137: Growing Your Business with VIP Days with Sarah Masci
As coaches, we help our clients create transformations in their lives. Often, that looks like a process that happens over several sessions and an extended period. How can we condense that value into a VIP day model? What sort of boundaries do we need to set to facilitate the process?
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As coaches, we help our clients create transformations in their lives. Often, that looks like a process that happens over several sessions and an extended period.
How can we condense that value into a VIP day model? What sort of boundaries do we need to set to facilitate the process?
Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Sarah Masci, the go-to person when it comes to creating, implementing, and refining your VIP intensive or day rate services. With 16 years of branding and design experience, Sarah became known as a leader in the online industry for clients looking for high-quality branding and web design before launching Day Rate Mastery® in 2019. Sarah’s mission is to use her personal strengths to empower others to take their expertise and service-based business to the next level and achieve the life and business of their dreams.
In this conversation, we’re talking about what coaches, in particular, need to know when it comes to day rates and how you can incorporate a day rate model in your business. We cover so much in our conversation, and I know you will enjoy it!
- Sarah’s journey to teaching online business owners about how to master a day-rate business model
- The 10-year overnight success
- How coaching and mentorship can help us catalyze our businesses
- Understanding the day rate model
- Managing client expectations throughout the process
- Including follow-ups in your VIP day pricing
- The built-in boundaries that come with a day rate model
- Different ways coaches can incorporate a VIP day model
- Why it’s important to test your model with a few test clients
- Sarah Masci’s Website
- Sarah Masci on Instagram
- Email me or DM me on Instagram to learn more about how we could work together in my Day Rate Programs: VIP Intensive or Day of Voxer Coaching
- Coach with Clarity Collective
- Coach with Clarity Podcast Facebook Group
- Connect with Me on Instagram
- Email Me: email@example.com
Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!
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Well hello, my friend. Welcome to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough, I'm your host, and today I am delighted to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Sarah Masci. I met Sarah about a year ago, and we immediately hit it off. Maybe it's because we both live in North Carolina, but I think it's more because we both are committed to providing high quality services to our clients. And that is exactly what Sarah teaches her clients and students to do in her signature program Day Rate Mastery. She began focusing on day rates or VIP days in 2019. And now she is the go to person when it comes to creating, implementing and refining your VIP intensive, your day rate service. And in today's episode, we are talking about what coaches in particular need to know when it comes to day rates, both as a consumer when you are working with a provider who offers a day rate, but also as a coach who may want to incorporate a day rate model in your business. We cover so much in our conversation and I know you are going to enjoy it. So come listen in. I'm thrilled to connect you with Day Rate Mastery expert, Sarah Masci.
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Lee: Well, hi, Sarah, thank you so much for coming on the Coach with Clarity Podcast today.
Sarah: Thank you so much for having me here, Lee. I've been looking forward to this for a while. Yeah.
Lee: I have too, I have too. I'm just thrilled that you're on, because we're going to be talking about done in a day models for your business. And we've got a lot to cover. I'm really excited about it. But before we do that, let's start at the beginning. I'd love to know just a little bit more about who you are and the work you do for the world.
Sarah: Yeah, so I will date myself here. If we go way back to the beginning, I actually started my online business back in 2005, when my oldest son, I have four boys now, when my oldest was a baby. And I just needed to figure out a way that I could be at home with him and still, you know, contribute financially. So I left my corporate well, I actually did the side hustle for several years, I did part time corporate, part time from home, and just tried out a whole bunch of different online businesses. Just trying to figure out what would work and eventually landed on branding and web design back in around 2010, I kind of found my calling with branding. And eventually that led into web design. And I really kind of grew a pretty well, not well, like a successful web and brand branding business. From the outside looking in, a lot of people probably thought, “Oh, wow, she's doing really well with that.” But what happened was, I was actually burning out from just all of the hustle. And it was the nonstop, you know, working, trying to meet all of my clients' needs and also raising four little boys. By 2012, I had my fourth son, so it was a lot of a lot of work, a lot of, you know, balancing and juggling and all of that. But yeah, so the majority of my career was doing branding and web design. And then in 2019, is when I transitioned into coaching, and more specifically coaching other designers, service providers, coaches, consultants, on how to work more efficiently with a VIP day, or a janitor day or a day rate business model. And so that's what I've been doing since about 2019, is teaching that model to the 1000s of other online business owners all over the world.
Lee: You know, Sarah, what strikes me most about your story is that you really are one of the OG’s. I think when it comes to having an online business, I mean, not many people can take their roots back to 2005. And I also want to just point out that it wasn't until 2010, that you really kind of found your groove in branding and marketing. And then even then nine years later, there was another pivot point for you. So I'm really captivated by the fact that your story has really expanded over what is it, 17 years? And that there have been different transitions and pivot points for you along the way.
Sarah: Yes, yeah, I like to say it's, it's been 1000s of micro pivots over the course of 17 years to get me from where I started to where I am today. And, you know, you see so much out there about, you know, overnight successes and hitting six figures in your first year of business. And you know, Mom's doing it all. And I just want to kind of be the voice. That's the voice of reason that says, you know, it doesn't always happen that way. And like, let's put it in perspective, and look at the journey that so many people go on to get from where they started to where they are today. And there's a lot of stories out there that people don't even know about or hear about until they're, you know, in an interview or something like this where the stories come out.
Lee: I really appreciate your transparency around that. And it reminds me of this idea that it's like the 10 year overnight success. You know, it might look like all of a sudden this person's come out of nowhere, and they're crushing it. But there's been so much work and time that's gone into that seemingly overnight success. And I think it's really important that we entrepreneurs talk about that. Because it is so easy to think I haven't hit six figures in my first year. What am I doing wrong? I didn't hit six figures in my first year. In fact, I think I was well into my third or even fourth year before I was making that type of consistent revenue. So the fact that it takes some of us a while to do that is normal. And oftentimes we need a longer runway if we want to create a truly sustainable business.
Sarah: Yeah, yeah. And I mean, the other thing to look at like yes, it took me a lot longer than even three to five years. But what the issue I think, for me was a lack of processes, a lack of systems, a lack of boundaries, also not knowing how to charge appropriately for the value I was delivering. So there were a lot of things that kind of led to that longer timeline for me, that probably could have been way shortened and way more condensed had I sought out help from a coach or, you know, some sort of a mentor. I didn't hire my first business coach until 2015. So I did 10 years of online business, just kind of, you know, flying by the seat of my pants and trying to figure it all out. So I just want to point that out, that coaching and mentorship can really kind of speed up that process for a lot of people.
Lee: I agree with you 100%. It's something that I talk a lot about that I believe good coaches have good coaches, and it can help us catalyze the process, so that it goes a little faster. And hopefully, it's a little more fun as well. But I think there's a peace of mind from having someone in your corner, who's been there, who's done that, who can not just share their own experiences and lessons learned. But who also knows how to help you discover your own wisdom and create your own path. So you're not just replicating what they did, it's really about you finding the business model and systems that are going to work for you.
Sarah: Mmhmm. Yes, 100%. And it's about having the coach just kind of helping you to stay accountable to whatever though, whatever that path is, whatever those action steps are, I mean, for me, I didn't have a coach say to me, you need to be offering VIP days and that's going to change your whole business. That was an, that came to me internally. But I had coaches out there who were, you know, supporting me in that evolution. And in that transformation that I, where I went from the burnt out, overworked, exhausted, web designer, you know, working on 10 clients at any given time to really streamlining my processes and getting everything dialed in, so that I was able to have the success that I have today. So like I said, it wasn't like a coach who kind of told me to do that. But it was a coach who helped me stay true to that thing that I figured out that I wanted to do.
Lee: To me that is an example of really powerful coaching and action when it's about helping you uncover what's going to work best for you. And clearly this day rate model was something you were really able to go all into around 2019. So tell me a little bit more about what a day rate model is, what it looks like, what we should be looking for?
Sarah: Yeah, there's so much. There's a lot of confusion out there. And I think there's a lot of people who still don't really know what a day rate is or what a VIP day is. So I like to think of day rates, VIP days, and intensives all kind of interchangeable, it's all essentially the same thing, you're charging a flat rate for a day of your time to produce some sort of a transformation or result for your client. And that can be service based business owners, it can be coaches, it can be consultants. I mean, those are kind of the three main categories of people who would offer a VIP day or a day rate. But it's usually like $1,000 or more for the day. And it can be anywhere from six hours to eight hours, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. And a big thing that a lot of people don't understand is that it doesn't always have to be in a face to face, you know, real in person experience, or even a face to face virtual experience. It can be like in the service providers case, it can be done for you work that the service provider, as a web designer, I would design the website in a day for a client, the client wasn't on zoom with me or anything like we were just, you know, asynchronous throughout the day, and I was working and sharing updates periodically throughout the day. And in coaches, you know, in a coaching situation, it might be more face to face, it might be spending a couple of hours together on virtual Zoom meeting. And then maybe there's a break for some sort of implementation or practicing of something that that you know, the coach teaches or whatever. And then it could be at the end of the day could almost be like a follow up report with action steps of things that the client has to work on, you know, moving forward. Some VIP days provide like a 30 day post intensive support period where you're available to that client for feedback, that kind of thing. So it can really be whatever you want it to be but it's typically a one day delivery, you know, some sort of transformation in a day for a flat rate.
Lee: I have worked with providers using a day rate model before in fact, my website, that was a day rate model and as a consumer I loved that because all of a sudden at the end of the day, I had something tangible. I had exactly what I wanted. For my website was actually two VIP days, but that's okay. And so there's something really attractive to consumers, I think about engaging in a day rate model. And I think the focus then becomes less on the amount of time we're spending with someone and more about what the deliverable is, whether it's something tangible, like a website, whether it's something a little more esoteric, like a, like a personal transformation, but really, we're looking at the results versus the time. Would you say that that's a fair way of viewing it?
Sarah: Um, yes and no. So, from the consumer's perspective, the consumer wants that tangible deliverable at the end of the day. From a service provider’s, the person who's providing the web design in a day, I actually coach all of my students not to guarantee deliverables because if you want to contain it to one day, you have to contain it to one day, and we're all human, right. And so there are setbacks, there are delays, maybe the client, like the person, like you, maybe you didn't do all of your pre-work, or maybe you changed your mind halfway through the day on a color or your photos, selection, or whatever. And so that is not the service provider's fault, and they shouldn't be penalized. And if we promise you a set of deliverables in a day, and then something like that happens, or another example would be something like a password, like the incorrect password, maybe you gave me the wrong password to get into your website. But you're off on a two hour lunch meeting, and I can't get in touch with you. So a lot, a lot of things come into play when it comes to guaranteeing deliverables.
But what I always recommend is that you practice like you test out, you know, your services, and see how much you can realistically can get done in a day, provided that there are no hiccups, or anything kind of goes wrong throughout the day. And that's what you let the client know. Like, typically, this is, we can get a half of a website done in one day, a full website typically takes two days. I don't guarantee deliverables. But here is, you know, 10 examples of clients I have worked with and done this for, but it's just like protecting yourself so that if something does happen, you're not kind of like stuck working longer than what you've been paid for because of an uncontrollable variable like that. But like I said, from the consumer's point of view, I totally understand like wanting that deliverable. And that's the only thing that matters. And so I just like to make sure that everyone's kind of projected in that situation.
Lee: I think that's a really good point. And I think it puts the emphasis on expectations, and being really clear both about what the provider is offering during that time and what they're committing to, but also around what the client is committing to as well. Because a done in a day or a day rate model still requires contributions from all parties, the client as well as the, the service provider. So I'm curious from the client side, what should a client come prepared with for a VIP day? Like, what would be a dream client for someone who is offering a day rate model?
Sarah: Yeah, okay, as someone who's been a VIP day client and a ton of situations as well. And knowing from the service provider side, what the expectation should be, I have actually been a bad client a couple of times where I had the pre-work had to get done. And it was like two days before the VIP day, and I hadn't done it yet. And here I am, like the person that teaches it. But a dream client is someone who comes in knowing that they there's going to be some sort of pre-work, there's going to be whether it's a questionnaire, or whether it's three hours of, you know, mindset work, or filling like, like from from my clients, I would have my clients create a mood board so that I could see what their vision was for their branding and their website. And that's a two to three hour process for some people. So it's really setting that expectation on a discovery call that how many hours worth of work is going to it should they should expect to take before the VIP day. It's also about not letting a client book a VIP day two days from now because there's work that has to be done. And so it's really like setting that timeline and saying, “Okay, my next available VIP day is two weeks from now because it's going to take you this amount of time to prepare for and you know, all of that.” So, we're going to go into a lot of detail on the prep work and everything but from the client side, just be prepared to know that like there is going to be work on your part and the service provider is not a mind reader. And they are going to require you to, you know, play some sort of a role in preparing for that VIP day.
I also highly recommend a some sort of a kickoff call, even if the work isn't going to be done face to face, like if you as a client, hiring a service provider, that service provider should offer some sort of a face to face call before the day happens so that you can get on the same page, make sure all the work is done, make sure those passwords do work, make sure that you know two factor authentication isn't necessary halfway through the day, because that happens a lot. But just be prepared to, you know, partake in some of that kind of stuff before the actual day kicks off.
Lee: So what I'm hearing is preparation is key for all parties involved. But clients need to understand that there's going to be some prep work that they have to complete, like the day is contingent upon them successfully completing that work, and then also to a level of availability. And I know that when I've been the client in a VIP day, especially like for my website, there were several hours where my service provider was off doing the work. And then she would kind of check in periodically. But I also knew that if something happened, I didn't need to be somewhat readily available to handle that in the moment. And so I planned my day accordingly. So maybe I wasn't doing a three hour intensive with the client. Maybe it was just a 45 minute call at the most so that I did have pockets of time in my day where I could communicate with my service provider if I needed to. So preparation, availability, and then there was one question I wanted to ask you. You mentioned earlier that sometimes with a VIP day, there might be a level of follow up that happens after the day is done. And I'm curious what the expectations are typically around the level of access, the communication, the type of work done, like how do we set parameters around what's appropriate for follow up from the VIP day?
Sarah: Well, I think first, it depends on what you're charging for your VIP day. And as you figure out what you want to charge, that's when you can figure out what you're going to include. So if you want to include follow up coaching, or follow up some sort of Voxer access or something like that, make sure you factor that into your pricing as the as the, you know, the person offering the VIP day. Because you can charge more if you want to offer more support. But for me personally, as a web designer who offered VIP days, my 30 days of post intensive support did not cover any additional work or design changes or edits or anything like that. That follow up support period was available to them through the messenger communication tool that we used. And it was simply for them to ask questions about things like how do I go in and and edit a paragraph, you know, typically I provide like a follow up tutorial to show them how to do those things. But if there are questions, I don't want to leave them hanging, I want to empower my clients to be able to maintain the thing that they just paid me 1000s of dollars to create for them. And so it would be like, yeah, how do I, how do I.. can you remind me how to log in where do I go to do this. And so it would sometimes be a two to three, I could sometimes type it out, like just login, you're gonna go here, and then you're gonna go here, or I would just pull up a quick little video and do a two minute, you know, here's, here's where you need to go and send it off to them. And this way, you're giving them additional value, but it's not, you're not creating additional assets for them. If that makes sense.
Lee: It makes total sense. So it's very much about setting those expectations, honoring them. And sometimes as providers, we need to communicate with our clients when we are stepping over the boundary that we set around this particular offer. I know that can be tricky, but it's a necessary part of this work. Especially, I would think, if you're doing a VIP day model.
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, and that that brings up a really great point is that one wonderful thing about the VIP days is the built in boundaries that come with it, when you all of a sudden are selling a day of your time, for a flat amount. Like it becomes so much easier to stick to those boundaries and say, “Oh, our day is over. Like, if you need more from me, here's a link to book another day.” Or during that post intensive support period. If the clients like “Oh, can you swap out this. Can you change this?” “Actually, no, that's not covered in the post intensive support period. But I'm happy to let you book another half day with me if you have a handful of other edits or updates that you would like me to make in the future.” So it becomes so much easier to have those boundaries and stick to those boundaries and really kind of keep your work inside of that container, as opposed to the scope creep that happens when, you know, when you're charging project rates or packages and that kind of thing.
Lee: That makes a lot of sense. And so I can already guess that some of the Coach with Clarity Podcast listeners, who are coaches who are really intrigued about this model are wondering, how do you make this work specifically for coaching? Because oftentimes, when we're looking at creating that transformation, it happens over time. So what are your thoughts specifically for coaches around how to condense this process into a VIP day model?
Sarah: Yeah, I mean, it can definitely get tricky, especially when it does require time for people to experience that transformation. But I would be looking at what are, what are some of the things that you help your clients within those first few sessions, and maybe you have, maybe you have like a 6 week package, or, I don't know, 12 week package. I imagine some of the stuff that you do in those first few sessions are more kind of getting to know each other and setting goals and setting expectations and figuring out, you know, what the changes in the transformation are that the client might potentially be looking for. And so I would encourage any coach to really sit down and look at what that introductory type of work is, and how can you maybe package that up into the pre-work so that you know, the client does that pre-work on their own ahead of time, whether it's writing out things, journaling things, answering questions, some people hate to write and fill out questionnaires. So maybe it's, you know, some sort of an audio Voxer, answering questions, that kind of thing. And then you'll have a kickoff call, where you can kind of go over everything and say, “Okay, based on what I'm seeing here, this is where this is where we want to go over the next, instead of 12 weeks over the you know, during the VIP day, this is what we want to accomplish.” So you have that kickoff call to make sure everyone's on the same page with everything. And then you can dive right into them, like the meat and potatoes, part of the coaching on the VIP day. And maybe it is six or seven hours face to face, maybe it's a morning face to face, and then maybe some sort of a, I don't really know exactly what would happen in the afternoon. But you can really structure your day, whether it's all day on face to face with each other, or maybe some separate time.
And then you could also, you know, don't discount the fact that you can offer some sort of a post VIP day follow up. So as a web designer, I offer 30 days of feedback questions, that kind of thing. As a coach, maybe you don't offer 30 days of that, but maybe you say, “We're going to reconnect here in one week. And, you know, follow up on everything that we did here together.” So you just want to factor all of that in and that that follow up session is only an hour. So it's not like another whole VIP day.
Lee: I really liked that idea of book ending the actual day with a prep call, and then maybe a follow up call. I can see how for coaches, that would be particularly helpful. And I also really appreciate the fact that you highlighted, even for coaches, you don't necessarily have to spend the entire VIP day face to face with your client. And in fact, I'm already thinking there may be opportunities for them to complete some journal exercises that you provide, or maybe you have a guided meditation that they listen to. And so you can create a structure that, of course, includes that face to face time, but also gives them some activities and exercises to do whether it's reflection, integration, implementation, and you can bring that into your VIP day as well.
Sarah: Right? Yeah. And one other thing that you can do as a coach and I've actually personally experienced this as a day of like Voxer coaching. So it's just a day that I pay you a flat rate for the day. And I could ask you any questions that I want. Strategic questions about my business or anything like that. And we can go back and forth over the course of you know, from 9am until 4pm. Like it's asynchronous coaching throughout the whole day. So I've personally experienced that and got a lot of value out of it. So that, if you would rather not be face to face all day, but you want to bring coaching VIP days into your business, that is another option as well.
Lee: I love that I use Voxer all the time in my business for my private coaching clients, my masterminds and so forth. And so I can see how a Voxer day would be so powerful. So I love that idea. Thank you. Sarah, I feel like you've just opened up a whole new world for a lot of coaches around how we can provide services and also how we can receive services through this VIP model. I absolutely love it. Are there, is there anything else that you feel like coaches in particular should be aware of if they're looking to implement this model in their business?
Sarah: I think the biggest thing is that anyone, coaches, service providers, consultants, everyone tends to overthink the whole framework and the whole structure around their VIP day. And if this is something that you're interested in, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to go out and find a couple of test clients, and experiment with a VIP day. Let's be 100% transparent, tell the clients “Listen, I've never done this before. But this could be a really transformational opportunity for you as a client. And I'm offering this as a special beta introductory type offer as I test out this model.” And really figure out what works best. And so don't overthink your VIP day, just go out there and get a handful of like two/three, test clients. And then you can go back to the drawing board and look at those experiences, see what worked, see what didn't work, see what felt good, kind of see what felt messy and where things could be improved. And then just go and refine, improve it from there. Like you can't go wrong with just testing something out, taking that imperfect action and going out there and going for it and then figuring it out, and making it better as you go along.
Lee: I love that. I could not agree more. I think when we take that imperfect action, and we really look at it like an experiment. We have a hypothesis, we're testing it, the results are our data, then we can analyze the data and see what if anything needs to be tweaked. And then we run the experiment again, it's just such a clear way to approach it. And it also for me, at least takes away any sense of judgment as to whether “Am I doing it right? Am I making mistakes?” It's just data. And I know that with this data, I can refine and improve and move forward.
Sarah: Right? Yeah, and as long as you are honest with that client about what's happening here, the client the clients love being guinea pigs and test models for this kind of thing because they know they're gonna get some sort of transformation out of it and they're probably going to get a little bit of a deal because they're volunteering to be that that guinea pig client.
Lee: That's exactly right. Sara, I've so enjoyed our conversation. I have no doubt that people are going to want to connect with you. So where is the best place to learn more about you and your work?
Sarah: Best place is just my website so sarahmasci.com, they can find everything right there on the site. I have some low ticket offers and I have a free like 15 point checklist. I also have a free masterclass. So, whether you're looking for free information, or you're ready to invest in getting started in VIP days, there's everything right there for you at sarahmasci.com. I also love chatting with people on Instagram. So it's also @SarahMasci on Instagram, they can reach out to me there, but those are probably the two best places to get started.
Lee: Excellent. We will have links to both your website and your Instagram profile in the show notes. So definitely check out Sarah Masci. And Sarah, I am just so grateful for your time and your wisdom. Thank you so much for being my guest on the podcast today.
Sarah: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This was great.
I hope you found my conversation with Sarah to be informative and inspiring. And that you are starting to see some ways that you can incorporate a day rate model into your coaching business as well. I absolutely love VIP days, and I've incorporated this model into my own business as well. I have a one on one VIP intensive, which is perfect for the coach who is looking to build out their brand, or build out a specific coaching offer. We spend a day together really hammering out your vision and creating a roadmap for getting you there. In addition to that VIP intensive, I also offer a day of Voxer coaching. Now if you are not familiar with Voxer it is a free app that allows you to leave voice and text messages for someone and it is a staple in my coaching business. I use it with my ongoing clients, but I have also found that a day of Voxer in and of itself is such a powerful offer. So if you are interested in exploring my day rate offers whether it is that VIP intensive or a Voxer day of coaching. Then let's connect. You can email me my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or come find me over on Instagram or TikTok @CoachWithClarity and send me a DM. I would love to explore the transformation we can create in your coaching practice in just a single day.
Well, my friend, that is it for me this week. But I will be right back in your feed next week with a brand new episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. So I hope you will join me then be sure to subscribe to or follow the show. You can do that for free and whatever podcast platform you're using. And then next week's episode will show up automatically in your feed. I can't wait to connect with you then. And until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.