INTRO: Welcome back to The Going Scared Podcast, where we cover all things impact, entrepreneurship, and courage.
Today’s episode absolutely lit me on fire. It’s an interview I did with Christy Wright. And I know you’re going to get so much out of this that you are going to want to go leave a review so that more people get to hear and find out about this podcast.
I read every single review. And I loved one that was recently left by a listener named Jmarto11 after Episode 13 with Patrick and Justin from I’ll Push You. Here is what this listener shared:
“How have I just discovered this podcast? I listened to the episode with Patrick and Justin and found myself crying behind my sunglasses on my walk with the dog. It was incredibly powerful to hear them speak about their journey, the lessons learned, and the strength of their friendship. I’m excited to dive into more episodes. The first three I listened to are top-notch, and I took nuggets of wisdom from each. Thank you, Jessica.”
Be sure to go leave a review. I’d love to share your review sometime on the podcast, on my Insta Stories. Thank you so much for tuning in. Your reviews actually really help us know what content you’re really resonating with.
So Christy Wright: she is the author of Business Boutique. She’s a certified business coach and a [Dave] Ramsey personality. Christy has such a passion to empower women and to see women become the best businesswomen that they’re meant to be. And she created the Business Boutique to equip women to make money doing what they love. She does conferences, she has a podcast herself, and she works with many startup business leaders.
So on today’s podcast, Christy and I, we talk about how to overcome the fears that are stopping you from building or growing the thing that you’re passionate about. You have got to give yourself permission and write your own permission slip, and you are going to do that today.
In this conversation, Christy also shares great tips for finding balance in life and for being fully present, keeping your eyes not in the rearview mirror but looking through the windshield glass. Give it a listen
Christy Wright: Teaching Women In Business
Jessica: Hey, Christy, welcome to the show!
Christy: Hey, thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited.
Jessica: Okay, I have been so excited. Jamie Ivey is the one who introduced me to you a few months ago. And I went and looked you up and was like, “She works for Dave Ramsey.” And I’m serious, I was too scared to reach about because we lived on credit cards! We lived on credit cards at one point, and I was like, “I don’t know if she would actually want to engage with me.” And so then I had Rachel Hollis introduce us and I was still scared. Do you get that? Do you get this ever?
Christy: Yes. It’s so funny. So if anyone knows that I work for Dave Ramsey, even though I don’t really teach money, I teach women with businesses. But I would be going to the grocery store checkout line, and people immediately begin to confess their debts. It’s really a thing. Like anywhere I go, be like, “Well, I just had this one student loan . . .” I’m like, “I don’t care. I just I’m trying to get some Tostitos, let me check out. I don’t care.”
Jessica: That happens to me too, when people show up and they’re not wearing Noonday, or maybe they’re not wearing Fair Trade and they’re super apologetic. And I’m like, “I don’t care.” So I can’t believe I actually did that to you.
Building a Career You Love Through The Business Boutique
Jessica: So tell me a little bit about how you got to where you’re at right now, working for Dave.
Christy: Well, it’s such a crazy story. And I think some of the best careers are crazy stories. It’s not just you take these safe, predictable steps. Sometimes it’s something that’s not safe and not predictable. That’s certainly true for me.
My background in hindsight, there are a lot pieces of my story that have been woven together for this time. And I didn’t know at the time that that was the case. But from being raised by a single mom that was an entrepreneur and started a small business when I was six months old greatly shaped me. In terms of being raised by this strong woman, this persistent woman, it was not easy by any means. But I just watched her persevere, and I watched her build a business, and I watched her keep it all together, even when she didn’t have it all together. And so that was, for me, my background.
But then I grew a love of business and went to pursue a business degree. I then became a certified business coach, I had my own side businesses along the way. And now you see this world that we live in, Jessica, where it is easier than ever before to start a business. Where you don’t have to have a ton of startup capital, you don’t have to have loans, you don’t have to have a brick-and-mortar store. You could start a business tomorrow with nothing more than your idea and a Facebook page. And so it’s so easy and accessible and low risk, low cost.
“You could start a business tomorrow with nothing more than your idea and a Facebook page.” – Christy Wright
But what’s happening is a lot of people are getting into business, which is awesome, but then they get overwhelmed and they have questions.
- How do I sell without being pushy?
- And what about the competition?
- What about taxes and business licenses?
And they let that overwhelm replace their initial excitement, and they a lot of times give up. And that’s where I come in because I think, “Oh my gosh, I can help you do this. I can give you the steps you need to build this business and make money doing what you love with my background and with my story and with my skills. And so for me, it’s been an intersection of all of these different pieces that has led to what I’m doing today through the Business Boutique.
“I can give you the steps you need to build this business and make money doing what you love.” – Christy Wright
An Opportunity Through Dave Ramsey
Christy: But even working for Dave Ramsey is a crazy story.
I was burnt out in nonprofit and looking to do something different. I was sitting on my deck one day and I was praying. In my head I was thinking, “God, I’m never going to find a company I believe in as much as the YMCA. I love that we change lives and we make a difference.”
And I felt God say to me, “You’re going to work for Dave Ramsey.”
And I thought, “Fantastic, who is Dave Ramsey?” I had no idea.
Honest-to-goodness, I walked over to my computer and Googled him and it said, based in Nashville. And I thought, “Well, that’s fantastic. I don’t even have to move.” And so I applied for a project manager position and that’s what I was hired as nine years ago. I started out developing products for youth and teens. And just through showing up and solving problems and stepping in, that has evolved into being a speaker part-time, then speaker full-time, and now a Ramsey Personality. And I was given an opportunity to create my own brand through Business Boutique under his platform.
So it’s been an amazing whirlwind but not, like I said, safe or predictable or what you’d expect at all.
Jessica: Oh my gosh, I love that. Okay, so you hold a special place in my life. And let me just tell you why.
Christy: Oh, I’m so excited about this.
Jessica: First time I ever downloaded an audiobook, thank you very much, Business Boutique.
Christy: I love it.
Jessica: Because I love your Insta Stories, and I love your personality. And I was like, “You just can’t get a better . . . I mean I have to do the audiobook for this.”
Christy: My Insta Stories are fun.
Jessica: And by the way, it is wildly successful still. I mean, it is still top at the business charts. So tell us a little bit more of what led you to go ahead and write that book, and take us on the journe
Christy: Well, I love what you’re doing Jessica, and I love everything about this podcast. Like I was telling you before we went live, I love the idea of doing it scared, going scared, however you want to say it. Because even writing for me is part of that.
The Road To Becoming A Speaker
Christy: So I started out speaking literally by an accident.
Long story short, Dave Ramsey’s daughter was a college student and she was graduating college in May, and she was going to come on board our team. Now, we need to flashback here, this is 2009. This was before Ramsey Personalities, before we had other speakers, before any of that.
So I was working as a project manager over at the Teen products, Youth & Teens. I had a background with Youth & Teens through Young Life and through the YMCA. And so she was coming onboard to be a speaker for a conference, and it was 20 dates at cities all across the United States. And someone else had booked her when she was still in college. And she was going to graduate college basically come to Nashville and go on the road, two weeks later.
Well, two weeks before she was just go to on the road, we got the travel schedule that the conference company had booked. And they had booked the cheapest flights available, through Expedia. You were having two and three connections, you were in an airport 16 to 18 hours a day. It was ridiculous.
Well, I had somehow, that spring, inherited this whole ordeal because I was over Teens and she was going to be working with Teens. So I inherited this and when we took the travel schedule to Dave, her dad, Dave Ramsey, he was basically like, “No, no one should have to do this schedule. This is just crazy. She can do 10 of these dates. She’s not going to do this 20 dates.” You are, I mean, every single day in a different state.
And so, I got to be the bearer of bad news and go back to the conference, and the guy’s name was Chase, and I got to tell him, two weeks before the conference started, that Rachel one of the keynote speakers was not going to be able to be at all 20, she could do 10.
So I tell him . . . And keep in mind Jessica, I’m kind of like a fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl. I make it up as I go. So as far as I’d thought through was telling him the bad news. I didn’t really think of anything beyond that, or how this was going to go.
And so I told him, I said, “I’m so sorry. She can do 10 of these dates, she can’t do 20. But you can pick the 10 and you can let us know and we’ll get it booked.” And he said, “Christy, I have her booked for 20 dates this summer. I have her booked for 20 slots speaking in front of 20,000 college students. What am I going to do?”
And I said, “I’ll do ’em.”
And he said, “Can you—”
Jessica: You did not.
Christy: I swear I did. And I’d literally, Jessica, had not thought this through at all. I had not previously thought that until I, just in the moment, said, “I’ll do it.”
Jessica: You were just trying to solve the problem.
Christy: I said, “I’ll do ’em.”
And he said, “Can you speak?”
I said, “I think so.” Jessica, I’d never spoken a day of my life.
Jessica: Well, this . . . What was his name? Chip?
Christy: Chase, bless him.
Jessica: Chase. I mean, to say yes to that, he must have been really feeling cornered at that moment.
Christy: I know. I guess he was desperate. So I went on the road that summer—
Jessica: Or he loved your voice. Again, audio book, I mean. You’ve got a lot of charm.
Christy: Maybe it was the spunk, I don’t know. So I went on the road that summer and I actually went to all of the dates. I went to Rachel’s with hers, and I ran AV and then I went to all the other ones myself and spoke. And at the end of that summer, that fall, our company identified a real opportunity because we had about 3,000 speaking requests a year for Dave Ramsey that were turned down because he couldn’t do them.
And so we said, “We need more speakers.” And I was literally slid into that group. No audition, no application. It was like, “Well, she did a good job this summer, let’s put her in there.” And so I became a speaker, in addition to my full-time job of doing projects, for about two years. Or I guess maybe . . . No, that’s not true. It was maybe closer to four years that I did that before I then was transitioned to a full-time Ramsey Personality, which is obviously a part of the bigger picture of our success and plan for our company to go on beyond Dave Ramsey.
So it’s been a whirlwind. It’s just like you couldn’t make that up.
Teaching Through Storytelling
Jessica: That is crazy. Okay, so during those four years when you were doing . . . Were you essentially doing two full-time jobs? And did you find yourself . . . Did you really love the speaking part?
Christy: I did. It was very interesting. There’s a quote, and I don’t know who said it, I apologize. But it says, “I didn’t know that I was a bell until someone picked me up and rang me.” And Jessica I’d never spoken on a stage, so it never occurred to me that I could. But when they say there are people that have natural gifts and talents, I was very natural. I was very comfortable. Not on the first one—this happened after obviously lots of reps. But I became very natural and I became very comfortable. And I definitely had an ability, a natural ability to connect with the audience. And what I’m really good at, that helped me be successful on stage, is I’m a great storyteller.
And so, I had the ability to connect with the audience and be relatable and make them laugh and tell stories. And, oh by the way, teach them something in the process. But that skill of being a great storyteller is what I used in my book, which you asked about. Or what I use through my podcast, it’s what I use in anything—it’s just connecting with people through story, and as a result, they learn something.
“I had the ability to connect with the audience and be relatable and make them laugh and tell stories. And, oh by the way, teach them something in the process.” – Christy Wright
And so, for me, that’s what really helped me discover that I could be a speaker, but I was managing projects. So if you ever see Dave Ramsey’s kid’s products, the Junior’s Adventures books, the Junior’s kit, the Junior Piggy bank, I did all that back when I was developing product. I was just doing speaking on the weekends in addition to that.
Jessica: Wow, I love that.
The Courage To Get Started
Jessica: Okay, so I know we even alluded to this earlier: a lot of women that are able to start things right now, it’s easier than ever. So I think I get asked a lot about, “I want something.” You really speak to that.
I want us to talk a little bit about starting and then I want us to pivot a little bit to stopping, because I think that’s something that we don’t talk about very much. So let’s start with the starting piece.
What is some advice that you would give to a listener right now who wants to get started but fear is holding them back?
Christy: Well, that’s very real, and I love that you talk about that. Because people think that the number one thing holding them back are, “I don’t have the resources.” So time, or money or skills, or whatever it is. But really it’s fear. And we use excuses to justify our fear. “I don’t have the money, time, resources,” whatever the thing is. And there are some situations where women genuinely it’s not the right season or they shouldn’t. There’s wisdom in that. But more often than not, it’s fear holding them back.
“We use excuses to justify our fear.” – Christy Wright
So there are two things that I would say, right out of the gate, could help them today.
Number one: Figure out what the first step is. And I don’t mean first step as in first step of your business plan, I just mean anything. Like you want to have a very successful blog and online community, the first step for you might be writing your first blog for yourself on a Microsoft Word document. That’s a step.
Maybe you want to create a product and a product-based business on Etsy, and the first step for you is just going and buying some materials. I know it sounds really simple, but when you take that first scary step, what it does is it creates momentum. And momentum is very, very powerful. It gives you confidence and fuels the second step and third step. And before you know it, you’ve actually put products up on Etsy, you’ve got orders coming in, you’ve got blogs posted, you’re putting it on social media. But it didn’t happen with this terrifying leap, it happened with that tiny first step, the lowest hanging fruit.
What I think people get a misconception of in business, and certainly with our world of social media . . . And women can be really guilty of comparing yourself to other people. But you look at people that have these big dreams fulfilled and you think that for them it was this big overnight thing. But the impressive things in life are made up of a lot unimpressive things.
“The impressive things in life are made up of a lot unimpressive things.” – Christy Wright
I’ve spoken on huge stages, but I’ve also spoken at Kentucky county libraries on a Friday night. I’ve spoken on family reunions where they served me refrigerated chicken fingers and sat me at the kids’ table. I could not make this up. So you have to be willing to take the first step to get the reps, to do those unimpressive things. And then you look up one day, in a year, or three years or five years, or in Dave Ramsey’s case, 25 years, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m an overnight success.” After 25 years of doing the thing. So, if you just take that first step, that can help fuel your confidence and overcome that fear.
Number two: The second really practical thing is that you get help. And I don’t know if that’s a friend, if it’s a mentor, if it’s a resource, if it’s a book, if it’s an audiobook, if it’s a community, a class, an event. I don’t care how or where, or who, but when you get help, it gives you confidence because now you have new information. And that really helps you say, “Okay, now I know what I need to do.” People think that you have to know everything to be good in business, and no one is good at everything.
We all have strengths and God-given gifts. What I want you to do is I want you to stay in your strengths, do more of what you love, less of what you don’t. But for those things you have to do that you don’t love, like in my case, details, taxes, spreadsheets, get help for those things. And so you just need what anyone needs to be successful in business, you just need a little bit of help.
“Stay in your strengths, do more of what you love, less of what you don’t.” – Christy Wright
So, figure out what are the areas that are the most overwhelming, what are the areas where you had the most questions, you feel the most intimidated, you feel the weakest, and get help in those areas. And if you do that, if you take the first step toward building this thing or growing this thing and you get help in the areas that scare you, man, you’re on your way. Before you know it, you’re going to be in the rhythm of your thing and you look up and go, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing this. I’m really doing it.” But it just happened with that first tiny step.
Jessica: You know, we have talked a lot on The Going Scared Podcast about the power of asking. And that is something that I think women in particular have a really hard time asking for help. So I love that those are your two top tips, are starting and asking.
You Don’t Need Permission To Succeed
Jessica: Because even asking requires walking through some sort of fear. We’re so afraid to ask for help. Do you find that?
Christy: I do. And what’s interesting is I think what women need in business, and what they think they need, are two different things.
I’ll give you an example. People ask me all the time that are in my dreamer stage that they are trying to come up with their idea. They say, “How do I know if it can make money?” No, they word it that way. “How do I know if it can make money?”
And they’re saying can. What they’re asking is, “Can it make money?” I’m like, “Well, if it solves the problem,” which we had worked through the idea is only to solve a problem, “Then it can make money, because that’s what you’re charging for. You’re charging for solving a problem. What you’re really asking is, ‘Will it make money?’ And you don’t know if it will make money until you try.”
They want some guarantee to insulate them from failure without having to do the thing. They want a proven path that it’s definitely going to work. But you don’t know until you try, and that you have a conversation with the marketplace.
I’ll give you another example. Women think that they need help but what I find they’re really asking for, Jessica, in a lot of their questions, is they’re asking for permission. And, sister, you don’t need it. You don’t permission. You’re waiting for someone to give you confidence, to give you hope, to high five you and say, “You can do this.” And I certainly love doing that. But if you don’t believe in your business, no one else will. I can’t do that for you, I can’t carry you through that.
“You’re waiting for someone to give you confidence, to give you hope, to high five you and say, ‘You can do this.’” – Christy Wright
I love helping women work through that fear and find the confidence within themselves. I don’t give them confidence, but I help them uncover the confidence within them. And that’s really powerful. Because they may think they’re asking for help but they’re really asking for permission, and they don’t need it. They don’t need permission.
“I don’t give them confidence, but I help them uncover the confidence within them.” – Christy Wright
We got to stop being low flowers, standing on the outskirts of the dance waiting for someone to ask us to dance. Girl, get on the dance floor. This world is yours, go of it.
Jessica: We have got to write ourselves our own permission slips. That’s almost the first step.
Christy: Yes, absolutely.
Overcoming Fear of Success
Jessica: Okay, so fear of failure, I think we can all relate to that, which you were just speaking to. Have you ever been afraid of success, or do you encounter women who were actually afraid? “Actually, I think this idea could actually take off and I’m almost afraid of that.”
Christy: Do you know what’s interesting? I’ve had a couple people say that to me: that they’re scared of success, they’re scared of making it too big. But I wonder what, what the deeper layer to that is, because it is that you then can’t fulfill those expectations at that level?
You know, I have that fear of being found out, the imposter syndrome. Like, Oh wow, people think I’m way smarter than I am. At any level of success you can have that fear of like not keeping up with the expectation of whatever that success is. Is it fear of losing control, where it gets beyond you and you can no longer?
I don’t think people fear success. I think they fear something that they think success represents to them, and I don’t know if that’s a loss of control, loss of flexibility, not being able to keep up with expectations. And in that sense, I don’t fear success in terms of just success for what it is, but I do fear being able to fulfill expectations. I have that thought now. Sometimes it’s that voice of fear, that voice of the imposter syndrome will creep up and say, “You are not near as smart as people think you are. There are people so much smarter than you. Why are you even doing this?” And that’s that imposter syndrome, “Who are you to do this?”
But because I teach on this, I’m like, Oh, I know that voice. I’m going to keep doing the thing. I do think I have a fear of loss of control. I’m like all entrepreneurs: we’re control freaks. No one loves this thing like I do. And as it’s gotten bigger, I can’t control everything, and I can’t have my eyes on every piece of content that goes out. And that’s hard as a leader, to let go of some of that, and we have very capable people that write for us, and market for us, and that type of thing. But I still, that’s hard, you know?
So I think for me, I do experience it. But for me it’s what the scaling and success represents, not success itself. I love a new challenge, and I love going big and trying new things. I get bored easily. So success in terms of trying new things, I love that aspect. I think it’s more those other aspects of it.
Jessica: Well, and I love how you’re able to just recognize when fear is talking, and immediately go, Wait a minute, that’s not me. That’s fear. What’s the fear? And then sort of define it so that you can let it go and surrender it and release it.
Find Encouragement Through Community
Christy: Well, and it’s very powerful because I teach on this all the time, Jessica, and I’m sure you’re the same way with this podcast. It’s incredible accountability, because I teach on these things and so I’m constantly accountable to living them out. I teach on life balance and not staring at your phone when you’re with your kids. So it gives me a check every time I want to pick up my phone when I’m with my kids. Because I’m in the nature of the work that I do, I have some great guardrails.
But I would say for the women listening, women that either have small businesses, or side businesses, or want to: when I go back to what I said about getting help, get help not just in terms of for information and answers. Get help in terms of encouragement and community because that gives you a place to lock arms with other people that can call out those lies you’re believing. Because business can be lonely, especially if you’re running a home-based business, especially if you’re a solopreneur. You need other people to call out those lines because if not, if you internalize them, you will believe them and then your actions will reflect them and it’ll really hold you back.
“Get help in terms of encouragement and community because that gives you a place to lock arms with other people that can call out those lies you’re believing.” – Christy Wright
So I have an amazing network of people, where even if I’m feeling scared, I can say that out loud. You know, I’ll say it’s my husband. I’ll text him before a big event. I spoke at Catalyst last Fall, and that was the largest audience that ever spoken to, so this was new to me. Anytime you do something new, it’s scary, because you’ve never done it before. I’ve spoken to 5,000 people, but I’ve never spoken to 9,000 people. So it felt new, and scary, and, Can I do it? And my husband said, “Christy, you always do this. You always rock it. You’re going to be great.” And he just reminded me, “Who you are has not changed. The audience may change, but who you are, and what you can do has not changed.”
And I think that’s really powerful when you’re in environments that may seem new or intimidating, to remind yourself that the outside circumstances may change, but who you are and what you can do hasn’t.
I love how Joyce Meyer says, “New levels, new devils.” Anytime you conquer your fear of one thing, the moment you push yourself outside your comfort zone, there’s going to be new fears to creep up, so we need to learn how to deal with it because it’s going to be with us at every stage of the journey. And that’s normal.
Jessica: It’s so normal to be afraid on a first. I mean, it’s the nature of firsts.
Christy: Right. You’ve never done it. Of course you’re scared.
Pushing Out of Our Comfort Zone
Jessica: And I think almost just recognizing that enables you to go, You know what? This is not just me. Everyone feels this way, and there’s something very comforting about that.
Christy: Absolutely. Oh, talk on stage at Business Boutique. We have a whole session on fear, and I tell story, after story, after story of times I’ve failed, times I’ve been scared, times I’ve been in situations where we’re completely outside of my control. And these women in the audience are looking at me going, “Oh, you get scared?”
I’m like, “Are you kidding me?”
I remember even Maya Angelou and Kate Winslet have talked about, there’s quotes from them of imposter syndrome. Kate Winslet has said, “I would go off to a shoot, and I would be afraid of being found out. They would think I’m a fraud.”
Maya Angelou: “I’ve written 11 books and each time I think, Uh oh, they’re gonna find me out now, I’ve run a game on everybody.”
So we have this idea that we could outperform fear. We can be more successful. We can outrun it. You can’t. It’s going to be with you. To your point, Jessica, when you do new things. And we should always be doing new things, in business and in life, and pushing our comfort zone. So let’s go ahead and get comfortable with the fact that fear is going to be there, but figure out how to just do it anyway. As you talk about, we’re going to do it scared.
“We should always be doing new things, in business and in life, and pushing our comfort zone.” – Christy Wright
Jessica: Yes. Oh my gosh. This weekend I was watching the David Letterman series on Netflix, and I watched his interview with Tina Fey.
Jessica: And I think we can all agree. Tina Fey’s made it, you know.
Christy: Oh yeah, yeah, she’s incredible.
Jessica: Let’s just say she’s incredible. And she shared this story about how she was asked to do an SNL sketch after the Charlottesville riots, and everything that was happening there. She said, “That’s pretty recent, right?”
Jessica: She’s already made it as Sarah Palin. She’s gotten all sorts of awards.
Jessica: So she goes to do this skit and she completely bombs it. I mean she woke up the next day and she was all over the news. And it really was like a misrepresentation of what happened. And she just said, “You know what? I look at being a comedian like an athlete. Like I broke my ankle on the landing. And it doesn’t mean I’m not going to get out there and do it again. I’m just going to learn from the break, and keep going.”
And again, you would think, Well, Tina Fey’s made it, or she doesn’t get scared anymore, or she doesn’t fail. And in fact, you just never. I mean, you are always going to fail. I think we think we’re going to get to a point of arrival. You know what I mean?
Christy: Right, right, where you’re just perfect. Which usually you’re not risking enough, or doing enough, if everything is safe and controllable and predictable. There’s such great quotes around fear and failure, and I use a lot of them when I’m speaking. But some of my favorites are:
“Success is largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – Christy Wright quoting William Feather
So someone else, as a comedian, may have let that take them down. They may have let that define their career. But because she will get up and get back on the horse and dust herself off, that is hardly what she’s going to be remembered for. And when you start to realize that failure is a normal part of the journey, but it doesn’t have to be the thing that defines you.
“Failure is a normal part of the journey, but it doesn’t have to be the thing that defines you.” -Christy Wright
There’s another great quote by Michael Jordan that I use a lot. He says—which, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time—he said, “In my career I have lost 300 games. I have missed hundreds of shots. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over, and over, and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Babe Ruth was known as “The Home Run King.” He was also known as “The Strikeout King.” You can’t have one without the other. It’s just a matter of hanging on after other people have let go.
When we realize that, yes it hurts, yes, you’re embarrassed—of course it does. I had a speaking event where I absolutely bombed, and I cried the entire six-hour drive home from the event swearing to myself, Never again. I will never do that again. Now thank God I didn’t let that let that happen, because I would have missed out on almost a decade of incredible speaking experiences. But that’s what fear tells you when you’re hurt, and knocked down, and embarrassed, but you just have to choose to get up anyway. Even though it hurt, even though it scarred you to the core, you get up, and you just keep going anyway. That’s the only choice you have if you want to make it.
“Don’t make any life decisions when you are in a fear-based mentality. Just sleep on it.” – Jessica Honegger
Celebrate Your Successes
Christy: Totally. And the funny thing is too, like let’s just take it out of business for a second.
We understand this as parents, right? Like my son Conley has been learning to walk the last six months. He’s about a year and a half old. And he’s walking, but he still stumbles and falls. I’m not like, “You joker, get up. You’re terrible. You’re never going to walk.” You’re like, “No, you’re doing so great.”
Celebrate those steps in your children. That’s very natural for you, especially if you’re a mom. You celebrate the steps. You celebrate the steps, you champion their successes. And when they fall down, you just help them back up. Do the same thing with yourself.
“You celebrate the steps [in your children], you champion their successes…Do the same thing with yourself.” – Christy Wright
I love the quote by Brené Brown where she says, “Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.” And we are so quick to be kind to others and beat yourself up in the same breath. And women, let me tell you, you cannot offer something you don’t have. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t offer love to other people. And so, when we can translate those skills of celebrating the steps to ourselves and accept that, then it’s going to help us dust off that fear and embarrassment and keep going and pick ourselves back up.
“We are so quick to be kind to others and beat yourself up in the same breath.” – Christy Wright
Jessica: Yes. We have a whole other podcast on self-compassion, which is actually by Kristin Neff who Brené’s quoting there.
Christy: Oh, I love it.
Jessica: Yes, and it’s all about how if we are going to get back up, then we have to be able to talk to ourselves like we would a good friend, and have a spirit of compassion.
Christy: That’s right.
Jessica: Okay, so success. This is how I define success. Yeah, it’s primarily a function of just not giving up, right? Of just holding on, of being resilient, of being persistent.
The Difference Between Quitting And Resting
Jessica: But let’s talk about the difference between stopping and quitting, or resting and quitting, because quitting is different than, You know what? I think it is time to stop.
Jessica: Now, what is the advice that you give? Because there is a difference between, Oh my God, I just can’t do this. It’s just, like, I’m afraid, I’m a fool. But there’s a difference between, You know what? It’s time to put this to bed.
Christy: Right. Well Jessica, I got to give you a full disclaimer upfront, or confession rather. I am a terrible person to ask about this, because I am so—
Jessica: I am too. I’m kind of curious.
Christy: Because I’m so stinking persistent. So I’m always like, Push through, push through, and there is a time to stop. There is a time, to your point, to rest.
And it’s interesting because, I have found in my faith walk, in my walk with God, I have found that God tends to grow me in areas where I’m weak, and I’ve noticed this even with other people. If you’re really, really, really good at speaking up like I am, then God probably doesn’t need to teach me to speak up. Because I’m really good at it. But He does need to teach me to shut up sometimes. He does need to teach me to be quiet and bite my tongue sometimes. Or if you’re really, really good at being quiet and biting your tongue, you’re probably going to need to grow in the area where sometimes you speak up, and you speak your truth, and you say something uncomfortable.
So to your point about quitting: I think that for those people that are listening that are hard driving, that are go-getters, they’re persistent to a fault, they are kindred spirits with me and you because they just are so stinking driven. There are going to be seasons in your life where God asks you to slow down, or God asks you to stop and trust Him. And it may mean walking away from opportunities. It may mean leaving money on the table. It may not even make a lot of sense at the time, but if that’s where you feel is the right thing to do, and it may come even through someone closing a door in your face, where you were ready to bust through it and they’re like, We’re going to close this door.
A real tangible example for me, Jessica, is just last week—as in like, literally three days ago—I found out that my next book is not going to launch when I thought it was. I thought it was going to launch much, much sooner, and it looks like it’s going to be a couple years out from that. Now that was hard to hear, because I’m urgent, I’m driven, all these things. And I felt God bring the verse to me: He makes me lie down in green pastures. And the word that sticks out to me and that verse is makes.
Christy: He makes me lie down.
Jessica: Totally with you, sister!
Christy: Sometimes he has to make you lie down, Jessica. Because I’m not good at that.
So for your listeners looking for—What is the path? What’s the steps to know when to stop? I can’t tell you what those are because I’m honestly not good at them, but I will tell you there is an inner peace that comes with, This is the right thing.
One other question that I ask myself that kind of helps me make decisions—and sometimes it doesn’t always work, but it can help—I ask myself self in the form of regret: Should I do this new thing? Should I open this new branch? Should I take on this big goal this year? Should I keep this business going, even though it’s losing money?
Ask yourself regret. Which will I regret doing or not doing? Will I regret wasting my whole year and, at the end of it, not making any more money? Or will I regret giving up on that business, saying it’s time to stop, and spending the summer with my kids? You know, if you ask yourself that question, sometimes it can help you make decisions. But really, I think for me it’s the Holy Spirit. It’s the inner peace of knowing that’s the right thing. It may be the hard thing, but it’s the right thing.
And to be totally honest, I’m still learning myself because I’m not real good at it. I’m still not very good at slowing down myself.
Jessica: Yeah, yeah. Well, I love that question.
Financial Planning for Entrepeneurs
Jessica: What about practically speaking? Like, if you’re looking at your own business or your side hustle, and is there a certain debt level, or certain, Hey, we’ve been trying, and we haven’t been profitable for this amount of time?
Christy: Oh that’s right, sure, absolutely. So one of the things that I want you to do is, I want you to decide in advance what the amount of money that you’re going to put into the business from your personal funds. Set a goal and the amount of time you’re going to wait until it’s profitable.
Now everyone asks me what is the exact amount? This can vary based on the business, and based on your comfort level, and your financial level. So if you have a business where you are doing real estate, and you’re flipping houses or something like that, that’s a much longer runway. It’s a much longer timeframe before that business is up and going, and that type of thing. If you’re making hair bows, well, you should be turning a profit tomorrow. You know what I mean?
Christy: So depending on what the business is can determine the runway. And also, your financials and your comfort level. So if you have $50,000 in savings, and you want to take out 10 and put it into this business to buy a computer, or some software, whatever you need, you can do that. That’s your comfort level. That’s fine. You’ve got the money to do it.
You may have money but say, You know what? I don’t want to put any money into the business. I interviewed Melissa Henon, have Grace and Lace. She’s a Shark Tank success story. And she said, “I never put a dime of my own money into the business, because I didn’t want to. To me that represented debt, and I didn’t want to do it. So from day one I took advanced payment for my orders, used that money to fulfill the orders.” And she’s built her entire business completely debt free, turning a profit from the very first order.
So you can decide as a business owner what is your comfort level in terms of dollar amount you put in—and that dollar amount can be zero, by the way—and how long you wait until it’s profitable. But the key is to set a goal. Let’s say you say, I’m going to give it $500 from savings, and I’m going to give it six months. Cool. When you set that goal, you light a fire under you to make the thing profitable and not let it drain your personal bank accounts.
The problem is when we begin to think that we have a business, but we’re not making any money. I got a question the other day on my podcast: I’ve had a business for nine years and have yet to turn a profit. When should I give up? And I said, “Sister, you’ve not had a business for nine years. You’ve had a hobby. A hobby costs you money. A business makes you money.”
“A hobby costs you money. A business makes you money.” – Christy Wright
With very few exceptions, very few exceptions—we’re talking high-cost industries, medical, real estate, that type of thing—your business should be profitable within the first year. Easy. If you’re starting an Etsy shop, a home-based business, certainly a service-based business, you should be profitable in the first month. There’s no reason why you can’t, if you’re wise with this. Service based business, you have no cost to goods. You’re charging for your time. So I think it really just becomes a mindset shift, not a dollar amount, not a timeframe. But when you have the mindset, I’m running a business. And the purpose of business is to turn a profit in order to help people and solve their problems. I’m not running a hobby. Then that’s where things shift for you, and you realize you can make it work. But if you don’t have that deadline, then you’re going to keep making excuses for it, and you’re “in business for nine years,” but you’ve never made money.
“The purpose of business is to turn a profit in order to help people and solve their problems.” – Christy Wright
By the way, as a side note because I know you probably have a lot of listeners that have non-profits, non-profit does not mean no profit. Non-profits that have no profit are called closed. You guys still need profit in order to run your business, and you have the same responsibility as any business owner to run it responsibly. Your cash just flows differently through the business. But you still have the responsibility to bring in money through your business. So it’s a really important note there because I think a lot of times people get into non-profits because they want to help people, which is awesome. But they underestimate the necessity of money in order to help those people and you have to have money if you want to stay in business. Non-profit or for-profit.
Jessica: Takes money to make money.
The Key To Success: Believe In What You Do
Christy: That’s right, that’s right. It takes money to help people.
Jessica: It does, and that’s what I love about owning a direct sales company is it’s such a low cost of entry for people to get in. I mean it’s like, $199 to buy a start-up collection and then you just got some nominal business costs on the side and then you can be profitable in the first couple of months. Do you find that you are coaching a lot of people?
I feel like when I started out this company eight years ago, direct sales had such a stigma. I mean, I didn’t even want to admit to it. I came up with some long terminology of what I actually did. But now, I just feel like it’s everywhere. I don’t know if this surge of brands that we love that are making it more acceptable. Do you find that in your audience, direct selling ladies?
Christy: Yeah, absolutely. What I’ve noticed and it’s interesting because I speak for a lot of direct sales companies. I have several lined up for this summer. And what’s interesting is the Business Boutique applies regardless of the structure of the business, the type of business, the industry. It really gives you the plan and tools to do the thing.
And a lot of direct sales companies don’t do that. They don’t equip their team, their consultants, their representatives—whatever the title they use, they don’t equip them to be successful in business. They just teach, they train them on the product itself and a lot of times on selling in terms of how to sell, convert, recruit, all those types of things. But they miss so many pieces, and so I’ve kind of become a great partner with a lot of these companies to come in and show them how to do the thing, how to make money, how to manage the marketing, all that stuff that they’re not learning through their company. So it’s been a great opportunity for women to do that.
I will say that the key for being successful in any business, direct sales or other, is believing in what you do.
Jessica: Oh really?
Christy: Because if you don’t believe in what you do, you’re not going to be successful regardless of the structure of business. And there are women that are in traditional businesses—that are not in direct sales—that don’t believe in what they do. And they will never be successful. They will never make money if they don’t. You have women that are in direct sales companies—and your company for example—that believe with their whole heart in what they do, and they’re incredibly successful because that’s the key. If you don’t believe in your business, no one else will. That, to me, is really the litmus test of success is not direct sales or other, it’s: do you believe in it? And if you believe in it, then you will find a way to help people through that deep conviction in your heart.
“If you don’t believe in what you do, you’re not going to be successful regardless of the structure of business.” – Christy Wright
Jessica: Wow, and what you said earlier too, treating it like a business. Because what we find, we’re [in] social entrepreneurship: people come in, believing very deeply in the potential of what they have to do in the world and in creating an impact in the world, but so many women treat it like that side hustle. And I love how when, once they’re able to make that switch and give themselves permission to be a business owner and to define themselves like that and to get up under training and business training, that is when we see truly income take off. And for us, income equals impact. And it’s just such a game changer so I’m so glad that you pointed that out.
Christy: Oh yeah, it really is. It’s all of those different pieces work together to make someone successful. But if you underestimate one of them, or don’t have enough emphasis there, then you’re missing a really important piece.
I used the example on stage when I’m teaching about money. For example, your profit or your income through the business is the report card of how your business is doing. So many women say to me, “Well I don’t care about the money, I just do it because I love it. I just do it because I love it. I just love it.” I’m like, “Great, awesome. You should love it. But love is not enough to make this business work. You also need money.” I say, “Think for example if you have school aged kids. What if your child came home from school and their report card was all F’s? How many of you would be excited and proud and happy with that? Raise your hand.” No hands go up and I’m like, “Really? Weird.”
What if they just said, “But Mom, I just love school, I love it. I don’t have to get the grades, I don’t really care about the grades. It’s not important because I just do it because I love it.” I’m like, no. That’s what you’re doing in your business when you don’t think that money is important. Money is necessary. It is the fuel that makes the car go. Cars with no fuel are stopped and businesses with no money are closed. You have to have that piece of the puzzle right as well.
Jessica: So true. I love how you really are going around and dispelling this myth of balance. So talk to us a little bit more about that.
Christy: Well I think we have so many ideas about balance, and they’re usually setting us up to fail. So balance may mean, okay it’s a 50/50 split between work and home. Well that’s not realistic and it’s not a 50/50 split, it’s being 100% present wherever you are.
Jessica: So is that how you define balance? Balance is being 100% present to wherever you are?
Christy: Well I think that’s a piece of it. I don’t think that’s all of it. I think that’s a piece of it.
We also have this idea that balance is doing everything for an equal amount of time. I’m gonna have an hour a day working out, an hour a day with my kids, an hour a day work . . . volunteer, church, all the things. It’s not that either. Life balance is not doing everything for an equal amount of time, it’s about doing the right things at the right time. So there will be seasons where your head’s down in your business. You need focus in order to create momentum to make a difference in a lot of areas
“You need focus in order to create momentum.” – Christy Wright
If you decide to run a full marathon, there’s going to be out of balance during that season while you’re training and doing long runs. So there are going to be seasons of our life where your kind of head’s down and you got more emphasis in one area of your life over the other in order to achieve big goals and make an impact, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t live there. Unless you are an Olympian and that is balance to you is that you have no family and that, you want to train 24 hours a day, then you shouldn’t live there. You shouldn’t live in start-up mode. You shouldn’t live in one of those but over the course of your life, you create balance as you have this ebb and flow to your life.
A great example last spring, I was on book tour with my book, Business Boutique, and I traveled a lot. I didn’t see my kids as much as I want to and I didn’t see my friends at all because when I was in town, I was going to be with my family. But then that summer, I took my foot off the gas. I took a lot of vacation days. I was home. I went on picnics and I went to the park. It has an ebb and flow to it.
But I will say that this idea of being present, for me, is a game changer. And what’s so great about this is it’s something completely within your control.
So you may not be able to control the schedule you work, the hours you work, that type of thing. But you can control how present you are. What I mean by that is, wherever you are, be there. So when you’re at work, put your head down, do the work, focus, absolutely rock it in whatever you’re doing or your business. When you’re at home, close your computer, put your phone on Airplane mode, put it in a different room, look your kids in the eyes and play with them. Turn the stupid TV off, go on a walk, go on a scavenger hunt, get on the floor and wrestle and be there. When you do that, then you begin to have what’s called “quality time,” which many of us have lost track of and you’re not distracted.
But if you’re at work always focused on your kids—Are they okay? Do they need me?—you’re not really there. If you’re at home, if you’re looking at your phone, checking your orders, looking at your computer, you’re not really there. So you’re never really anywhere. You’re always focused on where you’re not, so you’re always feeling guilty because you’re always focused on what you’re not doing. It’s living your life perpetually looking through the rear-view mirror.
Instead, shift your focus to the front windshield. Wherever you are, be there. When I’m at work, I’m totally focused on work and being present and loving every moment of what I get to do. When I’m at home, I’m not thinking about work. I’m not thinking about Business Boutique ladies, I’m not thinking about co-workers, I’m not thinking about projects. I’m thinking about, Can I race my boys through the kitchen while sitting in mixing bowls and not break my back? Yes, let’s go for it. I’m just there and so, if we can do that, I think it can drastically change our ideas about balance. Because if you’re always focused on where you’re not, then you’re always feeling guilty. But if you’re always focused on where you are, then you can shake that guilt. It’s not that it will never creep up but, man, it can make a difference.
I’ll give you a couple quick statistics, Jessica. The average American watches three to five hours of TV per day and checks their phone 150 times a day. We don’t have a time problem. We have a priority problem. You have the hours in the day. Start spending them on what matters the most to you and I’d be willing to be it’s not freaking Facebook.
“We don’t have a time problem. We have a priority problem.” – Christy Wright
Jessica: Oh my gosh, I have wondered sometimes if I could see what Instagram sees, like, however they figure out my own personal algorithms, how many times it gets checked, I would be embarrassed.
Christy: Oh yeah.
Jessica: For that to be held up to the world.
Christy: That’s right. That’s right. So I think we have more challenges today as women, more standards, expectations, all that for sure. But we also have a lot within our control.
Jessica: And I love that. One of my first podcasts was with a guy named Curt Steinhorst who—
Christy: Oh yeah, I know him, yeah.
Jessica: Yes. Focus wise, and it really just dispels the myth of multitasking, dispels this myth that do it all and our brains are actually not even wired for that, but it takes . . . honestly. getting ready for this podcast, I got six texts right away from work because people text me if I’m not getting back on my email. But I really wanted to prep for our time together because, again, I wanted to be fully present. So I had to turn everything off, but it takes a lot of awareness and consciousness to actually do that.
Christy: It does. And I think it’s true with anything. Like if you want to lose weight, then you shouldn’t buy a bunch of cookies at the store because you’re setting yourself up to fail. So do things that set yourself up to win, in terms of managing technology and balance.
For example: at night, I will put my phone in a different room on purpose because I’ve noticed if it’s in my peripheral vision, I’m tempted to pick it up and check it and unlock it, even if nothing happened. It didn’t vibrate, it didn’t ring. It’s like Pavlov’s dog. You just over and over again. So I just put it in a different room and if I don’t see it, I’m not inclined to check it.
Social media, I have all of my social media in a folder on my phone on the very last page of my phone so it’s very difficult to get to. When you begin to put some of these guard rails in place—not to say social media’s bad, it’s a huge part of my business—but just setting yourself up to win. I’m less likely to think about it and check it when I’m home with my kids, if it’s in a different room and social media is on a different page. So there are things like that you can do.
A lot of times, I just challenge people to break the routine. We’re creatures of habit so we come home, we do dinner, we do baths, we do bedtime, we sit in front of the TV, we might do some dishes. What is something different you could do? Because when you do something new it creates fun, it creates energy, it creates silly memories. So maybe you, like I said, do a scavenger hunt. Maybe you make a game of something around the house. Maybe you go out to eat somewhere cheap where you have a coupon. Just do something different to break the routine and I promise you, you will start having so much more quality time when you just break the mold of what you’re used to doing, kind of going through the motions. And that right there can be huge.
I also think, one last thing about this. I think quality is way more important than quantity. There may be people listening right now that say, You know what, Christy? I’m working three jobs just trying to pay my bills. I work 60 hours a week. I don’t have the time to spend with my kids that I want to. And that’s okay. Focus on quality over quantity. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have two quality hours with my family on a Saturday than all day where everyone’s staring at a screen.
And like we said, there’s going to be seasons where your focus is in different places and that’s okay. Just realizing that’s a season and you’re going to make sure that you’re still giving attention to those other areas of your life that matter the most to you.
Christy’s “Going Scared” Moment
Jessica: Okay Christy, I want to wrap up and I want you to tell me one area where you are going scared right now.
Christy: Oh, that’s fun.
Jessica: I know, I threw one at you. I threw one at you.
Christy: That’s fun, I love that.
So one of the areas that we’re exploring is some type of show in the future so like, I do podcasts right now, but I really love video more. If you’ve ever seen me do any video, I’m super expressive. I’ve got hands flailing right now the whole time we’re talking, like facial expressions. So I love video because I feel like I’m able to communicate more with not having just audio only.
So that’s something that I think is up in the air, and I don’t know what that’s going to look like and I can’t control all of it. But I’m really excited about it because I think it’s going to be something that can help people in a different way but the whole unknown is scary. There’s a lot of unknowns around what that would look like, and who would watch, and where would it be, and what would we even talk about, and would it be good, and would I do a good job? You know, it’s new. Anytime there’s new, there’s something scary. That’s new and that’s kind of the next territory we’re going into it looks like.
Jessica: Okay I cannot wait. You have to make this happen because like I said earlier, your Insta Stories are my favorite because you are so expressive and your voice, and I just love it. I can’t wait. I don’t know what it’ll be, YouTube or I don’t know, network television.
Well Christy, thank you so much. We barely scratched the surface, and I can’t wait to be on your podcast with you so at least I know we have another time on the books to get to chat.
Christy: Yes, well Jessica, I love what you’re doing. And you are just such an impressive story of building a successful business but with just such grace. I’m a fan of yours and have been for a while.
Jessica: Well thanks a lot, thanks a lot, Christy.
Christy: Thank you, see ya.
Start, Ask and Stay In Your Strengths
Jessica: Christy lit a fire in me. I had the best day following her interview. She just has so much positive energy, such a can-do attitude. She lives in that realm of possibility and then brings other people along with her to live in that realm as well.
You need to go check out Christy’s podcast. It’s called Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. I’m going to be a guest on it soon. I’ll let you know when that is. And, of course, her book Business Boutique, which remains at the top of the charts.
I love her two tips: start and ask. When you get help, it gives you confidence. Ask, and stay in your strengths. Do more of what you love. Quit waiting on permission from someone else and write your own permission slip.
Success is a matter of hanging on instead of letting go. Remember even brilliant Tina Fey still fails. You just have to get back up. That’s what I want you to do this week is write yourself a permission slip and then get back up when you fail.
We’re in this together. Let’s keep taking one another write a hand and going scared. See you on next week’s episode.