Intro: Today’s guest on the show is my dear friend Rachel Hollis, and we might as well have been sitting at Torchy’s Tacos with queso and margarita in hand. We had such a great conversation.
If you don’t know Rachel, she is a bestselling author, and just released her newest nonfiction book, called Girl, Wash Your Face. She’s a TV personality, in-demand speaker, and the founder and CEO of Chic Media, the foremost authority on premium digital content for women–though you’re gonna hear about her “going scared,” and making some shifts around that.
She’s been named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, and she uses her infectious energy to empower women to take control of their lives, and pursue their passions without fear. Sounds familiar.
She started The Chic Site after a minor culinary disaster, and realized she was trying too hard to be the perfect wife, the perfect host, and the perfect mom. She decided that someone else needed to show her how to do things. She wanted to try to make things that were cool but not fancy. She wanted to cook food that was delicious but achievable. She wanted to figure out what to wear, but couldn’t afford anything beyond the clearance rack. She also needed to accomplish these things in a reasonable amount of time, especially with her career and four kids.
When she couldn’t find the type of content she was looking for, she decided to go and create it herself, with amazing results. She’s motivational, inspirational, always approachable. Rachel’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude with a refreshing approach that allows her to authentically connect with millions of women around the world.
Today’s conversation is really just a peek inside our friendship, and a coaching conversation about how to continue launching new things and going outside your comfort zone, even after you have experienced success. I can’t wait for you to tune in.
Connecting with Friends
Jessica: Hey, Rachel, welcome to the show.
Rachel: Thank you.
Jessica: You’re tuning in from LA.
Rachel: I am. I have my headphones on, and below my headphones, I’ve got some giant Noon Day earrings, so I’m perfectly prepared for this podcast.
Jessica: That’s good, and you know, NoonDay earrings, they help you just really bring the magic.
Rachel: They do. I’m wearing those ones … I’m sorry, I’m not cool, and I don’t know the names, but it’s all sorts of fun things hanging off a gold hoop. There’s a pom-pom. Yes. Those. Those are my favorite. Yup.
Jessica: Yes, Mumbai Hoops. They are the best, because you get to choose your own adventure on those.
Rachel: I know. I did. I took the shark tooth off of it today, and just went full pompom. So I’m ready.
Jessica: Full pom-poms. Awesome. Well, I’m really excited to get to talk with you today. You’re a really good friend, and yet we are going to literally catch up in front of thousands of people over the next…
Rachel: Yes. It feels right.
Growing Business, Shifting Roles
Jessica: It does. This feels like the way to do it. And as I was sitting here kind of preparing for our time to talk … Sometimes, when you get to know someone as a friend, you forget that you actually don’t know about a lot of the details of their lives. So, I was excited to actually get to know some things that I might not know about your story today.
The first thing that I wanted you to share, that I actually do know the answer to–I would be a bad friend–that I want you to share; is how you put food on the table. I use that phrase quite literally, because I know that your husband just quit his job, and so really, you are putting the food on the table.
Rachel: Yes. Yeah.
Jessica: And you know that my husband quit his job in August, and he’s not working for me now, but I’m putting the food on the table. So, you feel it a little bit higher when you are the income-earner in the home. So, tell us, how do you earn your money that buys food for your children, of which you have many?
Rachel: Yes. Well, I’m gonna give you the honest answer, and this … I don’t know if as a fellow business owner, you’re gonna be like, "Yes!" Or if you’re gonna punch me in the face. So, a couple of things…
Jessica: I would never punch you in the face.
Rachel: Or, emotionally…
Jessica: Unless you’re not living your best life. Then I’ll punch you in the face.
Rachel: So, my husband Dave has had a really massive job at Disney for the last 17 years, and we have lived entirely off his salary. Not because I’m not making money, because I am. I make a really good amount of money. I invest everything that I make back into my business.
So, it was a conscious decision that I made four years ago to not take a salary anymore, and it’s worth pointing that out, because I don’t take a salary to speak, I don’t take a salary … I have not seen one penny of a single book sale. I don’t bring any money into our home, which is pretty nuts.
"I invest everything that I make back into my business." – Rachel Hollis
Actually, 2018 is the first time that I’m like, "Okay. We are officially doing well enough as a company that … " Dave did, he’s leaving his job at Disney to come and help me run this company, and we’re both on salary, which is super-exciting. Thank you, Jesus.
But it was a choice a long time ago, that we didn’t need my salary in order to help us pay the bills, but I knew that the money from the book advance, or the money from speaking on that stage as a keynote, could hire me a head of marketing. And I have never taken any kind of investment money. I’ve never taken on a loan for my business, or had any sort of investment, so that was how I chose to fund the company, was, "I’m gonna work my butt off, and I’m not gonna see anything for this," and it’s really beautiful to come into a season where that’s finally come to fruition for me.
Because … I feel like you will understand this … it hurts my pride to not be contributing to our bank account. I really want my money going in there, too. So, I took a gamble, thought it would be worth it, and now here we are, and it worked.
But how I actually get paid, because a lot of people are like, "What do you do? And how is this a relevant … "
Jessica: Or, how do you earn revenue? How do you bring revenue in?
Finding Ways To Monetize Your Content
Rachel: Yes. So, several different ways. We have a bunch of different revenue streams, but originally the company … So, I run a company called Chic Media, in Los Angeles, and it started as … honestly, it started as my blog, which the blog … years ago, back before blogs were super-popular, like 2007, I started to get a name, and started to get some attention, and then brands started to pay me to incorporate their product into my blog.
I had no idea what in the world I was doing, and nobody read it or cared about it but my mom. Just over time, I figured it out. I paid attention. I looked to see what other people were doing, and I started to build it into something that had a little audience, and "influencer" … that wasn’t a word. They just said, "Hey, we’re calling from Eggland’s Best Eggs, and we’ll give you 200 bucks if you put our eggs in your next baking recipe." And I was like, "Wait a minute. There’s a business, here."
So, I had run this event-planning company forever, and I was very successful because of the relationships I had, with really high-end clients and brands. And so almost immediately, with that first brand, I thought, "Wait a minute. How do I make this bigger? How do I pitch them on the idea that we’re gonna do 10 posts together instead of a single post? How do I talk to them about doing something that’ll be worth $5,000 instead of $200?"
I think that I experienced the success that I did, because I never treated … even though it was blogging, I never treated it as a hobby. It’s like, "If I’m gonna spend the time on this, if I’m gonna invest my brain and my energy and time away from my kids and all of that, we’re gonna make some money. I am a business person. I’m here to make some money."
“I never treated [blogging] as a hobby. It’s like, "If I’m gonna spend the time on this, if I’m gonna invest my brain and my energy and time away from my kids and all of that, we’re gonna make some money. I am a business person. I’m here to make some money." – Rachel Hollis
Say Yes Now, Learn About It Later
So, that’s how it started, and eventually got to the place … I slowly started to scale down the events and ramp up the blog work. I think it’s … I’m a pretty rare person, in that I had a blog that was very financially successful, and I had a staff of people who helped me produce it. I think there’s probably less than 50 bloggers who could say that. We did it for a really long time, and … gosh, I want to say maybe three years ago, brands that we were working with on … we call it a promoted post … that’s when we incorporate their product. Someone said, "Do you do white label content?"
As a business owner, I have never one time told a client that I didn’t know how to do something. If someone wants to offer me money, and it’s anywhere near my wheelhouse, I’m gonna take it on.
“As a business owner, I have never one time told a client that I didn’t know how to do something.” – Rachel Hollis
So, as I’m on the phone with this client, I Googled “white label content,” because I didn’t know what she was talking about. It turns out, it’s when you’re creating content for someone else, they then get to own it.
So, all of a sudden, this whole new revenue stream opened for me, because white label content … you charge about four times as much for it, because you don’t get to retain the rights.
So, behind the scenes, my company was quietly doing branded content for some of the biggest companies in the world. Walmart and Target, and Disney, and Rubbermaid.
Jessica: And your name wasn’t on it.
Rachel: Nope. Nobody knows. Nope.
Jessica: It wasn’t about Rachel promoting, it was just … it’s like they were hiring you as a creative agency.
Creating Community Through Live Events
Rachel: Yup. 100%. So that’s what we have done for the last two years, and we are making some big changes … did decide to make some big changes in that we … Simultaneously, we’re doing all this white label content as a creative agency, and then I had this big platform. I have a big social media platform, and so my–I call them my “tribe”–so, my tribe, for several years, had been asking, "Would you do a live event? Would you do a live event? Would you do a live event?"
I knew how to produce events, and so we started small. We’d say, "Hey, I’m going to San Francisco on business. Meet me at this wine bar." At first, it was 20 people, and then it was 50, and then it was 100, and 150, and all of a sudden, I’m like, "Man, there’s something here."
I know you tap into this so beautifully at Noon Day, but women want community. They crave it so desperately, and they need, oftentimes, businesses or other people to create a space for them to come together.
So, last June, in Austin, we produced our first live event, and we had about 200 women come in from all over the world, and we did not know what we were doing. And of course, I look back on the pictures of the stage design, or just different things where you’re like, "Oh, my Lord, this was so bad!"
Jessica: No, it was beautiful. I was there. I loved it.
Rachel: Girl. No, you’re very sweet. But, we didn’t have everything nailed down, but what we did excel at was the programming and the opportunity for women to love on each other and go to a dance party and drink wine and eat queso, and it was so much fun.
I think that really started a shift for us, to think through, "Hey, this really lights”–the entire staff were like–"this lights our heart on fire. We love this work. We love creating spaces for women to grow and change."
“We love creating spaces for women to grow and change.” – Rachel Hollis
So, we made a choice in fall of 2017, that we would not take on that branded content or do white label content, that we would focus in exclusively on events, and our goal as company is that we–and we’ve done this for years–is to create tools that help women to change their life. Give them the tools to change their life.
“…our goal as company…to create tools that help women to change their life.” – Rachel Hollis
That manifests in books, in podcasts, in the content on social media, and these live events. And so that’s what we do exclusively.
Jessica: So you’re not doing white label anymore.
Going All In On With The Tribe
Rachel: No. We’re not taking it on. Because honestly, I’m a huge podcast nerd. So, I listen to all of them, and I listened to this excellent podcast interview that was an EntreLeadership interview. You guys need to go look it up. The interview was with someone named Clate Mask. He started a company … I think that’s his last name … he started a company called Infusionsoft.
But it was the best interview. He talked about chasing money. That you start to make money, and then you’re making money, it’s great, and all of a sudden you realize, "Wait. I am two miles away from what my focus was supposed to be." Because I was so involved in, "Hey, I need a staff to support my dream, and now I need money to support this staff, and all of a sudden, I’m taking on anything financially related."
I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I’m so grateful for our brand partners who afforded us with the revenue that we’ve had over the last three years to do this work. But ultimately, we do–90% of our time is doing work for them, and then we’ve got 10% left over to serve the tribe. We’re like, "What would it look like if we just went all in on the tribe?" So that’s what 2018 and beyond looks like.
Jessica: Okay, this was not what I was expecting to hear, Rachel. Because your husband is now the CEO of your company, which I don’t … hopefully, that came with much joy, or … I don’t know if it triggered some…
Rachel: It did all sorts of things. So many things.
Rachel: Okay, we can totally talk about this.
Rachel: Okay. Just the whole kit and caboodle.
Jessica: But I assume, because of his background, that you guys were gonna just grow all these different revenue streams. I’m loving this. Because … okay, pause really quickly. You have written cookbooks, you’ve written fiction, you just wrote your first nonfiction. White label media. I have seen you as someone who kind of does have a lot of different…
Rachel: Yeah. "What’s going on over there?"
Jessica: A lot of irons in the fire. I was trying to come up with some other Texas cliché. Irons in the fire. So, it sounds like you’re taking some irons out, but you’re doing it right at a time now, when you and your husband are both now needing to draw salary from what you do.
Allowing Yourself To Do What You Do Best
Rachel: Yeah, so a few things. So, I had known for a while I was gonna have to hire a CEO. I’ve been the CEO of this company since it started, and I am drowning. I am doing the balance sheet, and hiring new employees, and I’m also the person onstage, I’m also the person writing the books. So, I’m the CEO and the head of creative … It’s too many things.
I’ll be honest. I did not come to that decision easily at all. Kicking and screaming, and so mad. The first time that we started to talk seriously about what it would look like to work together, I was like, "I just need someone to … " and he finished my sentence. He said, "You need someone to run your company."
My brain exploded. I was like, "How dare you? I have built this company on my back. I don’t need anybody." I was so mad. I started crying. It was so much pride. He just kept saying, very calmly, "You need someone to run your company. You need someone to run your company. You need to do the things that only you can do. Someone else can figure out the balance sheets. Someone else can hire the CFO. You don’t need to do those things." But he’s like, "I can’t stand onstage and talk to 1,000 women. I can’t write your next book. I can’t do that stuff. But you can."
“You need to do the things that only you can do.” – Rachel Hollis
So, I ended up talking to Megan Tamte, who we both know and love, who is the co-founder of Evereve, that she founded with her husband, and I was like, "Girl, tell me all the things. Have you ever had an experience like this?" And she’s like, "Yes. And I can tell you that every time that I have come up against this, ‘I’m freaking out, you’re overshadowing me,’”—whatever it is–she’s like, "It’s always my pride talking."
I was like, "Yep, that is exactly what it is.” I had this …truthfully, I’ve psychoanalyzed myself enough to know that I have this fear, like, "I have been able to take it to the couple million in revenue, and he’s gonna come onboard, and we’re gonna grow by 10, and everyone’s gonna say it’s because of him."
Which is so dumb. But that’s honestly my fear. And then I’m like, "Wait a minute. If your company grows by 10, that means that everybody who’s committed to you for the last three years, who’ve worked on your staff, that means that they get to make more, and they get to buy a house, and we get to do bigger things, and we get to touch more lives." It’s like, “do you want to die on this hill?!”
So he is … it took me a long time to get there, and I still get a little fussy about, "That’s my decision. This is my domain." I have to unclench, but yeah. So, he is gonna be CEO, and it was a huge day in our marriage where I came to him and said, "Okay, I think you should be CEO." I’m gonna be CCO, because honestly, that’s where my heart is. The creative that we do, and the visual, the experience for our tribe and our customers. That’s where my heart is. Honestly, if I didn’t have to look at another spreadsheet as long as I live, I’d be super-happy.
So, that’s where we’re at, girl.
Jessica: Well, and it really is … thank you for sharing that. It really is, "Do I want this to be about me, or do I want to scale?"
"Do I want this to be about me, or do I want to scale?" – Jessica Honegger
Jessica: You know? Because I can put every entrepreneur in sort of that $5 million and below and there comes a point where you’re like, "Is this gonna be a lifestyle brand, where I’m gonna get to draw what I want to do, but then also make the money I need to make, or am I ready to actually scale, and think long-term?" So, it’s such an interesting crossroads to come to.
I know I came to that crossroads pretty quickly when I took on a business partner, and it was the same thing. I mean, I was 100% founder of my company, and then I had…and I think the fact that it was a man…
Rachel: That’s is exactly it. You’re like, "No."
Jessica: I was like, "No." You know?
Rachel: But you know what’s funny? I had this conversation recently with a girlfriend who has similar scenario where she had to hire a CEO outside the company. Same kind of thing. She’s a personality, and she had to hire a CEO, and the CEO is a woman, and she’s like, "That has its own psychological stuff. Because now I’m like, ‘You’re on my turf. Who do you think you are?" "Oh, she’s cuter. They’re gonna like her better.’" It’s just all these psychological … all the things!
Jessica: It’s all the things. And it’s so good to work through that, and you’re gonna get on the other side, and there’s growth. You just gotta shed one skin to be able to. So, I’m super-excited. Because…somehow that decision is landing you guys in my very own back yard, which is insane! You will be moving to Austin.
Making the Move From L.A. To Austin
Rachel: Yes. We’re so excited. We’re so excited. Honestly, I don’t even know if I’ve had this conversation with you, but this has to do with Noonday. You were the first company … I don’t know, maybe two … whenever I was at Shine, y’all gave me a tour. And I was like, "Your offices are so cute."
In L.A. (L.A. is where we’re based), it’s so expensive. It’s absolutely bananas, and I remember walking through your office, like, "Oh, my gosh, your office is seven times the size of ours, and look at this, and look at the layout. It’s so fun. And they have a kitchen." I don’t know. Just all these things, and then I had the opportunity to visit a bunch of different companies.
I now realize God was like, "Hello. Pay attention." But I went to Ramsey, outside of Nashville, and I went to Evereve in Minneapolis, and I started to think, "Wait a minute. I can do this job from anywhere. We could have our headquarters anywhere, and what would that mean for our staff? What would the quality of life be like, if it wasn’t so expensive? We could own our office, instead of leasing it." And just all the things.
So, yeah. So, we started to dream on that. But that was because … it was you guys first, that I was like, "I want an office like this."
Jessica: I’m so glad my office is inspiring, because I apologize to people when they come to my office. I’m like, "I’m sorry. We’re not BC-funded. We’re bootstrap, so we just kind of collect furniture along the way."
Rachel: It’s so pretty. Yes. No, it’s so pretty…
Jessica: I think it’s because I compare myself to Kendra Scott, which is…
Rachel: Oh, girl. I just looked at her.
Jessica: … a $1 billion company. She has pedicure/manicure bar in the lobby.
Rachel: Yes. That’s so funny. I just was on their blog. Because now I’m looking at everybody’s offices, and if you guys have not seen that, you’ve got to Google it. It’s the most ridiculous, beautiful thing ever. They literally have complimentary mani/pedis five days a week, and their own beautifully-designed nail studio. I’m like, "Oh, my Lord." Dave’s like, "Calm it down. You are not getting a nail bar." I’m like, "But … "
Rachel: So, yeah. That’s where … when we decided to move, we narrowed it down to a handful of cities we really liked, and ultimately, Austin, to us … it’s the only city where I already had friends, like you and Jen, and … just all these people I already knew, that I could be like, "Hey, do you want to go get coffee?" Or when I was in town, you were like, "Let’s go cycling." I’m like, "Yes. This is the dream."
So, that, and also, Dave really felt strongly that he needed to leave Los Angeles. He’s been in the entertainment industry for 20-something years. And he really felt strongly, like, "Hey, if I’m here, someone’s gonna come and dangle a job that’s gonna feel too good to turn down, and I need to remove the temptation, because I want to go all in."
So that’s why Austin. And we were there last week on Spring Break with our kids, and it feels so right. We were all sad to get on the plane. We’re so excited to move.
Jessica: But this is still insane, Rachel. You’ve got four kids, you are uprooting from L.A., which, you’ve been there for over 25 years. You’re moving to Austin, and actually, out to the country area.
Feeling Peace About Going Scared
Jessica: So, what … this podcast is all about going scared. So, tell me how this has sort of taken you, maybe even beyond–I know you see yourself, and you certainly are a brave person, ready to just get out there and risk. How has this been? If you have a courage meter of one to 10, how much courage has this decision required over the last few months?
Rachel: I remember you said this to me, and it’s so great. I don’t remember your exact words, but you were like, "I never felt like, as an entrepreneur or whatever–it never occurred to me–I believed in my dream so much that it didn’t even occur to me that it could fail." You said something like that, much more eloquently, but for me, this doesn’t feel courageous. This just feels right. I have–and let me explain that a little bit. I am so tired. I am beyond.
If I counted up how many hours I spent on the road last year on business trips, I probably would cry. I feel exhausted. And I think that–have you ever had those times where, you’ve been working, working, working, and then you finally get a vacation and you get sick? It’s like your body finally lets you process everything? I sort of feel like that now. Knowing that I’m gonna have help in Dave as a partner, is–for the first time, I can acknowledge what it has felt like to carry this on my back for five years.
I had the events company for eight, nine years before that. So, this entire time, I’ve been an entrepreneur by myself, and he’s certainly been a support, but it’s just different. So, I am so, so excited to just make the change.
So, for me, moving is us making this change, and me getting help. So, it doesn’t feel courageous. It feels like, "Thank you, Jesus." I can’t wait for y’all to come out to the house, but our house is in the country. It’s not in Austin, and that was not … If you were like, "A million dollars. Will you ever live in a town with 1,700 people?" I’d be like, "You’re crazy."
But we drove … I told Jennie, who is our real estate agent, I’m like, "Rest." She’s like, "What are you looking for this house?" I’m like, "Rest. I want to stand on my front porch or my back porch, and I do not want to see another house. I don’t want to hear cars. I don’t want to be… I just want rest." We did not intend to buy the house. We were on a scouting mission, and we went around, and it was the last house we saw after two days, and we were just like, "Oh, my gosh. This is our home." So, it doesn’t feel to me…
Jessica: Scary. What you would say scary.
New City, New Roles, New Direction
Rachel: I have that same mentality of you, of like, "Oh, it’s not even a question of whether or not this direction is gonna work." I feel like we made the decision, and I felt like the universe has just risen up to meet us. There’s so many people who are like, "Oh, here, let’s talk about this incredible project that you can work on."
So, yeah. Probably, if there is an element of nervousness, it’s working with my husband. What does that look like? How does that feel?
Jessica: And is there a financial nervous thing, at all, knowing that now you’re both gonna draw salaries?
Rachel: Truthfully, no.
Rachel: Because we have a beautiful savings. We have two years we could live and fully run the company…
Jessica: Are you guys Dave Ramsey people, or something?
Rachel: No, but we are big savers. We should be Dave Ramsey people. I need to be like that. But yeah, before we made the decision, we calculated. We were like, "Okay. If we didn’t earn one more single dollar in revenue, if we were not able to draw any kind of salary, how long could we live here?" And it’s two and a half years.
Jessica: That’s awesome.
Rachel: So, we’re fine, and we also know the projects that we have, that we haven’t even announced yet. So, we’re like…
Jessica: Right. Yeah, stuff in the pipeline.
Rachel: So, we’re like, "Here we go, everybody. Let’s do it."
Jessica: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I worked with my husband for about 10 years, and-
Rachel: Oh really? Oh, yeah, because you guys did houses.
Jessica: We flipped houses. We flipped houses and did real estate, and it wasn’t the best fit for us, but I’ve seen it work so well in so many other situations.
Rachel: Yeah. I don’t know yet. This could be like … we could be like, "Oh, this was dumb." But we did…
Jessica: I have a feeling that’s not gonna happen.
Rachel: Yeah. We did. We have laid out really clear dividing lines. Like, "You cover this stuff, and this stuff is mine, and here’s the team." Because we’re moving, so we’ll have … some of the team is moving. We’re moving them to Austin, and then we’ll have a small satellite office here in L.A. We’ve divided, like, "This person’s on your team, this person’s on mine." And, yeah. So, here we go.
Jessica: So exciting.
Never Give Anxiety Power
Rachel: I think if we want to keep the theme of “Going Scared,” it’s worth saying, I am one week away from this year’s Rise Conference, and we have just under 800 women. So, last year, we had 200, this year we have just under 800. That feels like a massive responsibility. That feels like, "Holy crap."
Last year, we only had one day. This year, it’s two full days of programming. So, that is … I won’t even call it anxiety. I’m just gonna call it excitement. Because I don’t want to give anxiety the power to have any space here, but this is audacious. This is crazy. Because these aren’t even women who know what a personal growth conference is, necessarily. They have no idea what to anticipate. They don’t know what’s gonna happen. So, yeah, that’s feels crazy.
Jessica: I have a random friend, by the way, who’s a realtor, who I haven’t talked to in years, who knew we were friends online, and reached out to me by email and was like, "I’m going to this Rise conference. Do you know anyone else who is going?"
Rachel: Oh, cool.
Jessica: And I was like, "Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy."
Rachel: Yeah. No, it’s gonna be great. And I just keep … we had the meeting today where we went through the timeline. I’m like, "This is gonna be great." And I’m just gonna keep telling myself…
Jessica: It’s gonna be awesome. I mean, I know it is.
Rachel: It’s gonna be awesome. And you just have to focus in on what you believe something’s gonna be, not on all the “what-ifs,” because the “what-ifs”… they don’t serve you in any way.
Jessica: Right. Right.
Rachel: So, we’re just going for the prize.
Jessica: Okay. And it’s funny, because Travis and I just hired an executive coach that we … it’s so intense. We’re working with her.
Jessica: I know. You’re gonna get the goods on that.
Rachel: Will you give me that name? Yeah. I’ve wanted one forever. I’ve wanted one forever, and I just don’t even know where you find them. So, you tell me when you’re…
Jessica: Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel: I know Megan has one that she loves. Everybody I admire in business has an executive coach. I’m like, "I gotta get on this."
Jessica: Well, I guess what she’s doing this week? She is interviewing five stakeholders in my life, and asking them how they experience me. And then she’s gonna give a whole 360-view of me to myself.
Rachel: Oh, my gosh. That’s intense. Wow. Wow. Oh, my. I cannot wait…
Jessica: But one thing she recently said, is … she’s like, "This podcast, Going Scared, just by talking about fear, are you giving it some energy?" And I’m like, "Ah, shut up." That’s like, "Come on."
Jessica: "I don’t like what you just said."
Rachel: That’s crazy.
Jessica: "I don’t like what you just said."
Rachel: Yeah. Yeah, oh my gosh.
Jessica: Okay, so, though you’re anxious about it, you are excited, and it’s gonna be so awesome.
Rachel: I’ve very excited.
Jessica: I know the energy that comes when you’re about to do a huge event. It’s a very unique energy.
Rachel: Yes. And you’re like … And honestly, you just get closer to it, and then you’re swept up in the wave, and then all of a sudden, it’s over. And you’re like, "What even just happened?"
Jessica: Yeah, and then you’re really exhausted from the adrenaline hangover.
Rachel: Yes, yes.
The Power of The Tribe
Jessica: Okay, so I want to pivot a little bit, because you just launched your first nonfiction book a couple months ago. Is it three months, now?
Rachel: April 6th will be two months.
Jessica: And it has exceeded your expectations, would you say?
Rachel: Girl. Oh, my goodness. It is an…
Jessica: So, tell me all the things, and what do you think led to the wildfire?
Rachel: Yes. So, there are a couple of things. So, one is … truthfully, social media is everything. Every. Single. Thing. It is. It’s like … at least for me. it’s my jam, it’s where everything happens, and we obviously use trackable links, so I can see what takes people to Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Target, and I know what platforms it is. So, social media has been incredible for us.
Jessica: You don’t have to say how much money you spend on social media, but did you have a pretty specific spending strategy, when it came to promoting posts and all of that, to acquire new people, or are you saying, "My existing social media is what has been…
Rachel: My existing social media. And in fact, I will tell you that the publisher gave us a budget. I won’t say, because it’s their money. So, they gave us a budget to run ads against the book, and I don’t think ads did anything.
Rachel: This is 100% word-of-mouth through social media. 100%.
Jessica: But what do you have to say to me? That’s not very helpful to me, because you have 500,000 followers on Facebook.
Rachel: Well, here’s what I would say to you, because the second thing that has been the most powerful with this book, is tribes. And you have one built in. So, this is the book…
Jessica: I do. I have an amazing tribe.
Rachel:…for some reason, that so many other tribes adopted as their own. So, women who sell Rodan and Fields, the Noonday girls have been so incredible to me. Beach Body people. Every kind of other tribe … People who do Weight Watchers. You know how they all follow each other?
So, one woman in a particular tribe, through nothing that I did, would pick up the book, and she posted on her social media, and then her tribe would get it. So, if we did something well, I think it would be really encouraging … your existing tribe, because your tribe obviously belongs to other tribes. Have you ever read Tribes, by Seth Godin?
Jessica: I haven’t.
Rachel: Okay. It’s a pretty quick read. But it’s just about the power of community, and…
Rachel: Most of us think about our group of people, but we don’t realize that our tribe exists in other groups. So, if you have someone who loves your book in Noonday, they may also be part of MOPS. They may also be part of something else that then they take it to that group, and it spreads like wildfire. So, I feel like it’s the, "Hey, guys. Keep posting."
“Most of us think about our group of people, but we don’t realize that our tribe exists in other groups.” – Rachel Hollis
If you notice, I still talk about the book. When I talk about it, I say, "Thank you so much for posting. Please keep posting." Because that’s what’s doing it. We watch our numbers like we’re crazy. We watch … "Oh, my gosh, all of a sudden, numbers just doubled on Amazon. What happened?" I can go on Instagram, and I can search the hashtag, and I’ll see, "Oh, this chick with 50,000 followers, who’s a Beach Body coach, just shared it, and then all of her people went and bought the book."
So, that has been massively successful for this, and it really is them kind of taking it and carrying the torch.
I also think … I remember, we were talking to a group of people, and they were saying … you and I were … and they were like, "Oh, man. I’m not gonna talk about my product on social. I don’t want to overwhelm people." I’m like, "Are you for reals? Oh, no, no, no, no. Why do you have social media?"
I talk about the book all the time. Right now, I talk about my event all the time. The key is that you’ve got to talk about it in 50 different ways.
Jessica: But let’s talk about the dangers, too, because social media. You don’t own that audience.
Jessica: And so you really are at the beck and call of whatever algorithm is happening on Facebook or Instagram that day.
Rachel: The power of Facebook for me, and I think for most people, in 2018, is that there is nowhere in the digital space that you can run a targeted ad the way that you can on Facebook. That’s the power of Facebook. Instagram is everything. If you are selling a product to women–any kind of product to women in this day and age–Instagram is your jam.
“If you are selling product to women–any kind of product to women in this day and age–Instagram is your jam.” – Rachel Hollis
Instagram is the number-one driver of traffic to this book, Jess. Number one. Bigger than email, bigger than ads, bigger than anything. It’s women talking about it. And if you hit the hashtag, #girlwashyourface, on Instagram, it’s thousands. People are … it’s them doing it. We’re not doing anything. They’re posting it, and it’s sort of going from there.
So, yes. Absolutely, someday Instagram’s gonna be a jerk. They’re owned by Facebook, and they’re gonna start saying, "Well, we’re only gonna show this to people if you promote it." But until that happens, I am going hard.
Jessica: Well, hopefully they won’t decide that before August.
Rachel: I know, before August. Yeah, so I just do it bunch of different ways. So, you’ll see a picture of a hand holding the book. You’ll see quote cards from the book. You’ll see me talking about writing the book. What are the 50 different angles associated with this book? So, you just keep it top of mind for people, but you’re not sharing the same information.
Jessica: Right. Right.
Rachel: Yeah. I will also say, just side note from me to you … quote cards have been really successful for us. So, we took 20 of my favorite one-liners from the book, and we just turned them into really easy graphics. You can do it on Canva for free. And those are great, because people always tag their friends when it’s a quote that’s valuable to them, and then their friend’s like, "Oh, what’s this quote? Let me go get this book."
Jessica: I guess that means I have to have good quotes in my book.
Rachel: You know you do. Shut up. You know you have good quotes.
Jessica: I’m just kidding. I’m playing. I’m playing.
Knowing Your Enneagram Type
Jessica: Okay. I want to talk about your tiredness. Because that is real, and we have not done a podcast yet on the Enneagram. So, I’ve been careful to not throw it out there very often, honestly. This might be my first time to mention it, because not everyone knows what it is, and I eventually am going to get a guru on, and I’m gonna convert everyone who listens.
Rachel: Yeah, what’s that one guy who wrote … that one guy, he’s done a ton of podcasts. You need to get him.
Jessica: Well, there’s Ian, who actually, that’s who I learned…
Rachel: Do you know who I’m talking about?
Rachel: That’s awesome.
Jessica: But my executive coach is also like … she’s like, 30 years goes back to here. Anyway. It’s kind of crazy. But I mention it now, because I know that you are, according to the Enneagram, this Achiever, right?
Rachel: Yes. What are you? Yeah, what are you?
Jessica: I’m a seven. I’m the Enthusiast. So, I like to do a lot of things, because it’s fun and it’s an adventure, and let’s make it big and better, and it always needs to be bigger and better, always.
Jessica: But it comes from a different place than The Achiever, who really sets goals and achieves. So, tell me a little bit about your experience as an Achiever, and how are you holding these tensions of going after what you want, and then noticing, "I need rest."
Rachel: Yes. So, it’s probably … If you’ve ever heard that quote, "Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness"? And for me, the ability to achieve, that’s my greatest strength, and it’s also my greatest weakness, because I don’t know how to shut it off.
And I really struggle. I actually talk about that in the book. I have a chapter on being a workaholic. It’s something I really struggled with a lot in the past, and it still pops up now. But learning the Enneagram number was really helpful for me, because it will tell you … as you’re reading about your number, it’ll tell you what causes it, like, common causes. And I gotta be honest, I really thought I was the only one who had a childhood like mine, that set me up to be an Achiever.
But if you read the Enneagram, it’s often children who are … for whatever reason, good or bad … they just didn’t get a ton of attention or focus as children, and they learned that if they did something good, that people would notice them. And to a child who doesn’t have it, notice equals love. So, I learned early on that if I got an A on a test, if I got the part in the school play, if I scored a goal at soccer, I got applause and cheers, and my parents were proud of me. And the second that that was over, I went back to largely fending for myself.
So, then, there is a desperation to constantly achieve, and constantly get approval, because that is how people will love you. So that was incredible for me just to understand that I wasn’t the only one, and I’ve met other threes who are like, "Oh, girl. Let’s talk this out all day long." So, I still really struggle. And I think it’s such a beautiful gift, because look at what I’ve been able to do with that drive and determination. But it becomes a negative when, like I tell you, I’m so tired. I’m so tired.
Now, I’m also tired because I’m coming off a season of this book coming out. You’re gonna understand this. We’re gonna talk mid-September, and you’re gonna be like, "I don’t even know what is happening to my life." Just because I did 100 podcast interviews, and I traveled constantly, and I’m doing speeches and all these things to support a book. That’s why I’m tired, is I’ve just come off a crazy season that feels like it is not ending.
The hard thing is, as a three, which is the number for Achiever … as a three, it’s hard for me to turn things down. So, a great example of this is, I said six months ago, "I’m taking the week after Rise off. I will not be available … I’m not turning on my phone. I’m not nothing. I’m gonna go lay by a pool, and I’m just gonna live my best life."
Jessica: I’m really scared to hear what I’m about to right now.
Rachel: Well, then … and it was like a joke. I’m like, "I am so ready." And then I booked the Today Show.
Jessica: Stop it.
Rachel: Which is like … who is turning down the freaking Today Show?
Jessica: Well, but you kind of can’t say ‘no’ to that.
Rachel: You can’t say ‘no’ to that.
Jessica: So, that’s a very unfair option.
Rachel: But it feels like … Honestly, I feel like I’ve had nine months of, "You can’t say ‘no’ to this."
Jessica: I know.
Rachel: And The Achiever in me is like…
Jessica: That’s what happens with success.
Rachel: Yes, right? So now, it was supposed to be a whole vacation, and now we’re gonna travel to New York. And I’m not complaining. I’m so freaking grateful for the opportunity to do the show. I’ve never been on it before. But we’re now gonna do two days in Mexico on the back end, and then fly back home. And it’s just not what I was hoping for.
So, I’m not complaining, but there’s a … I don’t know if this is everybody, but it’s definitely my mentality of, I’m nervous that if I don’t take advantage of it, it won’t be there.
“There is a desperation to constantly achieve, and constantly get approval, because that is how people will love you. So, that was incredible for me just to understand that I wasn’t the only one.” – Rachel Hollis
And probably … You talk to me in a decade, and I’m gonna be like, "Oh, that poor 35-year-old version of Rachel, who just didn’t understand that scarcity is not real." And of course, you’re gonna have other opportunities. You gotta take care of yourself.
But for right now, it definitely manifests in great ways, and in negative ways.
Jessica: At least you’re noticing that you had an intention that you’re not following through with, and perhaps next time, you can already have the tickets booked to Mexico and prepay a really expensive hotel.
Rachel: It’s so funny. When the PR person at the publisher was like, "Oh, my gosh!" They called freaking out. And then it was like, "It’s on April 11th." And I’m like, "Of course it is. Of course, it’s on April 11th."
Jessica: But Rachel, that’s really cool, because the shelf life of your book is still just going … because that’ll fuel a whole other… Well, that’s the problem, though, right? Because now that’s gonna just keep adding fuel to the fire.
Rachel: I know, I hope. Yeah. Yup. There’s so many … it’s really … When we hang out again, I’ll tell you all the things that are going on. There’s so much stuff. You’re like, "Well, you’re taking irons out of the fire." We are, but we’re also putting some new ones in.
Jessica: But they’re focused. I mean, they’re focused on your future that you wanted to build.
Rachel: Yes. Very focused. Yes. Yes.
Jessica: Okay. I feel like I’ve had a personal conversation with you for the past 45 minutes. I’m just like, "Has this been helpful for the people listening?"
Rachel: How else would we have a conversation? I don’t know. Probably, or maybe not. But you just heard what it sounds like when Jess and I go to Torchy’s.
Jessica: Pretty much.
Rachel: Except there was no queso involved today.
Being Unafraid to Fail
Jessica: Okay. I do want us to leave with something specific for our listeners, and let’s just, for a moment; you had already experienced success before this book, with your nonfiction books. And it is different to launch something, when you’ve already experienced some success.
I think a lot of times, podcasts speak to the beginner, or the starter, or the hustler who needs to scale. But what about for that person who has experienced some success already, and yet now they’re trying the next thing, which, that’s what I thought the nonfiction book was. What would be some of your advice to that person?
Rachel: Well, I guess I would say, I had experienced success not … So, Girl, Wash Your Face is the most successful book I’ve ever had. And it’s been out for two months.
Rachel: Thank you. I’m really actually very grateful for that snowball in my publishing career, that this round sold this many books, and then this next book did that, and it’s been great, because I’ve never …because I’m this person, I’m a recovering people-pleaser, and so I’m already like, "Oh, my gosh, the publisher’s expectations for the next book are gonna be too high."
There were no real expectations here, so everyone’s so freaking happy. So, I think for me, I really appreciated a slow climb to success. I think what I was very nervous about with this book was that this is my heart on a page. These are stories I never told, hard truths about my life, my childhood, things that people didn’t know about me.
So, I was nervous about, what would it look like for this to fail? Because now I had a lot more attention.
When my first book came out, nobody knew who I was. So, if that didn’t do well, nobody cared. With this book, I mean, the day the book came out–I’ll be really interested to hear your experience with this–but the day the book came out, I was a basket case. I was crying so hard, because I was just freaking out. I was feeling–all my emotions were so big. Because I was like, "All of these people who follow me on social media, or whatever, they’re reading really intimate stories about my life, and what if they don’t like it?"
If they like it, then it’s worth tearing your heart out. But if it’s not helpful to them, or they’re like, "She’s a crappy writer. This was dumb," then oh, my gosh, I just ripped my heart out for no reason.
So, I think a lot of times, this happens to us in business, as small business owners, or people who are trying to scale, and it’s like … it takes everything. It takes your whole heart, and your energy, and your emotion and time away from your kids, and your brain power, and all these things to try and make something happen. And what if all these people watch you fail?
So, I think a lot of times, women will hold themselves back and really not do what they could truly do, because they’re like, "Well, if I don’t put everything into it, then it doesn’t really count. Then I could tell myself that I was just playing around, that it was just this little side-hustle, that it was just a hobby." I don’t have to call my shot.
But I just don’t know that it’s possible to be who you were meant to be, to scale the way you want to scale, to build what you want to build, if you don’t step fully all-in, everything on the line, "This is who I am." If you’ve seen The Greatest Showman … “this is me. Take it or leave it, this is me. This is who I am.”
I would rather put it all out there, even if it means that I’m gonna go down in a giant crap ball of flame, than halfway try, and be 90 years old and think, "Man, I think I could have been the Tony Robbins for women, but I was too scared to put it on the line." Or, "I think that I could build the biggest fair trade company on the planet, but I was too afraid to say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna try this thing.’" I would rather just try, even if it means that I fail.
Jessica: It seems like so many of the fears you spoke to are really about how you want others to perceive you, you know?
Rachel: Oh, 100%. 100%. You’re so right.
“I would rather put it all out there, even if it means that I’m gonna go down in a giant crap ball of flame, than halfway try, and be 90 years old and think, "Man, I think I could have been the Tony Robbins for women, but I was too scared to put it on the line." – Rachel Hollis
The Importance of Connection and Community
Jessica: So, I think so much of healing from that is having a few people in your life, where you can completely show up, be completely seen, be completely loved, and accepted. I think that gives you courage to go out into the broader world, to know that’s not always gonna happen. But you kind of have those core people that you know do love you and accept you, in spite of your success or failure, or whatever else it might be. I hope I can be that for you, Rach.
Rachel: So real. That’s so good. Oh, you are. You’re such a sweet friend. I was telling Dave a couple of days ago, you’re just the queen of, "Oh, I know 74 people who probably could do that job for you." Or, "Let me connect you with … " You are a connector. I’m sure you’ve read that book. I’m sure you know this. But you are the greatest connector I know. That’s the absolute truth.
Jessica: I haven’t read that book, so I’ll have to go read it.
Rachel: You are the queen of, "Oh, wait. Oh, you have to meet … " The Tipping Point. The Tipping Point. Go read The Tipping Point.
Jessica: Oh, yes. Yes.
Rachel: You know how he talks about … there’s connectors, and this and that, and whatever. And you are the greatest connector I know. Because you’re just like, "Oh, I know this person who knows this person." And you don’t even wait for someone to ask you, you just are the friend who’s constantly like, "Hey, I know you love the color pink, and my friend only has a pink wardrobe. You guys should hang out."
Jessica: Totally. Totally.
Rachel: That’s the dumbest example I could think of, but you are the….
Jessica: I’m offended if you haven’t asked me to connect.
Rachel: So, thank you so much for always being such a…
Jessica: And I’m like, "Uh, hello?"
Rachel: Right? You’re like, "I’m here. I have these resources."
Jessica: Oh, that’s so fun. I’m so excited for the success of your book. I think I was a little bit on pins and needles for you, just because you had said this was your first nonfiction, and I know you saw this as … and I’m just excited for all this stuff that lies ahead for you, and excited to walk with you through it all.
Rachel: Thank you.
Jessica: Thank you so much for joining today.
Rachel: Well, I can’t wait to get my copy. I need my advance copy. I’m ready.
Jessica: Yes. Okay, to celebrate you moving to Austin, and us being on my first podcast together … I’ve been on Dais before. We are actually doing a giveaway to celebrate. So, when you subscribe to Dais, and you subscribe to Going Scared, you’re actually gonna be entered to win Rachel’s new book and a whole bunch of Noonday.
Jessica: And we’ll give you all that information in the show notes.
Rachel: That is so fun.
Jessica: Oh, yeah, girl.
Rachel: That is so fun.
Jessica: Oh, yeah. Well, thanks again for stopping in today.
Rachel: Yeah, of course. Thank you.
Win of Month’s Supply of Noonday Collection Products!
Jessica: I know your ears perked up at the end, when you heard about winning a lot of free Noonday, as well as Rachel’s new book, and so I want to give you the details.
If you haven’t already subscribed, go subscribe to the Going Scared podcast. And then go subscribe to the Dais podcast. D-A-I-S. That’s Rachel’s podcast.
And then, send your DM to me, or post about it in your Instagram story. Make sure you tag me, so that I see it. It’s @jessicahonegger, J-E-S-S-I-C-A H-O-N-E-G-G-E-R. And to enter to win additional entries, you can leave a review on each, and you gotta screenshot those and send them to us.
So, you could have total of four chances to win. It’s, like, a month’s supply of Noonday Collection. Enter to win between April 11th and April 15th, and we are going to announce the winner on April 16th.
I am so excited that Rachel is moving to Austin, and this is what I want for you. You noticed that I was basically picking Rachel’s brain, because she just launched a book. My book’s coming out in August, and this is what it’s like to ask for help, to reach out and say, "Give me some tips. Give me some advice."
I hope that you always feel like you can do that. And if you don’t have that, go build it. I didn’t even know Rachel, up until a couple of years ago. So, if you are starting something, or if you’re in the middle of starting something new after already having started something, I want you to build a brain trust for yourself. Think about some of the people that you want to speak into your idea, or your vision, or your business, and get them on the phone. That is your Going Scared task for this week.
I’ll see you next week for the next episode of Going Scared.
Thanks so much for tuning in. I’m having so much fun doing this, and so thank you for listening. I really appreciate it, and I’m having so much fun.