“I was on Idaho State food stamps before my company took off as I didn’t know how to monetize, didn’t even know what the word monetize meant,” says Cristy. “But once I figured things out, we hit $10 million in revenue in three years. The company just took off and now we’re reaching people all around the world.”
Code Red is a multi-million dollar weight loss coaching company founded by Cristy “Code Red” Nickel.
Cristy has been in the health and wellness industry since 1994, from being a boxing career that brought her to #2 in the world to a highly successful personal coaching business, her expertise in nutrition is immense.
Now, she uses her decades of experience to help others on their weight loss journey with her Code Red nutrition programs.
But before her business took off, Cristy struggled with putting her programs in front of the right customers.
I’ve taken the insights below from Cristy’s podcast interview with Sean Castrina, her interviews at the Funnel Hacking conference, as well as our own interviews with Cristy (she’s a Mighty Pro Host).
Here are three lessons that helped Cristy grow from zero revenue to a multi-million dollar coaching business.
Lesson #1: You won’t succeed alone
Cristy had a killer nutrition program and the knowledge to deliver results and transformation. But she didn’t know how to market her products.
“I was sitting in my office 14 hours a day twiddling my thumbs, waiting for people to come in the door. I had a great program but didn’t know how to spread the message.”
Everything changed the day Natasha Hazlett walked into her office. Natasha was looking for a weight loss program and hired Cristy. She ended up losing 55 pounds in five months. Impressed with the results, she offered to help Cristy figure out how to market her program.
“She said to me after the first month, I gotta tell you, I’m a business coach, and you’re doing this all wrong. Your program is great but you’re not reaching people, you’re not doing this right, let me help you.”
Cristy hired Natasha as her business coach. The next month, she tripled her income.
“I never would have gotten to the level I’m at without coaches. My number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs is you need to hire a business coach."
"You think you got this but you don’t! You would be making millions and reaching millions if you already knew the answer. You need help. Get someone smarter than you. Nobody wants to invest that money to hire a coach for a year, but you can’t afford not to.”
Sean Castrina, the successful entrepreneur who interviewed Cristy on his podcast agreed with Cristy on the importance of hiring experts to guide you.
“Hiring people to get you there faster or to take you further is such a critical step and one that all successful people share,” added Sean. “I have coaches for nearly everything in my life. When I wanted to learn golf, I hired a pro. When I wanted to improve my finances, I hired a pro. When I wanted to write a book, I hired a writing coach."
#2 - Outsource, outsource, outsource
Entrepreneurs are biased towards action. You’ve got the vision. And you’ve also got the confidence to try it all—copywriting (sure!), playing art director for your website (I’ll give it a shot), building ads, figuring out Zapier, and jumping in on any tasks that need to get products live.
But Cristy says that her revenue only took off when she recognized that her willingness to jump in and tackle it all can also be a weakness.
“Entrepreneurs act like they know how to do it all. But now, I know exactly what I’m good at. I know exactly what I don’t know how to do. Stop trying to do it all. No, you don’t know how to build a funnel. No, you don’t know design or copywriting. Stick to your zone of genius.”
“Stop worrying that you need to pay $3,000 for a developer or designer or $6,000 per month to a copywriter. They’re the experts, they’re good at those things. You need to outsource. My next goal is to reach $100 million and I’ll outsource more. I’ll run bigger ad campaigns and get people to help me grow this brand.”
For Cristy, the biggest benefit of hiring a coach is to direct your energy toward the right strategy.
“Hard work ain’t enough,” says Cristy. “I came from a farm, milking cows at four in the morning. My three sisters and I were raised tough. I sat in that office in Boise 14 hours a day, waiting for clients. I knew how to work hard but I wasn’t working hard in the right direction.”
#3 - Hit publish every day
Cristy is all about content consistency. This is a trait we see with every successful creator we work with. Successful YouTube creators have their daily or weekly publishing day. TikTok creators publish every day. And successful online community managers commit to monthly and weekly publishing themes.
“My first million in revenue was all from organic social media traffic," she says. "You can absolutely do this but it’s gotta be consistent. It can’t be when you feel like it.”
Cristy’s published over 100 podcast episodes and built a top-ranked podcast called Rebel Weight Loss & Lifestyle. She’s written a book called The Code Red Revolution. And built a 15,000-member private community with her own iOS and Android apps (built with Mighty Pro). She’s consistent with new podcast episodes and social posts going out every few days.
Bonus: Rich Parrish’ content cheat codes
If you struggle with content consistency, I’ve found this model taught by the Forrester analyst Rick Parrish to be incredibly useful for building a content model.
- Rigor (following a documented practice)
- Cadence (regularly scheduled activities)
- Coordination (among people and other practices)
- Accountability (making sure there is someone senior overseeing that the work gets done).
Let’s break this down into a content schedule. Let’s say you want to commit to publishing a new YouTube video twice a week.
Rigor means you document everything and have a system to get the work done. You might break the video into three parts 1) finding insights to share 2) writing the script 3) recording the video.
For insights, you have a folder on your desktop where you put new insights, research, and examples you find during the week.
For writing the script, you have a template with the different formulas, storylines, and beats you know want to hit.
For recording the video, you have a shot-list of things you need to capture during every video including bonus footage for thumbnails.
Cadence means you commit to a publishing schedule. Every Monday and Wednesday is publishing day. And you need the Rigor stage to help you deliver on those deadlines.
For Coordination, you need to also document how you work with others. Nobody wants to deal with your messy self, sending over half-baked files, rushing at midnight, and getting angry because people don’t read your mind.
Instead, you need everything smooth: there is a folder where your b-roll footage appears on Wednesday for your designer to create thumbnails, there is a Figma template with the different assets you’ll need for LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok, and there is a document your video editor follows to chop up clips.
Finally, you need someone overseeing this.
As Cristy says, you can try to do this all yourself. But why not stick to what you do best. If your talent is selling your product and delivering incredible advice, hire an Executive Producer or Head of Content to run the process above. You just need to show up to the video shoot, collect ideas as you talk to customers, and deliver incredible content. Your team can do the rest and send you a weekly email report, showing you the results.
Learn more from Cristy
We interviewed Cristy on how she runs her multi-million dollar membership business.
You can also read our Mighty Pro case study with Cristy.
Her weight loss program truly works—check out her 10 Pound Take-down challenge here.