Podcast

Episode 74 – Suzy Batiz, Founder of Poo-Pourri

What if you took every business and life lesson you’ve ever learned and tossed it out the window – would you be crazy? Suzy Batiz doesn’t think so. Forged by a life marked with struggle, innovation, and bravery, Suzy challenges what it means to be content and how we can be fulfilled – now. Today, Jessica sits down with Suzy who bravely shares the story of her life and how she’s re-framing entrepreneurship.

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Are you ready for honest and vulnerable conversations that will inspire you towards action? Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared.

Today, I am sitting down with the founder of Poo-Pourri, Suzy Batiz. OK, you know those conversations where you find yourself saying, “Gosh. That is a totally different way of thinking about that,”—the conversations that challenge you, and they spark your curiosity? Well, today’s conversation with Suzy did that for me. And I think you’re going to understand why after you listen to this episode. She is a fascinating and interesting person.

Suzy is the founder of the innovative and groundbreaking business Poo-Pourri. And when I learned about her story, I knew we needed to have her on the podcast because I had some questions. How does someone take an idea for a poop air freshener and grow it into a 300-million-dollar, bootstrapped business? How does someone overcome two bankruptcies and come out stronger on the other end? And how does someone turn childhood struggle into a passionate commitment to personal development? And now, her passion is truly to develop others. We even stayed on the line after the recording ended, and she gave me some great business advice that really stuck with me. So, you’re going to love this conversation with Suzy. Let’s get into it.

I would love to get a look into your creative process. Because with both of your businesses, Supernatural and Poo-Pourri, there’s a really inventive and brilliant idea at the core. So, talk to us a little bit about what your creative process is.

 

Creativity: Ideas Alive and Growing

Suzy: Well, I wait for an idea to be alive within me. So, I don’t try to force anything. I’m a naturally creative, so I have a little bit opposite issue. And I think … well, I don’t think it’s an opposite issue. I think we all have ideas running through us all the time. I just don’t think we’re paying attention to those ideas. So, my creative process is, when I have an idea, I have a concept I call it, "You either rule it in or rule it out really quickly." So, I basically go through a litmus test in my body to see if I’m excited about it or if anyone around me is excited. If no one’s really excited … I’m looking for this reaction that’s sort of like a virus. Somebody gets a flu in the office and then all of a sudden eight people have the flu.

That’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in, is this idea alive only within me or is it alive within my team? And then if it’s really alive, if they’re excited, I’m excited, they know about it, we just sort of test it and we start playing and riffing on what it could be in the world. And then if there’s enough energy behind it, we go towards those ideas. If there’s not a lot of energy behind it, we don’t push it. We just kind of say, "Oh, it was just another idea. Everybody has them."

“I’m interested in, is this idea alive only within me or is it alive within my team? And then if it’s really alive, if they’re excited, I’m excited, they know about it, we just sort of test it and we start playing and riffing on what it could be in the world.” Suzy Batiz

Jessica: So, what would you say to the person where they are sensing the energy around the idea? They’re talking to their friends. People are like, "Oh my gosh, yes, that product doesn’t exist in the world and I’d love that." And they’ve begun. Maybe their product is even in a store right now. But they’re really now wanting to, I mean, you can have energy around the idea, but to grow a company to the scale that you’ve grown it to, to land on a list like this Forbes list requires probably going through that process multiple times over and over and over again. So, how did you kind of go from initial idea and to then actually building?

Suzy: So, I had the idea, and then the idea was just so alive within me, and the universe provided steps in front of me. So, I really just became curious and open. So, I came up with the concept of Poo-Pourri, took me nine months to create it. And then I built a website because that’s what you do with that, to sell a product. I didn’t know anything about consumer product goods. Built a little website, and my husband was good because why am I good at websites, because of my husband at the time, because of all my failed businesses in the past, threw up a little website and a friend says, "I have a friend that sells wholesale or that buys wholesale, he has a store, would you sell to him?" And I said, "Well, how do you do that?" He said, "Well, he needs a 50% markup."

So, I doubled my prices, sold it to him, the next day someone said, "Hey, my friend Harold bought the product, can I buy it too?" And it literally just kept going word of mouth. And then finally someone said, "You need to go to market." And I’m like, what’s market? And they said, "Well, it’s where you go and show your product." And that felt alive to me. So, I did my first market. And then they said it was in Dallas. And then they said, "Well, are you going to Atlanta market?" And I’m like, "When’s that?" And they’re like, "In two weeks." So, I called and got a booth in Atlanta. Then I’m in Atlanta. And they said, "Are you going to New York market, gift market?" And I’m like, "When’s that?" And they’re like, "Oh, it’s in a month." I called and got a booth with that.

So, what happens is I’ve never had a business plan or any strategy. But my experience is that everybody tells you what you should do. Everybody, everybody has advice. Advice is not hard to get. Everybody thinks they’re the expert. But the hard part with business is how to decipher what of that advice actually feels good to you and alive to you. And so, I really just kept following what people said to do. It was really easy. One of my teachers, old teachers, Byron Katie says, “The universe will show you. It’ll give you the signs.” Right? Are you looking at the signs?

“I’ve never had a business plan or any strategy. But my experience is that everybody tells you what you should do. Everybody, everybody has advice. … But the hard part with business is how to decipher what of that advice actually feels good to you and alive to you.” Suzy Batiz

 

Trauma and Transformation

Jessica: Yeah. I’d love to hear a little bit more about your story because I started off with the Forbes, but you write on your website that you have experienced some of life’s lowest lows: poverty, sexual and domestic abuse, depression, two bankruptcies, and a suicide attempt. So, talk to us a little bit more about what led to that crushing season of life for you, and it sounds like there’s just been a transformative journey since then.

Suzy: Yeah, there has. Thank you for picking up on that. Yeah, so I grew up in a very dysfunctional environment. My dad was a bipolar alcoholic. My mother was addicted to pain pills. There was complete chaos in my little world. Who knows what reality was? I just know…

Jessica: Your reality is how you remember it.

Suzy: Exactly. It went from here. It was a show. I mean, literally like I have … who’s in charge here? One of my first memories was cooking for my parents at four years old. Just really this feeling that “Somebody’s got to take care of us because you’re not going to,” right? And my parents finally got divorced when I was 10 years old, and I was so excited because now we’re finally going to be happy and free. And then my mom meets my stepdad, deacon at the church, who actually molested my sister and I. And I was married, bankrupt, and divorced by the time I was 20 years old. So, the only way I can describe my earlier life, Jessica, is it’s like, I don’t know if ever been skiing and you lose a ski at the top of the hill, a really steep hill, and you just keep tumbling? I was on this pattern of not thinking I had any control in my life, really being receptive and listening to all the energies around me and winding up in just a crap hole every single time.

“I was on this pattern of not thinking I had any control in my life, really being receptive and listening to all the energies around me and winding up in just a crap hole every single time. … I didn’t feel like I had any control in my life, and I was in a situation where I didn’t want people mad at me, so it was better for me just to try to kill myself than to actually have people displeased with me.” Suzy Batiz

So, I tried to kill myself when I was 21 because I was like, “who wants to live here? This world is very harsh and horrible.” And couple that with the fact that I was an extreme people-pleaser, and I didn’t feel like I had any control in my life, and I was in a situation where I didn’t want people mad at me, so it was better for me just to try to kill myself than to actually have people displeased with me. So, when I’m telling you these things, it’s not a judgment. It’s like I’ve been there, dude, hard, big time. And I’ve freed myself from most of it. Not saying I don’t get trapped in there. So anyway, I tried to kill myself when I was 21. At 23, I met the love of my life and became pregnant with my son and he was abusive, a physically abusive marriage, very violently abusive.

I didn’t know if I was going to live. Had to end up getting my children out of that, which is a sleeping-with-the-enemy type situation. I ended up homeless, for just a little bit, it’s not that extreme, but couch surfing with friends until I met my husband. We’ve been divorced. We’re really good friends but my ex-husband for 26 years, met him, he didn’t have any money. He had a place to live. And I’m like, "That’s great. Let’s go. Let’s do this thing." So, and then I just really pushed and clawed through, and always seeking external validation. It’s like, “I need to do this. OK. Great. I’m going to do that. OK. Great. I need to do what? OK, I’m going to do that.” So, all of what you’re talking about I did at an extreme level. I was always at a job, and then I was hustling on the side. I was doing the networking—somebody’s going to give me something I don’t have, there’s some information that I need—super hungry seeker until the point … my second bankruptcy I created at 38-years old, and I was completely devastated and broken because I had done it all the way you’re supposed to do it.

Jessica: You mean that bankruptcy, you feel like that time you had followed all the rules and … OK, so whereas your first bankruptcy you’re like, you’re 21 and you’re a child still yourself and you’re broke. But this one you felt like, wait a minute, I actually got myself together.

Suzy: I did it. I did it the way you’re supposed to do it.

Jessica: I followed the rules. And was that from another business you had started or what was that bankruptcy from?

Suzy: Yeah, so that was, it was actually an amazing idea. It was a platform called Greener Grass. It was a recruiting platform. This was in 1999. What I knew is that a person’s culture was the most important thing to match to a company’s culture. That was, again, 20-something years ago. People are just now starting to talk about culture. I was way ahead of the curve. I had psychologists on board, personality experts, and I was in the final stages of getting $5 million in funding. And I had put all of my money into this venture as well. And then the stock market crashed. And I was just like, “Are you kidding me?” So, I went into a really deep state of depression for a couple of years.

Jessica: And how many kids did you have at this point?

Suzy: Three.

Jessica: OK.

Suzy: Three kids, was married, lost everything, the house, both cars.

Jessica: Wow.

 

The Luxury of Losing Everything

Suzy: Yeah. Had to completely rebuild. But I didn’t … what I was sure of is I wasn’t just going to rebuild and get back into business, I was going to rebuild myself. Because what I realized is that, I often call it that I had the luxury of losing everything. And I say luxury and that you rarely get that clean slate of when you can really face yourself and see what you’ve been up to.

Jessica: Yeah. It’s like ego … oh, I know what you’re saying. Because there’s just a beauty when you’re being stripped because then you can get the clarity that you didn’t have before or if it just becomes apparent that you had been hustling and going after these external results or you’ve been working for the end game instead of just loving the journey. I mean, it is a gift, is brutal and hard. And, I mean, I wouldn’t wish for it. But then at the same time, I know what can come from it. So, you’re there. I mean, you are there, you have lost it all.

“There’s just a beauty when you’re being stripped because then you can get the clarity that you didn’t have before or if it just becomes apparent that you had been hustling and going after these external results or you’ve been working for the end game instead of just loving the journey.” Jessica Honegger

Suzy: Lost it all. And what I realized is what I even lost more was my dignity, my sense of time, my sense of space. Realizing that I would go to lunch with those guys who I knew thought I was cute, but I would work it, which pretty much every businesswoman has done. I just did it all. I did it all the way you’re supposed to. And so, I was able to in that clean slate, start going, I don’t care about business. I want to be happy, I want to find happiness. So, I went on a really very deep radical spiritual journey. And within a couple of years, I found happiness within myself that was beyond anything I’d ever experienced in my life. And it was mostly me being accountable and really facing myself fully. Realizing that I was more in control of my reality than I thought. I didn’t need as much external validation. What I was really looking for was internal validation.

“I was able to in that clean slate, start going, I don’t care about business. I want to be happy, I want to find happiness. So, I went on a really very deep radical spiritual journey. And within a couple of years, I found happiness within myself that was beyond anything I’d ever experienced in my life.” Suzy Batiz

And I just really completely flipped my life inside out. And now, actually, it’s funny, I wrote an abundance program 14 years ago called "Inside Out: How to create the life you desire going within." So, every single bit of this company has been built on my personal journey. That is my number one priority, business is a creative outlet. It’s secondary to anything I do. And I’m always looking at how can I learn and how can I grow because I know that if everything were to blow up tomorrow in this company, if everything blows up, I’m better. I’m better than I was yesterday, 100% know it, and I’ll be fine. So, you don’t have to work at it. I don’t have to work at trying to convince myself I’m OK. It’s like I just know I am.

And there’s a difference there. When you know you’re OK, and you know you’re good, and you know you’re going to be OK, is it different than trying to convince yourself that you’re going to be OK. So, I have been a vigilant warrior going after anything that keeps me from expressing and being authentically myself, and it’s keeping me in the path. If I’m afraid I go towards that. Like what is that? What is that inside of me? If I don’t want to have that conversation, if I’m scared my team won’t like the idea. If I’m off it one day I go, "What was that, Suzy?" And I really take it into therapy, and I’m introspective on a very deep level, because I want to go, “What was my trigger? What is that and where did that come from?” So, I dive deep with, I have a therapist who I’m with every single week. I have a coach, that’s a spiritual coach. I have zero business mentors, zero business guide, zero business advice. This is all 100% an inside job.

Jessica: Has there ever been a time, asking for a friend, where you Poo-Pourri has struggled with like maybe you’ve had a plateau, and you’re trying to get to the next level or you’ve had financial, like cash crunch. I mean, have you had … or has it been pretty kind of epic the whole time?

Suzy: No. We’ve had all kinds of trouble. I’ve had everything you can imagine happen here. I’ve heard…

Jessica: At Poo-Pourri?

Suzy: Oh yeah. I’ve had COOs opening up their own manufacturing plant putting half the product through their company. I hired once a guy who had spent seven years in prison because somebody forgot to do a background check. I have lost millions of dollars on a unit because everybody got it freaked out that the competitors were coming out with it. So yes, all of that happens, but those are little things. It’s not the whole thing. Does that make sense?

Jessica: Yeah.

Suzy: It’s like we can go through experiences, the reason I’m not focused on the experiences is because my goal is “Did we grow? Did we do something transformative? Did we try something that was innovative, and did it break patterns?” If it didn’t, it probably didn’t work, and that’s where we screwed up. Because as a matter of fact, this auto unit is because of competition. We lost millions of dollars last year and about three quarters of a year of our time and energy. It cost us so much because we were worried about competition. I bought in as well. And then I’m like, "Hold on. What are we doing, people?" So, my job is to constantly bring us back to what are we doing? And I’m even asking myself that question. So yeah, this company was built very sloppy. I mean, we’ve had the heart, I’m not joking, like people look at our finances.

Jessica: I can understand.

Suzy: Did we have cash crunches? Of course. How are you going to grow? I’m debt-free, and I’ve never had a loan. How do you get to this level without having a cash crunch? But cash crunch is not the problem. Cash crunches are a part of it. When you start believing that it is the problem, then you’re in trouble. The point is, you became an entrepreneur, you decided to be debt-free. So, you know what? This is where I get really passionate. You got to figure it out and quit whining.

 

Embracing Challenges in Entrepreneurship and Life

Jessica: So that was an intention when you started the company, I mean, you or as the company grew, I should say, from the beginning, did you make a commitment? Like we’re not going to take on money and we’re not going to take on debt?

Suzy: No, but I’d just make it up as I go. It’s like, I don’t know, are we going to make it through this year? I just had to ship a $20 million order. We just tapped into a line of credit, we had to get like another million dollars line of credit that we could, and we’ll pay it back quickly. I never know what’s going to happen. Again, I can’t plan for what might happen. What I can do is I can navigate the current moment, and I can be curious. I don’t know, will I need money next year? I might. But I am not going to work towards the fact that I need to develop relationships with someone in case I need money sometime. Do you see what I’m saying? Like that is the opposite focus I have, the focus I have is I’m building an epic brand. And you know what? There’s plenty of people that would give me money.

I don’t have to worry about trying to get money or trying to … so it’s just a difference in focus, I think. That the problems, the challenges are a part of the game and a part of the road. They’re not everything. All this thinking about problems and challenges … I often tell people, you are not an entrepreneur if you have a problem with the problems. Are you a track runner or are you a hurdler? And if you’re an entrepreneur, you better be a hurdler and you better like jumping over those hurdles because your life is going to be full of hurdle after hurdle after hurdle. That’s all it is.

“I can’t plan for what might happen. What I can do is I can navigate the current moment, and I can be curious. I don’t know, will I need money next year? … The problems, the challenges are a part of the game and a part of the road. … You are not an entrepreneur if you have a problem with the problems.” Suzy Batiz

Jessica: I feel like though there is a narrative out there that doesn’t really speak to that. I feel like in this time where we get to actually see people’s success on Instagram, on reading Forbes. I mean, I can get on and go, "Oh my God, look at all of these successful women." And I’m not going to lie. I look on that list, and I’m like, "Gosh, I’d love to be on that list." Not to be on the list, but honestly, because I know that being on that list would mean my company would have impacted a lot more people in the world than it is right now, which we’re impacting a lot of people. But again, I would love to just impact more, and I think that … or we think that like the hurdle is starting. But I think that that’s just what I would love for listeners to hear is that life is full of hurdles. And the more you can kind of accept that there’s not … I mean, even if you’re not an entrepreneur, there’s areas like whatever you’re doing in your life, whether you’re running the PTA, whether you’re deciding to actually be friends with your neighbor and committing to staying in that relationship, even when it gets hard, it means you’re going to have hurdles.

So, I think what you’ve done is accepted … there’s that level of acceptance and then not being victimized by the hurdles because then you wind it spending so much energy kind of going, "Oh my God, there’s a hurdle," instead of going, "Hurdle. Yeah, that’s part of the game. So how am I going to jump over it?"

Suzy: Yeah. I so appreciate your questioning here because that’s exactly it. I often tell people like, “Stop talking to me about … stop complaining about the weather.” I moved here in Texas, it’s hot in August. I don’t need to hear how hot it is, right, in order for us to converse. It’s like I … so yeah, you’re going to have problems. Life is full of problems. It’s the difference in that I know that I am only given what is going to make me stronger or in order for me to grow.

I 100% know that, believe that in my body there’s nothing going on, and this has no spiritual bypass. This is the truth. That it might be hard as hell when I’m in it. But I know that my commitment is to emerge better before the experience than after. That’s my goal. That’s my one goal. Can I come out of this better than I did before? So, we all sit around executives and go, “Damn, that auto unit hurt.” And then we go, what did we learn? Well, we learn not to push it. We learned that we all overload. That’s what we’re looking at. So, the next time that comes up, we can go, "Oh, hold on, this has a 10 to the auto unit. Do you remember that? Oh yeah, we do." So there are no mistakes, and I’m not just trying to fluff you up like when you, and maybe it’s my age of 55, I can look back and just go, "God, everything was so freaking perfect the way it worked out, you know."

“My commitment is to emerge better before the experience than after. That’s my goal. That’s my one goal. Can I come out of this better than I did before?” Suzy Batiz

But that really is the way I live my life, it is everything, an entrepreneur. It’s hard. But that’s why you do it is because that’s the fun. So, if you are resisting and if you have a problem with the problems then you’re missing all the fun. The fun is solving the damn problem and growing from it. And that is life, period. At the end of your life, I want to look back and go, "Well played, Suzy, well played, you gave it your all, you learned a lot and you had a great time doing it."

Jessica: When you’re hiring, how are you hiring people that can jive with your mentality here?

Suzy: It’s hard. I’ll tell you. It’s a challenge. I try to explain and people kind of go, "OK, yeah. Yeah, yeah, oh yeah, that’s what I want." And then they get in and they’re like, "She’s serious." I’m like, "Yeah." So, it’s just…

Jessica: I don’t know. I think I would probably be one of those with that reaction.

 

Bootstrapping: The Freedom to Figure It Out

Suzy: Yeah. You’d be like, "What? We’re going to feel into this? What are we going to do? What a waste of all this time and energy. What are we doing?"

And it’s like, it’ll be OK, I promise. So yeah, I have a lot of people that can come along with me do, and the people that can’t are just dissonant. And it doesn’t mean one person is bad. It doesn’t mean I’m right, they’re wrong. It means that our energies aren’t matching right now. And it’s OK.

Jessica: But I’m imagining, I’m just going back to these few … I’ve gotten really into the Enneagram personality test. I don’t know if you’re into that, but I’m just imagining … our accounting team is basically all Ones on the Enneagram … and I’m just imagining people having this kind of conversation. So, it’s not that you’re just trying to hire all … I’m trying just … hiring someone who is going to be in a role that isn’t creative. I mean, you’re super creative, so I’m just wondering how you test for that maybe in a more operational role, but someone that’s still going to be able to kind of let you have your creative space, but then you obviously want someone in that role who is going to steward the numbers in a way that’s going to lead to a good financial outcome.

Suzy: And they do. So, my CFO, he’s 31, he’s worked with me for six years, since he was 25. He basically grew up with me. He is completely opposite from me. On the Kolbe, I am a 10 in quick start, which is the highest risk. He’s a 1 or 2. So, he’s the lowest risk. And we get along so well. We’ll look through the financials and he’ll say like, "Hey, I think we’re going to have to tap into the line of credit." And I’ll be like, "OK, is there anything else we can do with it?"

You know, what other creative ways can we kinda look at this? So, I’ve trained him, and what he’ll do, he’ll say, "You know, I looked at all the inventory. I think we could move some inventory around. I think that we could talk to cells and see if we … here’s all these units I put together that I think we could do." I’m like, "OK. Great. I love your innovative thinking here." And worst comes to worst, we’ll tap in the line of credit. And you’ll say, "OK." So that’s what happened. We were over inventoried. We tried to move the inventory. The inventory didn’t move. He goes, "Hey, I’m going to have to tap into the line of credit." And I say, "OK, how’d you come to that decision?" He’s like, "Well, I think we can do it." I think we’ll need another million dollars. He said, "But I went out and I shopped three different places and I realized that we actually are getting a great deal. So, I feel like this is a solid move." And I’m like, "OK. Great. Let’s do it." So that’s the conversation we have. He knows that every problem in the company is a creative problem … That’s another thing. Being an entrepreneur, you are a creative. If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you better be creative. Because if you’re not, you’re in trouble.

Because it’s all creative problem-solving strategy. That’s all we’re doing every single day. And if you don’t like being creative in solving problems, that’s when you keep having to get more money. You’ll be like, God love them, little Dollar Shave Club that sold for $1.1 billion and the owner only owned 7% when it sold. Because you know why? Because you keep having to get more external padding. Because you’re not looking and totally utilizing your creative resources inside yourself. And, I mean, hey, that could be a winning that is probably winning in his mind. That’s not the way I want to finish the race or to win.

Jessica: Well, I think that’s why I appreciated this Forbes list so much because a lot of the women on the list have bootstrapped and…

Suzy: Five. Only five.

Jessica: OK. Never mind.

Suzy: Five out of 100.

Jessica: There’s this narrative now that to be a good entrepreneur, you basically just have to be good at raising money.

Suzy: That’s not true.

Jessica: I’m saying that it isn’t true. But that is this narrative, and we’re bootstrapped. And, I mean, it’s been tempting because I’m not around that many people at this scale that we’re at that haven’t decided to take on money. And I know it’s not … certain companies are, it makes perfect sense. But yeah, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is because you have bootstrapped and that is, it’s a lot harder road and it’s a longer road, but then it’s not necessarily harder because of what you just said. That like you can…

Suzy: It’s not harder.

Jessica: Once you get to this success and then you only own 7% and so, but it is about identifying how do you want to finish? And I think that’s a good question.

Suzy: But it depends. I want to challenge you there. I don’t believe it’s harder. I think it’s harder to owe people money and think I have to dance and perform to make them happy. That’s harder.

Jessica: That’s true too.

Suzy: It’s not … because that money comes with strings, whether you want to believe it or not.

Jessica: Yeah, absolutely.

Suzy: So that to me is hard. Because I know that I can’t … that’s one of the main reasons I haven’t wanted to take money, and it’s because I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted to do. Sink or swim.

“One of the main reasons I haven’t wanted to take money, and it’s because I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted to do. Sink or swim.” Suzy Batiz

Jessica: Which is a personal decision, where someone else is like, I actually, some people might just love the pressure of performing and having that kind of accountability, you know? So…

Suzy: I’ve never met anyone, I’ve never met anyone. I would love to meet someone that’s taken money that actually has enjoyed the process. I met one person, one person. Most people are miserable. They’re like, "Oh my God, we need more money. We’ve lost control of our company." That’s my experience from me talking to lots of people. I’m like, "I know that’s what happens," you know, and I get it. So, I’m a huge advocate of “Figure it out, dude.” If you can’t figure it out now, people come to me, they get so frustrated with me, Jessica. I’ll have a friend say, "I’ve got a business thing, I wanna take you to dinner and I go to dinner." Then they’ll say, "What do you think I should do?"

I’m like, "I’m not going to tell you, figure it out." And then they get mad. And I’m like, "Listen, here’s you. If I tell you what to do right now, what do you think is going to happen the next time you have a problem?" So, what I try to do is to tell the people around me, what do you think we should do? That starts developing their thinking muscle and their figure-outer muscle, right. My friend Marie Forleo, her new book, Everything is Figureoutable. What we’re lacking, what people are trying to get with money is because they have weak figure-outer muscles, and they’re trying to strengthen it with money, which never works.

 

Money, Solutions, and Happiness

Jessica: Yeah. And it’s true and a lot of times, I mean, what I love about our product line is that it’s all handmade. And there are so many constraints. I mean, we are working in Ethiopia with women who have come out of brothels and prostitution and who are working with materials that are made from upcycled war weapons. We’re working with people that live in rural Ecuador who are working with seeds. And so, designing these in a way that are relevant to sort of the Western marketplace, like it’s the constraints that actually can drive creativity. And I think oftentimes we’re trying to get rid of these constraints. When really, actually I think our most creative work comes sort of in those crunch times, and I think oftentimes we think money will alleviate this. You know, money will alleviate it.

“Our product line is that it’s all handmade. And there are so many constraints. … And I think oftentimes we’re trying to get rid of these constraints. When really, actually I think our most creative work comes sort of in those crunch times.” Jessica Honegger

Suzy: Money never solves any problem. I actually went to Burning Man two years ago with a backpack. That was it. I asked a friend, I said, "What are you doing in two weeks?" They’re like, "I don’t know." I was like, "I’ve got Burning Man tickets. You want to go?" She goes, "Sure." And I go, "We’re going to go with backpacks only." And she says, "What do you mean?" And I’m like, "We don’t have a place to stay. We don’t have anything. We’re going to go." And we went. I said, "Here’s the deal." I said, "I can buy my way out of anything now, but I want to remember that the universe supports me. So, let’s go into a situation where money isn’t even … can’t be used." And it was amazing. Of course, I was totally supported. It was just magical. But money doesn’t solve anything. It can make your life, you can have more stuff, but it does not make you happy. It can never make you happy. If you’re not happy to begin with, you’re never going to be happy with more money. You’re just going to blow through it, and you’re not going to be able to feel it, and it can never solve a problem for you.

“Money doesn’t solve anything. … If you’re not happy to begin with, you’re never going to be happy with more money. You’re just going to blow through it, and you’re not going to be able to feel it, and it can never solve a problem for you.” Suzy Batiz

Jessica: This reminds me, I’m reading a book right now. It’s an advanced copy. It’s called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. And it’s by a guy named John Mark Homer. He’s a pastor out of Oregon and Portland. And he quoted this study that there have been happiness studies, and they do show that it’s just around $75,000 that obviously for those living in poverty and you’ve been there. You know that money can, if you’re in abject poverty, then money does solve something for you. It can create health care for your family, and you can put your kids in school, etc. But there is a point where money does not solve anything, truly. And most of us living in … I mean, basically it was, if you’re living in a more urban town, it was $75,000. But of course, that’s going to vary depending on where you live. I’m trying to look for the quote right now.

Suzy: Yeah. That you’re not any happier after that threshold.

Jessica: I just thought, you’re not any happier. Like there is a threshold where money can drive happiness, and yet everyone’s still trying to make more money and to get more money even though that yeah, money doesn’t actually solve the issue.

Suzy: Oh, wow. So, my mentor, Gay Hendricks, the reason he’s my mentor is he’s a very successful businessperson and author. But my conversations with him every week, I just talked with him last night, and I’m like, "Hey Gay, how are you doing?” “I won $50 in golf today." "You did?" "Yeah." "OK. So, what happened?" "Well, you see what happened was I won $10 and then we got this extra shot. I went for an extra thing and I got $40 extra." So, if you can’t celebrate that, those little things, you’re never going to be able to celebrate the big thing. What money can do now is I’m going to La Jolla, and I’m going to stay in a house that’s $15,000 for a week, no different than me taking my kids camping. It’s still a vacation. I’m still happy inside. It’s like, what is the difference?

Jessica: Yeah. And if you’re constantly living for this more then you believe that there is a point of arrival and when you can let go, that there was no point of arrival and start appreciating the journey and the $50-win at golf. I mean, that’s when you begin to actually enjoy your life instead of just being on this stress, hustle, hamster wheel.

Suzy: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and I get it. I mean, many years on the hamster wheel, I get on and off of it. You know? I just happened to be off of it right now on mostly my journey…

Jessica: You’re off of it right now. Let me tell you.

Suzy: Most of my journey has been off, but that doesn’t say I don’t jump on it. I’ll jump on it for a little bit, and I’ll be like, "What am I doing?" I know this isn’t everything, which is why I keep my grounding practices, my meditation. I’m a hugely spiritual person. I keep that to keep myself in check for what really is of value to me. I look constantly at the end of my life when I look back, is my crowning glory going to be the Forbes richest woman? Hell no. Right? It’s going to be like, how did I grow as a person? How did I inspire others? What did I do? What did I learn? Was I generous? Was I kind? I’m still working on that because I’m so fast, right? Yeah. I mean, those are the things that I really look at. Do I have a deep love with my children? I do. And do I have a great relationship with my employees, with the people that are around me, my executives? I do. I have great relationships with them. That to me is the win. So, then when I get the Forbes thing, I’m literally laying, I laid on the floor and cried for four hours. And when I talk about a finish line, it’s more that I had such deep gratitude for the journey. Right? That’s it. And the gratitude literally drops me to my knees.

Jessica: What I loved about this conversation with Suzy is that it challenged me and inspired me to think more deeply about my own motivations and how even I run my business. We’re definitely on different ends of the spectrum in so many ways, but in other ways, I felt like kindred spirits. I thought it was so interesting to hear Suzy’s take on how she defines success for herself and for her business. She asks herself three questions and has her team do the same thing. It seems counterintuitive to run a 300-million-dollar without thinking about that bottom line, but she obviously has other people thinking about it for her, so she can really think in a creative, innovative, and invigorating way.

I also loved talking with her about how the way we perceive challenges can have a major effect on our success. Girl, I felt like she was just … I mean, I loved it when she was like “If you’re complaining about your problems when you’re an entrepreneur, you need to find another job.” That spoke to me. If we define challenges as setbacks and things to simply get through, we miss an opportunity for growth and development. I guess we miss out on the lessons that challenges could bring.

I think whether an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom, or working on a team, there were so many good takeaways today, and I would love to hear them. So, hope on over to where you might leave reviews for your podcasts, and let me know what you thought about todays episode on Going Scared. I would love for you to leave a review so more people can find this conversation, or you can always DM me over at Instagram—Jessica Honegger, it is two Gs and one N—and give me some feedback. Tell me more what you want to know from these conversations, and even offer guest suggestions. I would absolutely love to hear from you. That’s the only thing about podcasts is they’re very one-way. It bothers me. I’m like, I wanna be there with you right now, whether you’re on a run, whether you’re folding laundry, whether you’re in the car hashing it out with your kids because today’s episode was spicy. Whatever it is, I want to hear from you and get to know my listeners better. So, thanks so much for tuning in.

Today’s music is by my good friend Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.