How to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur with April Beach

Episode 37

Almost every single entrepreneur starts a business because they want to live life on their own terms. They have an idea in their mind of what they want their lives to look like on a daily basis. For some that means time freedom, so they can be home with their families. For others it means location freedom, so they can travel as often as they like. For these entrepreneurs, their business isn’t just about the bottom line. It’s about being able to life their ideal lifestyle.

April Beach is a business strategist and coach for lifestyle entrepreneurs; who also happens to be a very dear friend of mine. April focuses on helping entrepreneurs who want to build a business around their dream lifestyle.

In this episode, April and I dive into why she loves incorporating social activism into her business, why it was so important for April to build a business that allowed her to focus on her family, the story of how April was born into an entrepreneurial family and was then left to raise herself when she was just 13 years old, and the five-step system April uses to help her clients start and grow a business that allows them to live their dream lifestyle.

Mentioned in this episode:

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How a Killer Elevator Pitch Could Change Everything

Voice Studio 26

4 years ago I was introduced to the concept of an “elevator pitch.” It’s a 20-30 second statement about who you are, what you offer and who you serve. The funny part was that I wrote about 15 elevator pitches for different aspects of who I am and what I could do. The hard part was that I didn’t want to be put into a box because I knew I had a lot to offer, and yet by not making one clear pitch, I was saying that I really didn’t know who I was or what I was all about. How can other people know if they want to work with me if I can’t say what I do or who I am?

A KILLER elevator pitch that intrigues and invites others to get to know you and your business better, but it also helps YOU be able to figure out who you say that you are. What if your answer could be so clear, succinct and powerfully authentic that you magnetize your ideal partners, clients and collaborators? Well, I have something that could help!

Listen to this short episode and then join me for the Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5-Day Challenge. I’ll be offering tips and feedback on your own elevator pitch in a Facebook group for 5 days. By the end of the week you’ll have a better idea of who you say that you are so you can attract the right people to you and your work.

Mentioned in this episode

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Are you ready to create and deliver your Killer Elevator Pitch? I’m excited to offer a FREE “Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5-Day Challenge,”October 23-27th, 2017. In just a few minutes a day we’ll take your boring answer to “what do you do?” to a wow-worthy status. I’ll be in the Facebook group every day to guide you through the process and offer strategic feedback, specific to YOU, so by the end of the week, you’ll be ready to rock your next cocktail party.

Don’t miss this free and easy opportunity to take your self-awareness and personal brand to a whole new level! Sign up today.

 

Creating a Business That Frees People: Pacha Soap

Episode 18 with Andrew & Abi Vrbas

Andrew and Abi Vrbas are cofounders of Pacha Soap Co., a social business that creates delightful bath goods that do good. Together, their company and its customers are putting the solution in the hands of those most affected by WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) issues and the cycle of poverty. Give-away bar soaps are made in the very communities that they help, using local ingredients and local talent. Nationals are trained to manually drill clean water wells, creating jobs for those in-country and providing much-needed clean water to hundreds of people per well.

Andrew is CEO and passionately drives the mission and vision of the company. Abi is Pacha’s former head designer and marketing/brand manager. Together, they take on the co-founder role to help spread the mission and build relationships with customers, retail partners and mission partners. In their free time they like to rollerblade and bike ride to the local snow cone shop, fix up their 1890 home, and watch The Office together.

Mentioned in this episode:

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Develop Your Voice of Influence, Volume 1

I’ve put together this special PDF of 15 tips and strategies for emerging thought leaders and message-driven creatives from experts interviewed on the Voice of Influence podcast. It’s a quick win that will encourage, inspire and equip you to make your voice matter more. Read up, listen in and make your voice matter more.

Download it here.

Transcript

Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.  Today, I’m excited to share with you Abi and Andrew Vrbas who are the owners and cofounders of Pacha Soap out of Hastings, Nebraska.  They have quite a story.  This is a business with a purpose.  And so Abi is with us right now and Andrew is going to jump on in a little while.

Andrea:  So Abi, it’s so good to have you here on the Voice of Influence podcast.

Abi:  Thank you so much, Andrea, it’s an honor to be asked and have this conversation with you.

Andrea:  Now, Abi, you and I met when you were back in college at Hastings College and we lived there and I remember having a couple of conversations in particular with you.  So it’s been really fun for me to watch you and Andrew from afar and see this company go from zero to hero, truthfully in a few years.  And so I would love for you to share with the person listening what exactly is Pacha Soap?  What do you do?

Abi:  Well, in a nugget, we create engaging bath products that change the world.  So we create organic handcrafted bar soaps.  We have froth bombs which are similar to a bath bomb that you use on your tub and it fizzes but it also creates a nice frothy latte like foam in your bath.  We have some other Willy Wonka just really fun, engaging, and delightful products that we’ll be launching later this year.  So our products are super fun and super clean ingredients.

We use organic ingredients, well-sourced ingredients, and we have a lot of fun with what we do.  And then the part that changes the world is we have a mission to help with the WASH sector which is (water, sanitation, and hygiene).  So that’s a part of our mission, but really the root of our why for our company is we believe that business can free people.  So what we do is we help to create opportunities for people in developing countries through soap making and clean water well drilling.

So like I said, we’re helping with the WASH sector, but really it’s a vehicle which we can help others help themselves.  So water sanitation and hygiene is a huge issue in developing countries and the best way to help people with those issues is to allow them to be the heroes in their own countries.  Through the sale of our products, we’re able to help startup small scale soap shops in places like Burundi, Africa and hopefully some other places in Africa soon.

And we have a heart for South America as well, wherever the partnership leads us and then also providing jobs for clean water well drillers.  So these are well drillers who are natives in the country.  The team that we help start is called Intwari Drillers, which means brave drillers.  Yeah, they are local Africans who are helping other Africans have access to clean water.  So soap and our mission with the WASH sector is the vehicle in which we’re able to further our mission of helping others help themselves.

Andrea:  Wow that’s amazing! So how did you guys get going?  What’s the origin story of Pacha Soap?

Abi:  Yes, so Andrew was in Peru, South America in 2010 for a semester, he was going to Hastings College at the time and wanted to study abroad.  And during this time there in Peru, or I should say, he was a construction management and Spanish major obviously very helpful in starting a soap company.

Andrea:  Really?  That’s awesome!

Abi:  Yeah, so he was down there in Peru to further his Spanish and also he was volunteering with some construction projects.  But what really transformed him in his thought process was, he’s this Kansas boy, who you know hardly get any rain fall where we are but he goes down to Peru and then they get the worst flooding that they never got in like a hundred years or something.  So Kansas boy brought the rain with them to Peru.

Anyway, it was really terrible flooding and it closed off the train that went into Machu Piccu, which is the biggest tourists destination in Peru.  He just saw how fragile the economic system is in Peru that it was very dependent on Americans and Europeans and without things like Machu Piccu and other touristy places, their economy was just super fragile.

So he had this idea of starting a company that would employ local people for the local good, so it wasn’t again, not depending on other people for economic stability but being able to provide that within itself.  So then he was thinking and it sounds like it’s from a movie, but he was riding on a bus on his way to work.  There was a couple of hours bus ride to where he works for the day.  He was on this bus and he was reading a certain book at this time and was just really influenced by the philosophy and thoughts behind it and just thought “Oh, I could create a business that does good.”

And he said like there were tons of people on this bus, really hot and sweaty, there’s no air conditioning on it, bumpy road and he just gone through Peru and he got to this place that he’s going to be working for the day and just had this light bulb moment that he went into and create a business that could free people so then he got to thinking like how he could do that and soap was the vehicle in which he could do that.

So the great thing about soap is the ingredients are found in many places where there’s extreme poverty.  So things like palm oil and coconut oil and then even plants that can be distilled into essential oils are found in a lot of the places where there’s extreme poverty and then soap making also is a very simple process.  It’s been made for thousands of years.

You don’t need special equipment or lots of education in order to do it.  It doesn’t take any electricity or lot of funding to start a soap shop.  So he was thinking that soap would be a great way to bring jobs to people and country without saying “Okay, you need all these equipments to do it – very, very simple so that is the answer to why soap?

Andrea:  Did the soap thing just kind of come to him as well or did he did some research, do you know that?

Abi:  His very, very first thought was tea but then got to thinking of all the complexities of like bringing in tea to another country and then his very next thought was soap.  He has always been interested in fragrances.  And actually, he is able to join now so here he is.  This is Andrea of the Voice of Influence.

Andrew:  Hi, Andrea!

Andrea:  Hi there Andrew!  It’s good to have you.

Andrew:  Yeah, thanks for having us.

Andrea:  I was just asking Abi about your origin story for Pacha Soap and she kind of took us through the ‘why’ of soap.  But maybe you could share with us how you moved from your idea to actually turning it into a business, would you mind just jumping in like that?

Andrew:  Yeah.  Well, I think you kind of answered it in your question.  I’m just jumping in because, you know, there’s obviously people just talk about how difficult to start a business but I think, especially when you’re younger and you’re passionate about an idea that could change the way things are done, you just jump in and figure things out.

So we started really small scale with just Abi and myself just dreaming what the future could be, so just experimenting and learning and busying with people and spreading our idea around and I guess you just quickly learn how to do what you need to do, I guess.  So yeah, the specific recipe for us was definitely just jumping in and being passionate about what we’re doing and loving to create, yeah I guess that’s it.

Andrea:  Yeah.  The youthful naïvite was certainly playing in your favor.  I mean, why not just jump in and go for it.  It seems like the older people get the harder it is for us to start things.

Andrew:  Yeah, it’s like you don’t know what you don’t know and ignorance is bliss and all those things that you don’t know how to do, so you just kind of do it.  And I think the more that we can keep that as a part of our mentality sometimes, it’d be better off to be and so yeah.

Andrea:  I remember seeing pictures of you guys selling at Farmers Market or things like that, is that where you kind of started out?

Andrew:  Yeah that’s exactly right.  One of our most favorite memories from when we first started was when we’re in the garage in the house that I used to live in where the first soap shop was, we’re just preparing for Farmers Market for the next day and it was like the first time we ever sell our product and telling our story.  And it was just funny to think that that was while we’re both in college and it was so much fun.  I remember at the end of the night, we just ended up just dancing the music, so it was fun.

Andrea:  Oh that’s so fun.  We’re you guys dating at the time or what was your situation together?

Andrew:  Yeah, we were dating at that time but we didn’t start out dating.  We’re friends initially in school and started dating while we’re still in school.  I think it was like our interests were aligned and both loving to create things, be creative, and be innovative.  And we’re still learning about each other and we feel like we have each other peg down but then we’re learning something new about each other.  It seems like every day, like yesterday, we learned something that we both share similar traits and we always thought that we’re innovative but really like in taking that test that you sent over especially was kind of interesting to see how closely we did align.

Andrea:  Yeah, yeah.  Now, he’s talking about the Fascinate Assessment that I invite guest to take if their interested.  They both took it and they both came out with innovation on their top #2.  So yeah, that was really, really fun to see that I could see how that just really makes it easy even for you guys to take risks probably.

Abi:  Yeah, and it makes it a lot of fun to create together because like I was saying with our products, it’s really fun to innovate and think outside the box.  But also it’s our mission to think forward and have innovative ideas with our mission, it’s also super fun.  So we can kind feed off with each other in that way and I think that’s what kind of hold us move forward and starting a business is that you just don’t get down when you think about “Okay, we hit a roadblock.”  It doesn’t mean no, it means no for that but there’s another way around that.  You can make it work.

Andrea:  Yeah you can work around it.

Abi:  Yeah, exactly.  You got to figure it out someway and having a partner on obviously helps a lot.  It helps to be together because if you had to do that by yourself, I can see how terribly difficult that would be to approach those roadblocks with confidence.

Andrea:  For context, did you guys start the business, graduate, get married that sort of thing?

Andrew:  Well, it’s funny like when we actually first started the business, we used several start dates but really the idea came in 2010 but we officially started beyond just like Farmers Market and really got serious and hired our first employee in 2012 it would have been, but we used kind of like 2013 as our first or like our official starting of our company.  We got married actually in 2013 as well.  We bought our first house in 2013 so that was a big year.

Andrea:  I was reading in your website today too, was it 2013 that you guys got into Whole Foods?

Abi:  Yeah, it was.

Andrea:  That’s just huge first of all but it’s also just really so much has happened so quickly.  Even though I’m sure it felt like a long time from 2010 to 1013 that happened pretty quickly.  Did it feel like it took forever or were you feeling like it was clip in along at a pretty good pace?

Andrew:  Oh man, I guess both of us like we’ve lived a lot of life being 27 and 26, so it doesn’t seem like it was really quick.  But you know from the outside when people talk to us, it seems like it wasn’t that long ago but for us, sometimes like we show like we’re on our 50’s.

Andrea:  Old souls.

Abi:  Yeah, like the day-to-day maybe seems like a little slower, you aren’t moving so fast.  But then when you look at it as a whole, when you look back it does go pretty quickly.  I don’t want to take things for granted because you know we were really blessed to be doing as well as we’re doing.  So I don’t want to take that for granted because I know it is just really difficult to start things and put yourself out there and be vulnerable in that way.  So yeah, it does seem like it has happened pretty quickly but it’s definitely not all because we have an awesome team like both here in Hastings working with Pacha and also in the field working in commenting our mission.  It is way beyond Andrew and me.  We cannot be where we are without our team.

Andrea:  I have so many questions written down and floating in my head because you’ve got a really substantial thing going and there’s so many things I think that we could cover.  So one of the first questions that I want to ask at this point is how many employees do you have in Hastings?  What’s the team look like in Hastings?

Andrew:  We’re like around 40 people.

Andrea:  That’s crazy!  No, that’s wonderful.  It’s so great.  I mean, that’s a lot of employees.  That’s a big team.

Andrew:  Yeah.  It is.  We’re so blessed to have the team that we have.  They make the culture what it is and it’s just so much fun to work with the team that you respect and love to work with every day.

Andrea:  How did you manage going from just the two of you to starting to add people into your team who I assumed for the most part older than you as well.  Is that true?

Andrew:  Yeah, we’re some of the younger ones for sure especially in leadership.  I think the main thing when you’re looking to grow or bring people on is making sure that your core values are set and that your hiring based on those core values.  You’re living everything through this core values and so that’s something that we learned along the way just recognizing how important that is and making sure that everybody is onboard with those core values.

Andrea:  Do you feel like your core values were pretty set when you started or did they really develop as you kept going and growing?

Abi:  Yeah, I think like the fundamental purpose of our company has remained the same.  It’s just kind fine tuning how that’s played out on a day-to-day like how you write those core values out.  So I would say like nothing has drastically changed from when we first started but you know, it’s fine tuning it.  And one of the greatest things that we got to do with defining our core values is looking at all around and saying “Yeah, I really like about this person.  I really like that about this person.”  And then integrating those things that we are inspired by our team members and using those as guidelines in which we created our core values, so using our actual team as our guide for creating those core values or fine tuning those core values.

Andrea:  That’s really cool.  So you took a look at who was here and how they’re functioning and what you really appreciated about them and said “Okay, yes that’s something we wanna keep.”

Abi:  Yeah, exactly!

Andrea:  Wow!  There’s a lot of wisdom in that.  I wonder if you being younger when you got started might have had an impact on the way that you respected the people that were working with and for you.

Andrew:  Yeah that probably is true because we had a lot to learn.  I feel like when you’re not as full of what you already know and you’re more just like trying to learn and maybe it’s just more of a humble way of being a leader because you’re forced to be humble.  You don’t really know a lot and I think that’s something that every human probably struggles with and we all will struggle with to remain humble and have a learning attitude and learning mind all your life.  And that’s a hard thing I think probably for all of us because we get to a place where you know we feel like we know what we’re doing.

Truth is like there’s not one person that knows and has all the answers as much as our cultures kind of push towards and are looking towards that you know like “I wanna find the answer.  Just tell me the answer.”  Although, there’s lots of answers in solving everyday problems especially when you’re growing a business like there’s not one person that can tell you every move you make to grow that business.  Yeah, that’s probably a good point.  I never had really followed with that.

Andrea:  Well, I want to qualify my statement by saying that not every person who’s younger would have had that attitude though.  So while it may have helped in some ways you’re willing to learn like you said, it’s a quality that we should all be striving for life, for willing to learn from other people.  I love the respect that you guys have for your team and for the people of the world that you’re trying to serve and I think that that respect comes somewhat from that humbleness too.  I don’t know, it’s just seems really grounded.

Andrew:  Well, sometimes.

Andrea:  OK that’s good.  I love that.  Let’s keep it real, right?  So you also have the partnerships carrying out your mission.  So what are those relationships like with the people around the world, what do you mean by a partnership that’s helping you carry out a mission in Africa for instance.

Andrew:  Yeah, so like in East Africa, we have a couple partners that we work with both on the soap side and in the water side.  Those partnerships start with organization here in the US that we work with and then the mission enacted in the developing world and namely in East Africa, we work in Burundi.  But we also work in other countries through water nonprofit that we partnered with waterfall.org.  So yeah, we break our mission down into two basically like two ways of impact and there’s presale impact and post sale impact.

So presale is like before any product is ever purchased, how is our company having an impact.  And then post sale, once the sale is made then how’s our company having an impact to our customers having an impact with their purchase after the sale was made.  Largely, in East Africa, where folks come is after the sale of our products, we are helping to start businesses in both soap production and clean water well drilling.

And so it’s essentially soap and water – two very critical elements for development and for health sanitation and hygiene but it’s done in a way that is actually creating, self-sustaining enterprise.  That’s the piece of it that is really, I would say, it’s not necessarily the most important element because saving people’s lives with clean water like people have access of clean water obviously that has a huge impact.  If people are able to wash their hands and children namely in schools; you can see that that would a huge impact.

But I guess the reason why I mentioned the aspect of our mission to be considered really important and maybe most important is that the people themselves are able to provide the answers for themselves and we’re just the catalyst somewhat of an injection and not an IV you know.  And truly that business through clean water and business through soap production is the way that people are employed and that their business are able to flourish and grow on their own overtime, whereas, we just act as catalysts.  Anyway, that’s kind of how we partner right now and I guess it all comes back to our why in our purpose for being which is that business can free people.

So we look at a lot of issues that are related to poverty, the way we can help with extreme poverty that people are able to have their own economic freedom or economic independence because these people are able to provide for themselves then issues can overtime be diminished.  Like the people can afford to pay for education.  If they can afford to buy soap, if they can afford to buy clean water, you know lots of issues can be reduced overtime if people are able to escape poverty.   And really the only way that’s done in there in a long term basis is if they’re able to opportunities to do it themselves through business, through the Wealth Creation process.  So anything we do comes back to the fact that business can free people.

Andrea:  It sounds like when someone is talking about social justice, there’s one-on-one charity kind of like “Let me help you with this thing.”  Or there’s the systemic change that happens and it sounds like what you’re talking about is wanting to provide not only that bar soap to save somebody’s life but the systemic change by giving them that opportunity to be empowered to have their own income and everything that’s really, really exciting.

Andrew:  Yeah, they’re both okay you know.  Sometimes, there are people who maybe would be really staunch and say “No,” like there’s no place to give anything because you’re creating dependence.  I understand that because I’ve seen it, we all have it.  We’ve travelled in the developing world and that’s not good.  That is not empowering.  But at the same time, sometimes I want to say like “You know there is a place to give things and that’s okay.”  It just has to be very limited and it has to be in a way that is not creating habit-forming dependence.  It’s something that it can be done in a good way and it’s not like always a bad thing to help.

And we see it firsthand with like the World Food Program for instance like children coming to school and for some of them that could be their only meal that day.  So in that way, children are able to receive education and come to school because they are being subsidized a free lunch.  I would say that’s not a bad thing.  Obviously, the better thing would be how can we have, you know that food is coming from the outside, how can more acres be converted into small farms for the parents that overtime maybe our food can be purchase locally like obviously that would be better.  It’s process and a transition so there’s a place and time.  We definitely like to focus on both of those things but if it’s not creating self-sustaining jobs then it’s probably not a long-term solution and could be creating more harm than good, maybe.

Andrea:  Interesting.  So what is exactly is your role as Pacha Soap, what is Pacha Soap’s role in Africa?  What do you actually provide?  Are you providing the funds?  Are you providing the training?  What all are you providing?

Andrew:  Well, we provide funds so we kind of act you could say as an initial customer for well drilling team, for soap shops, say help to set up soap shops.  We provide some advice in how to do that but then we’ll be that initial customer so we’ll buy soaps from those teams initially and that soap is then given to schools in the surrounding area for children for hand washing.  All the while, those teams are growing their own sales with different soap products so that overtime, those giveaway bars could be transferred to another soap shop that could be set up and the process can start over as established team sales increase.  So that’s the goal and same with clean water.  So Pacha as a company funds those operations and it’s essentially the first customer through subsidizing bars of soap and clean water wells that overtime will leave in a established teams that can sell products on their own and be self-sustaining.

Andrea:  It seems like there’s so many different plates spinning, how do you guys manage your time?  What percentage of time are you working on soap and sales and stuff overseas, and your mission, your message?  How do you guys decide what your roles are and how to divide up your time?

Andrew:  We go by the system called Traction.  It’s a book and it’s really been helpful process with our time up, but honestly, I think that the main thing that helped us is having an awesome team.  We can’t really stress out enough because as much as somebody might say they’re so awesome like it’s a team to do anything.  So I think the real answer to that is the fact that we just have a team that handles so many things and does it so well and has extreme ownership over of what they do and so that’s probably it.

Abi:  Yeah, it’s hard to balance your time because you want to do everything but you know, you can’t do everything and that they’re actually people who can do that thing better than you.  So knowing what to let go and what to still maintain for yourself is a hard thing to kind of figure that out.  But like Andrew said it’s just the team that we have that it’s a well-oiled machine.  There’s always new things to try and things that we’re currently doing that could be better or different but we just have such a great team that’s willing to jump in there and may use the word ‘scrappy’ a lot.  We’re just part of that sort of mentality and we never want to lose that no matter how big our company gets or how many years its life is, just having that scrappy mentality of saying “It’s just a road blocks” but yes we can get pass those barriers and do that together.

Andrea:  So as cofounders then since you guys started and everything, I would imagine that quite a few people that are listening to this podcast or people that are dreaming about starting something or they feel like they want to live a purpose-driven life.  They want to feel like their message is a part of what they do.  So I’m kind of curious about how you guys work together as a couple?  Was it hard when you first got certain and kind of got going to figure out who was in charge of what or was that pretty clear from the get-go or did you have any road bumps?

Andrew:  I think we worked pretty seriously like at the beginning and on.  I think as we grow and things got more complex in some ways that was a little bit more challenging because you had more people to the equation then you have to split up tasks way more.  So there’s always some more roadblocks or road bumps there but I think it’s just a constant learning thing.

Abi:  Yeah, it is hard as life partners and business partners finding the balance between how you spend your time.  When you’re at home, it’s impossible to not talk about work because you’re passionate about it and it’s a big part of your life.  And then at work, it’s hard not to talk about your personal life because it’s your life so there’s that overlapping.  We really tried to keep those two things as separate as possible because it’s too different mind frames.

When we first started out like that things showed we’re both innovative, so I think that was really good to help kick-start something new.  But individually, I graduated with a degree in advertising and public relation so kind of marketing and had some experience with graphic design.  So from my tactical standpoint, I was able to help with the marketing side of things and help create the graphics and different visual elements.

And as we progressed, I started understanding what it means to build a brand which that’s a monster in and of itself so that’s kind of like where I had my focus.  And Andrew had such a passion for the vision of the company and just always reaching for how can our mission be better and just dreaming of those ways in which it can happen.  It’s cool to be able to look at each other’s strengths and appreciate how each of those strengths helped build the company.

Currently, I have stepped out of my marketing role and I’ve taken on more of just a cofounder role and that has been a big transition for Andrew and me personally.  It’s just the decision that we made together that we’re both just thriving so hard in the day-to-day in the company so it was easier to continue that.  If someone is in the boat and the other one is drowning, it’s a lot easier than both of you drowning together.  So yeah, it’s a partnership and it’s give and take and it’s having grace for one another and don’t know within the next few years are going to look like so just being willing to hold life with open hands is really important.

Andrea:  You know that’s funny because I was going to ask you what’s in the future for Pacha Soap?  Do you have a vision for the next few years or is it something that you are truly just going day-by-day or what’s that like for you guys?

Andrew:  We have lots of visions of what it could look like but the main thing is how can our mission be amplified, so how can we framework people?  How can that be the heart of every decision we make?  So whether it’s new products that we launch or new categories that we’re in and new channels of trade like the way in which we’re bringing products to people, it will all lead back to how our mission can be amplified and how people can be a big part of that.

I guess it’s not really a specific vision but that’s such kind of the way it’s looking.  A lot of ideas of how to get there but it will definitely just take time and the right people who are also believing in the overall mission and message that care about, not only a business doing well and having an awesome product that people love, but also caring about what that product represents.

Andrea:  Yeah.  So when you look to make those decisions, do you knock on doors and just see which one opens or how do you know what next step that you’re going to take in the moment?

Andrew:  Usually that, yeah.  Usually just researching things and trying things out, asking a lot of questions, and talking to people you know that’s kind of how and like big decisions are met is trying some things out and asking a lot of questions before we move on something.

Andrea:  What advice do you have for someone who is kind of in that dream stage where maybe they feel like there’s something on their heart or maybe they’re in that position where Andrew you were on that bus thinking “There’s got to be a way to help.  There’s going to be something that I can do.”  Do you have any parting words of wisdom for these influencers who are listening?

Andrew:  Yeah, I think just have fun.  Ultimately, it’s just got to be something that you like.  It’s not every element you’re not going to like and that’s maybe why a lot of business fails because there are these things in starting a business that aren’t as much fun.  But if overall what you are passionate about or what you’re doing you like it too, you like the people you’re with; I think that’s the biggest piece is of just being real to yourself about what you like or what you love to do.  I think it’s also about why you’re doing it, so just asking yourself these questions.

It’s different for every person but the advice for somebody like myself is just to try it out.  There’s nothing stopping anyone from really accomplishing whatever they want to accomplish but you just have to be willing to stick with it and push forward.  And I would say the other biggest piece is don’t be afraid to learn along the way.

I don’t feel like you have to figure it out all in its entirety right away because you probably won’t and your idea might shift for the better.  Your initial vision might be one thing but maybe you’ll figure out a way that could be even enhanced and just don’t be afraid to learn.  That’s probably the biggest piece that prevents people, they feel like they need to have it all figured out right away.  But you can figure it out as you go along, as you’re able to learn all the way.

Andrea:  That’s a great point.  Abi, do you have anything you want to add to that?

Abi:  If you’re going into business with your life partner, just try to communicate and have grace with one another.  If you’re doing it on your own, look for people to support you through it and be vulnerable with them and don’t lose heart.

Andrea:  Well, this has been a very short 45 minutes but I am so thrilled that I could share you with my audience that we could learn more about what it meant for you guys to start something.  And you’ve taken it so far and I know that it’s just going to keep skyrocketing because just the humility that you bring to it and the willingness to take risks to listen like you mentioned and to not lose heart like you mentioned, and to communicate like you mentioned are so important.  And so cheering you on from over here and looking forward to seeing what Pacha Soap does to change the world in the future.  Thank you so much for your voice of influence in the world!

Andrew:  Yes, thank you for having us!

Abi:  Thank you so much Andrea!

 

DOWNLOAD Develop Your Voice of Influence, Volume 1 here.

Step Out from the Shadows and Into Your Calling

Episode 05 with Trivinia Barber of PriorityVA

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

Mentioned in this episode:

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Transcript

(approximate transcript)

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

 

Andrea: Trivinia, it’s so great to have you here.

Trivinia: Oh Andrea, it’s my pleasure! I’m so glad to get to connect with you here today.

Andrea: Yeah this is fun. So I met Trivinia on an Amy Porterfield webinar actually for B-School, which I ended up signing up for that day and Trivinia was in the chat box. And I just remember, Trivinia, I was just so impressed by your combination of competence and confidence, but you delivered it in such a relational way. And that just really continued throughout my time like my experience with you through that program or all of our online stuff.

And then when Todd Herman launched his 90-Dar Year program which we’ll get into later, and I Trivinia, was an affiliate. And I signed up through here because number one – I could tell that she really embodied the transformation that was promised in the program and was so enthusiastic about it. And number two – One of the bonuses was a call with Trivinia and I really want to get to know about her, and I’m so glad I did. So Trivinia, it’s so fun to have you here.

Trivinia: Thanks so much and you know I think it’s really interesting that I have been able to build some really amazing relationships with people that all started in a chat box in webinars. It’s just so interesting because I think that sometimes people feel like their personality can really come through in online or a chat box, or in these tiny little micro-interactions that we have with people. But I feel like I’ve been able to prove a lot of people wrong in that area that we can absolutely build relationships in this little micro-moment together, so thank you so much for that.

Andrea: Yeah, I love that and it’s like this little snippet but it’s not fake, you know. Whatever, it’s just like a little window into your personality and as you get to build more, it’s a neat thing to be able to see so yeah.

Okay, so Trivinia, you took the…I just wanting to say your name all the time, I think. It’s such a fun name. This year, I invited my guests to take the Fascinate Assessment because it’s fun and I’m curious about when we’re talking about Voice or Voice of Influence that sort of things. And so Trivinia took it and she came out as the maestro which is power plus prestige.

Now, if you don’t know anything about this, go ahead and go back and listen to Episode #1, where we discussed the whole thing if you’re interested in learning more about the Fascinate Assessment. But anyway, the point is that power plus prestige – this is a really leadership-driven, high standard kind of voice that Trivinia carries. And Trivinia, I’m curious, was this something that you’ve seen yourself kind of always have, or this is something that has developed throughout time?

Trivinia: Yeah, that’s such a good question. I feel like when I was younger, when I was in let’s just say maybe middle school and high school, I always wanted to be the leader. I didn’t want to be the follower. I was a captain of my swim team, little things like that you know. I wanted to be the best and I wanted to be in charge of things for sure.

But I think that what I found as I’ve gotten older, especially as I started my own business is that I typically ended up taking the backseat to people that were stronger than me and I would be the assistant. I started my career really as a virtual assistant, and so I was always behind the scenes sort of making things happen that I wasn’t really in the spotlight.

And as I’ve grown my business, what I realized is that, I do have a voice. I do have something to say and I want to be heard and that’s been probably the biggest change that I’ve really sort of stepped out from behind the shadows of other people that I’ve served and developed my own voice and really stepped in to that power and that prestige personality type.

But it has been not necessarily something that I’ve chased after but something that I’ve had to have revealed to me by other people that I really admired and say like “No, Trivinia, you do have something to say and there’s a platform. There’s room up here on the stage for you too.”

Andrea: Wow! What it was like for you then to have these people speak into you like that?

Trivinia: Well, I didn’t believe it. I think a lot of people can really struggle with taking compliments, you know very well. I mean, I know sometimes people even say like “Oh I like your outfit.” And we’ll downplay, right like “Oh I got it on sale at Target.” We just always want to just give an excuse or downplay whatever it is.

And I think the same thing was true when it came to my business acumen. People would make comments and say “Oh well you know, I’ve got some great mentors and I always just deflect to giving someone else the credit and so it was hard for me to accept that. But then I started to see that it wasn’t just people that I was paying, you know. Maybe it wasn’t something they were saying because I was in their course. I was paying to be a part of the Mastermind. It was peers also started to tell me that as well.

I started to really look a long hard at myself and be like “Well, do you want a voice? Do you really want the stage, because it’s kind of up here and if you step up on it, I think that there will be people to listen to you?” And that’s really weird and it’s just came down me making a decision that I wanted to kind of step out of the shadows.

Andrea: Wow, yeah that’s such a powerful image of looking yourself in the mirror like that. So do you think that you’re – as you’ve taken steps and where you’re at in your business right now and how do you think that your voice has sort of developed?

Trivinia: It’s such a great question. I remember I used to call my business, ‘my baby business’ and then I would say “Oh it’s toddler now.” And I think were like on full and grown-up mode now. I recently start doing all client works. I used to really have this safety net of client work where I was literally still being a virtual assistant to people and that provided me a stable steady income.

And I used to think like “Well, if all that fails, at least my mortgage is paid.” And I’ve recently just about doing all that and I’m just fulltime running my own business right now. And so I’m a real entrepreneur now, right? There’s nothing else to fall back on. It’s sink or swim with making this business successful.

And so we’re starting year four. We wrapped up 2016 at about $1.5 million in revenue, which is just insane for me to think. And we’re going to look toward potentially in doubling that this year and just continuing to transcale and hone or our systems and reach for people. So I feel like we’re definitely at that stage where it’s like “We can make this thing go as big as we want to.”

And that’s terrifying and when I say ‘we’, I say my husband and I because he actually quit his cushy corporate job with amazing benefits a couple of years ago to join me in my business. And so we are fulltime doing this thing now, and it’s scary but really exciting to think about the lives that we can impact really as a result of me just deciding to step fully into this. It blows my mind, Andrea!

Andrea: Oh my goodness! Yes that’s so exciting and I just have been watching this from afar sort of. And seeing all the steps that you’re taking that you mentioned on social media or what not, and you know really investing yourself, investing in your business and in your people, how does the investment that you’re putting into your business? I mean, how do you look at that and say “What is the ROI on this? How is our return on investment?” Why is it worth spending so much and putting so much into your business instead of just trying to get more clients and match more VA’s with clients?

Trivinia: Yeah that’s a really good question because I think that just like clients come to us and they look at using virtual support as an expense, I have to always flip those tables for them and help them understand that it’s really an investment in themselves and in their business when they come to us and really decide to put their money where their mouth is and get some help where they need it.

So I think the same thing is true for me. I can talk about all these great ideas that I have in my head but unless I have someone to help me strategize and figure out how to actually execute them, then I’m just talking too right? And so one of my biggest challenges is I can sit across a table from you Andrea and I can brainstorm a ton of ideas about how we can grow and scale your business, or maybe how can get you more exposure and things like that and really support you.

But when it comes to my own business, I kind of have these blinders on and I just don’t see possibilities. So for me, it is well worth the investment for me to bring alongside people like Todd Herman or Dan Martell and invest in their leadership. I do it in Mastermind. It was very expensive but in the three months that I’ve been in that Mastermind, I’ve had ideas or discussions with other people or with the leader of Mastermind that can potentially 10x my business.

And that just from a conversation at a dinner table after a Mastermind meeting and that’s the kind of things that I think people will often put in the back burner and say like “Oh yeah, I’d love to join the Mastermind,” or “I’d love to maybe sign up for a course or whatever but I need to do it when, right?”   We only say “We’ll get there some other time.”

But for me, I’m more adventurous I guess or more of a risk taker. I’d rather invest the money right now, get innermost conversations with people at a further down the road than me and take one idea that they have and scale this business more rapidly that I could by myself and try to figure it all out. So it’s definitely worth it but it’s scary. When I was paying the invoice for this most recent Mastermind that I joined, I was literally shaking because I was like “I can’t believe I’m joining this. What if it doesn’t work?”

But I did it anyway because I feel like if I’m going to grow my business and I’m going to surround myself with people that are doing amazing things in their own kind of niches that they’re in then I can’t like keep dreaming about joining in. I got to start doing it. You know, Todd Herman talks about like, “I don’t care about your potential; I care about your performance.”

And so for me, it really is putting money where my mouth is because I’m a kind of girl that if I pay for it, I’m all in because I’m going to milk every single dime of that experience. So whether that’s an online course that I’ve taken like 90-Day Year or a Mastermind that I paid 40 grand for, you know I’m all in because I want to recoup that investment multiple times over.

Andrea: Right and I don’t know that everybody really sees how that could actually become that big event, an actual investment that’s actually turning into revenue. But one of the things that I gathered from and got from you and Todd Herman and that experience with the 90-Day Year was that I needed to be spending more of my own time working on my business, not just in my business that sort of thing.

And that when we’re doing that, it’s worth more that that’s it’s actually worth more for me to spend time strategizing I’m going to execute that I’m going to have eventually, execute on that of course but to spend that time on it. So I think that most people, and I say most people just because I think that’s what I experienced, but I think a lot of us, a lot of people who maybe do have a Voice of Influence, Influencers at home, maybe it’s easy to get stuck in that mindset where you’re thinking that this is the way life is.

And I can use my voice right where I’m at and I’m not going to try to push out the boundaries at all. But no matter whether you’re an entrepreneur or whatever you are, if you take a step back and look at life and say “Well, how do I want to take that time away investing yourself or howcould I put my voice out there in a bigger way like Trivinia is. I mean, that’s pretty huge for anybody I think, not just entrepreneurs.

Trivinia: Yeah. It’s interesting because I had a lot of people telling me like you should create a course on how to become a virtual assistant. It’s kind of everybody tells me all these different ways that could diversify my revenue and all these things but it wasn’t until I paid to join this Mastermind and these courses. And I was encouraged to again kind of take that look back who I want to be and how I want to use my influence.

And I really realized and was like “No, I don’t want to create a course like that. That’s not anything that I have any desire to do. Now, do I want to speak on stages, sure! Do I want to write books, absolutely! Those are the ways that I want to be able to influence a community, but I don’t want to have online courses that’s not something that I want. I don’t want to teach VA’s how to be VA. I would rather teach CEOs how to be CEOs instead you know.

But I was very close to going down a path that ultimately would not have left me fulfilled just because people were telling me I should. But when I took the time a way kind of by myself to really look at where I wanted to use my influence, it would just came clear that what people were telling me wasn’t really where I wanted to go.

Andrea: Oh that is so powerful too because I know even for myself, looking at what I’m doing, trying to think about which ways should I listen to. And in the end, it has to be true too, like inside of you I think. It does feel like a calling, doesn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah. I think sometimes I still do battle with that because I know that the impact that we’re making. I remember telling Amy Porterfield this all the time like “We’re not caring kids here.” But we are making changes in people’s lives because of the work that we were doing together there. And I feel the same is true for PriorityVA. I have VAs tells me they had no idea where Christmas is going to come from but now they do you know because of the opportunities that were affording them to work at home as a VA.

And so I know that we’re making changes in people’s lives and it’s important what we’re doing. But me, sometimes it’s so hard to see that because we get caught up in looking really what other people are doing or what other people, family, and friends, whatever tells us we should be doing. You know, you just get to set with yourself and just really figure out who you want to be and go for it.

And I think that’s where if we take any consideration the Fascination Advantage thing that that’s where my power lies or that’s where my prestige lies is in really being able to take hard look at myself and then go full board ahead to get what I want that’s kind of cool.

Andrea: Love it. So you said that you’re interested in writing books and speaking on stages which you would be fabulous at. What would you want to talk about? What is that thing that you really want to get out there? What is the message?

Trivinia: You know that’s just a great question and I think that it will evolve and change as I get more comfortable in this new space of not being the assistant. But I think for now, one of the biggest things that I still want people to understand is that we don’t have to do it alone. I feel like as we’re growing our businesses in this entrepreneurial space, we’re all sitting behind our computer screens and getting fatter and just becoming more isolated. And I feel like we don’t have to do that alone.

We don’t have to barricade ourselves in our office and become martyrs to our own businesses and things like that and not just a really important message. Obviously, it ties very closely into the need that I feel all entrepreneurs have to have a virtual assistant or to have some sort support system for them. So that’s really important to me. Other things I’m really passionate about of course, adoption and foster care so you know, it could be that that I spend more time speaking and writing about those things.

It’s interesting to me, Andrea, that now I have the choice to think about it and that’s what so weird to me is that if I want to talk adoption, I can talk about adoption. I don’t have to talk about virtual support. So that just kind of interesting is that I can grow up into whatever I want to now because no one else is just tell me what I have to do.

Andrea: Sure, yeah that’s exciting. It’s interesting too to think about how we can have this. And one of the things that I love about this is that you have a business that is supporting you. And then if you want to talk about your passion, your mission for adoption and foster care then you don’t have to make money doing that necessarily.

You’re making money in your business, so this allows you to have the freedom to be able to pursue a mission that may not make money at all, maybe giving money a way for you to give back or whatever that is and whatever how it placed out. But I think that it is easy for people who have a passion like you’re describing because you have adopted two children, right?

Trivinia: Yup!

Andrea: So that’s one of the reasons why you’re so passionate about this, and I think that it’s easy for us to get stuck in that passion and not think about how we’re going to support it.

Trivinia: Yeah, absolutely. I used to do all this in your free talks and I’d write in forums and blogs and all that sort of things to try and get the message out about foster care and adoption. And I actually had to take and that would be put in the back burner for a little while for me so that I could build a business that could sustain my little side projects that really fill me up and I really feel good doing them.

But I still have four children that need to be fed and they have school uniforms that need to be bought and my love of adoption isn’t going to be necessarily feed them. So it’s important I think that we get our priorities straight. And for me, creating a business that could give me the time – I mean, my whole business started because we adopted a child and she needed me to be home for her.

And so I had to really focus on that for a few years to get to a place where I could sustain now. And now, I’m like “Alright, where can we go?” “Who can we talk to about adoption?” How could we view these things and it’s only because I put the time to build something that could sustain this new sort of fun side project that I have. And you know that could be something as time goes on as well. So we’ll see how it plays out but it’s fun for right now.

Andrea: Yeah and in the meantime, you’ve built yourself a platform.

Trivinia: Exactly!

Andrea: And continuing to grow that one and that’s pretty important, so I think these are great, great lessons for the Influencers that are listening because I think that it is so easy to get stuck. So thank you for that. Now, I’m really fascinated by how you’re passionate about something that I’m also passionate about which is pairing your VA’s with the right client. Tell me a little more about that because I’m really interested in this.

Trivinia: Yeah, so this all really started because I was working with some higher profile clients and people were starting to ask me if I could work with them. And really that’s where the entrepreneurial being kicked in for me and I kept thinking “Well now, I can’t take anymore on myself but I can find you someone that has the same characteristics or the same traits that you think you want in me.” And that really started this business.

And so the way that I’ve really utilized a couple of things – I say that we have to figure out the right skills that you need someone to have. You know, do I need to know where and all these things because I need them to be able to do and execute what you need done. But more importantly, in my opinion, it’s personality and temperament, character, and values that are going to drive a relationship and really make it work.

I can teach someone many pages. I can show someone how to set up Facebook ads, but if they don’t care about your business and your mission where you’re going, it’s not going to matter. There’ll be a little kind of crash test dummies, right? They’ll be filling out forms or clicking buttons and doing things but they’re not going to care. And to me, the best relationships or where can I place a VA with the client who’s not…they’ll never be equally as passionate about what you’re doing because I just don’t think that’s possible.

But if they are driven and motivated by what you’re doing in your business and they have the skills that you need, that is a recipe for magic and for, really, what I call long term collaborative support. And one of the best things that I found in my career is working with Amy and being able to kind of look behind our shoulders and say “Holy cow, do you remember our first launch together, it was like $30,000” and then looking at doing nearly $2 million launches.

And not that I was solely responsible for that but I played a part in it and I was able to see sort of where we had come all along the way in our relationship and in the business building and things like that. And that’s really magical if I can create that relationship for people. So I spend a lot of time working with not only with more personality tech profile stuff that really digging in with our clients and asking politically incorrect questions. I’m just really trying to figure out who they really need.

Because most people, I think 90% of the people that come to me looking for virtual support, they’re all about the ‘what.’ I need someone to manage my account. I need someone to schedule trips for me and that is all they are concerned about. But when I can sort of put the tables on them and say “Okay that’s great,” like “got that part.” Now, who is the best person to come alongside you and work with you, because you’re B-Schoolers, you know creating your ideal client avatar and we get that down. We know what kind of music they listen to. We know where they shop, like we know all of those things but nobody does that to figure out their ideal teammates.

Andrea: That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah, exactly because they’re the ones helping you build those things. And so I try to get people to really flippant and to think about that for a little bit, and let’s create a profile of your ideal teammate and then I go to work to find them. And obviously now, my team is growing and I have fulltime recruiter that helps me with that now so it’s not just me anymore.

But that is so, so powerful when I can then introduce a client to a virtual assistant and I can say, you know “Here’s Sarah and here’s why I chose her for you.” And the clients were like “I cannot believe you were able to find somebody that aligns so wonderfully with who I am and where my business is going.” It just does magic for me, and it makes me so happy and it’s kind of exciting.

Andrea: Oh yeah, it’s magic and it’s gift that you’ve been given. You obviously have a gift for being able to do this and understand your client, understand your VA and look for these deeper things. Would you be willing to share any of the things that you’re looking for when you’re trying to match?

Trivinia: Yeah, I mean it’s different for everyone. So it really starts out with, I would not hire any VA who doesn’t align well with my values, because I would assume that if a client aligns with my values and then I bring on VA that aligns then we’re starting off on a right foot. And so that would be things like truth. I mean, it’s tattooed on my wrists if that’s important to me like I can’t stand liars. Oh, integrity and just commitment. I need people that are going to be committed not only to me and PriorityVA but to their client and really to themselves.

I think that a lot of people who are trying to get their foot in the door in a VA world, you know, they used to work at Target and so they’re going to try this VA thing and they’re going to see how it goes. But they’re not really committed to learning what they need to learn and so commitment is really important and then service. Having a heart to serve is massively important to me because being a VA is hard and sometimes you’re going to be asked to do things that you’re not really interested in doing, at times you don’t really care to do them.

And so I need people that ultimately have a heart of service and just really get filled up by serving other people, so that’s kind of where it all starts. If people can align with that then they can at least get into the fold of the next level of conversation with PriorityVA and then from there, it’s just me. And right now, I’m the only that’s doing this. But I’m the one that engages with their clients and I’m the one who talks to them and figures out really.

I get kind of deep with them and I make them answer hard questions that they’re like “Oh, I never thought of that before.” But it’s like “Do you need to work with someone who shares the same, maybe spiritual views as you?” Because maybe their business is all about their spirituality and maybe having somebody on their team that doesn’t share that so it’s going to become challenging for them. Or maybe it’s somebody who they really, really need somebody who’s very techy because they’re technophobic, right?

So it’s just all figuring out “Do you need someone who’s gonna say, “Yes, Mrs. Wenburg,” or do you need somebody who’s like “Andrea, you told me you’re gonna give me this stuff and you didn’t get it for me.” You know, so it’s figuring that out and those are hard questions I think people don’t want to answer sometimes, because they don’t want to seem like rude or they don’t want to seem like maybe they’re kind of a bad boss.

But if I can get them to go deeper and answer those questions then I have higher much success rate of like 85% success rate in the matches that I make because I’m not having to uncover stuff later that like they really don’t like somebody that says all the time “Okay.” You know because that’s an annoying word to you and I give you someone…

The funniest story, Andrea, that one of my clients told me one time like “I don’t care if they’re college educated. I don’t care if they have babies on their lap while we’re talking, but please don’t give me someone that has a Boston accent.” You know that’s so funny. I was like “Okay, that’s the kind of stuff I need to know, because what if I did. I got them some great person but they were from Boston and not just great on you every time you talk to them.

So I love hearing the funny, funny kind of non-negotiables that some people have, but yeah it’s fun. And then from there, we kind of do the same thing with the VA’s, so we talk to them about who they’re ideal client is and where they can make the most impact. And so if it’s somebody who really needs to be a behind-the-scenes person and they’re more task oriented instead of collaborative relationship oriented, they’re typically not going to work well in our company, because I don’t do task stuff. I think we can outsource that to offshore companies for much cheaper. So I don’t want more collaborative relationships. We start to dig it deeper and ask questions and then it just all comes better.

Andrea: Yeah, that’s great. So some really great advice for people who even have a business maybe whether or not it’s internet business or brick and mortar but it’s hard. It’s neat that we’re in this day and age when you can and you have a lot more to choose in the internet world. You can do a really interesting mix and match in ways that we really can’t when you’re brick and mortar or they couldn’t years ago I’m sure.

So I’m curious when it comes to that relationship between a VA and the client, I’m wondering about how they interact and how you help them interact. Again, this is about voice because I’m sure that your VA’s…it sounds like the way that your VA’s interact is definitely more collaborative as you mentioned. And so they do have a little bit of a voice, maybe more so than a normal VA. But do you have any recommendations or suggestions for people or either that Voice of Influence as a VA or somebody who is in a superior and somebody who’s supporting that superior if you will?

Trivinia: Yeah. You know, the easiest thing, but people look at it as easy, but the easiest thing to create an amazing relationship with anyone we’re working with especially when the relationship is virtual, it’s just consist of communication, right? It’s just like when we’re building our audience and we email them maybe once every nine months. Well, that’s going to be hard to build their relationship with our ideal audience.

And so the same thing is true when it comes to virtual support. I work with subcontractors and so my team is not built of employees, so they’re not W-2 employees. So I can’t demand that they have weekly meetings, but I strongly encourage that they have weekly in meetings with their clients. And I like those to be face to face whether it’s just real quick on Skype or Zoom or Facetime or something, and talking 10 minutes. This is not need to be an hour-long meeting because most clients hate meetings because they’re busy and they don’t want to get caught up in stuff.

But that face-to-face interaction does a lot for building trust in really solidifying relationship, so that’s probably step one for me. And another thing that we do is we have our VA’s give a weekly report of basically what they did get accomplished, what they’re going to start working on for next week, and then what any impediments to progress are. Because oftentimes, the clients are the ones that the impediments to progress.

And so it’s just becomes really, just really transparent about what’s going on and that helps the client to know “Okay, these are sort of my shortcomings. This is where I really need to step up to the plate and help this relationship continue to progress.” So that’s really important I think with any relationships. You just get to communicate a lot and then really utilizing tools that we have at our disposal.

There are so many different things whether it’s things like Teamwork, a project management software that we use here or Slack for quick force of communication. And then of course if people can afford it and it allows in their schedule like get together in person with your VA at least once or twice a year and have a little brainstorming session and that will just again solidify their relationship as well. It’s been really fun to get my team together. We’ve started doing quarterly retreats and we just go rent a VRBO in a different state, in Plymouth and this like 3-day implementation weekends and that’s really fun. And I’ve been able to find out so much about my team now, like for instance – oh I wonder, I’m might be blowing a surprise but that’s okay.

One of my VA’s, Kim, is the most amazing assistant on the planet and so no one even try to steal her from me, but she is coming up on anniversary working with us. And so one of the cool things is like I started asking my team like where would you go if you could go anywhere? And you know, she was talking about different cities she wants to go to. And so I’ve kind of been conspiring behind the scenes, plotting to send her and her husband on a trip for her like anniversary after working with PriorityVA. But I wouldn’t throw that out really just like through email, you know.

It was just around the fire at VRBO in Phoenix, we’re just chatting. And so I think if people will take that relationship to another level with their team, it’s so cool. It’s just so fun, right but you have to step out of your comfort zone and do it and really be interested in having relationship. And that’s the main difference I think, Andrea, between working with other virtual assistant companies and working with PriortiyVA is that I want people to have relationships with their team. And I want them to really be a part of the team not just some button pusher behind the scenes.

Andrea: Oh man! I mean who wouldn’t want to work for you Trivinia. I mean, did you hear what she just said. She’s sending somebody on a trip with her husband and that’s so powerful and it just makes it feel like you truly care.

Trivinia: Yeah, because I do and a lot of people don’t. I mean, we’re just really being honest. A lot of people, they don’t really care about their assistants because they’re disposable. And I want to create relationships that aren’t disposable. So that if you’re assistant got hit by a bus, yes there are systems and there are processes like work could still continue, but I would want that to matter to you.

A lot of people in this online marketing and digital world that we live in, people are so replaceable. And I’m kind of looking at flip the tables on that a little bit and bring it back to kind of old school where people had a secretary for 15 years, you know, that’s normal. I just want that relationship to be really important to people again.

Andrea: Oh I love that! Okay, so one of the other things that I want to ask you about was I know that you have passion because of this is what you’re doing, you’re supporting people who have ideas, you’re giving them support staff or support whatever. Anyway, when people who have a Voice of Influence are growing and wanting to become and develop their voice, get a bigger platform perhaps, or figure out how they want to interact in the world, or whatever it might be; I know and I’ve heard you said this before, it’s so easy for us to get lost in our heads and not actually execute. And part of that problem is the fact that we’re not willing to delegate.

Trivinia: Oh yeah.

Andrea: So what advice do you have for the Influencer that’s sitting here listening right now saying, “It’s going to be years before I ever get anything off the ground.” How do they decide when to actually delegate and that sort of things?

Trivinia: Yeah, stop it. That’s one of the things you know, it’s like people stop being a martyr in your own business. And stop feeling like if you’re not touching it and you’re not pushing the buttons that it’s not going to be done right. I have often said like “There will be spilled milk. Your system is going to mess up.” I sent an email to at least nearly 200,000 people from a client’s private email address one time. Yeah, it sucks and it was horrible and I was crying hysterically, but you know, we fixed it and it was fine and nobody died.

And so I think that that’s the biggest thing that we can do as Influencers or business owners. As we’re getting started, stop thinking that people are going to die if an email is not sent out right or if a link is wrong on a Facebook post. Just stop taking yourself so seriously and really start small. I think that getting your feet wet in delegating and outsourcing, like do something on 99designs or something and just start flexing that delegation muscle, because I think that it is a practice that we have to get better at.

Now, I tell my team like take it. They’ll ask me questions and I’m like “Oh, I don’t care. You do what you do, you own this.” Dan Martell tells us something that I think that if more people would really embody, I think their business would scale so much faster. We need to put people in place and he calls it, ‘we need someone to LMA that.’ And it’s Lead, Manage, and be Accountable, and I have fully embraced that in my business especially in this past couple of months is that I’ve said, outsource-outcomes and not tasks.

So instead of you outsourcing the task of booking a flight, why don’t you outsource the outcome of that entire trip, right? So you’re not worried about the hotel, rent a car and all that stuff like you have an itinerary that such to go. And when you arrive at your hotel, they’re going to have whatever it is that you need. Maybe you’re gluten free or something. You know, outsource the outcome of that and stop worrying so much about the individual tasks that you need to get off of your plate and lets someone lead, manage and be accountable for the outcome of something.

And that’s going to be a part of your team, it’s going to let you sort of rest easier in knowing that it’s not all on your shoulders now. Now, if you picked the right team then you should feel confident in LMA-ing different part of your business. And you should have one for your marketing, you should have one for your finances, you should have one for the administration, and then you obviously have for the delivery of whatever product or service you’re selling.

And so yeah, you got to start small and flex that muscle. You will get burned, you will be disappointed, you will feel like “I should just do this myself,” but if you push through just like when we were working out, right? If you push through that breaking point, you will develop muscles instead. And you’ll get really, really excited about what else can you get off your plate.

Andrea: Oh Trivinia, thank you so much for all of this amazing advice. You are definitely a powerful, beautiful Voice of Influence. And I think you’re definitely already speaking to those CEOs. You’re going to grow this platform even bigger and I want you in front of more and more people. So I wish you well. I’m excited for you and I will always be your cheerleader. So thank you so much for being with us today!

Trivinia: Absolutely! Thanks for having me.

 

END

 

How Good Businesses Can Build Influence

Episode 03 of the Voice of Influence Podcast

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen here (press the play button below) or find us on iTunes and Stitcher.

Transcript

(This is an approximate transcript.) Adrienne Dorison is a business consultant, podcast host, and the founder of Good Businesses Do Good, who helps entrepreneurs get focused and strategic so that they can be more profitable and sustainable in way less time. She is a LEAN business expert who believes in generosity, relationship building and doing less, better. Adrienne loves dog, cookies, Crossfit, and long-distance triathlons.

Andrea: Adrienne, it’s so good to have you here on the Voice of Influence Podcast.

Adrienne: Thank you for having me. I love hearing my own bio read back. That’s me!

Andrea: Yeah, I do love those things.

Adrienne: Yeah, I do love cookies and Crossfit and dogs. I’m excited to be here.

Andrea: Do you have any long-distance triathlons that you’re training for right now?

Adrienne: No. I need to sign up for one. It’s one of those things where I don’t just like pay the fees and sign up then I keep putting it off. So I need to pick a race and get training that’s what I need to do. I think it’s like most things in life right? Like we just keep procrastinating or putting it off until we invest and book a date.

Andrea: I agree. I agree. Yeah, my husband is signed up for the Boulder Half Ironman. So I don’t know. Adrienne: That’s hilly, I bet.

Andrea: I think not too bad. Anyway, it will be fun.

Adrienne: Well, I live in Florida so…

Andrea: A little more hilly maybe. It’s kind of on like a flatter ground I think, but it still yeah, it’s kind of fun. So Adrienne, I asked you if you have taken the Fascinate Assessment before and you said you had, so I’m curious when you’ve done that before.

Adrienne: You know, it’s really funny, because I know you know Amy Porterfield, and she had Sally on her podcast and that’s when I first took the assessment, was once I heard Sally on Amy Porterfield podcast and I was like “Oh this is interesting, I’m gonna go to that test.”  I got my responses back, my assessment back and I was like “Maybe my husband watch this video,” He was like “Oh my God!” I’m like “This is me.” He was like “Yeah, that’s exactly you.”

Andrea: So fun and I told you previously, you’re the Ace which is alert plus power which is what my daughter is. Yeah, she’s 10 so I’m like “Oh, I’ve got a picture of what her personality might be like as an adult.”

Adrienne: It’s crazy that like within here now. Did you see change overtime? I’m so curious.

Andrea: I definitely see it in here. Yes and her favorite words are plan and organize. Does that sound familiar?

Adrienne: Yes.

Andrea: A little bit maybe? Well, anyway, it’s fun. So I’m curious about you. Do you feel like your voice in a way that other people perceive you, the way that you interact in the world – are those sorts of things, things that have the way that you are now, do you think that that’s you have been since you were a kid too?

Adrienne: No. I would say that…I had a pretty traumatic experience in my childhood like growing up with my mother at first. She was alcoholic and lived in an abuse at home and so I think that like at aged 10, I probably was not the A’s in terms of how the world perceives me now. I feel like I’ve definitely evolved into being more confident and more comfortable with sharing who I really am and being okay with that as well as like having a voice at all.

Because when I lived in that home, it was not okay to speak up or have thoughts and emotions. And now maybe because of that experience, I’ve actually shifted. I’m like swung to the other side of the pendulum, right? Now, I do have a voice and I’m not going to not talk about these things anymore, right? So I would say I had taken it up that time, it would not have been the Ace. So it’s just interesting like I want to follow back up in 20 years and I’ll ask what your daughter if she’s still that way because I definitely evolved as a person.

And I always wonder the same thing with Myers-Briggs. I am like “Am I still the same personality type as I was 10 years ago?” And I don’t think I am and it’s so interesting. And I think if I’ve taken a couple years from now, I’ll maybe even be a little bit…I don’t know, a little bit more different, possibly evolving in that voice and getting more comfortable and confident in it in who we are as we learn what it is.

Andrea: Right. I think that’s the key is understanding that there is, I don’t like the potential for our voice is different than how far we’ve taken it so far. And as we continue to grow and experience these new areas of our lives that it does seemed to really expand. But I don’t know that it’s necessarily changes who we are in the beginning. Maybe it really does sort of just swell, you know. As we mature, those different parts of us are able to come out in different ways too. But yeah, I do think you can look like a different person for sure. So that’s really interesting!

Adrienne: And maybe it’s more of the peeling back of the layers, which I think I’ve done a lot of. And you’re right like maybe that’s more of a swelling. Maybe it’s more of like the allowing at this point of my life for those things to lead versus suffocating them as I was told to do as a child. And maybe, you know, like most children aren’t told to suffocate those things, which is great like they shouldn’t be, but maybe this was always who I was. And as our influences start to permeate us, we start only saying and using our voice that we think we should use versus what we actually feel and know is our truth.

I know it’s just an interesting time in the world right now. And I think that the political climate can have an environmental and the social climate can have an influence on how you’re using your voice and what layers of that onion are being peeled back and kind of like what knife is being stuck into them that you’re more willing to show the real truth and actually use the voice that you’ve always had but maybe even didn’t know until these things start to trigger it.

Andrea: So when you look back on your life then, do you remember or recall any particular triggers that really started to peel back those layers for you or release that in you?

Adrienne: And I think about like current circumstances right now because that’s like what’s most obvious to me. Like the election, I think definitely shook me a little bit. I think a lot of people, a lot a bit so that’s been something that I’m exploring a lot of my own beliefs a lot more and trying to get educated as long as using my voice in a more powerful way. Because I think in the past, I felt like I didn’t know enough, so I wouldn’t say anything about anything, right?

Andrea: Right.

Adrienne: Then really understanding my not saying anything was real tolerance of the things that I didn’t believe in. And I was like “Oh, I mean not using my voice; I’m actually supporting the other side.” So being more proactive about that has definitely…I feel like there’s more of a sense of urgency right now as well as I’ve built this platform. So I feel the person responsible to use it.

So that’s like a big ownership thing that I feel. As well as like I would say at certain times of my life, I’ve gone through like some religious experiences that caused me to challenge my own thoughts and beliefs and speak up more vocally and use my voice around those things as well as like shapes my voice, right? Because I was actually questioning myself versus taking things at face value, which helps me understands what that voice was even more. I think when we take things at face value, we’re just using societal voice versus our own voice.

And it’s really easy to get trapped up into that especially with how noisy the world is to be like “Oh, is that what want? Is that what I believe? Or is that what’s easy to believe or what someone else told me I should believe. And when I really peel back those layers, it’s not actually what I believe because now I have the energy, the time, and the space and the knowledge to go and search out like what I really believe the truth is or my truth is. I feel like that’s a deep yet, non-specific answer.

Andrea: No, that’s okay. I think that this podcast and I, in general, tends to be a little bit both of those things.

Adrienne: I mean that’s broad but…

Andrea: Yeah, yeah that’s okay. I love this kind of conversation because I think we are all kind of trying to feel our way through it all and to hear how other people are gruffling with their own voice, and how to use their platforms is really important. I think the person listening right now is somebody who does or wants to have more of a Voice of Influence of some kind. And so I’m curious for you and your platforms. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing and your platform is based on?

Adrienne: So my platform specifically is helping people grow their businesses so that they can then give back to the world in more meaningful ways. So I talk about earn more to give more because I think it’s like really unique points in the world right now. There’s global internet economy that we have access to that we can create limitless income for ourselves. We can create our own businesses. There are more entrepreneurs now than there have ever been. By 2020, there will be like this crazy amount – forgot the numbers right on the top of my head.

But there’s going to be a crazy amount of entrepreneurs continuing to enter the world in the economy like leaving corporations, leaving jobs and moving towards starting their own businesses. So we have this potential to earn more money. So #1 – We have to embrace that. We have to be okay with that. There are so many people, women specifically, that are uncomfortable with earning more money and that’s a problem, because if you want to have a major impact in the world, we know that money is a large part of that.

So first of all, we need to get comfortable with earning more money and we need to know how to actually do that, right? So that’s the first piece of what I help people with. It’s like getting comfortable with that wealth creation at a mindset level and then strategically knowing how to do that in people’s businesses. And then to give more peace, so I have this side of my business called Good Businesses Do Good, because I truly believe that good people with good money do good things, right?

So let’s be part of an opportunity that we have to change the world much more quickly than we have ever had the opportunity to do in the past, because we now can control a lot of that money and where it’s going. So let’s use our wealth creation for more good. So instead of just building a business that supports your own personal lifestyle, which you can still have, I have this big calling and mission on my heart to show people that the hunger, the motivation that keeps you going is actually having the cause outside of yourself that impacts the world in a meaningful way.

So giving back generously whether that’s through your financial side of your business or through your time or through your energy or through your gifts, etc, so that we can really change the world much more quickly. But I think that we have to have both sides of the equation like the earning more and then the giving more. And with those powers combined, it sounds like Captain Planet..we really do have, not just an opportunity but like I said, the personal responsibility to use our businesses positively.

There are tons of studies that to show that businesses that actually do good, give back to socially, environmentally, responsible causes, they do better. Like people want to invest their money in those companies, so why not be one of those companies? Why not meet your personal needs in your life and then your lifestyle but then also use your business to support other causes around the world.

And by doing that, you’re actually also helping your customers make a decision to work with you because that’s something that a lot of people use to decide when they’re choosing between Company A, Company B, and Company C; is this company doing good things with the money we’re investing in them? So you get to help them align with their values by also showing what your values are and helping them make a decision because they want to invest their money in good businesses. So let’s be a good business and let’s show the world who is good businesses are.

Andrea: That is really powerful stuff. And I think that for me, it was about a year ago when I started to really kind of shift my own mindset on this. I kind of come from a ministry background so my thought was always, you know, that I would never make any money and that I probably shouldn’t. And because if I was starting to help people that I shouldn’t try to profit from them or whatever, so it’s just never even entered my mind that I was a business woman of any sense. And so I wrote a book and I decided, I needed to sell it in order to get a message out. I actually had to do some marketing.

And what I realized was, I ended up taking BSchool, and what I realized was that actually I could give maybe this message out even further and I was going to have to build a platform. I was going to have to get those email addresses and all those sorts of things that you kind of need to be able to do to get a real message out into the world beyond your kind of immediate location. And so that’s when it started to kind of shift for me that “Wait a second, maybe I have something professional to offer to besides just a message.”

And so I had to be going to do some digging but I think that a lot of people do good in their hearts, you know, they want to do good, they want to help people, they deal with a lot of guilt around this idea of making money. They feel like they shouldn’t. So how do you help people to see beyond that guilt?

Adrienne: Uh-hmm. I mean, it’s a huge emotion and attached to money for some reason, right? Whether that’s from your childhood or from something that someone told you at some point in their life or from religion that you’re part of that or maybe believes that or you’ve just created that assumption from something in your past. But I think that if you really do believe in the work that you do or the message that you have to share and you believe that can serve and support other people, then it is your personal responsibility to share it with more people.

And by you feeling guilty about making more money, you aren’t able to help as many people as you may want to. So there is money rotating around this world, energetically being exchanged between people and wouldn’t you rather that be in the hands of people that are going to do good things with it, right? Because there are people that need the service or the product or the offer that you provide. And if they don’t buy it from you, they’re probably going to go buy it from someone else. So if you feel guilty receiving that money someone else does not. And so that’s why I think the earning more, yes this is important but then the giving more means that now you have c

ontrol to say “Okay, I earned more and now I feel it’s my personal responsibility to go back and do what I really feel is on my heart to change the world in a bigger way.” So that doesn’t mean we need to be directly through product or service that you provide. So many people that I have spoken to, you know, whether it’s related to their business or career, I’ve heard a lot of people like what I used to be really involved in a church felt like they weren’t doing God’s work if they weren’t in ministries. I’m like “What can you do… #1: Given these gifts or you’re selling this product or service for a reason like it does directly help someone in some way.

But then what can you be personally responsible for after that to then do what’s been placed upon your heart, right? Whether that’s investing that money into an organization that you really want to support or to a nonprofit or spending your time and energy with people that need love and caring and whatever it is, there’s no reason to feel guilty about making more money if you truly believe in giving back in a positive ways. And I think that actually freeze you up to give back in more meaningful and positive ways when you are earning more money. And so actually if you’re not doing people a disservice, you should feel guilty about not making more money.

This is how I get my people because they don’t want to feel guilty about not serving, about not giving their gifts to the world. You know, what I always knew is that if I wasn’t paid for the work that I do, I would have to go back to a job. If I’m not paid for the work that I do going back to the job doesn’t help the people that I know I can serve directly through my work, but it also put at risk for this bigger mission of Good Businesses Do Good and how I financially giving back to other causes. I can do that as greatly if I have to get a job, right?

So I need to be paid to do this if I want to continue to do this and if I want to reach more people doing this. So I think that there’s a huge disconnect for people that are feeling guilty with what impact they could be having if they went through some of those emotions and really understood them a little bit better, right? So it’s easy to say on a podcast but really going back and like digging, I’m like “Why do you feel guilty about making more money? What is it about money that has attached guilt to it in making money, right? Do you believe that rich people don’t do good things with money and why? Some of the most wealthy people on the planet are doing some of the greatest, most charitable, most selfless and acts of giving that I’ve ever seen, so why not want to be part of that?

Andrea: Yeah that’s really interesting. I was thinking about the person listening who might have that message that they’re wanting to get out. They might be where I was maybe a year or two ago where it feels like this message is the thing. And this is what I need to do when I need to get this message out by writing or speaking or whatever it might be. But that message of itself may not be something that would make money.

Adrienne: It’s not monetized or monetizable.

Andrea: Right, right. So how did they look at? Is there a way for them to create a business either around that message or do you recommend that people do it outside of the message and that the message is the give back?

Adrienne: I think it depends on looking at a business specifically and saying “Is there really nothing here we could monetize?” I think that’s very rare with a message, and so usually that’s just like a personal block that you’re having that you can’t see it because you’re too close to it. It’s too easy for you which is something that comes up a lot for people when they have a specific gift or skill set or expertise. They don’t see the value as much because it comes so naturally for them, whereas other people would absolutely be willing to pay you for that specific expertise, right?

So that would involve like you or maybe just asking someone else to really give you an outside perspective and someone with much expertise on this, could this be monetizable? How could we monetize this? Get creative with how you monetize this. One of my mentors, Jadah Sellner always talks about the cash project and the heart project, right? So for some people, you have this heart project that really isn’t monetized or don’t want to monetize it at all. And in order for that heart project to be able to be moved forward and have the impact that you want to have, you actually do need to hang on to the cash project.

Whether that is a different business or a different component of your business or a job like whatever those things are that will actually provide you with the financial stability and security that you need to push the heart project forward maybe until you understand how to monetize the heart project. So I would say like don’t throw out that cash project yet until you figure out how to move that heart project forward in a way that have the impact that you wanted to have or you’re able to monetize it in a way that it feels really good. Because again, in this current online technological economy that we live in, people can actually and are just monetizing followers.

So if you’re able to create the impact that you wanted and have a really powerful message to share, you could absolutely monetize it if you work on that heart project piece of just getting people onboard with this idea in creating a large following or a large audience for it that had your back. That’s monetizable, right? Even if you don’t directly see that yet, something that’s like not been available to us before.

Andrea: Right. Yeah, I found myself just being incredibly grateful that I’m where I’m at right now in this time and history, I guess. Because it seems like it’s a pivotal moment in history as well, like you said there’s going to be even more entrepreneurs in the next few years. But right now, there still aren’t, you know, we’re still building on that building the momentum thing. So yeah it really feels exciting.

Adrienne: I mean, when you think about it, because we’re early adaptors, even though entrepreneurship has been a thing and has been a growing trend for probably the last three or four decades.   It still pretty new, because when you think about the majority of your like in real-life circle, if you’ve left a job or if you have a side business, you are the minority, right? And I think that that will start to shift for over the next few to 10 years in a much more drastic way. I mean, even kids were making millions of dollar on YouTube. That’s going to be the new norm in the next 10 years.

Andrea: Yeah, I don’t know how many people would find that normal but I hear what you’re saying.

Adrienne: Yeah, just like entrepreneurship in general, like it’s being more accessible and normal for that to be how people make their living and share a message and monetize their life or their message or the service or expertise that they have. So we are like new and still share that with friends or people at my job “Oh you’re the first?” I’m like “There are few other people that do, but they’re always like super intrigue, right? Like “How do you make money?” Like “What is that look like?” “How did you do that?” Because people don’t like and not in my online circle and when we’re on this online circles, we forget that like “That’s not really normal world yet.”

Andrea: So true. So Adrienne how did you get started then in this online business world.

Adrienne: Yeah, so this is another thing that my mentor  Jadah Sellner asked me. She calls and asked me “What’s your daily drug so I’ll get through the online space.” Because usually because once you find that person, what happens is like you ripple effect to my client this other you know like snowballs and you find that you find these other people. So I started to think back to that when she asked me that question and like “What was my gateway drug?” And my daily drug was actually Dave Ramsey.

But it started with Dave Ramsey because I went to Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University which is how I got out of $48,000 of debt in six months. So that was the turning point for me to start like really cleaning up my financial life and money mindset and really doing that work. And I didn’t have a side business at that time but during that time when I was working through his program, I started the side business just for fun because I felt like suffocated at my job and I was blogging and talking about that. And then I stumbled on to Dave Ramsey to Jon Acuff and I read his book, Quitter, and then I found …

Andrea: Umm good one.

Adrienne: Finally, and then I quit my job and then I stumbled upon Jeff Goins and I read his book The Art of Work, and I interviewed him. And then the ripple effect, the snowball continue to happen and continue to like “Oh you know, Jeff interviews need to, you know, this other person.” And then I was introduced to Chalene Johnson and then I found this person.

So once you stumbled upon like one of those people that can open the gateway, I feel like they’re usually connected to other people and that’s how I kind of found my way to this world. But I started by really trying to get my financial ducks in order and growing the side business and helped me pay off that debt really quickly and helped me really find what I’ve really wanted to do and then I was able to leave my job and start doing this fulltime about six months after I first started.

Andrea: You recently shared an episode on your podcast, you have a couple of different podcasts currently but your main podcast – you shared about a Dear Diary episode where you were discussing the fact that hadn’t been as consistently with your content. You’re taking kind of a sit back, reevaluating, trying to figure out what you want to do for this year. So I’m really interested in the voice aspect of this. How did you decide whether or not to share this process, the fact that you were in process, with your followers rather than maybe faking it until you figured it out and then you start with your new message or you start with your new, you know whatever. Why did you decide to go ahead and be vulnerable, or in a sense vulnerable, and share that you don’t have it all together right now?

Adrienne: Yeah. This is such a good and timely question because I’m still going through this, but I’m sharing the actual process. And I just aired a new episode on The School Self-Mastery, which is the podcast that you’re talking about. I was kind of making follow up to that Dear Diary. It’s a great episode, which I continue to kind of go through this again peeling back the layers like really open book process. And I sent an email to list which was well-received by some people and then I actually gotten some negative feedback around this sharing this process and you sharing this voice.

Andrea: Really?

Adrienne: Yeah, which is why I bring it up because I think it’s a really interesting conversation to have, right? I’m really processing this as you asked this question because I haven’t answered this question before. “Why I’m actually doing this? Why not just air some old content or just power through and do some posts.” I actually have recorded episodes in the drawer like in the bank that I haven’t aired and I’m not airing them. I could be doing that, so why do this instead of that and instead of being silent because there’s been weeks and weeks where I’ve read just silent and then I reappear and say like “Here’s what’s going on.”

And the reason is because it felt so uncomfortable like I felt like I was hiding a secret from my husband or my bestfriends, because I felt such a close relationship with my audience. And because I’ve really made it part of my business and my mission to be an open book with them and to tell them like “Hey, I’m gonna be on this ride with you.” It might be a couple of steps ahead of some people. It might be right next to some people.

Some people might be ahead of me but they just like following me in terms of the content that I put out there. I want to be on this right with you and that means showing up and talking about this even when I don’t know what to say, and even when I’m feeling inconsistent or feeling like I’m not sure with the message is meant to be. Or that I don’t have it all figured out because I just feel like I was trying, like when I would record an episode and I wasn’t saying all those things, I just couldn’t do the episode.

“How do I hide this from them? How do I not talk about this? How do I just keep putting out content that doesn’t really bring the main thing that’s going on for me to the table?” So I almost just feel like I couldn’t escape recording and not sharing what was going on and will I lose followers? Absolutely. But I’ll gain more of the right ones and people I think trust that more and they relate to that because that’s how a lot of people being like “You know what, thanks for saying that because I felt like that too.” Or “I’m not knowing how to express what’s going on.” Or “I felt like it wasn’t okay for me to express that that what’s going on for me because of what I’ve built so far, or what I’ve been talking about so far, so thanks for opening up that door for me, right?

And really what this is is permission to self express and that’s the greatest freedom that we have #1: (I’m American citizen, right?) As American citizen as human beings is that freedom to self express and I think that most people where they want freedom, they say they want freedom. They want financial security of course and that provides some freedom. But really, what we’re saying is we want freedom to express ourselves. We felt so suffocated maybe in this corporate world or all over this place.

And I created a business at a certain point that I wasn’t giving myself permission to self express and I’m like “Well, I’m not doing that that I’m really just creating another job for myself, for my values and freedom and self expression as one of my highest value that I have to open with that conversation.” So yeah there’s been some negative backlash in terms of, you know, what I wrote yesterday saying “I need to be real with you.” And when I got a response back “No, you don’t. You don’t need to be real with us. You need to just keep doing what you do like putting out content, why tell us this.”

And I was just like “Wow, that’s actually maybe something I needed to hear because it fires me up even more that I have [crosstalk] and then I will not and then I will not be suffocated by other people not wanting me to share that story. And this for me comes back to childhood and not being able to use my voice, and not being able to say the things I wanted to say if I was self expressing in a way that I wanted to. And over the past years when my business has gained more popularity and like, you know, I’m searchable online. I’m not like famous or anything. But I’m searchable online and people can find me which means that my biological mother has found me on the inter webs.

Again, from birth having that childlike feeling of someone saying “Don’t share this story. You can’t talk about this.” It completely reminds me of why I need to share the story and why I need to talk about these things and why I do have responsibility to myself and to the people I serve to use that voice and self-express, right? And I think that that just has been coming up for me like so much more clearly that I just felt like I owed it to my audience and it almost felt like a big exhale to talk about it. So that’s kind of like a little bit of the behind-the-scenes on like using that voice in a way that feels a little bit messy right now to be honest.

Andrea: Yeah. You know, Adrienne, you really struck me as someone who longs for authentic connection with other people. Obviously, not just fake but also deep authentic connection and it sounds like what you’re doing by being honest and being both authentic and transparent about your experience right now with your business and with your message, you are sort of offering a filter to people and saying, “Look, this is what I’m really going for here, really wanting this kind of connection with you. So if you’re not interested that’s okay, but this is me and this what I want.”

And I have a feeling that you’re going to find or that most people are going to really appreciate and do really appreciate the transparency that you’re offering because they can relate more to it. And I feel that they can relate to you and then the people who don’t are typically just afraid of their own stuff.

Adrienne: Right and they don’t have to listen. That’s the beauty of me being able to share that message. And I think there’s this just something, you know, we teach what we need to learn. I had a client I was talking to yesterday and she was talking about how it takes hours and hours to write and email to her lists. And I said “You know how long it took me to write my email this morning to my email list?” I said “It took me about 10 minutes.” And I said “You know why, because I wasn’t filtering myself. I just wrote it and I didn’t care.”

The reason it’s taking you so long to write that authentic feeling email because you’re not being authentic, right? She was in tears because she was afraid. She was afraid to talk about the things that she really wants to say. She’s afraid to say the things that are really on her mind right now because of the pressure to make something super valuable. Oh my God like if one more person tells you like “Make sure, you bring out some valuable content, right? Don’t put anything else that’s not valuable.”

And to be honest I’ve said that a million times. And I’m like “Oh my gosh, I have to release that pressure off myself too because who am I to say what some others going to find valuable from this or not. I just need to self-express and the people who are going to need it at that moment or going to get it or people who don’t, will just leave and move on for the day. No worries. But the more we filter, the less we get to self-express and actually the less value we provide because we’re trying to self filter and gauge what other people are going to find valuable or useful. And I’m like “What did you just get something out there?”

Let other people decide what they value and feel it useful because truthfully, I don’t know if this has happened to you, but every time get out there and share a message what I think is going to be the most valuable piece never really is, right? If someone comes back and they’re like “Oh my God, you said this one line that was so impactful for me.” And I’m like “I said that, right? Okay, if that’s what what you got from it, that’s what you were meant to get from it.” But if I continue to filter, they may never get those things because I’m just siding what they need to have as most valuable, right?

Andrea: You know there are two things that makes me think of that. I know we’re kind of running low on time here, but I think #1 – People are valuable inherently and the idea of connecting with another person is invaluable. It is so hard to find that, and so I think that that is valuable for sure. But then the other part is that I think that because you’re taking the time back and you said you stepped away from producing more content and that sort of thing. You were wanting to sort of take a step back and really reevaluate. And I think what that means is that you really know who you are. You’re trying to know who you are.

I think a lot of people don’t already know that, and they don’t take the time to go there. And so then when it comes to just turning on and just figure their heart and just pouring out their 10-minute email, they don’t how because they don’t even know what they want. They don’t know who they are. So Influencer who’s listening, know you are. Take that time back or step back like Adrienne is doing and feel free to be able to do the digging that you need to do so that you’re in touch with who you are and what you think and what you want to say. So that when you do come to that email or that conversation, it’s automatically more authentic because you already are who you are and you’re not having to fake it or try to come up with something.

Adrienne: Uh-huh. And I think a lot of us know who we are and again, we filter that because we’re afraid of what other people would think about who you really are, right?

Andrea: Yeah.

Adrienne: And so it’s like, you’re right taking that set back and say…you know, sometimes just writing for the sake of writing versus writing for a purpose or for someone else can be very really helpful to figure that out. It’s like, “What would you say if no one was going to read it, you just write that out.” And that’s like one of the exercises that I do and another exercise that is super helpful that I have recently picked up from Jess Lively is writing to your intuition and asking your intuition questions and then allowing that intuition to write back to you.

You could ask your intuition like who am I really and just see what comes up for you because it would probably be really insightful and interesting and you just need listen and not try to judge it, because that’s what immediately going to come up. But you just listen and didn’t judge that or didn’t allow the external noise to tell you what you should be or what you should write or what you should do which is very heavy and distracting in online space, so you need to take that time with self to figure that out for sure.

Andrea: So good! Adrienne, I am so glad that you took some time today to be with us and share your story, share your heart, share your message, your voice with us. I’m glad that you’re out there doing that in the world and I hope more and more people do it because of your example.

Adrienne: Well, thank you! It was super fun to be here. This is a really awesome discussion and I think even just thinking them out how to find that voice even more like having discussions, you know, sometimes this is where or some of that comes out and you’re like “Huh, did I just say that that was really good, right?” Like “I never thought about that or that’s a really good question, let me think a moment to think about that.” And so I love doing podcast and this is one of the reasons. It’s like really help me understand what that voice is so this is reciprocated like the value is totally here for me too, so thank you so much!

Andrea: Awesome! All right, will talk to you later Adrienne.

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