“AD: But for now I don’t know that it’s worth it for me to turn that into, like, higher end consulting service because it does take a lot of time if I were to go in and like – “Here’s the all the selections, here’s how we do that”, so it’s really just typically right now gets tacked on to, like, growing the business because if we can help them grow the business then we can show them, like, you can be giving back right now because I think that’s a big barrier to entry for a lot of people.”
[0:00:28.9] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Fail On Podcast where we explore the hardships and obstacles today’s industry leaders face on their journey to the top of their fields, through careful insight and thoughtful conversation. By embracing failure, we’ll show you how to build momentum without being consumed by the result.
Now please welcome your host, Rob Nunnery.
[0:00:54.8] RN: Hello there and welcome to the show that believes leveraging failure is not only the fastest way to learn but is also the fastest way to grow your business and live a life of absolute freedom. In a world that only shares successes, we dissect the struggle by talking to honest and vulnerable entrepreneurs and this is a platform for their stories.
Today’s story is of Adrienne Dorison. Adrienne is a business consultant, podcast host and the founder of Good Businesses Do Good. She teaches high achieving entrepreneurs to create the habit of success so that they can achieve their goals and find their personal freedom and fulfillment. We will be discussing how Adrienne helps businesses define their most important social causes and designs a business plan to grow, profit and support these causes at the same time.
Very impactful business that she runs, she shares how she paid off $48,000 of debt in just six months through her side hustle, while still in the corporate job and finally, she goes into how a blog post was finally the driving force, the final push that she needed to leave her secure job to work on her own business full time.
But first, luckily, nowadays, all I travel with is a backpack for one reason only, it’s clothing form an innovative Toronto apparel company called Unbound Merino, they have clothes made out of merino wool that you can wear for months on end without ever needing to have it washed.
This means I can travel with less clothes since the clothes, literally, if you just hang them out at night, they clean themselves because bacteria doesn’t build up, it’s crazy but it’s true. Checkout the show notes page for an exclusive Fail On discount that you won’t be able to get anywhere else and of course, if you’d like to stay up to date on all The Fail On Podcast interviews and key takeaways from each guest, simply go to failon.com and signup for our newsletter at the bottom of the page. That’s failon.com.
[0:02:54.4] RN: We’re in New York right now, what are you doing here?
[0:02:56.2] AD: I am here for a mastermind. Here meeting with some peers and mentors and just connecting with people. I live in Florida but being in the city, there’s nothing like being here and taking advantage of where you are and the energy here as well as just like so many amazing people to meet.
I’m here for like, three days of nonstop pouring into my business and connecting with other people.
[0:03:23.0] RN: Tampa doesn’t have this energy?
[0:03:25.1] AD: It’s a little slower.
[0:03:26.2] RN: Yeah, I know, totally.
[0:03:27.2] AD: We do have very small local business community in saint Pete which I like. Very different though, yeah.
[0:03:32.8] RN: Are you pretty involved? Like EO or anything like that.
[0:03:35.9] AD: I’m in BNI which is like business networking international and we meet every week. We just moved there about a year ago but trying to get more involved in my local community because I love working with local businesses and brick and mortars and I find that when I market myself online, I do get a lot more online businesses.
I don’t know if that’s just the nature of being online that online businesses are attracted to you so when I market myself locally or connect with people locally, I usually end up working with more brick and mortars and those types of businesses and just kind of like being immersed in the local community so I’m trying to do even more of that since we moved there relatively recently.
But BNI for me has been like even just the practice of getting out of my house because I work from home.
[0:04:21.9] RN: Yeah, no.
[0:04:25.2] AD: Meeting people, yeah, like getting dressed, I usually try to get dressed anyways, at least from the waist up because that’s what people are going to see but I come back from a meeting and my husband’s like, “My god, you’re like full of energy, what happened?”
“Well I met with people and I had a latte from…” – those are both amazing things that usually don’t happen on a daily basis but you know, practicing introducing yourself, you know, before we started recording, we were talking about that. Introducing yourself in the introductions and now that I’m here in New York, I do that, I don’t know, 150 times in the next three days but as someone who works from home and kind of can be in a little silo or a vacuum, I think it is important to practice that in a pretty low stakes environment, right?
Like these people see me every week, get to practice with them. Hey, does this click? Right? If I introduce myself like this or this.
That’s been huge in and of itself, you know?
[0:05:24.4] RN: Totally. Just in terms of we were talking about Clay Herbert here, he does this six word intro, let’s hear what you’ve got so far.
[0:05:32.0] AD: Want to hear my intro? I’ll give you one and then 10 more. No.
[0:05:37.7] RN: You probably have them.
[0:05:40.2] AD: Well, he says, there is no perfect intro, there are only perfect intros, right?
[0:05:45.6] RN: Each for appropriate times with who you’re talking to, that kind of thing.
[0:05:49.1] AD: Yes, which is so helpful. So I help business earn more so that they can give more.
[0:05:53.7] RN: Awesome. What does that mean? Tell me more.
[0:05:56.6] AD: Tell me more, what does that mean? How do you do that, right? These are all the questions that are going to happen.
[0:06:02.8] RN: It’s good because it’s intriguing and I’m like, well, that sounds cool.
[0:06:08.2] AD: Yeah, I have a background in efficiency and performance improvement so I work with small businesses to help them get better results in way less time so that they can ripple and impact the world in even bigger ways.
I want to work with people and businesses who really want to create a social impact so the “give more” is all about what are we then doing with all this money that we’re earning because I’m happy to show you how to earn a lot more money in your business regardless of what that business is.
There’s some fine tuning that we can do and create massive improvements but I also want to know that you’re going to do something really amazing with it. Yeah, they care about people and the world because I think as entrepreneurs right now, we have this really incredible opportunity to change the world very quickly with limitless income, with these – the global economy that we’re in, the technology space that we’re in.
Where we could reach anyone anywhere and sell them our product or service. But then, what are you going to do with it, right?
[0:07:07.6] RN: Totally.
[0:07:07.8] AD: Well, also not like martyring yourself. I think that that’s important, right? I think a lot of people are like, I just have to give everything away? No, I think you should absolutely have your desires and needs met and then there should still be a lot more to give away. I think that people think that they’ll do that once they start earning a lot more money.
You really need to start right away because it’s really building that habit, you know? I guarantee you, if you’re like, I’ll wait till I’m earning a million dollars, it’s going to be really hard to give away $100,000 of your million.
Start when you make $10 and just give away one, see how that goes.
[0:07:42.5] RN: Do you help businesses like actually implement like the plan of how to give?
[0:07:46.9] AD: Yes. Every business is going to be very different and some businesses like, already have give-back models. Some are you know, fine to do that on their own and they don’t ask for a consulting on that piece of their business but others are like, I don’t really –
The most common thing is, it’s like, I don’t have the profit margins to do that yet or I don’t really see how that’s going to work for me in my business model. I’m like, okay, let’s get creative, right? Let’s brainstorm. Typically if I go into a business and consult on what I see are areas of potential improvement for their performance then I already know the structure and the model of their business and I can see what’s going to be an opportunity.
I usually go in and like, here’s like three ideas for how you could give. Here’s a – I also want to make sure that it aligns what they care about, right? There’s a lot of things that I care about but there’s only a few things that I care enough about to do something about.
Right? I think that that’s really important for everyone to know, you don’t have to also judge yourself around what you care about because I think that’s huge for people there. But I don’t care about the same thing or I don’t care about – I’m sure they care, not enough to do something about.
You know, this specific thing in a third world country.
[0:09:07.4] RN: Totally.
[0:09:08.2] AD: I spoke with someone, one of my clients who was like, I feel bad or selfish that I care about adoption in The United States and I’m like, “That’s amazing, there’s nothing wrong with that”, right? You don’t have to judge yourself about what it is you care about because I think that we all – just like we all have like unique gifts in our businesses.
We all have something that for some reason or another in our life, we care about that thing more than other things.
[0:09:37.9] RN: It’s okay, right?
[0:09:38.4] AD: We need that diversity because that’s how we’re going to help all of these things rise. That’s part of what we do too, is like understanding what do you care enough about to do something about, how is it going to be baked into your business model while also keeping you profitable because long term sustainability of the business is also very important for me because you can’t just give away all your money and then not going to be in business anymore.
[0:10:00.6] RN: And you can’t give anymore.
[0:10:02.1] AD: Exactly, you can’t give anymore money which is not our goal, right? Making sure that it’s sustainable inside the business and then making sure that you know how to position it for your market, right?
Because a lot of people are like, “But this has nothing to do with my clients or what my clients care about”. Okay, there are certain things that we could work into that to communicate that message, right?
[0:10:22.0] RN: Do you mind sharing like a real life example?
[0:10:23.6] AD: Example? Yeah, one of my clients, she really cares about Rhinoceroses.
[0:10:29.1] RN: Really.
[0:10:29.8] AD: The perfect example, right? Where someone’s like.
[0:10:32.3] RN: It’s totally random.
[0:10:33.3] AD: Totally random, she’s a lawyer who serves creative entrepreneurs. People who are like calligraphers, wedding event planners and she creates templates so you know, contract, templates, things like that for them. Also does trademarks and all of those things. She’s like, “I don’t understand, but I really care about rhinoceros to a very deep level and I don’t understand how I can give there, in this business”. And so I’m like, “Okay, well tell me why you care about rhinoceros right? Where does this come from?” And so she knows all this back story about rhinoceroses and they’re endangered species and there are only one of three angulates in the world so they’re like related to horses.
Which she is a horse person, right? She grew up with horses.
[0:11:21.9] RN: Immediately, I got save the rhinoceroses.
[0:11:24.3] AD: There was this huge connection for her from the horses to the rhinos because of their species connection there.
[0:11:32.3] RN: Didn’t even know they were connected.
[0:11:34.5] AD: The toes of the Angulates are the similarity there, you can go look that up.
[0:11:39.3] RN: Now I’m interested.
[0:11:42.4] AD: What I told her was like, “This is really getting into like the why of why you care about it. Because if you just put like “Hey, we give back to rhinos” on your website or to your clients then I think it is a little bit confusing for them”.
“I think if you share with them why it’s important to you and that you’re giving them permission as well to care about the things that are important to them and you give them the back story on that, there’s a way that can be communicated in a really powerful way”, right?
Her story about horses and how she grew up with horses and she rescues horses. Now she’s like really seeing that this is an issue in foreign countries where rhinos are not being saved. For her, making that connection so that she can, also now has an opportunity to tell more of her story to her audience, right?
They may have never known that she was like a horse person.
[0:12:29.7] RN: They connect with her deeper because now they know her.
[0:12:32.8] AD: They know like more of that back story right? They see that she has this animal lover side to her and that she is giving back and that she cares about these things and you know, I think a lot of people also think that like giving is a marketing tactic.
You could say that because sure, we want to potentially use it in our marketing but not for the reason of just making more money.
[0:12:55.1] RN: Depends on the intent, right? If you’re actually coming from a true place, a genuine place and you actually want to give back, not just because you want to get more sales, because you’re doing the cool social impact thing.
[0:13:05.1] AD: Yes, for me, I think for a lot of my clients, they were giving already, like behind the scenes and weren’t modeling it externally in a business, right? I think that personally, if you want to do anonymous giving, like do it, it’s like one of the most rewarding things ever which would just be like, giving money away and no one’s coming to thank you, right?
It feels really good to be in that place. But as a business, I do feel that if we’re already giving then it’s really important for us to model that to our clients and customers to say that this is important to me because it’s also going to align them with your values, right? They’re going to see what’s important to you and you’re going to bring in more of the right people because they connect with those values.
It’s really easy and immediate way for you to show what you care about. As well as we know from statistics that people want to make purchases that impact the world, right? They’re choosing, they’re making decisions anyways and if you’re doing this giving or if you have the intent to do so and you want to do it in your business.
We already know that it’s between Rob and Joe and all things being equal in your services, besides that Joe is giving, we’re going to choose Joe.
[0:14:15.9] RN: I can give you a real life example of this, yesterday actually, right below us, there is a 7/11. Yeah, 7/11 and I want to get beer because I was meeting a guy over here, he’s coming to hang out and I know that Stella, Stella Artois, they give clean drinking water for every beer that’s had and it’s not my favorite beer, I like it but there’s – I like browns so there’s a brown and Stella and I just subconscious, I know Stella’s story and I know they’re doing social impact.
I grab the Stella.
[0:14:43.7] AD: I’ll just have the Stella because –
[0:14:45.4] RN: I’m going to make the world a better place drinking one beer at a time.
[0:14:47.4] AD: One beer at a time, I’m giving back.
[0:14:50.3] RN: Exactly.
[0:14:51.4] AD: We make those choices right? There’s like statistical evidence of that. Why not help your potential customers, clients, audience members make that decision even easier, especially if you’re already giving, I think that we tend to hide it and that was me, I was like hiding it behind the scenes for a very long time and then my clients were the ones who are like –
Because they saw it on my contract, every time that my clients would sign a contract, it was on there but it wasn’t external and they were like, why don’t you share this? This is so awesome and we didn’t know until we were already working with you. I was like, I don’t know, right? I’m a private person, yeah.
[0:15:33.1] RN: For the attorney and the rhinos, how would you advise her to actually implement that system like 10% of what she – the profit? How do you go in and like tell her what would make sense?
[0:15:44.5] AD: Yeah, we need to know what the business is doing now in terms of revenue, profit margins, what type of income streams that are currently happening and where it makes the most sense to start, right? Because there’s also like an emotional and fear aspect involved in this and so it’s also important to just like build that habit.
One of my other clients was like, “I want to be giving like 10% but I’m not able to do that yet”. I was like, “You just decided you’d give nothing? Nothing was better than 1%? Right? Because we couldn’t do 10 so we just do nothing.
[0:16:21.9] RN: Clear bus.
[0:16:22.7] AD: As soon as I called her out on that, she was like, “Yeah you’re right”. Right? That’s dumb. With her specifically, we would look through and say like, what makes the most sense right now and then what is our goal for the future, if there is something different that you want to be doing and you’re just not quite there yet in terms of the profit margins, we can change that.
For her specifically, it is like a clean cut percent of profit. For me, in my business, it’s a cut of revenue which is very different than a lot of people. I know a jewelry company who works with the same nonprofit that I support and there is like a 1% of sales.
I think that there’s so many different opportunities for you to be giving and just really understanding what makes sense in your business. For another customer client of mine, they have like a business where they support entrepreneurs with VA services.
They were like, I don’t think I can cut my VA’s pays, like payment, whatever we call paying people.
[0:17:20.3] RN: Payments, I guess?
[0:17:21.0] AD: Payments? I don’t’ think I can cut on that end and I was like, well, what if you just added a dollar so that if you’re charging $40 an hour for your VA’s, what if we just charged 41 for your VA’s and made it very clear to your customers what that one extra dollar was going to, you can even have them sign up like check a box like do you want to add $1 for this cause, right?
Because her thought process was, my customer is like, “I don’t have much wiggle room in terms of increasing that price point”, she knew she didn’t want to take it away from her VA’s. You could even do the same thing on your VA side and ask like, “Do you want to donate a dollar for me?”
Just giving people the opportunity sometimes, they’ll check that box, right? How many times have you checked out on go daddy and actually given or whatever. They have that right there, do you want to give too or when you’re checking out at pet smart, do you want to give as well?
A lot of times I do just because I’m like, I feel like an A hole if I don’t, right?
[0:18:22.5] RN: Dog day, is it a dog?
[0:18:24.1] AD: Yeah, I have two dogs, one, she’s a rescue Irish Terrier mix and then a Burmese mountain dog.
[0:18:31.0] RN: I love those.
[0:18:31.7] AD: He’s my baby.
[0:18:32.9] RN: Those dogs are so cool.
[0:18:34.7] AD: He’s in like all my branding, you can see him on my website.
[0:18:37.4] RN: The colors they have, they’re just pretty dogs.
[0:18:39.4] AD: He’s gorgeous and he’s so full of love, he’s just like for me, he was something I needed in my life at that time when I got him, I got him before I met my husband and I attribute a lot of me being able to love someone else like completely and fully to that dog.
I have like such an attachment to that dog that I think people don’t even understand but I’m like, you don’t understand, I was incapable of loving very fully until I saw this creature do that.
Openly, so vulnerably and yeah, that relationship is strong. I pretty much cry every time I think about him dying.
[0:19:18.8] RN: I get it.
[0:19:19.8] AD: Then my husband found out that they don’t really have long life expectancies and he was like, “Why would you do this to me? Why would you let me fall in love with him?” He’s like, “What am I going to do?”
No, it can’t be that short because it’s like between six to 10 years.
[0:19:35.0] RN: I didn’t know it was that short, that’s shorter than I thought.
[0:19:36.6] AD: You’re upset too now.
[0:19:37.8] RN: Now my heart’s broken.
[0:19:40.2] AD: It did the same thing to him and he was already in love, I know.
[0:19:44.3] RN: I know you went to grad school in Georgia and I think English bulldogs are like pretty short too. Same length-ish?
[0:19:50.6] AD: It’s probably because they have like breathing issues and they have like - you know with those bulldogs, they’re like over bred them in terms of – they’ve probably done the same thing with the Burmese mountain dogs, but they’re just so cute.
[0:20:01.5] RN: Yeah.
[0:20:01.9] AD: And sweet. They have like the best temperaments I’ve ever seen in a dog and I grew up with like golden retrievers so they have great temperament. This dog is just like so goofy and so loving, I couldn’t ask for anything better.
[0:20:16.1] RN: Super playful like still a lot of energy or –
[0:20:18.4] AD: Like very energized when he gets like his zoomies but for the most part, he’s super chill and like relaxed.
[0:20:27.5] RN: Cuddly?
[0:20:28.9] AD: He would rather be cuddled and be petted than eat. He will turn down food, he’s not food motivated, he’s definitely, like, love motivated which has been an interesting thing for me because all of my dogs in the past are like “Give me the food”, yeah.
[0:20:43.5] RN: totally.
[0:20:44.4] AD: Our other dog will, like, attack him to get his food but he’ll just be like, okay, you can have it. She’ll go and like try to eat his dinner and he’s just like, all right.
[0:20:55.5] RN: That’s amazing.
[0:20:55.9] AD: The sweetest.
[0:20:56.8] RN: Just like sharing.
[0:20:59.0] AD: He’s a sharer. He’s like, okay, you’re going to eat that? I’ll go cuddle mom, this sounds better anyways.
[0:21:04.3] RN: That’s great because I only have one dog and I’m always like, I just want her to have somebody to play with, how’s the dynamic with –
[0:21:11.5] AD: They play, when he wants to, he’ll let you know that he wants to play or if we’re like, outside at the dog park or something, he’ll go after it but he is actually really smart because the little one, she’s 40 pounds but she’s fast and crazy terrier all over and he’ll watch her, he’ll run really fast and then watch her and then he’ll just cut her off like he stops.
[0:21:33.9] RN: He’s tactical, he’s like –
[0:21:35.3] AD: He’s very tactical. I know that I’m not fast or I can’t do it for as long so I’m just going to cut her off and he’s like a brick wall, just runs into him. But he was a “literacy in therapy” dog, so we used to bring him into schools and children who are having like reading challenges would –
[0:21:55.1] RN: Yeah, I’ve read about that, like really therapeutic for the kid to be able to read without judgment, right? It’s really cool.
[0:22:00.3] AD: It was so cool, we did that in Alabama, we haven’t found a program locally but it was so cool, every single week, he would go in there and it wasn’t about me, I was just like the handler. Those kids didn’t know who I was but he became their best friend, right?
We would take them out of their classrooms and then they became like the coolest kid in the class, right? He would get to go to the door and maybe like, my God, Church is here for you. They’d get to come with me and Church and read the books and at that age, it’s second grade and at that age, they really do think that the dog is listening which was fascinating for me because I don’t have children.
Do they think that he is like really listening and they do. Which was so cool because –
[0:22:44.4] RN: I would never have thought that.
[0:22:44.9] AD: Their best friend, yeah. They’d be like, “Which book do you think Church wants me to read today?” I’m like, “I don’t know, why don’t you ask him?” They’d be like, ask him and he’s just like – with his paws, he does this anyways, I’m making a motion of like slapping the paw and he’s like does that.
He’ll be like, “Pick that book”, I’m like, “That’s the one”, right? You put something in front of him, he’ll slap it. Just like really touching experience and another example of how you can give back, right?
My business allowed me the freedom to take that time away and go do that. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong in terms of baking giving into your business model, another way that we give back is like, we give our skills to nonprofits.
[0:23:27.8] RN: And time.
[0:23:28.8] AD: Yeah, time. Okay, let’s come in and strategically help a nonprofit grow their business because that’s just the same way a business runs, except you’re trying to sell something very intangible.
[0:23:38.8] RN: Totally.
[0:23:39.4] AD: No one’s getting a product or service but they got to pay for this thing, right? There’s so many different ways to do that but like, when I was able to go to a school and like see the impact it was making on this kid, I’m like, “This is amazing”, right? It feels so good.
[0:23:55.1] RN: That’s cool. Is that one of your revenue streams? Is like going to this business, they pay you to setup this whole system and talk to them and like consult and figure it out?
[0:24:03.9] AD: Not yet. That’s something I’m exploring right now, kind of doing it for a couple of clients to see, is this something I want to offer in terms of a consulting service just for the giving side? It’s something we do when I come in and like consult on the performance improvement side anyways, especially if a customer is like, “This is something we want to implement, we want to think about as we look at what our focus is going to be”.
It’s something I teach inside of my group programs and just share on my platform which is something we’re working on in terms of how do we share this message with more people in a book eventually and through a more scalable way.
But for now, I don’t know that it’s worth it for me to turn that into like higher end consulting service because it does take a lot of time if I were to go in and like here’s the – all the selections, here’s how we do that. It’s really just typically right now gets tacked on to –
[0:24:56.7] RN: Growing the business?
[0:24:57.4] AD: Growing the business because if we can help them grow the business, then we can show them, you can be giving back right now because I think that is a big barrier to entry for a lot of people. It’s like, “Hmm maybe when…” And I’m like, “I was giving from day one because I got out of a ton of student debt and the only way I got out of that debt so quickly was because I was giving at the same time” and it just showed me that wow, even when I feel like I have nothing.
I actually have negative right now and I am able to give. So it kept me focused on what was most important for me to spend, what I really valued and it really changed my entire relationship with money because at that time I was like head in the sand. I had money but I wasn’t focused on growing my wealth or doing good things with my finances. I was just like, “Oh I make money on my corporate job and I’ll pay my minimum payment on my debt and I’ll still have my note in 28 years”.
[0:25:54.1] RN: Faithful.
[0:25:55.1] AD: Yeah, very faithful. I thought I’d have kids and maybe grandkids by the time I pay this loan of and I think that was the norm.
[0:26:01.8] RN: No, totally it is. It still is right?
[0:26:04.1] AD: Yeah, totally.
[0:26:04.8] RN: Like for most people especially in the South. Like you said, you were in Alabama for a while, that is just the mentality.
[0:26:12.4] AD: Totally, and that’s been hard for me actually like being in the entrepreneurial space where everyone is talking about mindset and talking about the opportunities that are available to everyone and most of me believes that’s true but I have seen people who would not be able to do what we do given their life circumstances or what they’ve been dealt and so I’m like, “Is that true?” right? I don’t know.
[0:26:40.0] RN: Yeah, that’s fair.
[0:26:42.5] AD: Some of it yes, like the mindset and how you think about it and what you do because we’ve seen people come out of really horrifying circumstances but it’s definitely something that they are not exposed to.
[0:26:55.4] RN: Yeah, I think that is the biggest thing right? Not part of, like, we are an entrepreneurship circle and communities and it’s all we hear, right? And you are surrounded by these people and that changes who you are. It really does, proximity is everything. So for the people that are in these situations that they’ve always been, whatever their parents tell them is the ultimate truth or whatever their grandparents told them is the ultimate truth and that never changes because they don’t –
One, maybe they haven’t left their town where they grew up and they are around the same people. So I think exposure is the biggest part of it.
[0:27:27.4] AD: And that was like my husband, grew up in a small town in Tennessee. His family still lives in the same town that his grandfather was born in and he was the first one to leave, go to college, go to grad school and then got a corporate job, got on a plane for the first time ever when he went to his corporate job interview and that’s how we met. It’s through that corporate job and now, he’s just grown and expanded so much in terms of his awareness around his mindset.
Because of number one, him going into a corporation. That was step number one because that moving. Totally, and then me being like, “Oh I think I can do this. I’m going to start my own business” and he’s like, “Oh my god what are you doing? You are a crazy person”, and then all the risks that I’ve taken along the way. All of the ups and downs and just seeing what’s possible and also him being exposed to those circles too and me trying to drop hints like you should go listen to that, right?
But it’s been – I have seen it first hand and so that was yeah, it’s just the exposure and the awareness of that that can change everything.
[0:28:43.7] RN: Absolutely and I think it is always an interesting transition going from a corporate job to starting your own thing. So I want to dig into that a little bit. What – did you quit your job cold turkey and then start this thing or you still-boating it on the side slowly, what was that transition?
[0:28:58.8] AD: Yeah, so about two and a half years ago I was doing this on the side of my corporate job. I started in January of 2015 on the side of the corporate gig and I worked in both worlds. So, corporate job and growing this business for about six months and then I left that corporate job. So been in this business fulltime for about two years at this point just about a month ago. It was my two year anniversary and it was the same day I went to entrepreneur magazine and had an interview with them.
[0:29:35.6] RN: Oh I saw that, yeah that was awesome.
[0:29:37.3] AD: It was a cool milestone moment to be like, “Oh this is a really cool full circle” of literally two years ago to the day, I was leaving that corporate job. So things can happen quickly if you allow them right? And if you do the work. So I started on the side really just doing things for free like, in practice not just in theory. I thought it would be amazing to work for myself and make money and not to have go into my job where I don’t want to be.
But I understood, I had the awareness I guess that that might not be the case once I actually do it. So I don’t want to put myself out there and jump ship until I had tried the actual work as well as I didn’t know how to price myself or what people would pay or what kind of results I could get for an individual entrepreneur because I was doing the same work inside my corporation, right? So it’s internal now, moving to a company where like, “Okay I am going to be consulting for you and helping you”.
“But are you going to be able to get the same results that I get internally?” I don’t know, right? And so it was really hard for me to have the confidence to go out and just do that. So I was also trying to pay off all my student debt in that time. I wanted to be able to leave that corporate job. I think a lot of people stay stuck in jobs because of finances, right? They want you to have debt. They actually even told us that but yes, one of our VP’s at some networking thing was like, “We love employees who have debt because they stay with us longer” right?
[0:31:04.8] RN: That is so terrible.
[0:31:05.8] AD: Horrible! So I paid off $48,000 of student debt in those six months. So I got rid of all of my student debt in six months and the universe, I would have stayed longer at that corporate job because I wanted more of a safety net and because I just had this mindset that they needed me and like, “Oh but I was leading all of these projects. What are they going to do?” right? When in actuality they’d figure it out but I was just stroking my own ego maybe and just the fear of like leaving.
I’m sure it was why I was like, “I’ll stay longer” and then one of my VP’s called me one day and he called me and he’s just talking at first and then he was like, “So someone sent me a blog post that you wrote” and I was like, “Oh all right, let me shut my door” and so when I shut my door and we had a long conversation, someone had like – because I was not being private with this business. I didn’t have a non-compete or anything like that.
So everything that I was doing was legal but he just wanted to know what was my intention because I was being visible and I think that if you are in a job it’s very hard to grow a business if you are not being visible and so I knew that I wanted this business more than I wanted to keep this job and so I was like, “If I am not visible it is never going to work”. So I was being visible and someone thought that they should send him that blog post or whatever and so we had that conversation.
And the next day, he was like, “So what is your intention? How long are you going to stay? Is this your two weeks’ notice?” and I was like, “Well I wrote the blog post three months ago”.
[0:32:49.2] RN: It’s a blog post dude.
[0:32:50.2] AD: Yeah, I wrote it three months ago and I was like, “Clearly no one has noticed a performance change so I don’t understand the problem” right? But I did understand the energy was no longer something that I was okay with and I felt like all right, this is the universe saying it’s time. It’s time, you would have done this on your own fast enough. So I just wanted to push you and so I thought that the situation was so uncomfortable that they were going to walk me out the next day.
Like, “Okay you can just go” and then when I went in the next day, I told them I am going to leave but I am happy to stay as long as you need me to train a new person or whatever and they were like, “Can you stay for two more months?” and I was like, “No”.
[0:33:30.2] RN: Sounds terrible.
[0:33:31.3] AD: It’s like two months. I thought maybe like a month, maybe a couple. So I ended up staying for about six weeks and then right before July 4th weekend that was my final day. Yeah a clean break and then –
[0:33:44.1] RN: Did you have financial resources built up? Were you married this time as well?
[0:33:47.5] AD: Not married at that time and so all on my own. In terms of finances, we didn’t put our finances together at that time. We were dating at that time. So I had paid off all the debt so my expenses were – I was trying to get my expenses on a monthly basis as low as possible and the business was built up to a point where I was already making more than I was in my corporate job.
[0:34:08.4] RN: Okay cool, so there is that inflection point of –
[0:34:10.5] AD: So there is the inflection point of like, “Okay this is possible and I knew that my goal was never to replace the corporate job and sometimes this is a big “Aha” for people because they were like, “Oh I just need to replace my corporate income. I just need to replace this income” and I’m like, “I never really needed to replace the income”. I just needed to know what are my expenses and I need to make that and typically that’s a lot lower than what you are making at the corporate job.
So at that time I was living in rural Alabama. I had no debt at that point, I didn’t have a car because my company – I had a company vehicle and I didn’t buy a car right afterwards. So I had pretty low expenses and so I was, around $1,400, was what I needed per month and I just had the confidence that I could do that in the business. I was already making about $8,000 a month in this current side business but even if I was like, “All right if I could have one client a month I could do this”.
And I just needed that confidence that I didn’t need all the clients. I didn’t even need to equal what I was currently doing but I knew that I was going to have way more time and so you know, theoretically I should actually be making more but I felt that safety net even there. So I didn’t have a ton of money in the bank by any means and actually just had invested my largest sum of money in a mentor but I just knew my expenses and I always said that even if –
I just had the knowing that even if I couldn’t get the one client that I needed, I could go work at Starbucks. That’s not beneath me by any means.
[0:35:39.4] RN: What’s the worst case scenario? You can go get a job.
[0:35:40.6] AD: That’s it, what’s the worst that could happen? I’ll get a job, I’ll work part time.
[0:35:44.9] RN: Yeah because you are a 100% right. As people want to just replace their income of what their job and it’s so true like you don’t have to maintain that income right? If you could drop your expenses a little bit, sacrifice a little bit to do your own thing in the short term right? In the long term it is going to be a huge blessing but in the short term just like dealing with your ego, putting it aside and just saying, “It’s okay to quit your job, drop your expenses, live more frugally for a little bit” and give yourself some runway.
[0:36:13.2] AD: Totally and I was already in that space because I was trying to pay off the debt so fast and I didn’t feel like it was sacrificial at any time because I really just was more conscious of where I was spending my money and making sure that I was making conscious choices instead of spending unconsciously which I think we do a lot but I was like, “Okay if I buy this am I willing to be in debt for a week longer? Maybe, sometimes”, right?
So I think that that’s a big one for people. It’s really just understanding what are the expenses, what are you willing to do to get them a little bit lower to free up your time so that you can pour it back into the business or whatever it is that you really want to be focused on.
[0:36:52.9] RN: What has been the toughest part of the journey?
[0:36:54.5] AD: Toughest part of the journey would be –
[0:36:57.5] RN: Like any big road blocks, failures, struggles that like –
[0:37:01.0] AD: Toughest part, road blocks, I think often feeling like you are alone. This depends on me at this point, right? So there is a lot of pressure there for sure and I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I never thought I was going to be an entrepreneur. I wasn’t the kid making bracelets and selling them to my friends, ever. I thought I was going to be a corporate girl and I thought I was going to be a VP and have a great life, but in that capacity and I was always just focussed on being the best at whatever I did.
And so the same thing is true in my business but I think that that can get sometimes out of control because there is no end whereas, like, even in corporate, there is a little bit of an end.
[0:37:41.8] RN: Totally, no that’s true.
[0:37:43.4] AD: So coming out of what are the hardest things, is finding those people to support me, even my husband, there’s days where I’m like, “Why do people pay me to do this? What am I doing? How did I even get here? And I’m a huge fraud. I’m a fraud and why do people listen to me on the inter webs?”
[0:38:04.7] RN: A hundred percent, yeah I get it.
[0:38:07.2] AD: He’s like, “Okay have a moment” right?
[0:38:09.7] RN: All right let’s fix her.
[0:38:10.6] AD: Let’s take a deep breath because let’s look at all the amazing things that you’ve done for people but I think that there is a lot of pressure in that too, especially when you are leading a community. There is also – I place a lot of pressure and expectation of myself of like, “I want to get everyone amazing results” and to have to, maybe, come to the understanding that not everyone is, that I can’t control them that I can’t micromanage everyone is hard. It’s really hard.
Like you could go work at everybody’s business and turn it around for them but no, it is up to them right? You can’t do all of that and that is hard and it’s emotional and there is a lot of energy and brain power involved in that, right? Like, lately there is a lot of peers and friends that I know that are like closing these large Facebook groups and this is something that people are really upset about and you know, “Why would they do this? “
And I’m like, “It’s a lot of energy to be maintaining a large group of people or to be pouring into a large group of people”, and sometimes you’re literary thinking about all of the people in there. You feel like you have 70,000 monkeys on your back potentially as they try to grow their own businesses or whatever it is that you’re teaching or pouring into them. So I think that you can’t ever turn off and so that’s hard and emotional.
[0:39:34.5] RN: No, it resonates because I remember I came from a corporate job too and it’s just so different because when the weekend comes around, when you actually take your vacation.
[0:39:45.2] AD: You took it.
[0:39:46.4] RN: Totally unplugged, yeah I was that guy. I did take it, yeah but no –
[0:39:50.8] AD: But I mean you actually take it right? You totally enjoy.
[0:39:54.0] RN: Totally take it, and yeah you are not worried about work the whole time, maybe a little bit but you can actually make that separation where as in I travel a lot now. I go on vacation but never checked out, not really. It’s too connected with it you know?
[0:40:11.5] AD: I know and even if you’re not checking emails or doing the work –
[0:40:16.5] RN: Your brain is still going.
[0:40:17.8] AD: Your brain is like, “Oh I am laying on this beach and I have 43 new ideas and I just bought seven domain names” right? My husband is like, “Can you stop?” I’m like, “I wish I could” right? I wish I could sometimes just relax but I don’t even know sometimes what that means like what is relaxing? Who does that as an entrepreneur in the fullest state? I’m sure people are going to email me after this and be like, “I have a program where you can meditate”.
[0:40:50.2] RN: I’ve got exactly what you need.
[0:40:53.3] AD: Like I meditate y’all but right after I’ve got to write down all 72 ideas that came to me during that meditation. I don’t know about you. But I think also not even just the ideas that come to me but as I employ other people, I am thinking about them. I am thinking about their families. I can no longer take risks just for myself in my business. It changes dramatically like, “Oh I want to do this thing that is a huge risk”.
[0:41:21.3] RN: It’s not just the employee, it’s their spouse, their three kids.
[0:41:25.0] AD: Family, I know they have children. Yes.
[0:41:26.0] RN: They’re grandparent’s maybe, it is just a huge ripple effect.
[0:41:28.9] AD: Totally and so I know their families and I know their kids and I know their lifestyle and what their goals are for their [inaudible], “We are moving here, we want to do this, we have this goal” and I’m like, “Yeah we are going to do it”.
[0:41:42.8] RN: It’s a weight though, it’s pressure.
[0:41:45.1] AD: And it is just very different right? Because I never felt that in corporate, like responsibility of other people in their livelihood and their family’s livelihood and I feel an amend, a tremendous amount of personal responsibility to perform and to allow the business to continue to grow so that it can support them as well as so they can support other employees eventually. That is the goal, is that I love being able to pay people amazing for the work that they do and I love that ripple effect but it also brings a tremendous amount of stress and responsibility.
[0:42:18.0] RN: So what are you most excited about with what you’ve got going on now?
[0:42:21.6] AD: Yeah, so right now I am really excited about bringing forward the message of giving back. So like I said, it is always kind of been behind the scenes and I’ve been feeling maybe a little bit misaligned with my, I had my Facebook community, I had a podcast and all of them had the original kind of brand name and it was called The School of Self-Mastery and I do talk a lot about self-mastery as a whole because I think that we have to be whole and complete people if we are going to perform the best in our business.
But now, I am switching that outward facing message more to like profiting for good. So how do we profit for good and do more good so that we can earn more and give more and so I feel like that just feels really aligned with what I need to be talking about and helping people understand like you’ve got to get past the money mindset stuff of wanting to earn a lot of money because you’ve got to get there first. So then how do we actually do it, that’s where my strategic support comes in.
And then the next piece of giving back and what does that look like for you. So really bringing that forward facing, to my community and my content in a show, hopefully in a book if anyone wants to pick this up or I’ll just write it myself and self-publish. Well I am going to write it myself anyways but – so those are all projects that we are moving forward with and I felt a little stuck and stagnated for a while because of the fear around “do people care?” right?
So I think I assumed and had the belief that people in my audience and people in the marketing and business, B2B space were only interested in my strategic brain of, “Adrienne just showed me how to make more money” and that’s it and I think the fear of like, “If I put this out there, I want to show you how to earn more money so that you can give more money, are people going to care? Do they care enough?” And that I think my fear was that they didn’t.
And so far after making that switch everyone was like, “Yes” so I needed it. I love in this space where I’m making that shift, I love having that validation because I was so in fear of the reverse. So that is something I’m super excited about because I see the potential for the ripple effect already. Even if someone never works with me like that movement I think is for everyone.
[0:44:32.9] RN: Even if they just – yeah, the awareness of now that they know they can do that, it is an important message.
[0:44:38.7] AD: Yeah that is for everyone.
[0:44:40.0] RN: Just think about all the entrepreneurs, like, if every single one of those did that, it’s a huge change right?
[0:44:46.5] AD: It would be insane very fast. I really believe that we have the opportunity to change the world very quickly in so many ways like directly through our work because we are leading the new economy right? And if we’re willing to be good people with good money who do really good things, we can change a lot.
[0:45:07.0] RN: No, I love it and I think it’s important that you said to stop judging yourself about what you care about because for whatever it is, it is going to help a lot of people. Whatever it is like you and Adoption America, yeah don’t judge yourself on that. That is a huge issue.
[0:45:22.7] AD: Exactly, there is a need for the thing you care about and we can’t all care about the same thing.
[0:45:29.1] RN: Right, something would take off right there. Yeah I know but it’s a great point, thanks for sharing.
[0:45:34.3] AD: Yeah, absolutely. It’s great.
[0:45:36.1] RN: And thanks for joining and catch you next time.
[0:45:38.1] AD: Thanks.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:45:41.4] RN: All right, so you could find Adrienne @adriennedorison on Twitter and of course for that spelling along with all of the links and resources Adrienne and I discussed including more information on her business and coaching programs, it can all be found at the page we’ve created especially for this episode. That will be at failon.com/039 and next week, we have a good one. We are sitting down with my good buddy, Jordan Axani.
Jordan is a globally renowned personality focused on digital authenticity and wellbeing and was once the focus of one of the most viral human interest stories in the history of the internet. Once he starts telling the story, you’d be like, “Oh wow that was him?” It’s an epic story. Jordan is now a keynote speaker and storytelling coach that helps people feel safe being themselves and in this episode, Jordan will talk about the challenges he suffered growing up with bullying.
Which actually led to the development of his current work and as I mentioned, he’ll go into the wild story about what actually turned into one of the craziest human interest stories of all time on the internet and he’ll also discussed some of the darkest times of his journey and the steps that he’s actually been able to take to claw his way out of it. Don’t miss it. It’s coming out next.
And if the podcast is providing value to your life and your business, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you’re biggest take away from this episode with Adrienne was and I’m sure she’d like to hear it as well and as I continue to build Fail On with the simple goal of helping you learn faster through other people’s business and life failures, I’d be really grateful for a couple of things that are so small but matter so much to me.
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[0:47:40.4] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of The Fail On Podcast. For more resources, show notes and action items to help you find success in your failures, sign up for our mailing list at failon.com.
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