How do I launch my business?
Launching a business is hard, but there's one thing that's probably even harder still. In today's intimate interview, Never Stop Dreaming: A discussion around what it really takes to live your dream, we get deep and juicy with two fabulous entrepreneurs who give it to you straight about what you can expect when you make the leap, how to get over the hurdles that come flying at you, and they even highlight the one thing that's even HARDER than launching a business...
I've known these two women for a great number of years. From their backgrounds in ivy league schools to MBA's to F500 companies to breaking away from the 9-5 to something bigger, they agreed to let me push and pry and get at the good stuff, the feelings, fears and truths most people aren't willing to discuss.
In this raw interview we cover:
How Jordan hustled her way to a final interview with Seth Godin and didn’t make it last round (and what she did to rebound back).
What inspires fast-track Theresa to leave her high paying F500 job to teach.
How to NEVER repeat their mistakes (and lose 10 years as a result)
Why listening to your body can add years to your life (and dollars to your bank account)
Top 4 tips in plowing past the obstacles
Why Jordan waited 10 years to take the jump into entrepreneurship
How to make the leap from 9-5 to business owner
The magic of finding the perfect business partner
- And a lot more!
You have two options to enjoy this interview. You can watch and listen via video (see above). The internet did drop out a few times so the video may do the same. You can also enjoy the transcript below.
Now it's time for the camera to be flipped onto you -- what do you think is even HARDER than launching a business and making the leap from 9-5? Tell me your TOP idea in the comments below now.
----> p.s. Have you heard? We’re offering a full scholarship opportunity for readers interested in learning 7 figure sales, marketing and self-promotion through our new S+M business course. Did you apply? The deadline is tomorrow! Click here to learn more and apply. ←------
THERESA - I’m Theresa Campbell, like Lauryn said. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I just celebrated my 30th birthday last weekend - which was amazing. It has been quite the journey, very similar to everybody else. Went to school, graduated from Michigan State University, and got a job at a Fortune 500 company right out of college. I’ve actually spent 8 years in the automotive industry. I gained a lot of experience in this industry that I know had the industry not taken a turn (economy) for the worst, jobs that I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity that I had if there weren’t a bunch of layoffs.
So I’m very grateful for my experience in the industry at this point in time. And yeah, I hit fast forward and did the whole MBA thing.. then after that I looked up and said “now what?” Thinking that more maybe would have come of that. After my program I realized, you know, I really don’t want to work somewhere else - and I really don’t want to write another resume.
The thought of writing a resume or another cover-letter actually physically made me feel weird. So ultimately, I realized that I need to be working for myself. I couldn’t even see myself working for someone else. So I guess over the past 2-3 years I’ve been really investing in myself - life coaching and business coaching and finding out who I really am and what it is that I want, then going after it. Literally waking up at 4:30am in the morning and digging to figure out what I really want. So, that’s kind of a high level overview.
LAURYN - Theresa is a total go-getter. A make-shit-happen personality type. She has a big heart and is so dedicated to what it is that she wants and doing it in the right way. Jordan, darlin’, onto you…
JORDAN - Jordan, in a nutshell, who am I? I’m Jordan Hayles, what’s up everybody! I’m a country girl at heart with a little bit of city. I am at my core, a big nerd. Academics and reading is my life. I’m also a dancer and used to be a pianist- so I’m all about using both sides of my brain. On a day by day, I’m the head instructor and product creator for Spanish for Busy Professionals. By night, I work a presidential purpose which has been a challenge over the last 4 years - to really step into my life presidentially. I’m really cool, down to earth, and really looking forward to this chat!
LAURYN - You said that you used to be a pianist? You no longer play the piano?
JORDAN - I no longer play the piano. That was just in college because I’d have to compete with the music majors for access to the piano, and I never ended up buying a full keyboard. I keep saying that I’m going to get one so I can get back into it - because music does really make me feel alive.
LAURYN - I want to hear you perspective on - what is it that you’re really passionate about right now? What is the biggest emotion/driving force in your life that lights your fire?
THERESA - For me, it’s helping people chase their potential. I see potential in practically everyone that I encounter - and it’s in the role I can play in helping them get from point A to point B. Wherever they want to go, or places they can’t even see themselves going. I feel a responsibility to tap into those individuals and help them get where they want to go in business… and in life. I’ve always been a teacher at heart. Help people see the world and their life differently - and go after what they want.
LAURYN - Before you started working with Ford 8 years ago, would you say this is something you always knew you wanted to do - or - is this something that over the past few years it became clear to you through doing things you didn’t want to be doing?
THERESA - I think it was something that I’ve known I’ve wanted to do, I just didn’t know what it was going to look like. I remember when I was a lot younger, I said to my dad: “I want to be a teacher.” I had said that for a very long time. I said it again in high school and my dad said, “Teachers don’t make any money.” Then I went to college undeclared, but I always worked with kids, and I got a job at a child development center and started teaching. Then something happened and I was like, “I really like business, events and planning - I can always go back to teaching but I can’t go back and learn about business or marketing, etc.”
LAURYN - Why did you think you can’t go back to business but you can go back to teaching? You need degrees for both of them. So what was your line of thinking?
THERESA - If I wanted to go back and teach, I could teach business. That was it. It was the passion at the moment. I wanted to learn about business - but I’d always find a way to help people no matter what I was doing. There were some unpleasant experiences involving some of the parents - which I didn’t like so much.
LAURYN - I’m going to be real blunt and point this out. When I hear you speak, I hear “I wanted to be a teacher, I tried teaching but I didn’t like it. There was probably not a lot of money in it anyways. Pays better to do the business thing.” Ironically enough, you ended up in sales. Which is literally, the money section of the business that drives it. I find it interesting that as you pursued this, you wanted to go into teaching, then you were encouraged to go down this sales path. Do you see the correlation? Maybe I’m completely off.
THERESA - I think it wasn’t about the money, it was about continuing to learn about myself. When I was in college, I thought the best professors were the ones who actually had work experience, then came back and taught. That drove my decision. I started thinking, “I’m going to roll up my sleeve and go do this corporate stuff and really get a feel for the culture and environment.” Then I could go back to the classroom and teach it. Which is also why I didn’t go back for my MBA because I had already been working for 3 years. It made such a difference for me to go back and take classes at night, after working full time, and take in the information. Then the whole teaching thing came back up, and I didn’t want to go back to school. I don’t like the bureaucracy, I don’t like the structure and I don’t like being put through a system. Always a teacher at heart. I’ve always found a way to be developing curriculum, giving back.. and developing people. I just always found a way to do that.
LAURYN - This is awesome. Jordan, what would you say is the biggest motivating force in your life? What is your fire?
JORDAN - It’s a word… and that word is Presidential. I’m always asking myself, “If I act today in a way that’s presidential, on whatever I’m trying to do, what will that look like?” So, the way I’m going to show up in a presidential fashion might be a little different than how I might show up in just a regular fashion. I like to look at that and try and embody that kind of energy. It really puts my head in a different place, and gets me excited. I think secondary to that is trying to show up as clear as possible, and really stepping into my own.
LAURYN - Can you elaborate a little bit, what does Presidential mean to you? Does that mean you dress like the President? What does that look like and mean?
JORDAN - Well, part of the journey is figuring out what that means. We see presidents and we don’t think about what the concept is behind that, so it is a bit complicated. But some of the things I’ve come up with first - is what questions do Presidents have to ask themselves about the problems they’re trying to solve? - and could those same questions be applicable to my life? For example, I might ask in this particular task - what idea, person or action would I like to convey as president right now? Also, to a certain extent, merely asking the question, “if today I showed up as President in a nation of my own, what would I do differently?” This thinking helps me get into my head and become and over-all problem solver.
LAURYN - Do you think you’ve always lived with Presidential purpose, or do you feel like this is something you had to actively step into?
JORDAN - Both. In certain moments of my life, I have definitely risen to a very high standard (I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily a Presidential standard). Then I hit a rut around my college years - which was really difficult health wise for me, and I had a hard time getting my head back into that space. Then by the time I met you, at the Seth Godin interview, it was that moment where I could feel that greater sense of a purpose. So, I’ve had many moments in my life that have given me a glimpse - and now it’s about setting up that foundation so I can appear that way more consistently in my life.
LAURYN - Just for a little background for you guys, Jordan and I (a few years ago), interviewed for The Domino Project, which was a new publishing venture created by Seth Godin - he was looking for people to come work for him for a 6-7 month stint. Jordan really sold her way into that interview and didn’t let anything stop her. She had the most interesting story of how she ended up in the interview - she did not take no for an answer. She totally wow’ed everyone in the room.
At the end we were told to pick who we wanted on our team, and I was so certain that Jordan was in. But, when I found out Jordan hadn’t made the cut, I was incredibly surprised. For a lot of people - the thought of working with Seth Godin was like the magic pill.
So Jordan, what did it feel like knowing you did everything you could to get the interview, to really show up in a big way and not make it?
JORDAN - Of course you’re disappointed, without a doubt. But, the immediate emotion I felt after seeing the NO was, “hot damn, I am in NYC, I just met Seth Godin - and I totally could have not been here.” I think because I was going through such a rut, then I got this surge that forced me to look at this in a different light. The ‘how am I going to solve this problem” type of energy. I was so happy that I showed up so big in that way - and really using my creativity and reaching out to people. I felt like that was my big lesson - like that was the big shot. To show myself that I’m capable of a whole lot more than I’ve been doing in the past few years. Maybe even more than I ever thought.
After being in touch with you guys later down the road, even after working with Seth Godin, it seems like it’s still a lot of work to get from A to B in terms of what your dreams are. Yes it puts you in a great position and you can put this on your resume (nevermind the incredible connections), but it still looks like a lot of hard work.
LAURYN - I totally want to echo that point. Don’t get me wrong, working with Seth Godin - an amazing human being, so much gratitude! But, you’re given these positions where people think you’re stupid to walk away from it. Like, “why would you walk away from this, you have a name behind you; you have credibility, a reputation, resources, contacts, MONEY. Why would you leave that?” So, about a year and some change ago - I walked away from Squidoo, which was a really hard decision. So I’m wondering for you, Theresa, how do you deal with that knowing that one day you might step away from Ford? Can you relate to what Jordan and I are talking about? Where from the outside it looks like - wow, you have everything, but when you’re in it it’s a lot more work than you actually thought.
THERESA - I think that’s absolutely spot on. I remember telling my family I was going to do this online business thing, and it was going to be part time until I could figure out how to do it full time. The question was “why?” Not saying that I’m stupid - but that’s how I felt by them asking. One person’s paradise is another persons’ prison. So, it’s difficult for me being a high achiever, go-getter type person - but then realizing I want to be that person… in a different place. It is difficult because there are a lot of great perks, including vacation times, bonus checks and a company car, etc. Why would you ever want to give that up? You have the best gig and people would kill for your job, and that stuff can really start to mess with you. You never want to be thought of as not being grateful or not counting your blessings. But the point is, I had to work for this and still do - it’s not like I just ended up in this position.
I have to keep working to keep my reputation and still be a high performer and over achiever. Like when people say “oh, you could be the next VP,” but I know that’s not my place, and that’s a really difficult conversation to have while I figure my shit out. That’s a really difficult place to be, but when you know who you are and what you want to do - it’s worth every difficult conversation.
LAURYN - I think women can totally relate to this: Saying no to what really serves us. I don’t know where the mentality stems from, but I noticed this in life. Do you have the mindset that everything is possible? That you can achieve whatever you set your mind to achieve? Then, in the middle is the person that feels: “I’m appreciative for my 4 jobs and everything I have, but this isn’t my calling - what am I supposed to just stay in this position because everyone thinks it a great idea?” Learning to say no, whether that be to clients that you don’t want, or engagements that you just don’t want to do, isn’t easy.
Everyone pay attention: It doesn’t get any easier to say no to these things! When I left my gig with Seth (this is total transparency) I was making a range of anything from over $12,000 per month to $500 per month. When you pursue your entrepreneurial dream you will have obstacles. The Domino Project has been a gift, because it was really my first community in NYC of people who believed in me, who saw my own potential when I couldn’t see it myself - when I thought I was just that loser that ‘looked kind of cool’ and that everyone was going to realize at some point that I didn’t know what I was doing. But that never happened. People told me I was really good at what I do.
What do you both say has been your biggest obstacle, to come to this point where you know what you want to build are you’re ready to do it? And what has been the thing that’s helped you the most to do it? For me, it’s been community. What was the real shit?
JORDAN - First of all, I’m extremely blessed despite the fact that I’ve had a lot of tremendous obstacles in my life. The first obstacle was how I saw myself. Coming out of high school, going into college, I was really on a high. I had gotten into 5 Ivy league schools, anywhere from Harvard to Yale to Stamford to MIT. There was a lot of good things that were going on. I was really geared toward success, but the problem was my health really wasn’t there. I was not feeling well, I was not able to show up - I didn’t have the clarity or the energy. I really didn’t know what was wrong with me. So for a long time that existed - the lack of energy and not understanding why I was having trouble focusing, and couldn’t get out of bed because I was crying. That was a big deal. Until I was able to identify that problem, I was just thinking “who am I, and what’s going on?”
The other big thing is I had always told everyone that I was going to be a doctor. Then I realized that I could be a doctor, a really good one, but I didn’t want to be a doctor. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after that. Because my health wasn’t in order, I didn’t have the brainpower to get clarity about what I wanted.
My next obstacle was discovering that I was going to do something unconventional. When I told my parents I was going to do something way more entrepreneurial, that was hard for them to stomach. They’ve been very supportive in the best way they can, but that was hard for them.
LAURYN - The part about not crying and wanting to get up - if anyone listening in can relate to that, I really want to highlight the importance of it. There’s no shame in having those feelings - it’s not that you’re weak or F*ed up, none of that is the case. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek out help, but from a loving place, those things are so important. And in business, especially in the entrepreneurial stage, it’s sort of seen as this badge of pride to just muscle through it.
Even if that means working 13 hour days and eating ramen for dinner, blah blah blah! A lot of people talk about in the S&M course, and in general, take care of yourself folks. If there’s something seriously going on, if you’re body is telling you to slow down - all the riches, and jewels and impact you see is going to happen to for you, but NOT until you take care of yourself. So Jordan, thank you for being so open about that. A lot of us, especially women, don’t want to share those kinds of things because they’re afraid they will come across as emotional or sensitive. Screw that! We have shit we go through, and thats ok. It’s part of real life, and we should honor that.
JORDAN - And the quicker you come to terms on what it is, the closer you are to solving the problem. In my situation, it went so long being undiagnosed, which could have been the time to get me back up to speed. So what could have just lasted for 3 months, ended up lasting for a decade. It’s really important to recognize that.
My biggest support… well, my parents were always there for me in the best way that they could be. So I am appreciative to them for everything. I also did a really good job at networking, so when I was stepping onto the entrepreneurial path and I had a lot of severe ups and downs - the relationships that I had nurtured really came to help me. But I do have to say that the Seth Godin experience for me was a big deal because I got a chance to meet with people who were doing the same things and were aligned with what I wanted to do. It was the spirit of it, and I didn’t have that in my life before. So that was a tremendous help for me.
LAURYN - So it sounds like relationships and even more than that, with Seth Godin, is being around like-minded people, who have a spirit similar to yours, or a life that you want to have. Same thing if I wanted to lose weight, but everyone in my life is eating KFC everyday, then I go to a meetup and it’s a runners group for people who are getting off the couch to do something - oh my god, that’s what I’m talking about!
The more honest you are with yourself, the more you bring into your life exactly what you need.
What has been your biggest obstacle and aid, Theresa?
THERESA - My biggest obstacle, I thought, was my finances. For so long I kept telling myself I couldn’t do things because I didn’t have the finances or I had to pay off student loans. So, I was always using finances as an excuse for why I couldn’t do something. I was having a conversation with my life coach based on finances. He made me realized that once everything aligns with who you are, what your values are and what you want to do - you answer is yes. This alignment is the compass that leads you to your dreams. The question went from ‘how big are your finances’ to ‘how big is your faith.’
What was really holding me back was the faith in myself. I realized that you just have to lean on your faith and your stuff just has a way of working itself out. I had to trust that everything was going to work out, and get over this financial perspective that I kept in the way. You have to do what makes sense to you and what works for your family. We all have different paces, we all know what’s best for us.
LAURYN - I find one of the biggest reasons why we say we can’t do something, is actually just a distraction. The thing is, true generosity comes from a place of groundedness, space and love. If you’re giving to avoid do something else - it’s actually a void gift. If every time you give someone something it means you can’t give yourself something that you want…. overtime that blows up in your face. We have to be willing to put ourselves first. Learn where your boundaries are, and what you want.
There’s a situation where a lot of us are becoming the bread winners, we’re kickin’ butt - the roles in the family changes. How to do you still feel like a woman when you’re bringing in the money?
Theresa, what was the parting in the clouds for you? [The opposite of an obstacle].
THERESA - Two things. First, getting around the right people. You change your environment, you change your friends, you change your life. You don’t get rid of your old friends, you just change your circles and things will shift. It’s being around like-minded people. Someone might be 10 steps in front of you, but learning from those people can be so much more beneficial than trying to learn from an ‘Oprah.’
Build a network. That person that you’re on the phone with when you publish your first blog, or the person you cry with when you make your first dollar… even if it’s from your dad. Those people are important.
Also, changing my mindset about things. This whole concept of detaching yourself from the outcome. That’s helped me to be extremely productive. Look at things as they are. Don’t dwell and put so much energy into an outcome, you can’t function on that without being drained.
JORDAN - I’ve had things that have happened that were awesome, and I didn’t know it at the time, but those were the things that were setting me up down the line. After I met Lauryn, and everyone at The Domino Project, I could have turned away and not kept in communication with all of them.. and that would have been my detriment. Because I held onto these relationships and kept communication going, I was able to join this project with Lauryn and Sophie down the road. That never would have happened if the other thing didn’t happen, and if I didn’t continue to nurture my relationships. You never know how things will workout.
LAURYN - They both took the S&M beta test. It’s been a journey for me too. For a long time I pushed away from this business, or this kind of future, for many different reasons. Having that partner, Sophie Solomon, we knew we wanted to be different from everyone else and we knew we had the answers to a lot of questions that people were struggling with in business. Specifically sales, marketing, and self-promotion. It was a hail mary for us. You guys loved it. So, I would love to get your perspective on it. How did you feel about S&M, taking the beta course, especially with everything leading up to getting you to this place?
JORDAN - I can’t tell you how much of a savior it was for me because I knew it was going to be good just because Lauryn was involved, but what I didn’t know what was going to happen in my own life that would cause me to need that type of structure, support and environment. I had a major accident, but because of the program, I had so much structure that kept my head in the game. It kept me on top of my game, but looking at the frontiers of what my game could be. How could I show up a little bit differently. Then, what happened after that was ripple effect of great stuff. Not to mention the sales and marketing stuff and how beneficial that was for my business.
LAURYN - At the end of 6 weeks, you ended up acquiring another client, a paying client, which is awesome. And now you and Theresa are partnering together to put together your own product and bring something into the world. Is that right?
THERESA - YES! I wanted to connect with everyone after the course. Jordan and I got really close and were sharing what we were doing, and where we saw ourselves within the next 30 days. I was doing things for my own business at the time [shipping], that I didn’t have space in my mind to manage. So we had a conversation, discussed what we each had going on. The next day we decided, ok let’s get shipping. We need to be shipping everyday. We identified something that was going to move us in the direction of our dreams. A lot came out of this, not only a friendship, but the amount of stuff we got done! We have been putting our heads together to create the app for the program. It feels really good.
LAURYN - It sounds like from the course you were given structure to pursue what you wanted to pursue. When things got hard, you had people to depend upon so you wouldn’t quit. You had resources that helped you move forward. Community… it sounds like you guys were able to find like-minded people who supported you, and some became lifelong friends. This also created an income string, and partnerships, which could potentially be a big part of your life - whether that be merely helping others, or money, etc.
Would you recommend the S&M program to other people? And who do you think this should be for, in your own words, who should take this course?
JORDAN - Absolutely! The first thing that popped into my head when you asked that question was, people with an open mind. That’s who I’d recommend it to. Because, one of the things I loved about the course was the unconventional / non-traditional approach to sales and marketing. The course is so much more than just a formula to get where you want to be, like many other things in life train us to believe. So, someone with an open mind, and a playful spirit who is willing to do work. Someone who is open to experience what the course has to offer. It’s bigger than what’s out there. If people do the work, you’ll see the results. It’s very foundational - it really sets you up for success. Not just for beginners. It sets you up to dig deep into yourself and get results.
LAURYN - This is music to my ears! It makes me so happy you feel that way. Can you reflect on this for people who haven’t seen as much success as they want but they’re definitely not spring chicken?
JORDAN - This is such a great foundational course for people. For people who are already in the game, these are things [S&M course content] you need to be doing on a consistent basis. Not just at the beginning of your journey, but all the way through.
LAURYN - It’s kind of like yoga. You can never perfect yoga. I’m so much better at yoga now than I was 2 months ago, but it’s something that you continuously are working on - and there’s a self care piece to that as well. This is for people who value quality over quantity. If you care about quality, experience, aesthetics and community - this is where you want to be.
Thank you girls so much for taking the time to share what I felt was very vulnerable and share your stories. I discovered a lot about both of you. Can you tell us where everyone can find you girls!
LAURYN - For those of you who are interested in learning more about our S&M program (sales and marketing course) - which is about to LAUNCH first week of October at www.smlaunch.com. We have 3 free business tutorials up now that won’t be there forever, and some other cool stuff, so check it out! It’s top level insight into your business.
I’ll talk to you guys later! Thanks so much. That’s a wrap!
END OF INTERVIEW