I was recently TESTED while speaking at an event for #SheBuiltThis. And guess what? Turns out that I’m pretty adaptable!
To be totally honest (and vulnerable), I was having a pretty awful week. Like awful in a personal sense, not just business crap. I probably should have been curled up in my bed with some tissues and trashy tv, but I had committed to being on Emily’s panel.
I was carted to the event by some amazing friends/women-entrepreneurs/support systems, Melissa and Angela. (If you’re looking for a phenomenal corporate trainer, life coach, or NH lawyer, I know a gal.)
I arrived at the event and was immediately welcomed by Emily Aborn (of #SheBuiltThis fame). Emily and I have become, what I consider, close friends over the last couple of years. But we had never met IN PERSON!!! It. Was. Amazing.
Next I got to HUG, in REAL LIFE, some other amazing friends (many of whom I also had never met in person).
Let. Me. Tell. You. The energy from these women was PALPABLE. The love, support, and encouragement that I’ve received from this community is beyond words. And the emotional support that they provided to me on that day was absolutely mind-blowing (though not surprising).
So here I am, calmed down (thanks, Terri, for the good juju and meditation) and ready to go. Bring on the tough questions, Em!
Just as I’m getting into the groove, feeling the love from the incredible audience, and settling into the situation….
The sprinklers went off!
Not gonna lie, the cold water was actually a huge RELIEF from the oppressive heat!!
But, the show must go on! (Ok, the show was just about over anyways, but still…)
I can’t get over this photo that was captured of the MOMENT. The moment wasn’t just about the sprinkler, but it encompassed every single thing that I’ve described above.
So, yeah. I guess that makes me pretty adaptable!
I was also SHOCKED (maybe not surprise sprinkler shower shocked, but still) by the number of women who were affected by my answers to some of the panel questions. (What? Me? <- Imposter syndrome much?) So, I figured I’d share some of those nuggets with you.
How do you define SUCCESS?
There are sooo many ways that I define success, and I love that it’s different for each person, and also different at each moment in time.
Once upon a time, success meant the ability to work for myself and make just enough to pay the bills.
Right now, success means to me:
Yep – I said it. Money. It’s ok to want to make money. Let me say that again for the people in back… It’s OK to want to make money. Have you read anything by Denise Duffield-Thomas or Rachel Rodgers? They do a much better job explaining than I do. Check out ‘Chill and Prosper’ or ‘We Should All be Millionaires’.
Does money buy happiness? No. But does it allow you to do things that make you happy? HELL YEAH!
I feel like we have been taught that wanting to make money is greedy or selfish. But do you know how much good and selflessness you can do with money? Have you ever been poor? I certainly have. Do you know how nice it feels to not worry if you can pay the electric bill this month? That you don’t have to choose between the cereal or the toilet paper at the grocery store? To know that if your friend is in need, you can help… without depending on that money coming back to you (you all know what can happen when loaning money to friends).
So yeah, I’m putting this thought in your head: “It’s OK to want to make money.” Period.
How did you start financially? Did you take on debt?
I made a very calculated decision to start my business with a back-up plan. I had three months’ worth of savings. I spoke to a recruiter who said that she could place me in a heartbeat if it didn’t work out.
That’s it. I was off. (Thanks in part to the most amazing human who ever graced this earth, my mother. She was dying, and it was my slap-in-the-face, wake-up-call of life is short. Really freaking short.)
Things were good for a while, and then they weren’t. I’m pretty sure that every entrepreneur goes through the roller coaster at some point in time. If you’re there now, just remember that we’ve all had our ups and downs. I was scared. I was ready to suck it up and go back to working for somebody else.
Luckily (for a billion reasons), I had my (now) fiancé to push me along and hold me up. He continuously told me that I was meant to build a business, not to work for somebody else. Boy was he right… and I hope that you have somebody in your life… whether a partner, a family member, a friend, or a mentor… to give you that support and sometimes kick-in-the-pants.
Now I’m going to tell you a secret.
Debt is not a bad, 4-letter word. It doesn’t have to be.
I didn’t personally take on any debt in my business until quite a few years in. Weird, right? It was at the point when I was making more profit than ever when I decided to take on debt. YUP, you read that right!! And it was the best decision that I could have made. While debt is always a risk, again, I was taking a calculated risk. I knew that the things that I would do with that ‘extra money’ (hiring a couple more team members, investing in a coaching program, etc.) would only increase the success of my business. Because of that debt, I was making much more of a profit, which allowed me to pay back that debt with ease.
See? Not so scary.
Tell us about your first hire and was it an employee or contractor?
I hired a contractor… who quickly turned into an employee… who eventually turned into (and currently is) my longest serving team member. Not only did she help take some of the production work off of my plate, but I finally had somebody to bounce things off of! My poor partner no longer had to listen to me hem and haw about this little decision or that… I had somebody who understood bookkeeping AND my vision. To this day, I truly don’t know where I’d be without her. She was (and is) INTEGRAL. THANK YOU DAWN!!!
I have a lot of people ask me for advice on who their next hire should be. Should it be a duplicate of themselves? The opposite? An admin? A marketing person? VA?
Well, I have a solution for you. (I can’t take all the credit… I learned this little nugget from the best business book ever written (a.k.a. Clockwork). Track. Your. Time. Seriously, it’s a MAJOR pain in the ass (PITA), but you only have to do it for one week. Pull out your trusty Excel and start a list. Write as you go. Write down EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that you do in your business.
Yes, everything. Here are some examples:
Then it’s time to evaluate those tasks.
Boom. You now have a picture painted of what you do in your business and what can be either outsourced or hired for. I personally do this task about every 6 months. Every time, I come up with a different answer and it allows me to hire for exactly what I need at that exact time.
Thanks Mike Michalowicz. Brilliant.
What would you tell your ten-year-ago-self if you could?
Simple. I’d tell her that everything is going to happen at the right time.
Five years ago, I met the ABSOLUTE love of my life. We LITERALLY could not be more perfect for each other. Had we met 10 or even 7 years ago, would it have worked out so perfectly? Doubtful. I still had some baggage to unpack, and he was in a much different place. Ok, he was married then, but you know what I mean.
If I had tried to start my business 12 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the experience, knowledge, and wisdom that I did 6 years ago. I wouldn’t have known, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I wanted to stand for. What I wanted my employees to experience working for my company. I wouldn’t have been financially secure enough to take that leap and have those 3 months of savings.
Now, I’m not saying that I couldn’t or wouldn’t have been able to build my business back then, but it just wasn’t the right time. I needed to go through what I did in order to get to where I am now.
Does that mean that I don’t think a 25-year-old can start their own business? OF COURSE THEY CAN! But for ME, the timing wouldn’t have been right.
So live your life. Build your business. BE ADAPTABLE. When the things align, they just do. And that’s when the magic happens.