Christine Campbell Rapin of CLEAR Acceleration: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business or Startup
In order to attract more of your ideal clients into your business, you must have clarity around your messaging and communicate it in a language that resonates with your ideal client. Effective communication makes them feel seen, understood and positions you as someone uniquely experienced to serve as their must hire guide on the path to reaching their goal of moving out of the darkness and into the light. Message effectively with consistency so that when your ideal client is ready to take action and resolve their problem, they choose to move in your direction, asking for your services or programs by name while you experience consistently high conversion rates.
Taking the risk to start a company is a feat few are fully equipped for. Any business owner knows that the first few years in business are anything but glamorous. Building a successful business takes time, lessons learned, and most importantly, enormous growth as a business owner. What works and what doesn’t when one starts a new business? What are the valuable lessons learned from the “University of Adversity”? As part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Campbell Rapin.
Christine Campbell Rapin is a business mentor and consultant. As the owner of CLEAR Acceleration Inc., she has a no-nonsense approach to helping business owners achieve consistent client growth by improving client conversion rates. Creative service-based business owners seek her out to create consistently profitable businesses by implementing proven marketing and business strategies and scale to multiple six figures.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My vision, even from a young age, was to one day be a successful business owner working for myself and employing others. I never imagined that I would create a mentoring and consulting company helping other business owners to build and scale their service based businesses.
My journey began with a side hustle. I committed 1 hour a day to building my business alongside my corporate career and family responsibilities. Through focus on key activities during that limited time, my business grew year over year. The fact I wasn’t working 24/7 to achieve this result was noticed by my peers and led to the inevitable question “what’s your secret?” The simple truth was that I treated my business like a business and focused on daily non-negotiables that created consistent client growth.
What I didn’t realize at that time, was that most new business owners didn’t have the same experience, expertise or education in business when they were starting out. As a result, client growth was inconsistent and many struggled to know what to focus on that would create both revenue and profit.
As peers started to ask me to mentor them, I realized they wanted someone who was a seasoned business person to show them the roadmap to repeatable success and be a thinking partner. That was the birth of my current business CLEAR Acceleration Inc.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
The hardest part of my business journey has been having confidence to trust myself and ignore the head trash that on occasion runs rampant.
Early on my journey, I was presented with an opportunity to be part of a mastermind mentorship program that had the potential to change the trajectory of my future. My immediate response when I heard the investment level in terms of both dollars and time was “no way” was I going to say yes to the program given everything that was on my plate at the time. And yet, over the next several days I obsessed about the future I could see on the horizon, oscillating between talking myself in and out of the decision to proceed and make the commitment to the program.
Eventually my husband asked me what was up and offered to be a sounding board to whatever had me spinning in circles. When I shared the pros and cons of the decision, he asked a simple question “will this mastermind program help you to reach your goals faster than you could do it on your own? If so, then why are you hesitating?”
What I realized in that moment, was that I was scared to prioritize my own dreams. It was so much easier letting other people’s dreams take precedence. If I chose to move forward I would need to be all in. No excuses. It was my responsibility to follow through on my commitment to myself to the same high degree as when I made commitments to others.
It was scary.
It was also essential that I got out of my own way so, I immediately registered for the program and jumped in with both feet. I’m so glad I did, as it did in fact forever change the trajectory of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t chosen to bet on myself in that moment.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I have always known and understood that life happens outside of your comfort zone and that everything I ever wanted was on the other side of fear. When there are rough days I always remind myself that the one thing I have complete control of is my attitude. When I feel the need to depart the field to regroup, I give myself permission to do so with the understanding that showing up tomorrow with a fresh attitude is a non-negotiable because my dreams are worth not giving up on.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
My business is in momentum and I feel excited and optimistic about the opportunities that are opening to create bigger impact. The key to long term success is staying in integrity with my values and being a strong example of the concepts and strategies I mentor around. I am always striving to focus on finding ways to simplify, embrace the learning found in every day and most importantly remembering to show up and connect with others on a human level. This journey is not about perfection, it is about experiencing everything and living to the fullest potential within.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The most cringe worthy moment looking back now is when I found myself completely unprepared for an impromptu sales conversation that came out of the blue. I had been invited to be a guest on a podcast with someone in my network. During the preliminary chit chat about the show the host started asking more details about my services. I thought it was just casual conversation until she said, “let’s skip the podcast for now, of more importance is that I need to work with you, what are your rates and do you have capacity to take me on as a client immediately?”
I was so stunned and unprepared to find myself in a sales conversation that I bumbled through an offer and undervalued my services. She immediately said yes and we began working together later that same week. When her contract came up for renewal, I doubled my rates and there was no push back as she said it was well worth the investment given the results she was achieving with me as her mentor. Eventually we did record the podcast together and have collaborated several times as her business has grown.
What I learned through the experience was how important it is to be prepared to have a sales conversation at any time. Be sure you understand your value as perceived by your prospect and be confident when making your offer as opportunities to create impact are all around you.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
In a marketplace that wants you to believe that you need big budgets, fancy tech and huge teams to produce leads, CLEAR Acceleration Inc. stands out because we mentor our clients to focus on 3 elegantly simple ways to create demand for services (speaking, networking and events.)
We never lose sight of the fact that with service based businesses, people do business with people. In order to create more impact and achieve higher client conversion rates, business owners need to cultivate and create experiences where the audience can interact, explore and experience your value before they are prepared to invest. Doing so builds momentum, brings the fun back and speeds up the decision making timeline with potential clients.
We regularly host webinars on “How to Scale and Attract High Paying Clients Consistently — Without Complicated Tech.” This free 1 hour live virtual experience is tailored to business owners looking for a roadmap they can implement to grow to the next level. We share a simple 5 step formula which we use in our Business Scale Accelerator Program to help our clients achieve their growth goals. There is significant value in the session and for the action takers who want a deeper dive or more support, they can book a Business Scale Accelerator Session to explore further services we offer and gain clarity on their next step.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Firstly, be crystal clear on “WHY” you are building this business. Personal success measures change over time and I would encourage my peers to be intentional about regularly revisiting how you are defining success in your life and business. Audit your own actions and evaluate whether they are helping you to build the life you truly dream about and make adjustments as needed.
Secondly, I also recommend to set aside regular “play days” where you take time out of the business to enjoy life (no, these days are not about chores or other errands). Consider them as essential mental health days where you enjoy something that brings you pleasure where you can relax, recharge your batteries and celebrate your progress.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
The biggest business influence in my life is my Dad. All of my life I have watched him build relationships where his handshake was his word and integrity was his core value. He would be the first to tell me that the business world has changed (and not for the better) since he was in the world of business. It has become inhumane where people are assets and everyone is replaceable. Therefore , if I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the world, I needed to intentionally choose what kind of leader I would show up as in my business.
One of the most important lessons he taught me was that there are 3 kinds of leaders in business. As each level of responsibility grows, the personal risks increase and the crowd thins out. There are:
- Leaders that can gather facts.
- Leaders that can interpret the facts.
- Leaders that can take action based on what the facts dictate even when the actions are unpopular.
Personally, I’ve always strived to be the 3rd type of leader. This decision has brought me both tremendous joy and heartache and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe firmly that small business will change the world. Having more business owners succeed has huge economic and individual impact. Not only does it change the financial future for many, it also brings people together and creates positive ripples of change. Through my business I have the enormous privilege to be front row and back stage using my skills and expertise to help fellow business owners create those positive impacts that have spanned around the world.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . The “Field of Dreams — Build it and They Will Come” approach to creating your future is a better movie plot than a business strategy for creating long term success. I have both personally experienced this trap as well as seen many business owners fall prey to it as well. We mistakenly spend enormous amounts of time and money on building products or services without creating the demand of these offerings first. Consequently, the offer launches to the sound of crickets and zero or low sales. At this point the owner must then refocus on building the demand to create the hoped for revenue, or go back to the drawing board (investing more time and money) to create an offer that the market will invest in. Both are huge bleeds on the bottom line and a waste of resources.
2 . Learning too late that you are renting space on social media platforms when your priority needs to be on creating a database of emails, addresses and phone numbers of your audience so that you remain in control of the communication channel long term. I’ve had many heartbreaking conversations with business owners who have seen their business momentum come to a screeching halt because they have either been hacked, been kicked off a social media platform or experience how a change in a platform’s algorithm takes them from well-known to invisible in a nano-second. When each of these happens, there is no immediate way to re-engage with their existing audience off the platform and therefore they are forced to start from ground zero rebuilding a new audience.
3 . If you don’t invest in your own growth, stop expecting clients to invest with you. In my business I often watch business owners dawn a badge of honor trying to figure everything out on their own, fearing to invest in their own skill development when cashflow is inconsistent despite knowing that the quickest way to achieving their goal may be by seeking support from people who can show them the way. The irony is that their clients behave in exactly the same way and yet the business owner is left scratching their head wondering why their prospects won’t invest in their own growth and development. The fastest way to destroy trust with a client prospect is when you fail to walk your own talk so be aware of any mixed signals you are sending out into the marketplace.
4 . Building your audience and creating demand for your service is always your #1 priority if you want a steady flow of new client growth and revenue. I recommend 50–70% of your time be spent on this single non-negotiable. The reason this is so critical is that most of the people you will serve this year, you haven’t met yet. If you don’t have an intentional strategy to get in front of more people, more ways, more often (a lot more) your business will remain on life support and you will always be riding the rollercoaster of peaks and valleys in your business revenue.
5 . In order to attract more of your ideal clients into your business, you must have clarity around your messaging and communicate it in a language that resonates with your ideal client. Effective communication makes them feel seen, understood and positions you as someone uniquely experienced to serve as their must hire guide on the path to reaching their goal of moving out of the darkness and into the light. Message effectively with consistency so that when your ideal client is ready to take action and resolve their problem, they choose to move in your direction, asking for your services or programs by name while you experience consistently high conversion rates.
Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder”?
One of the most valuable investments in time and money that I have made as a business owner is to curate an inner circle of peers who are moving at the same speed (or faster) than I am currently. These peers serve as sounding boards for my big and small ideas. They are people I trust to step into my business as needed and to provide a safe haven when the storms crash in and I need to regroup. For me what makes my inner circle effective is that it is a drama free space. We leave our egos at the door and with each interaction we show up with both an expectation of having a clear ask for support to the group while also proactively offering a genuine hand to be of service to others and add value to the group.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am creating my own version of the United Nations of business owners from around the world. We come together with a shared goal to be the change we want to see in the world and create positive ripples of change. Our focus is on building networks of support, mentorship, economic opportunity built on human centered values where co-creation is the norm without competition.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Connect with me through my eco-system on: www.christinecampbellrapin.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About the Interviewer: Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA was born nearly blind, crippled with club feet, partially deaf, and left-handed. He overcame all of these obstacles to become a successful civil trial lawyer. In 2000, he abandoned his law practice to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts. Doug teaches his innovative de-escalation skill that calms any angry person in 90 seconds or less. With Laurel Kaufer, Doug founded Prison of Peace in 2009. The Prison of Peace project trains life and long terms incarcerated people to be powerful peacemakers and mediators. He has been deeply moved by inmates who have learned and applied deep, empathic listening skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills to reduce violence in their prison communities. Their dedication to learning, improving, and serving their communities motivates him to expand the principles of Prison of Peace so that every human wanting to learn the skills of peace may do so. Doug’s awards include California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year, Purpose Prize Fellow, International Academy of Mediators Syd Leezak Award of Excellence, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Neutral of the Year. His four books have won a number of awards and commendations. Doug’s podcast, Listen With Leaders, is now accepting guests. Click on this link to learn more and apply.