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Get the details on this week’s episode:

The magic of transforming debt into profit with Ciara Stockeland

I’m excited to introduce you to Ciara, a brilliant mind who’s become a superstar for many in our Inner Circle community. She’s a pro at guiding e-commerce store owners out of the murky waters of debt and into the realm of profitability. Many of us struggle silently with financial challenges, but Ciara wants to flip that script. Her insights have transformed so many of our members’ businesses, and her advice might help you redefine your approach to your online store’s finances.

Click HERE to listen to the interview, or keep scrolling to learn how having a profit plan can change everything for your business.

The Debt Dilemma

Does this sound familiar? You’ve built a business and learned how to generate sales, things are humming along, but you still find yourself struggling financially, barely making a living wage, or worse, not paying yourself at all. You’re left feeling like an imposter – successful on the outside, but privately failing, especially when it feels like one misstep could take you out altogether.

But what you might not even know is that this is totally solvable. In fact, the most valuable thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to identify what is causing the breakdown. Recognizing and addressing your financial challenges is a little like finding a missing piece in a puzzle. Once you identify where your bucket is leaking, the complete picture of your business’s health becomes clearer, so you can get closer to stability.

 Why Profit Beats Sales

The first and most important mindset shift Ciara advocates is to shift your focus from sales to profit goals. While setting and meeting high revenue goals may feel good and seem impressive, what truly matters is how much of that revenue you retain as profit. Having a million-dollar business is meaningless if the profit isn’t there.  And no one talks about this. You only ever hear people bragging about their “multi six-figure businesses,” never about their 5% net profit increase. It’s time we celebrate actual financial success, not just the illusion of it!

Scaling Up Your Sales (And Your Problems)

Often, online store owners say they can’t think about profit until they get more sales. But without a profit plan, merely increasing sales won’t resolve underlying issues. Ciara recently encountered a business owner considering expansion to solve her cash flow problem, without recognizing that bigger sales would only make her existing problems bigger.


So many store owners end up feeling like the store owns THEM. And then they’re stuck. But having a profit plan can prevent a business from being trapped by its own growth.


When you focus on profitability instead of revenue, you find both financial freedom AND peace of mind.

When Should I Focus On Profit?

The best time to prioritize profitability was yesterday. The second best time is now. In the entrepreneurial world we hear so much “wisdom” that just isn’t true. That you won’t be profitable for 5 years, or that you should re-invest your profit instead of paying yourself. Why would you ever assume you’re going to take a loss for 5 years if you didn’t have to? Why not assume both you and the business will do well?


It’s never too early, and it’s never too late to focus on making your business financially successful, by analyzing and adjusting your financial strategies NOW.


Whether you’re just starting out and wondering where your next sale will come from or have been in business for a while and making hundreds of thousands, it’s critical to aim for profitability starting now.

Profit & Loss, Demystified

A Profit and Loss (P&L) statement can be simplified by viewing it as five main categories or “buckets.” These include:

  • Sales
  • Cost Of Goods Sold
  • Gross Margin (Sales minus COGS)
  • Expenses
  • Profit

It’s really just simple math. For example, Ciara recently met with an ecommerce boutique owner who just started, and she was frustrated because despite consistently having $5k months, she was $1k in the hole every month. When they looked at the buckets, it was the margin that was too low to make the math work. So the next step was to look at the pricing and product mix. Could she raise prices and set slightly higher sales goals? Once she identified the problem, the solution was fairly simple.

By focusing on these 5 buckets and their relationship, you can pinpoint where your store may be underperforming, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance your profit.

Money Mondays

Ciara recommends a “Money Monday” routine, taking just 15 minutes to review last week’s sales and costs of goods, inputting them into a spreadsheet to calculate the gross margin. This practice helps you understand your financial health weekly (instead of however infrequently you actually sit down to look at your numbers), and gives you back control over your finances. By looking straight at your cash flow, the steps you need to take become clear.

 Benchmarking for Success: What’s Your Margin Goal?

When establishing profit goals for e-commerce or brick-and-mortar stores, particularly for those new to this, Ciara says to aim for a 60% gross margin and a 20% net profit. These targets are benchmarks to strive for, understanding that it might take months or years to achieve them, depending on individual business circumstances. If you’re dealing with debt, your net profit might need to exceed 20%. Adjust as necessary, depending on your financial situation, but these figures provide a solid starting point for setting your profit goals.

Finding Your Financial Guru

Ciara didn’t start out a money magician. Once upon a time she was a boutique owner with VERY messy books, and a loose grasp on profit. She found her Financial Guru in the form of Randy, a fractional CFO who helped her most by creating a completely judgment-free zone. And so she knows firsthand that the process of sorting out your finances can be painful. You’ll have to make hard choices.

Ciara says that every single store owner who comes to her is interested in eliminating debt, but they’re not necessarily committed. It’s that commitment to success that earns you the biggest reward of all – financial freedom. No matter what challenges or opportunities arise, you have the freedom to make the best choice for yourself.

This profit-first approach offers a clear, actionable path for e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to secure their financial freedom and peace of mind. Whether you’re struggling with debt or just hoping to earn a bigger paycheck, Ciara’s method can help you get there.

Take your next step toward financial clarity by checking out Ciara’s website HERE.

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Learn our step by step process to grow your sales, without spending a

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The strategy you’ll learn in Conversion School works for Ecommerce stores at all stages. 

You'll use your store’s data, so if you’re starting out, you’ll learn how to get consistent sales. 

Established Store Owners will learn how to achieve significant sales growth every month.

What To Do When You’re Short Of Cash, Episode 222

What To Do When You’re Short Of Cash, Episode 222

No time to listen now? We'll send it to your inbox. No time to listen now? We'll send it to your inbox. or scroll down to get the highlightsMastering Cash Flow for Six and Seven-Figure Ecommerce Stores Before we dive in,...