Andrea Lake has started 14 companies. Without a college degree. She started her first business at 17 called Rhythm Styx. When she was 23 she made her first $1 million dollars with a t-shirt company. Amongst all the success lies the failures. A series of unfortunate events led to her being $1.2 million in debt. Right when the economy crashed.
You have started 14 businesses. That’s incredible and you don’t have a college degree. How did you get started? Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Andrea found the idea of working for someone else terrifying. She started the Rhythm Styx company when she was 17. When she was making the decision to go to college, she realized that she already knew how to make money. Her company had already made over $75000. She decided to focus on her business. A few years later she met someone making $1 million a year selling t-shirts, so she decided to start a clothing company. She started her first clothing line, Anti-establishment Clothing and made her first $1 million at 23.
So did that person become your mentor? Was there any competition?
That person did become Andreas mentor but t-shirts are what Andrea calls a bottomless market as everybody needs t-shirts, so there wasn’t any competition between them.
What did that mentor do to guide you from $75000 to $1 million? That’s a huge jump. What changed in you?
At the core, it was a change in style of the company from one which manufactured products. With t-shirts she could buy the t-shirts ready made and then just get them printed.
What do you think shifted in your mindset?
Andrea knew she wanted to be rich. That was her sole focus because it would mean she would be free to do whatever she wanted with her life. She didn’t know how she was going to achieve this.
Did you ever feel like you made a mistake by not going to college?
In her 30’s she realized that one of the reasons for going to college is having access to the alumni network. But if she was to do life again she still wouldn’t go to college. Unless you are going to college for a highly specialized education which is monetized afterward, college probably isn’t worth it.
Did your parents put pressure on you to go to college?
They did. Both of her parents had been the first person in their families to go to college. They both went back to college after Andrea was born to pursue masters degrees. There was an expectation that Andrea would go to college. But she sat down with her parents and showed her what her company was making.
So you built your case for why you didn’t need to get to college and it sounds like they supported you?
They did and when Andrea started her clothing line they gave her the money they had saved for college.
One of my passions is dispelling this myth that you need to get a conventional education to achieve what you want. Especially entrepreneurs.
Definitely. Andrea has taught at colleges across the country and thinks that unless you are going to a school like Harvard, it’s not worth it. An MBA is going to teach you how to work in the corporate world and not how to be an entrepreneur.
I know that you’ve had some moments of debt. One where you lost $1.2 million dollars. You paid it all off and came back stronger. Can you tell us that story?
Andrea has lost everything twice. She had a company which was featured on Oprah and was told to expect 40000 sales. But through a long series of events, they only had 70 sales. She had personally financed the company. That same week, a company she owned that had licenses for several gaming brands, had $2 million worth of merchandise returned. The following week the IRS called to say she owed 6 figures due to mistakes on the previous years taxes. And then the economy collapsed. It was the perfect storm of circumstances.
How did you get through that? How did you feel you came back stronger?
It took a long time. Andrea would beat herself up. She would talk to herself worse that she would ever talk to anybody. “How the fuck did you fuck up your entire life? I can’t believe what a fucking idiot you are.” She would talk to herself like that all day every day for 3 or 4 years. None of the things that happened were unwise choices but she couldn’t step back from what happened.
So how did you come back? You had such negative self-talk. What did you do that you felt got you out of that mental negativity?
Andrea had built an amazing community of friends who helped her get out of it. And she realized she was good at business. Slowly she came back to herself. She strengthened her meditation and yoga practice, continued slowly working on her companies and believed that things would come around.
I know you practice the law of attraction. So where did that come into play?
She was actually in a negative space before everything that happened to her businesses. She believes that we vibrationally receive back what we give out. Despite paying herself $750,000 a year, she had negative vibrations around money. She once met a waitress who had 3 kids and had the best money vibration she has come across. It’s an intrinsic thing and doesn’t have to be about how much you earn.
She decided to make happiness and self care her focus which then gave her the space to feel good about her companies.
I think it’s really interesting when you talk about money vibration. So was that something you would do when you were say hiking – get into a better vibration?
The idea is that circumstances and events are going to match the emotional state that you are in. If you’re happy about something good things will come to you.
How important do you think strategy is?
Strategy is important but you should only create a strategy when you are in a truly inspired place. You know the next right step for your business.
You now have a company which teaches people to start t-shirt businesses. I know there’s a formula to that. You’ve mapped out the strategy. If someone wants to start a different business, do you think there is a similar formula?
Andrea actually has another company that advises people on the right strategy for their business. There is a lot of generalized information out there. Andrea wanted to connect people to entrepreneurs in the industry they are creating a business in. If you want to start a restaurant, your mentor should be a restaurateur.
Is there anything you see which are the main through-lines?
There are common success and failure points specifically in product companies. Typically people fail because they misallocate their budget and don’t know how to do a minimum viable product. Testing things online is not enough you have to go somewhere and sell things physically. The information you gain from seeing people interact with your product is invaluable.
What do love about business so much?
She loves having an idea or concept in her mind and having it come into reality. Especially as she mostly makes physical products.
How do you think about time?
She doesn’t. She would think about time more if she had regulation around her time but she doesn’t.
So it’s not this confined thing, it’s more of an expansive thing. A lot of people have the excuse - “Oh I don’t have time”.
You do. If you watch TV, then you have time.
How do you think the internet and social media has changed how people run business?
It’s so much easier. When she started Sticker Junkie she had to use print ads to get people to visit her website.
I want to switch gears a bit and talk about your experience on The Apprentice. How did you get on the show and what was it like?
They had been recruiting Andrea from Season 1 but she was too busy running her companies. A mentor recommended she should do it.
What’s Trump like to be around?
He was very funny and charming. They made each other laugh a lot.
What is a question you continuously ask your self?
She asks herself if she is happy.
What do you unusually discover? That something's not aligned?
Andrea believes that it’s usually directional in our own thoughts. She talks about a process from Ester Hicks called The Focus Wheel. You draw a big circle on a piece of paper and in the center write how you want to feel about something. Then write all of the things that feel good about that thing. It’s easy to focus on all the things that are ugly but you can train yourself to focus on the good things too.
What other books have been helpful for you?
The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principals by Jack Canfield
Do you do visualization?
She does them every single day. She does something called 7, 7 x 3. You do 7 mins 7 sec of meditation, 7 mins 7 sec of appreciation and 7 mins 7 sec of visualization. When you appreciate, you appreciate things that are easy to appreciate. How much you love a painting or a pen or having hot water.
Is there a reason it’s 7, 7 x 3?
Because it looks cool.
One of the things that come to mind often is the experience I had at Sonoma Magic. You hosted your retreat there. Are you still doing it?
Her next retreat will be in 2020. It’s important to create a network of entrepreneurs around you. It helps to have a bond with people who are experiencing the same issues you are.
How do you think you developed that risk tolerance?
Andrea has always had quite a high-risk tolerance but it’s easier when you hear stories from entrepreneurs, who you know are successful, dealing with the same things you are.
How do you think people can become better at taking risks?
Our life is short. It doesn’t matter how long you live for, it is still short. Any amount of time you spend worrying about failure or what other people think of you is a complete waste of you being here right now. Andrea wasted 3 years of life worrying about being a failure.
Are you grateful at all for that experience?
It taught her how to be emotionally resilient. And the second Andrea started feeling better about things she started having new business ideas.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Put a dollar figure on your time.
Do not tell your ideas, in the beginning, to anyone you know does not have your back.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
T-shirt Course: https://teeacher.com/
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther Hicks
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
Nicole Moore is a love coach and in this episode, we’re going to talk about what it really means to accept your body just the way it is. She recently posted on Instagram about how her experience of her body changed after having a baby. Our bodies are always changing and yet we all have a tendency to get hung up on why they are not the way we think they should be. In this episode, we talk about how to change our mindset about our bodies, why our self worth doesn’t have anything to do with the way we look and why we need to feel good about ourselves.
I’m curious about the changes you’ve had in your body and how that has affected you?
Nicole has observed people saying how having a baby ruined their body and this got her thinking about this message that is being spread on social media. Nicole saw a lot of posts about people ‘snapping back’ after having a baby but that didn’t happen for her. She decided to embrace where her body is right now.
How did you avoid getting into this dialogue of beating yourself up? Because I think that’s the easy thing to do.
Nicole realized she could choose not to make herself feel miserable. Throughout her 20s she suffered so much from the thoughts in her head and comparing herself to other people. She has made a commitment to herself to keep her mind full of love rather than full of negativity.
How you relate to your body, doesn’t really have anything to do with how it looks, right?
Nicole agrees. It’s all about the thoughts in your head. Which is better - to have a body that weighs more and not be in mental turmoil or to have a body that weighs less but have your mind in turmoil?
Every woman at some time has called themselves fat in their heads. And it’s not nice.
When Nicole first started gaining weight she was upset. She started to look at why her self worth was linked to her body. She had to look at what her other values were. When she was at high school she lost a lot of weight and boys started to pay attention to her. She had to go back and start unravel where this feeling came from and what her true worth was.
Can you share an example of what an internal essence would be?
For Nicole one of her essences is love. If she goes to a dinner party she could put a lot of focus on how she looks or she could focus on how to be really present with people. Your essence is who you are internally when everything that can change is stripped away.
What do you say to somebody who is feeling that their weight is holding them back in love, work or just in being more seen?
It’s not the weight. It’s your thoughts and judgments about the weight. It’s your decision that because the weight is here you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. That’s what is holding you back. When Nicole first started gaining weight, she wondered if she could still do media appearances. She thought about how she would look on camera. Then she realized that she deserved that experience of being on camera.
So often we think we need to look a certain way in order to receive love.
Although there are always people out there who will criticize how you look, that just means they aren’t the right people for you. A romantic relationship is not going to work unless you are accepted for who you are. It’s so much easier to find somebody who accepts who you are than to change who you are in order to find someone.
I love how you talk about how it’s not that you don’t have those negative thoughts, but you deal with them differently.
Nicole watches here mind all the time to see what thoughts she is having. If her mind is telling her something which makes her feel crappy, she will feel the feelings and then choose something different.
When I was put Evan to sleep and I say to him ‘you can do anything’. And he said to me the other day ‘Mummy you can do anything’. I actually found it helpful for me to hear it from him. It reminded me of the power of words.
Kids are the truth. For Nicole one of the biggest benefits of having a child is seeing what she wants her son to have in his life and to see what that means about her perception about things.
People talk a lot about what they lose by becoming a mum but there’s so much that we gain. Focusing on all the bodily changes misses the point about what it means to become a mum.
Don’t you think that helps soften some of the guilt that you may have?
This conversation about women and their bodies just takes away power. We only have so much attention available throughout the day. Nicole used to count calories and it would take up so much attention and so much power. When we’re not focused on what our bodies look like we have so much power to focus elsewhere.
What would you tell your younger self?
You are better than you think you are.
You are already worthy.
You’re always going to be beautiful.
And you are going to meet him and he is going to love you
Nicole has a lot of single clients and they have this thought in their heads that they may not meet the guy. If you look at how much time is in front of you, it’s crazy to think that you won’t meet someone.
Just to play the other side. It doesn’t mean don’t take of yourself. It doesn’t mean don’t buy the eye cream or get hair extensions. It doesn’t mean you don’t take action on things that make you want to look better. It’s more about where that is coming from. Is it coming from a place of ‘I’m enough’ or is it coming from a place of ‘I’m not enough’?
Nicole talks about how she gets eyelash extension regularly but she also has a conversation with herself about how even if she didn’t have them she would still look good. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things but it’s important to do these things from a place of worth.
The way that we look, the way we do our hair, we can let those things hold us back. I know I have.
Nicole did a Facebook live video where somebody commented that she needed to condition her extensions. Those sorts of comments might stop a lot of people from putting themselves out there. Nicole told herself that it was more important that she jumps on and does Facebook live even if she doesn’t look perfect. It’s all about the inner game.
And then it becomes easier if you reinforce that positive relationship with yourself.
One of the things we can do is stop giving attention to this conversation. Nicole often reminds herself that men will just turn on the camera and start recording without thinking about how they look.
We identify with all of these parts of ourselves. Hair is a big deal. How do not we let these perceptions of ourselves and how we look hold us back?
It’s alright to have an idea of how you want to look, but we wouldn't let ourselves feel bad if that’s not how we are right now.
And complimenting ourselves. And other people. I love seeing you without your glasses because you can see your face.
Glasses was something Nicole had to accept about herself.
It’s a habit we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and see everything that is wrong with us. That we want to change and want to fix. I’ve done some mirror work, where I looked at what was beautiful about me. I can see myself start to change.
Our self-perceptions determine our reality. Most people have a more favorable perception of us than we do. Aside from the haters. When we look in the mirror and see flaws that come from someone in the past telling us that we have a flaw.
What is a question people can start asking themselves?
What is the beauty I can see in myself today?
What’s the one thing that I really love about my face?
What idea can I let go off today that’s stopping me from feeling beautiful?
How can I make sure that in my heart, on the inside, I feel good about me?
Anything else you want to say?
You deserve to feel good about yourself.
Brad Sherman is the CEO of Sherman Wealth Management. He is committed to being an advocate for his clients, providing Fiduciary, conflict-free guidance so that they feel comfortable with their investment choices and strategies.
Brad knows – and has experienced – many of the issues that his clients face, whether it’s paying off student debt, saving up to purchase a home, creating a savings safety net, starting a family, or making smart choices about planning and saving for retirement.
He has over 15 years experience in the financial industry - his love for finance began when he then turned a dollar his grandmother had given him into five – and then fifty – dollars, it was clear he had an aptitude for smart saving, investing and wealth preservation!
He has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MarketWatch, Business Insider, and Investopedia.
In this episode, we talk about budgeting, compound interest, investing and building wealth.
If people want to find your financial tools where can they go?
Brad’s website: https://www.shermanwealth.com/
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
The Importance of Financial Literacy
How parents talk about money differently to their sons and daughters
What words come to mind when you hear the word negotiation? Negotiator? Tough. Competitive. Frustration. Liars. Cheating. Battle. Winning. Losing. (no wonder people avoid negotiation like the plague...)
In this episode, I interview, Devon Smiley. She has15 years of experience with Forbes’ finest and small business alike. She closed $5 billion of commercial contracts as a lead negotiator. She brings this experience to organizations that are focused on securing strong commercial results without sacrificing relationships.
Her insights on negotiation have been featured in the New York Times, Glamour magazine and the Chicago Tribune. If you are fed up with getting in your own way, feeling like you're not quite good enough, and settling for second best. It's time to master the art of confidently, calmly and successfully asking for what you want, need and deserve.
In preparing for this interview I looked up what negotiation means. The definition I found was ‘the aim of reaching an agreement’. Is that your definition as well?
Devon thinks about negotiation as transformation. Taking a situation that doesn't really work for you and turning it into one that does.
When two people have opposing views it can be difficult to reach an agreement. What are some strategies that you teach on how to reach this agreement and get what you want?
When you are preparing to negotiate you need to not just think about what you want and need, but also what the other person wants and needs. It is important to ask the other person what they want. Which can feel very bold but can really help move the conversation forward.
Do you recommend starting with asking what the other person wants?
When you start a negotiation you want to set an agenda for the conversation. It is then beneficial to ask the other person if there is anything else that they want to talk about.
If I ask the other person what they want, how is that helpful to me?
Knowing what the other person is looking for can really help you in being more active and more engaged in the conversation. It helps you start off on the same page.
The person that is asking the question is most in control. Do you believe that to be true?
Devon agrees. It’s a combination of the person who takes the initiative by going first and asking questions because it gives you a lot of information. Information is powerful and will feed all the proposals you will be able to make in the negotiation.
The bigger umbrella in this is asking for what you want. Women, in general, struggle with asking for what they want. For someone who is experiencing fear, there’s an emotional aspect to it. Do you also teach about that emotional piece?
As much as we like to think as professionals, as businesswomen, that we can detach ourselves from the emotion, it is actually feeding everything we are doing. Devon suggests people ask themselves - what would be the worse case if I ask for this thing? In reality, what we fear is unlikely to actually happen.
What’s the worse thing that has happened to you when you have asked for something?
Devon had someone burst out in laughter once because he thought that what she was asking for was absolutely ridiculous. She was able to keep a straight face and keep going because she had prepared herself for a bad reaction.
Do you feel like you can build this ability to handle ‘rejection’ when you practice asking?
Definitely. That’s why it’s great to start with small things. For example, asking for an extra napkin when you buy something. It’s not the end of the world if they say no, you just move on. It makes it easier to build up that comfort with rejection before you build up to the big high-risk things.
We’re often told not to talk about money. How do you suggest people prepare themselves for asking for more money?
To prepare ourselves emotionally we need to separate worth from value. That you as a human being have a worth but that’s not what you’re negotiating. You’re negotiating based on the value you are bringing to the table. The next step is to come up with actual tangible numbers. How many percentage points did you earn your client because of that great marketing campaign? How many new clients did you bring in for your employer? Arm yourself with quantifiable data before entering discussions about money.
I want to hear more about your story. How did you become interested in this topic and start a business around it?
Devon fell into negotiation. After her degree, she started working in procurement and was offered the opportunity to move into a full-time negotiator role for contracts in aerospace. She ended up loving it. After some time she discovered she got more pleasure out of training and mentoring more junior employees in developing their negotiation skills. She is now making it her mission to show more people that negotiation isn’t as scary as they think.
What do you think the message that you’re relaying is?
The big one is reminding people that negotiation isn’t a natural skill. Everyone can become a great negotiator as we build the skills. It involves practice, building up some strategies and becoming more comfortable with negotiating.
What might be something that someone practices?
There are two things she generally has people practice. Asking for the small things, even outside of business. Start asking for the things you want. And getting comfortable with silence. A lot of negotiation is letting the silence sit there and having it as an opportunity for the other person to start talking.
How important do you think it is to stay with the thing that you want? When do you find yourself meeting somebody halfway?
It’s always important to start ambitiously. Women tend to ask for 30% less than a man would ask for in the same situation. This limits the amount of wiggle room we have in a negotiation. So be a little cheeky. It should make you feel a little nervous to ask for that much. That gives you the space to make an adjustment to your proposal without selling yourself short. Then have a few plans for things that you could be comfortable trading to the other person. The worst thing is when the other person is sitting across the table saying no to everything.
So what would you do when somebody is saying no?
Remind the person of what the goal is and ask if that is still what the negotiation is working towards.
How do we establish boundaries?
In the workplace, when you’re setting your boundaries, it’s important to be clear about how it makes you feel when someone does something inappropriate. Sometimes we try to soften what we say when we try to set a boundary.
What are some words to watch out for to avoid softening?
We apologize. ‘I’m sorry taking your time for this.’ Or ‘I know you’re really busy….’ We put all these fillers at the beginning. ‘I’m thinking that maybe….’ We’re trained to not be assertive in our language, so it takes practice.
When it comes to money we tend to ask for a range: $50K-$70K. The other person will hear what they want to hear. Devon suggests that in this example we should be a little cheeky and ask for $75K.
Do you think this comes from some of our conditioning around teacher/ student dynamics in school?
Raise your hand. Get permission. Very gently ask. Being polite goes a long way but we are overly conditioned to seek permission before sharing what we need.
How did you find the courage to take the leap of starting your own business?
One of the last experiences Devon had in the corporate world was a negotiation where she saved $10 million. She walked into the Vice Presidents office and got a ‘Is that all?’, which felt terrible. With her first non-corporate client she helped her earn an extra $500 and she was so grateful because it meant she could get her kids sports lessons. And Devon realized that the type of impact she wanted to make was the type that helped other human beings.
There’s something to be said for the power of small asks. Often there are small things that we find uncomfortable that we overlook. We wait until we’re really uncomfortable to say something.
Devon talks about the analogy of a frog in water. The temperature slowly rises until the frog is dead. We put up with low-level things until it gets too much before we don’t want to rock the boat. We will adjust to a very crappy situation. But the moment comes which is enough to shock us out of it which is the moment to ask for a change.
Anything else you want to talk about?
A lot of people get scared about negotiation because of the image they have of a negotiator and they don’t fit that image. Devon says that negotiation is about relationship and communication. Those are the elements that are important in negotiation and what you look like doesn’t matter.
Is there a fast way to build that connection?
We tend to get very uncomfortable with small talk. Either because we think it’s a waste of time or because it can be awkward. But according to studies you get a better result if you take 5-10 minutes to connect with someone on a non-business topic. This can be as simple as talking about the weather.
For me connecting comes more naturally because I have this world view that we’re all friends and it really helps. If you see somebody already as your ally. When we’re negotiating we tend to put people in a position of being against us rather than as allies.
We go into battle mode and think the other person is going to trick us and screw us over. We put a lot of emotional energy into figuring out how they may try to screw us over rather than focusing on what we want to achieve and ways we can move things forward.
We’re terrified of rejection. That’s why we don’t ask for things.
Devon still remembers being rejected by a boy at her school dance in the 7th grade. When we’re negotiating if we get a yes straight away then we probably haven’t asked for enough. So hearing a no is good because you haven’t sold yourself short. And then you can get a conversation going.
You’ve previously said - Don’t ask for things through email. Is that still true?
For the most part, yes. Especially as email can be terrible at conveying tone. Email, however, is great at recapping meetings but the phone is a much better way of asking for something.
There is real freedom in having the courage to ask for what you want. It changes everything. What is holding us back is that we’re afraid to ask.
We sit there and we accept the status quo because we’re too afraid to ask for something. We rationalize the situation. We don’t ask because we don’t want to be a nuisance.
When people meet Devon and find out that she’s a negotiator, they often say - “Oh you’re going to tell me that I always need to ask. I always need to negotiate my salary, that I always need to ask for more money.” Devon says that it needs to be a choice. That you know the option to ask is there and you choose not to do it consciously and not because you’re scared to do it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never email when angry.
That following an emotion when making a business decision does not make you weak.
What’s an action step somebody could take right now if they want to ask for what they want?
Devon has a Make The Ask Challenge. Everybody has something that they have wanted in the last 7 days and haven’t asked for. She gets people to figure out what that is and write it down. They then have 7 days to ask for it.
Rebecca Rubin is a trained life coach through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. Prior to becoming a coach, she spent 7 years as a Digital Marketing Manager at one of DC’s premier interactive agencies, Blue Water Media. She has BA in Psychology and Communications from Vanderbilt University. Her work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The Guardian, EliteDaily, NBC, CBS, and more. In this episode, we talk about how your life IS your content, how marketing has changed and how to feel good marketing.
You have a way of saying things that aren’t being said. Does that just come to you?
We all have the ability to be authentic. A lot of the content Rebecca writes comes from her own personal experience including her fears, hopes, and dreams. She is also inspired by her clients and their experience. She thinks that we can all increase the amount of truth we’re willing to tell.
It’s almost like you take failure and doubt and use it as a positive message.
Our life is our content. There’s the saying -it’s either a good time or a good story. She works with a lot of coaches and consultant whose clients are just an earlier version of them. Our own lives are just a goldmine of content which is untapped. Self-expression can create a very authentic community online.
I’m trying to be more transparent about what my message is. And it’s a pain point for me.
Rebecca suggests an exercise. Imagine the soul that you were contracted to work with before you came into this body. That human being is sitting in front of you and your life depends on inspiring them into action. You have 10 minutes to do that – what do you say? Don’t analyze it. Just trust it.
Let’s talk a little bit about feel-good marketing. What’s your approach? How do you make people feel good about marketing themselves?
The old way’s of marketing, that felt icky is on the way out. People try to use methods of marketing that aren’t true to who they are. Rebecca is a big fan of Human Design. Looking at someone's personality and how to make this all organic and integrated it into their lives.
You don’t have a fancy funnel. You mostly use Facebook.
She does have an email funnel but that’s not the bulk of her income. The bulk of her income is from group programs and 1 on 1 coaching that comes from her organic, personal Facebook profile. For her post, she asks herself – What’s going on in her world? What’s the lesson she is learning and how does this apply to her ideal client?
I identify as someone more private. What’s your viewpoint on people who feel more private in terms of that mass exposure?
She believes that your desires are given to you for a reason. And you have the equipment to find your own answers. Figure out what you went and then what’s required to get there. Some people are private and some people feel a lot of shame over being out there. Don’t do what doesn’t feel right to you. But also examine the why behind what comes up for yourself.
How did you become the content queen?
When she first started her business she was a life and relationship coach who had a background in marketing. She was still working at a marketing company while started her life-coaching business. She gradually shifted to coaching people on their marketing. Rebecca was more conventional and less authentic than she is now. Then she experienced some online bullying and she wrote about it. This was the most authentic thing she’d published online and it was the first post to go viral. She was shocked that something so personal could do so well. That was when she started being more real online.
I want to ask about your personal practices. I’m curious, what has had the biggest impact for you?
Making correct decisions. Human Design has had a really big impact on her. Understanding her energetic make-up and making a decision that is in line with her energy and what’s really best for her has been super helpful. Our lives are a product of decisions.
Can you share a bit more about human design?
Human design is a system which combines astrology, the I-ching, Chakras and diagnoses you into different energy types depending on how your aura is constructed. A big part of human design is how do you make the best decisions for your life.
What kind of meditation do you do?
She does the sit and breathe style of meditation. She just sits and listens to her breath and tries to do it for 5 mins a day.
What’s a failure or rejection that you now see as a gift?
She’s had launches that she thought were going to do well but didn’t. Anytime that expectations aren’t met she always find that it is a sign you need to evolve. Any time you can take something less personally the better. There have definitely been times she has said something that got negative feedback online. Now she only takes feedback from people she knows personally.
How do you handle negative comments?
She builds her infrastructure. She has developed deep friendships with people who love her and that helps her weather it. She also looks at whether there’s any truth to the comments and sometimes there is.
We overcomplicate things and that’s when we find it difficult to maneuver but it’s mostly in our heads.
100%. This is something that coaches who deal with deep complex things can sometimes struggle with. You have to give people real tangible, specific examples of things so it can form a groove in their mind and they get it more. The better you understand something the better you can explain it. If you can’t explain your program to a 7-year-old, then work on that a little.
Do you have favorite marketing books?
Most of what Rebecca has learnt about marketing she’s learned through doing. She worked at a digital marketing company for 6 years and learned on the job from bosses and mentors. She watching what people were doing to see what worked and what didn’t. She feels that for online marketing, once it’s written in a book, it’s old news.
She thinks Gary Vaynerchuk knows his stuff when it comes to online marketing. Although he can be controversial he understands the psychology of marketing and what works and doesn’t on the internet. But she hasn’t read any of his books…
We’re all marketing ourselves all the time. Even if you’re not running a business. Even in the job market, you are marketing yourself
Rebecca loves applying for jobs. When she was at college she loved applying for internships and in fact, her first internship was not advertised. She reached out to a magazine with writing samples and specific ideas of how she could help them and they hired her.
For someone who is exploring their own business, who has a certain skill, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s coaching or fitness or something. And they want to get their first client. How do you recommend they have this conversation?
You’ve got to normalize your subconscious and conscious mind that what you want is possible. You need to know that this is possible and not just something you see on the internet. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. She’s not opposed to working for free in the beginning. Positioning yourself in front of other peoples audiences is also a great way to grow when you’re starting out. She recommends getting on the phone with a lot of people. Don’t be afraid of the phone. Your sales come with conversations with people.
We all have an audience already. If we have Facebook, we have followers.
We all have a community. Rebecca's first client was a family friend. Her next few clients came from workshops she did at a local yoga studio. Then she got hired by a guy she went on a blind date with. You can make money before anybody knows who you are on the internet.
What direction do you think online marketing is going?
Brands and people are colliding. Big brands are using influencers more and more. The traditional celebrities are molding into internet celebrities. The human element is becoming more and more important. The old school idea that marketing has to be hard and about hustling is not true. That doesn’t mean you don’t show up and do the work. Working energetically correctly is more and more a thing that she sees people trying to do.
What are your favorite words?
She loves the word bespoke. Humany human is something she uses that means being a human is messy.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Your health is most important. You have to take care of your health first.
Be nice to yourself. She thinks we could all use a little more self-love and self-kindness and she just tries to remember that.
What’s an action that you want to invite listeners to take?
Do a little audit. If you have a business do an audit of your marketing and what you spend your time doing right now. Get curious about why you’re doing what you’re doing and consider if it doesn’t feel good. Marketing should be pleasurable and profitable.
I love this answer but I want to challenge you on it. We have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone if we want to grow and expand. Sometimes that doesn’t feel good.
There’s a difference between doing uncomfortable things and doing draining, depleting activities. If she gets invited to speak on stage in front of a couple of hundred people it’s going to feel scary but it’s also going to feel expansive. That’s an example of feeling good. If She gets an opportunity to work with a new client but they don’t want to pay her rates and it’s not actually aligned with her values but thinks she should do it, that is going to feel bad and not in alignment.
Tell me how we can get in touch with you.
Go to http://thepursuitoffabulous.com/
Follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.i.rubin
Brian Fretwell is a consultant, speaker, and coach. He has traveled the world teaching people how to get the most out of their unique talents, strengths, and opportunities. Brian uses our knowledge about neuroscience and how the brain works to help people understand why they do the things they do. He has written the book Experts Of Our Potential which is a story about a coach and his challenging client.
I recently discover Brian through Facebook. I saw a clip from his book, which really spoke to me. I immediately downloaded the book and read it from cover to cover.
Brian and I talk about why he wrote the book, why we struggle to value ourselves and how to survive in a changing world.
Can you talk a bit about the story behind the book?
This is actually the fourth book Brian has written. Only one other has the potential to see the light of day. Several people suggested he write a how-to and so he tried but found it didn’t click. A friend and editor suggested he write it as a story and that was when everything clicked.
It is fascinating to see both the clients struggle to find his direction and values and your struggle to help him get there.
If you want to change someone else, you can only do that to the level you’ve changed yourself. Brian wanted to show that it’s not just the clients who change as part of the coaching process, the coaches change to. He wanted to dispel the superhero idea we have of coached and leaders. We’re all changing, we’re all fallible and we all have this potential.
As a coach sometimes I feel this pressure to solve a short term problem. But typically it’s a symptom of a much bigger challenge. In the book, Chris has this challenge in his work but he hasn’t yet defined the bigger picture of what’s really important to him. He’s trying to grasp at these quick fixes without understanding the bigger picture.
Brian points out that Chris is trying to solve a non-linear problem in a linear fashion. What I want to do, who I can be, where I can go – it’s a non-linear problem which doesn’t have a direct answer. If a coach tries to give a linear answer, they are actually doing the client a disservice. Brian believes that a coach’s job is not to give a client the answer – they can google that- it’s to help people identify that they have the capacity to find their own answers.
Sometimes we want other people to solve our problems.
Our brains are built on efficiency. It thinks that if we get the answer from someone else then we can be done. But the growth part of our brain, the part we have to push, thinks ‘well how do we do it’. We don’t just need the answer we need to figure out how to reach the answer on our own.
We all have the answers to our problems and we often know what to do but sometimes we just can’t make that link.
When Brian worked in juvenile corrections, he learned that the hard way. Kids would ask him what they should do to turn their life around and he would tell them, only to find that when they left they got back into drugs, or even worse, died. He asked himself if he had given them any more tools than before they had entered the system.
When someone comes to you with a challenge, the real consequence of giving them an answer, is not giving them the capacity to operate on their own.
I like to ask questions and I find it challenging when I come up against defensiveness when I ask a question. You have mentioned that right behind the defense, is the potential. How do you manage defenses craftfully?
Our brains have a 5 to 1 ration of a threat to reward. Your eyes are scanning the environment for threat 5 times a second. We don’t acknowledge that. We’ve been taught to ask questions which are challenging, which are direct. And while those are needed, if you don’t get the brain in the right space they aren't going to be beneficial. Our brains need to be in the right space and to do that we need to change the way we lead into to these questions. Start with asking people what they’ve done well, how they’ve been successful and how they have solved a problem like this before.
So essentially getting into a place of more confidence rather than a place of fear and threat.
About 15 years ago Brian's core business was talking to couples about money. They’d talk about what they wanted at a deeper level. Then individually, Brian would ask them about a time when they felt really good about the way they spent their money. Finances are one of those areas we say ‘I’m screwing this all up, tell me what I’m doing wrong so I can start doing something else.’ From that standpoint, we don’t get any behavioral change. If we really tap into a memory of doing something really well it’s much easier on the brain to consider a change.
So if someone is listening to this and having a challenge in their life, they should first acknowledge the strength they have in that area?
They should honestly acknowledge it. Sometimes when someone has been through something really hard, they have a level of endurance and tolerance that other people don’t have. What do you have that nobody else has? And actually being honest about that is pretty hard work.
And super helpful to take some of those challenges we are having and reframe them into recognizing that we have had some success.
When you find that success when you find that part that you’re good at, throw gasoline on that fire. Put everything you can on it. From a neurobiological standpoint, it’s going you all the neurochemicals to actually follow through. It is impossible to focus too on what someone does well.
Before we started recording I was sharing with you that I’m looking to expand my business and I’ve been doing a lot of work. I mentioned that I haven’t been successful in a lot of things. And you asked me about where I have been successful. I really love this question of where have you been successful and how can you use your strengths to grow rather than trying to fix what’s wrong with you.
Coaches are in the business of trying to make people feel more proud of themselves. What do you do well? What are you proud about? What really engages you? Those are the questions you should ask yourself every day. Brian says that he struggles with this as well. His brain wants to go to ‘well you’ve screwed this up before’. He had a business that went $70000 into debt. So when he started a new business he had that at the back of his mind every day. He has to focus his effort on being clear about where he is going to shine the best. Where am I going to bring my highest potential? This is a question that we spend a lifetime trying to figure out. But it’s a much better question than ‘What’s wrong with me?’
Can you speak a little bit about priming your brain?
Your brain is water and fat. It’s not a muscle but Brian loves the muscle analogy. There are different levels of focusing on our success. We can get really deep, but to begin with, it can be ‘well I didn’t screw that up’. But we build this muscle and we can get stronger in recognizing our strengths.
I want to get into the social contracts we have. Especially with regards to our career. Can you talk about some of the old templates we have and how we change them in the face of changing technology?
Brian’s father was a union miner in the late 70s/ early 80’s. There was this idea that if he shows up to the job, is loyal, puts up with a bunch of crap, it will pay out and he will receive the benefits and be able to retire. We no longer have that safety net. What does still exist is our approach to the economy. We rely on a job to provide us with security but the numbers show that there is no security in jobs anymore. What’s changed is that we have to create that security on our own. We have to create that validation on our own too. We used to rely on I've got this degree; I’ve got this job. We now have to rely on I’ve got his skill, I've got this ability and apply it in 5 or 6 different areas.
One of the reasons I started my own business is because I got fired from a couple of jobs and felt that I didn’t want to put my security in somebody else's hands. I wanted to have ownership over that.
What you have identified is why we should be excited about this. And there will always be a part of you which is scared of hell about this. But imagine how it would feel if you knew you understood your value enough to weather any storm.
If somebody doesn’t know what they like and what they’re good at, then what?
You get to go and fall down a few times. Brian doesn’t have an easier answer than that. When he hears ‘I don’t know’, he also hears ‘I’m really worried about screwing it up.’ That feeling is very real but also short-sighted. You can go screw up really big and be okay. Because we don’t have these jobs that don’t last for 40 years, we also don’t have this inherent obligation to never screw up like we used to. Screwing up is part of the process now.
My experience has been that when I hold myself back, in terms of keeping myself safe, I actually experience more discomfort than taking the risks, trying and ‘failing.’
Brian’s wife is a counselor and her background is in transpersonal psychology, so comes from a Buddhist school. They have this philosophy about pain. You can either wait for pain, in which case it’s out of your control, or you can seek pain, in which case it’s in your control. If you are in a job hoping that the job will provide you safety, you are inviting pain that will be out of your control. If you are doing your own thing, you are inviting pain that is within your control.
I want to get back to this idea of valuing ourselves. So many people have difficulty seeing themselves as the person that can define their own values versus outside validation.
When Brian was in juvenile corrections he was a smoker. A kid challenged him in on it. He had a week where he quit smoking, met his wife and signed up for his first marathon. Over the course of 2 years, he ran 15 races. Every time he did a race, he got a medal. One day his wife laid them all out on the table and said ‘what do these say about you?’ He stared at those medals and started crying. He looked at them wondered if maybe they said that he was worthless. That’s a question that is plaguing people. We spend our time at school and at our job trying to get somebody to tell us we did well at a task. While that is needed and is valuable, when we tell ourselves we have value, it has the most power.
What do you think is the question we need to be asking ourselves?
There are levels to this. The question can be ‘do you believe in yourself?’ But for some people, that’s too big a question. The powerful questions are – ‘where do you believe in yourself?’ and ‘in what instances do you trust yourself?’ For some people who have been through traumatic experiences, they have to start at ‘I trust myself to turn the coffee pot on.’ Then those other questions of ‘where do you feel you add value?’ and ‘Where do you feel you matter?’
Can you explain a little bit about the reticular activating system?
Of all the data coming into your brain, you are only processing about 1 % of it. Your RAS (reticular activating system) is just a little instrument in your brain that filters your inputs. It says we are only going to pay attention to these things. And it’s generally anything that’s going to generate a higher emotional reaction. Because there's this limited ability to focus and because our brains are designed for safety, we generally look for things that are going to make us look stupid or dumb. If we can take control of the RAS, we can change the filters and literally change our reality.
Why do you think we overlook our talents?
Because we’re running away from bears. We feel social pain and physical pain the same way. We’re much more concerned if we’re going to look stupid or be embarrassed. Physical pain we have nerves for. Social pain we have emotions for. We’re so dialed in to not looking dumb that we avoid beauty. Avoiding fear is much more natural than finding beauty.
Do you think our value is in our hardships?
Our value is the whole picture. So our hardships are apart of that. There are things Brian has been through that he would not sign up to go through again, but they’ve allowed him to do things he wouldn’t have done otherwise.
What gives you so much meaning in your work?
When he sees somebody who has read his book, is in a workshop or he is coaching and they have that moment when they realize that they are actually worth something.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not about you.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you and how we can get your book?
Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiN67V5q3C
Love is our superpower. Love can overcome obstacles. Love can heal. Love can inspire. Love is creative.
I’m going to guide you through a meditation to connect with the love that’s already in your heart.
Nadia Finer, a powerhouse business coach, wickedly funny international speaker and author of LITTLE ME BIG BUSINESS is here to help you UNLEASH THE BIGNESS IN YOUR BUSINESS. Don’t be fooled by Nadia’s sweet appearance and adorable voice. Nadia is feisty and fearless. Rather than hide behind her insecurities, she has turned her little voice into her secret weapon and used it to build a unique personal brand. She now helps struggling business owners all over the world to embrace who they really are, work smart and scale up. No more playing small. No more limitations on what you can achieve. It's time to kick fear in the face and turn your tiny profits into big bucks!
I came across your story about your voice. I’d love for you to share your story about how you changed this painful moment into a podcast and your work around being able to speak your voice.
Nadia has a ‘little voice’ and it became apparent as a teenager that as she got older, her voice didn’t. The moment she discovered that she had a little voice, it was a turning point in her life. She was 15 and learning French in her school’s language lab. She’d record herself speaking and then listen to the playback. When she heard her voice it sounded like a tiny child was speaking what she just said. Then it dawned on her that the voice was hers. She decided that she was never going to ring someone on the phone who she didn’t know, speak on a stage or appear in a video.
Did you tell anyone that you had this experience where you thought you were weird?
She didn’t tell anyone. It was just a decision that she made and kept to herself. Now looking back on it, this response feels bizarre.
It sounds like you had an insight. That what your voice sounded like did not match what was around you.
She now realizes that her voice is not something she can possibly hide. On a daily basis, someone makes a comment about it. As you get older, the disconnect between how you sound and you age gets greater and people are more inclined to comment on it.
Did you have friends and family comment on your voice when you were a teenager?
She didn’t really experience this. When people get to know her and get used to her, they don’t really notice the voice anymore. As a professional, she did find it held her back at work. Managers would make comments about gravitas and she would have to do certain things to be taken more seriously. Various employers sent her on elocution lessons which didn’t change the way her voice sounded.
What were you doing for work?
She started off working in an accountancy firm and then worked in marketing and consultancy for various companies. One boss said to a client ‘She sounds really young, she’s got a really little voice but she’s got a really big brain.”
How did that feel?
It was pretty embarrassing for that to be said in front of a client. Later, she quit her job and started a variety of small businesses. The voice held her back. She would create a brand and then hide behind it. On her websites, there would be very little of Nadia. Her about page would have a single sentence to explain who she was. She would undervalue herself and go low price.
I think people have this experience, even if their experience with their voice isn’t like yours. I think people can relate to what you’re saying.
It’s not about the pitch of your voice or the volume, it’s about how you feel speaking freely, the things that you say and how you show up in the world. And when you're an entrepreneur and you are your business, it pushes buttons. People feel exposed in a way they didn’t when they were employed. Having a job you go to work, do some stuff and get paid. At no point do you say ‘Oh I doubt myself, I, therefore, can’t do it.’
For a number of years, she was comparing herself to everyone else and hiding. She was not really showing up and doing work on a tiny scale. Then she started a new business, a PR service and did the ultimate thing to hide - bring someone into her business to hide behind. Which now sounds ridiculous. After a rocky time working with this person, they accused her of ‘playing small’. She hadn’t heard that phrase before and at that moment she found her inner strength and fired her. That moment changed everything.
When did you make the connection that this moment when you were 15 impacted so many of your decisions?
After she closed that business, she was in a state of crisis. She did a lot of soul-searching and thinking. She decided to concentrate on the coaching side of things and was struggling to work out how she would fit into the marketplace. She didn’t know how to exist in amongst people who had a very ‘show-off’ attitude. A friend told her to be herself. And at first, she was averse to the idea. But once she decided to embrace her voice, everything changed.
And how long did that take you?
It was a few weeks of knowing it was the thing to do and then thinking it wasn't possible. Out of nowhere, the idea came into her head of Little Voice Big Business and at the moment decided that was going to become her brand. She considered what the scariest thing she could do with her little voice was, and that was when she came up with the idea of the podcast.
When you are yourself and embrace the thing that is you, that holds the secret to everything, that makes you unforgettable and that makes you stand out from everybody else – good things happen. She likes that she show’s people that you don’t to be flash and ballsy to be successful in business. You just need to be yourself and it’s okay to do it in a quiet way.
I typically thing that that thing which is our treasure, we are afraid of it.
Nadia thinks it’s a fear of standing out, of being judged and a fear of exposing yourself and the things that you struggle with. She also thinks that it has to be authentic. She sees lots of people trying to be themselves but struggling because they are being a sanitized version of themselves, which doesn’t work either.
How do you recommend people discover their treasure?
Unfortunately theirs no magic formula. It involves a bit of thinking. She now works with people to help them discover what it is. She believes it is possible for everybody and hasn’t found somebody who didn’t have something interesting or unique about them.
It’s amazing how challenging it can be to uncover some of those layers that prevent us from seeing our treasure. It really takes getting to know yourself and facing your fear at the same time.
Sometimes the treasure isn’t fear based. She’s currently working with a hypnotherapist who is really into rock music, which isn’t fear based. It doesn’t always have to be about insecurities.
You mentioned before we started recording that you’re a boxer. I said we have to talk about that on the podcast.
For Nadia, it’s the least expected thing she could be doing and pushes her beyond what she ever thought would be possible for her both physically and mentally. She’s a middle-aged mom and has become part of a combat gym, trains every day and has just done her 3rd fight. Which she won. It has become this whole other side to her which she is loving and has discovered a strength and fierceness within her that she didn’t know was there.
Wow! Punching people in the face. I don’t know if I could do that?
Nadia felt like that too. But when your opponent punches you in the face, you hit back. She feels so much stronger now and realizes that it’s important to invest in yourself. As a mom, you end up picking underpants up off the floor and making dinner for everyone. It’s so much easier to do all that when you have an outlet and time for yourself doing something physical.
Even when not boxing, it can feel like people are “punching us in the face” all day long. How can we deal with it?
There are so many lessons from boxing. The concept of ‘embracing impact’ is one of them. When you are in a fight situation and someone is punching you, the idea is you block the shots. It’s all about not panicking when that is happening and embracing the impact. The key is not to panic and wait for your opportunity to strike back. It’s a great analogy for business. There are so many lessons from the ring that you can apply to business.
In boxing, no boxer would ever go into the ring without a team in the corner. No boxer would ever train without a coach. You just can’t do it by yourself. Yet in business, we expect to mange on our own as if we’re superhuman.
How do you prepare your mind for a fight?
Nadia was nervous for about 2 weeks before her latest fight. On the day she had a feeling of nervousness in her chest, hands, and toes. She tries to quiet those negative voices and tells herself that she’s done this before, she’s trained hard and she knows what to do. She was scared that 800 people would be watching the fight. She told herself that most of them are not watching her, they’re chatting and those that are, are supporting her. She tries to surround herself with people who have been there and done it and can give advice and encouragement. Just before a fight she will put her hood up, have headphones on and listen to music.
Is there a song that you listen to that prepares you?
Her walkout song this time was Linkin Park – In The End. She listens to that song a lot during training as in helps her out of being mum Nadia and into the right state to be a fighter. It’s amazing the power of music.
Even if we feel little, or afraid or we doubt ourselves, it’s not a permanent state. It’s not something you have to live with forever.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When she’s having a moment and doesn’t think she can do something in the ring, her boxing trainer says - “Stop being a knobhead.” And somehow that helps her get a grip and get on with it.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you and learn more about what you do
Denis Estimon is the creator of We Dine Together, a program that aims to combat social isolation within schools to make sure no-one has to eat alone. Denis and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti, when he was in the first grade. He faced the challenge of making friends not in only In a new school but in a new culture. Now he helps students make connections with others. Anna first discovered We Dine Together while watching CBS This Morning and was blown away by what Denis is doing. Denis is also the director of Be Strong, a national non-profit organization focused on preventing bullying using a student-led approach.
Tell us about your story and how you came about creating your mission:
Denis and his family moved to the United States from Haiti. He had the challenges of both being the new student at school and being in a completely new environment. Since he didn’t speak English he struggled to connect to people and form relationships. He spent lunchtimes and recess alone. This experience inspired him to start We Dine Together to create a culture of the community in schools. School is one of the most segregated environments we experience. For a new student or a student who has been experiencing social challenges it can be a safe haven. A student can come into a new school, not knowing anybody and find a We Dine Together Club that they can go to.
We walk around with a smile on our face but it’s really hard when we feel lonely inside:
Denis agrees. The problem we are facing today is that people can show the best of themselves and can act like everything is going well but truly not everything is not always fine. Now, when something is going on in their lives, students do not turn to people, they turn to social media. They don’t learn how to build real relationships with people. Part of the Be Strong State Rep program is to work in 3 key areas every month – advocacy, acts of kindness and awareness. For the acts of kindness they do simple daily acts such as hold the door open for 10 strangers and look them in the face. Because even small acts like that make a difference.
What are some things you teach with how to actually approach someone who is sitting alone?
Often what you say is not as important as just saying something. It is important to step out of our comfort zone. Denis’s family stepped out of their comfort zone to come to a new country. We have to step out of our comfort zone and try to connect with people.
You must hear those stories all the time, about how somebody said hi to someone and how that led to another thing.
When Denis first founded the club, he approached a young man. They didn’t have much conversation as the young man was very shy. Denis felt slightly rejected but he went back the next day and the next day and the next. At the end of the week the young man asked Denis why he was sitting there and he told him they were friends. The kid started crying. Denis was the first person in 3 years to sit with him. The following week 2 other students sat with them. The young man had invited them.
What made you approach the same person, even though you were in some ways getting rejected by them?
Denis thought that if he didn’t do it then who would approach the kid? He didn’t want to wait for somebody else to do it. It took him about a week to approach him.
I saw that people of all different ages are involved in the We Dine Together initiative. What age does it start?
There is really no age limit on it but what they’ve been seeing lately is that the program works best with 4th-12th grade. They have also gone into elementary schools and taught kids about resiliency.
How does someone become a part of We Dine Together?
The first step is nominating a student and then that student goes through an interview process and find out about the program and how it works. As a state rep they then need to find 3 other people to form a club. These 3 people should be from different communities – athletics, academics, creative or disabilities. After the group is formed they do their monthly challenges based around advocacy, awareness and act of kindness.
How many schools are you in and how have you grown?
We Dine Together is now in over 170 schools. They have mostly been growing through word of mouth and students have just been starting clubs. Kids are going into other schools and starting clubs there.
I want to ask you about a story I heard, where a lady took an apple and cut it in half. Can you tell me about that?
This is a story that changed Denis’s life. If you cut an apple, you can count the number of seeds in apple but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed. The seeds you plant today will bring about harvest later on. Denis wants people to plant a seeds of generosity, kindness and compassion.
Do you have mentors that support you?
Denis has had many mentors throughout his life and every mentor has taught him something different. The things they did when he was younger planted the seed for who he is today.
The students that are leaders in your program – what changes are they experiencing?
Overall growth. They are learning about different people and different cultures. They are building relationships with people that they wouldn’t otherwise. By being able to build relationships on a school campus they will be able to do this in their careers in the future.
What happened after you were featured on CBS Good Morning?
Before the CBS episode, he did not see many people with the idea of welcoming people and building relationships over the table. The CBS piece created a snowball effect of welcoming other people and building relationships. Denis saw other clubs being created with a similar mission. It also created interest in We Dine Together and bought more reps to the organization.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
One person can’t help everyone, but everyone can help one person.
Where do you see this in 10-15 years? What impact do you think you can have as a culture?
Denis wants to see the rates of suicide and depression decrease. Not just because of his organization but because of all the organizations that are working to combat this issue. He would like to see a We dine Together club in every school. Then students wouldn’t have the fear of going to a new school and wondering who they will eat lunch with. He’d like to completely eliminate that narrative.
Tell us how we can get involved
Diana House is a lawyer turned serial entrepreneur who is obsessed with empowering entrepreneurs around their business finances. She has been featured as one of the top female entrepreneurs in Canada by the w100 and also recognized as a top 20 under 40 entrepreneur by Business London.
Diana has built a highly profitable 7 figure company, been on Dragon's Den (the Canadian version of Shark Tank), done a successful crowdsourcing campaign and sold two businesses in the e-commerce space. She now works with her fellow entrepreneur husband on Fast Forward Ventures a company focussed on private financing and commercial real estate investing.
Diana currently consults 1-on-1 with entrepreneurs on their business’ finances and is writing "the" book and course on entrepreneur finance "by an entrepreneur."
What do you think has contributed to your success?
Diana would like to say it was talent but admits it was grind. She is not one of those people that think you need to grind your whole life and work 60-80 hours a week. But she got to where she is today through hard work and determination.
When her companies were in start-up mode she worked her butt off. There are certain seasons where you need to have laser focus and, determination and do whatever it takes.
So let’s talk about your first business and the grind there. What did that really look like when you were first starting out?
After applying for creative roles and not getting a single interview Diana was struggling. This was her time to get out there and start adding value to the world, but no-one wanted her. One day she went to a job fair and instead of applying for a job, she ended up applying for a business grant. She received a $3000 to start a new company. The day she launched her e-commerce website she paid for the site in a single day and did over $10K in sales. This company was Tiny Devotions which sold mala beads and yoga inspired jewelry. This was the first company to make a product in this niche in North America.
After you decided not to become a layer you started making mala beads. How did that come about?
After law school, knew she didn’t want to be a lawyer but didn’t have a better plan. So she sold all her belongings and fled to Bali where she signed up for a yoga teacher training. In Bali, she started to look for a business idea. She came up with 3 ideas, import art from Bali, do yoga teaching and retreats or create yoga jewelry. She had followed the rise of Lululemon and could see that yoga was growing in popularity and an industry was springing up around it.
Where did money fit into her mindset?
Diana knew she was going back to Canada from Australia in 2 months and that that was when reality was to set in. She felt going to Bali was her last opportunity to do something crazy before going back to Canada and she even went into debt in order to go. When she went back to Canada she did a legal placement while living with her parents. After a talk from her father, she realized she needed to minimize her discretionary spending and pay off her debt. After that experience, she decided to learn to manage her money and never be in debt again.
How did you find customers when you launched?
What worked 10 years ago would not work now. She used social media and influencer marketer – before influencer marketing was a thing. She did this by sending products to influential yoga teachers.
With her current company, which she started 3 months ago, she is not yet doing paid marketing. Although she has the money for it, at this stage in the company she is leveraging relationships she has built over the years to get access to audiences.
What has been your experience with exits?
The second company she created was actually sold first. This was an e-commerce sock company that was also a social enterprise company. It loaned profits from the socks to entrepreneurs in Cuba.
Tiny Devotions became successful very quickly, but Diana struggled to feel in alignment with the business for many years. It took 2 years to sell the business and she had 20 deals fall apart before she was able to sell the company. Now looking back, she realizes she should have started the process of selling the company as soon as she started to fall out of alignment with it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a transition because they are out of alignment?
Having awareness is really important and coaches can really help with that. Diana worked with career transition coach Rikke Hansen for a year when she decided to sell Tiny Devotions.
She also points out that it is important to take baby steps and that trial runs can be extremely helpful.
I’d love to hear about your current business. What are you offering?
Diana has a private lending company that gives loans to people who banks won’t finance. She is also a commercial real state developer and investor. These are things she runs concurrently with her entrepreneurial ventures.
Since she had experience in the finance space she decided to start providing financial consulting to entrepreneurs. She is currently started working 1 on 1 with entrepreneurs in her network, taking them through the framework she has developed over the past 10 years. In the spring she will be launching the Profit Accelerator which will be a group-based program for entrepreneurs.
What do you do to maintain your level of ability to perform?
She is finding that being in startup mode, she currently has an unstoppable mindset. As a Christian, she puts her faith first, with a prayer practice and regularly going to church. She finds journaling important to be reflective and self-aware. She also likes to have a community of strong women around her to call her on her bullshit.
Although she loves the grind, it can be crazy and she tries to make sure that she is able to dial it back when she needs to.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice she’s been given was from her neighbor, who was a very successful entrepreneur. He told her that ‘what is more important than what you do with your life, is who you spend it with’.
What’s an action step that you want to offer someone listening to this podcast?
She has an opt-in on her website www.dianahouse.com that has her framework – 10 profitability essentials for entrepreneurs.
Outside her own stuff, if you’ve never had a coach, hire a coach. Hire a great coach and do the work to enable you to grow as fast and as big as you can.
How can we get in-touch with you?
Early Exits: Exit Strategies for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors by Basil Peters
Gregg Clunis is an entrepreneur and author obsessed with helping people become better versions of themselves. While we receive lots of negative messages In today's world, some of the positive messages we received are filled with fluff, such as "follow your passion," or "dream big," that are supposed to spark change and accomplishments in our lives. But often these ideas aren’t practical and how do you achieve those lofty goals exactly?
Gregg explores the reality behind big change — that it comes from the small decisions we make daily. Using scientific and psychological research, Gregg, shows you what hidden factors drive our behavior and gives you the tools to form daily habits to accomplish your goals. His core philosophy is “All big changes come from the tiny leaps you take every day.” Gregg hosts a podcast and has just released a book Tiny Leaps, Big Changes: Everyday Strategies to Accomplish More, Crush Your Goals, and Create the Life You Want
Was there a time in your life when you realized that tiny leaps can create big changes?
It happened after Gregg launched his podcast show called Tiny leaps. He has been hosting the show now for almost three years and he started it because he was frustrated with personal development and how it has become fluffier than it needs to be. Gregg thinks personal development is a very practical thing. To move forward and to make progress is a desire that is embedded in every human being. It does not need to be a cultish kind of thing that it is becoming these days. Gregg’s vision behind starting the show was to bring personal development back to practicality.
The idea of just focusing on day-to-day behaviors and taking actions on daily basis towards the right path is something Gregg learned from his parents. Gregg is an immigrant and moved to the United States from Jamaica when he was eight years old. Gregg learned from a very early age that if you want something, you have to be willing to sacrifice for it and you also need to be clear about it. All this built the foundations for tiny leaps.
How do you push through moments of doubts and insecurities in the creative process of self-discovery?
It is really hard at times. Sometimes, Gregg is so frustrated that he has to bail on the idea that he is working on at that moment. One of the things that he had to do with tiny leaps and numerous other projects is to make a commitment to finish something before starting it regardless of how frustrating and annoying it is. He tries to focus exclusively on the behavior of doing something regardless of how frustrated he is. This has been the biggest hack for Gregg to push through in self-discovery process. Gregg credits this to his father who advised Gregg to see through things rather than giving up on something in the initial phases.
What do you think is the downside of personal development?
The biggest downside is that motivation and inspiration disappears. These are the two biggest things that people are actually selling. Unfortunately, these things do not support actual change. They might support a change in behavior in short term but do not have an impact on your behavior in the long run.
How can someone get practical in bringing about a major change in their lives?
Gregg talks about the idea of identity. We act in a certain way because we identify as the type of person who acts that way. Someone who goes to the gym regularly identifies the type of person who goes to the gym regularly. If we really want to bring a change in our lives, we need to back ourselves with an identity. There are a lot of different steps you can take to find yourself an identity.
What is an identity that you did not have before but have managed to gain it now?
Gregg never considered himself a salesperson. For a very long time, he thought he was terrible at sales and could not hold those conversations with potential clients. He has been able to make some very controlled efforts in his life to overturning this limiting belief. One of these efforts consisted of taking up a crappy sales job at a company with less future prospects. The job helped him get over a lot of fear and anxiety that he had related to sales.
What was it like making a transition from a regular job to entrepreneurship?
After Gregg started his first sales job, he worked there for the first six months of 2017 after which he was offered another job. He got a job in a big corporation and worked there for about a year. However, the job was on a contract basis and Gregg was working as a freelancer. He started his business in April of 2018 which at that time was mainly a podcast marketing agency which focused on promoting great shows and helping them get the right audience. It went well for Gregg and he was able to help a lot of different clients.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice Gregg has been given is something his brother said to him when he was a young kid. He said to him that money does not equal influence and that money does not equal power.
Who is your favorite personal development person?
Gregg is following James Clair these days. He is a blogger and a photographer who writes very good articles on human behavior and its relation to personal development.
How can we connect with you?
Erin Stutland is an author, coach and an entrepreneur who has helped many people connect with their inner self through movement. After years of yo-yo dieting, exercising only for weight loss, and struggling with self-confidence, she longed to figure out how to treat herself with consistent love and respect. Erin was tired of thinking “I wasn’t (fill in the blank) enough.” So, she dove deep into studying psychology, spirituality, meditation and more in hopes to change this internal conversation to one that uplifted and inspired her daily. But still, with all the tools out there, Erin felt as though something was missing. How does self-love, kindness, confidence, and compassion become ‘muscle memory’ rather than afterthoughts or just another intellectual idea? Can we use our bodies to fortify our belief in self and tap into a deeper sense of strength and courage? When you put the mind and body in motion, they begin to heal themselves. It’s the reason she wrote her NEW book Mantras in Motion: Manifesting What You Want Through Mindful Movement. She is passionate about shifting the way we think about exercise, so it is not a punishment, but rather an opportunity to step into your power. Furthermore, she wants to see people like you living BIG lives, unafraid to go after your dreams while you are filled with happiness, love and abundance. Erin believes being connected to your body is essential to achieving this.
How did you come about writing this book?
Erin’s background is in dance and so she has been a mover ever since her childhood. She grew up as a dancer and later went to college to study dance. It has always been in her focus. When she was a freshman in college, her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This was devastating news for Erin and she was caught up in confusion. This happened twenty years ago and it rocked Erin’s world in a way she did not expect. She was on her own and would question every day if her mother would make it through her disease.
During this phase, Erin says she came across a kind of darkness she had never experienced before. It was around that time that Erin went to see a therapist who helped get through this phase in her life. Her therapist recommended her medication but Erin refused to take any sort of medication. She wanted to figure this out without any sort of medication.
Erin thinks she learned a lot from her mother who despite the continuous pain and agony from her diseases never gave up. She would always look at the bright side. Erin believes this set her on the path of controlling her mindset and her perspective. It was at that time she came across a book called The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. Soon, Erin felt a positivity in her life and realized her happiness and emotions are all linked to how she perceives things in her life.
How do you think a change in physiology creates a change in our minds?
Erin talks about a typical example of a workout and when it gets hard, we start to have an inner dialogue with ourselves. At that moment, our mind goes to a couple of different places. It will go to complaining, it will go to doubting yourself or some other limiting thought. Every time we give up doing something or feel like our body cannot take it anymore, it all stems from our mind giving up first.
What has been a negative belief in your life that you had to work on?
One of the beliefs that Erin thinks held her back was around the time she started to run her own business. She started her business by conducting small workshops throughout New York City. They were very intimate yet very powerful. Erin wanted to expand her business and reach more people outside the New York city wellness world. She had no idea though how to expand her business. She realized she had a limiting belief that she could only have an impact on other people’s lives if she was in the same room as them.
Do you have a process that you take people through in order for them to be able to manifest?
Erin’s book deeply talks about the process through which she takes people in her work. The first step in manifesting is to be clear about what you want to achieve and tuning into your deepest desires. A lot of time we don’t allow ourselves to feel our desires and wants.
The second step is then looking at your belief around the desire. You need to see if your beliefs are aligned with your desire.
The third step is to take some inspired action. We have to find what actions can help us achieve our goals.
The fourth step to be able to manifest is to move into the space of allowing and accepting. There needs to be a little bit of letting go.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice she has ever been given is to keep taking actions, in particular when it comes to business. It is very easy to get stuck when starting a new business but you need to keep going. This is something that has helped Erin not only in her business but also in her life.
What is your current mantra for your personal life?
The mantra Erin always comes back to is the following:
“I am tuned in, I am in the flow, I have all that I need, the rest I let go.”
Sometimes there is just so much going around in our lives and in those moments we really need to keep things simple, deal with one thing at a time and have an inner belief that we have the ability or potential to get things done.
How can we connect with you?