Hilary Johnson is on a mission to help women entrepreneurs develop powerful, profitable, and sustainable businesses. As a serial entrepreneur herself, she recognized the need firsthand for true community, support, and education. This led her to create Hatch Tribe, an organization devoted to cultivating and connecting women entrepreneurs across the world.
She is the host of the “Art of Doing Podcast” and author of “A Girls Guide to Surviving the Startup with Your Mind, Body, and Soul Intact”, an encouraging read that imparts road-tested wisdom for tackling the inner and outer work of being the boss.
When she’s not working you’ll find her traveling the world with a single carry-on bag. Her favorite quote & mantra is “Live Loud. Eat Well. Travel Often”.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- How you know if you’re ready to start your own business.
- What Hilary wished she would have done differently at the start of her first business.
- The most common hurdles that new entrepreneurs face.
- Why a willingness to endure pain is needed in order to reach your goals.
Connect with Hilary Johnson:
- Hatch Tribe
- Hatch Tribe Members Circle
- The Art of Doing podcast
- A Girls Guide to Surviving the Startup: With Your Mind, Body, and Soul Intact by Hilary Johnson
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Hilary, thanks so much for taking time to join me today. I appreciate it.
Of course, I’m happy to be here.
Many of the women who listen to our show are either considering a shift or a change in their life and starting a business is one of those possibilities. You’re having the opportunity to speak to them today, how do you know if that’s something that you’re ready for or not?
Oh my gosh, I wish I could tell you there was this one shining way to answer that. The truth is, there’s not. That’s a very gross answer to the question, but there rarely is a good indicator that, “Yes, it’s time.” But I would say there’s a couple of things that point us typically in the right direction.
One is, at least from my past, I was frustrated with the circumstances that I was in and it was very much leading me in the direction of wanting to own my own business. I had worked in corporate and I was just finding myself at this kind of breaking point. It was just not where I wanted to be anymore and it no longer aligned with the life that I wanted to have.
I think two, in order to really be ready for it, you need to have done a significant amount of research. It’s not the kind of endeavor I would say, “Let’s embark upon this blindly.” No, let’s spend a year, even if it takes two years. Do your research before you go full in.
And I think three is, you need a good runway. And by that, I mean financially. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you have no money in the bank and you’re trying to start an endeavor. Because you do make very poor decisions when you’re not well funded. So, maybe you have a year’s worth of runway. Because at that point you can make some good decisions and you can get out there and find your way.
But don’t go into it blind. Don’t go into without at least enough money on your runway to get your business off the ground and make good decisions. Do it because its driven from inside of you. Do it because you’re feeling really compelled to pursue that path.
So, one of your reasons was you were kind of disenchanted from what you were doing? You were working for Miller Coors at the time, is that right?
I was, yeah. I had a nearly ten year career working in the beer business. From the outside in, people were like, “God, you have a great job.” And I did, but I also wasn’t enchanted with it. I reached a point where I was like, “Gosh, this isn’t my life anymore. I’m very much living someone else’s definition of success. Someone else’s definition of what a good life looks like.” I wanted something different. I wanted a life. I had been moving every one to two years and relocating for my job. I’m thinking, “When is it going to be me? When am I going to have my feet on the ground and actually have a life that is not just work?”
I definitely have felt disenchanted in my own life in different ways. They always say that you probably want to be a leader if you’re feeling disenchanted with whatever context you’re in. The other was, a lot of research. Not just on how to start a business, but also on the particular area of business that you’re wanting to get involved in?
A hundred percent, and for me that was two years. In part because I had just relocated for my job and I had moved to Chicago. So, I had a two year window, where if I had moved, I’d have to pay back relocation expenses. So, I thought, “Hmm, good window of time to start doing my research and get prepared.” And also, being from the south, I was like, “Man, this Chicago winter weather, not for me.” So, the motivation was high to figure it out, but I used that time wisely. I would come home from my day job and I would sit at home at night and research and really try to uncover ideas at first. But then when I landed on the first idea for my first business, I kept wondering, “How do I go down this path and research this enough to feel really comfortable launching a business and knowing what the heck I’m doing?”
And you said a year’s worth of runway of income. That’s a lot. Who does that? A whole year?
Yeah, you want to be funded.
Did you do that?
Oh yeah, I had plenty of money to be able to do it. And of course, I burned through all of it and lost a bunch of money. But that’s what entrepreneurs do. You get more comfortable with that over time. But I would say, if it’s just a side hustle and you’re able to start it while you’re working your current business, that’s great. It gives you a way to start making money and pulling in income during a time when you’re pretty well protected. But for other people, you’re going to have to leave your job entirely to really pursue what you want. And I think in that case, you really do want to have more money in the bank.
The mistake I see most business owners make if they’re not well funded, they make decisions from a place of scarcity. Which means they’re cutting everything off. They’re saying, “I can’t afford to spend money on marketing,” and I’m like, “Well, then your business is going to fail.” Or, “I can’t afford to get out and go make these sales calls because I’m spending all my time inside of my business,” and I’m like, “Well, your business is probably not going to make it either.” So, you want to be able to make good decisions and when we have enough cushion in the bank, we make better decisions.
It seems like the side hustle path is so common today because you don’t have to build up that much runway. Would you say that’s true?
Without a doubt, 100%. I think there’s a lot of businesses that might generate an extra $10,000 or $20,000 for you in a year and that could be awesome. And you may never need to go the route of launching that business fulltime. I don’t discount that for one minute. With Hatch Tribe, we have plenty of entrepreneurs that are part of our community that are side hustlers. They are just as much an entrepreneur as you and I are. I encourage them to step in and be part of that. Sometimes you’re like, “Gosh, this is transforming into a full-blown business and I don’t want to go do this other job anymore.” And then you find your way to exit the one and go fully into the other.
We know all the upsides of the side hustle, those are talked about all over the place. What are some of the downsides of a side hustle?
Typically, the biggest issue I see is it gets deprioritized. Of course, it’s going to come last after some other things. You have a job that’s paying you fulltime and you have this other thing that you’re trying to work on the side, so time is limited and oftentimes you don’t have enough time to really invest in it and see it grow. And when I hear entrepreneurs say, “I want to make this my fulltime job,” that transition can be really hard. Because oftentimes it comes with the statement of, “I want to be able to replace my income 100% before I transition out.” What I’ve found is that it’s not that linear. Typically, we have to make the leap out because we haven’t freed up enough time. So, we need the time in order to grow the business. It’s the whole time/space conundrum in being able to grow a business.
Gary Vaynerchuk says, “You want to stay at your same lifestyle when you make that jump.” So, saying to yourself, “I still want to have the four bedrooms as opposed to moving down and having the two bedroom apartment,” and sometimes you’ve got to take that step back in terms of lifestyle in order to make that jump. Whether it’s the car you’re driving or what you’re going out and doing or the clothes you’re wearing or the vacations that you’re going on.
Without a doubt. And those sacrifices, they’re not intended to be permanent. Sometimes those short-term sacrifices are critical. I often point entrepreneurs to small things. Do you need to have cable? Could you just let cable go? Or could you go get your nails done once a month instead of twice a month? Sometimes it’s just little things, but when you peel those back, if you can get an extra $500, that’s $500 to put towards growing your business. So, go do it. That’s going to help you deliver in the long run in a way that’s so much more meaningful than having cable right now.
And you shouldn’t be watching cable anyways, you should be working on your business.
That’s exactly right. All in good balance though, David.
Yes, of course. How would you say that women are uniquely positioned to become entrepreneurs?
That’s an interesting question and I don’t know if its necessarily our gender that positions us well to do it. I would argue that its more an internal trait that I see whether you’re male, female, non-gender identifying; do you have that inner drive and that inner grit and especially the self-motivation? Because when we get onto the other side when we’re running our own business, what we no longer have is someone telling us what to do. And if you’ve gone through your whole life having a manager who’s told you what to do and you’ve played within those guardrails but you’ve not been really self-directed and self-motivated, the struggle can be very real when you become a business owner.
I think what I like to see is, does an entrepreneur have that inner drive? Do they have the grit and the determination to work through things? Because there’s a lot when you’re running your own business. It just takes persistence and nobody else is going to be sitting next to you going, “Hey, you’ve got to go get after it.” It’s all you.
A lot of our listeners happen to be women who are making a transition because their children are either going to school at a young age, or they’re going to college and now they have an empty nest. One of the things I’m trying to help women see is that there are so many entrepreneurial skills that have been developed whether they’ve worked outside the home or not. All of the management of details and the coordination of all of these personalities; my wife is a genius at managing our kids’ different personalities way better than I am. That could be her personality, it could be gender or whatever. All I know is, she’s amazing.
So many women that I see have this unique ability to manage so many things at one time. Maybe its cultural or maybe it’s just how their relationships have played out, but they have stepped into a role where they’re oftentimes managing not only their family but oftentimes a fulltime job as well.
Sure, lots of complexity.
It’s really beautiful, that’s entrepreneurial in a lot of ways.
One hundred percent. It’s actually really fun. Even on my team right now, I work with a woman and her name is Nina. She’s our Community Manager and she’s a stay-at-home mom. She has a almost two year old and she has another baby on the way. I love working with her and I’ve had other team members before who have been moms and I will tell you, they do bring a certain level of attention to detail and are really okay handling complexity. Of course, that’s a generalization, but it is one that I think has been often true.
I think all of us bring something unique to the table and no matter whether you’re considering your own skillset or the people that you’re putting on your team, it’s really just looking at what someone’s natural gifts and talents are when they show up and then harnessing that. We do well when we can lean into our strengths versus trying to shore up all these weaknesses all the time. If someone’s a detail person, let them rock out on the details. If the other person is a big picture person, let’s let them do that. We don’t need them to change what they’re doing. They might need to understand it, but they don’t have to fundamentally change.
Have you personally gone through the Strength Finders Assessment?
Yeah, we actually just did a workshop on it last week inside the Member’s Circle. It’s one of my favorite things.
What are your top five strengths?
The first one and I can never remember what the word is, but it basically translates to problem solver. It starts with an ‘R’ but I can never remember the word. But not shockingly that’s something that I do, because as a coach, it’s what I lean into. I want to help problem solve and I want to help my clients figure it out. I love Strength Finders, it’s one of my favorite things. And we’re actually doing a workshop with our team, where we’re taking all our team’s top strengths and then laying them all together so we can see how we’re showing up as a brand, which is a fun little thing to layer over.
As you’re looking for yours, I’ll share mine. Mine are competitor or competition. It’s interesting, because I growing up in my spirituality tradition, competition was seen as a negative thing. So, when I saw it in the context of Strength Finder, I started thinking, “Okay, I am competitive with other people, but I’m competitive with myself really more than anything to keep getting better.” Command is another strength, and for me, if there’s any lack of leadership, I’m going to step in. Let’s see, Activator is the next strength. If something needs to be done, I’m on it. Input was a strength of mine also, I love getting input from others on how to make things better. And then the fifth one was Futuristic, seeing things in the future.
That’s great, I like it. Okay, I found mine. So, number one is Restorative and that’s the one that means like problem solver. Restorative, the word doesn’t make sense to me, that’s why I can never remember it. The second one is Significance, which I think means you want your work to be meaningful. And fortunately, with Hatch Tribe, I’ve found that now. I didn’t have that in prior iterations of life and in career, so to me I’m living that now. Learner is another one of mine, which makes sense because I’m a book geek. I’m constantly in learning mode. Discipline, which to me seems funny, but I am pretty disciplined about my schedule and routines and keeping myself motivated. And the last one is Activator, so I have that one in common with you.
What’s funny about this too, is I took this probably 8 or 9 years ago when I was in the corporate world and my top five strengths were totally different. It’s interesting to me, because of course as my life has changed, my role has changed entirely. I was doing a very different job than I’m doing right now. I thought originally that surely, they would stay the same. Futuristic and Strategic had been in my top five when I took it before, and they’re still around. Futuristic is number six for me and strategic is number eleven, but they just changed and these other ones have risen up, which I think is so fascinating.
When you were first starting your own business, what do you wish you would have done differently? You were in event management or event planning, right?
Yeah, we were producing very large scale festivals and events. If you picture 1000 to 4000 people; those size of events and things for the public. What I wish that I had known is that I could have gone smaller. I don’t necessarily mean the number of people in attendance at the events, but there were things that we were just trying to do at a 100% level and it didn’t have to be that complex.
Can you give me an example?
Sure, so the first festival we did was called ‘Charleston Beer Garden’. I live in Charleston, South Carolina. So, this was a beer festival that was very much bringing together the skillset I had working in the beer business and craft beer, which was exploding at the time. This was about eight years ago and we had just gone gangbusters. We went to all these nurseries and we were like, “We need plants. We have to have plants so we can make these beer gardens really look like beer gardens.” We wanted it to look amazing, so we filled up a U-Haul full of palm trees and all these other plants so that we could make it just so sexy.
I will tell you, when we got out there, we were like, “Well, that was a lot of work.” And then we had to load them back up and take them back and it was 100 degrees that weekend, no joke. So, it was miserable and it really didn’t change the experience that people had. It was a nice to have kind of thing, but not a necessary. I often encourage early entrepreneurs to see if there is a smaller or a simpler version that you can bring to market. Even if we’re not talking festivals, let’s say you want to sell a course. Can we just take it down to the most simplified piece? Oftentimes we’re just making it more complex or we think we need to deliver more for our audience when it doesn’t really fit. There’s often a very simple solution but we keep adding and adding and adding and adding. If we just pull it back and come at it from 75%, it’s probably going to be okay. I wish I had known that.
Why do you think we do that? Is it out of insecurity? Is it a desire to over deliver? Is it because you really like plants? Not necessarily why you did that, but why do we do that as entrepreneurs? Why do we feel the need to max out?
You know what I think it is, I just call it ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I think your listeners are probably familiar with this, but if not, I’ll just try to explain it in my two cents. When you’re stepping into the role as an entrepreneur, you haven’t fully put on that suit yet. You haven’t totally embraced it. You haven’t embodied it. You haven’t owned that title. So, you’re trying to prove it. You’re trying to prove that you’re a legitimate business owner and that people should buy from you. That they can trust you and that they can spend money with you.
I think what we do is we over correct and we try to provide so much value so that people will see us as being valuable and want to buy from us. Sometimes we just go over the top and it’s really unnecessary, but you don’t know another way yet and you haven’t learned how to stand confidently yet. You haven’t figured out how to say, “Yes, I own this business and I’m really freaking good at it.” Because we haven’t done it yet, we’re not really standing firmly in our shoes.
A lot of that seems to play out in terms of pricing as well, because it’s not only over delivering the amount that you’re delivering…
Under-pricing at the same time.
Yeah, way under-pricing. How do you coach the entrepreneurs that you’re working with on the value that they’re bringing to the table, versus the price that they’re putting on that?
This is funny because this question is coming up a lot lately. I think it often starts with, “How do I price?” My philosophy on this is, you do want to do your research. We want to have a sense for whatever it is that we’re selling. What price is it being sold at in your own city for similar businesses? Or cities outside of yours, what is it being sold for? And then, also getting a sense for what’s included. So not only the actual price, but what’s included in that price? I also think there’s a little bit of gut and intuition that goes into it as well. We need to lean on our own understanding of who we are, the experience that we have, what we bring to the table and what we believe our time is worth.
I think if you’re selling services, commonly there is an equation where you take what you want to make in a year and then divide it by the number of hours that you’re going to work that entire year. Then that number becomes a base rate for what you might want to use. I think it’s a useful place to start. It’s a figure that you can use, but it’s not the only one. I think it’s a little bit of an art. There’s no hard science to how we price.
To me, I think the key is, let’s get it out there and get the market to react to it. By that I mean, let’s really go sell what we’re doing and stay firm in our price and let’s see if we get responses that are “Yes”. Because if we do, then our price is okay. But if we get an, “I don’t know,” and we’re getting that from 100% of people we sell to and they’re saying, “You’re pricing is way too high,” we may have actually priced too high. Conversely if we’re getting “Yes” really fast, we’ve actually probably priced too low.
For the last 11 years I’ve done communications and marketing for non-profits, for profits and across the board. People will oftentimes ask me, “What’s your price for ‘X’?” And I go, “It depends.” It’s usually the person who is just price shopping of course, but I always tell them, “I never bargain. You’re never going to talk me down. The price is the price.”
That’s good, good advice.
“If works for you, great. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s totally okay.” It’s probably also, because I’ve been in a position where I haven’t been desperate to need in the moment. If I did need, I would probably say, “Yeah, I’ll take $50,” or whatever it is. Either way, the confidence is important. The confidence in the value that you’re bringing and the confidence also in your bank account and what you are in need of.
When you were starting your first business. What did you knock out of the park? What did you just really crush, where you thought, “I’ve really got this right”?
I am an organizational wiz and I think that has served me well. In our first business we were producing large scale festivals and when you’re producing an event for 4000 people, you’ve got to be well organized. It’s a nine to twelve month runway to get an event of that size off the ground. So, I got really good at figuring out what we needed to do and when we needed to do it and then building a system for that. Having a full-blown Excel spreadsheet and color-coding and all the things. We needed that. It was the organization that helped make that happen.
That’s not everyone’s skillset, but I would say in that industry, its necessary and it serves me really well even to this day. Of course, the other side of that, I can sometimes get too process-focused and lose sight of the other side. Which is, “Are we really talking to our customers and our clients and making sure we’re focused on them?” And that’s ultimately who we’re serving. I’ve learned my lesson on that. I’ve snapped at a few people at a festival before and been like, “Wow, that’s really not cool.” But I was stressed out, which you learn. You live and you learn.
But that goes back to the fact that you were crushing it in that area because that was your strength and you were leaning into that strength.
Yeah, absolutely and it served me well. You grow as you spend more time running your business and you learn things to play to your strengths, but you learn to recognize your weaknesses also. At that point it really becomes the question of how are you going to get the things that you don’t have? Can you hire for it? Or outsource for it? Or can you learn it? And how quickly can you learn it? Because you might not have a whole year to figure it out. You learn to have the right resources at your disposal and at hand to make sure you can shore up potentially the weaknesses that you do have.
So, you coach quite a few entrepreneurs; what are you seeing as the common hurdles? Especially earlier on in the process, because at different times and with different size businesses, there are different common hurdles. But as people are saying to themselves, “Okay, I’m thinking about stepping into this arena,” what are the hurdles that they need to be aware of and be thinking about?
I think typically an entrepreneur will come in and have a pretty good idea of what they need help with. I’ll pick their brain enough. I’ll ask them a bunch of questions and they can surface some stuff that they know they’re challenged with. And it falls into two camps, always. There are the things that are practical knowledge, for example, “I feel like this business is out of control. I don’t have my hands around it.” That could be an indicator that we need a system or a process to control some things. But the other side almost always is mindset related. So, it’s something that’s happening between our ears that’s really affecting how we’re showing up. It’s affecting the work that we’re doing. It’s affecting the results that we’re getting. And almost always sitting on the back of that is fear of something.
So, it’s the fear of hiring their first employee. The fear of asking for help. The fear of getting it wrong. The fear of putting it out there and being judged. The fear of ‘insert fear here.’ There’s not a single one of us that’s immune to that. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started, you’re going to have your own set of fears. Or you’re ten years down the road and your business is growing and evolving, there is a new set of fears. To me, I want to get to that. So, when I’m working with clients, I’m thinking “Let’s tease this apart, because there are practical things that we need to solve.” I want to know what lies beneath. That’s the stuff that’s keeping you up at night. It’s in your ears.
So, fear of all of those firsts. That’s huge. Fear of feeling out of control, that could be part of a systems issue. How do you coach people then? Each fear is different, but after you’ve identified the fear, what’s the next step?
For me, because fear is doubt, doubt is replaced through action. What I want to do is figure out is, what’s the thing that we need to do to build your confidence? It’s always an action step, it’s never more thinking. Let’s get you out of rumination and into taking action steps in your business. To me, it’s just practical. We understand what’s happening. Now practically, what do we need to do to get you moving forward? I don’t want you to continue thinking about this and just mind screwing it to death. Let’s go, lets figure this thing out.
It differs depending on what the fear is and what’s actually showing up in the business. But I will tell you, it always leads to an action step and into moving it forward. As soon as we take action, we now have data. And data is important to make decisions with. So, let’s try it. Let’s see what happens. What I ask my clients to always do is, “Let’s just put on our experimenter hat and go out and give it a whirl. Let’s release expectation for results and let’s just go do the thing,” whatever that is. So, if it making sales calls for example, let’s just go do it. Who cares what happens and lets just see what happens. And usually its good stuff. It’s like, “Oh my God, someone said ‘Yes’,” or “Someone introduced me to so and so,” or “It wasn’t as bad as I thought.” “Okay great, that’s awesome. Do you want to keep doing that now?” We break the cycle by getting them into action.
Connected to that fear is pain. I recently watched a video that you put out a couple months back and you were asking the question, “What pain are you willing to endure to reach your goals?” Why would you say that’s an important question to ask ourselves as we’re starting a business or a project or something new?
It’s because things that are new are uncomfortable. And we’re going to have to become best friends with discomfort in order to get there. Like we were talking earlier, there are sometimes sacrifices we have to make and sometimes they’re short-term. It could be like, “I need to sacrifice cable for three months.” But sometimes they’re bigger, like, “I’m going to need to move into a smaller place so that I can decrease my expenses, because I really want to see this dream become a reality and I need to cut the amount of money that’s going out the door from my own lifestyle every single month.” This is because we know full and well what we’re trying to build is something that’s so much bigger, that allows us to live a bigger life down the road.
Some people are not willing to make sacrifices. They want to keep living that big life that they have and they may not have the money in the bank to then fully fund their business. Or they say, “I don’t have the time. I want to spend only ten hours of my life working on this business.” Well, that’s cool, but your business will only grow to a certain size if that’s the time contribution that you have to give. I think there will always be some amount of sacrifice and in my mind, I can’t imagine that there’s not. It’s just like in life and in no matter what we’re doing, we’re choosing every day how we spend our time, how we spend our money, how we spend our energy. Some things get full-blown 100% and some things get 50%, and that’s okay. But I think we’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because that’s just it. As a business owner, you’re uncomfortable a lot.
Leadership expert John Maxwell, I heard him say the other day that, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.” I hated that, I was like, “This is the worst. This is the worst statement ever.”
But it’s true.
Yeah, everything worthwhile is uphill and I thought, “Well, when’s the downhill? When’s the coasting? When does it gets easy?” For me the pain is less about the lifestyle change or the number of hours; for me, the pain is being required to do things that I don’t want to do. That doesn’t mean paperwork, although who wants to do that? It means having conversations that I don’t want to have. It means stretching myself to go connect with someone in a way that I say to myself, “Ah, I’m an introvert. This feels painful.” It could be making certain phone calls. It could be letting someone go. It could be networking, all these things
Absolutely, they’re all very real.
We all have different lists of things that make us feel uncomfortable or that cause us pain. I’m not sure that you can answer that question; what pain are you willing to endure to reach your goals, until you are faced with that pain.
That’s a good point. And I think it evolves too because your point about having to let someone go is a really good example. It shows up and you’re not anticipating it necessarily and then it’s there and you’re like, “Man, I’ve got to deal with this now. I am being called upon to do this work. I need to do this and I need to handle it well. I’ve got to figure it out and I’ve never had to do it before and I’m going to figure it out.” If we’ve gotten to that point where we can build up our confidence enough, we know that no matter what comes our way, we’ll figure it out because we have enough people around us that can help provide insight. We know where to go to get the right answers. We’re not going to sit and stew on it alone. And we trust ourselves. We trust ourselves that we will figure it out.
I have pain all the time, it’s just part of life. People ask me, “How do you do these films,” or “How do you do this stuff that you do?” And I go, “Well, I just do a lot of stuff I don’t want to do.” And sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it’s horrible.
This is a great example, yesterday I’m thinking about my interview with you. I’m trying to get some social media stuff out. I’m prepping for some other interviews. Then, I have a sales agent who wants to rep two out of my last four films. He’s got three contracts in front of me and two other documents and all these files that he needs and I’m thinking, “I don’t want to do this. This is the worst. This is so painful.” I’m thinking, “Wait, why am I saying to somebody who’s wanting to represent me to get my films out into the world, that I don’t want to do this? This is ridiculous.” But I did it. You muscle up and you just get it done. I find that a lot of people don’t want to do the things that they don’t want to do. I think that’s a really big hurdle also.
I think too, it depends on the nature of your business. Sometimes there will be things that you may forever need to do. The example we always joke about is handling your books, updating QuickBooks and sending invoices and doing that. That’s nobody’s idea of fun unless you’re an accountant. It’s a necessary evil for many of us until you get to the point where you can hire someone. And a lot of times, when people say they are looking to hire and they ask me, “Where do I start?” I just tell them, “What do you want to get off your plate? Let’s start there. Let’s get rid of the tasks you hat the most, because there are people who want to do those tasks and it doesn’t have to be you. So, let’s go pay someone to do them and that gives you more time working on the things that you’re really joyful about and that are more in your zone of excellence.”
Right and the other path that I try to take in those moments is a path of thankfulness. To go, “Wow, I have a big problem here. I have someone who wants to help me and they’re asking for all these things, how can I be thankful for that?” Or, “How can I be thankful that I have money that needs to be accounted for?” It’s that path of thankfulness. It reduces the pain.
Yes, absolutely. Good point.
Okay, so in a lot of the things that I’ve heard you talk about and read about Hatch Tribe, there’s this sense of women coming together to be in community. To support one another, to encourage one another, and yet it seems like a trait that a lot of entrepreneurs have is the trait of competition or being competitive. How does that play out for the women that you’re bringing together? How do you deal with the competition? It’s not always a negative thing, but how do you deal with that?
With Hatch Tribe, our core value is community. So, the person who is part of our community is someone who greatly values being a part of that. Being a part of a bigger picture and knowing that we’re better together then we are apart. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t have members that are competitive in nature and competitive in spirit, but we simply don’t make space for that inside of our conversations. So, great example is there are plenty of people who are in the marketing world that are part of Hatch Tribe. Yet they all play nicely together and they share knowledge with one another. But at the end of the day, if they’re bidding for a piece of business and presenting to a client, they’re probably competition against one another to get it. It’s really all in good spirit and in good fun. But very much our core value is, let’s build this as a tribe.
We want you to have a place to come and exchange data, exchange information, make connections and build your network. Oftentimes, even in competing businesses, they’re sometimes able to refer clients because they get a client who’s not quite the right fit for them. So, someone might say, “Let me go give this work to this other person.” It’s a really beautiful referral. I think we see the spirit of competition and people who are really hungry to succeed, but also their bigger mission and their bigger value system is being a part of a community. That’s what we really do.
I want to get to how people can be involved with Hatch Tribe, but you’re in several cities right now and as people are listening to this in different places around the world, they might not have access to a physical connection with Hatch Tribe. Whether they are an entrepreneur already or they’re thinking about starting their own business, how do they develop that community? It can feel so isolating working on your own business. How can they develop that for themselves?
Yes, without a doubt. I think if you’re an entrepreneur right now or thinking about becoming a business owner and you’re thinking, “Where are my people?” The first thing to do is ask. That’s innocently enough how Hatch Tribe started. I put a post on my own personal Facebook page and said, “Hey, for all you out there that are entrepreneurs living in Charleston, would you all be interested in getting together and hanging out and having a conversation about what it’s like to own a business?” And the response was overwhelming. So, I think if you’re really craving connection, but you don’t have those people in your orbit, start by just asking the question and use the platforms you use personally.
Go to Facebook, go to Instagram or put it on LinkedIn. Just work your network and find some people who are doing that. What I find is I’ll go out into coffee shops in town and I’ll see three or four people from Hatch Tribe that are just hanging out and having coffee and building their own connections. Nothing makes me more excited then to see that happening without it taking our events to necessarily bring them together. They’ve met through Hatch Tribe or through our virtual community and then they’re there in human form doing the thing. I’m like, “Yes, that’s it.”
That is so awesome. So really, you have got to seek it out yourself. You’ve got to figure out a way to make those connections happen. And it can start small, even just with one other person.
A hundred percent and it snowballs really quickly. From my perspective, the first business I owned, I looked around and I’m asking myself, “Where are the other women entrepreneurs?” I didn’t know them. I didn’t see them. I had no idea they existed. And when we made that call and started asking where they were, they were coming out of the woodworks in droves. Like, “Oh wow, this has been a need.” People needed an opportunity to connect with one another and we just had no idea that all of us were out there doing this similar thing. We were all working in our houses and thinking, “I’m the only one. I’m isolated and alone,” but we weren’t. We just didn’t know one another yet. So, you’re not alone, I can assure you that. There’s probably someone who’s right down the street from you who’s thinking the same thing, it’s just a matter of making that connection so you can pal up.
Alright, so tell people, no matter where they live, how can they benefit from what you’ve created with Hatch Tribe?
Our mission really is to touch the lives of a million women entrepreneurs through Hatch Tribe. And in order for us to do that, we knew we needed a virtual solution. So, while we do have live events and we’re currently in three cities and probably expanding to other cities later this year, our virtual platform is called The Members Circle.
You can go to www.hatchtribe.com/memberscircle and find out all the details there, but it is where we engage and we do what we do live, but we make it happen in a virtual way. So, it doesn’t matter whether you live in California or Charleston or Italy, you can be a member in our platform. And really there’s two things that we do and we live out; one is, building the connections. So, it’s an immediate network. A place to come, make the right connections, get referrals, ask for advice, get the things that you need from a wide array of business owners who are living it and doing it. I will say, its everyone from newbies that are just getting started to entrepreneurs that have been in business 25 years plus.
And then the other side is really cultivation, because what we know is that nothing really prepares you for the business of being a business owner. So, we want to teach you the things that you need to learn but also do it in a shorter way. We bring on mentors and we have master classes, workshops and then on demand courses that teach you the stuff that you need to know so that you can run a better business and learn it quick. Because as you know, you don’t have a lot of time as a business owner. All that plays out there and it’s a wonderful way to make new connections, whether it’s in your city or elsewhere. But I think for getting advice, its spot on. You get to ask other business owners and let them help you, as opposed to Googling blindly for the answers.
Is Members Circle open all the time? Or are there certain windows of enrollment? How does that work?
We open it up a couple of times a year. Right now, it’s on a waitlist. So, depending on when you go to our site, you may see a waitlist. Just enter your email there and then when we open it up, you’ll be notified. I think the next opening will probably be around this spring, so I’m thinking around April.
Obviously, there’s an investment required to be a part of that Members Circle and back to what you said, you have to invest money in order to take your skills to the next level. You can go Google all you want, but you’re going to find random bits of information all over the place. But to be able to have a community and the community is really what’s so valuable.
Yeah, without a doubt. There are boatloads of free resources. I’m not going to knock it for one bit. If you can find a good free resource that works for you and you can get what you need, great. But I think what we’ve found over time is that when people invest, they show up big. They’re invested in themselves, they’re invested in their business and with that comes a certain quality and caliber of consult. If you are looking for advice for your business, I’d much rather get it from people who are also invested in their own businesses. Rather than really putting it out in say, a free Facebook group where we don’t necessarily know the people that we’re getting advice from and whether or not we should take it as valuable or not. So, that’s just my two cents.
I agree. I love it. I love what you’re doing. I’m very attracted to what you guys are up and that you’re in three cities, this is great. And you’re expanding. I just think it’s going to keep growing. I think a million is too small, you’ve got to increase that number.
Well, we can go to a billion, I guess. I don’t know if I’ll live to see it happen, but…
You’ve got a lot of years in front of you.
Thanks, I appreciate it.
Thanks so much for taking time to hang today Hilary, I appreciate it.
Thank you, this has been awesome.