186 | How to Position YourSELF as The Value with Merel Kriegsman

Welcome to episode 186 of Profit Boss® Radio! Today, we’re talking about how to break the chains of generational scarcity and become unapologetic leaders who don’t just demand what they’re worth–they get it! 

If you’re looking to make a business breakthrough, there’s more to it than simply being great at what you do. You’ve got to position yourself as the value and set yourself up for success as not just a leader, but an iconic leader–and this is why I’m so excited to talk to my guest, Merel Kriegsman.

Merel is the CEO and founder of Merel Kriegsman Media. She’s a high-ticket sales coach whose insights have been featured on CBS News, ABC News, and in publications like Forbes and Fast Company. She’s also a mother of three. 

If you’re ready to learn how to stop saying sorry and embark on a journey to authentically grow your business on your terms, today’s episode is for you!

Here’s what you’ll find out in this week’s episode of Profit Boss® Radio

  • How Merel’s struggle for success as a musician changed her perception of money.
  • What Merel did to go from making nothing to over six figures a month within a matter of weeks.
  • Merel’s non-negotiable practices that helped her create offers for high-ticket clients–and how she scaled and replicated her success.
  • How Merel and her husband are now able to pay themselves approximately $30,000 a month from their business while still having plenty of runway to reinvest as needed.
  • How to focus in and double down on the unrepeatable, uncopyable things that make you uniquely yourself–and absolutely of value.

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Transcript

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Hilary Hendershott: Hello, profit boss. I’m about to welcome into the recording studio, business mentor Merel Kriegsman. She’s the CEO and founder of Merel Kriegsman Media, a company that’s helped hundreds of women ascend into self-funded wealth. She’s dedicated to helping women break the chains of generational scarcity and step into becoming unapologetic female leaders who fearlessly demand what they’re worth and get it. Her insights on women and wealth have been featured on CBS News, ABC News, and in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping. And she was recently quoted in an article in Entrepreneur titled 7 Tips to Hit 7 Figures and Beyond in 2020, alongside Sir Richard Branson.

 

What I’m most excited to talk with Merel about are a couple of concepts. First of all, she calls herself a high-ticket sales coach. So, I want to know, what are high-ticket sales? What does that mean? What kind of companies, what kind of professionals, what kind of products and services can be high ticket? What’s the definition of high ticket? What is it like to market a high-ticket offering?

 

Also, Merel likes to talk about positioning yourself as the value, yourself as the iconic leader. And so, I have questions for her about how she thinks about that, whether she has any daily practices or routines about that. I mean, she’s a mother of three. So, there have to be some tips and secrets here. So, that’s what I’m excited to talk with Merel about. I hope you enjoy this episode of Profit Boss Radio.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Hilary Hendershott: Hi, Merel, welcome to Profit Boss Radio.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I am so glad to be here.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, where are you today?

 

Merel Kriegsman: I am on the Prairies in Canada today.

 

Hilary Hendershott: On the Prairies.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Out of curiosity, what constitutes the Prairies? Is that just a big flat land?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Very flat, very wide, beautiful skies, lots of like wheat waving in the wind sort of vibes…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Wow.

 

Merel Kriegsman: At Ieast, in the summer. In the winter, it’s -50 Celsius here, it sounds like, at some point. So, it’s like really cold, but yeah, like winds, lots of wind, basically.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay, so you’re very in it with nature. There are lots to see around you. It sounds beautiful, very different than my surroundings, but. So, you started out singing opera in Italy for pennies, and at some point, there was cleaning toilets in Germany, I read. Is that accurate?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, it is. This is funny because… go ahead, sorry.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Well, I was just going to say, tell us how you got to those places.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. I was actually doing another interview with a fellow musician this morning and I was just like digging in there. So, it’s very fresh on my mind actually. Yeah, so the Italian adventure was like a competition I did in Vatican City, and it was great. I actually won a prize, and it was broadcasted worldwide, and it was an amazing experience, also hilarious because the conductor kicked us out of the dressing room to be alone with his mother and his stylist, which to me, it doesn’t get more Italian than that. I was like, oh, my God, is that really happening?

 

Hilary Hendershott: Happening.

 

Merel Kriegsman: So funny, but the flip side to that was that I just wasn’t making a lot of money doing that. Like, despite all the exposure and the opportunities that I got, I wasn’t making any money, to speak of, really. And so, we were very poor. And at one point, I decided, like, I’m not going to wait for the next audition. I want to really have this experience of this being in my own control or having a little bit more control over my finances, which at that point, for me, look like I’d rather go be cleaning people’s houses and people’s toilets than sitting here waiting to get a phone call that I may or may not get.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Really?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, that’s sort of like how that started, sort of at the very foundation of that moment choosing to not have it be in the hands of other people, like how much I was making.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, how long did you train to be an opera singer?

 

Merel Kriegsman: I would say, I really got into it very, very committedly at age 14 or so. So, a total of a decade that I was really in it and studying it and auditioning and all those things, yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I can see that being very all-consuming, but were you thinking about your financial life at that time? Or did you just assume it would come? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: I wasn’t, I’ve never been a planner, which is funny because here we are talking about financial planning and stuff like that, but I assumed because I was really talented, that I would just make so much money. I was like, this is great. Like, I got to just do what I love to do, which is climb on a stage and sing beautiful music. And then people pay me a couple of grand every evening. And there’s a lot of days in a year. Like, I’ll take it, right? And also, I come from a sort of middle-class family, but my mom is a stay-at-home mom. And I think my dad made maybe around 120,000 and 130,000 euros, which is, I don’t know, 150,000 USD. So, my concept of wealth wasn’t really there, except that I thought my father made a lot of money. So, I was like, if I can match my dad like, wow! As long as I don’t match my mom, we’re good, yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay, so progress from an opera career that may turn into money, but didn’t for you or didn’t yet.  And then you thought, well, at least if I have an hourly wage, at least I know there’s a paycheck at the end of the day, like that’s honest labor. And then, what was the pivot moment for you? Kind of what are the mindset shifts that happened that– and I’m going to go back and forth between these time points a handful of times, but what are the mindset shifts that happened to get you where you are now?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, well, I don’t know that you have a moment, Hilary, where were you like keenly remember as in, this is a turning point for you or were you always quite well, sort of in a relationship with money.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Oh no. Actually, I’m surprised I talk about that quite publicly. I was broke. I was $600,000 in debt. And I had lost a condo to foreclosure and I was a massive overspender. And there was this moment when I had to leave my leased BMW at the gas station because I didn’t have any money to buy a tank of gas for this beautiful car. And I had this vision of my future, like I could see more and more different versions of what was already happening in my life, all these financial emergencies, people having to rescue me, not being able to afford stuff, hiding and pretending. And I thought I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this be my life, right? So, yes, there was a moment. Are you saying there wasn’t really for you?

 

Merel Kriegsman: No, there was. I would say there was. Yeah, I think, for me, it was a couple of gradual points which I’m sure it’s like the same for you. It takes a couple of those little moments at the right time where you’re just like no more, like this. And so, for me, it was a couple, one was definitely when Keith, my husband, he had gone bankrupt 10 years before we met. And so, he had immaculate financial management skills that he developed with the support of somebody who actually coached him on that as part of his sort of like, let’s get you back on financial track, sort of like the project of that all. So, he was fierce about keeping budgets, but there was nothing to put in the budget because we were barely making any money. So, it was like, I don’t even want to look at this. This is so depressing. It was like, when will I be able to shop for shoes, right? No, no. Like, not in the next five years sort of feeling. And he was like, Merel, set your ass down.

 

And so, I remember having a hyperventilation-like attack when he actually told me to sit down for 32nd time that week. And it was just like this is happening, and I so didn’t want to have a look at it. And he rightfully said, “Merel, you have to look it in the face in order to change it. So, go sit down, let’s have a look at it.” And he held my hand, and I have my hyperventilation moment and this fear of, I’m staring, sort of the fact that I’m going to die in that hedgerow in the face right now, but what we did and we kept the budget and for a couple of years, I had, I don’t know, seven bucks for toiletries and stuff for months.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I did the same thing, six dollars a day, yes, I did.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, exactly, like we did all, but here we are, right, like two wealthy chicks.  So, we did good.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Graduated.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, we graduated. And then there was also this moment where I got finally, a couple of gigs lined up, and it was paying work, and I was really happy. And then I would show up for the moment where they were supposed to pay me and hand me the check. And it would always be a little less than I expected. And so, within that same month, I was sort of just, instead of just taking it, laying down basically, which is what lots of artists do, unfortunately, and lots of performing artists as well, sort of like, oh, I’ll just be grateful for whatever dollars you can spare sort of attitude.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Spare some change, yeah, like, I’m just like you.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I actually went to the conductor or the director, whoever was doing finance, and said, actually, like the contract says this or I was promised X. Can you talk to me about why there is a discrepancy here? And after having some very sort of really butting heads moments within a few short months, I had basically blown off my career as a singer. I went around very quickly that I was basically like the Linda Evangelista, like the opera world, going around saying, I don’t get…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Actually, demanding what you were promised.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Like I won’t get out of bed unless you pay me, which was really like 200 bucks or something a day. It wasn’t even 10,000 grand. So, that evolved very quickly into me, sort of going like, okay, I drew my line in the sand. Clearly, it’s not working with this industry. I’m out like, I don’t want to live like this. I just really didn’t– like we lived in life such which was just like a beautiful European city center with lots of luxury shops and just beauty and everything. And all I could do for years was just walk past the windows and go like, that’s beautiful.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So pretty in there.

 

Merel Kriegsman: So pretty, and also from a traveling perspective, we lived literally an hour and a half away from Prague. We lived so close to so many amazing cultural centers. And we didn’t have money to get on the train, not even for a little train ride. It was sort of like I was looking through the bars of my poverty prison to the colorful world outside, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it. And like I wasn’t willing to give that up for the sake of being unappreciated in my singing career, financially, for the rest of my life. I was like, yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I remember thinking the only free thing there to do is read library books. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: I know, but I love books. It’s still, like…

 

Hilary Hendershott: I know, it’s not like fortressed.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I’ll just read this book.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I’ll just read this beautiful erotic, like a romantic book about billionaires and just like take care of me financially fixed and then…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Free escapism.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, I know, right.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, I see we were in the same place. I got it. Okay, and so then, what kind of actions did you take? Tell me then kind of in a short form, what was your journey? I mean, there must have been things you had to put in place, things you decided were non-negotiable. And then, you started your career as an entrepreneur.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, actually, in between being an opera singer and then cleaning houses and toilets and whatnot, I decided that we were going to rent out a room in our apartment on Airbnb. That actually got us out of debt because we really wanted to. And once that got paid off, then I had a little budget sort of left over that I could spend on taking an online course on how to run a business so I did that. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. So, it’s just like whatever I choose to do down the line, I will always need to sort of understand the skill of marketing and copywriting. And I’m really good with words and really good at persuasion. So, I was like, okay, just going to hang up my shingle as a copywriter, and that’s what I did. Honestly, within three months it was just like everybody was hiring me because I’m really good. I wrote a post in some Facebook groups, and everybody started recommending me.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Well, that’s serendipitous. And I’ve heard you say that you were charging a lot of money, that people were paying you a lot of money. How did you feel about charging high prices, having come from– I mean, you must have felt your poverty just a few short months ago. What was that like for you? Did you even think, like, should I be doing this?

 

Merel Kriegsman: No, I just remember the whole time thinking, like, sh*t, like, oh my god.  I can’t like, really? Like, you’re going to say yes to that because sort of like my setting point income-wise was so low, I kept so low for so many years that I was just– and for the entirety of my business because my income has always been climbing quite exponentially. Like we’ve always been growing the business very successfully, like it’s still. I talked to Keith and I’m like, if I were to just be able to sit down with myself seven years ago, like completely desperate around money, and my money destiny is just like f*cked or something, I don’t know, like it’s just whatever. Like I’ll just give up and accept my fate just like my mother and my grandmother. And if I could just sit down, with that version of myself and just go like girl, you’re going to be making well over six figures a month. You’re going to basically be making more than your dad a month in a few short years from now. I would just be gobsmacked for sure.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah.

 

Merel Kriegsman: The thing that I did during that time which really, really helped, a couple of things, I really engaged with reading lots of money books. I’m sure you had that phase, too, just like eat up all the money books, right?

 

Hilary Hendershott: Oh, yes.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I went to the library to get the money books to teach me. It’s just to really just understanding that I needed a solid, like, daily diet of books that really extend…

 

Hilary Hendershott: It’s a language. It has its own vocabulary.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, totally. And then also like the whole mindset perspective, I loved reading Barbara Stanny’s books. I don’t know if you’re familiar with those.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I’ve interviewed her about those books on my show. Yeah, I love Barbara.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Awesome. I love her. She’s like the grandmother of sort of like the money mindsets.

 

Hilary Hendershott: She is amazing. She’s Barbara Huson now.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, that’s true.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. Her books are like this journey from overcoming underearning to making a million dollars, yes.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Sacred Success, I think, is one of her latest books.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yes.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I’m in a group chat with her on Facebook with a bunch of other people. So, I’m always reminded of her, and every time I see her name popped up, I’m just like, I was so grateful. Like, money granny, I’m so grateful.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I know, so many of us are swinging from her trees metaphysically.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes, we are. So, just lots of reading. I bought a course from Kate Northrup on Feng Shui for Financial Freedom. And I was like, okay, this is something I can actually control. And I was so glad that I found something I could actually control. Like I can move furniture around, right? Like I don’t feel in control of my financial…

 

Hilary Hendershott: She literally had to move furniture around, okay.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes. Yeah, I’m still like my desk is in the power position, I’m facing the door. Like nothing will creep up on me. Now, it was just really great, gave me a tangible outlet to feel like if I don’t know how to engage with the money stuff today, I’ll just go move some furniture and I’m still going to work towards getting richer. And it actually works. It actually really helped me, whether that was real or in my head, like, I don’t even care. It’s like everything else, so…

 

Hilary Hendershott: So good to know that you still go back to your feng shui roots.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I do, yeah. Now, literally, I will say to my girls, I have three daughters, I will say, like, do you realize that you just put all this sh*ts in our money corner of the house, are you for real? You’re not going to get a new bike if mommy can’t make any sales this week. No, not that extreme, but certainly…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Interesting.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: You kind of have to make it extreme for kids, right? I mean, they want $20 stuff.  So, what are you going to say? Like, I can afford that, but I have to say, no, you need to earn that.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, it’s totally. Yeah. So, they’re on board now. She’s talking to her younger sister, like no, it’s like the money corner. Like we won stuff for Christmas or whatever they say. So, we got them trained, but just sort of having the mindset piece and then also a physical outlet for myself, that was really important, having beautiful practices around, even when the money started coming in a little bit more but still celebrating all those little steps were absolutely crucial for me. And then, I started thinking of it as a game. Like, if anything, what those books taught me is that it’s like see it as like this game that you get to play. And that’s what I did with the pricing. So, I was like, how far can I push this baby, price-wise? I was like, okay, so I sold a website for 12.5K. Can I sell one for $17,500? Can I sell one for $25,000? And just going up and up and up, I had lots of fun doing that because it’s really…

 

Hilary Hendershott: I love playing those games. They really are fun.

 

Merel Kriegsman: They are fun, right? And then, all those times that I ride out of my office, like talking to Keith, my husband, it was always like somewhere in the kitchen because he’s a total foodie. So, he’s always like, I know where to find him, and just saying, like, oh, I can’t believe. I just said yes to, right? And then just hugging together and just like celebrating the enormous sort of journey from where we were then at that point, and since then, it just massively escalated even further.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. So, actually, practices and routines and rituals were something I did want to ask you about. And I have it kind of later after we start talking about the business that you’re running now, but anything else to say about practices, rituals, and routines that are non-negotiable for you?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Oh, that’s such a good question. I let a lot of them go because they had turned somewhat into just very, like, embodied practices and ways of being. I guess it’s like, at one point, I didn’t need the ritual so much because I had become the embodiment of that simply by living it and breathing it for so long. And I did have questions about that for myself. Like, if I let the rituals go, will everything implode? And it hasn’t because at one point…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Like can Dumbo fly without his feather?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, at one point, this is also like why a lot of people feel very sort of attracted to our brand and our business is because I have sort of become the embodiment of all this work that I’ve done in the last seven years or so, but rituals that I really loved were like having a little altar and just going there, lighting a candle, lighting some incense, putting some beautiful things on there that I just thought were really beautiful, making sure it’s in the money corner, right in the wealth and prosperity corner of my house.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Which corner is the money corner?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Rearrange some furniture now?

 

Hilary Hendershott: No, but you’ve mentioned it so many times. I feel like people listening are going to be wondering and not be able to hear you. They’re going to be Googling, where’s the money corner?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, in feng shui, you have what’s called bagua. And I don’t know tons about feng shui either. I practice sort of just like intuitive feng shui or something, I don’t even know, but basically, the house has different areas that represent different areas of your life. You can Google bagua map, but you need to make sure that you put the map on the floor plan the right way, and your clue is where the front door is. If you Google bagua map and then sort of like puzzle a little bit with that, you’ll know what to do.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay.

 

Merel Kriegsman: I mean, I highly recommend that if you can’t afford to hire a feng shui expert, to just do a little bit of that with you, but my money corner upstairs, here is actually this corner here. So, like, I consciously chose to also have my office here so to just be like in it, fully.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay.

 

Merel Kriegsman: What I always talk about when it comes to wealth, wealth is really about receivership, right? It is really about your ability to receive and then eventually also give.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yes.

 

Merel Kriegsman: And that’s very important to me. So, most people are very collapsed in their ability to receive because either, I don’t know, it could be childhood trauma, it could be anything, but we’re sort of just like, yeah, a little, I would use the word collapsed in their ability to open themselves up and receive.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So many women.

 

Merel Kriegsman: So many women, like, you know it, I know it. We work with women and wealth every day. So, it’s very, very common. And it can be anything from, like I said, childhood stuff. It can also be from being with a partner who doesn’t quite honor your needs or maybe being in a situation where they can’t, and then you sort of give up making requests for what will be supportive, what would be exquisitely supportive. It’s sort of like, yeah, we get to this place where we give up hope, I guess, or settle. And so, what I always say to my people, one of my favorite practices, so not so much a ritual, it’s more of a practice, is actually practicing the ability to receive.

 

So, in any given moment, can you savor, like, the cup of tea that you’re having instead of rushing drinking it or always be drinking a cold cup of tea because you get distracted with kids or life or whatever, right? And also, I don’t know if this is like video-based, but this is like, so we’re going really frickin’ cute cup, right? I make little moments, little rituals out of everything. So, the question, the problem that you can use is sort of like, can you make every moment that you’re in a little bit more luxurious, a little bit more indulgent, a little bit more loving, and practice being really present to your pleasure and your enjoyment? And that builds sort of like this, it builds something within you until it starts to spill over in your ability to receive financially, as well. That’s what I believe.

 

Hilary Hendershott: That is really poetic. That is beautiful. As you’re talking about that, the first thing I think about, when you say a cup of tea, by the way, we are publishing the video. So, thank you.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Awesome.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Thank you for being so brave to not even ask before I started recording. The only thing I think about when I think about a hot cup of tea is coming back to it cold.

 

Merel Kriegsman: That’s all it could go.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, cold tea. And also, like, for example, with my husband, we’re sort of in a reverse gender role situation where I’m the sole financial provider, and he has a role within the business. And he also takes care of a lot of our stuff at home, sort of taking care of the core, of everything that needs to happen, but that also meant that I needed to learn how to have him take care of me during the day. Like today, I’m doing a series of interviews and podcast episodes and all kinds of stuff. So, he walks in and he brings me this super cute cup and saucer. It has a cookie on it. It’s a full pot of tea. Everything is there. And that wasn’t necessarily something that he– I mean, he…

 

Hilary Hendershott: He probably didn’t think of that.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Not every day, and I needed every day, like, oh, I– so, I had to really train myself to always be making those requests for, like, hey, can we make this agreement that you basically feed me and water me and stuff while I’m on calls? I’m like six feet tall. I’m always hungry when I’m facilitating wealth-building calls with the businesswomen that we mentor. It’s like I’m constantly snacking. So, he brings the snacks and he brings the tea or the coffee or whatever I need. And that’s just one of those things that I think, especially for the women in our community, to see Keith stepping into like the camera of you here, and he takes like literally…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Serving you.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Feeding me, serving me is something that everybody always talks about. It’s like one of the most profoundly changing things of actually being in that community and being on those calls is something they really take home into their own relationships and sort of really helps them open up their mind around, like, hey, it’s okay to make requests. It’s safe to make requests and to really be practicing that receivership.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I just want to repeat back to what I heard because I think it’s really powerful, because I asked you about rituals, and you started talking about receivership, but receiving things that are not financial, tea, food, right?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: And you said it fills you up. There’s that saying you can’t give to others if your cup isn’t full. So, you’re saying that there’s a way to ask and receive such that your bank account becomes full, you’re fulfilled, you have enough, you’re peaceful, and then you’re able to give in a new way that causes or can cause money because you have to command money, but it can cause money to come back and can overflow.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Well, very practically, like a practical example, if I am well fed and well watered and well taken care of, and I ask you, I say that about like this is on camera because I tend to always show up camera ready. That’s another ritual, if you want, to actually also make sure that I spend some time just adorning myself, sort of like all kinds of makeup stuff here, like glasses…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Lipsticks, pretty earrings.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, those things will have me show up in a way that is very powerful, very persuasive, sort of like really being in my power as a teacher and a mentor, and that quality of presence is as important as the things that I’m actually teaching about, like this is how you charge more and this is how you create offers for high-ticket clients. All of that stuff is super important, but the presence with which it permeates sort of like the online space or like the ether counts as well. So, this is actually, like it’s very practical in a sense as well.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. I mean, I’m not even asking the questions, and you’re answering them before I ask them. It’s so amazing. So, the quality of presence that you bring in video and spoken word is evident. I could listen to you all day. I mean, you’re a singer, so this is just beautiful. And I’m actually imagining you doing financial updates like stock market stuff. I’m just thinking, women would listen.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, it communicates in video. How do you translate that into the things that are scalable and replicable, such as social media or a blog post which is just black and white copy? So, how do you think about that in your other assets?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Oh, I love this question. So, I actually have a photoshoot the day after tomorrow. So, photos is one thing. I’m going actually through a rebrand right now because I just had to do some soul searching for the last year and a half and I’m really, really ready to put the new iteration of my brand out there over the next few months, but if you were to see my mood board, you would just drool. It is so beautiful. It’s so rich. It’s so poetic. So, it’s really understanding, you know that. And maybe this is something I learned as a performer on stage, but also my mom is an interior designer. I came from a very artistic family. So, understanding the power of sound, understanding the power of words, understanding the power of the visual branding aspect, understanding that everything you put out there is going to hit the person on the receiving end in a certain way. And then you actually can design it. You can be very intentional about it. So, this sort of goes into branding, I guess, but it’s also more maybe underlying it, sort of like the true expression of who you are and how that flows into everything that you do.

 

So, one of the things that I said to myself when it comes to content creation is that I really take the time for it to be exquisite. If it takes me an hour and a half to write an email, I’ll have it be an hour and a half, like I just have this, call it like a design snob or a word snob or whatever, but my standards are just really high. Exquisite beauty is one of my core values. So, every email that I write, every time that I’m on a podcast, every moment that I put myself out there, I ask myself, like, how can I make this even more exquisite? How can I prepare even more beautifully? And that starts to add up..

 

Hilary Hendershott: Sure. Those things tend to compound. So, if you take your time to make things poetic, beautiful, and exquisite, you must do less of them.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: For example, how many days of podcast interviews will you do this month?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Not a lot. I don’t have to. I could do more, and the business would probably grow even faster, but the same way that I’m just like really obsessed with quality instead of the external side of how we market thing, the same thing counts for internal. Right now, our team is set up in such a way that we can serve 100 clients a year.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay.

 

Merel Kriegsman: It’s not a lot of people, but their client experience is absolutely exquisite.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Exquisite, I love this word.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, I love it, too, obviously. So, that matters to me. So, I’m actually not going to skill beyond what we can scaffold from within the backend.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yes.

 

Merel Kriegsman: And so, we chose to have a business model, like we only have one offer. Within that same offer, we have multiple rooms based on where people are in business, sort of like cohorts or pods or whatever you want to call them, but the overall structure is so simple and the amount of people that we serve, in a sense, is so limited that right now, I don’t use paid traffic, I do a minimum amount of podcasts. It’s very, very lean.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah.

 

Merel Kriegsman: And now, we’re just reaching that point where it’s like, okay, let’s do a little bit more podcasts. Let’s start playing around with some ads, but there is so much you can do within a very simple framework, and that’s something that I’ve always been fascinated with, Hilary, because the same thing counts when it comes to wealth, right? Like how creative and luxurious can you get within sort of a limited amount of resources, which is something that our generation needs to embrace. It’s not just about more, more, more, more consumption, more stuff. For example, in our case, we could totally move house. We could build a new house if we want to do on our yard, but we’re looking into how can we use this existing house? You look at the floor plan, maybe shifting some walls, maybe build out a little bit, and make it our dream home. It’s like, how can you be as luxurious and wealthy as you can be within the means that you currently have? And that can be seven bucks for toiletries all the way to whatever. The same principle applies, in my opinion.

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, we’re kind of talking around something which is your business. So, I don’t want to leave people confused or wondering. You offer a business mentorship program that coaches people in what I have read is high ticket offers. Did I say that accurately?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay. And what are your current revenues from that business?

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, we just opened another pod. So, first, we were serving sort of more like 50 to 75 people a year. And now, we’re getting it up to that hundred that I was talking about. So, as soon as we hit our hundred, we’ll be at $3 million a year. So, right now, we’re sort of just working our way towards that, probably over the next five to six months.

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay, and approximately, what are you and your husband paying yourselves from that $3 million?

 

Merel Kriegsman: So, right now…

 

Hilary Hendershott: What will be $3 million?

 

Merel Kriegsman: I was going to say we’re not quite yet there, like we’re working towards. Although in my mind, like it’s already done, right? Like that’s…

 

Hilary Hendershott: Or maybe sometimes business owners, for example, maybe it’s on your tax return what you earned in 2020 or last trailing 12 months, whatever is the most authentic expression of your current income for you.

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, right now, we haven’t set up a lot of different ways that we can sort of move more money towards the personal side. So, we’re still in that process of figuring that out. It’s sort of like our financial growth caught up on us a little bit. So, our accountant is always like, this chunk of money or that chunk of money, why is it not invested yet? And it’s because we would be investing in like pipeline f*cking three, like, no, so we’re still in the process of making sure that if we’re going to allocate it towards investments, it’s like we want to do it in a way that’s really values aligned, which makes me a perfect client for you, I guess. That’s definitely something we’re still figuring out. What we pay ourselves, I would say, we were talking about like because it changes, right? You asked me this question before, I was like, it changes around.

 

Hilary Hendershott: I know. And you’re always estimating. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. Around like $30,000 or so together, my husband and I, what we take from the business per month. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Per month. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. And the funny thing is that, of course, we’re making way more money, right? So, when people see us talking about those big numbers, they almost automatically assume that we’re just like swimming in cash or something. And the fact of the matter is, is that, yes, we’re really well-off and our net worth is probably at this point around, I don’t know, like $2 million, maybe $2.2 million or something, which is really lovely. And I know you probably talk about this all the time but there are so many people in the online world that don’t even pay themselves or pay themselves like very, very little money, right? 

 

Hilary Hendershott: It is. It is my cross to bear. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Oh, yeah. I bet it is. We see that. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. And, Merel, I’ve done the same thing. I go on other people’s shows and I say what I pay myself and then I feel like I have to explain why I say it. I know exactly, yes. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. I know, right? That thing, it’s like that. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: I say it because people need to hear it. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. Yeah. And we just had a huge quarter like, I don’t know, how much did we make? Yeah, like I would say more than half a million dollars or so. Like, I would have to look at the exact launch revenue and stuff that we had this summer. So, there’s also like a dividend that we take every quarter so that’s something that you need to take into account as well. But, yeah, like look at the difference, right? And we’re still in startup. So, a lot of the money goes straight back into the business, which I’m totally okay with because the return on investment is absolutely huge and it has turned to be a safe investment relative to… 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Well, you’re clearly building an empire. Okay. So, you’re teaching. And is it all women in your programs? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay. All women or people who identify as women? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. I was going to say like all people who identify as fem or, yeah, female. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. And so, can you give me a sense of the kinds of businesses you’re coaching? So, who can be a high ticket or high priced offering entrepreneur? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Like, literally almost everyone. People always ask me this question and we have like I created high ticket offers for people you would not believe can sell high ticket offers. We had one person coming into our program and she just sold her flower shop and she had studied like permaculture and like historical garden design. And within the year that we coached her, she went from selling a VIP day at like $1,500, which was huge for her. She was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t fathom that.” And now she’s at the point where she has multiple half-a-million-dollar projects in her pipeline because she’s starting to work with governments and bigger sort of municipalities advising also around like the climate crisis and stuff like that. So, that’s a person like would you think that a woman with like a flower shop and sort of like a gardening background would be, right? 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Not intuitive. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. It’s sort of like the, I mean, we work with lots of coaches, lots of creatives, lots of service providers. I sort of like I’m really good at serving both of those or all three of those groups because I have a creative background. I’ve worked as a service provider and what I have done in the last few years is all around coaching and selling coaching. So, I’m sort of like I can offer that trifecta of actually understanding all worlds, which is really nice. But literally, you can really turn any kind of profession into like a suite of high ticket offers and sell them successfully. The key thing is positioning, messaging, niching. So, in how you present it to the client, that’s really all that matters. And for example, one of the resources we have in our program is like ten core reasons or motivations that a person in your industry could potentially decide to say, “It’s time to invest in this like on a much higher level.” So, understanding the psychology behind it, having really strong negotiation skills, those are some things that I don’t think people talk enough about because it seems to all be about like you just go and you just charge and you charge what you’re worth. Sort of like it’s more complex than that. 

 

Like, first of all, one of the things I’m sure you run into this too, people who are very successful and very wealthy and therefore more likely to invest in high ticket in something, they’re usually quite dominant people like they are used to being the alpha in the room. So, a lot of service providers who sort of start gearing their offers towards those high, high net worth individuals, they get paid a lot of money and then they are in their sort of like being not worthy, a place where it’s like, “Oh, like, am I worth the money? Shall I just add some extra sessions?” like whatever complex insecurities they have. When really the alpha in a client relationship like that wants to be the sub. They want you to tell them how it’s going to go. And if you don’t from the very start, like they’ll eat you alive. So, that’s what happens with a lot of service providers and coaches and whatnot. They have like one experience working with a person like that, and they’re like never again. And they go back to like undercharging. So, it’s so sad because it’s like there is a way to do this successfully but you got to know what you’re doing because otherwise, yeah. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: It is about who you be. Yeah. The way I see it is I had to develop swagger. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, I’m often telling my team about conversations I have with alpha prospects or clients because I want them to hear it that it’s like, “You have to take the conversation back. Or you might as well just get out of it because you’ve lost.” 

 

Merel Kriegsman: You’ve lost. And they didn’t get what they needed and you didn’t make money. It’s sort of sad. But honestly, I loved just diving into reading lots of negotiation skill-like books and resources at one point in my career because of my business, just like I had a phase when I read lots of wealth books. I also realized that my negotiation skills were as lacking as my money skills were like in the beginning. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. So, we’ve gone off on so many interesting tangents. I’m sort of afraid to lose you. So, let me make sure I got the really important questions in here. This is really great. By the way, is there a specific definition for high ticket? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: So, what I always say is that it’s different for every person. So, what I request of the people that we work with is to be in their high-end stretch. So, that’s sort of that place pricing-wise where you feel a little nervous about pitching it on a call. It’s like your heart rate goes up a little bit. There’s a little bit of excited nervousness. But also, if you imagine that person saying yes to it, like you’re just over the moon happy, like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe that they just said yes to this.” Sort of like that’s the number you want to pick. And then if you are always in that stretch, you’ll stretch up really, really quickly. I mean, industry-standard, they often talk about 10K plus sort of as a higher ticket offer. But we have everything like in our program, depending on what part people are in from people feeling $5,000 sort of their high-end stretch right now to like I said people selling offers for like $0.5 million or selling programs that are like $30,000, $50,000 a pop. So, it’s like this huge range. And I always say like, “As long as you’re in your own like high-end stretch, you’re good. You’re growing. You’re expanding. That’s all you need to focus on.” 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay. All right. Good. And is there anything else that I missed, anything I didn’t ask about on the topic of positioning yourself as the value? You talked a lot about it but I want to make sure I ask if there’s anything else that you think about, about how to position that. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Well, I think it starts with knowing yourself and understanding that in a market where like yesterday I discovered that a former client of mine who sort of got really close to my own positioning, not the same at all but she’s literally doing the same kind of workshop next week. And so, if I’d seen that a few years ago, I would have gone like, “No! That’s not nice.” But now, I’m not worried at all. Like, it’s totally fine because I know that, like I said, like that presence of the value, what did I say? The value of your presence or something, whatever. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Uniqueness of your presentation. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: That. Yeah. Sort of the quality of your presence, that’s what I was saying. That is what really counts. That’s what comes across. And in the end, I know too when it comes to my mentors, like some people I listen to and I join their programs and I’m almost like I wish I could just like read the script instead of listening to this person because they talk a little fast for my taste or it’s a little overwhelming or like it’s high pitched or there’s something about it that’s just like, “I know it’s like good stuff what you’re saying but I don’t want to listen to it because of your…” like whatever. Like, that counts. That matters. And some people will feel attracted to a potential mentor or whatever because they love how they talk, how they use their metaphors. So, it’s really understanding and highlighting in your business those things that are truly uncopyable, like your sense of humor, the way that you show up on camera, all those things that nobody could ever take away from you. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: That are uniquely yours and so unrepeatable. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Unrepeatable. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Uncopyable. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Okay. And you only mentioned this briefly but you are a mother of three. So, anything else you want to say about how you invite or ask or request others to take care of you during the week or things you do with your calendar, especially, to make sure you are well-fed and they are too literally and figuratively? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah, exactly. So, we have lots of support. That’s all there is to it. So, we have somebody who comes over and cleans three times a week for about five hours. That’s what we realized it takes with three little kids. And also, where I am Libra rising, so are my girls, which means that sort of like it’s Venus rising in our house, which means that we’re all obsessed with clothes and jewelry and makeup, and it’s all about like adore and opulence. So, what they do, just like mommy, is basically do multiple outfit changes every day. So, of course, there’s a huge pile of clothes. It doesn’t matter what I say because I have no authority because I do the same thing, stuff like that. And the thing is, I think so many women even who can afford it because there’s like some people just can’t afford to have somebody come over three times a week. I totally get that. I used to be that person. We went from literally having one person over once a week for about two hours or an hour-and-a-half to all the way where we are right now. But what I really had to learn is to not have judgment about how much support I need as a CEO of a fast-growing company. 

 

Like, there’s always discomfort around investing in support, I feel, because it’s almost like you always need to first invest in support before you then can make more money because you have more capacity and more time and stuff like that. You have your high-end stretch around pricing but you also have your stretch around the amount of support that you feel willing and ready to invest in. But to just be really unapologetic about the fact that, yeah, in order for us to build what we’re building, which is really just almost like a case study and regenerative growth like we haven’t talked about my food forest and the fact that I live on an actual farm-farm and that we are into all of that. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Farm-farm. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Farm-farm, yes. But like regenerative growth is really important to us. Sort of the opposite of the way that we’re used to growing companies, which is very extracting like extracting natural resources, extracting human labor. But we do that to ourselves as well. That’s how colonialism shows up in how we treat ourselves. And so, my husband and I are in constant conversation about that because it’s so easy when you have three little kids and a fast-growing company and you’re on a farm and the pandemic to just go and go and go until your feet are bleeding and you have nothing left to give. And I just also want to say here that we are extremely privileged to live on an acreage to be able to afford somebody to actually outsource homeschooling to, to have somebody come over to clean, like all of those things. And still, I could have judgments about that and say like, “I’m not going to take that support because other people can’t.” But instead, I’m like, “Yes, I’m going to take the support so that I can throw that workshop next week and the proceeds are going to go to indigenous-led environmental organizations.” So, I believe that as a person who does have the skill to attract wealth, you need to almost become like, I don’t know, like Grand Central Station for redistribution rather than accumulation. That’s really what I believe in. So, yes, take care of your own roots, invest, all of those things, but also be constantly looking at how can I get to a place of overflow and then doing that generously. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: I feel so sisterly with you right now. I work with a coach who asked me to define my career because financial advisor, wealth manager is a title. It’s a role, right? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: So, I got to my career is regenerative wealth provocateur. Regenerative wealth provocateur. 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yes. I love the word too. Like only yesterday I was on the website of Agent Provocateur and I was just like I can’t help thinking how much I love that word. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: It’s like yes, let’s provoke. Because there’s something so like juicy about it. It’s like I’m going to provoke some stuff. Okay. Okay. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much, Merel, for joining us today. Thanks for sharing, obviously, the exquisite best of you. We’ve appreciated all these lessons and so many more. Where can people find you online? 

 

Merel Kriegsman: Yeah. So, I am on Instagram simply under my name, Merel Kriegsman, and you can find lots of stories also about what we’re doing on the farm and with the kids, and just like seeing us do like the living richly sort of like thing. So, it’s like people say it’s very inspiring. If you want to work with me and my team, you simply can go to MerelKriegsman.com and book yourself in for a call, and then we can chat about your business and how to grow it. 

 

Hilary Hendershott: Lovely. Fantastic. All right. Well, thanks for being a friend of the show. We’ll be in touch.

Disclaimer

Hendershott Wealth Management, LLC and Profit Boss® Radio do not make specific investment recommendations on Profit Boss® Radio or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of Hilary Hendershott, CFP®, MBA.