel like, you know, 10 years down the. That I wouldn't feel like I don't want to do anything anymore. I would feel like, oh wow, I got 10 years better at it from whatever I was doing between now and then. So I would imagine my hunger for growth would still be there, but I wouldn't wanna manage a business or manage, you know, handle details and kind of look at the bottom line of a business every.

[00:14:48] Hersh Rephun: So I could see where a transition would be called for, but I think it's like we just have the responsibility now of redefining what the next phase of life [00:15:00] looks like. You know,

[00:15:01] Stephanie Hayes: that's why it's not enough to just do a financial transaction. Right? Yeah. This is why with all my work, the very first thing I do is I dive right back into who these people are as individuals, as human beings, as business owners, because I think they don't do that.

[00:15:16] Stephanie Hayes: They build a business typically based on, you know, what you're supposed to do and what you know, business school tells you to do, or all of the, you know, the courses or. Whatever you've used. But most entrepreneurs don't have a background in business, right? Like they're not expected to know these things.

[00:15:31] Stephanie Hayes: And so they piece everything together based on what they hear and learn outside of their business. And they end up with this, what I call a Franken business, which is like, I learned the arm over here and I learned the foot over there and I, you know, maybe I have an ear that I got from some book I read and.

[00:15:50] Stephanie Hayes: It's not them. And so we have to peel this back and we have to get better at understanding who these people are as individuals, as human beings. Because the strategy and the [00:16:00] pathway that we're gonna take to an exit, whether they're exiting and selling, or they're exiting and retaining ownership of their business, is just taking themselves out of it.

[00:16:08] Stephanie Hayes: It's a very personal path. And what you do after your business is sold or is, you know, you've exited. That's also a very personal path. And so we have to start with understanding who this person.

[00:16:21] Hersh Rephun: Yeah. Now with your podcast, real People, real Business, you've been doing that for a while, right? Yeah. You have like, I think almost 80 episodes out there.

[00:16:31] Hersh Rephun: W

[00:16:31] Stephanie Hayes: well published. Is that, I think we're all at that. Yeah. We're just about to do, we're just about to record episode number 100.

[00:16:38] Hersh Rephun: Wow. Okay. See, I had some kind of feeling, some kind of sense that there was a momentous occasion. Ha, that's a big deal. Miles, your hundredth episode. Yeah. Do you know what the hundredth episode is going to be?

[00:16:52] Hersh Rephun: Yes. Is something, uh, special that you can talk about? Yes,

[00:16:57] Stephanie Hayes: my business life partner, he [00:17:00] and I have been working together for 25 years. We have built businesses together. We have been consulting in through the business and technology space for many years, and he's one of my best friends and we have very aligned thinking.

[00:17:14] Stephanie Hayes: I think for our hundredth episode, I am going to sit down with him and we are going to talk through our journey together. Over the last 25 years building businesses, what we've learned about being, you know, freelancers, what we've learned about, you know, starting and selling and failing a lot. Mm-hmm. And, you know, some of the ways that we've matured and grown up together in the business space.

[00:17:37] Stephanie Hayes: I felt that, like that was a pretty appropriate topic for my hundredth episode.

[00:17:42] Hersh Rephun: That'll be great. So how did you. We

[00:17:46] Stephanie Hayes: met. Oh, I spent a long time in the.com. Well, as long as you can in the.com

[00:17:51] Hersh Rephun: industry. I spent a lot of time in crypto. Yeah. Really.

[00:17:58] Stephanie Hayes: How much time did you I lived through, I [00:18:00] lived through and survived the the.com and, and you know, I gotta tell you, okay.

[00:18:04] Stephanie Hayes: It was one of the most exciting and, you know, productive times of my life. My job in during that time was to incubate companies and just continue to incubate and build these little companies inside. Of a bigger one. And so they, we would incubate these little companies and then sell them and then, you know, build the value inside these business.

[00:18:27] Stephanie Hayes: So, you know, I'm in my late twenties or mid twenties and that's my job. And it was pretty amazing, right? So it was crazy. And we worked seven days a week. 14 day hours a day and we would be launching and building and marketing and you get an education so quickly. Anyway, so all that blew up as we know, and I was out there looking for some work and I applied for this job in this bizarre, I couldn't quite figure it out what it was, um, because I got an introduction to someone who owned this little company and they had just finished [00:19:00] buying my business partner.

[00:19:02] Stephanie Hayes: Business. So he was, you know, kind of working there as, as a transition. And so we were, he, he, I, I don't know, I got introduced to him as one of the interviews that I was supposed to have, and we very realized, very quickly realized just how aligned we were in terms of our mindsets and, and what have you, and it there.

[00:19:21] Stephanie Hayes: And we just started consult. We were doing consulting work, we were doing, you know, technology consulting and business consulting, and we had a very similar background and a very similar mindset and a very similar perspective and sense of humor and all of that. And then we just kept going and we went through another startup.

[00:19:41] Stephanie Hayes: We started that up and then that got sold. And then we worked in the acquiring company and that was awful. And then we worked in, you know, we have so much shared experience over the last 25 years. And then we started up another company that, um, a consulting company together. [00:20:00] He went back and worked for Microsoft for a while and then came back and then I left and I started up my software company and then, but so we've always been, we've been like kind of in the same space for a very long time and doing the same work and now we're back working together again.

[00:20:14] Stephanie Hayes: And it was like one of these sort of, don't ever tell him I said this because we can't be nice to each other, but it was one of these sort of like coming home moments where we're just like, We just need to be together. Like it's just, you know, we're business life partners and we have a, you know, we have that kind of relationship.

[00:20:31] Stephanie Hayes: So that's, that'll be, that'll be the hundredth episode. I think

[00:20:34] Hersh Rephun: it'll be good. That's exciting. So now looking past the hundredth episode, not speaking about the podcast, but just speaking about this moment, so what would be a. Outcome for 2023. What would be a wonderful thing for you in your endeavors to see happen in 2023?

[00:20:57] Hersh Rephun: Oh

[00:20:57] Stephanie Hayes: gosh. Well, I would love to [00:21:00] see the development of a community of women who are starting to take this concept seriously and starting to build wealth for themselves because it's not a conversation that happens a lot. How do we build wealth for the, A lot of these women who have exited their businesses stumbled into it, or someone came to them and said, You know, you've got something that we wanna buy.

[00:21:23] Stephanie Hayes: I would love to hear stories of women who have intentionally built their business models for an exit who are taking control of their own investment, their own wealth, who are, you know, looking at wealth as a good thing. Right? It's not something we shouldn't talk about. So I would love to just, I would love to have a community of those women rallying around this concept and this.

[00:21:47] Hersh Rephun: So are you, do you do like, uh, do you do any events or get togethers, retreats, things like that?

[00:21:54] Stephanie Hayes: The intention of the model that I wanna build once we have kind of critical mass inside of the, [00:22:00] the actual program, I would like to have a rotating three month mastermind model where we are able to get together on a every three months in a physical retreat.

[00:22:11] Stephanie Hayes: Create those relationships, build those relationships. I've never had the desire to create something at scale. I've never had a desire to create something with, you know, massive amounts of people. I would love to have a small group of like highly engaged relationships with, you know, these amazing people that are building.

[00:22:30] Stephanie Hayes: And so the mastermind option. On a three month rotation because I want to give people flexibility to come in and go out and come in and go out as they need the support. So I would love that to gain some traction and to start that, you know, mid-year. I would love to see us all becoming. Investors in our own businesses.

[00:22:52] Stephanie Hayes: I would love to see us all, you know, thinking about the end, not as a failure, but as a, as yet [00:23:00] another beginning as as a triumph, and I'm looking forward to having more conversations with people who are. In that place who, um, who can really benefit from that kind of thinking?

[00:23:15] Hersh Rephun: If you liked the show Yes. And it worked for you?

[00:23:19] Hersh Rephun: Yes. Subscribe and leave us. Yes. Five star review. Yes. Tell all your friends, get your branding here. Yes. Get your branding here. Yes. Did I make it clear? Yes. Get your branding on? Yes. Before they're gone. Yes. Huh.