I know many of you are starting your online business with the intention of having a side business. This can be a great place to begin especially if you’re not quite sure which direction to go or how much time you want to put in. Oftentimes “side businesses” expand and grow into full-time entrepreneurial businesses, and that’s why it’s so very important to have the tools and education you need to make it exactly what you want it to be.
Mark your calendars because I’m super excited to be speaking at both of Christy Wright’s “Business Boutique,” world-class events in May of this year. Christy’s research and expertise on helping women entrepreneurs build and explode their side businesses is as inspiring as it is successful. Of course, I’ll be talking about understanding social media today and the best applications for building your online business effectively and stress-free.
Here’s just a snippet of the what the event is all about… Business Boutique is geared toward women entrepreneurs and will cover everything from fears and finance to life balance, monetizing your platform, and social media. The two-day events in Phoenix (May 13-14) and Dallas (May 20-21) boast some of the most recognized faces in the faith-based space. You can learn more about Business Boutique here and enter the code BBPORTERFIELD for $10 off. Christy Wright – Business Boutique. I hope to see you there!
I recently had the pleasure and opportunity to chat with Christy Wright. I’ve decided to share our conversation with you because it’s laced with mindset values and business perspectives that are incredibly important for whatever type of business you wish to start or expand. We spoke about business overwhelm, wearing too many hats in your business, how to focus on your strengths and leave rest behind, and the infamous “work-life balance.” I know you’ll find value in our conversation, so let’s dive right in.
Amy: I know we’ll have a great time because we have an awesome topic to cover. Before we get into it, I would love for you to share a little bit about who you are and what you’re all about.
Christy: Sure, I would love to, Amy. It started with a story like I think it does for all of us. I was raised by a single mom. When I was six months old, she started a cake shop, a sweet, little bakery. You could say I’ve been in business my whole life.
Being raised by a powerful businesswoman gave me the desire to equip other women to do the same. I went to college, received an education in business, and became a certified business coach. Over the last couple of years I have been doing a lot of research on a new market—women with side businesses.
These women are incredibly educated, skilled, and talented, but they are also overwhelmed when it comes to running their businesses. I have made it my mission to help equip, empower, and support them so they can take their skills to the marketplace. I support them in earning extra money on their own terms, giving them the flexibility to work from home and/or make added income in addition to their full-time jobs.
Starting with my mom and her bakery, it’s neat to see how it’s all come full circle.
Amy: I love watching everything you’re doing because you’re truly on a mission and it’s obvious in all that you do. I want to give you a big shout out because who you are and what you do comes across in such an incredibly passionate way.
Christy: Well thank you.
Amy: Yeah, it’s very obvious. So tell me this, why do you think it’s so important to stay true to your strengths when you are starting your own side business?
Christy: One of the tricky things about starting a business is doing everything yourself. That means you wear a lot of hats and have a ton of responsibilities. The challenge when it’s all on you, whether in beginning business stages or through your whole process, is that you’re really not good at everything. I’m not good at everything.
As I help women identify what they are really good at early on, they can stay in their strengths and their businesses will be that much more successful. I encourage them to identify their strengths, outsource their weaker areas, learn to delegate, automate, ask for help, and barter. I suggest doing whatever they need to do to creatively bring someone into their business who is excellent in a particular area where they are lacking.
In the beginning of building your business you may not have the money to afford hiring someone but there are a lot of creative ways around those costs. Many people tell me they aren’t sure what they’re good at and don’t know how to figure it out. A good starting point is to answer the question, “What do you enjoy?”
“What do you really have fun doing?” To be honest, Amy, most of us don’t enjoy doing things we’re not good at. I’m not a good singer; I don’t like to sing. I like to do things I’m really good at. When you think about that it helps you identify what your strengths are.
Amy: I love that. A lot of women who are starting a side business are instantly faced with the whole idea of balance. My question to you is this—how can women who have made the decision to run their own side businesses maintain balance with their business and their family… and life in general?
Christy: The whole idea of balance is intimidating to most of us; we don’t know what it means. We think we’re supposed to have it but we don’t know how to get it much less what the definition is. When I travel around the country and speak on this topic, not just to women but to small business leaders at our EntreLeadership events, I propose to them that the whole idea of balance is kind of a myth.
You can have a sense of balance but it doesn’t necessarily mean what you might think it means. For example, balance is messy and imperfect; it doesn’t mean equality. You will have seasons of your life that are different. People get caught up in the idea of balance.
Does that mean you are supposed to give everything in your life an equal amount of time? Actually no, that’s not what it means. Balance means doing the right things at the right time. There will be seasons of your life where things fluctuate and change and that’s okay. The real place to notice balance is over the course of your life.
What it really comes down to, Amy, is life balance. By my definition, it means living from your values. That means spending your precious, limited, finite time only on what’s most important to you. If we’re honest as women, and I’ll speak for myself because I’m totally guilty of this, we spend a lot of time on things that are not important.
Christy: There are things we don’t have to be doing. We end up committing to things we resent and regret later. We try to wriggle out somehow. If we would find the courage to say, “No,” to set boundaries, to be willing to have confidence in our own choices as grown women, we would be able to spend our time only on what’s most important to us. These are the things, Amy, we love and enjoy that breathe life into us.
Amy: Yes, I love what you said. I just want to make sure I got it right. To you, balance is doing the right thing at the right time?
Christy: Exactly, yes. Creating balance is about living from your values and aligning your time with only those most important things. This means cutting out time wasters, some obligations, and commitments that your heart is not really into. A lot of people who are working full time ask, “Does life balance mean I’m supposed to spend 50% of my time at home and 50% of my time at work?”
That’s not it either. That’s not realistic. Life balance is not about a 50/50 split, it’s about being 100% present wherever you are. Be there; be in the moment. When you are with your family, put your phone down, look them in the eyes, laugh and tell stories. But when you’re at work or are working in your business, be focused, be there, give it the attention it deserves, and make a difference in the marketplace. The world needs you to do that.
It’s really about learning how to switch gears and giving yourself permission to be in those moments.
Amy: That reminds me… a new practice I have been focusing on lately is being present. A girlfriend of mine said, “When you struggle with being fully present, put your hands on your desk or wherever you are and say ‘I choose to be here now.’”
Christy: I like that.
Amy: Yeah, I say it out loud or in my head and kind of ground myself. It seems to snap me back. I love this message you’re sharing because I think so many women struggle with trying to figure out what balance really looks like. Your real, raw approach will be extremely appreciated by so many.
Christy: Thank you for that because one of the things I actually realized was that I became a mom about a year and a half ago. I think the moment you become a mom you experience that wonderful gift of mom guilt immediately. The thing about mom guilt is that it really gets you no matter which way you choose.
If you work at a traditional office job, you feel guilty for not being at home. If you are a stay-at-home mom you feel guilty for not working outside the home. All of the choices you make somehow feel like the wrong choice. I was leaving my son one day at daycare and I felt guilty. As I was driving away, I was focused on what I was leaving behind.
I was focused on my son at daycare and wondering if he was okay. Was he sad, did he need me, etc. My mind was in another place, not in the present moment. In that moment I felt like God said to me, “Christy, remember that what you’re doing is important.”
I was driving to the office—my calling, my job, my career, and God was saying that was important. This helped me to be present because I focused on the importance of what I was doing. It goes the other way too. Being a mom and being present for my child is important to me. Acknowledging this helps me shut the phone down, turn the computer off, and be present.
Amy: That’s so good; it’s very true. That actually leads me perfectly into my next question which is all about the power of the word, “No.” This one can be a difficult, difficult situation when you feel you should be saying, “Yes,” but you want to say, “No.”
When we’re talking about balance, you’ve got to say, “No,” probably more often than you say, “Yes.” Talk to me about this extremely powerful word and why it is so important that we actually use it and that we use it often.
Christy: Our time is finite. We all have the exact same 24 hours in a day. Therefore, how we use our time becomes a major factor in our ability to be successful in life. Understanding how this plays into our ability to be successful and manage our time versus everyone else managing our time is really, really important.
Warren Buffett has a great quote where he says, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say, ‘No’ to almost everything.” I think that’s interesting because a lot of women feel this way; we really have trouble saying, “No.” We want to be people pleasers and we have a Mother Teresa complex; we want to be everything to everyone every minute of the day.
Amy, I live in the South and here we want to be so nice and kind; we want everyone to like us. We feel very bad saying, “No.” I remind people that “no” is not a cuss word. It’s a complete sentence, just “no.” You don’t need a reason; you don’t need to justify it, apologize for it, or have an excuse to use it. Your life and your time is just that, it’s yours.
Your time is not obligated to anyone else. You don’t just have the right to say, “No,” you have the responsibility to say, “No.” If you don’t protect these things that are important to you in your own life no one else will. It’s up to you to be willing to use that powerful word to protect the most important things.
Saying, “No” allows you to say, “Yes” to your most important things. When you take the focus off the negative and put it on the positive, it makes it a whole lot easier. I will say, for people that don’t do this very often, it feels a little awkward at first. But I will remind everyone that saying the word “no” is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger that muscle becomes and the easier it is to use.
Eventually you’ll actually like it. You’ll feel more powerful, as if you actually have a say in your own life. Imagine that.
Amy: Imagine that. It does give you extra confidence. I love that feeling of confidence that comes from saying, “No, I’m taking control here and I’m going to decide how I’m going to spend my time and what I’m going to do.”
Let’s switch gears a bit. Tell me, how do you move from creating the concept of your side business to actually realizing your dream?
Christy: That’s a great question. In coaching women all over the country, I see a common issue—we have a problem called perfectionism. We want everything to be perfect. We want the blog colors and logos to be perfect and everything to match our business cards and Facebook Page. We want everything to be beautiful and wonderful before we put anything out there.
Unfortunately what happens is we never put anything out there. I encourage people to just get moving. Put something out there; take the first step. Write that first blog; create your first product. Tell someone in your church or community or work or school PTA that you’re doing this.
As you take one tiny baby step after another tiny baby step, each one fuels your confidence and your momentum to take that very next step. So often we look at the 5,000 things we have to do and we become overwhelmed. We don’t want to put anything out there until we do all of them and do them well. So it never happens and we lose a lot of opportunities in the process.
I encourage people to take that first step, whatever it might look like, wherever you are in your process or journey. Maybe it means writing a first blog. Maybe it means signing up for a WordPress or blog account. Maybe it means downloading a basic business plan and just putting your dreams on paper.
Amy: Yes, definitely. Once we start putting ourselves out there, one of the obstacles that a lot of women face is not liking the idea of charging people for their products, programs, and services. This seems especially true for those just getting started, just getting going with a side business. What do you tell women who don’t like to sell or don’t know what to charge for their goods? When they do get paid, how do they make sure they make the most of their profit?
Christy: I think all of us have been in the situation, and probably more than once, where we have been bothered by a pushy, aggressive salesperson. I’m reminded of kiosk retailers in the mall. I am just trying to get through the mall and they step out and want to put lotion on my hands; it’s very annoying. There will always be pushy salespeople.
I try to redefine the idea of sales for many of these women. They have been burned in the past or have had a bad experience and they don’t want to repeat it. If that’s what sales is then they don’t want to be in the business of sales. I need to remind them we are all really in the business of sales.
If you are married then you convinced someone; you sold someone on the idea that you are great enough to spend a whole life with, right?
Amy: That’s a good point.
Christy: If you got your kids to eat their vegetables last night, that was making a sale. We are all in the business of influence. That’s really what sales is. I encourage people rather than focusing on sales as an aggressive, pushy action, to think of it as serving and sharing your story. In my research, Amy, when I was interviewing many women, I asked them how they felt about sales.
They described it just how you described it, “I feel awkward, I feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to charge. I don’t want people to think I’m pushy.” They would go on and on from a negative perspective of sales. Then several questions later into the interview I asked them to tell me why they loved what they did.
Amy, they loved telling their stories and sharing from their heart why they loved to sew dresses. They loved watching little girls in the church lobby twirl around in the dresses they made. They loved creating a piece of furniture that was going to be a legacy piece passed down from generation to generation; or, being a photographer and capturing moments like weddings and childbirths that were going to be saved forever.
As they poured over sharing their stories with me, I wanted to buy their products or services because they shared their heart with me. I simply remind people if you just share your heart and you share your story and serve people well, the sale will naturally follow. You don’t have to get caught up in pushing your business on someone. Simply share who you are from a very natural, authentic place.
That is something most people can get excited about and be comfortable with.
Amy: Definitely. It is so fun to hear somebody talk about why they do what they do or what they love about their business. They come alive. You are right, it creates a desire to want to buy anything they are selling.
Christy: Exactly, it also helps you attract the right customers. It’s like fishing; if you put out the right bait, you are going to catch the right type of fish. When you share your heart, you will attract customers that are attracted to your business and your product. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing because you have attracted the right people.
Amy: Yes, exactly. Taking the first step to creating the side business can be extremely scary. It certainly isn’t always easy. So how can women in the midst of starting their business or even going through a tough time in their business, get past the fear that can often stop a side business in its tracks?
Christy: I think fear is definitely what holds people back more than anything else. In my research, it’s not a lack of products or services, it’s not a lack of ideas or resources or space or time or even money. It is just a huge overwhelming fear. It’s a fear of rejection; for many people in business, especially women, especially with “hand-crafted” side businesses for example, it’s not just “business,” it’s personal.
When you feel rejected, you take it as a personal criticism. It feels personal so the fear can creep up in ways that hold women back from really growing their businesses or even taking a first step.
I remind people (and myself) that fear is a very natural and normal part of the journey. Where people get caught up is thinking of fear as a red flag, a sign they are doing something wrong. They are scared of it so it must be a sign they shouldn’t do it. They take that fear as truth that they are not good enough, not qualified, and no one will want their offerings. They take all of those voices in their head as truth.
They stop what they’re doing and they’re stopped in their tracks. I remind people that fear is just a part of the journey. One of the quotes I always say, “Don’t wait until you’re not scared to do the thing that you want to do, just do it scared.”
Amy: Ooohhh! I like that.
Christy: Some people are scared all of the time. You’ve got to just do it anyway. You do it scared. If you’re waiting for the fear to leave, it will never leave. You just do it scared. One of the things I also remind people of is the imposter syndrome.
Researchers believe up to 70% of people suffer from this syndrome. It was actually a term coined in the 1970s. It amounts to feeling inadequate, unqualified, and undeserving of personal achievements. This tends to be experienced by women more often than men.
Here’s what’s interesting—it’s an attribute of very successful, high-achieving people. People sitting on their couches eating Cheetos are not having any fears that they are not doing enough. This is an attribute of high-achievers. If you look at history, incredible people in history including women that we love and look up to have felt the imposter syndrome. Maya Angelou, before writing any book or poem, shared how she felt she was going to be found out to be a fraud and everyone would laugh at her.
Kate Winslet, an award-winning actress, says that every time before she walks on a set she thinks they will kick her out. That little voice tells her she doesn’t deserve to be there and she has no idea how she got the role.
Amy: Oh my gosh.
Christy: When you look at this and think, “Are you kidding me?” Maya Angelou and Kate Winslet experienced that same fear and they are that successful? It gives you a sense of normalcy that you are okay and perfectly normal. You are in good company if you are in the company of Kate Winslet and Maya Angelou, who are making history.
It is awesome to think you are in good company and it’s a normal part of the journey. You don’t have to wait until that fear goes away to do the thing. Just do it scared.
Amy: Do it scared, what an amazing message. It’s a perfect way to wrap up our segment. But before I let you go, you have a very special event coming up called The Business Boutique. I am going to be speaking there. I am so excited about it.
I would love for you to share with my audience what it’s all about and whom it’s for. Just give us some details.
Christy: Absolutely. We had our first event last year in Nashville. It was sold out in November so these are our next two events for the spring. It is really coming off of the success in Nashville. We are so excited and are thrilled to have you speak with us.
I know the value you are going to add about social media and marketing is so important for these women. It’s such an awesome platform for them to be able to market their businesses. We’ve actually got two cities coming up. We are going to be in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 13th and 14th and in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, on May 20th and 21st.
Tickets for both events are available here. It’s a two-day event specifically to help women with their side businesses. Our tagline is “Equipping Women To Make Money Doing What They Love.”
We found at our first event that 30% of the audience didn’t even have an idea and they came as dreamers. They wanted to do something but they didn’t know what. We had another 30% that were getting an idea off the ground but it was the initial stages. The final 30% were running successful businesses. Our event was applicable to everyone on this spectrum.
The sessions are extremely tailored to where you are in your business. It is based on all of the research we have done. I would encourage anyone at any stage of business to join us; there is great benefit from the community and the content we provide and the encouragement we send you home with.
Amy: It’s going to be an amazing experience. I’m so excited to be a part of it. I am so thrilled that you have come on my show to speak about all of these important topics. I really love your passion; thank you so much for being with me here.
Christy: Amy, thank you for having me. I have enjoyed it.
I hope to see you at one of the two live Business Boutique Events. For more details, and to purchase tickets, check out their website, here.
The post Bringing Your Side-Business to Life with Christy Wright appeared first on Amy Porterfield.