Brave Enough To Try

Conversation with Taylor | CEO + Brand Strategist | We talk pivoting careers, taking chances, investing in yourself, and learning how to build a business around your dream life.

June 08, 2023 Cindy Moore Episode 8
Brave Enough To Try
Conversation with Taylor | CEO + Brand Strategist | We talk pivoting careers, taking chances, investing in yourself, and learning how to build a business around your dream life.
Show Notes Transcript

Join Taylor and I as we talk about pivoting careers, taking chances, investing in yourself, and learning how to build a business around your dream life.

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Episode Snippet:

There's definitely hope for those people who are going to school every day or sitting in a cubicle and they're kind of wondering, like, is this it or is there more for me out there? And I think you're a perfect example of, yes, there is more for you out there if you are willing to dive in and look for it and put yourself out there. 


Intro w/music: Hey, it's Cindy and you're listening to the Brave Enough to Try podcast, a show created to provide you with helpful life and small business tips, as well as encouragement and inspiring conversations with friends that I've made along the way so that you can be inspired to be brave enough to chase after your wildest dreams. 


Cindy: Hey, it's Cindy, your host of the Brave Enough to Try podcast, and we have an amazing guest today. Please help me welcome Taylor. Taylor is an online business mentor and sales strategist, Taylor holds a BA and MA in cultural anthropology, and she left her teaching career in 2020 to build multiple six-figure brands in services, digital offers, and physical products, and has consulted with more than 3,000 women-owned small businesses. She has been featured in The Ways to Wealth, Money Under 30, and The CEO Teacher. As an online business mentor, she helps female entrepreneurs identify the next steps needed to grow their brands and build their life first businesses. Taylor, I'm so glad to welcome you to the show. 


Taylor: Thank you so much, Cindy, for having me on.


Cindy: I'm so excited to be here. So we always start, with the same question I ask every guest,

Which is, how did you end up on this journey? What does your story look like? How did you get here, where you are right now?


Taylor:  I love this question. So I'll just dive right in. So I started my professional career as a teacher. So I have a background in human behavioral studies, like you said, in anthropology. And I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I literally never considered anything else. I also was a first-generation college student, and I started at community college. So when I was in graduate school, I was like, the thing I want to do is teach in community college level. So straight out of graduate school, that's exactly what I did. I moved to Arizona. I got a job teaching dual enrollment for high school and community college. And I was like, yes, that's my dream job. This is exactly what I want to do. I was so excited. I was like truly in love with my teaching career. Unfortunately, it did not take very long before I realized how underpaid and undervalued I was as a teacher, and the politics of working in public education started killing my soul. It was horrible. It was horrible. I just was so stressed. Every Sunday night, I would get sick knowing I had to go. I literally would get like sick to my stomach, not be able to eat on Sunday nights, knowing I was going to work on Monday. And I'm sure there are probably some teachers who can resonate with that. Not everyone. Some people have great administrations, but it was definitely the case for me. So then in about 2018, I switched to teaching online, and I switched to working for education-based corporations. I was like, oh, that'll be better than public education. And I can get one of those cool online teaching jobs where I work from home. Right? So I worked for Rosetta Stone and Pearson Education. And I worked two jobs at the same time. And they were both great. Like, I actually really enjoyed the online education aspect. But I still found myself, like, I realized I still felt really tied to my job. So I felt like, oh my gosh, they are offering me extra hours grading and all of these extra opportunities, essentially for freelance support with students and things like that. And so I kept taking them because I was making more money. But then I was like, well, I can't travel. I can't do any of the things that I thought I wanted to do. And so I kind of got stuck. I really got stuck in this mindset of it's one way or the other. You could have the freedom to teach and be totally broke. I mean the freedom to travel and do all of those things and be totally broke. Or you can be an adult with a career. And there's no other option. And I got stuck in that idea for a very long time, I will say that. And then at the beginning of 2019, my mom approached me to be a partner in a business, a service-based business she had been really interested in for a very long time, and I'd always told her no. But I finally said yes. And so we launched that business a couple of months before the pandemic hit. We started developing in early to mid-2019, and we were just beginning to be successful when the pandemic hit. But we weren't paying ourselves much from the business yet. It was very early on. And the pandemic hit, and within my corporate jobs as a teacher, people started getting laid off in March 2020. And so I began to get worried I was gonna get laid off. So what do I do? I'm like, I guess I need another side hustle. And our business lost 60 grand in one day of services at the same time that I thought I was going to get laid off. So I was really worried. And so I grabbed my sister and I was like, we need to start another business. And so, right. I don't know that other people would have made that choice. They probably would have like applied for jobs. Not me. I was like, let's just start another business. Let's just try something different. Let's just, I mean, we're still doing the other thing, but I was like, let's just add another one. And some of your listeners are probably like, yes, that's the thing I do. And other people are probably like, why are you doing that? That sounds crazy. But both businesses actually ended up being kind of enormously successful at the exact same time. Turns out, yeah, so even though March 2020 was terrifying, April 2020 was wildly successful for us because everyone was online shopping. Everyone was buying, changing up their services, doing new things. So it ended up being right place, right time for us. I continued to teach my two teaching jobs while running two businesses for four months because I was terrified of change. I was terrified that my businesses were a one-hit wonder and that it wasn't going to last because in my mind I was like, I only have teacher skills. I continued to do this until I was at the point of burning out. So finally I was like working on my business and then I would run into the other room, teach my online classes, and then on my 15-minute breaks in between classes, I'd run back into my other room and work my businesses. So it was kind of a crazy situation, and I knew things had to change. So in June 2020, I left my teaching career behind, and I've been fully self-employed ever since. And it's just grown from there. And I've really been able to apply those skills that I had previously into my businesses. And since then, and I realized how not only was making money actually a relatively easy skill for me because of my background in like human behavior studies, but I also found like I'm so passionate about helping other women find this kind of freedom through their companies too, through their solo small business owned companies. And so that's what I do now. I'm still a partner in those businesses. They're still very successful, but what I love doing most is helping other business owners with their brand growth. 


Cindy: That's incredible. Taylor, first of all, I got goosebumps while you were telling me. I get emotional when I talk to other educators who have left the field because I too was an educator and I left the field. It's such a different climate today than it has been in many years. And I think a lot of educators are leaving the field because of it. And I just don't think people really understand unless you've been in the classroom or you've experienced it firsthand. And then hearing you say, you know, I needed something different. So you moved on to something else, right? And then in the process, you say yes to your mom, you guys start the service-based business. And what I'm hearing is a woman who is a risk taker, she knows that she's meant for more, she's going for it, she's taking chances, because you and your sister started the other business while you had the other business, and you're right, there's some people that would have been like, I need stability, and you guys are taking chances, and you are taking the necessary steps to ensure that you're gonna have something to fall back on. And so as I'm hearing you say your story, and of course, obviously, I've watched you guys over the last few years, and it is so incredible what you guys have done. I'm just beyond impressed that it gives me hope. And I think it's going to give our listeners hope that if you guys could do it and be so successful at it, that there's definitely hope for those people who are going to school every day or sitting in a cubicle, and they're kind of wondering, like, is this it? Or is there more for me out there? And I think you are a perfect example of yes, there is more for you out there if you are willing to dive in and look for it and put yourself out there. Which leads me to my next question. I love that you work with small business owners. I think finding your passion in that area is so special because I think small business owners, like we need encouragement. I mean, I'm gonna be the first one to tell you, like I need encouragement too, from I think community is so important and I need someone to rally behind me and say, yes, you can do this and it's possible and here are the steps for you to take. So as a strategist, what does it look like working alongside a brand strategist? So if someone came to you and said, here is my dream, this is what I want to do, what can small business entrepreneurs expect when they say, okay, I'm going to invest in myself and I'm going to take a chance? What does that journey look like alongside you? 


Taylor: Yeah, this is a question I get asked a lot. And it's because I feel like no one really knows what a brand strategist does for small businesses. So working with a strategist is, honestly, everything you won't get in an online course, or some kind of templates, or the YouTube tutorials you watch, or the free PDF downloads, where all of us have done those things. We've bought the courses, we spent hours on those videos, and then we still walk away feeling like we're missing the thing. And the reason that we're missing it is because you're lacking the experience of someone who's been where you are and from the outside can look in and be like, this is exactly the thing that your next step, or this is exactly how I would position this if I were you, how I would market this. And it really is that one-to-one, it's mentorship. That's basically what I do. And so if someone says, I have this goal, what we do is we look at, you know, is the goal realistic and is your goal actually aligned with, like, what you want your life to be? Because I think that's also so important is to make sure that you don't invest your time and money into like growing a brand or selling a product that doesn't even support that end goal. So for example, let's say someone wants to travel, but they're hand making physical products they have to ship. That's not an alignment. So I always wanna start with that foundation of like what do you envision your dream life? And then let's build a business that supports that instead of a life that just supports your business.


Cindy: Oh, that is so good. That is so good. You know, when I was reading your bio, I kept thinking about that. I kept going to Life First Business because I think a lot of mentors and a lot of coaches, they don't emphasize that. You know, it's very much like, okay, let's get the ball rolling. Let's do what you want to do. And that's it. But a lot of them don't talk about alignment and the way that you structured it. I mean, that was beautifully, you're right. If you want to travel, you can't really travel if you're going to be in the studio working multiple hours a day making stuff, because your business is so it relies on the actual product, right? So I can I can see the the alignment that you're talking about and why it's so important. And also, too, I don't think as human beings that we're just meant to just work, work, work, work, work, and then have life after. I think as an entrepreneur, it's important to remember that you're building a business around your life and not a life around your business. I don't know if I put it that correctly, but I think the, the end goal, especially, I know for me, when I decided like, okay, I'm going to do this full time, I told myself, I don't want to work 24 hours, seven days a week. I don't want to be attached to my phone. I'm doing this because I want to be able to travel and I want to be able to homeschool my daughter and I want to be able to do all the things that for the last 15 years I have not had the opportunity to do because I've been so, you know, focused on my career working 15, 16 hours a day and I hit a brick wall. I just could not do it anymore. And for me being in my 30s, the fact that I felt like I just couldn't go on is really scary because I imagine there's a lot of people who are starting to feel that way and they are really, really looking for change in their everyday lives. So I love the idea of working with a strategist, especially with someone like you who has that idea and that mentality of like, let's build a business around your life so that you can put your life first and you can still have the life that you've always dreamed of and you've always envisioned. I think that's very powerful.


Taylor: Thank you. And you know, we always want to start with that dream and like, how do you actually envision your life? Because the last thing, my goal would be for you to be happy. And the last thing that that would be is if like we successfully marketed and sold something that you actually hated doing or that took you away from your family, or whatever your priorities are. And so that's where I always start, is like we map out, we map out literally like your life before we map out your business. And then we make sure every step of that is aligned. And then like you said, we get into the practical stuff of like, here are our goals, here's the tasks we're gonna do week by week, month by month. That's all important, but I always wanna start with, you know, you only get one life. You can have multiple businesses. You can have multiple adventures in entrepreneurism, but you only get one life, so let's prioritize let's prioritize that first.


Cindy:I love that. Oh, well said. I imagine that there are people listening to today's episode and they're saying, man, I really wish that I had the money or I really wish that my business was making the money so that I could invest in a mentor or I could invest in a strategist. What do you say to people like that who are currently waiting for an opportunity, I guess would be the right words, is it worth investing in their business before their business actually has the opportunity to take off? What's your take on that?


Taylor: Okay. So this is when I always say something that is hard for people to accept because it feels unsafe, right? So like it's a big investment. It's scary. So here's the thing, most people start their businesses or try to grow their businesses with the mindset of, when I grow, then I'll have the money to invest. They start with, I have to grow first, then invest. But that's not how that actually works. And to be honest, that's a lesson I wish I had learned much sooner than I did. So instead, the mindset that you should be taking is, when I'm committed to my business, I invest my time and money, which leads to my growth. So the investment comes before the growth. The growth doesn't come before the investment. And that's hard for people to like accept because it is scary. It is a little bit of a risk. But there are also things that you can do. If you want to, like you say, all right, I've decided I'm worthy of that investment. I literally just don't have the money for that. And I always like to speak to those people too, because maybe you already recognize that value. And so a couple of things you can do is like, if you can't afford mentorship, make that person you're interested in being mentored by or those people, make their books and their podcasts like your daily Netflix. That's the bottom line. Like start there, start with consuming everything you can learn from high-level people. That's the first thing you can do that costs literally nothing. Replace Netflix with that. And the other thing I would be asking yourself is, instead of saying, I can't afford it yet, say, how could I afford this? And just explore, right? So there may be things you're not thinking of, like can you ask for a payment plan from your mentor? Could you do an extra shift at your job or a side hustle? I'm not saying it won't be a little bit of a squeeze or a painful, but the moment you choose the path of entrepreneurship, you are committing to periods of discomfort to grow.


Cindy:Yes. Oh, you're like making me emotional because I wish I would have had somebody tell me that when I first started. I definitely thought I have to make money first before I can invest in myself or I have to do this before I can do that. And I got stuck. The only way I can explain that is I wasn't going anywhere. You're working so hard to try to earn something in order to try to invest in yourself because you believe in yourself wholeheartedly. You're like, yes, I know that I'm meant for this. And then when it doesn't happen or you don't have the funds to be able to invest, it's like a blow to your ego, it's a blow to your confidence. And then I think it sets you back. When you turn that narrative around and you say, I am worthy enough to invest in myself, I'm going to do that first, and then I'm going to proceed. I think there's a lot of power to that, because I think you're claiming your confidence and you're saying, I'm worthy enough to invest in myself, and I know that I'm gonna give it my all, I'm gonna give it 100%. And the fact that you gave us such a great tangible exercise to the people listening, if you can't afford a mentor right now or a strategist, Taylor's idea is extraordinary, I didn't even think about that. Start consuming the content that these mentors and these strategists are providing for you. It's not that we're asking for somebody to hold our hand. It's just that we're asking for someone to believe in us because we, for example, for me, I wake up and yes, my husband totally believes in my dream. My daughter believes in my dream, but you'd be so surprised that even the people in your daily life kind of look at like, oh, how's your little business doing? Or like, how's your entrepreneurship doing? And sometimes that is a blow to your ego as well. But when you have a community and you have a network of other people that are showing up for you and rallying for you, their opinions at the end of the day doesn't matter because you know that you have a support system in place. And I think that working with the strategist and working with the mentor, that's what that provides for you is support. And at the end of the day, when things are not working out or things are not going the way that you want, they're going to be there to catch you and tell you it's going to be okay because tomorrow is a new day. So I do, I love that you gave us some tangible tips because I know that there's probably some people in the community that are struggling and they wish wholeheartedly that they could afford to do the things that they do. And another thing that you talked about that I think is so great is I've been one of those people too who have downloaded the free PDF who have signed up for multiple membership courses You know like we're we're in a cohort and we're and we're learning and so sometimes you do feel like a fish out of water And I think having a mentor or a strategist someone that you can work with one-on-one is really important Especially when you're starting out because I think we can get lost in noise. We can get lost in everything that's happening. And so I do recommend everyone in the community to really take a look at their business and see, would this work for me? Is this an investment that I can make? Are there things that I want to achieve that I know I need help? I need help in? Because there's nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, I think you can get farther when you have people in your corner.


Taylor: So much farther, so much farther. And can I just add, there are a few times when a strategist is what you need, and then I will also say, like, there's times when that might not be what you need. And I generally, like, break it down for people like this. If you want to learn a skill, a technical skill, a design skill, you know, something like that, if you're trying to learn a skill, you can learn that in a course or on YouTube, or step by step. If you want to learn something that you can't conceptualize, a plan, growth, you want to fix something that's broken in your business, that's when you hire a strategist. And most people get that wrong. And I will say that online course creators, and I will say this myself as someone who has had online courses, the marketing of those is like they're going to solve all your problems. But at the end of the day, what they teach you is a skill. So keep in mind, when you need motivation, you don't get that from a DIY online course, you get that from a person. So whether that's a community or one-to-one strategy work, that's where you would need to seek that out. And most people won't break this down for you. So I always tell people like mentorship or strategizing is not for everyone in every situation. So you really want to make sure when you are investing that you're investing based on your needs and what those specifically are.


Cindy: Yes, absolutely. I do believe that there are some courses out there that are so incredibly skill-based. They're going to teach you exactly what you're paying for. You know, you're paying to learn how to do this and they're going to give you that. And I do find that to be fascinating. You are a hundred percent right. I think looking at what it is that you need for your business at that time is a great way to figure out which direction you wanna go in. Lastly, I wanted to ask, well, actually I wanna ask two more questions. The second to the last question. If you could go back and tell yourself anything, especially knowing what you know now, would you go back and do things differently or what advice would you give yourself? 


Taylor: So there's one thing I would absolutely do differently, and that is that I would invest more of my time in social capital. And by that I mean networking, building relationships with other people, including mentors, including working with a strategist, but also going to events, getting into communities, collaborating with other businesses. That's something that I wish I had done from day one, but I felt like I was too small, no one knew who I was. Well, the fact is there were actually a lot of people who wouldn't care overall. They don't care your audience size. They want to know what value you bring to them or you bring to their community or how you guys can help build each other up. And I wish I had known that sooner. 


Cindy: Oh, I love that. When you reference that, are you talking about just reaching out and growing, like the merging of communities or collaboration, or what would that have looked like for you, if you would have gone back and had the opportunity to network that way?


Taylor: Yeah, I mean, I'd say all of it, but like on the marketing side, I would have like done social media collaborations with people, more of them. I mean, we did some, but I would say a lot more of them. And then I also would have, instead of taking so many online DIY courses, I think my advice to my past self would have been to go to in-person events or things where I was like learning from a live real person. I mean, podcasts are a great example of that. You're listening, but like truly being in rooms where people get to know who you are, where you're learning from people, whether that's in person or on Zoom, I think I would advise myself to start doing that sooner. 


Cindy: Yes, that's great advice. That's such great advice. I think for me, it would be work with a mentor, work with a strategist first. I invested way more money in mentorship courses where there's more than one person. And I think if I would have just saved or if I would have just combined what I had for all that, I think I would have been in a different place. Not that I'm not happy where I am now, but I do feel like a lot of the work that I put in was work that I did on my own, was like a lot of do-it-yourself, a lot of research on my own time, but I'm really proud of that. And I think that the advice that you've given is fantastic. There's nothing like the energy of a live audience. There's nothing like the energy of getting together with people in real life. And I do think that you gain a lot of knowledge, a lot of networking, and also too, it's just very motivating. You know, it builds your confidence and you leave those places feeling really good and really motivated and you have new energy to throw back into your business. And I think that is a beautiful thing any time that you're trying to grow a brand or your business. And then of course, lastly, the same question I ask every guest at the end is, what advice would you give the community who is listening currently that are just too scared to go after their dreams and their passions? 


Taylor: I would say it's kind of a thing of like nothing changes if nothing changes. I say that a lot with my clients and like when we get on Zoom calls. But there are so many successful examples of people like you who are doing the thing that you dream of doing. So when you see people and you're like, wow, like she's really got it going on. How did she do that? I'll never get there. I wish I could. Instead of using that as like dismissing, like it's too late for me because I didn't do it when she did it, the way she did it. Those people are living proof. They're evidence. I get chills when I think about it. They are evidence that you are capable. And I always tell people, I am not a unicorn. There is nothing special about me. Three years ago, four years ago, I was happy to be a teacher, but terrified of social media. I literally thought I was the ugliest person on Instagram. I was terrified of it. And I was like, I look so awkward and I stare weird and all of this stuff. But like, all of that can be overcome. So find the people that you are just wowed by. And if you're scared to move, like really start treating them. Go look for evidence and find your living proof of other people doing the thing you wanna do.


Cindy: Oh, you gave me goosebumps as you were talking. You've just been giving me goosebumps this entire interview. I'm just telling you, I honestly, I feel like you need to charge me for this session because I've just learned so much from you. 


Taylor: Oh, you ask good questions, Cindy. You ask great questions and that's where we are. 


Cindy: Thank you. You're right. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I struggled for a really long time. And I started with my nonprofit because I felt like it was safe. I wasn't the face of it. You know, the community that I was serving was the face of it. That was back in 2018. And it grew. And I love it. To this day, it's my passion project. There's nothing I love more than being able to pour into the community. that from a personal space for myself, there was more that I wanted to do. And I kept struggling with imposter syndrome. I kept feeling like I'm not good enough, you know, like I'm too old, you know, it's just not meant for me. Just a lot of blockages, you know, that kept coming up. And I realized one day that if I don't try, then nothing's gonna happen and it's just gonna stay the same. So really, I was just doing myself a disservice. So the more I thought about it, I figured you might as well go and try it. And if it doesn't work out, at least you can say you tried. At least you can say you put it all in there. But failure doesn't mean the end. It just means the end of one chapter, but you got another chapter to write. So it just gave me hope. And I think since then, I've just kind of held on to that hope. And you were so right. I mean, nothing changes if nothing changes. And there's nothing special about me as far as like, when people ask, like, how do you how did you do it? You know, how did you start a nonprofit? And how are you doing these things? And it's like, I just woke up every day, and I just worked. And I didn't think about the next day or the day after that. And slowly over time you, you look back and you're like, wow, I can't believe I've come this far. Um, and I think sometimes people get caught up in the outcome. Like I, I want to be there and they forget that it's being in the journey and really being grateful for where you are and understanding that there's a lot that comes with it is such a powerful place to be because it does give you a new perspective on the way that you do things. And so I just love that your advice and I love that the community is getting to listen to it because I think it's important for them to realize that it's never too late to go after your dreams. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. Taylor is living proof. I am living proof. If we can do it, you guys can do it. I believe in you.


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0:01:03

And Taylor, is there anything else that you'd like to say to our community? 


You just said it so beautifully. I read in my journal this morning, like, it's really not that hard to reinvent yourself. And so it kind of resonated with what you're just saying. Like it is really, it's not that hard to become that person that you're dreaming of. It just, the only thing it requires is that you choose it every single day. So you said it so beautifully. That's what I would end on. It was great.


Cindy: Thank you, Taylor. Thank you so much for coming on the show this week. I have been wanting to get you on the show for a really long time. I actually talked to Alex about that. If you guys caught the episode with Alex from All Kinds of Wavy, she's incredible. Taylor is actually her strategist. So yay, I was able to get Taylor on the show. We're just so excited that you were here today with us. If you guys want to connect with Taylor, please make sure to check out her website at www.taylorenee.co. Taylor is T-A-Y-L-O-R Renee, R-E-N-E-E.co. And make sure you check out her Instagram at taylorenee.co. 


Outro w/music: Taylor, thank you again for being on the show this week. We loved having you. And to our listeners, you are amazing and you are capable of achieving all of your dreams. Here at the Brave Enough to Try podcast, we believe in you and we can't wait to talk to you next week.