Business for Self-Employed Creatives

Business for Self-Employed Creatives header image 1

Drew Marvick: Don‘t Be Afraid to Fail

Drew Marvick is a producer, writer, director, actor, horror enthusiast, and so much more. In this episode, we discuss the world of production, horror fandom, and why it's so important to not let the fear of failure hold you back from pursuing your passion.

Drew's primary career has been as a producer in the commercial world, but he's branched into acting in indie films and horror movies. He talks about his work ethic and not having an ego on set. It's not about where you're at on the call sheet, it's about coming together as a team to do the best work possible.

He breaks down what the commercial production process is really like - starting a completely functioning and successful business over and over for single days at a time, and shutting it down immediately after.

Motivated by all the talented people with whom he worked, he made his first film, the cult hit "Pool Party Massacre" with a meager budget in his parents' backyard. That movie has taken a life of its own with unexpected longevity - after 5 years, it's still playing at film festivals. He uses it as an example for all the people who want to do something but don't because they are afraid. He hopes people see what he's done and think, "If he can do it, so can I."

Connect with Drew @drewmarvick on all platforms.

Pool Party Massacre

Connect with me: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

00:29 I've been watching horror my whole life and been fascinated by it. But separately, I just also loved movies and photography, and wanted to do one or the other. I didn't think production was a real, attainable job. I thought you were born into it, or made in a factory or something. I just didn't think it was real, so I was going to be a photographer. That was my goal. And then I kind of did neither, and then fell into this.

02:52 I still thought maybe there was something, and maybe I could go to film school. And then my dad actually kind of talked me out of it. He just didn't think it was a good idea. And he basically said, “If you're really passionate about doing film or photography, get a degree in business. I will pay for your college if you get a degree in business. And then if you're still passionate about it, I will pay for you to go to film school or photography school after that. But you're gonna need the business sense to do either of those jobs. If you don't have it, you'll fail. But also, you want to make sure that you're passionate about it before you waste four years to be a waiter.” That’s what he said. I think in the back of my mind, I knew he was probably right. I did get a business degree from UNLV. And when I finished, I had zero interest in going back to college to get any other degree, no matter what it was. And so I went into the management world. 

04:57 When I was leaving Coyote Ugly, I happened to mention to an employee who was going to film school that if she ever needed a PA, give them my name, and I'll do it. She called me the very next day and said, "I'm working on a commercial and they need someone. If you're serious, call this guy, Matt. Here's his number.” That started a long relationship, because I ended up being a full-time producer for him for years. And now, I still work freelance for him to this day. I was going to take two months off and then get a real job again soon. And I still don't have a real job.

09:58 As a producer, business school makes way more sense than film school. Some people come out of film school lacking certain skills like interpersonal skills, and customer service skills, things like that. As a producer, you need to interact with people, and people need to trust you, and like you.

I say that everyone should have a customer service job at some point. Even if you want to be a filmmaker, and you know that's what you want to do, you should still get a job where you have to deal with people, and you have to take people's crap, and you have to learn how to handle it. Because if you don't, you're going to learn later in life, and that's a lot worse.

13:15 I've never had an ego when it came to what title I had, or what job I was doing. We're all on the same page, and we're all equal despite where our names are on the call sheet. I'm just there to get the best result at the end of the day. It's just the way I am. And it's the way I am on all of my sets, like in the indie film world as well. Just because I'm the writer, and the director, and the producer, doesn't mean I'm better than anyone else on the set. And in fact, I tend to do the dirtiest work myself, just because I don't want to ask other people to do it.

18:57 The idea of making a feature film just seemed impossible for a large part of my life. But then by that point, I kind of got motivated by all the people that we work with, in this town especially. We work with so many talented people. There's so many people that are on set that are so much more talented than I am, and can do everything. I mean people that can shoot, and edit, and light, and know sound, and probably know storytelling, and can write a good script, and they have every single asset that you need to make a good movie, except they're afraid to do it because they're afraid to fail. So, at some point, I just said, “You know what? Then I'm going to do it. Like here, the least talented person in the room. I'm not afraid to fail at all. Like, I'll make a movie. And maybe it'll motivate you guys.” And so, that's really what the motivation was. It was kind of just like to kick a bunch of my friends in the butt and say, “Hey, look, don't worry. It's okay.”

And I didn't even know if anyone would see it. I mean, it's a $6,000 movie that I made in my parents’ backyard. I really thought it was just for fun, and so that I could have a movie under my belt, and understand how it worked. And then that could make a real movie someday, based on what I would learn from that. But I guess it turned out to be a lot more than that. It ended up having a long life. It turned into this thing that I never expected it to.

23:27 The fear of failure is debilitating for a lot of people. And I guess I'm just lucky enough that I don't have it. I mean, I don't like to fail, and I don't like to be embarrassed, but I'm not afraid of it because I know it's a part of life. And I've done it so much, and I've always come out of it just fine. I fall on my face for a living, so I'm okay with it. And you move on, and you learn from it. I think everyone else, if they could just get past that, they'd be a lot better off. So if I can be the person that, even if it is them saying to themselves, if this guy can do it, then I can do it, then that's fine. That works for me.

27:32 We were still able to have the Sin City Horror Fest last year, just not in person. It shifted to an online model. Now, in the future, we can still use it as a tool and kind of integrate it into the in-person festival so that people around the world can participate, at least in some way. So, we're kind of trying to figure out that balance as we're now shifting back. We definitely learned a lot.

29:39 Horror fandom is something that is so very unique. The fans are really loyal, and really rabid, and very active. So, it's great. And it's a community. And surprisingly, most of the fans are really nice, which I think people on the outside wouldn't expect when they see a bunch of people in black t-shirts with decapitated heads on them, and people wearing makeup and blood all over their face waiting in line to get into to a convention hall. They look pretty scary, but they're not. They're just people like us. This is just what they're into it. To me, it's the same as a person that paints their face green and yellow, because they're a Packers fan. Like, there's really no different to me, because that's just as weird. Spelling out somebody's name on yours and your friends’ chests so that you can all stand shirtless together and root for your favorite quarterback is kind of the same thing to me as dressing up as your favorite horror celebrity or character. It's just a way of showing your support.

33:39 I think I'm both the cool dad and the weird dad. It goes in waves as they grow. My son is a teenager and I still have to drop him off like a block away from school because he's embarrassed. I'm definitely not the cool dad to him. Unless the times when it works out in his favor when he gets to meet Corey Taylor from Slipknot, because I happen to know him because of what I do. So, then all of a sudden I'm cool for like three seconds. But then I'm back to not being cool on the drive home, and he's telling me to turn my music down or roll the windows up because people are going to see him.

My 10-year-old daughter, on the other hand, is still in this great phase where it is cool, and she wants to be a part of it, and she wants to be on set, and she wants to make movies, and she's writing scripts now. she's really good at it. She's very creative. I’m stealing some of her titles. 

They've grown up around it. I mean, they've been on sets of some kind. They've both been in tons of commercials, and been on commercial sets, but they've both been on movie sets and at horror conventions their whole life. So, they're immune to it, but they're also fascinated.

36:36 As their dad, I definitely want what's best for him. And I want to be able to give them good advice and help steer them in the right direction. But I also love letting them figure things out on their own. I'm a single dad with two kids, so I spend a lot of time with them. And I am definitely not the kind of dad that's trying to get them to like what I like just because I like it. I don't tell my daughter that she has to listen to Slayer and buy her a Slayer shirt. We're listening to Justin Bieber, and I'm scream singing along with her, with the windows down, all the way to school. And sometimes on the way back, even though I'm alone. That's just the way I am and the way I want them to make their own decisions. 

39:40 I've been an FBI agent. I've been a doctor. Now granted it was in a garage with a drill, but I was a doctor. I've been a lot of things. my career, is very schizophrenic. I definitely make my living on the production side as a producer, in the commercial world. But now that I'm starting to do so much more in the feature film world, and with horror projects, acting has now taken over. At least 50% of my work is acting now. I mean, I haven't been able to complete another movie because I've been in so many other people's movies. From what people that know me ask me when I see them, I think it's really hard for people to figure out what I do, which I like.

41:32 Commercial production is basically starting a business from the ground floor, doing everything you need to do to start that business. You're hiring, you're finding a location, you're getting all the equipment you need, you're working out your business plan, and then you're going to execute it for one day. And then you're going to fire everyone. You're going to liquidate all your assets, and you're going to vacate the building. And then you start over in a whole new business the next week. We start a completely functioning and successful business over and over and over again for just single days at a time. Which is why my beard is gray now.

43:22 Don't quit your day job, until you can't possibly do both things successfully. Figure out a way to do it while you're doing that other job, so you actually still have insurance, and you still have a paycheck, and you have some form of stability. Like, literally wait, even if it's years, wait until the day when you can't do both things because it's affecting your quality of life. And then if you still have the same amount of passion for the creative project, quit your day job and do it. 

But if you've already pulled the ripcord and you're in it, don't be afraid to fail. Because you are. You're going to fail a bunch of times, and you're going to have really bad days. And you're going to work on really bad sets and work with horrible people. But it doesn't matter, that's the beauty of this. If you are on a bad set, or you're working for a bad producer, or with a horrible director, or a client that just sucks, it's all temporary. Unlike any other job, there's an end date. Just know that you don't have to deal with that. You're not stuck. You're gonna work on a lot of jobs, with a lot of people. And you're gonna find your family. And once you do, it'll be awesome.

48:05 If you’ve got 80 minutes you just want to ruin, then check out Pool Party Massacre. Or if you're a fan of 80s, low budget ‘80s-style slasher films, maybe you'll even like it. And if so, you can pick up a t-shirt, and a lunchbox, and a hat, and look like a weirdo. 

Be the Person People Want to Hire

Let me know what you think about this topic, or if there's something else you'd like to hear about. You can email info@aardvarkgirl.com or DM me on social @aardvarkgirl on all platforms.

--

It sounds so cliche to say, “I don't know where the time is going.” But I really don't. Last week, I was working on something and my phone went off as a reminder that it was the 15th, and there are certain things that I need to do on the 15th, and I almost didn't believe my phone. I thought it was lying to me, because it seemed like September just started, so I don't know how it was halfway done already. But that's what seems to be happening lately. I don't know if time is just disappearing into some weird vortex into that black hole of nothingness, never to be seen again, or what is happening, but it's going fast.

Time going quickly compounded with being busy is not always the best combination, but that's where I find myself today. It is Friday as I'm recording this, and I have nothing prepared for the podcast. I have ideas, but I haven't had time to focus on the ideas and put together any kind of cohesive outline about what I want to talk about. So here is my rambling for the day, and it will probably be a fairly short episode because it's not planned. I think about something john McClain said in his interview: “It's not done, it's due.” I'm at that point. This episode is due, so I need to get it done. So maybe it won't be perfect, but when is it ever? Perfection, I've talked about before, it's not something that I think is attainable. It's not that it's not okay to try to be the best that you can, but I think sometimes we have to accept that we cannot be perfect. And sometimes we just need to get something done and accept that it is what it is. How's that for another cliché?

I know I've talked before about the glorification of business and how some people like to speak about how busy they are as a point of pride. And that's not me, I really enjoyed my downtime. I've not had enough of it lately. But I also don't like to use busy as an excuse for not getting other things done. However, I do understand that it does complicate things when you are spending all of the time you have, and all of your energy, and all of your brainpower, on just getting through with all the work that you have somehow committed yourself to do.

Even with the best plans in motion… and I think I said this recently, and that's where I'm at right now. I don't even remember what I've talked about in recent episodes because I'm just trying to get them done so fast, in the limited time I have available. But even with the best boundaries in place, and saying no, and doing all of those things, sometimes everything is going to fall at once and you just have to do whatever you can do to get through it.

Yesterday, I was talking to one of my clients, and it's someone I consider a friend. He and I started working together when I was 23 years old, and there was a big chunk of time in between where we didn't really work together, but we would still catch up every now and then, see how each other were doing. We've only started working together again in the recent years. I joke with clients sometimes that my whole M.O. is infiltrating their business in a way that makes it so they can no longer live without me. It is really the strategy that I've had, and that's how I have all these loyal clients, because I make their lives easier. And I do it in a way that makes them almost dependent on me, but that's not really the intention. I do like to be there. I like to make sure that their lives are easier. That's pretty much the point in what I do. But also, it's job security for me, right? So it is strategic. It's a win/win. It's not just me giving and them taking. I don't work with clients who don't value what I have to offer. And this is what he and I were talking about yesterday. He made the comment that he didn't know how he would do all of this, referring to an upcoming project, without me.

Also yesterday, a completely different client in a different type of business and a different working/friend relationship. She said the same thing. “I don't know what I would do without you, Amanda McCune,” is what she said. And I really love to hear that even though in my personal life, and who I am in general, I don't like people being dependent on me. It's a big part of why I didn't want to start a company when I left my job. I didn't want to be responsible for other people's well-being and their livelihood in terms of a paycheck. That was just too much pressure. I don't like to be dependent on anyone else, and I don't want anybody else to be dependent on me. Probably why I don't want kids, right? That all ties in together. But I do like these relationships that I have with my clients because I never really had that when I worked for someone else. I had clients who I appreciated, I enjoyed working with. I know I made their lives easier in that capacity. And that all served its purpose. But it wasn't the same because they were hiring the company. I just happened to work there. Now they want to work with me specifically.

And that's something that I think is really important…if you're just starting out or even if you've been in business for a long time… is to think about what it is that you want to offer, and also who it is you want to be. And so for all the people who think your business and your personal life aren't the same thing, in a certain way they are. Your personality is who you are as a person, and that does translate into how you work and how you are to work with.

It always baffles me when I talk to somebody, or hear a story about someone, who doesn't take any pride in what they do. The people who don't seem to care. They clock out at 5pm on Friday, and don't think about anything again until Monday when they have to. It's not that there's anything wrong with that. It’s just different than how I am. I do take the weekends off also, as much as I can. Sometimes lately that hasn't been possible, but that's okay because of why I'm doing it. Certain clients, in those situations, they didn't do it intentionally. And if I waited until the weekend was over to do certain things, it wouldn't be good for anybody. So always able to make exceptions.

But there's this weird thing in production, and it seems to be happening a lot more, maybe because so much work is ramping up and everybody's really busy. They didn't work for so long so now any job that comes around, they want to make sure to take advantage. One of my other clients keeps running into this issue where he has people who he's hired, who have committed to jobs, and then they drop out at the last minute with no warning, and no replacement, no suggestion for who could cover for them. That's the part that I don't get.

If you make a commitment to a job, or to a project or however your business works, your word should mean something. I know that's how it is for me. My word is everything because what I say I do reflects on who I am. And I will never be a person who doesn't honor a commitment that I've made, taking emergencies aside and those situations where you really can't do anything about it. What I mean by that is if I've made a commitment to your job, it doesn't mean that if something “better” comes along, I'm going to just go with that direction instead. I don't think that's the right thing to do, but that's what's happening so much. Somebody makes a commitment, then something better comes along - maybe it's a higher paying job, maybe it's more days of work. It ultimately benefits the person, so I kind of understand that point. But to just flake on the person who's counting on you already, I don't understand how that keeps happening.

I have turned down work because I was already committed to something else. Fortunately, I am able to do that. I don't feel that I am obligated to take any job because I need a paycheck, I've worked really hard to get to the point where I don't have to feel that way. But I can't imagine ever leaving someone hanging like that. If I ever got to a point where I really had to back out of a job and go do something else, I would make sure that I found a quality replacement for me and did the work to transition that person so it wouldn't affect a client at all. I do understand that ultimately, you have to do what's right for you, but I think the way you handle certain situations goes a long way. Because that client is going to remember the time you flaked on him, and that person is never going to hire you again. Not only that, but people talk. I know how it is in the production industry, and I'm sure it's like that elsewhere. People talk. And they talk more about the bad experiences, unfortunately, than the good ones.

When I teach the “Rates, Quoting and Billing” workshop with Melissa, we talk about the two lists. There are the lists that you want to be on, which is the list that says you are easy to work with and people want to hire you, so you're that first call. And then there's the list you never want to be on. And that's the one who causes problems. The “do not hire this person ever again.” Even if they're the most talented person in the world at what they do, it's not worth it if they're not reliable.

I don't know if I'm making a solid point here. I hope that I am. But really, it's think about who you are, what kind of work you want to do, and what kind of reputation you want to have with your clients and the people they know. And I say the people they know, again going back to how my business is 100% referral based, meaning I work with someone they like what I do, they recommend me to someone else, I build relationships that way. I like to be on that list where people call me first. And if I'm not available, or don't want to do a job for some reason, even if it's not somebody I've ever worked with before, I do my best to offer alternative solutions. I'm going to talk more about that in an upcoming episode. It was the one I was going to be doing right now, but just couldn't get my brain into it to be articulate enough in what I want to talk about. So know that that's coming.

But ultimately, what it comes down to is being solution oriented, making your clients lives easier, and being somebody that they want to work with any chance they get. Your talent and your skill and how well you do whatever it is that you do is really important, but who you are as a person sometimes matters more. So be the kind of person that you would want to hire. Be the kind of person you would want on your team. Be the kind of person that others can depend upon when needed. Be the kind of person who makes any project better, just by being you.

I say this with all the humility in the world, that I do understand everyone is replaceable. It's not that I do anything so well that nobody else could possibly do what I do, but nobody else is me. It's my unique balance of the way I look at the world, the way I solve problems, who I am personality-wise. Yes, I'm a little bit awkward. That's totally fine. Sometimes that works in my favor. All of those facets of who I am come together to make me me. And I'm not the right fit for everyone, and that's perfectly fine, too. But for the right people, I feel that they appreciate me. I appreciate them. And that's why I have such loyal, quality clients and people I really enjoy working with. The type that make me want to say yes, even when I feel like I just don't have any more time or any more brain capacity to take on one more thing. I will always figure out a way because it's important to me.

I hope you are running your business the same way. I hope you're being the best person that you can be, so that your clients see that, they value you, and they want to hire you more. I would love to hear your take on this. If I sound a little bit rambling, it's because I'm just talking off the cuff, which is not really what I'm comfortable doing all the time. I have a lot of thoughts in my head right now, and they might be a little bit scattered. Further proof that I am human, despite some people thinking that I may have robotic tendencies, myself being one of those people. Sometimes it happens.

So I hope all is well with you, wherever you are, whatever you're doing. And I just want to say thank you for listening. I do appreciate every time I get feedback about an episode or a topic and I know you're out there listening. I don't look at my stats all the time, because I kind of find that stuff irrelevant, because that's not why I'm doing this. But I do see new downloads popping up from different states and countries all the time and it's really exciting to me. I don't know how you found me, but you found me, and I'm glad you're here.

Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

The demand for remote work and flexible schedules was there long before the pandemic forced employers to let people work from home. Now that it's proven as a possible, and often beneficial, option, many workers are not willing to go back to that archaic 40-hour work week structure.

--

If you have a topic you'd like to hear about on this podcast, let me know at info@aardvarkgirl.com or DM me on social @aardvarkgirl.

--

When I first started consulting, I noticed a common theme amongst employees. They were annoyed by the standard 40-hour work week, having to be in the office every day, and being forced to work in an environment in which they weren’t particularly efficient. And this was in 2015, long before the pandemic forced businesses to allow people to work from home. At the time, I worked in an office full-time, too, and was equally irritated by what a total waste of time it was. It was an issue with a lot of people I knew, in different positions and industries. Why did we need to be in a specific space for a specific schedule that was based on archaic factors?

We know I’m a logical person, and there is no logic in this framework anymore.

I can accept Monday through Friday as a work week. That’s pretty much engrained into the American ritual and it’s fine. I think we should have more than 2 days off, but that’s not always feasible.

But the 8am to 5pm with lunch from 12pm-1pm schedule doesn’t make any sense. For most of us, sometimes our work is going to take more than 40 hours a week and sometimes less. We need to be able to manage that time based on our workload. Our time working should be dictated by how long we need to get our jobs done, not based on a pre-determined and irrelevant number of hours.

Also, chances are that the most efficient schedule is not going to be that regimented. It’s going to utilize pockets of time throughout the day, not just in that one big 8-hour chunk.

If you have kids and you want to take them to their after-school activities, you should be able to do that. It might mean that you stop for a few hours in the afternoon and then work a little bit after dinner, but then you’re going to be much happier because you’re getting that important time with your family AND still doing your job responsibly.

If you have personal appointments, or friends in town, or you’re not feeling well and need to rest for a bit, or if you’re not a morning person and spend the first few hours of the day not getting much done because you’re not fully alert yet, or whatever the case may be, it is counterproductive to try to force a work schedule that doesn’t actually work for your life.

There are times when a team needs to be together for meetings to discuss things as a group. Some people are extroverts and get the energy they need from being in a room with other people. Others are introverts and that energy actually takes away from their ability to work well. Most are somewhere in between those two. So as the boss, if you are forcing one or the other, meaning everyone has to be there every day or no one has to be there any day, you’re preventing an entire group from being the best employees they could be.

And the common thing I sadly heard from those owners back then was “I need them to be in the office so I can make sure they’re doing what they are supposed to do.” Most people are self-motivated when given the opportunity. Some do need to be managed or told what to do, but if you hire the right people, and communicate with them properly, you should never have to micromanage. A short conversation can reveal everything you need to know about them and their working styles, and how to create a schedule that maximizes the benefits to you and them. It’s not that hard.

There’s a reason why, when I’m doing an evaluation for a company, I ask to speak individually with employees and not just the person in charge. It’s important to get all perspectives, and the employees tend to be more forthcoming with me because they can talk freely without any recourse. I use the information they provide to help with my suggestions, but don’t reveal who told me what unless they want me to.

In nearly every consultation I’ve done, I’ve uncovered that the employees are unhappy because they feel confined to a situation that doesn’t make sense.

Their energy is diminished because they are trying to fit their work into a schedule instead of creating a schedule around their work.

They’re stressed out because they can’t find any balance. They’re missing out on personal and family obligations due to work, even if they could still get everything done on time.

They’re feeling disrespected. They are willing to work extra when needed, but then they aren’t allowed to leave early in the times when they’re able. They’re always expected to give more, but if employers aren’t giving back, that’s when these employees spiral into burnout. Their quality of work often suffers as a result, and that hurts the company in a way that could’ve been easily avoided.

When I had my Office Space moment and decided I wasn’t going to go to the office anymore, my theory was instantly proven.

I saved so much time because I didn’t have to get ready and commute across town and deal with the frustrations of rush hour traffic which never really starts the day off with the right energy.

I could have a proper lunch at home and didn’t have to go sit in my car just so I could have a few minutes to myself to decompress.

I got my work done way more efficiently because I could focus without the constant interruptions and conversations in which I did not need to be involved.

I could schedule my time around my volume of work and deadlines instead of the hours I was supposed to be in the office. That meant I could make more time for meetings with clients and other important appointments that helped the business.

And I was much happier because I was in a comfortable environment. I didn’t have to freeze all day, or smell people’s microwaved lunches, or waste time staring at the computer when I was done with everything I needed to do that day but the clock didn’t read the right time yet.

That decision, even if it wasn’t approved by my employer, changed my life. For those last 4 months, I only went to the office one day a week for a few hours. I still did everything I needed to do. I was still available to the other employees and clients and anyone who needed me. It didn’t negatively affect anyone. If anything, it saved the company some money because I wasn’t there all week using their power and Internet and office supplies and drinking their water.

If that had been under different circumstances, without all the baggage from that previous year, and if I wasn’t already committed to leaving that company because of it, if they had allowed me to work from home, I would’ve been likely to stay much longer. It was part of my compromise… I say “my” because they didn’t actually agree to it… but my compromise for agreeing to stay when I told them clearly I was unhappy and wanted to leave, was that I would need to do it on my terms, and that meant working from home. They didn’t uphold their promises to me, so I didn’t feel like playing by their rules anymore.

It never had to end up that way.

I think this is why so many people go into self-employment or freelancing. They don’t want someone else dictating when or where they do their work, or what work they have to do. Working as a contractor allows you to build partnerships with your clients, hiring contractors allows you to build partnerships with your vendors, and all of that usually leads to more beneficial relationships where everyone feels respected and actually wants to do the work. If that’s not happening, you’re hiring the wrong people or you’re acting the wrong way.

Remember, this was all an issue pre-pandemic. Post-pandemic, people just aren’t willing to put up with it anymore. 2020 proved that work from home was possible, and in many cases, beneficial. People learned that virtual meetings save time. They saw that people can be trusted to do their work without being in the physical office with someone watching over them. They realized that people are happier being comfortable and focused. Without the commute, many were able to move to the places they always wanted to but couldn’t because they had to be close to the office. It opened up opportunities to work with people from all over the world and not just their geographic area. It gave people back some ownership of their own time.

For employers who have embraced the changes, and will continue allowing work from home, they have workers who feel more appreciated and are more willing to go the extra mile for them. There’s more of a reciprocal working relationship based on respect vs a boss telling an employee what to do all day. Some bosses might prefer that old school way of doing things, but those who are stuck in that are losing the talent and they’re not going to be able to hold on to good workers for very long.

There’s been a huge shift in the power dynamic, one that favors the individual over the company. It used to be that the hiring person held the power. They had the job and the money that the employee needed. Not anymore. The employee has the talent and skills that the company needs to thrive. A job interview now isn’t just about the company finding a good fit for the available position, it’s also about the person finding out if the company is worthy of them.

Similar to those of us who are self-employed, talented workers have learned to value their skills. They’re making demands, and it’s not all about money and benefits. Flexibility is a huge part of all of it. People need the freedom to do what they need to do, in the way that works best for them. They need to trust that the people they work for care about their well-being, and they need their bosses to trust them. They will get their work done on time if you give them the chance and don’t confine them to a time or place that doesn’t make any sense.

Remote work is not going away. People are not going to forget what they learned during the pandemic. Some are ready to be back in the office and amongst people, but others prefer to stay home where they can be more comfortable and efficient and spend more time on the life part of the work life equation. The great thing about owning a business is that you get to hire the team you want and create the environment that works. Some jobs do require people to be in a certain place at a certain time, but if there’s room for flexibility, honoring some of those individual needs will benefit you in the long run.

If you’re looking to hire some people for your company, keep in mind that you need to give as much as you want to receive. People will work harder for you and be more committed to you if you offer them some basic respect and trust. If you can’t trust them to do good work without constantly looking over their shoulder, there’s something wrong on at least one side that needs to be addressed.

If you’re looking for a job, make sure to prioritize what’s important to you and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Compensation isn’t just the dollar amount they’re willing to pay you. And if they aren’t willing to meet your needs, move on to the next one. Or, maybe it’s the perfect time to start your own business so you can make the rules that work for you.

Gilda Graham: The Hero‘s Journey

Gilda Graham is an actor, screenwriter and Emmy-nominated producer. She also helps others navigate the stressful nature of the film and television industry through her coaching program, "The Hero's Journey," in which she helps people write their own scripts by figuring out where they are now, where they want to be, and guiding them on their path to get there.

In this episode, we discuss her passion for the film industry, and why she had to pursue that career path, even if it wasn't what her family wanted for her. Her journey, like the journey many creatives take, has taken many twists and turns along the way, but they all led her to the place she is right now - exactly where she's meant to be.

Gilda explains the importance of understanding and managing your finances so you can afford the freedom to say no to jobs you don't want and focus on the ones you're passionate about (spoiler alert: you don't need to make a ton of money to be money smart).

We talk a lot about trust - trusting yourself, the people you hire, and the people you work with, and also trusting that life will take you where you're meant to go, even if it happens slower than you might like. We also touch on the importance of avoiding burnout by taking breaks, honoring your visions, and finding a few minutes each day to do something healthy for your mind.

 

Connect with Gilda: https://www.gildagraham.com/

Instagram @miss_ggraham

Twitter @gildagraham

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTgk_yxX7qzEI2F6T6L7dw

 

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

00:18 I've always wanted to go into the film industry. When I was about 12 or 13, it was just something that I...something was calling to me. I loved storytelling. I loved being able to tell a story and to move people.

05:07 It took me a while to trust the process. You always want to be in control of your own life, and that's something that I've learned through energy healing, like doing Reiki. And then also just letting go, and surrendering, and understanding that you are in control of your life in a sense. But for me, I believe life also knows and controls that aspect and it just goes a lot slower than you. So, you have to be completely patient in some way but just kind of keep the ball rolling.

08:23 It's part of growing up in your first few jobs. Whether it's in studio, or corporate, agency, whatever it is, you're going to learn who you want to work with, and who you don't want to work with. It takes time. It takes energy to figure that out, and it does take money. And people don't realize that money and finances have a huge part to play in you actually working on things that you want, as opposed to you don't want. But it's a huge part of it, because you can afford then to say no to somebody.

13:21 And I think what you learn in acting, if you have a good coach, is trust. You have to trust the other people. You have to trust that they know how to make the right decisions. And if they don't, you come out of love, and you make it for them without making it seem as though you're choosing. And that kind of comes into all aspects of a job. You have to trust the people that you hire to do the job. You have to trust yourself to hire the right people. And then you have to trust the people to know that they love their job enough to do it correctly.

17:22 I was just at a Fortune 500 corporate company, and one of the only other female producers, I remember her saying something along the lines of, “This is dog eat dog. And if I have to just care for myself, then I guess that's how it's gonna be.” And it’s a small department, so if you’re eating somebody, you’re eating your coworker, and we all know it. We all understand what you’re talking about.

20:04 There is a lot of unhealthiness going on, and that you have to be around, to get the paycheck and the benefits, and all that good stuff that comes with it. And it got to a point to where, for me, I wasn't showing up to myself the way that I needed to. I went from a perfectionist to someone who was now mediocre at her job, because you were so tied down to only doing what they want you to do, and then being reprimanded if you did anything more or wanted more. And that's the sad part about being in departments. There's not much room for growth, and people don't really appreciate you, and companies want to keep you down, I feel. At least that was my experience.

25:32 We're all spirits having a human experience. There's the light and the darkness. You have to have darkness in order to see the light. We all have to go down the hill to then go up the hill.

27:25 You experience burnout when you keep going and you keep going and you don't stop and give yourself a break. And then your bills just keep coming. This is why I said finances are just as important because it allows you some freedom. And you don't need to make thousands of dollars to be able to do it. You just need to know how to manage it. So yeah, I did experience burnout because it was just like, go, go, go, go go. Pay the bill, pay the bill, pay the bill. And there were no breaks. There was no recharging of your batteries. And people will take from you if you allow. They will take everything that you have, if that's what you are giving them.

34:45 So many people do not communicate and keep things to themselves because they don't want to be judged.

39:24 In a script, you have the hero's journey, and they go through the whole process of the hero. And I realized, technically in films, these heroes, they're supposed to be us. That's why we look at them as heroes and it touches our heart, and we get inspired. We're all trying to be heroes in our own journey. Some people decide not to take those journeys or those steps, but the steps are there. They're there. It's just up to you to take them or not. And so, I use the hero's journey to show where somebody is in their point in life and where they want to go. I use the chart as a way to kind of gauge who someone is, and what they want in the industry, and to help them on their path and guide them. So they're writing their own script, basically.

44:14 If you're really passionate about wanting something here, there's no straight line to it. You got to go this way and this way and this way to get to it because that's called life. It's called life. I don't know many people that just go straight in one direction. And if I do, they really have kind of a little bit of a boring life, I suppose, but they like it that way. So it's okay, as long as you love your life.

46:45 I don't even think that I was even given a choice in the sense of what I like or don't like, because I was just born with big visions. I was born with ideas. And to not honor what I was born with in my mind, I feel like I'm not utilizing life in the correct manner. And if I'm going to confuse somebody as to what I'm doing in life, and that puts a pause on them because then they don't know how to hire me, then that's okay.

47:52 I think that we're in this world to not just live and take, but to give, and that's really important for me. And it's not just money. Sometimes giving your time means a lot more. And that's what people need a lot of times, is your time and your love.

48:42 If I were to wave a magic wand, what would your life really look like? Ask yourself, why aren't you taking those steps? What's stopping you from actually doing it? Don't be afraid to get the help you need to make that happen for you, because you're worth it.

How to Function When You’ve Said Yes to Too Many Projects

Even with the best boundaries and understanding the importance of not overdoing it, we sometimes find ourselves in that situation where we've taken on too much. Here's how I got to that place and what I do to get through it.

Please leave a review and subscribe so you never miss an episode! Questions and comments can also be emailed to info@aardvarkgirl.com

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

As I’m about to start recording, I’m reminded of this college English class where I had to write a paper that instructed readers how to do something, step by step. At the time, I worked a full-time job, a part-time job, and was going to school full-time, so finding time to keep up with silly things like schoolwork was a bit challenging. I’m not always great at coming up with topics to write about, and I had a hard time thinking of something I did often enough I could write instructions for it. And, of course, I was running out of time because it was due the next day, so I ended up writing instructions for how to drive yourself crazy by waiting until the last minute to write a paper for your class. My professor seemed to enjoy it because it was a humorous take on the topic. It was not unlike what I’m about to say now, many many years later.

We all know I’m a big fan of setting and honoring boundaries. I acknowledge the importance of work-life balance and making sure self-care is a priority. I have no problem saying no or being transparent when I just don’t have the bandwidth to take on another project. But even when we’re armed with the best principles and the clearest understanding of how to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our businesses, sometimes we end up in a predicament where we’ve taken on too much. You’ve been there, right? You had it all under control, but then one deadline got moved up, and another project increased in scope, and one client really needs your help and suddenly you’re in too deep. What do you do?

This is where I’ve found myself the last couple of months. It’s almost comical at this point, but it also kind of fits in with the norm. It seems like traditionally my work cycles are all at once or not at all. Feast or famine, so to speak. The… predicament, I’ll say, because it’s not exactly a problem… is that the last 2 years have pretty much been a nonstop feast. And while we know in reality I do like to eat, in this metaphor it wouldn’t exactly hurt for me to go on a diet for a little bit. I say this with my usual disclaimer that I am incredibly grateful to have had so much work during a time when my primary industry was mostly shut down, and when many others have not been so fortunate. But production has come back full force and I know so many people who are in a similar place right now, where the work is just flooding in and they’re trying to balance it all.

I was talking to a friend recently about everything going on and she asked how I managed to get to this place when I’m usually so good about not taking on too much. It’s a valid question because it does seem like I’ve failed to take my own advice about saying no and putting myself first and all that fun stuff that I truly do believe. But, sometimes the best decision for yourself is actually the one that puts someone else first, and that’s kind of what happened.

I’ve set my business up in a way that allows me to work on multiple things at any given time. It comes with a lot of perks. If one area is slow, I have other things bringing me income. This proved invaluable during that time when there was no production work. If that was all I did, I would’ve been in a bad place for a bit. It also keeps me engaged because I’m not doing the same things all the time. Every day is different depending on what projects I have going on. And it allows me to work with multiple clients at the same time, so I don’t lose momentum with them by being unavailable for long stretches of time.

But, by doing that, it also means that there are times when a whole lot of people need me at the same time. That makes it even more important to do some of those things I talk about all the time, like prioritizing, communicating, and making sure not to lose sight of self-care. It also makes it difficult to take on those bigger jobs that require me to be on set for several days in a row. I can still do it, but what usually happens is that I have to sneak in time before call, during breaks and after wrap to do all the other work and that tends to seep into that important decompress & sleep time.

I’ve been doing this long enough that I do consider all of these things before accepting any job. Sometimes I say no because I don’t have the brain space for one more thing at that time, or I need stay home for my own mental health, or a variety of reasons. I’m not one of those people who has a problem saying no, but there are times when I may not want to do something, I may not think I should do something, but ultimately I know I need to do it. And then all I can do is be as mindful as possible about what I need to do to get everything done without overdoing it. It’s a practice, kind of like yoga in a way, because you don’t really perfect it. Some days you feel like you’re great, some days you feel like a mess, and you just have to accept that you have different strengths and limitations every single day. Do the best you can and try again tomorrow.

So how did I get myself into this predicament? First, I’ve been working on an A&E TV series since June of 2020. It’s all remote and they understand that I have other clients, too, but they are my top priority. They’ve locked me in full-time so they essentially have first dibs on my schedule. If they need me, I’m available. That’s the deal. It’s a good deal.

I also have several retainer clients who pay me monthly for different services. Those don’t require set hours or a specific amount of time, so it’s all flexible, but that means it can also be a bit unpredictable.

The main one is the Voice Actors Studio, where I manage a lot of the behind the scenes stuff with regards to scheduling, finances, and the daily operations. The studio’s customer base has grown considerably in the last couple of years, which has been really fun to watch, but that also means there are more people with questions and other needs that fall onto me. Because of that growth, we’re in the midst of completely overhauling the website and booking platform. That requires a lot of my involvement in weekly meetings to make sure it’s going to function how we need it to. This will eventually make my life much simpler, so I’m happy to be involved.

Then there are the little jobs that come in that I can fit in between everything else, and maybe some medium-to-large-sized projects that I find a way to do also.

But then there was the rocket launch. The big one where they sent people into space. My client said they needed me, and I never even officially said yes. I was on the fence because I was already busy, and I was dealing with those house repair issues I talked about a few weeks ago, and my cat is sick. There was just a lot happening at once and it did not feel like a good time for me to be out of town for a week and a half. I explained this to my client and said I would do all the prep work from home, but I couldn’t commit to the onsite days.

As we got into it, it became clear that they really did need someone there. And it couldn’t just be anyone. It’s not to say no one else can do what I do. Everyone is replaceable. But this particular event had a lot of nuances that I knew about because I’d done it before. And I know how much of a learning curve was involved being the new person. Then there was the added pressure of this one because it was the first one where humans were getting sent to space on this rocket. The person in this role needed to be able to juggle a bunch of moving parts and go with the flow, while also staying calm under pressure, and trying to help the rest of the crew do the same. That happens to be one of my specialties. They knew it had to be me, and I did too.

I talked to my client and explained my hesitation and why I didn’t feel like I could go, but at the same time I understood that they needed me. I thought about it for a while and had to really turn inward to listen to my instincts. And they told me I needed to do it. I did make some demands… in a friendly and reasonable way of course… about what I needed to make it work, and they were good about it. That’s what happens when you have good clients, and good relationships with your clients.

That was the start of all of this. It was a lot. But I got through it. I always do. And I always focus on the positive. Was that week away exhausting? Sure. Frustrating at times? Of course. But will I think back on it and remember how hot it was or how the Holiday Inn never cleaned my room? No. I’ll remember the looks on everyone’s faces when it was almost time. I’ll remember the cheering of the employees when the rocket went into the air. And I’ll remember the tears in the clients’ eyes when those astronauts got out of the capsule, because it represented the success of something they’d worked so hard on for so long. Those moments make it all worthwhile every single time.

I got back and I had a few things to do but planned on a peaceful week or so of recovery. I even planned a spa day with a friend, which was very much needed. That afternoon, though, I got the text that another episode of the series had been cast and pre-production would start the next day. Goodbye break.

So I had the show. I had the retainers. I had the small projects. Usually that’s all manageable. But then the show cast another episode – a real doozy of a season finale that involves a much larger cast, which means twice the crew, and considerably more logistics planning than we’ve ever had to do for one episode. So now I’m working on two episodes at the same time. Meanwhile, the studio is getting close to completing that overhaul, which means there is about to be a whole lot of new stuff to learn because it will affect a lot of what I do every day. Then there was another small rocket launch that needed my support. And now there’s the Skechers marketing video that is starting now, along with the prep work for the next big launch. So maybe in another month I can have that break?

I have turned down a handful of jobs during this time, so don’t think I’m just saying yes to everything with total disregard for my time. I’ve been able to refer that work to other friends in the industry, so that makes me happy. I love to see everyone working after such a crazy year. This has just been a weird time and somehow everything has landed at once. It’s definitely a much better problem to have than nothing landing at all.

I love being the person people need. They rely on me because they trust me, and that’s really important. And it’s recognition that I’m good at what I do, and I think it’s important for us to acknowledge things like that sometimes. Not to be arrogant, but to be kind to ourselves. If I wasn’t good at what I do, these clients wouldn’t hire me, I wouldn’t get to work on these big projects, and I probably wouldn’t be able to sustain this business I love that allows me the freedom I’ve always wanted. And I don’t know, maybe it’s just part of who I am. Maybe it’s because I care about the quality of everything I do so I always give my full effort. Maybe it’s because I treat my clients and their projects and businesses with the same level of care I do my own. Whatever it is, it’s working, and I’m grateful.

So when this happens, when you end up in a place where you have too much work at one time and you know you have to get it done, the best thing to do is break it down into manageable pieces. Use your to-do lists, or whatever system you have, and write everything down. Get it out of your head! Then prioritize it so you know what needs to be done first. And most importantly, take care of yourself while you’re doing it. Get up every hour and walk around. Those breaks are good for you and will help you stay productive. Eat the right food. Get enough sleep. Even if that means you don’t get to watch your shows or whatever you usually do with your free time. Sleep is important. Take the time to exercise, even if it’s only 30 minutes a day. Even if it’s 15 minutes. Do something. It helps relieves the stress and keeps you healthy. Find little pockets of time where you can and do something for yourself. And don’t forget to breathe. You will get through it and when you do, reward yourself with whatever it is that makes you happy. Eventually you’ll look back and laugh. Remember that time when you had to do all those things at once and weren’t sure how you would make it? Yeah, that was fun. You probably have some good stories about the craziness, too. And in the end, it was all worth it, right?

Solopreneurship 101: A Quick Intro to Running a One-Person Business

If you want to get started with your one-person business, you might not be sure where to start. Here is a super quick introduction to what it takes to become a solopreneur.

--

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

I’m still not sure how I feel about these made-up words like solopreneur, but they seem to be common so I’m doing my best to embrace them. I think the word entrepreneur has been overused to the point it hass lost its original meaning. Everyone is some kind of preneur these days. But I get the sentiment and this episode isn’t to challenge what’s appropriate in the preneur space. It’s about what it takes to be a solopreneur, or a single person business.

The most common comment I get in my business sessions is “I don’t know what I don’t know.” It’s coming from people who are wanting to start their businesses but aren’t quite sure where to start. They often already have full-time job jobs and would like to leave them but how do you know when it’s the right time? If it’s the right decision? How do they know they won’t mess it up and regret the decision?

The thing is, there never really is a “right” time. It’s all about choices and how hard you’re willing to work to make it work, if self-employment is actually what you want. It’s good to arm yourself with information, but not to overwhelm yourself so much you get stuck and don’t make any progress at all.

To me, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that, no matter what service or product you’ll be providing, you will be running a business. You have to stay in that mindset. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “business-y” person, there are certain things you’re going to have to do. So here is a quick Intro to Solopreneurship.

First, form your business. Pick a name, get your licenses, define your services, and start offering them. Don’t spend too much time worrying about whether you need an LLC or not. You will not find the answer by Googling because it depends on a lot of personal factors. So if you want to save a lot of time and confusion, discuss it with your accountant to see if it’s the right choice for you. Otherwise, you can start as a sole proprietor and change it later if it makes sense.

Second, set up your accounts. As soon as possible, you want to open separate bank accounts so you aren’t mixing your business and personal funds. It’s a huge red flag to the IRS if you don’t have that separation and can hurt you when it comes to business deductions. All business income should go into those accounts and all business expenses should come out of those accounts. It doesn’t mean you can’t transfer your money to or from your personal accounts as needed, but you need to show that paper trail of it flowing through the business account first.

If you end up setting up or filing as an S Corp, keep in mind that how you withdraw money is going to be different than if you’re a sole proprietor or single member LLC, so make sure to discuss that with your accountant in that case.

After you’ve done those two things, you’re running a business. Congratulations!

So then what? Now you get to work. And as a single-person business, that means you’re wearing a lot of hats, so it becomes a balancing act of getting all the things done. It can feel like a lot in the beginning, but you’ll get in a rhythm as you go. You’ll figure out your systems, how to make the most of your time, and which things are worth outsourcing so you don’t have to deal with them.

One of the most important, and most people’s least favorite hats, is the bookkeeper hat. You can’t get around it. You’re going to make and spend money and there’s this lovely agency called the IRS that needs to know about it. It’s so important to stay on top of your money. Not just for taxes but for your own decision-making, too. I’ve talked about this a lot and will surely continue to talk about it in other episodes, but for this one I’ll keep it simple. Get your bookkeeping in order as soon as possible, ideally from the time you start your business. If the monthly subscription cost of some of the accounting software out there scares you, check out Wave Apps. It’s free and has all the function you need to keep your financials organized. I have no affiliation with Wave Apps, but I recommend it to a lot of people because it’s hard to argue with a zero-dollar price tag.

As a single person business, you’ll also be responsible for your own marketing and sales, too. That looks different for every business, but you usually need to make some effort towards getting new clients, maintaining relationships with existing clients, networking, and all that fun stuff that ensures you always have people needing your services. It’s easy to forget about that part when you’re busy and have all the work you need in the moment, but you don’t want to ignore it completely and end up in a place where the jobs have ended and now you have nothing lined up because you didn’t talk to anybody because you were too busy. It’s a cycle I’ve witnessed too many times. Maintaining your business is good. Growing it is better. Keeping up with your sales and marketing helps ensure you have a steady stream of work coming your way, and that’s a big part of earning that freedom we all love so much - the freedom that allows us to choose which projects we want to work on and which people we want to work with. You never want to get stuck accepting a job that doesn’t align with what you want to be doing because you need the paycheck.

And along the lines with marketing and sales, is social media. These all kind of blend together, but each has its purpose. Social media can be used with different strategies. If you do it right, it can be really effective in getting you more business. Sometimes it helps you connect with new people and make new working relationships. Other times it’s just about staying connected so people don’t forget you’re out there. Some people avoid it completely, which is always an option, but I think we live in a time where we have to have some presence online, even if we aren’t posting every day. I’ve mentioned many times that I’m no expert in social media and could definitely utilize it more, but I’ve never prioritized it. I post more about this podcast than I do the actual work I’m doing. It’s a work in progress for me. Maybe I’ll figure it out eventually. Who knows.

Then there’s the part that probably gives bookkeeping its biggest competition for most hated hat, and that’s admin work. All that other stuff you have to do to run your business but you probably don’t love doing. Scanning receipts, filing important documents, checking your PO Box, responding to emails, ordering office supplies, scheduling meetings, renewing licenses, payroll, all kinds of things that you now get to do as a business owner. You don’t want to get behind on that stuff because even though it’s usually just a few little things here and there, the more those little things pile up the more it can seem overwhelming and stress you out more than it needs to. Take a few minutes every day or every week and try to catch up before you get too far behind.

And let’s not forget, you’re doing the actual service. You know, the thing you actually do for your business that people actually pay you for doing? Yeah, that. That probably takes up most of your time and deserves a lot of your focus. Just be careful not to give it so much time that you fall short on the other parts of running your business, or that you end up getting burnt out and don’t want to do it at all. Balance, right? It’s always about balance.

At some point, you’ll probably want to hire someone else to do some of these things so you can focus on the work that actually makes you money. But where do you even start with that? The best things to outsource are the things you don’t like doing or aren’t great at doing. If you cringe every time you open Quickbooks, you might want to pay someone else to do your bookkeeping. Or if you know it takes you a long time to create content, it might be best to let someone else do that for you. Before you say, “but I can’t afford to hire someone,” think about the value of time. If you freed up that time you’re spending doing the things you don’t like, could you use that to make more money?

For example, say your admin work takes you 5 hours a week. That’s 5 hours doing tasks you don’t enjoy and don’t bring you more income. If you were to hire a virtual assistant, chances are that person is going to be more efficient at those tasks and maybe it only takes 3 hours a week. If you’re paying that person $25/hour, that’s $75 per week. But you’re getting 5 hours back, which I’m pretty sure is worth more than $75, right?

See? I told you this would be quick lesson. The reason I do these short podcast episodes is because most of you listening are solopreneurs, too, and don’t have a lot of time. So thank you for spending a few minutes with me. Now, go run your business.

 

Aiden Clark McFarland: Be Limitless

He's a business and lifestyle coach with a gender-free clothing line called Limitless. He helps other creatives not only think outside the box, but blow up the box entirely. Please welcome Aiden Clark McFarland.

--

Connect with Aiden:

https://www.limitlesswearables.com/

Twitter @AidenLimitless

Instagram @aidenislimitless

YouTube: Be Limitless and Queerate

--

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

00:40 Instead of just a bump, it became a wall of like, do I keep wanting to push other people's visions forward or do I want to start finding my own? Can I build something that incorporates all these different elements of myself without restricting them? That's where I went, what can I do? How can I start building this? I literally started looking for ways to build an income from scratch. That gradually became a lifestyle.

03:50 I ended up leaving that company, just doing things on my own, and really cultivating my client roster until instead of "I'm just going to work and keep getting clients and keep getting income," I started fostering it down to which of these clients do I feel passionate about their projects? Do I feel they're including me versus me just being a cog in their machine? I really was able to fine-tune. By that point, I had replaced my job income. I set a date and I left my job.

07:24 I was not happy with the clothes I was finding off the rack. They didn't express what I wanted to express. If I went to the women's section, it wasn't built for my body. If I went to the men's section, it was drab and boring. I wanted to find more clothes that fit me, and then I finally had this duh moment of, well, I sew. I've been making costumes and stuff for years. Why don't I start making clothing for myself? Why don't I start a clothing line?

09:43 Then it just became, well, now that I'm making these clothes, of course, they're all going to have pockets. The first round of clothing is very unisex, very gender-free, with more tunics, robes, and things like that. 

12:00 I was just going to tease it out like, here's an item. I'd take it to shows. When that became not an option, I had to really look at this, get really serious, and build a business plan. How much would it really take to create a full line out the gate? What would that look and how much would I need? I did the Kickstarter. It got fully funded. It's amazing. 

19:05 I was just hearing similar themes through all the conversations of like, “But I don't, I don't want to offend anybody.” A lot of fear of being seen and fear of being heard. Also, “Nobody is going to be interested in what I'm creating. It's not good enough. I need to do more before I can share it.” A lot of that are holding ourselves back because we don't think we're ready or good enough. As I started getting out of my own way, really getting out there, showing my voice, getting on social media, starting a YouTube channel, and putting out the clothing line, I was like, I have this experience of my own to share plus my years in business and admin.

21:30 The more of our artist friends that I was helping with little business things, the more I was seeing that all the business help in the world wasn't going to get them where they wanted to be because they were still holding themselves back out of the fear of not being good enough, or “My product isn't going to do the thing or be what people want.” What they needed was to get comfortable with their voice, with their creativity, with putting it out there, and just letting it go into the world. Letting your child go out into the world and see what happens. 

24:51 Look at the materials you've used to create that piece of art. What did they cost you? What practice and training have you done? Did you go to art school? Have you been drawing every day for 10 years and that's how you've gotten to this level? Did you buy better paints so that the quality is better? It's not just about you and what you think your creation in that little time window is worth. It's about everything that has built you to this point. That's what the charging is about. It's not just about the value you put on yourself. It's this culmination of all these different parts and pieces. 

30:50 I've seen it happen with both arts, with my virtual assisting, and with everything in between. If somebody is going for your bottom rates, that is the client or commission that is coming at you every five seconds with complaints and concerns. “Can you tweak this? What about one more thing? What about one more thing? What if I add this?” Whereas if you start from your high rate, they're just like, “Great, here you go. Straightforward. I trust you, go with it.” It's so mind-boggling because it feels counterintuitive.

33:18 I think, honestly, one of the positives that have come out of the whole pandemic is, I think, people are talking a little bit more realistically about mental health and the need to treat that just like any other health issue.

34:43 Being a creative, having the business, and all the mental health and the self-care, it all has to be interconnected. That's a big piece also of my coaching and how I approach it. I don't look at it as, “Well, now I'm doing my job." "Now I'm having my life.” It's all integrated. It is my lifestyle, all of it together. I feel like I embraced "eff it" as a spirituality and that I was done with anything that didn't serve my lifestyle as a whole. That meant adding some things, taking some things out, but I am done fitting into what society has told me "life," "career," and "work" are supposed to look like. They made it all up. I'm going to make it up too.

39:17 I feel we tend to set these deadlines for ourselves that are so arbitrary. When you feel that pressure of there's too much, take a step back and look at the list and be like, which of these actually have deadlines? Which of them are self-imposed deadlines that the only person holding me to them is me? Also, taking a further step back with I love what I do. I'm passionate about what I do but it's not a life or death situation. If I don't get that done today, nobody's actually going to die.

41:54 That doesn't mean that there aren't going to be times where you do push and work a lot. It can come in spurts but you have to be very aware of, know where your limits are, and not consistently push yourself past them because that's where you hit the burnout. If you occasionally do it, you're okay. If all you ever do is push yourself past it, recipe for failure.

43:18 Any situation you're in, whether it's the idea of launching something new, putting something new out there, leaving a job to focus on your creativity, or raising your prices, any of it, if fear is holding you back, ask what is the worst thing? What is my worst fear? What is the worst thing that could actually happen? Realistically, look at that worst thing and go, if that happened, what would I do? By doing that, we often find we're much more resilient than we think we are. The fears that are holding us back are really things that aren't the end of the world. They only feel like it but when you actually take a step back and look at them, that's not that bad. It might mean a few things have to change a little bit, but ultimately I'd get back up and keep going. It's not the end of the world. Nobody's going to die.

 

Stop Treating Women This Way

Even with all of the recent momentum in the right direction, women are still being mistreated at work. We're still being talked down to, ogled, touched, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable when we're just trying to do our jobs. A lot of men don't even realize this is happening, even when they're at the same place. We need to keep speaking up for ourselves and others until this behavior stops.

--

Please leave a review and subscribe so you never miss an episode! Questions and comments can also be emailed to info@aardvarkgirl.com

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

Assuming you’ve listened to previous episodes, you probably know I don’t like to focus on problems because I’m more interested in solutions. I’m an eternal optimist who believes everything works out the way it’s supposed to. I look for the best in everyone. I don’t hold grudges. I treat everyone with kindness without losing sight of my boundaries. I do understand that not all people do the same.

With this podcast, I like to keep things light. I do have a bit of a tough love approach at times, but it’s always from a place of wanting to help. I talk about serious business topics but I’m not exactly controversial in my opinions. I stay out of debates and respect that people have the right to make their own choices, even if they don’t agree with mine. Some might say that’s playing it safe, but I’m not into the drama. It’s not my place to change people’s opinions. When I speak about business, I’m speaking from experience. And I give a lot of disclaimers that my way might not work for everyone because we’re all so different.

But when it comes to how people, especially women, are treated, I don’t think it’s so subjective. There’s right and there’s wrong. It shouldn’t be controversial. But I don’t know why, especially in recent years when there’s been so much momentum, we’re still so far behind where we should be.

I realize that one thing I’ve enjoyed about not being on a set in the past year and a half is that I haven’t had to deal with people misbehaving in person. My first job back I was reminded that there are still so many issues  with how women are treated, whether it’s being talked down to, expected to do certain tasks based on gender and not position, or being ogled or touched in uncomfortable ways. It’s not all men and it’s not on every job, but it’s happening far too often and I think we should talk about it.

I’ve had a lot of conversations about this recently and what I’m finding is that most women are still experiencing this, and that most men don’t realize it’s happening, even when they’re working at the same place. They don’t think it’s an ongoing problem because they’re just not aware. I think part of this is because they don’t pay attention. I don’t even mean that as a criticism. It’s more that they’re focused on their own job and not looking at what everyone else is doing. Also, the offenders are usually smart enough to know they can’t act inappropriately when others are around to witness it. And some of them sadly don’t realize when what they’re doing is inappropriate or making someone else uncomfortable. The lack of awareness is an issue in itself.

Based on a collection of stories from women I’ve talked to, here are some of the many things we shouldn’t have to deal with, but for some reason still are. These scenarios have all happened within the last year, so I’m not talking about the way things used to be. I’m talking about how they are now.

We shouldn’t have to wear baggy clothes in hopes it will cover our figures so men don’t gawk while they talk to us or watch us walk by.

We shouldn’t have to do our best to be “one of the guys” so we don’t attract the wrong attention.

We shouldn’t have to get our friends to help us leave safely because we’re afraid someone is going to follow us home or back to our hotel.

We shouldn’t have to worry that being nice, or professional, is an invitation for bad behavior.

We shouldn’t have to explain why we don’t want to hug you. Even if you saw us hugging someone else, that doesn’t mean you are entitled to one yourself.

We shouldn’t have to hear that we’re overreacting or reading too much into a behavior. If we’re uncomfortable, any reaction we have is valid.

We shouldn’t have to walk the other direction when we see someone coming because we don’t want him to stare, or touch us, or smell us, or whatever other weird thing he does that we’d rather avoid.

We shouldn’t have to ask men to stop talking down to us, talking over us, or otherwise trying to assert power where it doesn’t belong. Give us the same respect we give you, or the same respect you’d give a man in our position.

We shouldn’t have to worry that an invitation to a “group” dinner is actually an attempt to get us alone somewhere.

We shouldn’t be expected to answer phones, get coffee, order lunch, clean the office, or anything else that isn’t part of our job description solely because we are women. Men are capable of doing all of these things, too.

We shouldn’t get texts out of the blue with inappropriate pictures or suggestive comments.

We shouldn’t have to be rescued by other people on the crew because we’ve been literally cornered by someone and can’t escape. But we are glad those other people walked in when they did.

We shouldn’t be excluded from company gatherings because we don’t golf or smoke cigars, or at least you assume we don’t. We don’t have to do those things to participate in conversations and comradery and we shouldn’t miss out on opportunities and promotions because we weren’t invited.

We shouldn’t have to tell you to not touch us. It doesn’t matter where or how. Just don’t touch us.

We shouldn’t be flagged as difficult because we spoke up when something wrong was happening.

We shouldn’t have to ignore these things because speaking up about them could put our jobs in jeopardy.

We shouldn’t have to talk about the time we got fired because the man who continued to misbehave, even after being asked not to multiple times, was deemed too important so the options were to deal with it or be removed from the situation.

These last two play a large role in why more women don’t speak up. This is often happening in the middle of a project where there is too much to get done in a short period of time. Saying something could interfere with the necessary progress. It could put extra stress on other people. It could change the working dynamic in a way that causes more issues and could negatively affect the project, the company, or the client. We don’t want to cause problems. We just want to do our work and feel safe doing it.

But we aren’t causing problems when these situations are happening to us. We are not asking for it. We do not deserve it. We shouldn’t need to lighten up or stop being so uptight or just accept that this is the nature of the business. It is not.

Sometimes it’s not a coworker acting this way, it’s the client. And then what are we supposed to do? The client isn’t going to be asked to leave his own project. He’s not going to be let go for inappropriate behavior. We are the ones who will suffer the repercussions. Or we just have to suck it up and accept that it’s going to continue to happen, and that’s not okay.

I don’t want to hear these stories anymore. I don’t want to tell these stories anymore. I want this behavior to stop.

We need to feel safe speaking up when these things happen. We need to be heard and we need people to take action. There’s that whole idea of see something, say something. We need that. We need more people to open their eyes. We need people to listen to us when we tell them these things are happening. We need people to be more aware of what’s going on around them. We need men to consider how their actions affect us and understand that, even if their intentions aren’t ill-natured, their actions might be interpreted differently.

There are plenty of good guys, nice guys, allies, out there. We see you and we appreciate you. But for the ones who don’t think what they’re doing is wrong, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Which Kind of Person Are You?

There are different choices you can make as a business owner, whether you’re a client or a vendor, a per-project freelancer or on retainer, or whatever your particular setup may be. These choices will impact your interactions with others on a job, and that may also affect whether you get hired again. But it seems people often forget, or don’t care, to think about these things. It all goes back to some common themes on this podcast – mindset, communication, and being a decent human. So, which kind of human are you?

--

Connect with me @aardvarkgirl on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

I was recently on a project with a large crew. I had 35 on my team and there were hundreds of others working together to make a big event successful. It had been a while, about a year and a half, since I worked with anyone in person. Being there, I was reminded that one thing I do love about being on a set is that it feeds my fascination with people and how they act. You get so many different personalities, working styles, communication preferences, and somehow everyone has to work together as somewhat of a cohesive unit.

 

I had some really great conversations that week and someone brought up something interesting about production, but I imagine it applies to plenty of other job types as well. We often bring together these big groups of people. Some may know each other personally or from previous jobs, but many are coming in with no familiarity at all. They quickly have to form bonds, learn some particular nuances, and then do what they do to ensure success. Sometimes it’s a day or two, sometimes it’s a couple weeks or more, but these people work closely together, often for 10 or more hours a day, and then when it’s over, they part ways and may never see each other again. It’s an odd type of relationship building where you get close fast and then break up just as quickly.

 

Merging so many different personalities can be challenging, as I talked about in episode 59. That was more about dealing with others. Now, I’m asking you to be a bit introspective and figure out which person you are, and whether you’re making it easy for people to work with you or if you’re the one they have to deal with. Are you the one who complains or the one who makes the best out of it? Are you the one who gets stuck or the one who figures it out? Do you care more about yourself or the team? Think about the realistic answer and why you choose to be that way.

 

The One Who Complains vs the One Who Makes the Best Out of It

 

I’ve expressed my feelings about complaining here before. While I think it can be important to vent and get things off of your mind, there’s an element of tact that comes into play with how you do it during a job. If conditions are unacceptable, that’s one thing – if you’re being mistreated, put into uncomfortable situations, or something like that, it’s important to speak up. It’s another thing when you just aren’t happy about something and wish it was better. We have to remain professional. If something is wrong, talk to someone privately and calmly and give them an opportunity to make things better. But don’t complain to others and expect the ones who can do something about it to read your mind, and then go at them when things have escalated on your part, even though you never talked to them about it in the first place. All that does is shows the people around a bad side of you, which can unfortunately overshadow all of your good qualities. Nobody wants that.

 

My main rule with complaining is that you only get to do it once. Beyond that, you have three choices – accept it and move on, find a solution, or walk away. Each has its own repercussions, and I would never recommend walking away from a job just because everything isn’t perfect. And constantly complaining on a job doesn’t really do anything other than make people not want to work with you. To me, the best choice is the one-two punch of making the best of it AND finding a solution.

 

I’ll use the common example of food to illustrate my point here, because meals always seem to create issues of some sort. If you are onsite somewhere for the day, you need to eat at some point. Hopefully a meal is provided for you, or you are given an appropriate break to go get something. Beyond that, your expectations could get you in trouble. It is impossible to make every single person on a crew happy with one meal. There are so many factors that come into play, such as what’s available in the area, what the budget allows, timing restraints, and things like that. A client-provided meal for a large group probably isn’t going to be eligible for any awards or made by a top tier chef. If you’re lucky, it’ll be good. Sometimes we’re satisfied with edible.

 

As a vegetarian, I go into every job expecting that I won’t be able to eat. But instead of being high maintenance about it, making demands and whining that my special needs can’t be met, I show up prepared. I bring my own food. It might not be the ideal scenario, but I know it’ll make my life easier if I take care of myself. I do this in my personal life, too. If I’m going to a barbecue, I eat before I go, or I bring something with me so I don’t have to worry about starving. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect anyone, a client or a friend, to make special accommodations for me. I have the choice to eat what’s provided or not.

 

I just got back from 11 days in Van Horn, Texas. Let me tell you, they do not support vegetarians in Van Horn, Texas. We’re just not on their radar. It’s a small town with very few choices, and when I’m there I’m working long hours and the last thing I want to do at the end of a day is go sit at a restaurant with a bunch of other people, where I can maybe eat a salad if I order it without the meat. No thank you.

 

So in this scenario, I figured my options were: 1 – accept the situation as is and wish for the best, meaning I could show up every day hoping there was something there I could eat and deal with it. Or 2 – find a solution. Always my favorite option. So, before I even left Vegas, I shipped some food & other supplies to the hotel. Then, I got groceries in El Paso, 2 hours away but that’s where the closest Sprouts was, which I knew would live up to my personal standards. I got a bunch of produce and other fresh food I could keep in my tiny hotel refrigerator. It still wasn’t the same quality meals I’d normally be eating at home with access to my full kitchen, but it was a way to make sure I could get what I needed. And I was happy to do that so I didn’t have to worry about it. I also wasn’t going to create a problem for my client where there didn’t need to be one.

 

Notice how complaining wasn’t an option I considered? Because what good would that do me? It wouldn’t change the situation and it would just make more people unhappy. No point. The client did provide meals, they just weren’t what I wanted, and that doesn’t warrant a complaint from me. I have higher standards than some, but that’s not their fault. Not to mention food is such a subjective thing anyway. In that crew of 35, every day I heard some people say it was great, some say it was horrible, and a bunch of opinions in between. Again, there’s no way to make everyone happy, but you can make yourself happy if you get over the idea that you’re entitled to everything you want. Changing your mindset from a place of whining about what you don’t have to appreciating what you do have can go a long way.

 

The One Who Gets Stuck vs the One Who Figures it Out

 

In any job, you’re bound to come across some issues. Things aren’t working right, you can’t find something, you don’t have everything you need. A lot can go wrong. But when it does, what do you do? Do you go back to complaining and get stuck not making progress? Or do you figure it out so you can move forward? I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you to know that I always believe in figuring it out. When people ask that question about what’s your superpower, that’s mine. I figure things out. If someone comes to me and I don’t have an answer, I say , “I don’t know, but I will find out.” It’s the only way I know how to do things and that attitude has gotten me everywhere in my career.

 

Sometimes it’s just about using your brain to come up with a new way of doing something, or asking other people for help or guidance. There’s also your trusty old friend Google that can help with just about anything. But it seems like sometimes people are happier complaining and they don’t actually want to solve a problem. One of the clients on this job was telling me about someone who, for days, was whining about how he didn’t have a specific type of tape. But he made no effort to get it. There were so many people around who would’ve had that tape and would probably be willing to share it, sell it, or something. We could’ve placed an order, run into town to get some, all kinds of simple solutions but it never got to me or anyone on my team who could’ve helped. I don’t know why. You never want the client observing your lack of ability to get things done. That’s not a good way to be seen.

 

Finding an answer might take a little extra effort on your part, but it’s better than doing nothing. For example, we were in the middle of an important rehearsal for this event and a vehicle with some of our cameras was missing, so I needed to find them. I had no firsthand knowledge of where they might be, or even who would know, but it was important and urgent so I set out to find them. Staying calm and rational in this type of situation helps a lot as well. I wasn’t going to run around the whole jobsite looking for vehicles that could be anywhere. I knew someone on the crew who had been working with that team, so I asked him. He didn’t know, but he shared the information for the guy in charge. Within a few minutes, I had all the information we needed and everything was fine. I didn’t have the answer, but I figured it out.

 

And you don’t have to be the one with all the ideas either. A huge perk of having a solid team is that there are other brains around that are going to think about things differently than you would. During this last job I was dealing with all kinds of weather delays and other flight issues while getting the crew to Texas. At one point, someone was stuck in St. George waiting for a flight that kept getting delayed. As I was talking to him, it was clear he’d miss his connection and he wouldn’t be able to get in until the following day, which would put us a day behind, and that wouldn’t be good. I was talking to the PA about what was going on and he suggested that the guy drive to Vegas and catch a flight out from there. As it turned out, the timing was perfect and he was able to get in that evening. I never would’ve thought about that solution, and I made sure he got credit for it, too. The important thing is the success of the project, not who has the best ideas.

 

Which brings me to my last comparison.

 

The One Who Cares More About Himself vs the One Who Cares More About the Team

 

One thing I’m always observing on a set or in other situations is how people act. I’m curious what drives certain behavior. You’ve probably heard me say before that I think it’s important to reclaim selfishness, but what I mean by that is that you have to look out for yourself first if you’re going to be at your best for anyone else. I don’t mean that you should only focus on what you need and forget about everyone else. And you definitely shouldn’t overlook how your actions affect others. No matter what the project is, you’re likely on a team with others and the main goal should be to have a successful outcome. It shouldn’t be about making sure you get everything you want. It’s nice when that happens, but it’s not always realistic.

 

I think what complicates it for some is that the complaints are perfectly valid. It’s frustrating to be in less than ideal conditions – whether it’s the hours, the food, the accommodations, the weather, or anything else - we all wish they were better. But, a lot of these things are out of our control. In hindsight, it’s easy to look a situation and say well, had we known this, we could’ve done that differently. But you can’t just call an audible and expect instant results when some things need time to happen in the middle of a project.

 

I like to look at the bigger picture. With a crew of 35, if you only have 3 people complaining, that’s pretty good. It shows you who is there for the team and who is there for themselves. I’m sure there was more talk amongst each other about what wasn’t going well, which is normal. The difference is in how people act after they’ve vented to someone confidentially. You can be annoyed and still be positive. You can be upset that things aren’t better while also still giving your all to your job. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t speak up when there’s a problem, but I do think we should think about how to speak up. Is it an appropriate time? Is it reasonable to expect a change in that moment? Are you putting your own needs ahead of the team’s? If you think it’s the right thing to do, then by all means, say something and see what happens.

 

I think we all need to be realistic about situations, too. When your client is working the same long hours, eating the same food, dealing with the same conditions, what do you expect to change? It would be different if he was sneaking off to some luxury hotel to eat fancy meals and spend the day getting spa services while everyone else is working. But when he’s the first one in each day and the last one out each day, he’s showing that he’s not expecting anything from anyone on the team that he’s not willing to do himself. That goes a long way and I feel that action deserves some respect. Disrupting other people’s progress because your personal needs aren’t being met comes across as ungrateful and like you don’t care about the job itself. And if you’re just there to collect a paycheck, not to be an integral part of something special, these types of projects probably aren’t the right ones for you.

 

That being said, we’re all entitled to our feelings and we have to make our own choices about how to react. I just know that, from my perspective, I don’t care if you’re the most talented person in the world at what you do, if you’re not easy to work with, I won’t hire you again. I can work with anybody and remain calm and professional. It’s usually my job to put out fires and I do my best to lead by example, which means staying optimistic, focusing on everything that’s great about a job, and not letting that other stuff get to me. I like to work with people who are similar. The ones who will keep a job fun even under trying conditions. The ones who take pride in their work, but also in who they are. That matters to me.

 

When you’re self-employed, the way you behave in front of others tells them everything they need to know about you. If you make the best out of situations, find solutions, and work together as a team, chances are those people will hire you for more jobs, at which time you can discuss some of the things that maybe weren’t ideal on the last one. But if you don’t take that tactful approach, if you complain and create problems and don’t focus on what’s important, you’re likely to end up on the list you don’t want to be on – the one that says don’t call this person again. It’s up to you. Which kind of person do you want to be?

Arzo Yusuf: Social Impact Entrepreneurship

She's a social impact entrepreneur, a public speaker and a women's empowerment activist who's doing everything she can to make a positive change in the world. Please welcome Arzo Yusuf.

Connect with Arzo @thearzoyusuf and @thesexybossbabe

Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl

--

00:22 A social impact entrepreneur is really somebody that has a social impact business model. So it's a for-profit business with a social component. So something that contributes to the social good of the community in various aspects. It could be the environment. It could be some kind of social cause. It could be helping out animals, helping out people - something that gives back to the community to make the world a better place.

01:09 I really kind of have a bleeding heart. It runs really deep, nd I care about humanity. I care about people. I care about my community. And I try to give back in different ways, and the suffering of people really bothers me. It hurts me. So whatever I've been able to do over the years, I've done, whether it's volunteering my time, whether it's being involved in a charity organization sitting on a board, helping raise funds to be able to donate to different causes, things like that. And then I came to kind of at crossroads in my career and personal life and I ended up starting my social impact brand, Sexy Boss Babe, and having it structured as a social impact company made sense for me.

02:43 Just because you are someone with a good heart, and you do want to give back to a good cause, it doesn't mean that you should completely self-sacrifice. You can definitely do good in the world but still take care of yourself and make sure that your business is making money and thriving while you're giving back.

03:37 Sexy Boss Babe is actually a beauty product. There are these little cute glue on nails that saves you time from going to the salon. So that's definitely one way of getting self-care, and then it's a fun beauty product and the brand identity is all about women empowerment. So we have our own definition of what a sexy boss babe is - it's a breed of woman that's confident from the inside out. She can be thin or plus size, tall, short, athletic, any size, shape, or color. Her beauty comes from knowing her self-worth and going after what she wants in life. She is fierceful and empowered. So every box has a positive affirmation.

And then the Sexy Boss Babe Podcast is about female-centric topics like self-esteem, empowerment, entrepreneurship, just different things that us women go through.

06:56 I think you're a pretty strong woman, and you're independent, and you're a go-getter and, you know, we have our struggles, but we don't let those titles and definitions or whatever limit us. Unfortunately, not everyone is that way, and it takes time to get to that place in our journey, I think, as being empowered women.

08:30 Self-awareness is really important, just really knowing yourself, knowing your limitations, but then also knowing what your priorities are and knowing the value of each priority. Sometimes people kind of just get stuck in the tasks of, I gotta do this, I gotta do that, but if you take your time and just look at, what's the value out of this activity? You're like, wait, this is not doing anything. This is actually a complete waste of my time, but it's keeping me busy. So you have to know those things and you don't always know them right away. Sometimes it takes time, through trial and error, to figure out, okay, wait, this was not a value added activity.

11:00 As a small business, social media is very important, but at the same time, it might not always be your revenue generator. And it takes a lot of input into social media to really get the return on investment. 

13:34 I have these periods where I have three months of really hard go, go, go, and then after that project, or whatever it is, gets completed, it's like, okay, I have a decompress period. And then planning starts for the next thing and then I end up going really hard for another three months. It seems to work and it allows me to kind of juggle and balance all the different things.

14:53 Just after I left my job and my career to start Sexy Boss Babe, I gave myself the space to let it just flow and didn't force myself to be in a structure. But what I also noticed is what I was doing, I was very passionate about, and everything was very aligned for me, so it just flowed naturally. 

16:22 I think as humans, the traumas that we go through in life, that stress management and being hard on ourselves, a lot of times it doesn't come from us. It comes from the voice in our head, which can be a mom or a dad, or a mean teacher or whatever. I think with entrepreneurship, it's an opportunity to self-reflect. You know, entrepreneurship, it's a stressful thing. You have to be a little unorthodox to do it.

17:32 I reached a kind of a crossroads in my career. I had outgrown the job that I was in. I had done well for myself. I could have gone to a competitor for a different type of a role or whatever, but I just felt like it doesn't match with my spirit. And I've come this far, but I don't know how much longer I can live as my avatar.

18:29 I got the idea for Sexy Boss Babe and I immediately started working on it, and I probably worked on it for about eight months before I quit my job. Then me quitting my job, it wasn't like I'm going to quit in eight months. It just fizzled itself out, you know? And it just was the right time. Sometimes life and your spirit or whatever knows this is time, it's time to go. So I ended up leaving my job at that point and fully focused on Sexy Boss Babe for the last few years.

20:28 I have a really strong sales background, and that has probably helped me tremendously with communication because when you are selling, whether it's a service or a product, you have to understand the other person. You have to kind of understand their psychology. You have to understand, is this somebody that's analytical? Is this somebody that's relationship-oriented? Is this somebody that likes to talk? Is this somebody that makes impulsive decisions? Is this somebody that takes their time? All of these things kind of play into it. So you really have to understand people really well, and doing that work for as long as I have, it taught me a lot about people. When you put the other person in mind, it helps create an ease and a flow with the communication, and then you'll get your chance to ask for whatever it is that you want or communicate the thing that you want.

23:51 At the end of the day, it's up to us what kind of experiences we want to have with others. Are they quality experiences or transactional, right? We can get something accomplished in a transactional way through manipulating somebody, but does that feel good at the end of the day? How many times can we do that and feel good about ourselves? Right? So definitely that higher quality interaction requires investment. It requires trust. It requires generosity. 

25:53 If you're going to be in business, whether it's selling product or providing a service, what are you doing? You're providing something for somebody else. So you're giving something and, yes, you deserve your value. You deserve your money. There are some clients that are difficult clients. We've all had those. You're allowed to not work with difficult clients. That's a choice that you have, especially if you're a small business. If you're not going to have some flexibility, if you're not going to bend a little bit, your business is not going to survive long term, you know?

28:14 Another unfortunate reality is that most businesses fail. They don't live longer than a few years, three to five years. A lot of people go into business without customer service experience, without sales experience. It goes back to that communication piece. It goes back to the relationship and trust piece, and understanding people. If you're not a people person, business might not be for you.

30:00 The Sexy Boss Babe podcast and female-centric topics, it's not to put anybody down, it's to help us. It's to help women to say, "Hey, set the expectations upfront. Speak up." It's okay to say, "Hey, these are my rules. This is what you're going to get for this price. You know, if you want these extra ad-ons, this is what it is." Set the expectations so the client knows, and you know, there are your boundaries.

31:58 I was in an abusive relationship for about four years, and when I finally got out of that, I felt very broken. I am a pretty independent and strong person and coming out of that, it made me really question myself, like how did I get here? And I just didn't have that little spark in me anymore. I felt just kind of, as a person, as a female being in any kind of relationship where you feel taken advantage of, I felt like I betrayed myself in a way. So all of those things that affects your confidence, right? So that strong, independent, go-getter, it wasn't there. She was gone. So for the next year, I started just doing things to try to just kind of rebuild and refine myself and kind of reconnect that spark back in me.

34:54 I think every person needs to do some type of volunteer work on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be every day. It doesn't have to be every month, but one month a year, every other month, once a week, whatever your schedule will allow, do something that's not about you and it's about somebody else. If we did those kinds of things more, even just little things, it changes our perspective. It makes us, over time, better people. Then we are kinder and have more compassion for humanity.

38:06 I feel like humanity is at it's anger stage right now. Everyone's just angry. It's not healthy for anybody, but if you can realize the inequities in the world and know how horrible they are and, over time, get away from the anger, but don't forget that the inequities are there, and then do something about it. I always say, if everyone just grabbed a corner, you know, we can get the sheet folded.

40:38 You've got to take yourself out of your element sometimes and do something different that has nothing to do with your job and your entrepreneurship, business, goals, or whatever.

44:13 Growth happens when you're uncomfortable. Growth happens when it's scary. Growth happens when there are mistakes. You're not going to grow if you're constantly trying to be perfect. If you are going to do something that's perfect because you've already had enough experience doing it, you're limiting yourself. But I love putting myself in uncomfortable, scary situations that force me to grow.

45:07 Have patience with the process. Whatever you're doing, or whatever your end goal is, it's probably going to take longer than what you anticipate. So love it, and have patience.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App