Hot Take: I Failed, Publicly and Here’s What I Learned
– Transcript: Episode #187
[00:01:36] Well, hey friend, welcome back to another episode. I’m gonna be very honest with you, as I hit record today, I did not want to record today’s episode. I have been resisting it for the last week, and I told myself, no, I didn’t need to record it, but I woke up this morning with a different plan to record today.
[00:01:59] I should be talking about speaking because as a business owner, you know, the routine, we’re in pre-launch right now for an upcoming program launch. I’ll talk about that later. So I should technically be talking about speaking, I guess, and it is not the thing I need to talk about today. So we’re gonna talk about the hard thing and I’m gonna be rough and real and vulnerable and imperfect, and based off what I’ve heard from you. It’s all the things that you love about this show. So, buckle up, baby. Here we go.
[00:02:38] All right, so what on earth are we talking about today? We’re talking about public failure, which is something that technically I have many times in my business, and it is something that so many of us fear. What do I mean by public, public failure? Well, it could be a lot of different things. Inherently when we are online businesses with personal brands, when you put yourself out there, fear of what other people think, fear of like flopping on your face, I think literally here for a moment. I’ve had many times where I’ve physically been on a stage and have fallen ‘cuz I was wearing the wrong shoes and the stage wasn’t totally secure so that, that was embarrassing.
[00:03:23] I’m not talking about that kind of embarrassment today. I’m talking about, let’s take for example, I see conversations in business groups all the time of people disappointed that their launch failed or that they like they hosted a free workshop and no one showed, or one person showed, and they feel like a complete and total failure. I’ve been there. The idea of failure, nobody really loves it, although, when you’re a personal development junkie, you learn to love it a bit, which is part of what we’re gonna talk about today.
[00:03:56] But even when, you know, failure is for your growth, it still stinks, and the hard part is when you have an online business and you are forward facing, it can be especially spicy when you fail, like publicly, as in other people see your mistakes and can talk about your mistakes. It’s why I’ve heard from a lot of business owners of the last few years, they’re terrified of saying the wrong thing when they show up because they don’t wanna be canceled or they don’t want to be caught in the crosshairs of a very controversial conversation.
So what people do is they, mute, if you will. They, they tamper down their opinions so that way they’re less subject to to scrutiny, and it’s not really the topic of today’s conversation, but I just wanna bring this all together for you that I would imagine if you’re listening to this show to some degree on your insides, you have a fear of falling flat on your face, literally or metaphorically in your business.
[00:05:03] And I’m here to tell you, friend, it is going to happen and it is inevitable to degree of which you fall on your face. It’s up to you. It depends on how big the risks are that you take and for the goals that you’re chasing, it’s kind of a requirement.
[00:05:24] So today’s conversation is about public failure, and specifically I’m gonna open up by talking about today. If you heard the announcement, you may have not heard the announcement. Last week, Emily, my business partner and I announced publicly that we are untangling our partnership and going back to our own respective businesses.
[00:05:44] So at face value, technically our partnership of launching the Speaker Co, I guess failed. It didn’t really fail. I’m gonna talk about that a little bit more here in a moment but that’s really where the coattails of this conversation is today. That didn’t even make sense, the coattails of this conversation.
[00:05:59] I don’t know. Sometimes you say things and you’re like, that sounded very wordy and it didn’t make sense. Anyways, I’m not editing that out because that’s what came out of my mouth. Can you tell I’m a little nervous to have this conversation today? But here we are. So that, that was the catalyst for today’s conversation. That would’ve been a better way to phrase it. But really it’s about failure in general ‘cuz I was looking at my rap sheet of my business and technically I have like, quote unquote failed so many times and some of them have stung more than others, but all of them have built this resiliency muscle that I have that makes me so freaking confident and excited about what’s to come next.
[00:06:45] So today’s conversation, I had sat down and I’m like, let me write out some notes around what do I wanna share? What are the takeaways? What are the lessons? And then I said, F, all that. I’m just going to speak from the heart today and share with you what’s on my [00:07:00] mind with utter confidence knowing that whoever needed to hear this today, whatever, like reaches out and, and grabs you and sticks with you, resonates today, it’s, it’s just meant to be. So welcome to the unscripted conversation around failure and what it really takes to be resilient in your business as you grow. I hope that this episode serves you today.
[00:07:24] So let me back up here for a moment and explain if you are just hearing this news, you’ll probably remember last August. We’ll actually link to the show note episode around where I made the big announcement that my existing business, Heather Sager training and coaching, I’ve been running it now since 2018. We had been doing really, really great. We had the podcast, it was in the top 2% of podcasts, still is. We had our digital courses, my signature program, Speak up to Level Up, that had been serving so many entrepreneurs. We had had over a hundred business owners go through that high ticket coaching program, plus I had additional workshops and I was doing lots of guest speaking, lots of guest podcasting.
[00:08:08] Things were going really, really well, and I felt like I was on. You probably felt this before. I felt like I was on the cusp, the cusp of something big coming. You know what that is, right? You see everybody talking about the quote unquote overnight success that we both know that is not overnight success, but there’s some kind of catalyst that happens and all the sudden when you look at their growth, it’s what people call the hockey.
[00:08:33] If you are not familiar with that term, essentially what it means is when you look at a a graph, like a line graph of growth of a business, it feels like it’s going flat, flat, flat, flat, flat. And then all of a sudden there’s this year end moment where like a hockey stick it be like, shoots up so the shape is like an L, all of a sudden it’s like upward, upward.
[00:08:52] Well, call me cheesy, but it felt like I was right on the cusp of that hockey stick. And then I had the opportunity last spring I connected with Emily Hall and E&M Creative, and we started connecting and we’re like, oh my goodness, like what an incredible opportunity. We had very similar visions for what we saw possible with our businesses.
[00:09:14] We had two different, hang on, I got hair in my eye. We have two different business models. She had a done for you agency and I had the online education and coaching side so they were very complimentary. You’d be able to serve similar audiences, but in a wider variety of ways. So it, it made sense. We, neither of us had any desire to bring on a business partner, but everything just clicked.
[00:09:35] You can go back and listen to that episode. We actually had a couple episodes where we talked about it and we made the decision to go all in, like we climbed in business bed together and the most beautiful thing is neither of us needed each other, but we wanted to work together. It was a beautiful collaboration and sure we could have done a joint venture on something specific and that was the initial plan and it just felt right and we went all in and I’ll just, I’ll just say right now, no freaking regrets, no freaking regrets.
[00:10:11] The last nine months has been absolutely incredible so much learning about myself, interpersonal skills, learning about the kind of business model that really serves me and my lifestyle goals similar, Emily had very similar realizations. There was a lot of learning. So just to really call it out here what I say, this episode is around failure, our business partnership was not a failure by any measure other than what I’m gonna talk about today. But so that was, that was where we were at last year. We made a big splash around it.
[00:10:50] We appreciate if you messaging had been supportive around the way this, it was almost like a business love story, if you will. On a side note, I feel like I did some very good branding. Emily and I did really good with our branding of that. We together became H and Em like, get that, H & Em, get the little play. Em as in Emily, H as in Heather. We went all in and we had so much fun. We had six core values that we were operating off of as we built the fricking rocket ship that was the Speaker Co.
[00:11:21] And as we started going, we launched our program, the Speaker Society, which was a modification of my existing program, Speak up to Level up. We retooled it, added in some curriculum around slide design which was Emily’s expertise and we relaunched it and that worked well, and then we had our Boujee Biz Retreat, and we’d been running the Speaker Studio, the done for you agency. Things were working and we realized in the fall after we like paused to take a breath after the website build, and the launch, and the event, and so many things were like waves crashing one onto the other. There were so many things, everything was so new. When we had a moment to breathe in the fall and we really started thinking about 2023 planning, we realized that, well, it was fun and it was exciting and it felt great. We also added so much freaking complexity to our businesses because the reality was, is we thought by coming together, we were going to create a lot of efficiencies. I mean, think about it. You don’t have to run two different marketing departments. You don’t have to be sourcing clients, building two different email lists, think about efficiencies for software and different tools and different internal processes and sharing of team. There was so much opportunity for us to be able to save time so that each of us can really play into our individual zone of geniuses. It made sense as we, as we got through things, but what we had realized was in our due diligence, we didn’t realize how different our business models were.
[00:13:01] And looking back on it now, it is so clear. Having an agency business is a very different business model than a digital course or coaching style business. I get that. But it has seemed like there would be a lot of overlap and there wasn’t, so what happened was we added a ton of complexity.
[00:13:19] Look, very specific example, our tech stack, ie, the tools that we use, it got out of control bananas. And for me personally, it really came to light when I was laying out a, the funnel. I’m gonna get geeky here. For those of you who are really into marketing, you’re gonna love this. For those of you who hate the idea of funnels, you’re gonna like, oh, what the hell? That sounds terrible.
[00:13:44] But one of the things we were trying to figure out was the model of how we were gonna sell our program, the Speaker Society, and we were trying to figure out the blend between live launches, evergreen launches. I won’t get into all the details, but we had landed on, okay, let’s do this on evergreen and the funnel that I had laid out using a funnel building software. If you’d never done that, it’s essentially you just mapping out, okay, here’s a landing page, that landing page connects to a thank you page which connects to a thank you email series which then leads them to, it’s like every step in the entire buyer’s journey from they, when they initially meet you all the way through then making a sale in and the onboarding. We laid that thing out and it was mother freaking beautiful. Someday I will use that thing but it was also very complex and sophisticated.
[00:14:34] It was something that we had built for a much more mature business. And the reality was, even though both of our businesses were very mature and established, this new business that we created was still in the new phase, but we were making decisions and operating as more of an established business which made things more complex. All this to say we realized what the hell are we doing?
[00:14:57] We love working together. We love collaborating. The complexity that we’ve added is actually slowing us down and we were working more hours than either of us had been in a very long time. I think, side detour to just appreciate something for a moment. I get a lot of feedback sometimes for clients who when they reach out on Voxer or another way, they apologize for reaching out and saying, I know how busy you are, Heather. I don’t wanna take up your time. And I feel this need to say this public. Y’all, I don’t work a ton. I mean, I work. I work when after my kids go to school. I usually work anywhere from, let’s see, the time of this recording right now, it’s 9:26. So I sat down to start recording at about 9:00 AM today. I work from about nine till about two o’clock during the week.
[00:15:46] Now during this phase when we were in the partnership, we were working all the way into the evening almost every day and on weekends. It was a pretty constant thing which as you know, with the rebrand of this podcast, moving into Hint of Hustle, I was out of alignment with my main philosophy around being really intentional with your time and getting the job done so that you can enjoy the things outside of work and it was starting to get a little dicey. Realizing that I am so fricking impressed with us and our ability to have what could have been a very, very hard and very dramatic conversation.
[00:16:31] Emily and I sat down at the same coffee shop that we met at a couple years ago, and we had the conversation of, is this what we want? And the most beautiful part, and this is what I wanted to share with you today, is the thing for me personally that had been keeping the idea of us going back to separate companies, the thing that had been keeping that idea silent was that little thought that creeped in of, oh my gosh, what are people going to think? We just made this big hoopla, this big splash about coming together, this big thing, and then it’s like oopsies Control, alt, delete. Just kidding. That felt so terrible. I’m getting teary thinking of it right now, because how freaking embarrassing is that. How embarrassing is that? Like to do this big public partnership together just to be like less than a year later, just kidding. Oh my God, that felt terrible, so freaking terrible.
[00:17:34] So I had been unwilling to even explore that thought, and thank goodness for Emily because she, let’s just ask this weird question and we both talked about it and realized we sat down and went over our core values. By the way, I go into this in detail in an Instagram post we did last week. We actually talked about our evaluation process of how we made this decision. I think that’s a really good caption for you to go read ’cause it talks about our six core values and how we leverage those to make really difficult decisions, so we’ll link to that in the show notes.
[00:18:08] For us the thing that I’m most proud of is the fact that even though I guess it could be very embarrassing, even though it could be viewed by others as really super, what a failure, it didn’t change that it was still the right decision, and that’s what I want you to really hear me when I say this is at the end of the day, you are the one that has to make the decision and you are the ones that have to live with the decisions that you make in your business, and when you allow the fear of what others might think, about you, about your competency, about your decision making skills, about whatever it is that random strangers on the internet like to have opinions on, and spoiler, you and I both know it’s a crap ton of things, but from your, from your eyelashes down to what color choice you make or for talking about healthy food or not healthy food, like people gripe about everything online. So if you allow the opinions. or potential, not even real opinions, the potential opinions of other people. If you allow those to infiltrate your brain and influence your decisions, you are gonna make decisions that are out of alignment of what’s best for you, your business and your own sanity, your own family, your own reality.
[00:19:26] So this conversation today is about technically failure as in the definition of others, but it’s also about prioritizing yourself and making the decision that, that you need to make to build the business that you are trying to build.
[00:19:46] Okay. I took a little pause for a second. You wouldn’t have heard that pause because I paused the recording, but I needed to go blow my nose because I got a little emotional there, and that’s the thing is if you, if you consider yourself an emotional person and you get teary or choked up or mad or upset, that’s not abnormal things.
[00:20:04] I’ve learned, I’ve talked about this before. I’ve learned about myself in the last year that I’ve gone through understanding my human design. If you haven’t done that, I would really highly recommend Google Human design and find out what yours is. But I’ve learned as a manifester, I am highly emotional and I have been told my entire life by bosses in corporate jobs, that emotions made me weak. They didn’t say it in that language. I’ll just be clear on that. But that was the under rooted message that because I was emotional, I, there was something wrong with me, that there was no place for emotions and business. And what I have since learned is my emotions tell me very clearly when I am out of alignment with what I’m doing. I’ll say that again. My emotions, they’re a cue to tell me when I am out of alignment with something or good emotions, that touching emotion, that tells me I am right on the right track.
[00:21:03] So if you’re an emotional person just to know there’s nothing wrong with you and there is a space in business for your emotions, you have to learn how to use them as a guide to tell you, are you on the right track or are you out of alignment? For me, what was interesting is even though we were having so much fun, my emotions were bringing up a lot that I was pushing down. And I am so, so freaking grateful for, I’m so grateful for Emily and her ability to lean into courageous conversation.
[00:21:34] So one of the things about she and I, I’m gonna have her on the show and we’re actually gonna do a tell all, ask, answer your questions. We’re gonna talk about our or both individual lessons learned of the partnership so just stay tuned. We’ll probably do that this spring once the dust settles a bit, and we both get our feet back under us in our individual businesses.
[00:21:50] But one of the things that she and I have done exceptionally well that I want to gift to you today as something to steal is ha having a business partner or having somebody that you work very closely with in your business. It’s just fact that difficult conversations are necessary. This can be in business partnerships. It could be you working with contractors, team members, vendors. It could be you with your spouse, your partner, loved ones in your life, your parents. Difficult conversations are necessary to groom healthy relationships, and that was no different in our business partnership.
[00:22:26] So one of the things that she and I learned very early on was we needed to say the thing that needed to be said without fear of the other person hearing it the wrong way or coming across real, like, ugh, opening up a can of worms. So we came up this thing, this phrase very early on, around prickly conversations that still needed to be hack, and the term that we used was we called these. Cactus conversations, ie, super prickly conversations and we would say something like, Hey, cactus convo, and that would be the queue up of like, hold on, if you’re in a mood, don’t listen to this message right now. We need openness for what I’m about to share and we use these all the time.
[00:23:11] And especially we did a lot of communication on Voxer, but we used that cue, cactus conversation, as a way to go, okay. I need you to hear me, the delivery of what I’m about to say, or even the words that I’m gonna say. They’re probably not gonna be right, but I’m willing to wade into the messy conversation because we both are on the same page with the outcome we want is aligned. And I think that’s a really important thing to take away, is that that outcome, we were always on the same page, that we wanted to be a win-win for both of us, and ultimately a win-win for the clients that we serve.
[00:23:43] So that was something that really served us well, and I want to bring that up to you today. If you are avoiding conversations in fear of pissing off other people, or in fear that you’re going to offend other people, especially those in your trusted circle, getting really courageous around how to have conversations is a really critical skill. It’s one of, I hate to say that I’m really freaking good at it. I’ve gotten very good at it. I’ve gotten very, very good at it as a requirement of being a leader over the last 20 years. So that was something that I learned from it.
[00:24:15] So let’s let’s talk about. Forgive me as I, I blow my nose here. Let’s talk about a couple things. So to wrap up the idea of the Speaker Co. Emily and I, our partnership, we made the decision to not move forward together and untangle. So she’s moved officially back to E and M Creative, a presentation design agency. So if you have any needs to have done for you slide design she’s an incredible resource so that’s something that continue on. We’re full supportive of her. She and I are collaborating in a lot of different ways and referring clients to each other. My company, I’m gonna keep the Speaker Co under my entity of Heather Sager Training and Coaching.
So the Speaker Co will remain as a training and education coaching and event company. So that means continue doing the podcast, continue creating a lot of free content online, building up our audience, our community, continuing to create and offer digital courses, coaching programs and adding live events to the mix. You got just a taste of it last year at the Boujee Biz Retreat but I wanna do more of that.
[00:25:19] Events is a huge part of my background. I’ve talked about on the show before. I did corporate events for 10 plus years. Before that, I did nonprofit events and fundraising, and I love events. I love the idea of being immersed in a community and in a really intense experience for a short amount of time. It’s the most transformational way for you to grow as a person, as a business owner, so bringing those back in are really important to me So we’re really excited about the future.
[00:25:47] But it does mean it’s a change. It is a change, and here’s the interesting thing. I wrote this down because I thought this was, this came out, this filled out at me as I was journaling this morning. Change is not failure. Hear me when I say this. Change is not failure. It’s just reality shaping differently than you picture. I wrote that in my journal this morning and I was like, oh, damn, that sounded good. Change is not failure. It’s just reality shaping out differently than you pictured.
[00:26:20] If you’re a person who considers yourself a perfectionist and you are so afraid of making a mistake and failing, newsflash, my friend. To build the business that you want this failure. Oh, you’re quoting that. If you’re listening to this failure, that’s my air quoting voice. It’s inevitable because if you’re unwilling to make mistakes, you’re not going to learn what you need to do to be able to grow. Hit rewind and play that again.
[00:26:49] Your unwillingness to make mistakes or unwillingness to, to like supposedly fail, that is the thing holding you back if you’re stuck in the planning trap. By the way, go back and listen to the episode where I talked about the four traps that are keeping you stuck in your business. We’ll link to that in the show notes. If you’re trying to get everything right before you take big action. If you’re trying to get all your ducks in a row to align so your launch is successful or so that whatever is going to be kind of a perfect before you do the damn thing, right? It’s just not gonna work that way.
[00:27:27] I’ve realized I’ve, I’ve done a lot of reflection when I’m thinking about, what going back to my solo business, what does that look like? I technically kind of burned everything down last spring. I ended my very successful program, Speak up to Level Up. Since then, fun fact, somebody swooped in and trademarked it in a different industry, but that’s what happened. So, and it doesn’t feel quite right to bring that program back up. It also didn’t quite feel right to continue on with the Speaker Society as it is. So I’m in a beautiful new build mode, which is one of my favorite places to be at. I’m gonna talk a little bit about what that looks like and what I have in mind for the future.
[00:28:09] I think the incredible thing that I want you really taking away is a lot of people think that failure or that pivoting, it’s this starting over and you’re never starting over, friend. Even if you bulldozed down whatever shit you built, it’s never starting over. The skills, the experience, the knowledge, the tenacity, the vulnerability, the perseverance, the all of these things as muscle of self-confidence and self-belief, all of those things are established and they’re growing. You’re never starting back at ground.
[00:28:46] In fact, I loved this conversation with Ellen Yn that I had a few weeks ago. You should go back and listen to the episode if you missed it. Ellen Yin, she talked about that simple fact. She pivoted a ton in her business building cubicle to CEO, and it was the same idea that you’re even pivoting, you’re never starting over. You always are building upon the last chapter, and that’s where I’m at. That’s where I’m at today. But I, I think back around a few things.
[00:29:14] So lemme just do a little like highlight reel, friend of my supposed failures starting with my business. My business launched my very first webinar I ever did. I had been full-time in my business by one month. Most of my revenue was coming from speaking and consulting and referrals from my old corporate world. That was one thing I did really, really right as I allowed myself a cushion, a parachute, if you will, that I had revenue coming in other sources, ie., high ticket one-on-one, consulting speaking and that allowed me to start building out my digital course-based business because friend, that is a little, it’s a little dicey to figure out. You don’t quite know and I don’t want you going in desperate to try to figure out how to make it work, like give yourself the gift of having some other revenue streams.
[00:30:01] But I had this big idea with my background of live events that I would host a two day, a two day in person, let me help you build your talk and really become a magnetic speaker two days here in Portland. Well, this comes from, I had been doing these events for a decade and I knew that that live in-person training was so much freaking better than the dig- like digital prerecorded courses. I had both in my old world. We taught digital courses, we taught virtual classes, and we taught live in person and by far the live in person were the most effective and transformational.
[00:30:35] So I wanted to launch that and I had to figure out, okay, how am I gonna do that?. So I sold it on a webinar and I’ve shared this before on that webinar. Staring now, I’m staring at the screen is my laptop. I have two screens. So over here on my left hand side is my second external monitor screen. On that webinar, I shared the wrong screen the entire Zoom webinar. The screen I shared was the rough, ugly speaker notes version, and y’all, my speaker notes are really ugly and they have full of typos and random notes to myself. They’re hideous. I was sharing that the entire time and nobody told me.
[00:31:16] Later, I had, cuz some of my old coworkers came cuz they were trying to support me slash probably scoping out to see what the hell is this chick doing. She just like quit her executive job to go build this random thing online, like what is she doing? So, but I had a few of them text me and say, oh, we thought it was on purpose. We thought you were doing this meta thing. We thought you were doing meta to like, show us what you were doing as you were. doing it. Oh, bless their hearts.
[00:31:38] That was, that was real. It was, it was mortifying. Needless to say, I was trying to sell a two-day in-person workshop virtually on a webinar to people that really weren’t in Portland and over half of them were not even my ideal like customer. It was a royal failure at face value, but where the beauty came in, as I ended up booking a private client who booked a personal VIP day off of it so I ended up making five grand off of that webinar.
[00:32:05] So roundabout way, it wasn’t a failure, but technically it was a big freaking flop. It was, oh it was. It was mortifying. I was so embarrassed, so cringey and still I got back up on my feet and said, all right, that didn’t work. Now what? Now what? And that’s what catapulted in me trying to figure out, okay, a different thing, a different moment, trying to figure it out. But throughout the way between that, I launched my podcast. I ultimately ended up launching my old program but even still a year into that. Friends, if you remember the episode where I had to change the name of the podcast from Finding Your It Factor to the Heather Sager show. Remember that time I got served with a cease and desist because some chick was really pissed that I was using the term it factor. I didn’t even know that that was a trademarkable phrase. I could have been mad about it, and I was, and we pivoted and changed it in 72 hours or something like that.
[00:33:00] So these have all been very public, very public failures, and I’m so grateful for every single one, every single one. Now, does it mean I enjoyed them? No, you don’t have to enjoy it when you fall on your face, especially when it happens publicly, but the speed at which you get back up and choose to say what opportunities does create, that determines what happens for you in the next chapter. That’s what this is about is.
[00:33:29] So for me as well, it’s quite honestly a big fat pain in the butt to have to go back and revamp the website. Currently, I have two websites. I have the speakerco.com. I also have heathersager.com trying to figure out, okay, but which one do I wanna have the blog on? Which one is the podcast gonna live on? Okay, what am I gonna do with the Speaker Society? Asking all of these questions, it is a big, fat pain in the butt, y’all. It has been consuming all of my mental capacity and I feel so freaking lucky that I have this beautiful opportunity to be able to shape something new.
[00:34:03] And the most beautiful part is, as I mentioned before, none of it’s brand freaking new. I have all of this incredible foundation and experience to draw on. If you’re so terrified of doing it wrong, you’re focused on the wrong thing, because for you to build something that’s truly gonna make an impact in the world, for you to build something that’s gonna give you the freedom and flexibility you want in your life for you and your family, it’s going to require you fumbling your way forward and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. You see, let’s strip the emotion out here for a moment.
[00:34:36] Business, you gotta look at the data. You have to ask yourself what’s working and not working beyond just asking yourself how you feel about it. This is me as an emotional person. I also am a highly data-driven person, so I, I use those things as yin and yang. My emotions cue me in to something is going on here, and then instead of sitting with the emotions saying, so what do I want to do? I mean, I ask those questions too, but I also take my ass over to the data and say, what is the data telling me? The data can validate what is actually happening. Why am I feeling this way? And that can be in your sales numbers, it could be in your conversion numbers, it can be in your engagement numbers. It’s depending on where you track data. And don’t freak out being like, oh, I don’t have enough data. I’m sure you have some if you were to paw into it. This right now, when I think about what the move forward plan is, is I have a great opportunity to be able to say clean slate with a beautiful, I’m gonna go on a metaphor here, really well stocked pantry of all the incredible things that I have done thus far in my 20 year career. I get to now curate which of those things am I gonna pull forward and put on the platter to be able to help you more effectively.
[00:35:55] The truth is, I am so freaking grateful for the iterations of my business. The very first time I launched my program for those of you listening, the 12 members who took a, took a leap and raised your hand and said, yes, I’m in for my very first ever group coaching program in the fall of 2019. I am so grateful for y’all. You, like the fact that you raised your hand, we were, hadn’t even been built yet. We were building it as we went. For those of you who invested in yourself and speak up to level up in the early days, I’m so grateful for you. You really got a good headstart on getting more competent with your voice, building out your signature talk, building your language, getting really comfortable being on camera, being on stages. For those of you in the early days, I’m so freaking proud of you and grateful for you.
[00:36:42] For those of you who are in the mid stage, as I evolve, Speak up to Level up, as I started learning what worked and I retooled the program listening based off the feedback scene where people were stuck, I’m so freaking grateful for you. The way that you stood by me as I changed iterations, as I modeled failing forward constantly. And when I say that, I don’t mean that it was a disaster. Everything that we built was so freaking good. Some of it I look back and cringe, but I cringe with pride. I am so grateful to 2019 me for having the courage to put it out there. I cringe back at the videos that I look at now. I’m like, Ooh, but I was so good at the time, and then the next version I still cringe at and I’m so proud of.
[00:37:22] That’s the thing is when you’re building a business, you, as you move forward, there’s gonna be these iterations that, of course they’re going to get better, but it requires you starting somewhere, and that’s what I really want you embracing, is this idea of just get the fricking shitty rough draft out in the world because your version of that shitty, rough draft that, it’s still really good . It’s still really good, and you will make it better, but you can’t make it better if you don’t get it started whether that’s your course, whether that’s your coaching, whether that’s the first version of your website or your freebie, whether that’s your signature talk or bringing any kind of expert talk into the world. This brings me to what’s new, what’s changing.
[00:38:11] One of the things I’ve learned through this whole process of the last. 2018, 19, 20, 21, 20, 23, fifth. I’m like, I’m all, this is my fifth year in business as a independent business owner. Here’s the thing that I have I learned. Where my sweet spot is as a coach and as an educator is helping someone take their messy thoughts, their messy draft and making it so freaking good.
[00:38:43] Where things get a little dicey is helping someone get to that first freaking draft because you and I both know to get to that first draft, there’s so much head junk. There is so much freaking head junk. And granted, I am a really good coach and I help my clients with this head junk all the time. But here’s something that I have realized and observed over the last five years, specifically in the last four years of me teaching people how to construct magnetic talks that grow their business, that the longer leeway or the longer timeframe that someone has to get to that quote unquote first draft. Shitty first draft, we we, use that language or, or the shitty first pancake, a lot inside our programs to get to that first draft version. The longer the timeline, the more time it takes. The longer the timeline, the more time it’ll take.
[00:39:39] You’ve heard kind of quotes around that before is you’ll take as long as you give yourself. That is the thing that I have seen as a resounding truth for everyone who has either worked with me one-on-one. This happens all the time. People are like, I wanna level it up. I’m like, cool. What event are we preparing for? I just wanna be prepared when an event arises, and I say, that’s not gonna work. We need to schedule something.
[00:40:00] I remember this, my client, Natalie Dawson. She was on the show before back wood, before she got married, Natalie Workman. I’ll link to that in the show notes where we talked about the process I went through with her helping her get confident. By the way, she’s now, she’s a president of 10X Healthcare Systems. She is one of the founders of Cardone Ventures. She’s on stages every freaking day in, in their business. She’s incredible.
[00:40:24] When we first started working together, she liked the idea of speaking, but the actual process of it, like it was a little terrifying to her. So I remember when she and I started working together. I told her, I was like, look, unless you have an actual stage you’re preparing for, you’re not actually gonna get anything finished. You’re just gonna hem and haw over it trying to perfect it, try to get the right message out. It’s just not, you’re not gonna get it done. And quite frankly, you’re gonna be paying me money for you to like show up and kind of think about things versus you getting your ass with, like with your talk together so we can make it good.
[00:40:58] She’s like, okay. So I made her schedule a pilot session. I made her schedule an actual live speaking event with other people at it, so she would have a deadline. And it, it worked really, really well. And fast forward, she’s killing it now, but what I realized is in my group coaching program is the whole program was designed to help people get their ideas out to create a signature talk, and clients with events coming up, they would move through it quickly because they had a deadline. But for those, and if you’re in my community here, you know this to be very, very true. If you don’t have an actual deadline of a talk coming up, you will allow yourself to get stuck in the brainstorming process, in the storytelling process. In each of these, there’s specific things that go into your talk, and if you don’t have a deadline it’s very easy to convince yourself that you need to perfect it. You gotta stew on it more.
[00:41:47] So all this to say, when I think about, the people who have got the best results. How can I duplicate so that everybody can get that kind of results? Because my sweet spot is once we get that shitty rough draft out, which friend is still not gonna be shitty, it’s gonna be great, but once we get it out, that’s when we can ditch the emotion and start using data to tell us what’s working and that when we have that draft of that talk and we can start using that talk on stages, pulling from it for podcast interviews. We can use it to test it out on Facebook lives and, and other ways. When you have a talk to work from and you can start optimizing and refining it, that’s when you really can start understanding how your message is resonating with your audience and getting results. But until you have that go-to talk that you’re pulling from, you’re changing it, all the freaking time and therefore you have no data.
[00:42:43] So in all of this, it hit me like, like a light bulb, like a light switch. By the way, that’s one of my favorite Char-, we’re really into Charlie Puth. I’m gonna go on a side tangent. That light switch, hit me like a light switch, that Charlie Puth is really big in our house. My five year old, almost five year old, [00:43:00] loves Charlie Puth so that just came in.
[00:43:01] My brain coming back, hit me like a light switch. I don’t even know if that’s the lyric. Okay. I am really going off the rails here, but it hit me, that why, if I know, if I know this to be true, that helping people get to that, like that draft of their talk, once we hit that, then the magic can happen. How can I help people do that even faster? And that’s when it hit me up was like, oh, we should, I should teach it in a shorter timeframe and I started thinking, okay, I can do it in an eight week accelerator. I can do it this week. This week, like each week I can do first week and we can nail the topic. The second week, we can nail your signature framework. The third week, we can get your story down. The fourth week, we can get your opening. I started going through all the pieces and I was very excited. I think I even teased it to my email list, y’all. I was like, Hey, are you interested in this format? And then another, click moment. Why the heck would I drip it over eight days? Same problem.
[00:43:59] So this is where it, the idea of let’s create a three day virtual event where I not only teach, but I guide with implementation time, helping you get that freaking brilliant big idea out of your brain and into a signature talk, including your, your core story that you share on stages and on interviews, the core framework that sets you apart and makes you different and the core perspective shifting that is required for someone in the audience to be like, dang, this is what I need. Not in a manipulative way, but in a way where they’re like, my mind is blown because I’ve never thought about it that way before. I can get that out of your brain, with my private clients, we do that in a few sessions. We can do that together in three days.
[00:44:49] So I’m taking this change, the idea that I read to you before change is not failure. It’s just reality shaping differently than you pictured. A year ago, if you would’ve asked me, I was thinking that the rocket ship I was building was my signature program, Speak up to Level Up, which was a 12 month incubator where you go through the core curriculum and then we had ongoing coaching to help you make it happen, and it was wonderful. There was nothing wrong with the program. Everyone freaking loved it. I loved it. I was live coming on calls and still change. Something was calling me to change and in that it was the change in the partnership, but I believe now that that was a stepping stone to allow me to think about things in a completely different way so that I can serve you better.
[00:45:39] So what that looks like for me in this time period is launching a completely new style of program. I don’t see anyone else doing this, but I’ve been doing it like this. This thing I’m talking about that’s what I built my career on, had so many light bulbs and transformations and people freaking loved.
[00:45:55] So introducing the Signature Talk Accelerator, which the doors will be opening on March 7th to get in on that. It’ll be just, a very limited seating for this first round that happens. The actual live training, it’ll be live virtual. It’ll be happening in April. It is April 11th, 12th, and 13th. We’re gonna do it live on Zoom. I will be teaching, coaching and we’ll do breakouts. I’m gonna have some other people in to help you. We’re gonna help get that stuff outta your brain and out into that rough draft so you have your talk dialed in in just three days.
[00:46:34] Of course, there’ll be details. I can’t wait to tell you all about that. It’s not just gonna be the three days. There’ll be some additional support there. There will be an option to also be able to have coaching with it. I’m like, I’m freaking, freaking stoked about this. I’m very, very lit up and I am just so grateful for the supposed failure that had to happen in order for me to see this as the next path.
[00:46:55] I don’t wish that you will fall on your face in order for you to have the realization for the kind of business that you want to build, but I do hope that you, after today, maybe feel a little bit more comfortable embracing that failure is okay. You don’t have to like it, but can you just be okay with it not feeling good, and also accept that sometimes that is what’s required for you to get to that next version of you.
[00:47:27] There’s this sane or this idea that I’ve heard a lot of times in business that you rise to the level of your ability to manage your problems, something like that and I think this is really true. I think a lot of times in the online space, one of the things that’s the most frustrating for business owners that I work with and that I talk to is, I hear this all the time is it’s not happening fast. It’s not happening fast enough. You see the picture, everybody lays out the possibility. They do such a good job with their messaging to tell you what it could be like and then when you start down the path, it feels sludgy and it feels difficult, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been moving as quickly as you want.
[00:48:08] And my hope for you is that you can give yourself a little bit more grace and acknowledgement of the skills and the resiliency and the self-confidence that you’re building along the way. Every time it doesn’t work out as you pictured, it’s not, it’s not failure, it’s just change. You’re learning new ways to do things and you’re learning new skill sets. You’re learning critical thinking skills. You’re learning how to, how to get back on your feet without the destructive self-talk. You have to do it at the level you’re at right now to get to that next level. You can’t jump from level one to level 50 overnight. You can’t expect that you wouldn’t even be ready for it.
[00:48:52] It’s just, you’ve heard this expression before. It’s like why people who win the lottery end up broke in a few years. It’s because they do not have the money mindset and the money management skills to be able to handle that lifestyle, that volume of money. So they go back to that, what they had before.
[00:49:07] The same thing happens in your business. If you wanna reach far more people with your audience, you have to develop your ability to handle criticism, handle rejection, handle failure, handle change, handle things, not taking shape as you wanted. You need to build those skills and that resilience within self.
[00:49:24] So as you encroach upon failure, as you get refunds, as you get things not working out as you want, instead of being pissed about it, instead of going into a bunker and crying about it for weeks on end, have yourself a little adult tantrum. I do that too. And then I want you to put on your big girl panties and say, all right. I’m ready. What did I learn from this? What skills did I, what skills did I acquire through here? How thicker is the, the scab, if you will? That’s kind of gross, but for all these wounds that you have along the way, like build up your toughness, stand back up and ask yourself, what opportunity does this create for me? Because any other question isn’t serving you. And the reality is, whatever the failure was, it’s already happened. So the only move forward plan is if you have really big goals, if you know that your success is inevitable, your only question to be asking is, what’s next? What can I take with me from this?
[00:50:27] That is a thing that I am the most proud of, and that is the thing that I know because of that attitude, I will be successful no matter what. I know my community will be taken care of. I know that whatever I decide to do next, it will be successful. I also know that it also could look very different in three years, and that doesn’t scare me, that it excites me because it shows that I am in tune and moving and growing in the way that I need to create the life and business that I want, and I hope
[00:50:54] you embody that for yourself too. Change isn’t a bad thing. A lot of people is resistant, change isn’t bad. It’s just, it’s different. It’s new and when you learn to change and adapt with purpose, when you learn to listen to your emotions and validate it with fact, friend, that’s when business, it becomes really exciting and it becomes really fun.
[00:51:18] I personally am so freaking stoked for this next chapter, 2023 . This was not what I had thought it would be and I have a feeling it’s everything bigger and better than I could have ever pictured for myself and for you.
[00:51:39] So my friend, thank you for fumbling through this conversation with me. I hope that me sharing this unscripted today inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear from you as always. Send me a message on Instagram @theheathersager. I would love, I would love to hear from you what resonated. I’m also open ears if there’s something that you would love to hear more about. I am going to be recording [00:52:00] some episodes over the next few weeks. You’re gonna hear a lot more about speaking.
[00:52:03] By the way, if you were interested in joining us for that speaker, for the Signature Talk Accelerator, if you head to the show notes, we’ll have the link to get on the waitlist so you can be the first to know about that. Again, spots will be limited. I’m freaking stoked on that, like the the first crew of people who come to that, y’all learn for something very freaking magical. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited.
[00:52:24] So the next few weeks I am gonna be talking about speaking, because if you’re thinking like Heather, I don’t know that I’m ready for a signature talk or signature talk, sounds a little like not me. Every freaking business owner needs one, and I am going to show you over the next few weeks what that could look like for you in your business. And I’m gonna bring in some of my past clients and students to share their stories of how having a signature talk has really helped them, not just book more stages, but create more flexibility and freedom off stage. So the case studies and examples that I’m gonna share with you are people who had a desire to become speakers, but they had a bigger desire to create a life that allowed them, more flexibility. The time you spend on stage should give you more freedom and flexibility off stage, so I cannot wait. The next couple weeks, we’re really gonna dial it in. I also have some incredible exciting things, including a private audio training that is dropping here very, very soon, called Becoming the known Authority it is a multi episode private podcast series, so it’s a completely different podcast. It is totally under lock and key. If you want it, you can go to the show notes to get on the wait list, or if it’s live, you can join in on that but it is a secret behind the scenes where I’m actually sharing what does it take to establish that known brand, how do you get other people to see you as the go-to authority and then therefore refer, remember, recognize you pay you for a higher, kind of higher fees for being that known authority. All that is gonna be coming very, very soon, friend. I am so excited to round out the first quarter of 2023 with you. I’m so grateful for you for showing backup on the. I’ll see you real soon.