UNcomplicating Business for Teachers, Helpers, and Givers

Reflections of a Business Weirdo

April 23, 2024 Sara Torpey Season 2 Episode 54
Reflections of a Business Weirdo
UNcomplicating Business for Teachers, Helpers, and Givers
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UNcomplicating Business for Teachers, Helpers, and Givers
Reflections of a Business Weirdo
Apr 23, 2024 Season 2 Episode 54
Sara Torpey

 I'm a business weirdo. I want to do things 'right' and also I'm completely unwilling to do things that don't feel like me... which means a lot of the 'rigth' ways of the traditional business world don't match up. Maybe you can relate to this feeling :) On this episode, I'm going to share what being a business weirdo has meant for me, the lows and the highs that come with it, and how I've (mostly) worked to come to a place where I embrace the weird and let it HELP me, rather than hold me back. Come for the story but also for the practical ideas on succeeding as a weirdo :)

Join the free FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uncomplicatingbusiness/
Book a free 1:1 conversation about coaching: https://www.torpeycoaching.com/book-online
Check out Selling for Weirdos here: https://torpeycoaching.thinkific.com/courses/sellingforweirdos
And download the newest freebie, Journaling for Money and Growth, here: https://sendfox.com/lp/3ov9l4

Show Notes Transcript

 I'm a business weirdo. I want to do things 'right' and also I'm completely unwilling to do things that don't feel like me... which means a lot of the 'rigth' ways of the traditional business world don't match up. Maybe you can relate to this feeling :) On this episode, I'm going to share what being a business weirdo has meant for me, the lows and the highs that come with it, and how I've (mostly) worked to come to a place where I embrace the weird and let it HELP me, rather than hold me back. Come for the story but also for the practical ideas on succeeding as a weirdo :)

Join the free FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uncomplicatingbusiness/
Book a free 1:1 conversation about coaching: https://www.torpeycoaching.com/book-online
Check out Selling for Weirdos here: https://torpeycoaching.thinkific.com/courses/sellingforweirdos
And download the newest freebie, Journaling for Money and Growth, here: https://sendfox.com/lp/3ov9l4

Welcome, welcome to another episode episode excuse me of on complicating business. Today, I'm going to reflect on being a bit of a weirdo in business. This one is like yet another strangely personal overshare, I guess, or at least it feels like that to me, which is always a good sign or something. 

But, you know, what matters to me is a lot of the people I talk to, in my day to day that become clients that don't become clients that are just connections or people I adore out in the business world, we've been talking a lot about not fitting in and wanting to do things, right. And what that means. And you know, I have, I have a, I have a point of view here. And so I thought it might be useful to share only because not only because, partly because I think it is really useful to hear someone else say these things. Like I, for example, am someone who really wants to do things, right, I want the gold star, I want to get the A. And also I am completely unwilling to do things that don't feel like me, or that I don't resonate with I am I am wanting to do it right, but cannot bring myself to sort of do things that feel out of integrity with what I believe, which is great, but also not the easiest path. 

Maybe you can relate to this, because sometimes you do things and you're like, Oh, God, I'm never going to do that like that again. But what are the other choices, right? So, you know, what I think is useful to share is what it means to me to sort of be a weirdo out in the business world. The other way I think about this often is being the line leader. It's a very teacher way to think about it. But if you think about being the line leader, and the kid who is at the front of the line, they don't have any idea what's going on behind them, they just know where they're trying to get. It's like, okay, take this line and walk it to the park, right.

 But they aren't the mother hen keeping everyone in line they are they are sort of forward forwarding forwarding through the path, working around the puddles doing the things and letting the people behind them sort of follow in a more gentle way. For me, you know, being a line leader is tricky and fun and scary. And all the things. What I've come to in the business world is that I've mostly come to embrace my weird. And I'm in a place where a lot of times I even let it help me rather than hold me back. So I want you to know that, you know, this is a thing, that you're not the only one feeling I want you to know that.

 You know, it's it's always here, but it doesn't have to be the thing that constantly feels like you're being pulled in nine directions, and that there is a way through this. So it's taken me time to both understand and sort of I what I wrote down come to terms, but I don't really mean it that way. Because it sounds like I'm like sounds like if I say come to terms that I've come to some place that's like a compromise. But it's not. It's a good place. And I'm good with it. What I discovered early on in my business, is that I really want to do it right. I want to succeed, I want to go go go. And there are a lot of ways to do that. But in any given moment, there's the way that someone else is doing it. That seems to be working. That's definitely got to be the way. So for me what, what I found early on is that there's lots of right ways.

 But not all of them feel like me. It just took me a really long time to see that. So I would see somebody else doing something and be like, Hmm, how does she do that? And I would sort of study and engineer and be like, Alright, I'm gonna do it like that. And then I would study an engineer. And it would be like, how come this works for her? Like, what's wrong with me? In what I didn't realize it was not wrong with me that it was like, you know, what, how come those pants fit that person better? It's because their legs are shorter. Right? Or her torso is longer or her hips are shaped differently. It's a it's not a one size fits all approach. And when you see someone else doing something, you're like, Man, I want that to work for me. 

You don't know how long her legs are, or what size your feet are or what shape they are. And so when you go to try it on, you're like, oh, this doesn't fit me at all you the assumption I always made right out the gate was that it was a problem with me. Right that I was wrong, that I was shaped wrong and sort of just shaped right. And so Well, you know, the best example of this I can think of is I was in a coaching mastermind a couple years ago. And there was this woman in that group, who I was just in awe of. And she was so smart. And everything looked and felt so effortless. When she did it. She just spoke her mind, which I learned a lot of from her. 

She really showed up with all this trust, and she was like, pretty new in her business. And I was like, Holy God. And so I started, I don't even think I realized it. But I started kind of onboarding, the way she was doing things into the way I was doing things. And I got really frustrated really fast. But what I didn't realize, at the time, and took me eventually, like it took me knowing her more to see was that part of what made everything look effortless for her was the network she had built in the 20 years that came before her business. Like she had been in the corporate world, building this crazy network for a million years, she was great at people, she's still great people. She's somebody I'm still connected with. And that network was where she was going to grow. And that was where she would turn around and be like, alright, network, here's what I'm doing come on board. And she was very open in front of upfront about it. But they already knew her.

 They already knew what she was capable of. They already trusted her, they already a lot of things. And I was like, How come when I show up in the same vibe that like people don't throw money at me the way they're throwing money at her. And I was like, What the hell. And that I realized there was more to the story, right? It's the whole quote, where you don't judge your beginning by somebody else's middle pages of the book. And I was looking at the middle for her. I didn't realize it because that's not the way she talked about it, either. She talked about it as her new business. And it was like, oh, but she wasn't new. And that was the trick. I'm not new either. 

But I'm different. Our backgrounds are different, our experiences, our networks, our people are different. And so I was trying to do it her way. And I've tried to do it lots of different ways. But what I come back to every, every single time was that, you know, there is a way that feels like me, and there is a way that feels bad. And what I know, as a business owner is if there's a way to do something that feels bad, I am not going to do it. Like I can't make myself miserable in that way. I don't know that you can either. People aren't really built for this. We're not great at doing things over and over and over again that we hate. Can we do it? Sure. Can we build something we absolutely we love while we're doing it away? We hate? I don't know, I'm not convinced. I don't see anybody that I want to emulate doing that in that way. So it's like, Okay, I can't grow by doing it in a way I hate I have to accept that. And that's weird. Right? You know, this is the part where it's kind of weird, though. 

Because I think so much of what we're taught in, you know, society and human and all the things is that, you know, no pain, no gain, right? We have to be miserable for it to work. And I don't, I don't know. I don't think you can build joy out of misery. Right? You can't misery your way too happy. Misery your way to something you love. Like, that's why you left the thing that you didn't love in the first place? Because you were like, oh, there's no end to the misery here. Let me go do something else.

So for me, when I catch away that's miserable, like I early in my business join this program where they teach sales to coaches. And one of the sort of standard things is that when people say no to you, it's just sort of an opening. It's an opening, sort of shot across the bow. When somebody says, No, you're going to coach, there are no into a yes. And I tried. I really did. But i My heart is not in that because I have a different relationship with people than that. There's this idea in in coaching that way that says, people can't be trusted to act in their own best interests. And I don't agree with that. And it took me a while to understand what my reflex was, which was why when people were like, no, no, no, I'm just to know, that I like was like, alright, and I had a coach I was working with she was like, Well, why did you let that go? And I wanted to be like, because they said no, and that's okay, which was crazy because at the same time, in that same program, they were telling you that now Everybody's gonna say yes. But everybody should say yes to you. So it was this crazy conflict, and it was like, What the heck. 

So, you know, I had to step out of there and be weird about it and be like, alright, what is my own weirdo version of this? So for me, being weird in the business world has a bunch of different layers. And I feel like I'm gonna go a little bit backwards here. But, you know, the starting layer right out of the gate that I go back to time and time again, is I don't have a business degree. Yeah, I business coach. And that's weird. Like people will be like, Where'd you get your MBA from? Like, I got my master's in education at Seton Hall. And then I did a math degree does that count, but I've never taken a marketing class. I don't have a business degree. But I have a ton of experience in my business and other people's businesses.

 But in corporate, I've run classrooms, and damn, if that's not a business degree, right, like, take some of those MBAs and throw them into a classroom and be like, Alright, good luck. Their MBA is not going to do them a lick of good there, right. The other thing that's weird to me that I've had to sort of think through is that in the business world, there's no piece of paper in teaching there is you don't get to walk in the door without the certification. And I had to do a lot of thinking about what certifications I felt like I needed or wanted or didn't, I have let go of the reflex to get another certification every time I feel like I'm not quite enough. And I know lots of people that are like, well, if I just get that next piece of paper, listen, I get it. I'm not judging it. I understand it, I have it. But I've worked to let it go.

 Because you know, the weirder and more thing me thing to do is to be like, You know what, I'm great as I am now. And if people don't want to work with me, me having a piece of paper is not going to make a difference. They're either going to like me and want this kind of weird, or they're not. And me having another certification isn't going to be like, Oh, no, no, now I like her. It's like saying to people, you know, they would like me if my eyes were blue. That's the judge. They don't like if they don't like me, they don't like me, well, no matter what color my eyes are, they just don't. So they're not going to like that certification. If I get it then either. It's just one more reason that I think will help them that probably won't. 

So, you know, I'm a little weird in that view of certification that I'm not, I'm not here for the next piece of paper. I'm here for actual helping people. I also have had people over the years tell me that I am not a true entrepreneur, which is always my favorite. This is when I kind of laughed. Because my mindset is not necessarily scaling Fast and Furious. There is this version of entrepreneurship, which is not what my clients are looking for. It is not what my people are looking for. It is not what you know, most of the people in my Facebook group or in the world I live in, actually want. They don't need to be in a million dollars next week. This is not like I'm going from zero to six figures overnight. It's not Fussell, it's not fast and furious. 

And I've had people in the entrepreneur space be like, Well, what's wrong with you? If your goal is not a million dollars, if it's not seven figures, it's not like some friggin like 10x your business in the next three weeks kind of bullshit. You know, they think it's wrong to have goals that are a little more qualitative than that. And for me, it's not that I don't want to 10x things, but I want to 10x the service. And if the income comes because of that, then great. I suspect that it will, but what I'd like ultimately to do is reach more people and help more people, not not scale in a way that's not going to feel like me or help anybody, right. Like I could just like tell you every salesy thing to get you in the program and then not help you like I could do that. Like we can all lie.

 But what why would I be able to live with it? Absolutely not. But this idea that like true entrepreneurship is, like get in here and scale the shit out of it and then sell it to somebody is bananas to me. Are there cases where that makes sense? Sure. Is that the way my brain works? And my heart works? No. So I have to be a little bit weird out here and be like, that's not how I'm going to do it. The other thing and I think it's back to the like, if they say no coach there No. is I am unwilling to put the needs of me and my business before other people's well being. And that's weird, right? Like I am never going to sell you something if I don't think it's going to help you. Like literally never like I'm not going to do it if you come to me and even sometimes people that say yes, I'm like, You know what, no, you're not ready. I have told people that I have given back money. Because people aren't ready. 

It's like, Listen, you know what, when you're ready, come back. But you're not right now, you know, this isn't a good use of your time or energy or money. And I don't want to be the person that takes from you. In that place. I am unwilling to put other people to to be the thing that costs them that leaves a bad taste in their mouth that doesn't serve them in the moment when this isn't what they need. I'm just not willing to do it. I'm not willing to put my business head of that. In Yeah, I want to be successful. And yes, I'm willing to fight for it. But no, I'm not willing to compromise other people for. And that, again, is kind of weird. I also, one of the things I get people to comment on all the time, is that I just sort of wear what I wear. And I just sort of show up the way I show up. And I have clients all the time and colleagues that are like, I wish I was just as open as you like, attracts people.

 Like it makes me feel better that you just do what you do. And it makes me laugh because like I have had to fight through this definition of professional like of like, business owner professional. Always put together always wearing the right earrings, always wearing the pencil skirt kind of thing. And it is weird. What's been weird about it for me is that like I have this corporate version of success in my head, that it looks a certain way, it shows up a certain way it's wearing a certain thing. And I don't want to do any of that.

It couldn't be that I was a swimmer. Now, I don't know, I know plenty of swimmers that can handle it. But I swam all through high school in college and having wet hair twice a day meant that like I didn't really ever feel like doing anything more than the minimum. Because the minute I spent an hour on it, it was gonna get undone. And it's like, you know what, like, why? Okay, got brushed, I blew it dry. Go me, then the next time it gets wet. And yeah, that's held over for like 20 years. Could it? Could it be better now? Maybe, but like, okay, so you don't like it? It's weird that I don't have to add that layer of pretense. But like, I don't I don't have to do that level of work for me to be successful, then? I don't know. Maybe it's just laziness. I don't think so though. Maybe it's just the efficiency? Or I don't know, black of just wanting to give a crap. I you know, but you got to. There's something weird about that, right? 

It's weird enough that people come into the regular. But, you know, I've had to come to this idea that what I wear and what I look like, doesn't have any impact on what I'm capable of. Right? Like, I don't have to wear shoes, fancy shoes, any issues at all, honestly, to have a successful business. And honestly, I'd prefer never to wear shoes. I am that kind of weird. So for you, you know, how is what you see as professional what you think it looks like what you think you have to wear what you think you have to show up as on social media, what the picture should look like, how fancy it should be or not. How do you think that defines what you're doing and not doing right now and how you're spending your time and energy? Like if you love it, and you love getting dressed and you love feeling that part like great? I don't. And I'm okay with that. Everybody's got it different, right. I think the other thing that I've had to find my way to is, scripts, or my way away from right.

 So early on in business, you're always looking for a script, right? You're always looking for like, how do I say this right in the moment so that people understand it. Like I get tons of people that come to me and they're like, right, but I'm just trying to clarify the language. Listen, there's no perfect language. There just isn't. There's no one way to say it. There is no script for a sales call that's going to work every time. And the people selling that to you are lying. Like I just feel really strongly about that. It's like teaching students you know, when I was in a classroom, there were a period of years, where it was like the script years where it was like, take this book and read it word for word, and that's how you're gonna teach. And we all as teachers were like, Um, no. Because as much as you were like, I'm following the script. Yes. 

While you're watching and while you're not watching, I am closing the book and doing what I know is right for my kids. Right? You can't hear it. You can't script a human. You can't script a human. So there is no script for that. And is there like a vague outline? For sure. There are even bullet points, right? I conduct most sales calls in the same vague process. But are they all the same? Do I use the same words? Do I follow this step by step by step thing? No. Because what I have learned the weirdest thing you can actually do in a sales call is Be present. It's wild, right? You can actually be present and put your script aside and be like, I'm going to listen to you human. And then the second, weirdest thing that you can choose to do in a sales call, is to trust that you'll know what to say next. Do I get it right every time? Absolutely not. But did I get it right? Every time when I had a script? Now? No. So like, what's the difference? 

I'm just less stressed out about it now. Cool. I'm not going to ever sign every person that comes at me not meant you you're not meant to, you know, everybody shouldn't be saying yes. Because that's just not the way business works. Like. It's just not, it's not real. So for me, learning to let go of script, actually letting go of script and have like, detailed detailed lesson plans was made me such a better teacher. When I was doing sales presentations, and my Britannica days, letting go of the scripts and just showing up and doing the webinars and reading the people in the room and answering their questions and knowing what I was going to say vaguely, but also getting, you know, working through the presentation and knowing what I was going to teach, but also like being open to the people in the room were present for them made everything better. 

This is also true in sales, I find, at least for me, it has to be like I had to let go of that there was this process that I had to follow exactly. I had to just decide to be present and let that be what it is I can be present and trust myself in them. And we will come to where we're meant to be. I know that that's a big risk, right? Fun, scripted, big risk. But you know, it's kind of like I do this podcast, like I have an outline on my paper, I look at it. And sometimes I think about what I want, I did a workshop last week, I had an outline, I had slides and halfway through I find myself sorting through my tabs to show them something sort of off topic. 

But that turned out to be really helpful. Like I'm open to in the moment, that's been the most useful thing I can do. So for you, I think it is useful to sit down and think about like, what's weird about what I do? What do I embrace, in that? What do I want to embrace in that? And how would it feel. And then there are a handful of things that have been really helpful for me to remember that sort of grounded me there, these grounded thoughts, and I come back to them. Time and time again, I'm just going to read them to you. Because you're going to take ones that you like and keep them you're going to modify them. If you want, you're going to ignore them completely. If none of them work for you, that's totally fine. But here are the things when I sat down it was like, Okay, what are the things that really helped me to embrace my own kind of weird vibe, self presence, style, integrity process, whatever, what has helped me, here they are. 

The point of business is to stand out and help not for everyone to do at the same. I'm going to add a little bit to that one in that you know, the pressure to be right and do it like everybody else. Everywhere in life is astounding. The pressure to do it in business, like everybody sells the same way. Also astounding. But at the same time, the whole point is to stand out and do it in a way that makes you unique and special. That matters. The next one is I help more people when I trust myself, and I trust myself. I have fans that I don't know about. One of my favorites is that my weird isn't actually all that weird. This is what my coach tells me from time to time. 

She's like, you know, you're weird isn't really that weird? And it's like, okay, like I'm the continuum of weird, pretty middle ground, right? Like I am pretty plain old ice cream kind of weird. Like there's nothing There's not even like brownie bits in here. There's just, you know, chocolate chips made me when I choose different when I choose my process and service first. I am a model for the other people who want to run a business way this way and also for my kids. When I choose myself in my process in my service first and my weird I I get to be a model that for me every time is the one quirky is memorable is one of my favorites. I can follow rules, mine. And I know what my rules are. Right? Processes only work if we are willing and able to use them. 

So if you have a process you're not willing and able to use, it's not a process. It's just a piece of paper. No one wins. If I hide, no one gets helped when I act in a way that I am not. Right, like when I show up is not me, I serve less. Am I willing to do that? No. Right? I want to help more. I want to grow through service. I want to reach more people. I want to expand in that way. And when I don't show up at full volume me, what I do is I reach last I do less. That sucks. So I'm not going to do that. And you don't have to either. 

There are a couple of things I would add here. The first is you know if you're not in my Facebook group, this is kind of you that's my weirdest place. It is the same name as this podcast, please come play with us. Yes, you belong, I promise. The other thing is that a lot of this weird I have distilled down into a course that I call selling for weirdos, because if you're weird is like my weird, then I can help you grow. And I would love to see you in it. Selling for weirdos is really about finding a sales process that fits you my weirdo friend, just like I found one that fit me. 

There are some core ingredients that I'll teach you how to use and you get to decide how much or how little or what flavor and then off you'll be sort of in a process that feels good to you and works for you and we work together in the course to do that because I am involved because the weirdo that is me cannot bear the thought of you going in alone. So I don't I don't do that. Again, weird courses don't usually have one on one support but this one does. So if you are looking for information on selling for weirdos, let me know. If you want to connect people first human first connection first kind of girl please reach out let's say let's have a connection. 

If you want to join the group, please come if you want anything else. Come ask it's your happy being a weirdo. Embrace all that. I'll be here doing it too.