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032: Trading the Daily Grind for Digital Entrepreneurship – Clay Lafleur
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In this episode I talk with my friend, Clay Lafleur, with Kirsten & Clayton. He recently changed career paths in favor of creating more time for his family while helping others achieve their own goals through technology. He shares his journey with coaching others in digital marketing and online business creation.


Sam Schutte 0:02
In today’s show, I have Clay Lafleur. He is with Kirsten & Clayton, and he is in Airdrie, Canada. And I met clay working on software development projects with him in the past. And we’re going to talk about best practices for launching a new digital business. Clay, welcome to the show.

Clay Lafleur 0:24
Hey, Sam, thank you very much for having me today.

Sam Schutte 0:27
Absolutely. So it’s great to see you. Again. Like I mentioned, we worked together for several years on projects as consultants working on software development efforts. And I had seen and you know, on social channels and such that you’d launched new business in the last year or so and haven’t really been growing like gangbusters with that. So tell me a little bit about that. About that business and what you’re what you’re doing.

Clay Lafleur 0:51
Yeah, we started about a year ago, and it’s been been a bit of a roller coaster. It’s been fantastic. It’s been fun, lots of learning. My wife and I, we really wanted to start a digital business, find a way to work from home a little bit more, get some more time with our kids. So we really did some searching and one of the finds something that was fit inside of our little niche for us. And that was getting more time with our kids and being able to dictate when we wanted to work. I didn’t want to be working 12 hours a day, trying to get down a contract and not have any vacation time. Right. So we really wanted to focus on getting some of that. So we started this digital business. And since we started it a year ago, it’s been it’s been gangbusters like you said, it’s been fantastic. It’s been fun. I learned so much doing it.

Sam Schutte 1:42
What so what kind of talk about a little bit the audience size. I’ve seen in some of your videos online that were you’re talking about the business, the growth and audience you’ve had and just that one year.

Clay Lafleur 1:52
Yeah. So the group that we work with, we went from, I guess it would have been last year but the time I signed up We had about 20,000 people in the group, we have now exceeded 42,000 people in the group in one year. Well, so there is been exponential growth in this in this area in this business, especially with people wanting to work from home, right. And, and I think everything that’s going on in this world right now really puts that into focus how much people want to be at home, or have to be at home. Right, and trying to find a way to work inside of that, that confines and I think this is a great opportunity for a lot of that.

Sam Schutte 2:34
I think it’s cool too, that you’re creating a business that suits your lifestyle instead of the other way around, you know, making your life fit fit your job, right, because I know for a number of years there you were traveling, a great deal commuting from Airdrie there which is outside Calgary to Seattle week on week off, right I believe and just that was I’m sure that was brutal. So how does that sort of change I don’t know what what does that done for you? Personally, I guess

Clay Lafleur 3:03
it’s it’s been fantastic for me because I get to spend a lot more time with my boys. And you’re right I did a ton of traveling. I’ve been to Seattle and back like you said week on week off. There were times where I was gone for two, three weeks because I had to be in the office for projects and deadlines and I couldn’t leave I can only leave on the weekend and I get maybe two days with my wife who is at home with both our boys. And she is going crazy because she needs to help right? So coming home, being able to work from home have that the only other great thing about this is that I get my boys involved. Do some of the videos with me on my on our Facebook page if you jump in and see that, they’re a riot. They love doing it. They love getting on video. So it’s not just about Kiersten and I building something. It’s something that we can build their boys and something that they could have down the road when they get older.

Sam Schutte 3:55
Yeah, and what was Kirsten? What did she do before this?

Clay Lafleur 4:00
So she’s still working. She works at WestJet, which is one of the major airlines here in Canada. And she does safety and security. So she really makes sure that the guests and the passengers, all of our flight attendants and our our pilots are all safe and if anything happens that she she follows up reports and does procedures to make sure that everybody’s traveling safe and the best way they can.

Sam Schutte 4:24
But she’s been very busy in the last six weeks of Coronavirus.

Clay Lafleur 4:27
Yeah, she’s been she’s been pretty, pretty stressed out. But with that, I mean, it gives me the opportunity to spend a little bit more time with my boys and continue on this business, right. So we can work on this business first thing in the morning. And then just as we’re hanging out watching Netflix, we could sit down and do a little bit of brainstorming and do some of this business and it doesn’t take long for us. We’re maybe doing four, maybe five hours a day on this business. And we’re still rocking like gangbusters, right? So it doesn’t interfere with us.

Sam Schutte 4:58
Yeah, and so let’s talk specifics. You know, what you’re doing for your customers? What kind of work? You know if I’m what, what kind of Who are your target customers? And what are you doing for them

Clay Lafleur 5:07
Our customers are people kind of like ourselves where we really target parents or people with children who are looking for a way to spend more time with them. right for me, I was away a lot, always busy. And when I wasn’t traveling, I was at home. I was always on contract basis. So I would never have like time off per se, unless I banked a bunch of money, and then took some time off without pay and hope to god that didn’t run out of money by then. Right, so I really wanted this something that we could build on. So I target people that are very much like Kirsten and myself with some kids. But we’re also looking for people who are interested in the online space right looking to find a way to work from home and not have you don’t have to have that experience to do it. Right. So what we kind of what we offer to people is the ability to learn something new. You don’t have to be tech savvy to do it. Because we do all of the step by step training, we have videos and stuff for that. And then we offer them a way to start a digital business, right? So it’s the systems we built the systems in behind. So you don’t have to worry about having to create a whole sales funnel and all that stuff. You learn about that. But you don’t create that yourself. We take care of that in the back end. And then we teach them how to leverage social media, something that everybody is on every day, right? We’re flipping through Instagram or Facebook or watching a YouTube video. I don’t how many hours of YouTube my kids watch a week because they’re downstairs, flipping through the channels, right? And then once that once we get people involved, it’s been fantastic in terms of the reward people get because not only are they learning another skill that they can use towards something else, but they’re expanding their reach, not just on Facebook, they get to do Instagram, we have Google. And we have YouTube, Pinterest. Like all of the social media outlets, we really started to encompass like we started out with just Facebook. That’s the only thing we started with. And now we’ve expanded into every area that we can really touch, you’re starting to get into Twitter and LinkedIn, like things areas like that.

Sam Schutte 7:26
So and what are for most of your customers? Are they selling digital products on these channels? Or is it consulting and coaching and or is there a particular type of thing they’re working on through their digital businesses?

Clay Lafleur 7:38
So what we were working on is we really want people like there’s, we’re some we’re selling the opportunity to start their digital business and in this the digital business, involves the coaching aspect of it, right? Come learn how to do this. You get to coach people and be a part of this community. And we’re really just selling this opportunity to start a business that at the end of the day has phenomenal reward to it. But like every business, there is always some sort of buy in, right? So we will always refer to this like kind of as a franchise model, right? When you buy a franchise, you spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, right? And you have you have to buy a building, you have to buy this you have to buy this product, you have to do this, you have to do all this stuff. You have all this overhead with staff and products and all that. This, isn’t that, right? We’re not we’re we’re basically keep giving you a franchise where we supply you with all the tools, all the systems, and then all the knowledge in order to make that successful. But you don’t have the giant overhead, you don’t have that expense. The only staff member is you and your success really depends on how much you’re going to put into it.

Sam Schutte 9:01
So an hour How are you finding customers to work with? You mentioned you were in a group with 20 some thousand and you’re over 40,000 Now, how did you kind of find those folks? Is it what’s been those productive channel I guess for you?

Clay Lafleur 9:16
So for us, it’s really just, we can’t we came across this opportunity just on our newsfeed. Just like a lot of people might see my ad come across, or I come across on their news on the Facebook newsfeed. But we I find working with these people, they’re all very like minded. They’re all very successfully focused where your success is my success. Right? If you’re succeeding, I’m succeeding. If I can help you out, what can I do for you? Right? The whole group of them have been like that from the get go. And that to me has been such a big shift for me in terms of just the way I think about things, because I’ve been in lots of situations where I’m always working for somebody who is just in it for themselves. Right? It’s never about the greater good, or what can I do to help everybody else out, it’s always about, I need this done, because this is what I want, not what everybody else wants. Right? So reaching out and talking these people, we built some great relationships with them. Some of the people in in our group have been fantastic to work with, I do probably about one or two zoom chats a week with some of these people to just go over some technical stuff and, and talk to them about some of the training that we have going on. And that connection. We’ve gone out and we’ve met these people, we’ve gone out and had dinner with them. So it’s just building that community. And that has been such a huge change for me

Sam Schutte 10:56
and are most superior people you’re working with most your customers in Canada or the US all over the globe or Where’s kind of your geographic area.

Clay Lafleur 11:03
We’re global,like it’s global we have one of our really close ones is just probably about an hour and a half away from us. And we’ve gone out to their place a few times and seeing them, but we have people from all over somebody from Belize, somebody from Brazil that just signed up the other day. I’ve got a few people we’ve connected with in Australia as well. tons in the UK had a meeting today, like a coffee chat today with our bigger, larger group. And I think there was 14 or 15 people from England and they just made the time to come on and have a coffee chat with everybody and just talk about business and and kind of move people forward. Right.

Sam Schutte 11:52
So when so when people are starting a new business like this, you know, you said you help them with all the tools and some of the technology. What do you think You know, when you look at those platforms and all the things people have to learn, what do people struggle with the most sort of learning and getting up to speed with?

Clay Lafleur 12:12
I think this what people struggle with most is actually their mindset, right? They look at what’s what’s out there. And they’re like, I can’t do this. Like, there’s just too much to understand and to learn. But I really think what people, I think, struggle with is just slowing down. Right? This we have very simple step by step videos that literally walk you through every screen on how to do something. And there’s a lot of times where we get people giving us questions going, Well, I can’t find this can’t do this. And I’m like, Can I well go back four steps. And it’s right there on this screen at this at this stage, right? So it’s that slowing down and knowing that you can do it. You don’t have to be tech savvy. You don’t have to know everything. That’s what we’re We’re here for that’s what we’re here to help you with is to learn that stuff. Right? So really, I don’t think it’s the technology that people have troubles with. It’s just getting out of their own way.

Sam Schutte 13:12
Do you think that some of your background because, you know, most of the work you did as a technology consultant was in that UX space, so usability and, you know, making user interfaces and graphic design and all that, you think that sort of helps you walk, make good videos and good content, explaining how to use software to people or how to use you know, web applications and stuff? Because you sort of know how people consume that stuff.

Clay Lafleur 13:37
I think it definitely helps. It helps me in terms of when I’m talking to people and trying to explain things to people. videos, doesn’t help me one bit, because I’m terrified when I go on a video. It’s one of those things you just put a camera in front of somebody and most people just clam up like, especially if you’re not used to doing it, right. That’s me. I don’t I don’t do a ton of videos but the ones I do. I try. I try Do and get better out. And that’s why I bring my boys on it. Because if I bring my boys in, then we’re just having fun. Yeah, it’s not serious.

Sam Schutte 14:07
Yeah. Well, I think creating video content is something that a lot of people that want to get into coaching or any any kind of stuff like that, I mean, they can really struggle because I mean any of that stuff, you know, video podcasting. I mean, even just if you’re just blogging organic content, it’s not simple anymore, per se, or doesn’t, you know, often you have to learn a lot of skills, if you’re really shooting for like pro grade level stuff, right. And I had a call yesterday with someone who’s launching a podcast, you know, and it’s like, what kind of microphones should I buy? And, and all these type of questions. And there’s a lot of stuff to learn, you know, how do you how do you sort of help people who, you know, struggle to get something out there but because, you know, like, there’s always this perfectionism that can hold you back, right? Like, well, my video didn’t look good enough, so I’m not going to put it on YouTube. I’m not going to post Uh, what do you sort of coach around that?

Clay Lafleur 15:02
That’s That’s a really good question because I am, by far the biggest perfectionist in this house when it comes to putting stuff out, especially like you said, I did a lot of UX and UI design front end designs that people look at. So I’ve always been very particular about that. So what we really tried to instill in people is that it’s okay if it’s not perfect. That’s something I’m learning on a daily basis. But it’s okay if it’s not perfect, because that shows more of you. Right as an individual, if it’s polished and pristine, and it looks like it’s production worthy. People tend to look at that and go, Hmm, what’s really going on? Because you have all of this and it looks perfect. So there must be some big company. It must be something doing this. So we always say is just to keep it raw, keep it yourself. Right? And a lot of my videos there is nothing perfect about So, which is awesome, I love it. And it’s just we really try to show people who we are, and really be authentic to ourselves and why we started this business, right? I mean, that’s the biggest thing.

Sam Schutte 16:19
What are the most important like kind of service mindsets that you have with you know, what is really important to you and in what how you serve your customers, I mean, you know, that you kind of line out and try to live by,

Clay Lafleur 16:34
um, really, the integrity of it. And really being confident with yourself. I really try to talk to our core people and really get into them that you are your own success, meaning that your success just depends on how much you’re going to put into yourself and into this business. And if you focus on that, everything else comes forward. Right? Figure out what your why is why do you want to get into this business? Why do you want to do something like this? And let that drive you and push you forward.

Sam Schutte 17:19
So what are your some of the success stories your customers have that you’re most kind of proud of that you’ve seen people succeed?

Clay Lafleur 17:26
Ah, we’ve seen people succeed at quitting their jobs. Right, going from the nine to five grind to like for the last 20-30 years to saying I’m done and working from home, in doing this job full time. We’ve seen people go from like, making maybe 40,000 a year to making 40,000 a month. Right. There’s lots of stuff that We’ve watched people grow and do and achieve. We’ve watched the lady literally pack her stuff up and move to Mexico, because that’s what she wanted to do. That was her why I want to live in this country. So she did it. Right. And she still works in this in in on this online business, because you can do it from anywhere.

Sam Schutte 18:21
Yeah, it’s interesting how much freedom sort of just, I don’t know, we would I think we underestimate how much freedom all the sort of internet based businesses and just all these tools create for people. I mean, I have a lot of friends that you know, don’t really live anywhere, you know, some of these guys, particularly if you’re single don’t have kids, you know, they’ll they just kind of always go to whatever city they want to work in. And I mean, they’ll be in, they’ll be in Rome for a month and then they’ll be in Vancouver for a month and, and for a lot of jobs, you can do that.

Clay Lafleur 18:51
And this is one of them. And why not make it a family adventure to take your kids along, go go across to to Spain or to England, right? Go to Ireland and visit for a while and while you’re doing it, the kids go to bed, pop on your laptop for two hours, do a little bit of work, right? It’s not a big deal, and you get to make that time when you want to make it.

Sam Schutte 19:14
So what are what are some of the what kind of coaching? I guess, do you do you think some of your customers are doing? Like what are some of the stories of the types of coaching services your customers are providing to their, to their clients that are interesting, and it’s, it’s always interesting to me just like, there’s so many people out there coaching people and consulting in so many niches. I’m just curious, what are some of the more interesting ones you’ve seen?

Clay Lafleur 19:40
Um, I’ll make a couple of really interesting coaching stories. We so this lady in our group, she is a grandmother of seven grandchild children. So she’s in her 60s in 65, five ish, I believe. And she came on board She was really didn’t really know anything about technology to start with. She knew how to get on and do Facebook and spend some time with her kids online like her grandkids. But she knew nothing else beyond that. And she is now one of the leaders in our community. Because she was able to be coachable. She was able to sit and listen and take advice. And then now she’s bringing in other people around her age to help and do this right. She looked at it and said, I want my golden ears to be golden, not stressed out and worried about what she’s leaving her kids when she passes away. Now she knows that she can move forward, right? So it’s really just the coaching is is learning how to how to tell you the coaching it’s it’s been phenomenal for for me, I mean, I have my own coach that comes to me and if I have questions, I go I go go to her right And it’s always very open. It’s always a very candid conversation kind of like you and I are having right now. super friendly. It’s like I could literally grab a cup of coffee and sit down and we could chat for hours. Right? So the coaching isn’t like, do this do that. It’s it’s a very friendly, open environment where everybody’s opinion, and everybody can be heard. And all the questions be answered.

Sam Schutte 21:25
Gotcha. So how do you think? Do you find that a lot of the people that you’re talking to, I mean, obviously, there’s people that have kind of been planning to do something for a long time. And then I think, obviously, a lot of people are losing their jobs in this environment, that, you know, they’re not quitting their jobs or kind of ended up on the street. I mean, I guess, are you seeing a lot of people take up that charge to start their own business? Or, you know, how has that affected things?

Clay Lafleur 21:51
I think definitely during this current situation that we’re in, we’ve seen a lot more of that, like we’ve seen a lot more people come on board looking for that. Because there have been a lot of people who have maybe have lost their jobs or they know that the chopping block is coming. Right and they’re looking for something looking for a plan B or something to to give them some security. So we’ve definitely seen a lot of that increase here in the last little bit. But I’ve seen also seen that kind of petered off like kind of plateau a little bit now. I think now that we’re two months into the three months into this, almost people are really starting to Stop panicking and really start to focus a little bit more on cake. What’s next? Being a little bit more mindful, a little bit more thoughtful about that. And moving forward, right.

Sam Schutte 22:42
Yeah, no, I think that’s true. I think people have settled down a little bit. I think for the first month, there was a lot of panic. I guess what are you what are some of the sort of new things you want to move into and, you know, where do you see where do you see yourself with your business in 12 months? You know, what new stuff Do you want to get into,

Clay Lafleur 23:01
for me, really for Kirsten I were really looking forward to getting into doing some some YouTube stuff, and maybe branching off and doing some, some LinkedIn work as well. I’ve gotten my, my LinkedIn stuff is really focused along my old career path. And I really need to look at that and start changing that because this is really what I want to be doing. And in about 12 months from now, I want to have, like,I want to have that life that I’ve always thought I would have, right, I would always have the time for my kids. That I would, I would always be able to say yes, instead of No, because I have to work. I want to go take my kids on a trip when we’re allowed to take trips again, and fly all that stuff. I want to be able to take them on a trip, but I don’t want to have to put all of that on my credit card and go How am I going to pay for this? Right. So I want to be able to financially be more guy say stable and have something in the background that’s generating me income where I don’t have to worry about it right, a monthly monthly residual income that Yeah, I am not having to work 12-14 hours for

Sam Schutte 24:26
Sure, sure. So, what do you think? I mean, obviously you’re, you know, this is a real lifestyle business for you that’s really keyed into your family and, and the way you, you know, it’s, you and your wife are so sort of like, inextricable to this business. But I guess outside of that, you know, what, you know, I guess for her maybe, you know, how has this been personally rewarding or how’s it kind of, you know, change the way you and her interact?

Clay Lafleur 24:58
It’s been good. It’s It’s been a learning curve for both of us because we’ve never really worked together before. With my little, I have a bunch more knowledge about being technical in the back end. So some of the aspects of this learning came a little bit easier for me, where there’s other things that she’s really good at. She’s really good at writing, and she’s really good at kind of presenting things where I’m just really good at the technical and the fine tuning of things. So we work really well together where we can bounce ideas off of each other. And know that like, if I throw something out there. If it’s completely bad, she’s gonna tell me straight up telling me She’s like, no, that’s not gonna work, forget it. And vice versa. I can turn around and say, Well, no, we can’t do that. Because X, Y and Z. And it’s just like, Oh, yes. Okay, I remember that. And we would go back and talk about it. So it’s been really good. It’s kind of I think, brought us closer in terms of understanding each other and how we work. Because it used to be I used to go away for work and come home and I just fit myself in somehow. And now that we’re together all the time, it’s really kind of helped us gain a better appreciation and understanding for each other and what each other goes through on a daily basis.

Sam Schutte 26:18
Yeah, totally. So I guess just to summarize me, what are the what are the three main problems that someone to reach out to you for help with that you can help them with?

Clay Lafleur 26:30
Oh, really, the biggest problem is if people wanted to start an online business, how to do that, right, how to start an online business. And we really kind of walk people through,like,what the three three main pillars are to start that successful business, right? It’s kind of what products do you sell, systems do you need to use and kind of what are good quality customers. So those are the three things that we really help people understand and try to get to the people to really kind of focus on so that they can become successful, right? We provide a lot of that information. And we give that so that people aren’t having to go, oh my god, it’s such a big, big job to do. I don’t think I can do this. Well, we’re here to help you and provide that. So really helps eliminate that. I guess that when helps eliminate the people getting scared of starting something, right, because we provide all of that for them.

Sam Schutte 27:33
Awesome. And so if people want to reach out to you, what’s your website they can find you out.

Clay Lafleur 27:38
You guys can find this at www.kirstenandclayton.net . I am on Facebook at Kirsten & Clayton as well. And we’re on Instagram as well @Kirsten Clayton so you can reach out to me, those three areas send me a message. You can even Facebook me, my personal Facebook’s open to everybody as well. You can get me at Clayton LaFleurI’m always around.

Sam Schutte 28:02
Awesome. Yeah, so check out Kirsten and Clayton’s website. It’s been great talking to you Clay and reconnecting and just hearing about how much doing what you’re doing now has has changed your family life, which is really awesome to see and help you out in that regard. And so, thanks for coming on the show and talking about it with me.

Clay Lafleur 28:24
Awesome. Thank you for having me today, Sam. You guys. Take care of yourself and your family. love seeing you guys on Facebook. And we’ll we’ll chat again soon.

Sam Schutte 28:32
Yeah, thanks.

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  • Clayton Lafleur
    Reply

    Thank you Sam for the opportunity to talk about my new adventure. I really enjoyed chatting with you, it felt like talking to an old friend.

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