Today we are so happy to have Stacy Tuschl on the show! She started her now 7-figure business when she was just 18 years old, in her mom’s backyard; and currently she has over 40 employees and has been able to build her business by spending just an hour a week on that business. This freedom has allowed her to dedicate her time to something she’s very passionate about: helping other women take their business to the next level. She also hosts a podcast called She’s Building Her Empire and you can learn more at ShesBuildingHerEmpire.com or StacyTuschl.com.
Welcome to the show, Stacy!
On the Podcast
1:15 – Building a 7-Figure Brick-and-Mortar Business
3:36 – Moving To A Commercial Space
6:50 – Community-Based Marketing
8:50 – Hands-Off Business Woman
11:40 – ‘Is Your Business Worth Saving?’
14:44 – Pushing Past A Low Point
17:51 – She’s Building Her Empire Podcast
22:55 – Stacy’s Adorable Mom Moment
19:23 – Facebook Live Podcast Recording
25:25 – Stacy's LIVE Event
Building a 7-Figure Brick-and-Mortar Business
In high school, Stacy was a competition dancer, but she knew that she wouldn’t make a career out of dancing. While she was going to college, she started teaching dance classes in her parents’ backyard for free (She says that honestly, it was more for her than for the kids!). Her original goal was to keep her dancing passion alive, but she quickly fell in love with teaching the kids and giving them that experience.
Three years later, nearing college graduation, Stacy was still offering classes – but now she had 100 kids in her backyard!! About to graduate college with no idea what she wanted to do next, Stacy started putting the pieces together: she loved being a leader and teacher. It was a no-brainer to start her own business.
She incorporated her dance studio at 21, and it turns 15 years old this summer. At the time, Stacy couldn’t even dream of becoming a 7 figure business.
Her secret is that her company has always been good about over delivering, and “giving to the community and to the kids, and because of that we can’t help but have all these kids coming to us every year. We just keep getting bigger and bigger.” (And by “we” she means her amazing team.)
Moving To A Commercial Space
At the beginning, because she was doing her classes for free, no one expected a highly professional set up. But when she started charging for her classes, she realized people expected much more.
The first thing she did was rent a commercial building, because, it was too risky to buy right away. Stacy rented a small space year-to-year for a while. Within 3 years she saw that her business was profitable, that it was working, and then built a 9,000 square-foot commercial space. Her first studio was very large, but she wanted to make sure that her business wouldn’t be going anywhere; they could grow into and then max out the space they were in.
Her second location was at least 10 years into the life of her business. And she was aware that changing cities could potentially impact her success, and it was another risk. So she rented a space for 3 years (which is usually unheard of for commercial properties–they expect longer leases) and knew if the business went well in the new location she could continue to scale up and build that second building.
Her second location is around half the size of her first, and though it’s only been in place for about 4 years she thinks it’ll quickly surpass her first.
Stacy’s team had a hard time finding land, so they found a foreclosed building – where the land was worth more than the building! The gutted the building down to the block and put a $1M renovation into it. Now it’s a 7,200 square foot space, which includes a tenant space. (Stacy’s tenant is a nail salon, and they signed a 10-year lease with her, to give you an idea of how commercial rentals usually work!) They’ve also planned out a Phase 2 of her property, which would create additional tenant space.
It’s obvious that Stacy’s customers are so incredibly happy and she blows them away with her studio experience. We wanted to know, other than word of mouth, what are some main ways that she has marketed her dance studio business?
Stacy was happy to talk with us about other forms of marketing. But she couldn’t talk about growing her business without word-of-mouth because “when you deliver to your current clients, they can’t help but talk about you to their friends.” Her business grew from 17 students to 100 in just 3 years. And at first, she didn’t pay a dollar for marketing because she made it a priority to talk to her existing audience.
At this stage of business, Stacy does have the money to invest in marketing — but still, the number one way people hear about her business is word of mouth. It’s so powerful!
She has seen great success using Facebook ads and can attest that Facebook ads work for local businesses. Her studio regularly runs advertising to their local community. Stacy also has arranged a few paid partnerships, pairing up with local businesses for various services.
She also spends marketing money giving back to their community. Each year they host 3 events free of charge for their local community, including a trunk-or-treat event. Having 450 kids trick-or-treat on their property is AMAZING marketing. They’re paying for their community to come to their location and check them out. Stacy says, “Their first impression and experience with us is that we’re giving to them before they ever pay a dollar to us.” (And isn’t giving before getting how Stacy built her entire business!?)
Hands-Off Business Woman
Stacy has been able to keep her dance studio running by spending just an hour a week on her business, which has allowed her to focus time on her current passion project.
How can you build a team and work less? How can your business thrive?
Well, for starters, Stacy says that working increasingly less on her business wasn’t something she set out to do. But as she started investing in more training – like live events and seminars, reading books and listening to podcasts- she kept hearing advice to build a team and delegate the work. This did not come naturally to Stacy! But after 15 years of working at it, she’s gotten good at delegating.
As Stacy built her phenomenal team, she gradually noticed that she had fewer and fewer responsibilities on her plate, and they didn’t need her.
“My passion is business in general. I love–and it sounds so boring to people–but I love working on my computer and getting new things done and having that challenge…as soon as I realized I had this incredible team, I asked, “Now what do I do?”
Her passion is to teach other female entrepreneurs. So she has devoted her (now free!) time and energy to the online space and pursuing educating others.
Many people have prodded Stacy to sell her business. “I have no interest in selling my dance studios!” she says. She loves what she’s doing for her community and has no interest in selling what has become a fun experience for her. Plus, over the past 15 years, she’s built systems into place to make her company self-run.
Her advice is to grow your business one employee at a time–you don’t go from zero to 40! Hire one person as you bring in more money, invest in your team, and then grow organically.
This model has also worked for Stacy in her new online business. She’s been at this venture for a few years now, also starting from scratch. She needed at least one person on her team to delegate to, and the larger she gets and more money she brings in, the more people she can afford to put on her team.
‘Is Your Business Worth Saving?’
At first, it doesn’t sound like a nice question to ask, but Stacy knows that every entrepreneur (and we know this is especially true for Mompreneurs whose business isn’t as profitable as they hoped, or they’re drowning in work or have lost their spark) has asked it — including her. What then? All entrepreneurs get to the point in business where they ask,
Stacy wanted to reach out to the people asking themselves these questions: “What am I doing? Is it worth it? Can it really be a business? Will I make money?”
And she wrote her book especially to those who want their answer to be ‘Yes!’ Stacy knows that many entrepreneurs just need strategies and the right tips and tools to go in the right direction. But she also wisely understands that “sometimes we actually want to give up and we don’t want the answer to be yes; we really don’t have a passion for it. My biggest question I ask people is, ‘Did you ever have a passion for what you do in your business?’ Sometimes the business side takes over and we start doing things we don’t love to do. But if there ever was a point you loved an aspect of your business,” we can get back to that thing.
For example, let’s say Stacy didn’t love the business side of her studio – but loved dancing instead. If she felt like giving up, she could get back to teaching dance and hire people to run her studio. In your business, do what you love and outsource those other parts.
(For me, I’ve found that outsourcing the Brilliant Business Moms tasks I don’t like to do makes a huge difference! I’m so much more excited to get to work every day when I’ve got someone else behind the scenes helping me. And guess what? Those other people love doing those tasks!)
Stacy says she knows a lot of you listening might be quick to say you don’t have the money to outsource. To that concern, Stacy responds, “I want to tell you this: it is a temporary situation. Understand that this is not permanent. You might have to do everything right now, but it’s temporary. Keep telling yourself that. Keep making a list of things you’d love to outsource when the time comes…Right now you may have to work your butt off as a solopreneur to get there. But you will get there if you keep pushing.”
Pushing Past A Low Point
We appreciated what Stacy had to say: “When you’re looking at someone who has a level of success you want to achieve, they have absolutely had a ton of failures…People want to know what does that low point look like? How did you get through that? And I have so many examples I could share with you. When you’re an Entrepreneur you take risks. And sometimes when you take risks they aren’t all going to work out.”
Stacy’s personality is to move very quickly. She gets things done in rapid and record time. People will give her a two-week project, and she can get it done in a day. But things can break down when you move fast. There are pros and cons to every mode of working.
In Stacy’s case, her biggest mistake was not realizing that she was in her comfort zone. And it may not seem like being a mistake, she says, but if someone told you your business could hit $1M in year 10, but you didn’t hit it until year 15 – you may not think you’ve made a mistake, but you might have prevented yourself from growing.
Stacy had been going to the same conferences, and meeting the same friends. She wasn’t stretching herself. And when you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. But amazing things happen when you get to a whole new league!
In fact, the only reason she started an online business is because she stretched herself. She attended a live event that was insanely expensive. In fact, so expensive that she had a hard time paying for it! But, making that investment allowed Stacy to get into a room full of people that she normally wouldn’t have come across. It was people she needed to meet, and a network she needed to break into, in order to move forward in her business.
Stacy says she should have made that step a long time ago, so it was a mistake for her. In the business world, no matter your focus or the niche you’re in, the minute you stop growing and learning and changing – you could get left behind.
She’s Building Her Empire Podcast
As we mentioned at the beginning, Stacy is also a podcast host for She’s Building Her Empire. We often get questions asking if the blog or podcast should come first; which will help your business grow more? We wanted to know Stacy’s experience. Did the podcast grow her audience? Or was her podcast more a tool to help her serve her existing audience better?
Stacy is quick to point out that while podcasting, blogging, and Facebook Live can be great ways to spread the word about your business – they are often slow to start. “We think we’re going to have this platform and blow up with a thousand listeners every single week, but that typically doesn’t happen,” Stacy said, and we know it’s true!
More than 50% of podcasts on iTunes have less than 176 listeners per episode, which is crazy low when you think about it. It’s low, but think about yourself being in a room of 176 people every week and giving them your message – that would be great! It's a different vibe when you think of it that way
The Podcast is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to grow.
Facebook Live Podcast Recording
Stacy is a big fan of repurposing; she likes to do everything, but doesn’t always have time! She has a really unique way of recording podcast episodes and creating social media content. Stacy will actually record her podcasts while on Facebook Live! After the session is done, she’s got great social media content and material for her podcast.
Another great example of how Stacy repurposes content is by recording content via Zoom (which is a video recording platform), then uploading the video to YouTube and stripping the audio for a new podcast. Stacy thinks it’s great she can be in many places online, without having to actually BE in each place.
Your audience isn’t all in one place. There’s some on Pinterest, others on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Stacy can take her podcast, put a shareable social media graphic on it, and put her content everywhere. She gets a lot of mileage from one-time work.
(We think this is such a great idea!!)
Mixing platforms like this can be tricky because “your podcast listeners might not enjoy you constantly communicating in real time with people on Facebook Live.” Stacy works around this quirk by leaving a comment at the top of the video that mentions she’s recording an episode and There will be a Q&A at the end, so stick around. Her audience knows that if they commit for the whole session, they’ll get their questions answered at the end.
But when Stacy does mention that she’s recording on Facebook Live in content headed for the podcast, it’s great because maybe the podcast listener was unaware she puts out content on Facebook and will go to visit her there.
We just had to ask HOW does Stacy do it? Does she mount her phone with the Facebook Live rolling?
She says that she sets up the camera to give a ‘behind the scenes’ feel. Viewers can see her mic and background. And, in her experience, everyone thinks it’s so cool to have the inside look. They appreciate this view way more than just a talking head on her phone.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with social media, think about where could you double up your efforts. Can you repurpose any of this stuff? Is there a sentence from the show notes that can go into a social media graphic that links to YouTube?
(Wow, I learned so much! I want to do some streamlining in my own business after talking to Stacy!)
Stacy’s Adorable Mom Moment
Stacy tries not to work in front of her kids. She sends them to daycare, and when they’re home she’s totally in Mom Mode. But during a busy time, like a launch season, you have to figure it out. During one of these busy times, Stacy was working at home while her husband played with her daughter, who was 4.
She casually asked her daughter, “Is it okay if mom works, or do you want me to play with you?” And her little girl said, “It’s okay, Mom! You keep working. I’ll keep playing over here.”
Stacy was so touched by her daughter’s insight, until a few days later when she told Grandma, “Mommy works on her computer and doesn’t play with me.”
Kids! They are watching and listening…and sharing too!
Stacy's LIVE Event
I love how Stacy got to an amazing place in her business by taking it one step at a time, just like all of us do.
Stacy has a live event coming up in April I wanted to let you know about: She's Building Her Empire. A 2-Day conference happening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You'll get to hear a lot more from Stacy, as well as other amazing speakers including ‘Boss Mom' Dana Malstaff. On the event website you'll see a detailed breakdown of the 2-Day agenda, plus get all your questions answered. Visit the event page to learn more.
Keep In Touch With Stacy
Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!