Episode 103: How to Build Confidence in Doing Scary Things
[00:00:00] Stephanie Skryzowski: Hey there. If you’re looking for the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast, you’re in the right place after a hundred amazing episodes, we’re changing things up to serve you the most inspiring content in a fresh new way. Thanks for being here and keep listening.
Welcome to the prosperous nonprofit, the podcast for leaders who are building financially sustainable and impactful nonprofits and changing the world. I’m Stephanie Kowski, a Chief financial Officer and founder and c e O of 100 Degrees Consulting. My personal mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers to grow their impact and their income. On this show, we talk to people who are leading the nonprofit sector in new, innovative, disruptive, and entrepreneurial ways, creating organizations that fuel their lives, their hearts, and their communities. Let’s dive in.[00:01:00]
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. So today I have a little bit of an interesting episode for you because what we are going to do, what I’m gonna share with you, is actually a talk that I gave. At our recent conference, and it was the ROI Millionaire Summit, which was put on by Rachel Rogers and the Hello seven team in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
And I was invited to do kind of like a 10 minute sort of like Ted, Ted Talk style talk. And in order to be one of the people that was gonna do this, there were four of us, maybe five of us, I think. I had to submit an application with a video answering some specific questions that they asked, and I, I did it.
I applied and I was like, you know what? What the heck? Let me just give this a try. Let me send my video out there and see what happens. I really didn’t think that I was gonna get chosen. [00:02:00] And so I think in and of itself like that, that alone is a lesson, right? Think about that. How many opportunities have you seen come across your inbox or pop up in some way in your life, and you think to yourself, wow, that would be kind of cool.
But I, that would never be me. I could never get chosen. I could never do that. And so you don’t even try. So in fact, you actually really don’t know if that could have been you. Maybe it could have, but you didn’t even try. And I recently read something and honestly, I can’t remember, was it a book? What is it?
Was it a meme? Was it a reel that somebody posted on Instagram? I don’t know. But like confidence doesn’t. in the beginning. Confidence comes after you continue to do the thing over and over and over again. And so I think about myself in this example with speaking, so I was not confident in speaking in front of [00:03:00] people from day one.
In fact, I was so nervous about speaking in front of people that I never raised my hand in class in high school, in college, in grad school. Never raised my hand in in class to answer a question because I was so scared of speaking in front of people and of getting it wrong, and of saying the wrong thing that I just never even tried.
So like my confidence. Did not come from the beginning. Right? I remember being asked to come to a group in probably like within the first few months of owning my business, and I remember being asked to come speak to a group of brand new entrepreneurs, and I said, you know what? I’m just gonna say yes. I was freaking terrified.
I was terrified to do this, and it went okay. . Honestly, my slides were okay. I remember being asked a couple questions that sound [00:04:00] silly now, but like really stumped me then. And I remember feeling embarrassed about it and I don’t think it necessarily, like, I don’t think I looked stupid up there. I don’t think anybody thought I was an idiot, but I felt stupid.
I felt like an idiot after this talk and. I did still do not have the confidence, right, but I’ve spoke again and again and again. I’ve put myself on stages smaller and slightly bigger, and slightly bigger and slightly bigger, and I have slowly and slowly gained confidence. Now I am recording this episode before this conference has actually happened.
I got accepted to do one of these like 10 minute TED Talks style talks at this conference. And, um, we started, you know, preparing, getting ready and I wasn’t exactly sure if this 10 minutes should be like informational, where I was really trying to educate the audience on my, my process, my method, my framework, the way I [00:05:00] work with our clients, or if it was supposed to be inspirational.
You know more like, more like a TED Talk where it’s like some big idea, right? Ted is all about sharing big ideas. So I went with the former, I went with the informational. I’m gonna walk you through my framework for managing your finances. I’m gonna do it in a fun way. I’m gonna pop a couple stories in there.
Bing, bang, boom, we’re done. So that’s what I did because that’s what I was comfortable. and then we had the privilege to meet with a renowned speaker, speaking Coach Broadway perform. and he gave us feedback on our talks about a week before the conference, and he basically, in the most gentle and loving way was like, Nope, this isn’t it.
You need to redo this . So I had to super wrap. What I felt very comfortable with. Like I can talk about, you know, QuickBooks and financial [00:06:00] reports and metrics all day long with my ice coast and he was like, Nope, that’s not what you’re doing. You need to tell a story. You need to think about a bigger idea and make a connection with the audience in a deeper way,
So I’m like, okay, this is something I am not confident in. This is something I have not done a lot of. I stick to the practical, right? Like that is me. , but I did it and I rewrote the entire thing. And you know what? He was right. It’s better. It connects with the audience in a much deeper way. And so I didn’t have the confidence to like go out there and do it, especially in this new format because.
This is just, it’s just very new to me, and so I just want to encourage you and think about that. Like if you are holding back on doing something because you feel like you don’t have the confidence, you’re not ready yet, you’re never gonna be ready until you do the thing over and over and over again. , [00:07:00] and I know that just like, ugh.
That just sounds like generic advice that everybody gives. But it’s so true. And I say that like I’m seven years into my business now. I am like, I don’t know, almost 20 years into my overall career, and I’m still sort of realizing this and learning this along the way. And it’s just so important to just keep doing the thing and the confidence will follow.
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So the other thing that I wanted to share with you today was I wanted to share this talk with you. . I am proud of it. , I’ve always sort of struggled to connect the work that we do. Right, which is kind of dry on many accounts. It’s finance, it’s accounting, it’s bookkeeping, it’s analysis, it’s data, it’s spreadsheets with like something powerful and meaningful and moving.
And that was my challenge in this talk, and I think, I think I landed it. So I’m gonna share with you my talk today. This is me just in front of the podcast, Mike. This is not me on the stage, so the version [00:09:00] that goes live at the conference may be slightly different, but this is also a really good opportunity for me to practice.
Oh, and there’s one more note. Practice, practice. Practice. Right. Practice doesn’t make perfect practice makes confidence, . And that’s what I feel right now. Like I have been, um, reciting the speech to myself in a car. If I know that I have at least a 10 minute drive, I do the speech in the car, in the shower.
This morning I did the speech because I knew it would be about 10 minutes. I’ve been reciting this on the treadmill. I’ve been reciting this in bed before I fall asleep and before I get out of bed in the morning. And. Practice makes confidence. So anyway, I’m gonna get to it now. I hope that, um, was an interesting little lesson for you and a bit behind the scenes into myself and my own sort of vulnerabilities and my history as well.
So, without further ado, here is my 10 minute TED style talk and the title of it is called Shoring Up Your [00:10:00] Financial Foundation.
I have a confession for you today. On the outside, my business seems kind of boring. I don’t have some exciting story to tell you about my business blowing up with success after my TikTok went viral or getting on national TV because someone randomly discovered my Instagram. My podcast doesn’t have millions of downloads, and I haven’t written a book.
But my boring business has generated millions of dollars in revenue, has grown 50% year over year for the last seven years, and is going into 2023 with over a million dollars in annual recurring revenue. So maybe a business that’s steady, consistent, and profitable isn’t really boring. I am Stephanie and I’m a visionary chief financial [00:11:00] officer who’s more likely to inspire you to dream bigger than to cut your expenses.
I’m also an entrepreneur that had a little idea to turn my day job into my own gig, so I didn’t have to ask anybody’s permission to take my then baby daughter to little gym classes. I had the grit and the determination to send hundreds of cold emails, which turned into one client, then four clients, and eventually a global multimillion dollar consulting agency with nearly 20 employees worldwide.
And one of the cornerstones to building this business that is having tremendous growth and incredible impact is a strong financial found. You absolutely cannot and will not hit seven figures, eight figures in revenue without a crystal clear plan for your revenue, your expenses, and your cash flow. [00:12:00] We need to stop making decisions and running our businesses based on how much money is in the bank today, and start thinking like a C E O by forecasting our future, and this is the key to a boring business.
Managing your money well unleashes what is possible. I love to see those light bulb moments in our client’s eyes when I can make magic in the spreadsheets leading them to brand new revenue heights and previously unthinkable profit numbers and incredible impact. But here’s the thing. Sometimes that boring business actually is kind of boring.
We are out here watching the highlight reels of everybody else’s businesses around us, and we get fomo. So we add this new offer, that new service, jump on that new social media trend, and before long we’ve strayed away [00:13:00] entirely from what is working in our business. And dilute our energy, our efforts, and our impact.
And before you know it, revenue has flatlined, profit has dropped, and we are more burnt out than ever disenchanted with the entire business. Even the parts that used to light us up. Can anybody else were late now. The same thing happened to me long before. Our CFO and bookkeeping services were a million dollar business.
I got a serious case of comparison fever. It seemed like everybody around me had a membership program, and so I decided I needed a membership program too without doing any type of research into my audience that my client’s. without circling back to my financial foundation and my vision for my company and the impact I wanted us to have.
I spent time and money building [00:14:00] this membership program and I thought this was my million dollar offer. So I launched it and people came. But when I went back to my financial foundation and I used my numbers, I saw that this membership was comprised only 1% of my annual revenue. My profit was basically nothing, and I was spending way more than 1% of my time and energy on it.
So I made the decision to shut the program down so that I could focus more on what was working in my business. And I want you to think about that. This week, you are gonna be so inspired by some of the most amazing, inspiring, incredible speakers, doing really impactful things in their business. And you are surrounded by a thousand other [00:15:00] brilliant humans with a thousand different ideas, a thousand different business models, a thousand different.
Things that they’re doing in their businesses, and I just want to encourage you to really remember your own vision and the impact that you want to have. Because when we lose sight of what’s working in our business to change course and start something new, we also crush our impact. So stay the course. I want you to remember that as we are learning this,
Now I wanna tell you a story. I used to work in Afghanistan with a nonprofit that was helping families build farm businesses. And I remember standing in the garden of a woman named Camilla. And Camilla had several children. One of her daughters is here pictured, and she was a widow. She had lost her husband to one of the many conflicts in Afghani.
and Kamela was showing me the garden that she had built with the training and the support of this nonprofit [00:16:00] that I worked for, and she bent down and she picked up a cucumber out of the ground and handed it to her four year old son, and he ran away and came back a couple seconds later and handed me this dripping wet cucumber that he had just washed off for me.
And Kamela motioned for me to take a. and as I took a bite of this fresh, delicious cucumber, kamala’s eyes lit up. Her grin grew wider and wider with pride that she now had a business selling vegetables in the market to make money. In a country where women do not work outside of the home, she could now support her family and provide her children with an education.
And this impact would. Impact just Camilla and just her children, but her larger family, her community, and potentially future generat. And if we all want to have this generational [00:17:00] impact that I know we all do, we want the reach of our work to go beyond who is here today. The only way that this is possible is with a steady, consistent, profitable business with a strong financial foundation.
Now it can. Really difficult to stay the course. It takes grit and determination to focus on the boring things when there’s confetti and fireworks and ideas and distractions and everything flying all around us. But I know how important it is to make more money and keep more of that money because the change that we want to see in our own lives, our families, our communities, and the world is only possible with money.
Money helps progress work on the front lines of legislation in this country to fight policy attacks on abortion. Access money helps deliver healthcare to hundreds of thousands of [00:18:00] people in rural African communities Decreasing childhood mortality money helps provide black mothers with the services to give them a healthy childbirth, healthy recovery, and allow them to take excellent care of themselves and their babies.
Money helps give a safe place of respite to ably housed L G B T Q I A, youth and their allies, providing them with their basic needs and giving them access to education and healthcare services. And so my friends, I would encourage you to have the grit and the determination to stay focused and do those not so boring, boring things in your business.
Shore up your financial foundation now to create a company that’s steady, consistent, and profitable. Because managing your money well unleashes what is possible for [00:19:00] you. For your family, for your community, and the world.
So there it was my friends there it was. And I hope that you liked the talk first of all. Um, but I also hope you just took a little lesson from that. So I just did that without looking at my script. That was completely from my head. And so it wasn’t perfect. I probably missed like a couple things that I really.
Say, or a couple points that I wanted to make in a specific way, but I got it out there and I did it. And a few years ago, if you would’ve asked me like, Stephanie, can you get on a stage and do a 10 minute talk with no script and like not being able to look at your slides or notes, I would’ve been like, haha.
Yeah, definitely not. But it’s that growth and it’s putting myself in the room where I can do these things again and again. That is giving me confidence to go do that. Wish me luck. By the time you will have heard this, I will have gotten [00:20:00] up on stage. I will have done the thing, but as of right now, I have not.
So I’m still pretty nervous, but that was a great practice for me. So anyway, my friends. Um, that’s all I have for you today. I wanted to give you that little, that little tidbit, that little lesson in encouragement on confidence. And I also wanted to share this really cool talk with you. So have a great day and I will catch you next time.
Before you go, I just wanna thank you for being here. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100 degrees podcast.com. That’s 100 degrees podcast.com, and I’ll see you next time.