Chanti is a conversion copywriter and quiz funnel strategist for change makers and brands that give a damn. She’s a marketing unicorn that believes boring is the enemy, neutral is a death sentence and real talk is the way of the future. In her spare time, you can find her at the farmer’s market, wrangling her toddler, doing downward dog or binge-watching GoT.
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Fever. Chills. Milk and grated potato everywhere.
Yep, I got knocked down by the dreaded mastitis. (The proverbial ‘they’ tell you to pile grated potato all over your boob which has forever changed how I see this root veggie.)
TMI, I know. But what better opportunity to binge-watch every episode of Kitchen Nightmares on Prime is there than when you’re stuck in bed?
My red-hot burning love for Gordon is glowing even brighter after years of only watching his sweet side on Masterchef Junior (my 5-year-old is obsessed #futurechef).
But this email isn’t about chef crushes.
*Side note: I won’t be mad if you hit reply and tell me yours! We all have one or five. Nigella Lawson? Jamie Oliver? David Chang?! Spill it.
This is about business – straight up, no bollocks. In my feverish haze, I compiled a list of the invaluable business lessons Gordon shares on Kitchen Nightmares.
(For the uninitiated, Kitchen Nightmares is a show where Gordon himself goes to failing restaurants and spends a week whipping the owners and chefs into shape – in the hopes of ultimately restoring their success.)
And if you’re like “what does a chef know about business, Chanti?” – well, let’s ask Google:
Oh, and he has 35 restaurants. So clearly we’ve all got a lot to learn from G-sauce.
Almost every failing restaurant Gordon visits has one thing in common: an overstuffed menu with wayyyy too many options. The intent? To try and please everyone who walks in the door.
Gordon yells at them, cuts their 17-page menus down to 1, and in turn saves the entire schtick.
This desire to please everyone happens to the best of us.
3 people tell you they’d join a membership program if you had one, so you drop everything and create one. Then those turkeys don’t even sign up.
It happens. A lot.
As service providers, it’s tempting to allow your clients to dictate your menu — but continually adding new offers before you’ve mastered a core set is a recipe for chaos.
As course creators, it’s even more tempting to constantly create new courses.
(Side note: did you know I used to write an entire course every.single.month for a company I worked for before I started my own biz? UGH. That’s a story for another day.)
Look at the most successful online entrepreneurs out there, and you’ll find that the ones who’ve been in the game longest have very few offers.
Amy Porterfield has 2 courses (and she’s been preaching list building since 2013 – can you believe that?!)
Marie Forleo, 2 courses.
James Wedmore, 1 course.
If you’re tempted to create a whole whack of new shit in 2020, ask yourself… what would Gordon do?
Complacency is a sneaky fox.
The problem with the restaurants Gordon visits mainly revolve around the food.
But most of the time, the chef whipping up the soggy sandwich or the burnt chicken salad is experienced.
Like, we’re talkin’ cooking-for-their-entire-adult-life level experienced. So what gives?
All of these so-called ‘chefs’ reached a certain level of skill that was just good enough to get by – and then stopped challenging themselves.
It happens to the best of us. Why, though?
It’s so easy to coast. To think we know all there is to know under the guise of years of experience.
When you’re an entrepreneur, there’s no one breathing down your neck pushing you to get better. You’ve gotta be your own boss (hopefully the kind that’s chill and laughs easy and takes you out for drinks but still expects a high calibre of performance… I definitely wouldn’t want Ramsey as a boss).
Although Gordon stays with these dying restaurants for a full week, the work does not stop there.
These businesses have years of tarnished reputation to overcome, and they can only do that by implementing what Gordon has taught them. They must do the work.
At the end of the episode, everything looks all shiny and new and hopeful, but this is a marathon — not a sprint.
Your business is the same. You can’t just go in guns blazing with amazing ideas for a month or two and expect to keep that momentum without putting in the effort to maintain that progress.
If you can keep it up, though — you’re golden.
Holy chicken nuggets. The eye rolls, backtalk and screaming matches on Kitchen Nightmares are outta control. I don’t get it.
If GR was in my kitchen telling me my scallops taste like donkey sweat, I’d bite my lip and silently swear to the haute-cuisine gods to never overcook a delicate sea creature again.
But most people? They don’t respect that this guy is a famous multi-millionaire, multi-Michelin star chef/businessman. All they care about are their bruised egos.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s true what they say about opinions — you can ignore most of them. But an opinion from someone successful in your industry, who’s actively trying to help you… that’s different.
My first copywriting mentor used to tear my copy a new one. And it hurt, yes, but I listened and got better (although I still have a knee-jerk reaction every time I share a piece of copy that the recipient is gonna hate it 🙈).
In my peer mastermind, we’re always dolling out tough love to each other. It’s a blessing to have people in your life who prioritize honesty over possible hurt feelings.
A fresh coat of paint. New artwork. A clean, minimalist aesthetic. That’s usually all it takes to class up a joint. It’s the same for our digital homes.
Maybe you don’t need an entirely new website. Maybe all that’s required to exude a more profesh and polished vibe is a color palette that makes you happy and consistently sexy (but practical) fonts. Jussayin’.
I get the urge to redo my website all the time, but I know what I really need is a good deep clean – not a brand new stovetop.
Alright, so imagine your business is failing. You’re deep in the hole, unable to pay yourself, and mere weeks away from having to close up shop. What do you do?
Gordon’s answer is almost always this: TAKE TO THE STREETS!
He gets the owner to cook up something special, hand out samples, and spread the word. And it works!
How does that translate online, you ask?
Lemme tell ya, when I first started focusing on quizzes as a niche, I didn’t have people sending me referrals. I didn’t have much clout at all, in fact. But I did have access to the emails of brands I wanted to work with.
I cold emailed like it was my job. And it worked. I got clients. I got on podcasts. I eventually didn’t have to cold email anymore (thankfully, because truth be told it gives me hives).
You don’t necessarily need to use the cold email strategy. Just remember — someone, somewhere NEEDS what you have to offer. Don’t hide out if business is slow, take to the streets.
A lot of people hate on G-dawg. He has no filter. He can be a total ass. But maybe there’s another hidden lesson in there. One on the power of polarity.
If we could all just channel a little more of Gordon’s unapologetic badassery in our business, we’d all be more successful.
Maybe don’t go calling people an idiot sandwich, though.
Go forth and cook up some magic! In 2020, tear a page outta Ramsey’s book and screw what other people think.
Leave me a comment – which of G-dawg’s lessons are you gonna apply to your biz first?