Business moves differently for different people. Some may be in start-up mode, while others are in growth mode. No matter where you are, it is important to think about how aligned you and your team are with the overall pace of your business. In this episode, Amber Holly and Maelisa Hall dive deep into the pace of your business, what it says about your business growth along with where you are in life. Humans as we are, we encounter many things in our personal lives that keep us from that growth pace in business. With this, Amber and Melissa share the challenges that may come our way and how to overcome them. They also talk about the importance of keeping the same pace as your business partners and helping your team keep pace with their roles. What is more, they share some pointers about how to create space to find the right people to be in your inner circle.
The Pace Of Your Business: Finding Your Business Bestie And Your Inner Circle
We do have a fun one because we got a reader question and we said, “Let’s do one about that.”
We had someone write in and ask about pace because we have talked about the pace and your business quite a bit, and about having a biz bestie or having people around you that have a similar pace and all of that. We’ve never talked about what that means and what is your business pace?
We do appreciate people writing in to us because we would love to know what you want to know. That’s always helpful. To start, like Maelisa said we’ve talked about it quite a few times about it’s a good idea. Probably one of the most important things is to surround yourself with people who are on the same piece of business as you. The pace is, in a general term, the speed at which you were moving and growing. There are people who are in scale mode. If you’re in scale and you’re growing your business, it’s already established. There are people who are in startup mode. There are people who are like this might not be the perfect term for it, but I would call it coast mode where they got to a point and now, they’re taking a little reprieve breather to let things keep trucking along. Sometimes that has to do with what’s going on in their life or whatever or they need that little respite before the next push. Those are a couple of examples, but we’re going to talk more in-depth about those.
Which of those would you say you’re in?
I would say in My Biz Bestie and in Fremont Counseling Services, I’m in coast mode and I’m in startup mode for a Couples Fix. Anytime you have a new endeavor, you’re in a different space, even though Fremont Counseling continues to grow like I had my highest revenue month yet. My original goal before I knew I was going to move across the country, it’s something else, but I am going to hit a goal that’s close that I feel excited about. It is my biggest year yet. I’ve continued to grow. Even though my business is growing, I’m not actively growing it. It’s in coast mode.
I would say I’m transitioning my QA prep business to coast mode from growth mode purposefully, restructuring things and setting it up so that it truly can be in coast mode. It’s nice because there’s less of a focus on constantly doing new things and yet putting it into coast mode is definitely taking a final push.
That’s the thing that’s interesting. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anybody talk about that. To be in coast mode doesn’t mean you won’t necessarily grow, but when you have two businesses, the ones that are original businesses that we’re talking about, they’re established. I want to continue to be more profitable in every year I am, but I think I needed a little breather from having to actively put the effort in for me moving across the country and needing to recalibrate.
I’m in startup mode with My Digital Maven. I thought up the idea and started stuff but not working with people even. That’s definitely startup mode and currently it’s fun, it’s a totally different thing but there’s no way to have growth and startup at the same time.
I think that was the problem. I thought I could do that. It never happens. Although for this, we had very different expectations for it because it’s our passion project thing and it was our fun, it was something so different from what we do on the day-to-day. For us, it’s unique in that and it never felt pressured. As far as creating this other big business in Couples Fix, because I thought I could do that while in growth mode from counseling because I even remember being like, “Mondays I’m going to do this. I’m going to work on Fremont Counseling. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays I see clients and Thursdays will be My Biz Bestie and Fridays will be Couples Fix.” I thought I could do it all. That didn’t happen.
That could work but that’s a slow startup, one day a week.
It could have, but it felt like life kept getting in the way because there was not a lot of attention still being required. I had too much on my plate to make that realistic. Now that I’ve transitioned, that’s why I think now it’s going to be a push. If we’re talking about who you’re hanging out with, I’m going to call it masterminding, but I don’t mean an actual mastermind. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. Your inner circle, your biz bestie, having that person who is in that growth space is helpful.
It’s interesting because neither of us planned it this way, but now we are both in this startup mode. How could you predict that? It’s different. It’s not like we’re biz besties and I’m in startup mode and have never done any business stuff before and you’re in startup mode in one thing, but then have all this other experience because it is different now. Startup mode is way easier in a lot of ways than it was with my first business because I did start up a lot of things the right way. I did a lot of planning and looked through things and also had the mindset of like, “I’m going to need to test things out,” and how to best do that with people while also getting paid to do it and figuring out. You’ll never start a business and know exactly how it’s going to work. You have to try things out and see what people want. It’s been much easier because I’ve been expecting that.
If we’re talking about pace, startup mode for somebody who’s never started up their own business on their own, doing their own thing, that’s a whole different deal. That would not be a good match for somebody who’s already grown up multiple six-figure businesses. It’s like, “I’m starting a new endeavor.” You’re in a different place. I do think that’s an important distinction to make for sure. That’s been the nice part is on one hand it’s meant for a little while. We had a lot less time for each other because there was so much going on. Also, I think more the home transition stuff because that was a big part of both of our transitions, which I know we’ve talked about before briefly that I moved across the country and you moved into OG tiny living.
I moved from a boat to an RV to OG tiny living, which is an apartment. You and I are established. We’ve been in our places for a little while. We’re not moving. We were both in a bunch of different locations and many transitions, which is cool for a time but it does matter. If you’re thinking about those different modes or those different paces, it is hard to be in growth startup mode or pace in your business and making a huge life transition personally.
That’s another thing that will dictate it and that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to find new friends per se, new biz besties. You have to take that into consideration. There are life events that happen that mean you’re going to have to adjust probably. Unless you’re the superwoman that we all hear about so much, you’re going to have to make adjustments. Some of those would be having a baby. Even for some people getting married, it depends. What’s going on with that? Is there family stuff going on with that? Are people sick? That’s something moving.
Other family things we don’t necessarily think about are getting a divorce or dropping your kid off in college. Even on the flip side, we’re naming a lot of things that would make you downshift and the business pace. Maybe other things would make you free you up. Maybe your youngest kid finally starts going to school and now you have more time throughout your day. That is a totally different place in life to be where all of your kids are in school all day. Often, I think especially for women opens up a lot of opportunities when you feel you can maybe focus on some other things. Before, you were usually purposefully choosing to focus more on the family.
There are new opportunities in both ways. You do growth mode for a while. That can be years, but I do think it’s important to have those periods of time. It would be so great if people would choose them unintentionally to take that little breather, whether it’s for a couple of months or a slower pace, but usually I think that’s facilitated by burnout or a major life event.
There are definitely these different paces. Don’t expect to be in growth mode for six years. That’s a lot of time. As you do that, maybe even within, especially within growth mode, different things shift. You can do growth modes to a certain point on your own or with a limited team. It gets to a point where you can’t be Amazon and not start having new departments or hiring new people or whatever or opening new locations. There was a point where growth mode means different things and the business could be in growth mode but maybe that means you start hiring other people to do a lot of your not necessarily CEO tasks, but your more higher-level tasks. You hire a higher-level person to start taking some of those things over. That might mean maybe you even don’t take as much profit or maybe you keep the same amount of profit but the business is growing a lot, but you’re sharing it with other team members because you’re hiring out more now.
That’s true because the business can continue to be in growth mode. Sometimes you’re going to realign maybe what you’re doing. It is interesting. As I’ve had conversations with friends who have had businesses for I would say a long time like more than 5, 6 years, around that stage and longer where the things shift and change for you. You may still want to be growing your business, but they want to shift how they have to show up in it. That’s something to consider as well. We know some people that have very successful businesses and they are going through family stuff, but that might not even matter. They might still feel this way even without that, but where they’re in a place where they want to delegate everything out. They have little on their plate that they’re scheduled for that they have ultimate flexibility and can work a minimal amount of time to create still the profit that they need to be bringing home.
The cool thing about all this stuff is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it and you can have periods of coasting and periods of growth and switch back and forth. One of them doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to stop or never achieve a certain level that you want to. It’s flexible.
The pace thing is an important piece in who you are surrounding yourself with, who you’re getting feedback about your business regularly with and your inner circle/biz bestie person. At the same time, I had that thought of like, “That’s why that’s important to know.” At the same time, I was thinking about the book, Chillpreneur. I’ve been rereading it again because I am in this place of maybe that’s what’s different about this new startup in the third business is in that I want it to be easeful and that’s such a top priority. Before, I was approaching it from like, “I must focus on the hustle.” I was in that space and I couldn’t rally. I didn’t have the bandwidth to do it. I could get far and then I couldn’t finish. I want to do this and I’m putting deadlines on myself but I’m excited. It’s like, “How can I do this in the easiest way possible?” If people could learn that right from the beginning, that would be fantastic. I think that’s harder to do because you don’t have that experience of like, “I can do this. I can build a successful business.” It made me think of that book again, which I know we’ve talked about before.
The pace thing is hard when you think like, “We’re at the same pace. We’re both in a startup or we’re both in growth or both in coast,” or whatever. You are making sure that your inner circle, the peeps that you are asking questions of and wanting to get feedback from and wanting to ask their opinion on when you’re making a business decision. Making sure those people are at that same pace and that same phase. Not that same phase but that same pace. That’s where I think the phase versus the pace can be different. I know I’ve had a lot of business friends who are moms and who have younger kids and who will say like, “I’m growing my business.” They’re also aware that is not their priority. That their top priority is taking care of the family and they’re married and they don’t have to make a certain amount of money.
There isn’t this extreme financial pressure to support the family or whatever. That means that they end up being at a different pace. Even if we’re both in growth mode or whatever, it means that a lot of times they’re literally putting in fewer hours every week or they are having completely different expectations of what goals they’re going to accomplish that year. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s difficult if you’re not that person to try to be supported by those people because then you always feel like, “Am I hustling too much?” You get frustrated that people aren’t as available as you want them to be.
That is a good distinction of you can be in growth mode but your pace is vastly different. I do think it has to do with prioritization and intentionality. You can have people who take a little bit of time to get back to you because they’re busy but it feels different when the feedback you’re getting is like, “I’m not going to expect that from myself this year until my kids are in school,” or something like that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you’re trying to be in that growth, you need somebody who’s in that similar thing to be like, “This can be done.” Have that same level of expectation and optimism for you. Conversely, if you’re that primary parent and you’re like, “I want my kids to be the top priority and I want to fit work in where it fits in,” then you don’t want to be with somebody who’s in that supercharged growth mode because it’s going to make you feel bad. It’s going to make you feel like, “I’m such a slacker. Look at what they’re doing.” That’s not going to feel good. It’s never comparing externally. They both have validity. It’s your thing. It’s your passion. It’s your life. You’ve got to structure it how you want.
There are communities for everybody. If you look around, there are lots of the mompreneur communities and those have different levels where there are people who are building up to something on the side and mostly to caring for the family. There are people who are hardcore mompreneur, like CEO mompreneur. I haven’t found the no kidprenuer family yet, but there are many communities. If you’re out there feeling maybe you haven’t found not that biz bestie, but haven’t found that community that you connect with yet, keep looking because there are other people like you out there. Having the internet makes it awesome because you can find them, even if they’re not right next door.
In your greater network, diversity is super important. It’s great to have different perspectives and to help you get like, “It doesn’t all have to be done this way.” You’re going to connect to people’s values and different things about them. There is something about that inner circle again that’s a little more in alignment with you. I think it’s important. I would say in my inner circle, I have the working mom CEO type who is the primary breadwinner. That feels good to have somebody else in that space with me because there are unique challenges to that. I will say a lot of my inner circle people are people I keep meeting and connecting with are child-free people. It doesn’t matter. Some of that’s personality stuff, but I happened to meet them but it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to see it like it’s a parent thing versus a non-parent thing. Sometimes it is nice to have that person who is similar in many ways to me because they get the struggle of that.
Like how you and I talk about the ADHD stuff. For both of us, it does impact our business quite a bit on a daily basis. It’s nice because there are things I think that you and I do or struggle with that other people don’t understand and would be like, “What the heck is wrong with you?”
They would be judgmental or they would be like, “That was stupid.”
They’re like, “Do this instead.” You’re like, “It’s not that easy.” The following up thing is horrible for us with ADHD. Having to follow up with people, whether that’s a customer service problem, as far as I’m the customer or whether that’s somebody meeting something. When there starts to be a back and forth, then it’s like, “I have to follow-up.” I remember telling you to like, “I have to follow-up,” and you were like, “Yes.”
Many times I’ve told you like, “Now there’s a barrier,” which might mean that’s never getting done no matter how simple that task may seem. Once you put a barrier up for me, I’m like, “I’ve got to re-categorize. This is extremely difficult.” For other people they’d be like, “That was no big deal.”
It took all of 60 seconds to shoot off another email. We came on here to talk about your pace but it’s highlighting that there are many different things that impact who is in your support network. Your pace is absolutely one of them, but so is what mode you’re in, sometimes your geography, sometimes your profession, sometimes whether or not you have ADHD.
Even the bigger goal of this is to help people find that ideal support network that truly supports them. You don’t want to have a support network that makes you feel bad. The goal is people who challenge you and help you grow, it’s not about being nice to you all the time. It’s people who can understand and support and are your cheerleaders and inspire you. When I see you out there doing new things and coming up with creative ideas and your new marketing and it’s like, “That’s awesome,” I get inspired thinking about it. I know a lot of people have talked about that. We’ve had Natalie Eckdahl on before and she talks about when she pairs people for masterminds, that’s an important piece. There’s either frustration or there’s feelings of less than, depending on what position you are in.
I would say the same. When I see you doing things, I’m not like, “I’m not doing that.” I’m like, “That’s awesome. That gave me another idea,” or whatever, it’s energizing to be on that same wavelength. I will also say one lesson I feel I have also learned among many lessons has also been even before you find those people, you have to let the people you know that aren’t fitting go. Sometimes it’s hard because you’re like, “If I stop spending time, if I stop going to that networking meeting or stop going to that event, where are my people going to be?” If you’re reading and thinking, “I need to restructure that a little bit,” you have to have the time of letting all that stuff go to make space for new people to come in.
You need to create that space because everybody needs that. I think we don’t get enough of that frankly. Whether that’s a networking thing or a relationship and it doesn’t mean that you have to say like, “You’re dead to me. I am never getting back together with you,” and unfriending them, but you could.
I did. I unfollowed a lot of people on Facebook and it was freeing.
You can keep those people in your greater network or acquaintance.
You’ve got to move them from one circle to an outer circle.
They didn’t get booted out of the circle, but they’re just on the outer most circle. You sometimes need to do that though. You need to let that go and let that space go to create that place for someone else. Because we only have so much time, so we do have to be thoughtful about that. I know a long time ago we talked about and I will screw up the stat, but I think the person who said it was a smart person. I don’t think it was Seth Godin, but it was somebody like that where he talked about you can only have 150 people in your life to have real relationships with. It was something 6 or 8 or it was something so low and I’m like, “No,” to have an in-depth relationship with. It’s like that inner circle, as it gets wider, the depth of those relationships gets shallower because it has to. There’s no way to keep that up genuinely. I think there are those people you could pick up with them at any time and have a meaningful conversation. I think that’s the difference. You could let go of some of those peeps. It’s hard.
It has to be a conscious decision whether that’s to stop going into whatever Facebook group all the time or attending something.
Is this related to pace? I don’t know. I don’t care at this point. I still think it’s valuable. We’re going to give you some pointers about how to create space to find the right people to be in our inner circle at this time because there’s that season reason lifetime. There’s going to be an ebb and flow. Some people in the outer circle could come back in at some point. You never know. I think you made a good point of you went through and you unfollowed people. I had gone through and I unfollowed groups so I wouldn’t get notifications. I could still go into those groups if I choose to. It wasn’t until somebody said something that I had an awareness of like, “I like this group and the people in it.” I kept getting all these notifications. You get a ton a day and it was overwhelming. We’re talking about social media here. That was something I did. I started unsubscribing again. Sometimes we need to do that. I feel fall, winter is a great season for purging and cocooning, so that we’re ready to have that energy later.
It’s almost like a little bit of retreat and giving you the time, space, the mental energy to focus on other things and focus on what matters.
We’re pruning. We’re planting trees.
I think these are all normally spring-associated, but it’s appropriate now.
You prune in the winter and in the fall, don’t you? Is it because you have to protect it?
I have no clue.
I feel that growing up in Minnesota, people would prune and then certain flowers like roses had to be protected. They had to be put in these little cocoon things. I’m an advocate of pruning. Does this have to do with the pace? I hope so because it feels good.
When you take time, how often do you take time to evaluate your relationships in that way? I think we do that maybe with our romantic partner, usually when something goes wrong. How often do we sit there and evaluate our friendships and where we’re putting our time and who is contributing to what and all of that? I do think it’s helpful because if you’re thinking like, “This seems like it’s not a good fit,” or it was a good fit and now it’s not anymore, then you can reevaluate and see what you want to do with those things. Making conscious choices helps.
The intentionality is key. I don’t care what phase you’re in, I think that’s important. You’ve got to take that time to give yourself that space to do it. Hopefully, we answered the question of our anonymous audience. We’d love to hear from you.
Hopefully, we answered your question and to understand a little bit better about why that’s important and what pace is and whether it looks like some other strategies as far as evaluating those relationships in your inner circle.
It doesn’t mean you always have to be in perfect sync because I know from Maelisa and me, this was challenging because of all the transition. It sometimes felt like when she was busy moving and transitioning, I still wanted to be in that mode and then vice versa. It flipped. For me it wasn’t like, “I’ve got to kick her to the curb.” It was more like, “I can give the relationship this space to go through those changes and still be connected.” Now it’s like, “We can come back.” It can look different. It doesn’t always have to look the same.
For us, you moved across the country and now there’s a three-hour time difference. I think about even when we first got together, my husband was working nights and a lot of times I was then working later in the day and was not doing family stuff or whatever. I was hanging out at my house by myself a lot in the evening. You were working later and even back then your husband was working late.
He was working until 2:00 AM, so our life pace was the same. That’s all switched. It was funny, it was somebody on the other show I was on and they said I got up at noon every day, which is not true. I did not schedule clients before 1:00 because I finally learned that lesson. I went from that place, which I still feel that way. I don’t like to schedule things before noon or 1:00. I’m in a place where I’m getting up at 6:30 in the morning, East Coast time, which is a little crazy if you ask me. I’m doing it naturally because I’m at a different phase of life. There are those things. When you find those people who are truly the people you feel will be your lifetime friends and you hope they will, those things can be worked around. It would be even harder if we were in a completely different business pace.
That would make it even harder. I think there is that connecting part that was not planned, but happens that now we’re both also in the startup phase.
It takes intentionality and there might be somebody who’s in your life and you love them and they’re fun, but they don’t have to be your biz bestie. That’s something too.
I made this decision to try and do things outside of the business world and I’ve been volunteering at a kitten nursery.
If you hadn’t said that, I was going to be like, “We all have these binoculars and we’re watching you as if you’re in the wild doing normal people things.” The kitty thing is sweet and you need that. That’s why when we talk about our six pillars, part of that is that family and loved ones. You need to have that non-business stuff. You need that breather, you need that space, you need all of that.
If you’re the type of person who is starting multiple businesses, you’re the type of person who’s going to get into an organization and find things that you could help out with or do or have ideas. I’m trying to help keep that at bay. There’s one volunteer because they have a lead volunteer who’s the lead person. I’m the regular volunteer who shows up and does stuff and I’m literally cleaning up kitten poop. It’s funny because one of the leads is always like, “Would you be interested in doing the lead training? You’d be good at it. You’re good at coming in and knowing what needs to be done.” I’m like, “No. I’m here to hang out, I’m here to be a grunt. I don’t want to be leading anything.”
That’s another thing, life choices. That is energy management, if you ask me. We almost did transitional to energy management. That’s maybe what that is. You have to figure that out. I’m willing to sign up for things and organize a party or show up and be fun at a party, but I’m not willing to do anything else. I can’t. #Bandwidth.
These are a few hours of my week. If I had kids, I probably would not be doing this.
That’s the good news about life is things change. Sometimes when things suck, it’s okay because they’re going to change. Sometimes when things are going great, bad news.
We did start this whole episode, even though we talked about many topics because of we have a reader question. We love hearing what you have to say. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it. Let us know what you like, what you want to hear more of and let other people know that they might like it too.
Natalie Eckdahl – past episode
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