Christy Wright: So here’s what’s interesting, and this is research-based, this is not just my experience alone. But I think we can all agree men and women, in general, are wired differently. And women, generally, are very, very relational. So we value ourselves by our relationships, as a mother, as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend, as a wife, and so on. Well this is great in business, because we are amazing at customer service. You don’t have to tell a woman how to take care of people, because that’s what she does, that’s who she is. It’s like telling a fish to swim, like this is who we are.
However, being wired relationally tends to pose some challenges when relationships are at play in business. For example, pricing . . .
Pat Flynn: You’re listening to Christy Wright, a good friend of mine from Business Boutique. Business Boutique is also an event that I spoke at that is run by Christy and her team over at the Dave Ramsey Group. And it was probably one of the most spectacular events I’ve ever spoken at. Over 3,000 people in this amazing space, very professional. I felt like I was being taken care of the whole time, and more than that, the response from the audience just blew my mind. And what I love about what Christy has built as a business woman is she’s built not just some of the best information I’ve seen online, but specifically tailored to women in her goal to help women start businesses.
And I wanted to bring her on today to talk not just about how to get started in business and how to overcome those fears that we all have, but I haven’t really wanted to have her come on to speak to me, and to a lot of the men out there, and also the women, but mainly just talk about women in business. I severely think women are underrepresented in the business space. I feel like there is a ton of talent that we just don’t even know exists, which is why I wanted to bring a talented woman on to share with us some of the things we can think about when it comes to gender and entrepreneurship. This is a little bit different of an episode, but you know, as a business owner and an entrepreneur and somebody who is trying to deliver value, I think it’s really important to talk about all kinds of topics.
And we get a little deep in this episode, but it’s going to be massively helpful, whether you are a man or a woman and you’re listening. And I appreciate you so much. Let’s cue the music, then we’ll get to the good stuff. Here we go.
Announcer: Welcome to The Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host—he once contemplated becoming a lawyer, until he job-shadowed for a day—Pat Flynn!
Pat: What’s up Team Flynn? Welcome to Session 362 of The Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time and help more people too. Like you know, today we’re speaking with Christy Wright from BusinessBoutique.com. You know what we’re talking about. Sit back. Enjoy. Here we go.
Hey Christy, welcome to The Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.
Christy: Hey Pat. Thanks for having me. I’m excited about this.
Pat: Absolutely. And I wanted to thank you publicly here, because I went to your event a couple years ago, Business Boutique. It was by far one of the most favorite experiences I’ve ever had on stage. Thank you so much for that opportunity. Your fans and the people under your wing are just amazing. Everybody I met there had some amazing stories to share about how you’ve changed their lives.
Christy: Well you were a huge hit. It’s a really special tribe. It’s amazing. It’s this close-knit family. And I’m sure you experienced this even with your listeners as well where you kind of lock arms, and you say “You know what, business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be, and we’re gonna do this together.” So we loved having you, and of course we’ve had you on the podcast. And you’re just such a huge hit with our tribe, so we’re always so grateful for you.
Pat: Thank you, and what I loved about the event that was very different from the hundreds of others that I’ve been at was that you had a row of vendors outside of the main stage. And I was like “Oh, this is cool.” These were very women-driven businesses and stuff; I realized that they all started as a result of being a part of your tribe. These businesses wouldn’t have started without you. I thought that was really cool to kind of showcase your people there like that.
Christy: Yeah it’s fun. And a lot of times what we’ll do . . . and we may have done this at the event you spoke at, but we will also highlight interviews on stage of women who are running seven-figure businesses, they’re running multi-million dollar businesses, and they started as an attendee in the seat in the crowd. And you just see that faithfulness of how they’ve grown it, because there are a lot of people in the crowd in their shoes years before thinking “Oh, I don’t know if I can do it.” And you see the success story of someone just like them that did it, and that’s what we love about highlighting those stories. We can teach stuff, and you know this, we can teach stuff all day, but man when you hold up an example, they go “Oh, if she can do it, I can do it.” And that’s really powerful.
Pat: Super powerful. And I wanna dig into your origin story a little bit, because I don’t actually know a lot about how you got to where you’re at. You are an amazing example of a business leader, and how did you even get into business in the first place?
Christy: Well it’s funny, I think it’s interesting how in life—and I’m in my mid-thirties now—depending on your listeners or their age, but at any stage of life, you might be going through something and thinking that it doesn’t have a lot of purpose or you just gotta get through this tough season or whatever. But in hindsight, you start to see patterns, and I think that’s what really happened for me about five years ago, where I just consistently saw this pattern of business.
I was raised by a single mother entrepreneur. My mom started a little bakery when I was six months old to raise and support me. Really to survive. And a lot of people get into business to survive, Pat. It may not be the best reason they get in, but gosh, it’s a real motivator, because you gotta make it. And she had $64 dollars to her name.
So I was raised literally in the business. She would bring me down there, to the cake shop, at two and three and four in the morning when she had to bake. She’d make a little bed for me on the powdered sugar bags and flour bags, and I would sleep there until it’s time to go back to elementary school. I’d go to school with the smell of sugar in my little white blonde hair. It’s far from Pinterest perfect, but here’s what’s so cool, Pat, is that was my normal. Growing up in a business, I spent more time with her employees than I did my own friends in many cases.
And you think “Oh poor Christy.” No, let me tell you something: I had a front row seat to watch a woman use her gifts and build a business and make an impact in the world. And you can’t put a dollar amount on what that example did for me, because it taught me what it looks like to use your gifts, what it looked like to be independent, what it looked like to make your own way and make an impact and help people and how you talk to customers and how you lead your team members.
So this was in my DNA from the very, very beginning. You see this pattern of business in my story, but then I always had a desire for business. I went to college, I got a degree in business administration. I started two side-businesses in my twenties just for fun to kinda make extra money to help pay my rent. At the time, I was making entry-level nothing and needed some extra money. And then became a certified business coach and then became a coach through EntreLeadership here as part of Dave Ramsey’s organization.
And then we started to see, about five years ago, six years ago, just this trend in the marketplace, of there’s this unbelievably huge market of women specifically. Now everyone’s getting into entrepreneurship, but I wanna focus on women specifically, because there’s this market of women that are going “I want to do something but I’m sure what,” or “I want to do something but I’m not sure how.” And there are women who don’t want to climb the corporate ladder. They don’t want to work the nine to five, they want more flexibility to go the field trips with their kids. They wanna do it on their own terms and it’s more accessible than ever before.
You could start business tomorrow with nothing more than your idea and a Facebook page. The risk is low, the cost is low, the barrier to entry into the marketplace is low, but they get into it and they’re not sure what to do. What about taxes? What about trademarks? How do we sell without being pushy, and that’s where I can use all of these seasons of my life, my training, my education, my own personal experience, and be able to intersect these women’s lives and give them the hope and encouragement they need to push past their fear, but also the tactical business principles to show them the steps they need to do it.
And what’s amazing, Pat, and I’m sure you experienced this yourself, but even just at our events, but it is so much easier than they think. It’s harder than they think in many ways, ’cause you really gotta work hard. But they think that they can’t do it or, “Oh I’m not business-minded, I don’t have a background in business, I’m not cut out for business.” No, they just need what anyone needs, which is a little bit of help. And that’s where I come in. I love drawing from different aspects of our story to be able to serve them and lead them along this journey of really chasing their version of success. If that’s $1,000 dollars a month and a side business, awesome. If it’s a multi-million dollar business, awesome. I just wanna help them do that thing they love to do and make money doing it.
Pat: For the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people you’ve helped . . . and make sure you listen to Christy’s podcast and get involved in her brand Business Boutique, she’s got some amazing things to offer. For all those experiences that you’ve had teaching other entrepreneurs, what are the one or two most common roadblocks that beginning entrepreneurs have and how do you, in your style, recommend they break through them?
Christy: Okay, this is good. There are probably a top few, but I’ll give you the number one by far that I’ve seen, and that’s fear. That sounds really theoretical and really just like it’s a feelings thing. But fears are a real barrier, because here’s what I’ve noticed, Pat, and you may have experienced this even on stage at the event. What women need when they come to our event and what they think they need are two different things. They think they need tools and information and steps and plans. And they do, and we give them that. But what they actually need is encouragement. They need someone to look them in the eyes and say “You can do this, and I believe in you, and I know that you can win. In fact, I’m so confident you’re gonna win that I want you to email me your story when you’re winning, ’cause I wanna share your story on my podcast.”
They need someone to give them permission, and what’s so incredible is when you give them that belief, the ground starts to move beneath them and they begin to take action and implement the steps and implement the plans. But you can give them all the best information in the world, Pat, but if they’re scared they’re gonna stay stuck, and they’re not gonna do anything about it.
So that’s what I love about everything with our brand is we really hit the inspiration and the information. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re inspired then you feel good, but you don’t know what to do. And if you just got information, then you know what to do but you’re too scared to do anything about it. So I think fear is a real barrier. And I would say that that is true for men and women. It is not something unique just to women. It’s very, very common in entrepreneurship, because entrepreneurship is risky and vulnerable. You’re putting yourself out there to be rejected or to fail.
And it’s certainly very prevalent in any of the creative spaces. Any of the arts. Anything where it’s a service-based business, you’re selling yourself, your skills. Man, that fear gets loud. The imposter syndrome. “Who are you to do this? Who do you think you are starting a business?” And gosh, the old cliché is so true. Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will, so if I can equip people on how to not only understand fear . . . it is a real thing so let’s just understand it and call it out, but also practical, tactical steps to push past it. Thank gosh, they’re set free to actually do something.
So I think fear is probably the number one. I would say the second most common that I’ve seen, at least in the women that I’ve worked with, is perfectionism. It’s this idea that I’ve got to get it perfect before I launch. I’ve gotta get the website perfect before I put it up. I’ve gotta get the product perfect before I ship it. I’ve gotta get the business perfect before I tell anybody about it. And Pat, you and I both know there’s no such thing.
Christy: There’s no such thing as perfect! It’s the most ridiculous lie that we all believe and stay stuck with. And if I can help people understand that business is a conversation with the marketplace—and conversation means two people are talking, so if you’re gonna have the marketplace respond to you and your business and your product and your service and your idea, you’ve gotta put something out there, which means you put out the 1.0 version.
The iPhone started with an iPhone 1. You’ve got to start somewhere. So you put out the crappy best version you can come up with. The marketplace responds and says “Hey, a little more of this, a little less of this. Hey, you know what would be so cool is if you added this.” And then you know what they need. You make those iterations and adaptations. You come out with your 2.0 version, and you put that out. And that’s what that conversation looks like over time. And you never get there, to perfect, because your job as a business owner is to always be responding to the needs and desires of the marketplace, and the needs and desires of the marketplace are always changing.
So this is an ongoing thing, so I would say fear. Fear of failure, fear of the competition, fear just in general, fear of what people will think is probably the number one. And then the second I would say is just staying stuck and being paralyzed by this idea of perfection that doesn’t actually exist anyway.
Pat: Yeah, I can vouch for both of those on my end as well. And the fear especially. For me as a man, I know that I have certain fears that relate to . . . men are like “Okay we have to be the breadwinner. I for we’re not, we’re letting our families down.” Those are the kinds of things that I think of. Are there any unique fears that are women specific that I and the men listening to this might not even know exist?
Christy: Yes, I would love to talk about this. So here’s what’s interesting, and this is research-based. This is not just my experience alone. But I think we can all agree men and women, in general, are wired differently. And women, generally, are very, very relational. So we value ourselves by our relationships, as a mother, as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend, as a wife and so on. Well this is great in business, because we are amazing at customer service. You don’t have to tell a woman how to take care of people, because that’s what she does, that’s who she is. It’s like telling a fish to swim, like this is who we are.
However, being wired relationally tends to pose some challenges when relationships are at play in business. For example, pricing or setting policies to protect yourself when you’ve got crazy customers. Or standing your ground. Or setting yourself apart from the competition. How do you sell without being pushy? “Well I don’t wanna get on people’s nerves. I don’t wanna annoy someone. Well I just, I just, I just—” you know.
And so you start to see these unique challenges that we have that, it doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them. Again, you need to understand them and develop those muscles and those skills. But even if you look at research in general, women tend to be more fearful than men. Research shows as early as childhood that boys are more risk-takers. Girls are more risk-averse. So that it shows when little boys and little girls, around age four to five, are riding bicycles, little girls break sooner when riding their bicycles.
Now this is fascinating to me, because you think of the implications of this as grown men and women in business. Okay, well then you also look at . . . it says in this research that I’ve studied, little boys are slower to learn from calamities. Can I get an amen from boy parents out there?
Pat: I can vouch for that too, yeah.
Christy: They tend to attribute their mistakes to an outside source. “Oh it must have been a rock in the road, that’s why I wrecked my bike. Couldn’t have been me, right?” Whereas, little girls tend to internalize their mistakes. “I am the problem. Something’s wrong with me.” Little girls, also it shows, never want to make the same mistake twice. So boys can fall down and think, “Oh okay, I’ll try this again.” And the little girl’s like “I’m never gonna do that again.”
Now let’s fast forward again to being grown men and women in business. I can tell you, Pat, from experience that . . . I’ve shared this story before, I dunno if I’ve shared it with you, but about ten years ago, I had a speaking event where I bombed. It was an every speaker’s worst nightmare. So awful. I wanted to disappear in front of the audience. I just totally bombed. So I drove home from that event, it was six hours away, in a rental car, and I cried the whole drive home. And you know what? I told myself “Never again. I will never speak again. I will never walk on another stage.” Because that’s what pain does. That’s what failure or falling down does. It makes you want to protect yourself against that. And again, women tend to internalize that and think I never wanna make that same mistake twice.
Now thank god I didn’t let that happen, and I’ve pursued a speaking career and so on. But I think a lot of people actually let those failures or fall-downs or setbacks define them, and if we can understand that as women, we tend to be more fearful, we tend to internalize setbacks more, then we can just be aware of that, and then we can fight against it.
When I had that voice in my head say, “Who are you to do this?” I can identify “Oh, that’s the imposter syndrome. I don’t have to listen to that. That’s a thing and that doesn’t have to hold me back.” So just having the information can really equip you to do something different about it. You don’t have to be a victim to that mentality, or even just maybe some of the challenges we face in how we’re wired. Because we all have strengths and weaknesses, but if we’re aware of it, we can grow and become mature and grow beyond that.
Pat: For sure. And I love that we’re discussing this, and a lot of the things we’re saying are quite general, but you go out there and you can actually confirm a lot of this stuff. And there are studies that have been done about this. But I love this topic, because I think it’s a topic that especially men like myself, we kinda avoid sometimes or we don’t even realize how important it is to understand how women are thinking.
I went to a event once, and I went inside and it was all men. I knew, I was like, “Guys, if you share this, you’re going to get a number of women who are gonna speak up and say where are the women being represented in this situation?” It wasn’t a male-specific thing on the surface, but it was when I went inside. And I just knew. And then of course once we started sharing photos, it was like “Okay, great, but where are the women?” And I think that’s something we need to be attuned to—and I know this may cause some controversy in terms of comments or what people think, but I just wanna open up this discussion, which is why I’m happy you’re here to talk about this. I even have more to understand as well about this.
So as a woman or the women listening to this . . . so we’ve discovered a little bit of the challenges. What might be, and you’ve discussed this a little bit, some of the other advantages and ways that men and women can both sort of complement each other, do you think?
Christy: Yeah, and I think in our highly, highly polarized world, it’s easy to take any one line or any even one topic and take it out of context and draw fifty-seven conclusions that are not helpful. So let’s just say this: My personal opinion, Pat, is that there is a time and place for both. There is a time and place for equal representation in business, in conferences, on the stage, on the media, for sure. I also love that you have things, you have organizations that are only male or only female—that’s what I love about Business Boutique.
Let me tell you, something special happens when you get 3,000 women in a room, and they feel the safety and the camaraderie of that sisterhood. There’s something so intimate and special about it also. So I think there’s a place and time for both. I think this is not a equal pay conversation, this is not an equal representation conversation, but it really is understanding how we can learn from each other and leverage each other’s strengths. But in order to do that, you need to be having the conversation and be in the same room. You need to have the right people at the table. And I think it’s a huge miss when we don’t understand the value of that equality, and we don’t understand the value of having both genders represented in these conversations.
I will say too—if you wanna ruffle some feathers Pat, let’s just ruffle some feathers. I don’t think any woman should be promoted because she’s a woman. I think she should be promoted because she’s the best person for the job. And that may make some people mad, and that’s fine. But you need to have the right people in the room, and the right people are the people that are the smartest, the most experienced and so on. How insulting would it be to me if someone promoted me or offered me an opportunity just because, “We need a woman?”
Christy: I wanna be there, Pat, because I’m friggin’ good. Because I’m smart. Because I have something to bring to the table. So that’ll make some people mad, but you’ve got to look at this as good business practice. Who do you want on your sports team? Who do you want on your leadership team? Who do you want on your board of directors? You want the best. I don’t care what gender they are. I don’t care what color they are. I don’t care where they come from. Whether they have families or don’t have families. I don’t care. I just want the best people. And I think that if you wanna build a business, then you need the best people there. And I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of women that are the best people that might be overlooked simply because they may be in a heavily male-dominated industry or they might be just kind of the status quo. It’s definitely something we need to open our eyes too but not get so extreme to say “Well we just need to . . . poor women, poor women.” No, no, no, no
Pat: Right. Like, “Hey guys, on our charts, we only have 20 percent women in our company. I think we need to bring that up to 30, because that’s what the state requires,” all that kind of talk. And we see this in a lot of the startups that are happening today, conversations around gender and race and those kinds of things. And I love what you just said about, let’s just hire the best. The best can be male or female or any race and color.
Christy: Let’s just say this: It’s a great time to be a woman. It’s a great time where finally, because of a lot of the stuff that’s been going on in our news headlines and in politics and so on, where there is more awareness. There is more opportunity. There’s more money. There’s more funding available than ever before. And we still have a long way to go, yes, yes, yes, I know that. But let’s celebrate where we are. Let’s celebrate the victories that we have along the way, and just say “Okay, what door can I knock down for myself or how can I get my business in this space or grow something beyond what’s been done before?” So it’s just a really great time for your women listeners that are listening thinking, “I wanna go after this grant” or “I wanna go after this funding” or “I wanna start this business, and I feel intimidated in this space.” There’s a lot of support from women organizations and advocates for women leadership in women in business. So it’s a really great time anyway to do it, because of all the things that have been going on.
Pat: Thank you, Christy. I’m curious, as an entrepreneur who targets mostly women—although I remember being at the event and seeing number of men in the audience too. You don’t necessarily 100 percent exclude men, it’s just more women are attracted to the way that you teach and who you’re targeting. For the women in the audience who are targeting other women, do you have any specific advice for them? Is that a good route to go versus let’s share my information with both males and females because it can pertain to both, or do you find that there is an advantage in focusing on one gender mainly in your marketing and such?
Christy: Yeah, I actually got this question . . . it’s funny, Pat. I was up in New York doing a media hit for Cheddar TV. It’s actually hosted on the New York Stock Exchange floor, which is so cool and so intimidating. But they asked me this question about gender. But they asked it in a very like, “Oh, we’re not supposed to raise our boys to be boys and girls.” It was kind of a trapping-type of question about gender with all the stuff. And I said, “Here’s the thing. It has nothing to do with gender in the sense of there are business principles for women, there are business principles for men. That’s not what I’m saying. It’s all about knowing your target market.”
So what I would say for your listeners is figure out who your target market is. Who is your ideal customer? Who is that perfect person that can benefit from your business? And it might be a specifically female or specifically male—and it might have nothing to do with gender. But you do need to know who they are, because if you don’t know who your business exists to serve, then I promise you you’re not reaching them.
And so what I found is that my ideal customer, our primary target market for example are women. But we actually have a secondary target market. And our secondary target market are men. And we identified this through actually, after our first event in 2015. In 2016, we were selling tickets to this 2016 event, and we kept getting all these testimonies from women that came to the event saying “Oh my gosh, my husband bought me a ticket. My husband bought me a ticket. It was the best Christmas gift. My husband bought me a ticket. It was the best birthday gift. My husband bought me a ticket.” On and over. We’re like “Hey, maybe there’s something here, men buying their wives tickets.”
So you better believe in May, we ran a Mother’s Day campaign: “Hey, buy a ticket for your wife. It’s the gift that says I believe in you.” And so we have a secondary target market. So here’s the incredible insight into that, because we take the time to get to know our customer.
Typically, or I’ll say this, there’s a large percentage of women in the Business Boutique market that just struggle to believe in themselves. They are stuck in the starting phase or the dreamer phase, or even if they’re builders and they’re growing businesses, they just don’t have that confidence. They would never buy a ticket to an event that’s $130, because they don’t believe in themselves that much. “Oh that’s a waste.” They would spend it on their kids or their husbands, but they wouldn’t spend it on themselves. It feels very selfish. Again, this is all the psychology of how they are wired and also how they view themselves in their business.
So if you market to men and say “Buy this for a woman in your life,” and he buys her a ticket that gets her to an event that changes her life and her business, that’s awesome. Because this is understanding the markets. Sometimes they won’t buy these things for themselves, so the men in their life, a son or a dad buys them a ticket, and it’s that little nudge that pushes them over the edge. It’s a great gift that’s like, “Oh my gosh, he got me the best gift ever.”
So you can have a primary target market and a secondary target market, and yours may be gender specific or it might not. It just matters that you know your target market. In our case, I wanted to create a safe place where women that were feeling insecure or women who don’t have a business background that feel intimidated, or “Oh, I’m not an entrepreneur,” that they could come and feel like “Hey, this is for me.” So it created this safety. And we certainly have, like you said, we have men come. It’s not exclusive to women, but it’s about knowing your target market so that you can reach that person.
Pat: I love that. And for both men and women, obviously I think we all struggle with, like you said earlier, the fear and the perfectionism in different kinds of ways and for different reasons. However, if we’re past the dreamer stage and we’re ready to get started, what might our first steps be from there?
Christy: Well, I know I wrote Business Boutique as a plan with a step-by-step, so people who wanna plan . . . I’m a runner, Pat, so if I wanna run a marathon, I’m gonna download a plan. And that’s just helpful to see one step in front of the other. But here’s what I would say would be the most important thing for your listeners: It’s to take a step. Now I know that sounds so basic, I realize that. But here’s the problem. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
A lot of times we stay dreamers, because we dream of this big, awesome vision that’s five years, ten years down the line. And then we get real excited about it, and then we get real intimidated by it. It’s like “Well I can’t never get there.” So we just stay stuck. Well instead of getting intimidated by this big awesome vision, what would just be the tiniest baby step you could take today toward that? Maybe it’s a Google search, like, “Hey, are there any other businesses doing this thing?” or “Is this URL available?” or “Can I get a retail store front in my town?” Whatever your thing is. It might be the most simple, unimpressive thing, but what I remind people all the time is the impressive things in life always start as unimpressive things.
Dave Ramsey started his business that is a multi-hundred million dollar business on a card table in his living room. Sara Blakely started Spanx by cutting the feet out of her pantyhose. We all start in unimpressive situations, but if you take that tiny baby step, what happens is you get confidence and momentum. And that fuels you taking the second tiny baby step and the third tiny baby step and the fourth and so on.
So I don’t know what your idea is, and you don’t have to follow the Business Boutique book, and you don’t have to follow that plan. If you want that, that’s there. But all I really care is that you take a step, because one step will fuel your confidence and momentum for the second. So maybe it’s a Google search. Maybe it’s reaching out to a key relationship in your area. Maybe it’s looking for production for whatever type of product you’re gonna create. It doesn’t matter.
But if I was gonna challenge your listeners with “Here’s your takeaway. Here’s your homework for today. Figure out what your first baby step is. What is the lowest hanging fruit? What is the quickest win that you could do today, that though it may be very small will fuel the second step?” Then that person says, “Hey you need to call my friend. She’s a graphic designer. Hey I’ve got an attorney. Hey you know what, so and so has some unused space, and you can totally rent that.” And the ground starts to move beneath you. But it doesn’t happen if you don’t take that first step. So I know it sounds so simple and basic, but taking action is the best thing you can do because it begins to fuel more action.
It also, by the way, is the best way to combat fear. The antidote to fear is action. Nothing will silence your fear of doing the thing like doing the thing. So go do the thing. Figure out what your baby step is and take that tiny step today.
Pat: I love that. We heard something similar when we had James Clear, New York Times bestselling author of Atomic Habits—how we have these big goals that we have and big habits that we wanna form. It’s that little tiny, mini baby step that actually gets that going. So if you wanna start running every day, just make a habit of having your shoes ready when you wake up, right there in front of you. And that’s it. So it’s the very same exact thing like we’re talking about with entrepreneurship.
Christy: And you look up one day a year from now and you’re going, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing it. I’m doing it.” But it didn’t happen with this giant terrifying leap. It didn’t happen with this big huge Jerry Maguire moment: You walk out, you grab the goldfish and say, “Who’s with me?” from your corporate job. It doesn’t happen like that. Usually it happens with one little Google search and setting your shoes out and making that contact. And then you look up and you go, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing it.” But you have to do those small things in order for the big thing to happen.
Pat: Another important component of building your business, as you’ve mentioned earlier and as I share all the time, is the conversations and the relationships that you’re building from the start with your audience, your prospective customers, and also other people in your space. You seem to have this really amazing knack of listening to your target audience. What mechanisms do you have in place to be able to listen to them?
Christy: That’s good. Well I will say I talk to them every day in different ways. Now you’ve challenged me on this Pat, because you actually call your listeners—
Pat: I do.
Christy: Which I think is fascinating, and I always say I’m gonna do it and I haven’t done it. But I need it.
Pat: Baby steps, just one person, right?
Christy: There you go. So here’s what I do. I have a coaching group called the Business Boutique Academy and this is my subscription site. So I train them through weekly trainings, and then we have a regular check-ins throughout the month through live video feedback. So I actually just had that this morning. And I have ’em on a regular basis. But this gives me ongoing feedback to hear how they’re doing, what their frustrations are, what they’re going through. And so I very much know the voice of my customer, because I talk to them all the time and so on, through live chats and that kind of thing. And then of course at events. You’ll talk to people after events.
So mine is more informal and organic. I wouldn’t say I have a structure in place to hear from them. But here’s what I think is even maybe more important than having specific structures in place. You need to do it, but how you do it, I don’t really care. What matters is that you actually pay attention to what they’re saying. And don’t just take it at the surface level. Think like the most curious person you can be, and ask, “Why” and “Tell me more about that” and “Why?” and dig.
So if your customer or your client or your listener or our fan, whoever, says something, don’t just take it at the surface level and write it off. “Well here was their answer. Here’s their feedback on this product” or whatever their experience is. “So, tell me more about that. Well why was that? Well how’d that make you feel?”
I mean, I’m a coach by training and also I’m just very intuitively good with people and picking up on nuances. But if you can learn these skills of asking the right questions and digging with people, you will get incredible insight about who they are and how they think and what makes them tick. And you will begin to understand not just how they’re wired, but you will understand how to speak to them.
Because so many people just operate at the surface level. “Well I need more money for my business, so I’m gonna go make more sales.” And they stay in the cycle at the surface, but if you can get to lower surface—”Well why do you need more money? Well what’s the why behind your business? Well what’s driving you? Well who’s your ideal customer? Well what will be your ideal future in five years?”—and you start to dig a little bit deeper into some of these questions with your clients, then you can have fewer conversations that are way, way, way more insightful and give you more takeaways of what you need to change about your business or build about your business, or how to speak to them and how to market to them.
Pat, I drive my content team crazy, because they will send me some marketing copy and I’m like, “Oh no, we don’t talk to them like that. No, no, no that doesn’t connect with them.” Because I know them, because I’ve talked to them all the time. So I think it’s just really important to understand and that’s the reason I know what I know about fear, because I’ve heard them. They may tell me “Well I can’t start my business because it’s already too saturated. There’s too many people doing it.” “Well tell me, why is that? Well what’s your business? Well is anybody doing it in your town? Well can anybody do it like you do it?”
When you dig, you start to realize, oh it’s just fear. And so you will get such incredible insights from your market and you will have not only more tools in your tool belt for building your business and ammo for your marketing, you’ll also just build such a intimate relationship with them. It’s the reason that women that are part of Business Boutique will be like, “I feel like we’re best friends.” Well, because we are. That’s not a marketing technique. That’s not manipulation. I really know you. And I really love you. And I really care about your success. And I will do anything I can to help you succeed. And she knows that, and she feels that.
So your relationship with your customers becomes so much more intimate and special. They’re more loyal customers. They’re gonna spread word about you. So it’s good for them and good for you when you really take the time to ask the right questions, and just gather insights. Don’t just get their answers. Gather insights about who they are and why those things are true for them.
Pat: Be genuinely curious, that’s what you said. And I think that’s really the secret, especially if you are doing research with your audience. Be curious, and that’s going to define what those follow-up questions are gonna be. For me as a podcaster, I always approach every interview as the very same way. Be curious. We didn’t write these questions down ahead of time. I knew these topics that we were gonna discuss, but these follow-up questions are literally as a result of just me wondering more.
And the next thing I’m wondering about, Christy, to transition back to some of the things that you mentioned earlier, is you said that this is very women-specific, but I know I also have this issue, so it’s likely universal for many. Maybe it’s an introvert thing, I don’t know, but you had mentioned you are somebody who loves to show people how to be a salesperson without being too sell-y. What are some strategies that you have to ensure that when we are offering our solutions to our audience, we can get in front of them but not get in their faces, I guess?
Christy: Yes, so here’s what’s interesting—and I actually listened to a podcast on a run, this was like a while ago, probably a year or more ago, where you were on a podcast with Chalene Johnson. And I think either she was on yours, or you were on hers, I can’t remember. But y’all were talking about sales. It was so good, it was just brilliant, I loved it.
But this is such a great thing to talk about, because I don’t know if you’re like this, Pat, but I teach on things that I struggle with myself. So I don’t teach because, oh my gosh this is so easy for me, I teach because these are things I’m living out and learning myself.
And here’s what I’ve noticed when it comes to sales. And it doesn’t matter the business, it doesn’t matter your personality style. Sales is a skill. It’s a skill that can be learned. So it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert. I use the example of my husband. My husband Matt is so opposite from me, Pat, like a lot of married couples are. He is introverted, quiet, steady, patient. All the things that I am not. And you know what? After seven months of pursuing me and seven months of me turning him down, that man closed the sale. I’m his wife, we are so happy. It doesn’t matter your personality styles. You can develop the skill of confidence and influence.
And I think what it comes down to for a lot of people is that they have had a bad experience with sales, and that shaped their idea of sales and so they don’t wanna be anything like that. But the unfortunate thing is that’s not sales. You know, that’s certainly not good sales. So instead of thinking of sales as a sleazy salesperson or a used car salesman or you gotta be pushy and aggressive and twist people’s arms—if that’s your idea of sales, of course you don’t wanna sell. Of course you don’t. I don’t wanna be anything like that either.
But what I help people do is I help them reframe their ideas about sales, so instead of thinking of it as you’re gonna be pushy, aggressive and twist people’s arms, think of it as sharing your heart, sharing your story, influencing and serving. Now this sounds really simple but let me give you short examples of each.
Influence. How many of your listeners have a close friend? Well great, you influenced someone to let you in their inner circle. How many of your listeners, how many of you are married? Well great, you influenced someone to spend the rest of their life with you. That’s a big sale. How many of you, your kids ate their veggies last night? Great, you influenced your kids to eat their veggies. That’s a big sale. So it’s really the business of influence that you do all day every day anyway in something you believe in, like your kids eating their veggies.
It’s also sharing your heart and your story. When I did research years ago, I asked women how they felt about sales. And all of them said the same thing, “Oh, I don’t want to be pushy. I don’t want to be aggressive. I don’t want to get on people’s nerves.” Well then about ten minutes later in the interview I said, “Well tell me why you do this. Tell me a little bit about, what is this business do for you.” And there was an audible shift in the tone of their voice. And you could hear that they lit up as they described why they loved this.
One woman that was a photographer said, “Oh, I just love that I get to capture these moments and memories in families that they’re gonna treasure forever, from maternity photos to family fall photos to senior portraits. Like, I just love to be a part of capturing these moments forever.” One woman told me, she said she made handmade little girls’ dresses, and she said, “I love going to church on Sunday morning and seeing these little girls twirl around in the lobby, feeling so beautiful in a dress that I made them.” And Pat, as they told me that, I wanted to buy a little girls’ dress right there, and I don’t have little girls, Pat. Got little boys.
As you share your heart, the sale naturally follows. That is what is the most compelling form of sales, is sharing your heart, sharing your why, sharing your story. And if you really believe in what you’re doing, then that should be easy for you. And what I mean by that is if you’re focusing on what you can give, if you’re focusing on how you’re gonna help people, if you’re focusing on the difference you can make, and you really believe in that, which I do, then it becomes so much more easy to do. If someone comes to my book signing line at an event, says, “Hey,” you know, “Christy, here, sign my book, do you think it’s going to help me?” I’m not like, “Oh gosh, I don’t know. Toss up, fifty-fifty maybe.” No, I’m like “Of course it will help you. I can’t wait to watch you put this into practice. When you follow these steps, this will change your life and your business. I can’t wait to watch you win.”
I have aggressive confidence in belief in them. And they step into that. And they believe that, and they wanna prove me right and they wanna prove themselves right. And they then become that. But it all comes because I believe deeply, from my gut, from my heart, I believe deeply the fact that this works. Now, if you’re in a business, and you don’t believe that what you do helps people, then you probably need to get into another business.
But what I’ve noticed is we often focus on what we get, not on what we give. “I’m gonna get money, I’m gonna get followers, I’m gonna get a sale.” Well if that’s what you think about then of course you feel slimy. Don’t focus on what you can get. Focus on what you’re gonna give. You’re gonna give value. You’re gonna give life change. You’re gonna give solutions. You’re gonna give tools and help and products that help people. Everything from hair bows, where moms wanna put hair bows on their little girls—people need that, that matters. I didn’t have hair till I was three years old, Pat. Hair bows mattered for me as a two year old.
So it’s just amazing how when you focus on what you can give, and you share your heart, and you share your story, and you show up and you serve people, that’s where the best sales naturally happen. If you’re focused on what you can get and how you can get money and get a sale and get more followers, people will feel that. And it’s not fun for you, and it’s not fun for them. So I just encourage you to flip the script and think of it as serving and sharing and what you’re giving to them. And man, it becomes so much easier, and it becomes authentic. And it becomes something that, believe it or not, they will thank you for it. They will say thank you so much for writing this book. Thank you so much for that podcast. Thank you of that hair bow or that swim lesson or that graphic design service. Thank you so much for whatever that . . . because you helped them. And there’s a value on that, and if you focus on how you’re helping people, it becomes really easy to sell.
Pat: So for the timid listener right now, let’s imagine they flip the switch, and they’re gonna tell themselves, “All right, I’m gonna be confident ’cause I know what I have will help people. This is the angel on the left shoulder that’s speaking in their ear. But then at the same time, the devil goes, “You’re just faking it. You can tell yourselves these things, but this is not real.” I just wanna swat that thing away.
Christy: Yes, totally. So I will say this, one thing I wanna clarify when you talk about someone that’s timid, someone that’s an introvert—I wanna go ahead and speak to them really quickly, because I believe that god made you uniquely and perfectly like you. And you don’t have to be loud, talkative, extroverted. You don’t have to be someone that you’re not to lead a business. And you don’t have to be someone that you’re not to sell. You can sell in a way that’s true to you. You can sell in a way that’s one-on-one, and it’s quiet. And you build that deep relationship with that person before they buy from you. You don’t have to be all loud. You don’t have to be what you think of when you think of salespeople.
So I just wanna go ahead and give your listeners that might be more quiet permission to be true to them, ’cause that’s the best business, that’s the best sales, it’s the best serving when you are who, I believe, god made you to be, which is in your natural style. So again, sales is a skill. It’s a skill you can learn, and then you just adapt it for your style. Whatever is comfortable for you.
Now let’s talk back to the angel/devil analogy here. If you have that at first . . . and the example I always used is sales is a muscle. Confidence is a muscle. If you never exercise it, well it’s a little weak at first. It’s a little wobbly. That’s okay. But the more that you exercise it, the stronger that muscle becomes and the easier it becomes. So the first few times, you’re gonna have that voice in your head that says, “You’re faking it. You’re a fraud. Who are you to do this? They don’t like you. They’re gonna talk about you about—” All this ridiculous voice of fear.
And if you can do it anyway, if you can still have that conversation, hold your head high, throw your shoulders back, say the things that you practiced in front of your mirror, in front of your dog, whatever. If you can force yourself to do it one time after another, over time that confidence becomes authentic. That muscle becomes stronger. What I say all the time is fake it until you feel it.
Pat, the first time I walked on a stage as a professional paid speaker was to 1,000 people, I was scared out of my mind, shaking in my shoes. And I felt like the biggest fraud in the entire room. But I just faked it. I acted like I was excited to be there, and I did the best that I could. And now, after years of doing this, I really am excited to be there. But of course you’re scared the first time, you’ve never done it before. Of course you’re scared the first time you make a sales presentation, you’ve never done it before. Of course you are.
I know this sounds so simple, but just fake it. Pretend like you’re excited to be there. Smile, even if you’re shaking, just do it scared. You don’t have to wait until you’re not scared to do the things that you wanna do. You just do it scared. You walk on the stage, you do a Facebook Live, you launch the ball, you ship the product, you make that key call to that person you wanna reach out to, take that client to coffee, whatever. You just do it scared. And it’s in doing it that you gain the confidence, through the reps, that that muscle gets stronger and it becomes easier. At first, that voice will be loud, but if you can just do it anyway, even though you got that voice in your head . . . you just do it anyway. It’s amazing how over time that becomes proof and it’s, like I said, nothing will silence your fear of doing the thing like doing the thing.
So do the thing. If it’s a sales call, if it’s a presentation, you just do it, and then you’ll strengthen that muscle and it will, I promise you, it will get easier.
Pat: Wow. We’re gonna clip that and share with everybody on Instagram and all of Twitter, ’cause that’s amazing. And if any of you are listening to this and you know that there are other people in your life who can benefit from hearing these messages from Christy today, please share this episode. This is fantastic. And Christy, I just wanna wrap up by saying I appreciate you so much. I’m so thankful to have you in my life as a leader and a prime example of somebody who’s leading their tribe in the right way. And I’d love for you to speak to the audience now and tell them where they can go get more info and encouragement, inspiration, and information from you.
Christy: Well thank you, Pat. You know I’m just such a huge fan of yours. I was so thrilled when we had you at Business Boutique, and you’re such a part of our Business Boutique family. And I love what you do. You’ve challenged me in so many ways, from listening to my listeners, to just even some of the tactical ways you lead your business, and you do it with such humility and class.
Pat: Thank you.
Christy: And I’m so, so grateful for you, and thanks for the opportunity. This has just been so much fun. BusinessBoutique.com is really where everything is. So we’ve got the Business Boutique podcast, we have the Business Boutique Academy, the book. We’ve got a couple courses on helping people find the rad business idea, or a deep dive on social media, and just blogs and encouragement to help them make money doing what they love. And then on Instagram @ChristyBWright and Twitter and then Facebook is @OfficialChristyWright.
So I’m all the places you are, just hanging out trying to help people. So I’m just so, so grateful to get to hang out with you Pat. And I love what you do in this space, and we’re such kindred spirits in this space. I love getting to partner with you and help people.
Pat: Thank you. I appreciate you, and we’ll have all the links and everything in the show notes I’ll direct you to in just a minute. But Christy, thank you so much. Have an amazing day. Keep doing what you do. It inspires me, and it inspires tens of millions of others as well. So keep up the great work. Thank you.
Christy: Thanks Pat.
Pat: All right, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Christy Wright. For all the links and where you can go find her, her book and her event, and all the amazing things that Christy has going on, you can go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session362. That’ll take you to the show notes page.
I’d love to hear a comment from you as well on what you think about this topic. If you have something to say about it, I want you to tell me in the comments section. SmartPassiveIncome.com/session362.
You know I tend to over the years . . . I mean it’s been ten years of doing business. I tend to very much avoid a lot of the more controversial or potentially controversial—and this wasn’t controversial, in my opinion. It was just a lot of great discussions on something. But topics like this, and especially politics and religion and those kinds of things, I tend to just avoid those conversations because I don’t want to stir up any conversations that may not belong on my platform, and just would deter us from actually doing what we need to do.
However, I do think that this is a really important topic. And I’m thankful to have this conversation here on this platform. Again, I’d love to know what you think, and make sure you go check out Christy’s stuff. All the links and mentions and whatnot you can find at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session362.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you. If you have any other ideas for kinds of topics that I should be talking about that perhaps I’ve been trying to avoid in the past, let me know. I do know that one of those topics is on less of a more controversial front, but more of a just avoiding because it is a difficult thing to talk about, is the sort of really messy part of starting a business. The incorporating your business, the business bank accounts. A lot of those sort of “Okay, as a business owner, these are the things you have to know beyond your product and your market.” Accounting, taxes, those kinds of things, which I’ve always tried to avoid because I don’t want to get in trouble for saying the wrong thing. But I think it’s important that somebody step up and actually share these things, and I’m really thankful to have a COO and a CFO, Matt Gartland, who you heard on the show in January. He’s stepping up. And he’s gonna share a lot of thoughts with you in the future here on the podcast, on the blog, and perhaps other ways down the road, on dealing with the sort of unsexy side of business. And I can’t wait to share those things with you.
So that’s kind of the things that I want you to come up with for me and for my team, that we can better help you with. So let us know what we can do to better serve you and again, thank you so much for being a part of Team Flynn. You’re amazing. Team Flynn for the win.
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