In this episode, Kristen Joy Laidig and I went where this podcast has not gone before: what it’s like to be a woman in business when it’s still a man’s world, the challenges of being yourself no matter what as well as the challenges with startups and what it takes to succeed and more!
Wealth Smart Program
Nerdvana Outpost (Offline Store)
Kristen’s books can be found at www.kristenonamazon.com
How to Crush it in Business without Crushing Your Spirit, How Entrepreneurs Can Overcome Depression and Find Success
One Funnel Away Challenge
3 Key Points
Always do the marketing research before opening a store. (I would say, always do the marketing research for any project before starting, including writing a book!)
Find a way to brand yourself that YOU are comfortable with!
Before you jump into a project that won’t make you money right away, make sure you have an additional source, or sources of income to fund it.
[00:01] Ellen: Hi and welcome to the first podcast of the new year and the new decade 2020 this is Episode 32, today my guest is Kristen Joy Laidig who decided that she was unemployable at the tender age of six when she started her first business making and selling pet rocks with nothing but a Sharpie marker, gravel and ingenuity.
She currently changes lives through her students one entrepreneur at a time, manages her and Tony’s (her husband) store Nerdvana Outpost in downtown Shamburg, Pennsylvania, creates products for her Etsy store, Makeatorium , she works behind the scenes on Tony’s ecomm store and is in the startup phase of at least three new business ideas at any given time. And consults existing business owners who are ready to level up their game on her off time. She says, “What’s that?”
She brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband, the great public-domain expert himself, Tony Laidig, and hangs out with her three ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep occasionally. Her books can be found online @kristinonamazon.com and can be ordered wherever fine books are sold.
Welcome to the call.
[02:06] Kristen: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
[02:08] Ellen: I have followed you and Tony for a long time, and I have a few of the courses, and I know that you guys do great work and, of course, I’m pretty sure I started after you, but either way, I learned from my peers. and we all kind of get what we need to get. And what I was saying before we got on this call was that it’s so fascinating to watch people’s journeys and how they may start in similar places and then how they go off into different things. And it’s just been really interesting following you because you just are always doing something new and courageous. So, my hat is off to you on that.
[02:47] Kristen: Some may argue with that courageous bit.
[02:51] Ellen: Yeah. Well anyway, so let’s start by letting people know about your story.
[02:57] Kristen: Well, like you mentioned with the bio there, I started my first business when I was six years old. I was selling pet rocks out of the driveway that I made out of the gravel. And if I’d known what ROI was back then, who knows how far I would have gone. My father shut me down, and he said, “Gravel costs too much money; you’re getting rid of it all.” I was selling a piece of gravel for 50 cents or 75 cents, not knowing I could buy an entire bag for $3.50. So, if I had known that back then… my family did support me as far as entrepreneurship goes. I’ve always done weird things for money from painting rocks to your traditional popcorn and cookie stand because I refused to do lemonade. If I did lemonade, it was an upsell from either popcorn or even Mac and cheese.
Ellen: Because you’re ornery or because you just want to be different… you want your own category design.
[03:53] Kristen: Well, one of the things I always…I founded the Book Ninja and then sold it just last year. But one of the things that I always taught my authors was to find a gap and fill it. There’s too much of the same going on. But if you can find a gap within that same like, okay, well you can have the traditional lemonade stand, but what else can you sell with it? Either as an upsell or make the lemonade the upsell. And so, you’re going in with something that already exists that is doing well, but then filling a need in the marketplace. And that’s something that I’ve preached to authors. I’ve consulted all of the business owners that I’ve worked with on it and my students, and it just makes a lot of sense.
[04:35] So, I pretty much got my start in trying to make money from a very early age all the way up through high school where I had a vending machine in my locker until the school shut me down and put in a vending machine of their own. So apparently, they saw that it was a good idea.
[04:52] Ellen: You are too funny.
[04:55] Kristen: I thought selling candy bars would be a good idea, and I made a lot of money off of that except I ate my profits. So, it didn’t really work out that well. For every six bars I sold, I think I ate half of them.
[05:09]. Ellen: That’s hysterical. Okay. And then what, what came next?
[05:13] Kristen: College, because my parents were firm believers that I needed to go to school. I was not so convinced, and I do believe in education though, don’t get me wrong. But I also believe that especially people who are entrepreneurial driven may not be called to go to traditional education. So, I sort of wasted four years of my life playing with art because I could do whatever I wanted as long as I went to school and ended up with that piece of paper, and it was a lot of fun, and it was a lot of debt.
But I did start my first business, my first actual tax business where, you know, the IRS said, “Hey, we want a piece of that.” And I did that my senior year of college. I started at a stained-glass business that ran for about three years. And, I got into publishing. And once I got into publishing, everything just really took off. And I ended up being full time with my graphic design and publishing company in 2008. I believe it was. So, I’ve been full time for quite some time now and never looked back. I lasted six months in corporate America with a temp job, and I will never see the inside of a cubicle like that again.
[06:23] Ellen: Yeah. I can’t imagine you there.
[06:25] Kristen: No, I don’t fit in well.
[06:27] Ellen: Yeah. Okay. So, but then once you did publishing, like when I first reached out to you, I thought that’s what we were going to talk about. And then you were saying, “Oh, I sold that and I’ve moved on.” So, what came after that?
[06:38] Kristen: Well, funny story. I’ve been struggling, honestly. Those of us who are entrepreneurial addicts, as I call myself, that’s all my business cards now, “Entrepreneurial Addict”. We can’t stop starting businesses. I started two retail stores, then I started a local marketplace, which is like antiques and art. And I really love the startup process so much that I wanted to help other startups, but I was still floundering a bit because I had this whole Book-Ninja thing weighing me down. I was pretty much over working directly with authors and ready to move on to other things, you know, something different. So, I ended up selling the Book Ninja, and it is now in the hands of Apex authors, which they’re doing great things with it. And I told my husband, Tony, and we brainstorm all the time.
[07:31] You can’t have two entrepreneurs in the house and not brainstorm. People ask if we sleep, and we really sort of sleep. We’ll wake up at three o’clock in the morning. “Hey, I just got an idea.” Then we’re brainstorming.
[7:43] Ellen: We do that too. And my husband’s retired, but we still do it.
[07:47] Kristen: Oh good. I love hearing other people that do that cause it to me, it’s so unusual.
[07:56] Ellen: I’ll say to him, “Oh, we’re having another slumber party tonight.”
[07:57] Kristen: Exactly. Like, “I know you’re awake at [4:00] AM because you have to go to the bathroom, but I got an idea, can we brainstorm it quick?” And then he gives me some great insight, and then falls asleep and starts snoring again. And I’m like, “Crap, now I’m awake. Now I’ve got to do something.” But I was just… I was rolling in a frustrated part of my life.
[08:16] And keep in mind, this was just a few months ago. So, this is recent. And I’m sitting in my office chair, and one of the struggles that I have as a woman in business, especially in this local area, is judgment. People judge me because of how I dress, how I look, how I show up. I could show up and command a room, but if I’m wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, I’m not going to be taken seriously. If I’m wearing a hoochie dress, you can bet they’re going to pay attention.
[08:43] And I actually yelled at the town council once about that. So, I’m not really one for being ignored. Yeah, I don’t do that real well. So I told him, I said, “You know what? I just wish that I could be a casual entrepreneur and just brand myself as casual, that way it becomes part of my brand. I don’t have to show up with full-blown makeup and hair as if I’ve been getting myself ready for prom every freaking day.I can just be me and be comfortable and give other women in business permission to be the same.” because that’s a huge passion of mine; like quit letting people judge you and just show up as you.
[09:20] And he said, “There’s your brand.” Cause that’s a big part of my struggle. I can’t move forward without a title for a book. I can’t move forward without a brand. And I went, “Wait, what? He goes, “Yeah, the casual entrepreneur. We’re both casual.” Like he stopped wearing button- down shirts after we got together. So, like five years he’s wearing jeans and tee shirts as well. He did get married in a button-down shirt, but it was short-sleeved. I let him be pretty casual for that too.
[09:46] Ellen: I saw those pictures; they were casual. Yeah,.
[09:50] Kristen: It worked great. And that’s how that formed, and I’m like, “Okay, that’s my brand.” And so, I had to re-render every video I’d already done under “The Entrepreneurship Trainings” to be “The Casual Entrepreneur” and switch my website and everything. And now it is officially “The Casual Entrepreneur” with trainings for entrepreneurs, mostly for startups. I love helping startups.
[10:15] Ellen: Why do you think that is?
[10:17] Kristen: It’s always new. It’s always different. It’s always a challenge. And I’ve started so many different kinds of businesses now. I think I have some very unique insights that a lot of other people don’t, like most business consultants focus in corporate, or they’re trained by other organizations that are awesome organizations, like with leadership and management and that sort of thing, but they don’t have the well-roundedness of multiple different types of businesses that they’ve worked in. And like usually they specialize. And so, no matter what the startup is, I can give them some guidelines on how to move forward.
[10:57] I’ve actually consulted a real-life rocket scientist, which was super cool. And I’ve consulted college kids who are just getting started. One kid, he was so excited to work with me and it was for a competition, a local competition, which he actually won. and he’s like won third place on it, which he got a grant, which is cool. And this kid put me to shame. He was 23 years old and he was working on buying his third rental property. I was like, why am I consulting you? Let’s trade. So, it just goes to show that no matter where someone’s expertise is in and how inferior you may feel when they start talking about what they do, you probably know something that they did not and can still be there as a sounding board guideline. And that’s actually one of the conversations I had that made me really think about my direction because that was right before I sold The Book Ninja, and I was struggling with what to do with it and what my new direction was going to be.
[11:59] And that kid just opened up my eyes. And his response to me opened me up to be like, “Hey I, I do have something to offer entrepreneurs.” and especially with the stuff that I’ve done in the author space and the way I’ve grown six multi-six-figure businesses and gotten past my own crap in my head; I’m keeping it Rated G for you. But the crap that is clouding our heads all the time, that keeps us from stepping into where we’re powerful and where we need to show up. And you and I have talked a little bit about this off-camera so to speak with abundance mindset, and I know your podcast is all about that. And you know, a lot of authors, especially in artists seem to really struggle.
[12:52] Ellen: Yeah, yes. Yeah, absolutely.
[12:10] Kristen: And I think coming at it from the angle of entrepreneurship, rather than I just want to leave my legacy and write a book someday, that is a whole different angle because working with people who already know they want the entrepreneurship side of things gets past at least one barrier that they have towards abundance. And they’re usually, those types are a little more open to it and less closed off. And I just want to, you know, sit-in-my-closet-and-write-all- day-long types.
[13:28] Ellen: It’s really hard. It’s really hard., I’ve worked with so many authors over the years. I started in 2004 just working with authors the whole time. And like you, I found that authors/entrepreneurs, of course, do way better than authors. I started out thinking I was just going to be an author. I didn’t know about coaching or being an entrepreneur or any of that. It was something I had to grow into. But I saw very quickly because I had good mentors who said the money’s not in the books. You know?
[13:56] Kristen: Yeah. So true.
[13:58] Ellen: Luckily there were things that I enjoyed doing that I saw I could make money at, like coaching. So yeah, but so many don’t. And I see that like on Facebook, I have a couple of clients where their posts pain me because they are constantly struggling and freaking out because the rent’s due and they don’t have it or whatever. And it’s, you know, it’s frustrating. But that was one of the reasons I wanted to name this podcast Books, Business and Abundance because I want people to get past…being an author is great, but it’s just, it’s one piece,
[14:33] Kristen: Right? It’s one tiny little piece.
[14:36] Ellen: And I wanted to go back to what you said about your style because it’s so funny because I was on a video interview one time and this woman was interviewing me, and then after the interview she contacted me, and she was saying how I can make a lot more money if I dressed differently.
[14:56] Kristen: Yeah. I’ve heard that one.
[14:58] Ellen: I didn’t know what to do with that at first, you know? But the truth is like in my situation is that if I put on a bunch of clothes, I’m going to be hot and sweating in front of the camera. And so, I’m usually in a camisole, and then, sometimes, I’ll wear a sweater over it or I’ll, you know, whatever. But that was also why part, why I didn’t want to do a video podcast
[15:25] Kristen: I was going to ask you if it was video or audio because I was like, “Oh crap, I am not ready for video today.”
[15:29] Ellen: Yeah, exactly
[15:31] Kristen: Maybe tomorrow, but not today.
[15:33] Ellen: Exactly. And that’s the thing, you know a lot of people say that to me. It’s like, “Oh, I just woke up,” or “Is it going to be video or not because I don’t look good today,” Or,“ Oh I have a cold” or you know, whatever it is. So, I just felt like, first of all, I just like audio, and not only that but I’m good at (basic) audio editing, but I still can’t video edit. So, just everything about video is like, “I don’t want to do this.” But the main thing was what you said, makeup? Oh my God. If I have to wear makeup all the time, my eyes are like a puffy mess, you know, I can’t, I literally can’t do it.
[16:09] Kristen: I have three cats, and I’m actually allergic to cats. And so, if I get one in their hairs in my eyes and I rub it, there goes all the makeup.
[16:19] Ellen: Yeah.
[16:21] Kristen: I use it sparingly.
[16:24] Ellen: Yeah. But like you, I just decided at some point, Hey, if somebody doesn’t want to work with me because I’m wearing a camisole instead of a jacket. Good riddance.
[16:34] Kristen: Exactly. It just means that they’re setting themselves up to judge you on everything. It’s not performance-based anymore. Now you’re how you show-up based.
[16:43] Ellen: Right. And it is a female thing, we do think about those things and the ways that men don’t because they don’t have to worry about makeup.
[16:52] Kristen: They can show up in nice dark jeans and a nice shirt, like just a regular button-up polo shirt or something and they’re treated as if they’re multi-million-dollar, you know, business owners. But if a woman shows up like that, forget it. Like we’ve got to be in heels and suits. That’s just, that’s not my style at all.
[17:14] Ellen: Let me ask you a question. I’ve never talked to anybody about this on any of my podcasts, but it’s feeling right to ask you, so I will. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you were treated differently or discriminated against because you are a woman other than the dress?
[17:28] Kristen: Mm. Yes, absolutely. Other than how I dressed, I actually dressed nice too. I was wearing a skirt to one of the town council meetings and this would be the second time that this happened, so it wasn’t the first time. The third time, I actually confronted the guy, but the head of the council, they open it up for the floor for comments and questions on different topics. And it was a topic that we were very passionate about because we have two retail stores and both of them were downtown at the time. And I had my arm up really tall. I was the only one with my hand up. And he kept looking around. He looked right at me. He said, “Anyone else? Anyone else? Anyone else?” Totally ignore me. Now, I’d only been there one other time as far as putting my hand up.
[18:11] I’d been there a few times, but I’d only been visible one other time. So finally, I got up and I got angry, and I said what I needed to say. I just interrupted him, and then I sat back down. Well, the third time I happened, Tony was with me. The other times he wasn’t with me. And the same exact thing happened only this time I was dressed casually, but that second time I was dressed very nice. Third time, I was dressed casually, just a nice shirt, not it when it was like, not really a blouse, but it wasn’t a tee shirt, and dark flare jeans and nice boots. So, still casual but not like tennis shoes and tee-shirt and shorts. And I had my arm up again, and I was the only one with my arm up. And people around me are mumbling like, “Why isn’t he choosing her?”
[18:57] And then he’s like, “Okay, moving on.” I stood up, threw my arm as high as I could, and he goes, “Oh, did you want to say something?” And I literally screamed at him. And I said, “Why don’t you ever choose me? I’m the only one here with my hand up. Is it because I’m a woman?”
And he went, “Whoa.” And I just started mumbling. I felt like I made a total fool of myself, and I felt awful. I said what I needed to say, and then I sat down, and I was red, and I was just part anger, part embarrassment. It’s like, “Great, now everybody in the whole room is going to judge me.” What I didn’t realize was when I like afterwards if they had an intermission-type thing, and I went outside. We were getting ready to leave, and four council women came up to me; it’s very heavy on the middle-aged white male, and they’re very good old boys club around here.
[19:44] So this is not just council, this is just the area of how they view women, but four women came up to me, all four of them sit council seats and said, “Thank you so much. It’s about time somebody stands up to that…” and then they gave him a choice word. And I went, “Really?” They’re like, “Yeah, nobody stands up to him, least of all women, and he treats us all the same way he’s been treating you.” And they noticed that this had become a pattern. This was not just because of how I was dressed, it was because I was female. And when they told me that, I was like, “Wow, we need a council run by women, and I am not going to be on it, but we need women to step up.” So, I think it does, definitely, it’s determined by where you live for sure.
[20:33] Kristen: But in general, we businesswomen are still suppressed. I mean, Tony is a very rare breed where he loves powerful women.
[20:43] Ellen: So does my husband. They have to. Yeah.
[20:46] Kristen: Exactly. My ex was not that way, but Tony is very supportive and very much… he’s got power women in his whole family. And he’s actually confronted some of our male employees who would treat me like crap in front of him and say, “You don’t have the right to do this. First of all, she’s your boss and she’s the one who processes your paychecks. But beyond that, she is a woman and she deserves respect.”
[21:14] And I wish we had more men in the world like that. That would be amazing. But until then, we businesswomen, we just have to learn how to stand up in our power no matter what we look like. Because I’ve learned that I can walk into a room and I can command that room. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve got a hoodie on or if I’m wearing a dress. If I show up with confidence that I have something of value, then the doors are going to be opened.
[21:42] Ellen: Nicely said. So let me ask you, how did Tony react to that whole scene?
[21:47] Kristen: He was first, he was like, he’s just sitting there, and he just looks at me and goes, “Okay.” And I went, “I told you I’m sick of this crap.” Then, he goes, “Okay, well you ready to go?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m ready.” And then, when the councilwoman came up to me, one of them came up while he was near me and he heard everything. So on our way home, he’s just like, “I wish these guys would just get their heads out of their butts and start listening.”
[22:16] Ellen: The reason I asked you is that I’ve never felt, that I was aware of, like discriminated against for being a woman ever until this year.
[22:24] Kristen: Interesting.
[22:25] Ellen: Yeah. But it was a situation where something happened, I don’t really want to say, but anyway, but what happened was he started yelling at me like out of nowhere, just screaming at me on the phone, and I thought my husband was going to jump up and take the phone and start screaming at him. For a minute there I was really, “Calm down, calm down.” And when I got off the phone I was like, “Wow, where did that come from?” The first thing I did was I got on the phone with a friend, and the first thing she said to me was, “He would not have talked to you like that if you were not a woman.”
[22:58] Kristen: That’s right.
[22:59] Ellen: And I went, “Oh my God, you’re right.” It’s like that never even occurred to me because I don’t think that way.
[23:07] Kristen: No, I didn’t use to until it started happening to me, and my mom said that I’ve always marched to the beat of a different drummer, which is very true. It’s how I approach everything. But I’m not one to let people walk all over me. But when I realized that my former relationship was abusive, that’s why I… I didn’t allow him to walk all over me, but he tried. He tried to be very controlling. And I took matters into my own hands by becoming a hermit. And extroverts don’t do well as hermits. We’re not meant for that.
[23:46] I remember there were about three and a half weeks where I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t even walk out the check the mail. Three and a half weeks I stayed inside. I can’t imagine doing that now. The most I’ve ever stayed inside was two days, and that was during a six-foot-tall snowstorm that we couldn’t get of our house. We had to like tunnel our way out, and Tony and I are both going crazy cause we leave the house multiple times a day now.
[24:11] Ellen: Right. Let’s talk about that. So, you leave the house several times a day going to your physical stores?
[24:19] Kristen: Not really. We have employees manage those.
[24:24] Ellen: wait a minute. We talked about this a little bit before we started this call too, and I really want to talk about this because I said to you that you had a lot of courage starting a physical store, and I want you to share with the audience your thoughts on that.
[24:39] Kristen: It’s not for the faint of heart. We were informed, I wouldn’t say warned, but definitely informed by other local retailers the struggle that we were going to face and we thought, “Oh well, we got this,” because we kind of went into it, both of us, with a bit of an ego because we know marketing.
[24:59] Online marketing is what we do for a living. And we did approach things differently than most retailers, which I think is why we did the numbers that we did. But because of our online businesses funding everything, we’re going to catch 22; we still are, retail startups typically won’t start making money for five years and we’re only in year two. So, we’ve got a few more years to go of some major tax deductions here until we start seeing any kind of green from it. But if we’d listened to them, we probably wouldn’t have taken the steps that we took.
[25:33] And we’re always discussing that daily. Like is it really worth it? Are we okay with the lessons that we learned through this? What was the purpose of it? Cause we actually closed our first toy store in downtown, moved it to a market concept that we started, and then I was forced out of the business by the owner. And now, that’s gone so downhill because he throughout every system process I put in place; and that’s a whole other story.
[25:57] He’s typical good old boy, mindset and does not like women, and makes that incredibly clear. The only reason he was willing to do anything with us was because Tony was one of the partners. So, because that’s going downhill now, we’re having to change our business model yet again for that store.
[26:16] And quite honestly, we’ve been facing its death now for a year in were like, “So, are we going to just kill it off? What are we going to do with all this inventory?” Because it’s not like you can just close a store. You have to keep in mind there’s $80,000 in inventory, so we got to do something.
[26:35] Ellen: That’s a lot.
[26:36] Kristen: Yeah, that’s a lot. We have six large storage units, the biggest ones, our storage place has, and they’re nearly full already, and some of that’s inventory. Some of that stuff we’ve been trying to get rid of. But anyway, as far as being courageous, I don’t know how much of it was courage and how much of it was stupidity. But our nerd store, which is still in downtown Chambersburg, it’s a fun, happy place. We know we can make it work.
[27:05] We’ve also learned a lot about the demographics of this area. We went in completely blind, no studies, no real demographics research other than what we could discover on USPS because they do a direct-mail campaign thing that you can see like dollar amounts that people make, median income, stuff like that.
[27:22] And when we looked at that, we realized that we were located in the most impoverished area of Franklin County, the whole county. We’re like, “Okay, this is not a good idea. Location really is everything.” Online it doesn’t matter so much. But it didn’t matter how much online ingenuity we brought to the offline world, it wasn’t working.
[27:44] And one of the few things that we do that the other local retailers do not, and I doubt very many retailers at all do this, is we track our metrics. We know when someone walks in the door, we guesstimate their ages, how many people are in their party; we write that down. And when they walked in the door, when they walked out of the door, and if they spent any money, we write down the dollar amount of their transaction. So, we can track, and we know buying trends. It’s how we were able to tell that families would come in on Saturday and grandma would come back on Monday and spend the money on the birthday presents.
[28:19] And so that’s dictated all of our decisions. And that’s important in any business, online or offline to track those numbers, but especially offline, especially if you have any employees or you’re looking at hiring some help, because once you add payroll into the equation, payroll and inventory are no joke, and they’ve caused some financial struggle. And we lived in survival mode for a full year and both of us have a pretty decent, abundant mindset. And we have really focused hard on growing in abundance and like, I don’t know if you know, Joe Vitale and Bob Proctor and all those guys.
[28:57] Ellen: Joe Vitale was one of my first mentors. I took a copywriting ecourse through email with him. He was one of the very first ones I ever took.
[29:07] Kristen: How awesome. He was one of Tony’s first too. He was my first abundance mentor. And if I’m not constantly like, what am I trying to say here? If I’m not constantly looking and listening to or reading information from him and from others like him, I can go downhill really fast. Even yesterday, I was looking at the bank accounts going, “I don’t know how we’re going to make these payments coming out. We have payroll, it’s near the end of the month, so we have all the beginning of the monthly expenses,” and I’m going, “I just don’t see how it doesn’t matter how good the store does, I just don’t see how this is going to happen.”
[29:48] And then, I had to tell myself, “You know what? I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to focus on all the cool stuff that we have, all the great things in our lives.” Because you’ve probably heard the mantra before. Stop looking at what you don’t have and give thanks for what you do have. And that’s really what it boils down to. It keeps coming back to that one sentence. And I keep thinking there should be more to it, but there’s not. It is that simple. And I just started…
[30:12] Ellen: Well also, focus on money-making activities too; I have to tell myself that, cause sometimes I get off into, “Oh, I want to do this” or “I want to do that. Yeah, but this is not what’s going to make me money.”
[30:25] Kristen: Right. And that’s one of the other things that we’re doing right now is I have taken over Tony’s e-comm store, and I’m merging it with our retail store. So, this is a lot of work. I’m working eight to ten hours a day on cleaning this up. We have 1900 skews. I have to go through one by one. It’s a lot.
[30:45] Ellen: That is a lot, but you said something important too: one of the people that I had interviewed is Bashir Katou. And he was saying that how he got all this money from family and friends and they built a restaurant; they opened a restaurant. And he was an Iraqi immigrant. And they ended up not getting insurance, and the place burned down, and they lost everything.
[31:13] Kristen: Oh, no!
[31:14] Ellen: Yeah, and then he went online. And now, he’s making like a hundred thousand a month and yeah, doing eCommerce and in Amazon.
[31:24] Kristen: That’s honestly why I’m moving in that direction. And I liken it to having to get… like wanting to get my pilot’s license someday where it feels out of reach because it’s not easy. It’s a whole other language. And I’ve had to psych myself every morning and do mind tricks for six months to get myself to the point where I feel ready to take this over, because I am literally learning an entire new business model.
[31:55] Ellen: But, that’s what you do. It’s like you hate it and you love it at the same time.
[32:02] Kristen: Well, and that’s just it. I had to psych myself into viewing it as a normal startup that I would want to start up. And I told Tony, even yesterday, I said, “I’ve had to go to bed at night every single night this week because I officially took it over last week. And every night I think of one big thing that I want to accomplish. One goal, it doesn’t have to be big, but something I want to get done on the eCom store.” And I force myself to feel excitement about it because it’s a choice. I have to choose the excitement, otherwise, I’m going to wake up dreading it and not want to get out of bed. And so, I’m choosing the excitement of that task.
[32:39] Ellen: These are really important lessons that you’re sharing. I really appreciate your honesty about it. What I started to say about Bashir is that you were smart enough that you have income from other places. He was like starting where he lost everything. So, one of the lessons is if you want to do something, and, sometimes, even on a smaller scale, like I really wanted to write the book, How to Crush it in Business without Crushing your Spirit, How Entrepreneurs can Overcome Depression and Find Success.
[33:08] And my coach said to me, “Well that’s not going to make you money.” And I said, “I don’t care. I have to do this,” because of my journey and because I had suffered from depression at different times in my business, and I didn’t see anyone talking about it, and I knew I wasn’t alone. And then, there was a rash of high-profile suicides, like Kate Spade and that kind of thing. So, that was important to me. And so, but you’ve got to be able to fund them. That’s the thing.
[33:39] Kristen: And insurance boy does that hurt to pay out every month. But it makes me grateful now hearing Bashir’s story that I have insurance, just case.
[33:49] Ellen: Yeah, exactly.
[33:50] Kristen: it’s definitely not an easy journey at all.
[33:54] Ellen: Sometimes the lessons we learn are really hard. When, when my husband and I started our first, well my first LLC, we tried to bootleg it (do it on the cheap), and we went to one of these places and we got the forms and everything. We filled it out, and it was a nightmare from beginning to end. It never worked properly. After a while I got started getting notices from them telling me they never got the payments and I’m like, “What are you talking about? I’ve been filing every single year,” and this went on for years, back and forth and getting bad information from them and it was a headache forever.
[34:28] I finally had to shut it down, and I’m still paying it off. So, the whole business side is really, really important. And so, that’s why I’m really excited; I know that you have a special offer for people, but before we get to that is there a single piece of advice that you would give someone considering entrepreneurship?
[34:48] Kristen: if you’re considering it, there’s a couple of pieces of advice. Don’t quit your day job, like you mentioned, having a secondary source of income; that’s been what’s kept us afloat is having that source of income. Even while I’m building out this e-comm store, I’m not making money off of it right away. It’s a long-term play. Like hopefully within the next couple of months we’ll be making some money, but in the meantime, Tony has to work to supplement and I have to still teach a few courses here and there to supplement.
[25:36] So, don’t quit your day job and also never, ever, ever give up because entrepreneurship is not just something you wake up one day and say, “Hey, I just, I’m sick of working for the man. I want to work for myself.” That could be part of it. That could be a catalyst, but it’s not what’s going to keep you going when you just want to quit and go get that day job again.
[35:35] Entrepreneurship is something that you have to make the choice every single day that, “Yes, I choose this, I want to do this, I’m excited about this.” And eventually, once you make yourself unemployable, you can’t imagine anything else no matter how tough it gets; you might want to quit and go crawl into a hole…
[35:52] Ellen: Right, right. Well, speaking of that I’ve always been unemployable. I was just never a good employee (not because I didn’t do a good job, but because I got bored easily) and I can remember I had jobs like in the ’70s, I’m dating myself, but I had jobs where I was an editor at a magazine, and I made five bucks an hour. Can you live on five bucks an hour today? No. Now maybe it’s ten bucks an hour, but you still can’t live on that.
[36:18] And then, I was in the music business for twenty, almost twenty years and after I came out of that, my skills were so niched-unless I could get a job at a publishing company or something like that, nobody was going to hire me there either. So, when you’re wake up and you’re almost fifty, or maybe I was fifty, and I was unemployable, then what?
[36:39] I was a late bloomer. I didn’t start till I was fifty in this business, fifty-something. So, yeah, so everybody kind of, like we said, everybody has a different journey, but it’s the same with me. It’s like what I did for years as I had my signature workshop, the 3 Days to eBook Cash Workshop, and I would teach it two, three times a year. And not only did I get eventually burned out on just product launch after product launch, but I got to the point where it’s like I never systematized. I never automated. (I did create a homestudy version, though.)Yeah.
[37:09] And then a friend of mine got me into the One Funnel Away Challenge, and one of the first things that Russell Brunson says in that challenge is, “The time’s going to pass anyway. So, what are you going to do? What are you going to do this month, next month? Where are you going to be in a year or two years?” And I thought, “I can’t keep doing it the way I was doing it.” And so, I did exactly what you just said. my long-term thing was creating my first funnel, and it took me almost a year to do it because I created all new courses and everything, plus learning a new system and all that. So, I did that, and we’re just getting ready to launch it, in the new year.
[37:45] And the other thing that he said that I thought was really important was that people go to school to become an attorney and it takes them seven years or they become a doctor. It takes them fifteen years, but they get online and they want to be an online entrepreneur, and if it doesn’t work in two months and they’re ready to quit.
[38:03] Kristen: Yeah.
[38:05] Ellen: Right?
[38:06] Kristen: Yeah. It’s just going to mention like one other piece of advice I’d love to leave people with is don’t go in alone. In doing this e-comm stuff, I know a little bit because we Shopify for both of our retail stores, but we are members of an organization that teaches us step-by-step what we need to do. And I’ve literally spent the last week optimizing.
[38:25] I started with the optimization before the site even went live. I just hit the button to make the preliminary site live just so that I can start testing things in a live platform now, because some of the apps won’t work any other way. And if I’m not doing all the optimization first I can launch a few products and I might sell one or two, but not having that backend in place means that I’m going to be working and playing catch up the whole time, and it’s going be that much harder. Would I have known to do that if I didn’t have this membership that we pay for every month? And it is not cheap; it is a is definitely an investment. I wouldn’t; I’d be flying completely blind
[39:04] Ellen: And a lot of times people are penny wise and pound foolish as my husband says. They think, “Oh, it’s too expensive,” but they don’t think about what’s it going to cost me if I don’t do it?
[39:15] Kristen: Right. And that is a question you’d ask yourself anytime you’re looking at a software tool or a training program or a coach is “How much money is this actually going to save me by investing it?” And I can tell you if my time is worth only ten bucks an hour, which is pathetic for what I do. It’s more like I charge $300 an hour, but if it was ten bucks an hour, I would still be saving myself $40,000 to $50,000 a year just because I’m spending a few hundred bucks a month on this.
[39:49] Ellen: Right. Well, I got to say, as I said, my hats off to you guys, I think what you do is awesome, and the risks that you take, but knowing what you know, you know how to go about it, even when you’re struggling or whatever, you know what the steps are to do, to keep yourself going, to get out when you need to or to do what you have to do. And I know that you have a small course on this that we wanted to mention to people. So why don’t you tell them a little bit about the course, and then I’ll give them the URL.
[40:20] Kristen: Yeah, the course is one that my students said is probably the best one that they’ve ever taken. And that came from three different people, not just one. It’s called Wealth Smarts. And this is one of those trainings where I do something that most people will never do. 40;38 And I actually opened up our books. I opened up our bank accounts in front of the students. And the way that I handle the “B” word budgeting, I call it the “B” word. And then we also talk about something that I call the “Void Theory”, which I’ve taught on before with authors. But I’ve updated it cause we’re always doing new things, testing new things and learning new things and having new experiences. And the void theory essentially is a mindset game you can play with your bank account that enables you to have the capacity to make more money.
[41:15] Because we only make enough money for what we have the capacity to do mentally, whether we want more or not. It doesn’t matter. Wanting is nothing. Actually having that capacity; it’s like an empty jar that you can fill up. Having that jar be larger and larger and larger takes work. It takes mind-game work. And so, I talk about that and we also talk about practical systems and processes that I use in our businesses to keep our financial stuff safe. Not just safe from hackers, but safe from ourselves in some cases. And there’s a whole section on what I call the “Abundance Equation” where we talk about how to grow beyond your own needs. Because so many entrepreneurs start out with, “I just want to put my kid through college” or “I just want to be able to work from home to have more time for my family.
[42:07] And that’s all fine, well and good. And those are great why’s. But what about when your family’s gone? What about when your kids grow up and move? What about when they leave college and get married? Then what? Is this something you want to grow beyond that? You need to have different why’s throughout your entire business, so, we talk about that.
[42:25] And I love this part. I’m just going to read this to you right off the sales page. “The one powerful thought, the single most important piece you should walk away within this course, and I’m zipping my mouth shut on that. You’ll have to enroll to find out more.” I honestly don’t remember exactly what that is. I’m going to have to go back to my course. But, it was powerful enough; it definitely made a difference. But that’s the course, Wealth Smarts, and it is one of my favorites that I’ve ever taught. I think maybe because I was extra vulnerable in it; I love showing some vulnerability and helping others. And you can’t do that without opening up yourself and, sometimes, your business in a way that can be a little scary and intimidating, at least to me, but it wasn’t to my students, but it’s one of the most helpful trainings I’ve ever done.
[43:14] Ellen: Well, that was awesome and they can get it at http://ellenlikes.com/klaidig I’m kind of blown away by how honest you’ve been today on this podcast, and I really appreciate it. I think most people do not go where we just went. So, thank you. Really. Thank you. This was awesome.
[43:42] Ellen: You’re very welcome. It was my pleasure.
[43:45] Ellen: So that’s it for today. To get the transcripts, you can go to www.booksbusiness,abundance.com/podcast. And to continue the conversation, you can go to www.facebook.com/groups/booksbusinessabundance. And that’s where you can ask questions, delve deeper into today’s topics and share comments and takes away. So, I hope I’ll see you there. Bye-bye.
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