The Lounge Q+A: Natasha O'Banion, Process Mastery Coach Pro
Process Mastery Coach, Automated CEO
You guys have the best platform in the world with PocketSuite.
PocketSuite has been such a huge instrument for me in doing this because it’s all there. I can literally sit there, laugh, have wine, and receive a text. “Here’s the contract.” Bada-boom, bada-bam, let’s go. So for me, you guys have been pivotal in making this happen.
PocketSuite Process Mastery Coach Pro
After seeing her pet care business scale to 6 figures in just 6 months by having a clear plan on company, people and process, Natasha O’Banion decided to shift gears. She created a 12-month program helping entrepreneurs scale through systems, processes and automation. Natasha speaks with CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro, about leaving her corporate job to start a business of her own. She explains how she got started, what keeps her going, as well as some tips she learned along the way.
Natasha, I’m excited to get into it with you. I’m shocked that we haven’t done a Lounge yet because you’re on fire. So I’ve primed our audience on a bit of your background, but I really think they will benefit from hearing your story about going from corporate to becoming an entrepreneur who really helps other entrepreneurs.
Sure, I get chills every time. Even when I hear it from myself and I’m like, “Is that me? Girl, is that you? That’s not you.” I come from the automotive industry. 13 years doing everything from the ground up. I started in high school, answering the phones, supporting general managers, business development, HR, operations, business. You name it, I did it. I ended up going into after-market sales and then finance. I was looking around and I was like, “Okay, well, who else’s job do I want to do in here?” I’ve done all of them and I didn’t want to be a general manager of a store. I was like, “No, he’s way too stressed out.”
It was an amazing story, as I worked with brands like Bentley, Mercedes, Lexus, even Honda, Toyota, Ford. So I’ve been in all walks of life when it comes to automotive. I was in the dealership one day and I was like, “You know what? I think this is my time. I think this is going to be it.” And my coworker was like, “Shut the heck up, you’ve been here forever. You’re one of the ancient ones.” I was like, “No, I think we’re going to call this a wrap.” I didn’t have a plan. I was living in DC. It was super cold. So I was over it at that point and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to go off to the sun. I’m going to go to Miami and do me.” They said, “Do you have a job? Do you have a place?” I responded, “No, I don’t have any of that, but it’s fine. I got God, we’re good.” So I went with Renzo and Ruby, my two dogs, and we live our best life on the beach. I thought, “You know what? This is what I want my life to be like.” At that time I wasn’t married. I didn’t have any kids. So I was like, “I want to live the good life on the beach. How can I keep doing this?” The dealership had caught me captive for 12 hours a day, a beautiful environment, but you have to be in there all day.
So after about five months of chilling out, I thought I should actually do something with myself. I asked myself, “What is it that I like to do?” I had dog walkers come in all the time, so I knew the earning potential. I had a dog walker that would come in twice a day, like Rastafarian-type vibe and my dogs loved him. I didn’t even know the guy, never saw a picture, never got a report, never got an update. I saw him on the elevator one day in my building and the dogs went nuts. I thought, “Who the hell is this guy?” He was our walker.
I decided to take my professional background, my experience, my love of people and roll that out in the dog industry and kill it. Mind you, I always lived in luxury apartments. I said, “That’s going to be my avatar, me. I know my avatar.” So I went in, landed contracts with the buildings and property managers, and the rest was history.
I ended up traveling with my family to 15 countries in 2019. We fully sealed the business. I was really not doing anything. We were on autopilot. I was also in a bunch of Facebook groups and I would just give free value, right? If people had questions, they could call me no problem. They want tips, just call me, very casual. Then once COVID hit, I was like, “Dang, I’m pregnant, I’m in the house, I got nothing to do. Why not coach people?”
So I did the summit last year and I thought, “All right, if we’re doing this, we’re doing this. Let’s get everybody in the house. Let’s get all my people. Let’s get PocketSuite because you know they need that app. Let’s get all my insurance people. Let’s get our trademark people and rock it.” I created my high ticket program, which is Automated CEO. I wanted a high touch experience where they come in for 12 months. I did a couple online course styles for eight weeks and people always wanted more. So I said, “Okay, let’s keep them on for a year. Let’s bring some coaches in.” I got a sales coach, an HR coach and I’m loving it.
Our dog walking has been running on its own, but I even took a pivot in that step. I talked to all my walkers and asked, “Do you want to run this on your own? Do you want to take it over?” I was already giving them a 75% margin during COVID and I wanted to make sure they were okay. They were happy to pivot with me.
I’ve always wanted to make a dog athleisure brand. I’d already been selling online. We already had our subscription boxes. So we started rolling out our brands of athleisure and an online training course. That is going to turn into a dog media brand. We’ll eventually start selling ads on it and bringing people in from all walks of life, learning about dog-friendly hotels, airlines, restaurants and bars, but not in one centralized location. Dog-walking in every single territory nationwide, but now we’ll be taking it via media. So we’re working on that now, we’re super excited.
Every one of my clients for Automated CEO has a big dream and a big vision. I can help them scale. I know how to get you out of the business, that is my specialty. So we’re doing that now.
I actually knew only a fraction of what you’re currently up to. Every time we talk, you’re expanding. Because there’s so much demand and you have so much talent to fill that demand. So I’m blown away as always Natasha. We spend a lot of time in the Lounge talking about how people got their start, but you’re really focused on helping people take things to the next level. Can you share when folks should be thinking about taking things to the next level? When do you know to start scaling because you’ve got something that really works?
I reverse engineer everything. I always coach to start with the end in mind. You can hear me right now with all of these things that I like to do. But all these things that I’m mentioning have always been passion projects of mine. When I was only dog-walking, I already knew I was going to be doing all these things down the road. I teach you how to start the GPS. You get in the car and put the coordinates in the GPS so we know the destination.
What happens so often as you burn out, you think, “I just need to make money. I just have to find clients right now.” But you don’t realize when you put your process and systems together, that’s when you make the most money, because you can duplicate it. But I think many of us learn the employee way, right? We’ve been in school for 18 years. They tell us to stay the hours, put in the time and get a good job and then see where it goes, right? You have to have this stack of money first before you can start puppeteering. And that’s the quickest way to burn yourself down.
They brought grooming to me, saying, “I think we should do grooming. We should do doggy daycare.” But it was not on my coordinates. This happens mostly in entrepreneurship, you’re not sure what’s happening in your day-to-day. Today, I woke up. I knew at 10:30, I was talking to Chinwe. Most entrepreneurs do not know what they’re doing every single hour of the day. So they’re not sure how to be productive or what they do.
I say, “You want to live in Bali? You want your business to run on its own and you want to be hanging out. So tell me what it is you do every day. How many clients do you talk to? What’s your KPI? What happens on a day to day basis.” Usually people don’t know those numbers. And it’s not ignorance. It’s saying that we were not entrepreneurs. I’ve learned this stuff by going through businesses and seeing it as an employee and understanding how that structure is. But we’ve got to know what we’re doing every single day. That’s how you scale because you can’t duplicate what you don’t really know you’re doing.
I appreciate this counterintuitive, scaling from day one mindset. You’re somebody who is working on a part of the business that most people don’t know they’re going to have to work on when they go into business, right? They’re like, “I really love dogs and I’m going to work with dogs and maybe pet parents.” But they’re not thinking about the funnel of clients they talk to every day. How do you get people to shift their mindset in order to recognize the two aspects of the business world that they’re working in?
The funnel is so important because it’s an open mouth. We keep the mouth open and then everything’s coming in and then there’s a bottleneck happening in the funnel. We don’t know where to flow things out. They talk about it like a machine or an automobile, right? The gas has to come in and things have to go through the pipes and the machines have to go round and round. How I do it is I think about what it is that I want my life to look like? That’s what I do from day one.
I service all industries by the way, I don’t just do pets. I do all service-based and product-based. When I’m talking to clients, we come from a very emotional brand. It’s emotion driven with pets and animals and people’s houses. It’s emotional, but I teach to go mathematical. I try to keep it in the math and to keep it in the process. So we have a contract. Now what do we do with this contract? Who gets the paperwork? When do we send it out? PocketSuite has been such a huge instrument for me in doing this because it’s all there. I can literally sit there, laugh, have wine, and receive a text. “Here’s the contract.” Bada-boom, bada-bam, let’s go. So for me, you guys have been pivotal in making this happen.
So you get your client and then what do you do with them? You’ve got to use your software to take them through the funnel, you’ve got to take them through the stream, you’ve got to be transparent. They know what’s going to happen, what’s coming next, utilizing that service agreement to its full potential.
That’s how we work by 12 months because usually in six months we have duplicated what’s going to happen over and over and over. So when things are coming in the funnel, what do we need? We need pre-qualifications, we need service agreements, we need appointments. That’s the start of it. That’s your onboarding. Luckily for us, dog-walking was very automated. As soon as they came in, pre-qualified, I would be sleeping, wake up and have seven appointments. And then the walkers would be outside doing it. That’s how it is out in the funnel.
Well, take us through it. Because for many people listening, this is like a dream. The notion of clients coming in through the woodwork and the system helping them figure out where they’re going to go and who’s going to help them. Then having the service being done, that’s really tough for people who have been doing it manually for so long, they don’t actually have a sense of another way. So can you take someone through it, someone who’s not used to having clients who are at the top of the funnel waiting to get in and are juggling a lot right now. How does it actually work and pick any industry, as an example?
I’ll just use the dog industry and it’s the same. Guys, literally all the principles are the same in the industry. So first is lead generation. Number one, where do we even get leads? How do we get seen? So make sure your brand is on par. Make sure you know who you’re talking to, your avatar. I serve very particular urban-based parents. I’m not in rural, not in the suburbs. I am urban-based people. So I know who my people are.
Now, when I’m writing blogs, when we’re using Pinterest, when we’re doing SEO on Google, I know where to find these people. You want to find out where your people are hanging. If you’re a hairstylist and you have a territory base, you want to make sure your address is pinging on Google. You want to use their algorithm to be seen. That’s number one in the funnel. How to be find-able.
How much of it is online? How much of it is offline? I’ve heard you talk about going to large apartment buildings, working something out with the apartment managers. I’ve heard beauty professionals say they put flyers on people’s cars and parking lots, but how much of it is online? How much is offline on the lead generation side?
So it could be 100% online. The whole thing could be done online. You see how I act? I like to get in your face. I like people. I really like connection. So I will talk online. I will DM on Instagram and Instagram is a huge source. Follow those hashtags. Find your people, collaborate with all the businesses in your area. We all share, right? That’s how you find your customers. You can do the whole thing online. With apartment buildings, if you have the same avatar as me, you can find them on Instagram.
“Hey, I noticed you guys are in our service area. I noticed you guys are dog friendly, but I’m noticing I’m not seeing anything super dog friendly.” That’s what I do. You come in and you say, “I will go ahead and take care of your events. So clients really know this is a dog friendly community. I’ll host yappy hours for you. I’ll do barn sips. We’ll do dog painting. We’ll do a bed and biscuits in the morning on Saturday.” They cannot forget about us because I’m all in there. I’m all over it.
You go to the wall Natasha, love it.
I love it because it’s events, because remember, we’re creating community. That’s how you’re going to have a legacy brand. You can do the short-term things, but you want to create a community so you can have a legacy. Then if you want to pivot like us, you still have the connections. You still have the resources, you never lose them because you have the community first. So go in and don’t be shy. There’s no script to it. Cater to your audience and give them the wow factor. Let them know that, “When they live at Camden, when they live at Greystar, it’s a one-stop shop and they really understand what their people are looking for.”
When it comes to the pets, I roll it out. I got my digital flyer ready. It’s in the DM. Instagram has “close friends.” So you can put all your people that you’re talking to in “close friends” so they’re getting all your marketing all the time. You don’t have to spam your stories.
I do a lot of that coaching, how to get through the gatekeeper. You can do it that way, but you can also pay to play. This is America. We know what it is. Pay for ads. Put the money out there. “We just made this much money. 10% is going to ads, period.” Think of that boat, you need something to push it and that’s going to be the ads and that’s how I’m able to sleep. Because I know my ads are flowing and I know that once they get in, they go and click on PocketSuite. PocketSuite is going to give them the contract. They’re going to ask them for everything I need to know. I don’t need to. I used to come in with a clipboard and that was a 45-minute process. I’m like, “How can I scale this?” I say the same thing to every single client. I know what I need. I made a pre-qualifier in PocketSuite and now they go in, they answer their questions. I can say, “Oh, that’s our client.”
So one of our questions is, “Has your dog ever bit somebody before,” so I can say, “I noticed you answered yes online. Can I get clarity on that? Oh, well, unfortunately we work as a team. We wouldn’t want to put your dog in a stressful environment. So unfortunately we’re not going to be able to service you.” No meet and greet necessary. No further action in the funnel. So you have to put your pre-qualifiers in there. So you’re saving time. All this is automation. You guys have the best platform in the world with PocketSuite. I can sing their praises to the death of me because I used to sling leashes and walk four dogs at a time outside in the city.
So you know, Chinwe, I go into PocketSuite and I create all the forms. I didn’t have a credit card form, so I created my own credit card form. I got my own form in the background. I got my own credit card contract. It’s all in there for you to go wild. I manage my staff in there. I do employee warning notices in there, right? Where people are like, “You write your team up in PocketSuite.” Yes I do. We have infractions. I can do a form. I’m only saying this because it’s endless. I noticed people don’t use the group chat enough. My whole team nationwide can all chit chat and piggyback and talk about the same thing, right in PocketSuite, under a group chat. Make a group chat for your team, make it fun, make it a family. So now they never call Natasha. Why? Because they got the whole group chat to talk to first. That’s part of the funnel. So you got your lead ascension funnel and then you’ve got your staff funnel. So there’s a whole lot of funnels. Hopefully that helps.
No, it more than helps, Natasha. I have an idea because so many people are joining and listening in and you’re a treasure trove of information. I’d like to do a weekly, if you have the time and I know you don’t, but I’d like to do-
No, I do. Girl, you’re my girl. I owe you a week at least, you see my life. I have two children, I have four dogs and PocketSuite.
You have four dogs now. Oh my God-
Four dogs now and they have allowed me, thank God for automation. Thank God that they were in the lab and they were figuring this out because this is not my specialty. Everyone asks me though, do you have your own app?
That’s what folks don’t know. Natasha has her own apps, ping her, ask her to DM you a link to her app. She has her own branded app with all of the forms that she’s talking about. All of the contracts, she’s got all of the defaults. You tell her what industry you’re in and she’ll get you set up on her app. You’ll be up and running in 15 minutes.
It’s amazing with businesses. If you’ve scaled one business, it’s the same principles. But I really love it because I know all of these hopefuls, who, like me, think, “I just want to quit my job. I want to live life. I want to be free.” Everybody says it’s business, right? Then you get in and you’re working 24/7. I’m like, “This was a lie. They lied to us. But they forgot to mention they made that system and structure for you. So now you’re the job, you got to make the system and structure.
No, you’re totally right. You don’t want to create. You want your business working for you. You don’t want to be working for and that’s the shift people need to make. Natasha, I want to do each automation topic, once a week. Let’s pick an automation topic and let’s go deep on automation for that industry, so folks know how to get there. Also, folks can reach out to you for additional help if they want to do a deeper dive on their specific business use case. People want to know this stuff. The webinars that are happening now on automation are endless. People want to get into it and you’re a guru. You’re one of the best!
Oh yeah! I know there’s a bunch of fitness Pros online because we have them in the PocketSuite community, too. I love fitness. All right guys, I just created a bra with the dogs.
What the…oh my God.
This is our dog athleisure brand. I told you it’s a sport bra and it’s Renzo Ruby. So fitness people, I got your back.
I love it. Natasha, we’re going to go into the personal for the quick answer part of our session. We want to know all about you and your life. You’re an open book already, but we want to drill into what you do for fun. So what are you streaming on Netflix, YouTube, wherever you stream?
I haven’t hit multimillionaire yet with my business, so I don’t watch TV. I promise that I’m not that girl, but I don’t watch TV. I don’t, I don’t. But when I was watching TV because my husband watches TV, I would think, “You didn’t hit your goals, you shouldn’t be watching TV.” But we do like the Chi and we do like Power.
Awesome, Chi and Power. All right. Where do you go to vacation besides Miami? What’s your favorite vacation spot?
My hotspot is Mexico.
Mexico, can do no wrong. I love it in Cabo. I’m in Texas, so it’s a quick hop across, and come back for the weekend like I never left. So that’s my go-to spot.
Well the next PocketSuite on-site is in Cabo. So hopefully you can come out and give us shout.
I’m in there. I am in there. It is a hop skip, but we went to Greece in 2019 and that was just phenomenal.
Where’d you go? Santorini?
Santorini, yeah. We went to Santorini. We did the Greek Island cruise and that was a dream.
That’s beautiful. What are your words to live by, famous quote?
Live in the seasons. When you had a failure, that was a season. You got to live from it. When you have success, that was a freaking season, live in the season, take it for what it is and keep it rocking because when God creates storms it’s because something amazing is right behind it.
No doubt, all right. What can we get excited about? What’s coming that we can focus on to cheer you on? What’s next?
You guys can cheer me on every day on my Instagram. Follow me at @natashaobanion and you can go ahead and click that little triangle up top with me and Chinwe and hit follow, share with 10 friends because it’s a unity and slide into my DMs. I am super personable. If I send you a video, don’t get intimidated because that’s how I roll. But let’s just talk. I swear Chinwe, my biggest mistake was not getting in rooms earlier, not picking people’s brains, obviously everybody has their thing, but not asking questions earlier. Saying, “You’ve done that, tell me the tricks because I want to skip this pain part really quick. Get me over there.” Get in the room with them and save the drama, right?
Natasha, it’s always a pleasure. We’re going to set up some time next week to go even deeper. We’ll let you all know so you can join too! This has been a learning experience for me. As always, thank you Natasha.
Thank you. You’re my family. I got you anytime. Thank you guys for listening to us and I hope you found value. Until next time.