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John: Can being congruent be the secret to making more money in your business, I think it can. Listen to me talk to Carrie Wilkerson on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast.
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Janstch and my guest today is Carrie Wilkerson. She is a best-selling author, international speaker and sought-after nice person. She is the author of the Bare Foot Executive, in fact I think we had you on for that as well as at least another time, this might be your third time here so welcome Carrie.
Carrie: I think so. I think this is the trifecta, the hat-trick so to speak.
John: So let’s talk about the Bare Foot Executive. Does the Bare Foot Executive — you and I were talking off air that you’ve made some significant changes in your business so maybe let’s talk about what your business was as the Bare Foot Executive brand and then we can transition into where you are now.
Carrie: Yeah that’s a great question and actually I had a business even before the Bare Foot Executive brand as service provider which then kind of morphed into the Bare Foot Executive as a coach/consultant and helper of others who wanted to do the same thing and now we’ve evolved again so now maybe I learned my entrepreneurial lesson that you don’t have to start a new business every time, you can kind of evolve, evolve your current business. So the current evolution is the brand is just Carrie Wilkerson which is just me and I am doing writing and speaking only, I’ve moved into a kind of self and professional growth and now as a sought-after keynote and content provider which is kind of a fun new space for me.
John: So what — did you just get bored where you were or was there some sort of impetus for this change?
Carrie: You know I think as entrepreneurs we’re wired to always be growing and changing, so I don’t know I would say bored. But I would say that as the Bare Foot Executive my intent was always to be a connector and motivator and encourager, keyword, encourager of people that were working a side hustle or a home business, or their own gig. And I got pulled a little bit into the teaching how-to instead of why-to and I kind of stayed there for a long time because of my skill set and because it was working honestly. And now I just really am pushing through to the why-to and the why-to keep going and how to structure your day and how to balance all these kids and life and technology oppressing demands on us and really to kind of be a voice of encouragement and hope.
John: So obviously that’s a message that has pretty broad target market so how are you getting that message to a market?
Carrie: Yeah it sounds like it has a broad market but I’ve chosen to niche, I tend to specialise and find favour with companies with sales forces so we could think real estate market or insurance market or any of the direct sales companies, anybody that has independent contractors or a sales force that need to balance many hats that need to create their check from their own results instead of just clocking in and clocking out. There really is my kind of target market are people in sales forces.
John: So when considering this change and maybe it happened you know like a lot of things a lot more gradually than it appears to the outside world but when making a change like that — I mean you had some assets, you had some recognition, you had some relationships but how does somebody pivot that thoroughly and kind of not lose all their momentum?
Carrie: Yeah I think pivot is such a deceptive word or maybe we’re just all using it wrong in the business space because pivot is something that happens quickly like figure skater pivot. Something like this is more of an evolution or erosion of something that happens over a period of time. This process has probably — and you’ve watched closely because we’re friends, I would say it’s probably been a two year process honestly. The shift from Bare Foot Executive as the brand to Carrie Wilkerson as the brand, the shift in colours, a lot of people think rebranding has to do with your colour palette, it’s really not colour palette or photos. It’s a little bit John like a body transformation which you know I’ve also had, I’ve lost 145lb now but people didn’t start noticing until about 60lb and then they go, did you cut your hair? Have you done your eyebrows different? What are you doing? And then 10lb later they say, holy cow how did you do that so fast? When really it’s been every day for a long period of time. So yeah, it’s been a long process, there are hurdles in the process, it’s not something you can just drop everything and pick up all new things because number one cash flow, current customer base, current audience expectations and when you have recognition and an audience and a brand and a book, it’s almost more complicated I think because other people are more hesitant to let go of that then you are.
John: I think that though that you did hit a key point I think that even the decision to let go has to be sort of full at some point. It may be — and I remember talking to you several years ago and actually you were talking about a change of your model and I don’t think you had figured what that looked like but I remember that. And so I think you do start that process but at some point it has to be total [00:06:26] doesn’t it?
Carrie: It does! And that can be difficult because we love what we do and we love the people that we serve and we have blood, sweat and tears and bone marrow in what we’ve created and so it does have to be that, otherwise you create brand confusion, marketplace confusion and your attention is split. So just recently I posted in a private group that you and I are both in about a decision to burn the ships and it really was a no going back measure and even though it took me almost two years to get to the burn the ships moment but at that point I knew there was no going back.
John: I talk to a lot of people that are in jobs that want to be consultants so they have one foot in one and one foot in the other, there’s really just no way to serve both of those and at some point before you’ve got it all figured out you just have to make the choice and until you do you really — I don’t think you get any measure of momentum.
Carrie: Yeah. I think it was Mary K Ash that said you can’t chase two rabbits and catch either one and then that incredible philosophical movie Sweet Home Alabama, where Rhys Weatherspoons’ Dad says you can’t ride two horses with one hiney, I’ll paraphrase, can’t ride two horses with one hiney sugar bean, and it’s so true, you have a hard time devoting yourself. You know, even with multiple streams of income within one business is a difficult thing to fragment your attention, not to mention if you have two sets of audiences and two sets of products and services and those kinds of things.
John: Yeah so let’s go there, if somebody’s full committed and they’re passionate about what they’re doing but then you know the next thing that comes up is oh and I’ve got 47 opportunities to do all these things so how does one you know short of millions of dollars and dozens of staff members, how does one pursue those 47 opportunities in any sort of accurate way?
Carrie: Yeah I think entrepreneurs like Jay Lo and [00:08:44] and all the musicians we see that branch into all these different areas have done us a little bit of a disservice because we just simply don’t have the same resources they have as far as staff and delegation and built in networks, so I think we have to choose a little differently. If it’s opportunities within your current niche then you have to look at what your motives are, you have to look at what’s going on in your business right now, does it add to or take away from what you’re doing. Is it just because you’re bored or you have a resistance with hanging in there or is it really something that’s going to benefit your boutique or brand? If it’s something that’s radically different opportunity so for instance me moving into personal growth and departing from just a home based business audience then I think you have to say — well I did this when I sold my service based business too, my first instinct was to sell it, to sell it, to bail out, to abandon it and the coach I was working with at the time said no I really want you to hire somebody to replace you, to manage it while you transition into this other area, get a little separation between you and the brand, do this other thing don’t bail out on that income just because you’re burned out you know.
So I did, I hired someone to manage it. Now, at the point two or three years later that it became a conflict of interest because the market I was serving didn’t want me serving other markets, then I had to make a decision whether or not to sell or hold and I did sell at that point and it was a good move, but it would have been premature if I had done it a couple of years before, so I think you have to weigh all those options but many times as emotionally driven, bright shining driven entrepreneurs we just say I’m done, I’m over it I’m done, let’s get rid of this and move to the next thing I can do so much better with the next thing but we have to govern ourselves a little bit, maybe that comes with age maybe not, maybe it just comes with having done it a few times before but have a transition plan.
John: So as you’ve moved into a little bit of a new market and a new approach at least, what does your marketing look like that?
Carrie: Right now my marketing — because I have a presence already because I have a book, because I have a really great network of colleagues and relationships, you know that’s my number one marketing is my relationships it really is and I believe there’s no value I can place on my friends and their networks and there’s no substitute for that but my marketing right now still looks like radical social visibility, showing up in social media, showing up on podcasts like this, being heard, being seen and being helpful so I guess maybe that’s a three point marketing strategy, being heard, being seen and being helpful. I think that [00:11:37] 2007 I think is when we crossed paths online and I think maybe that has summed me up always, been heard, being seeing and being helpful, I like that I’m going to have to write that down and use that again.
John: Alright so here comes the hard part of the interview, no maybe it’s not the hard part you’ve been very open talking about the — you know the health and weight loss journey, how does that or does that because you know you don’t wake up one day and go by gosh, I’m going to lose weight. You know that’s something that you — I know you and I talked about before that was part of what you’ve struggled with in various ways and various businesses and various times of your life, is there some correspondence with now it occurring and this new path?
Carrie: Umm you know it’s actually been a 15 year journey, so it’s been almost all of my entrepreneurial journey but I dropped a chunk of weight and then I got complacent and comfortable and then the last three years so yeah probably around the same time I decided that the number one thing I could do was be in alignment, alignment and congruency are so important. We are in a world right now where it’s very popular to talk about [00:13:06] and it’s very popular to talk about being epic and you and I have shared about this online both of us, I love your thoughts on that. And the fact is I don’t know that I’m worried about being epic or hustling or grinding, I want to be in congruency and alignment with who I say I am, who I feel I am, who my kids think I am and how I teach in other areas, so that meant getting my health in order, that meant daily discipline yikes! That meant consistent so yeah I cranked it up a little bit, I made the decision that that was the one hold back I still had on being my best self I thought, so it’s been a slow process, it has been three more years on top of that initial journey and I’ll say that’s actually part of my marketing as far as being seen and being heard and being helpful I am less afraid of being seen, I am more audacious about being heard because I have congruency and alignment in my body and in my business and my beliefs right now.
John: Yeah and that’s really the point I was trying to make is and you said it beautifully has that congruence then in itself had a positive impact on your business?
Carrie: Yes and I think that a lot of people will look at photos or videos and say holy cow she’s so happy or so joyful that must be because of the weight loss and the fact is that girls been there the whole time, you know I haven’t [00:14:39] core changed but I think that I am just turning it up a little bit because I’m now feeling more congruent and feeling more bold about it and as a result it’s drawing more people to me it’s making me more magnetic so my marketing is actually easier now I think.
John: And can I make an observation I have absolutely no right to make?
Carrie: Okay go ahead.
John: And this is again just from knowing you. You’ve always had extreme confidence and now I feel like you have no doubt.
Carrie: Yeah that’s a daily conversation with myself thank you for that. I do feel like my money is where my mouth is so to speak now and you know I’m able to dress more confidently without as much concern about all that, I’m able to — I’ve spoken at some amazing venues and events lately and didn’t have to walk in and hide if that makes sense, I was able to hold my own and be really proud of it. And again, that doesn’t come from skinny, that comes from congruence and I can’t — that’s really hard to explain but that alignment — I heard the same from people that finally quit smoking or people that finally gave up a sugar habit or people that finally gave up gambling or whatever their lack of congruence was. For me it happened to be really visible and I feel like I’ve got this crazy glow right now and I can’t hide it honestly, I just have this joy because I’m in congruence instead of conflict and it matters.
John: Okay let’s just take it down a notch then.
Carrie: Okay sorry.
John: No no I’m just teasing, I always like to ask this question about two entrepreneurs, what’s the hardest thing about what you do?
Carrie: Showing up every day. Today’s a great example, it was hailing when I got out of bed this morning, my husband travels around 90% of the time, I don’t post about that a lot in social media because the girls and I are alone a lion share of the time and I don’t need people feeling sorry for me, I just do what I do, it’s our choice. But today was dark and hailing and the girls were sleeping so soundly and the dogs were nervous and it would have been a really easy day to stay in the pyjamas, turn all the alarms off and even let them stay home. We’re so close to the end of the semester I bundled them up and we went anyway and I came home and thought I really don’t want to do anything today, I really don’t want to you know be productive, I don’t have any appointments until 2 o’clock and the fact is I just had to show up anyway, I knew I had some big goals I’m working on so I even wrote a post about it because sometimes writing a post and stating things out loud to myself as if I were a client helps me move through a block so I did, I got up, I showered, got cute, I came in here I [00:17:59] the coffee, I put on some [00:18:02] essential oils you know and I wrote a post about it to hold myself accountable and I have pushed through the day. And action breeds momentum even when you’re not feeling it, you almost can’t help it. So I think showing up even when you don’t have to is the hardest thing.
John: it took all of that for you to prepare to be on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast didn’t it.
Carrie: All of that!
John: What are you reading right now?
Carrie: I have a stack but —
John: We always do.
Carrie: I’m reading necessary endings by Dr. Henry [00:18:34] and I am reading — let me think what’s the name — Dr. Henry [00:18:42] endings… oh the Brain Warrior Way by Dr. Daniel [00:18:47]
John: Awesome. So what are some of the topics that you’re speaking about specifically?
Carrie: Yeah so one of the things I talk about is your life, your business, your way which is creating a business around your life, not necessarily in the [00:19:08] but so you can be profitable and productive but also keep your priorities intact, that’s a popular topic. Another topic is life on a tightrope which is work life balance and other fairy tales we’re [00:19:21] do it all right now and it’s just a struggle for so many people of both genders and all ages. Another topic I’m working on is something that I’ve only worked on with clients and myself and you’ve kind of seen this evolving and that is the motive matrix and that’s how to decide what to do, if to do it and when to do it and so that’s a strategy process on creating all of that.
John: The — you know that — I’ve seen some of your writing about that and I have for years you know talked about how — you know the way to get more done is to have fewer priorities and I think that’s such a hard thing with entrepreneurs but you know I even look at my business and I’m — what I do on a day-to-day basis has changed but you know I still need a lot of help staying focused on the two or three things that we kind of identify as my priorities for the quarter and I think we all struggle with that.
Carrie: Yeah and it’s something that I actually re-evaluate quarterly for that reason because drift is a real thing, the studies that talk about how many times an aeroplane course corrects in a one and a half hour flight is just frightening to me and we’ve all — we all know the historical story of the titanic, if you don’t course correct early enough right? The drift gets you in trouble. So that’s something I do quarterly, if I hit my goals early enough in the quarter then sometimes I readjust them mid quarter but it doesn’t allow me to get into that crazy drift where I’m chasing experts, chasing launches, reading so many things. The things I’m reading right now are by those two authors and it’s because I’m studying the brain and I’m studying boundaries and so those two things are what’s contributing to your work right now. There are all kinds of things on Amazon that I could scoop up, all of our friends are publishing books as you know and I could scoop those up but I’m focused on those two areas for a reason, to keep me from the drift.
John: Yeah and I think the thing that gets challenging is you know somebody in your position probably gets asked to speak at places that don’t make sense, gets asked to be on the virtual summit once a week, gets asked to evaluate their marketing plan you know that somebody sends you and I think the tough thing — at least for me because I want to — at the heart I want to help everyone and so you know one of the most difficult things I think as you become a little more well known it gets tough to say no.
Carrie: It does and this is something I worked with my small group last week, the more I’m speaking, the more these request spike right after a speech and because I am maybe a little more approachable or touchable than somebody like a [00:22:26] or Mitch [00:22:28] or one of the more what we would see as untouchable or distant personalities and because I’m so accessible and social I’m asked every day about a summit or an interview or a pick your brain every day and then I have all the local request for we want you to come consult with the church on a social media plan and we want you to come do this and do that, so what I talked to my small group about last week was boundaries without you know being a hag about it, how do you say no without being a diva? At the core of that are my kids and my home and my marriage and the priorities I have within my shareholders first and foremost and when I am thinking about what’s the ROI for them, what’s an hour away from them then I have to be really judicious about that so there are times I say thank you so much for inviting me to be on your summit, what a great model I’ve had those myself in the past, however I’m saying no to all those requests this quarter because of some immediately priorities in my business. Please check out so and so and so and so, and consider me again next year if you feel this model works well for you. So I have a lot of those responses already drafted up and template out depending on what the quarter looks like I do not do pick your brain type business, I tell people my book is available, it’s 260 pages of my brain, honestly I don’t know if I could even cover at lunch or coffee what is in that book so I always recommend that plus 60 YouTube videos that I have absolutely free and on my blog post. So the fact is saying no is really easy for me these days.
John: By writing those pre-done, pre-drafted emails you’re less likely to write something in a passive aggressive moment too.
Carrie: Exactly. And you know we can’t be reactive we have to be proactive and especially as a woman who might you know a friend was teasing me this morning about being famous and I was like yeah I’m totally famous, my dog just peed all over the floor and I’m the one mopping it up, that’s the reality check right there, that’s my life. So — but if somebody makes an ask of me right after that when I’m frustrated or something has gone wrong or I’ve been turned down for a speaking engagement, they don’t need to bear the brunt of my emotions either, it needs to be a thought out decision ahead of time.
John: Amen, so Carrie where can people find more of you and what you’re up to?
Carrie: So I’m pretty involved on my Facebook business page which is Bare Foot Executive facebook.com/barefootexecutive, my website is carriewilkerson.com I spell Carrie the way Steven King spells it in his scary movie, carriewilkerson.com lots of videos, podcasts and then of course my books are available on Amazon.
John: Awesome Carrie thanks so much for joining us today and hopefully I’ll run into you in Dallas or you in Kansas City or somewhere out there on the road.
Carrie: Soon! We need to make it happen soon.
John: Hey thanks for listening to the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, if you like this one you might also like my other podcast The Consulting Spark where I interview independent marketing consultants and agency owners. Talk about how they built their business and the struggles they face and what they love about being in this business so you can check it out at ducttapemarketingconsultant.com