Today I’m over at POPNOD talking about hitting rock bottom, staying true to your values, and why my business is focused on helping women be seen and heard.
PODNOD Founder and CEO, Stephanie David, and I bonded instantly over our shared love of travel, our nomadic pasts, and the power of authentic storytelling. Like me, she believes in providing support, new ideas, opportunities, and a sounding board to help advance women-led businesses. Women can really change the world through their business when they work together.
Enjoy the interview.
Q: What made you want to help women build their businesses from the ground up?
My own journey to being seen and heard wasn’t easy.
I spent the first 20 years of my life running away from my childhood, my feelings, and myself. But after I shared my story about becoming homeless at 17, I decided it was time to stop running and embrace who I really wanted to be.
Since then, I haven’t stopped trying to live a life of growth, exploration and creation. But this process of self-awareness and acceptance hasn’t been easy. I realized early on that running a business can feel exactly like working a 9-5 job. There are always people telling you, “you should be doing more, you should be trying harder, and you should be putting more on the line to succeed.”
Before you know it, you’re not just competing against other business owners, but also competing with yourself to make more money, secure more clients and produce more content. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized I could either fight for the life I wanted, or I could continue to hide behind my business as I had with my 9-5 job.
I decided to build the lifestyle I wanted and a business I loved from the ground up. I started listening to my inner voice and doing what felt right for me. That meant letting go of self-limiting beliefs that were no longer serving me, gaining clarity around how I wanted to show up in the world, being really honest about where I should spend my time, and redefining what success looked like for me.
It wasn’t until I let go of all the BS that I realized I wanted to build a business that not only gives me freedom and fulfillment, but also helps other women find their own place in the world.
Q: As a business owner, what are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?
I know many people talk about their fear of failing, but I really am scared to come face-to-face with who I am and what I value (which often is the opposite of those around me).
I used to listen to other people’s fears, and I would let it hold me back. I would think that maybe they’re right: I am too young, money is really important, and that I should follow the tried-and-tested models. When I took some time to consider the root causes of my fears, I realized that I was carrying around a bunch of other people’s fears that weren’t my own.
Surround yourself with people that will encourage you to choose uncertainty, try something new, and become a better version of yourself. And the next time you give advice, consider where it’s coming from: a place of encouragement or fear?
Q: What lesson have you learned through this business?
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed. And I’m not talking about managing clients or chasing down invoices. The sheer number of choices I had to make each day overwhelmed me in the first year.
It would get to the end of the day and my partner would ask me what we should make for dinner and I’d want to cry. I had choice fatigue. Even though I’m a one-woman team (and plan to stay this way), I realized quickly that I still had to create a team of experts I could rely on when I needed help. I hired a designer, web developer, photographer and videographer, accountant, and recently a business coach, and a process coach.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing everything yourself, and justify your decision by telling yourself you want the learning experience or to save money. If you want to run a successful business, you can’t do it alone. Hiring a support team is a smart investment, and it will allow you to focus on doing whatever it is you do best – and isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
Q: How do you help emerging businesses?
I help women-led, service-based businesses blend who they are with what they do, build a thriving, profitable, and sought-after brand, and become known for their expertise in a way that feels right to them.
I’m not like other content, business and visibility coaches out there. While others tell you what to do, I show you how to do it and co-create with you. This means my clients don’t jump on weekly ‘how-to’ webinars with 300 other people OR drop fed daily to-do lists via email. You will never hear me say “you won’t be successful unless you [insert: latest marketing fad].”
A one-size-fits-all approach to business doesn’t work. That’s why I get to know my clients and help them build a business that reflects how they want to show up in the world. What I’ve learned is the one thing that sets you apart from all other businesses is you. In the sea of sameness, it’s your ideas that people want to know, your experiences they want to hear, and your knowledge they want to pay for. Now more than ever, people want to buy from businesses who have a clear purpose and a reason for existing.
Q: What have you seen to be the most common business or personal challenge experienced by your clients?
Most of my clients come to me because they aren’t getting the attention, clients or cash they want. But when we dig a little deeper, we realize that the block is due to a lack of confidence and clarity.
If you’re honest with yourself, the real reason you don’t want to scream from the rooftops about your business is that you don’t feel confident. You don’t know what makes you different in the sea of sameness. You aren’t clear on what it is you offer and whom you want to help.
Getting super clear about your message and purpose, and being able to articulate that in words is the first step to building the confidence you need to make your dreams of running a successful business a reality. Knowing what you stand for makes sharing your elevator pitch, doing Insta stories and writing your website copy so much easier.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your career and the way you approach your work?
I didn’t have many role models growing up and I’ve never been one for following celebs, even in the business world.
For me, my friends, colleagues and clients have had the biggest influence in my career. They are always encouraging me to push boundaries, challenge the way I do things, and come at a problem from a new angle. They’ve taught me that I can’t go at it alone, and that we can all achieve more when we work together.
Q: What are your favorite words to live by?
“The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar
Q: What advice would you give emerging business owners?
What I’ve learned is you really don’t need a million dollar budget, unlimited resources, or a 60-hour week to have the life and business you want. What you do need is to be clear on your purpose, what you hope to achieve or change through your business, and whom you want to help.
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make better decisions, stay focused when you feel overwhelmed, and define what success looks like for you.