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Transcript Episode 18

Transcript Episode 18: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Overworked with Rachel Bearbower

Transcript Episode 18

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast the show for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host Stephanie Skryzowski, a globe trotting CFO who’s mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski. And today, I am talking with my friend Rachel Bearbower. She’s a coffee lover, a fundraiser a former nonprofit executive director, and founder of Small Shop Strategies. She’s an executive coach living in rural Iowa and she’s passionate about creating meaningful relationships, maintaining an upbeat attitude and serving alongside though she leads.

Like many of us, she has been in the trenches of an underfunded systemless organization. And she knows firsthand the stress, overwhelm and frustration it can cause. Let’s just say that she is scrappy or resilient and resourceful. She is the one we turn to for systems, structure and a plan. And when all of these are in place, Rachel promises that you’ll have more time to serve those who mean the most to you and your organization. 

And when she’s not hanging out over on Instagram stories, and coaching small shop nonprofit executive directors, she is living on a farm where she’s a farmer in training. She has three naughty pups and six acres of land that she needs to mow before her next Zoom call. So in today’s episode, we learn all about Rachel’s business journey from an unlikely start all the way to running a nonprofit and then creating her business and all of the interesting twists and turns in between.

We talk about how she serves nonprofit executive directors today, and she gives us some amazing tips for any leader, any entrepreneur who feels overwhelmed, overworked, and under funded. She’s got some great tips for us. I asked her how she manages her numbers in her business, and I love the way that she is managing her finances. So we had a great conversation. I am super excited for you to hear from Rachel so let’s dive right in.

Hey everybody, welcome back to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. I am so excited to be here today with Rachel Bearbower, she is the founder and CEO of Small Shop Strategies. Welcome Rachel to the podcast.

Rachel Bearbower:

Hey, Stephanie, I’m so excited to be here. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes, I’m so excited to chat with you about your journey because you have a bit of like a diversion in your sort of career path and entrepreneurial journey, as well, kind of like I do. So I would love for you to tell us a little bit about your business, and really how you landed where you are now.

Rachel Bearbower:

Absolutely. So we have to go way back. I’ve always been an adventurous spirit. And I knew after college, there was something bigger for me. So I moved across the country to Boston, which I know is close to you, and jumped into finance. And so for those of you who remember the crazy days of 2008, 2009, finance was a scary place for all of us. And I was right in the middle of it working for Bank of America. 

And after five years of really soul sucking, not work I really enjoyed I had this epiphany of I don’t have to do this anymore. And I left my job, it’s also a great story for another day. But I may have quit my job in a meeting and decided that it was time to do something else. For those of you who know me, I always have plan A, B, C, D. I had no plan. 

So I left, I moved across the country, like, “I’m going to start a nonprofit. It can’t be that hard to start a nonprofit.” Well, my friends, let me tell you, it’s hard to start a nonprofit, little bit, there was a very big learning curve. And I have said this every single day, from the day that I started. I’m so, so grateful. I was so overly confident and equally naive. Because I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and over the course of seven years built this really incredible organization. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Well, I was just going to ask you what was the organization? What was the mission of the organization? What was the nonprofit that you created? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Yeah, so it was called Girls on the Run. And it’s a youth empowerment program for girls and it’s a national organization. So I was able to start the organization that was three counties within my home state of Washington State, and took the organization from my goal was 30 girls, I was hoping in that first season, we would have 30 girls, we ended up with 90. And that was just the trajectory that we had, over the course of those seven years that we built, I tried to build this organization, of course, I had tons of help and support behind me, alongside me.

And even though I’m no longer with the organization, it is still the mission to empower girls and help them become the best version of themselves is really then how I lead into… I have Small Shop Strategies now. And so as a small shop ED, looking for resources, and looking for just the path of what are the way points, what are the things that I need to do to meet my goals, I was just doing it all on my own. But I knew that there were resources out there, there are mentors out there, and I just needed to find them.

So when I decided to start Small Shop Strategies, that’s what started it is so that I can provide executive directors the path and the templates and the waypoints that they need to then be successful. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

That’s so awesome. And I find that like lots of our entrepreneurial adventures, stem from seeing the need somewhere else, we know that there’s a need. That’s how I started my business. I knew there was a need for nonprofits to have some sort of financial management in a fractional capacity and it wasn’t there so I created it. So I love that yeah you saw the need from your own experience and created your business. 

Was there a turning point at Girls on the Run or was there something that really spurred you to start the business and leave the nonprofit world? Was there like one event that you were like, “Okay, I think I’m done now.” 

Rachel Bearbower:

You know, that’s a complicated answer. I think it was multiple things. But really, what it came down to is, I was burned out. I was burned out, I was tired, I had been putting forth so much energy and effort and my own money, reducing my salary to make the budget work, all the things that you are not supposed to do, I did. And in the nonprofit sector, we are not financially compensating the employees for the work that they do. And that is just the culture that has been created and I was one of those. 

And at the end of the day, I was exhausted and sometimes at some point, you do feel like it’s time to move on. I’m a ship builder, not one who sails the ship. So I think I did reach my like, “Hey, it’s been built, it’s time for me to move on.” 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I like that analogy a lot, you build ships, you’re not the captain. And you build the ship and you hand it off to the captain. I love that. Thinking about the nonprofit world, which is where I spent a lot of time as well. I think you’re right, that it’s like built into the nonprofit industry, that executive directors CEOs of nonprofits are often applauded for the sacrifices that they make. And we’re all so dedicated to the mission and the purpose behind what we do that it almost feels okay to do that.

But that leads to exactly like what you said, it leads to burnout entirely. And so there’s going to be a turning point, I feel like in the nonprofit world as a whole where it’s like, “All right, we have to prioritize self care and making sure executive directors and other staff have the resources that they need so we can keep having the impact that we want to have.” 

Rachel Bearbower:

Absolutely, talking about self care is something that I talk a lot about in my business. And self care also means making money. Being able to put groceries on the table is important. Being able to pay your rent and pay all of your bills, go on vacation every once in a while even if that is to maybe a overnight hotel or something or a cabin in the woods, like being able to have a little bit of discretionary money is important.

But beyond that, maternity leave, paternity leave, a 401(k) I spend so much time in my really important wealth building years in nonprofit and now I’m mid 30s. I’m starting to be on the other side of mid 30s to be really honest here. But I am now having to make up for that even more because I spent so much time not investing in my retirement and my future and building that wealth during that time, because it just wasn’t available, I was just trying to make ends meet. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I know, it’s definitely a really strong balance that needs to be struck between doing something that you love and you’re super passionate about while also making sure that you are taking care of yourself. And a lot of it, I feel like comes back to boundaries and making sure that you’ve sort of protected yourself in the right way and that’s definitely something I see all the time in the nonprofit space. And I love that your business now is helping executive directors sort of avoid some of the challenges that you’ve seen when it comes to burnout. So I would love to hear more about what you actually do and how Small Shop Strategies serves nonprofit executive directors today.

Rachel Bearbower:

I think every entrepreneur goes through a few phases of, I’m going to help everyone and then I need to figure out who I’m actually going to serve. And then you realize when you niche down, and you really start targeting your messaging and being really specific about what you want to do, then it like it works and it’s really cool. So it took me a little while to figure out even though I knew like I want to help executive directors, my messaging didn’t reflect that.

So now I feel like after a year of really working on the plan and figuring out exactly what I want to do. So now I am supporting them through a membership program, where it’s called the productive executive director, because I felt like as [inaudible 00:11:33] I was always like, I’m just trying to get organized so that I can do the next thing. But I was never really productive, I mean I was, I was checking things off my to do list but I had a never ending todo list. I never had that big plan. I think I had these great dreams of creating this strategic plan. But I didn’t know how to be strategic when I was building this framework of an organization. 

So I basically took everything that I learned over seven years, plus all the research and experience I had from nonprofit leaders and thought leaders in the industry and put it all together into a really digestible platform where one you can go through and take lessons, plan out your annual plan, figure out your goals, the basics of fundraising. But then what’s more important is the community behind it.

So often, executive directors feel very, very isolated, because they can’t talk about some of the things that they’re really struggling with, because they have a board of directors or staff. And so this is the place where they have a community behind them to support the work that they’re doing through coaching calls and the community message board, everything and anything that an executive director might need, I try to put into one membership package. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that, especially the community piece, because I find that, yeah nonprofit executive directors and I feel like there’s parallels in the entrepreneurial space as well. Like, you can’t talk to your team of maybe you’ve got a couple employees, or maybe a couple of contractors as an entrepreneur, you can’t talk to them about, “Hey, I’m having this problem with a contractor,” you can’t talk to them about it, you don’t have a boss, you don’t really necessarily have peers.

And so it’s kind of up to you to find that community as an entrepreneur. And I love that you’re providing that space for nonprofit executives too. I wanted to go back to something you said when you were like, “Yeah, about a year ago, you sort of shifted your messaging and really got clear on what you wanted to offer as an entrepreneur,” because I was going to say, based on your Instagram and your website, it is very clear to me what you do. So first of all, great job on that.

Rachel Bearbower:

Thank you.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Because I can tell that you serve nonprofit executive directors. So whatever shift you made was pretty awesome, because I think you’re spot on that I would love to hear like, was something not landing before you made the shift? Were you not getting the right type of people in the door? And yeah, what was sort of the catalyst for making that shift in your messaging and potentially marketing.

Rachel Bearbower:

It was so many things. I was in a position where I was taking all sorts of consulting jobs that were with small businesses or some with nonprofits. I was doing all sorts of work and [inaudible 00:14:35] I didn’t totally love but I have a communications and marketing background. So I could do all of these things but it wasn’t what I was passionate about. And I had a friend who is one of my dearest and oldest friends, and has followed my career from everything from when I was a barista on our college campus. She’s always been a cheerleader for me and she… We were texting one day and she’s like, “I don’t get what you do.” And I was like, “Dang it.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Uh-oh. 

Rachel Bearbower:

And then I was trying to explain it to her. And then I was like, “This is barely making sense to me. No wonder it’s not making sense.” And this friend is out of the nonprofit sector, out of the small business, like she’s not involved in that at all. So I realized that my message was so all over the place, that even people within my industry were not understanding it. And people outside of my industry had no idea. So I had to do some deep like, “Okay, I’m trying to serve way too many people here and I need to get really specific about who I do want to serve.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I love that. And often, I found this in the beginning of my business, too. And I don’t know if you thought this, but like, in the beginning, when you’re trying to serve all the people and do all the things and be an expert on everything. Was there any piece of that, that was rooted in this scarcity mindset? Like, “Oh, my gosh, I have to take everything because who knows when the next thing is coming in?” Yes, you’re nodding. 

Rachel Bearbower:

Yes. It was all of it. It’s crazy being out on your own. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes, it is so scary. I know and so every person that comes in the door, you’re like, “They want me. Are you sure? Well, what if nobody else wants me?” I better just do whatever they ask.

Rachel Bearbower:

Legit shocked every time a contract happened. I really do practice in abundance mindset. But I’m not joking, I was shocked every time I got a client. I’m good at what I do. I know that. But wow, there is something else about running your own business and solely relying on yourself. But you’re like, “Okay, [inaudible 00:16:50] to be the best job ever because this might be the last one.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Exactly, I know. But has it ever been the last one? No, never. Like there’s always another one. There’s always another. 

Rachel Bearbower:

And I think what’s also really beautiful in the times when I feel like most down because I don’t know any entrepreneur or executive director who doesn’t go through periods of time when they are just feeling that imposter syndrome, and really doubting what they’re doing. So a great example of this is when I launched productive executive director, and I sent out the email and I was so proud of myself, I have worked so hard to create something really, really awesome for executive directors.

And I sent it out and then I panicked. I was having nightmares that everybody hated it, and that they were going to report me to the nonprofit-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Police.

Rachel Bearbower:

Police. I don’t know who they would report it to. But I was like, things are going to happen. And the funny thing, and then I had our first coaching call, and people are like, “Oh, this is great. I’m so glad to be part of this.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay. Great. I needed to hear that.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I know, it’s such a roller coaster, isn’t it? A roller coaster of everything? Emotions, you’re like, “I’m so proud of myself,” then you’re like, “I’m gonna be arrested.” You’re like, “This is the best thing in the world.”

Rachel Bearbower:

Yes.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I know. It’s crazy. What kind of transformation do you see in the executive directors that go through your program and work with you? Where are they when they start? And where are they when they come out the other side? 

Rachel Bearbower:

If I meant to sum it up in one word, it’s confidence. Because every single person who is an executive director has the skills to do the work that they’re doing. But they are feeling so spread thin, they don’t know what exactly they should be focusing on. So typically, executive directors are coming to me because they’re overwhelmed. They have decision fatigue. They are unorganized. Oftentimes, they’re just trying to do all the different things. And you don’t take the time to actually like, as simple as organize the folders on your Google Drive. That’s huge. 

Anyone who has taken the time to actually organize your folders, you feel like a new person. It is so exciting. So they come to me from a lot of different places, but usually they are lacking confidence. They have that imposter syndrome and they’re just looking for someone to help them. And when they leave, they have that confidence, they have the roadmap. I provide every template I ever created anything I ever received from somebody who supported me and that I used in my organization. I teach them how to use and tell them why it’s important. 

And then my goal is for executive directors to take and leave what I have to offer. There’s going to be certain things that totally resonate, and they’re like, “Yeah, I love this. And some of them are like, “I do it a little better,” great, take that, push it aside, keep moving forward. I don’t know that they’re ever done. There’s lessons that they will eventually get through. But I think that you’re always on a journey learning more, adapting.

But when somebody does finish the coursework or decide to leave, I hope that they have the confidence in themselves knowing that they can do this job, they have the templates available to them, to not be recreating the wheel over and over again, they have their systems in place. So that one, if they decide that they no longer want to be an executive director, that they can easily pass that off to somebody else. 

And they enjoy what they’re doing and back to what we were originally saying, they have the boundaries to say it’s five, 6 PM at night, I want to shut my computer and walk away and feel good about what I accomplished today. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I love that. Even though that it doesn’t have to be some monumental transformation. It’s like, all of the little things combined lead to that confidence. And I love that a huge part of that is just having the right tools and systems in place. And sometimes it’s just like, a template, an Excel sheet, or whatever that’s going to take you from feeling like everything is chaos and disorganized to somebody’s laid out this nice template for you, you just have to implement it yourself. And you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, this is not really that hard.” 

Rachel Bearbower:

Yeah.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that you’ve got all those resources for them. 

Rachel Bearbower:

And EDs are making so many decisions on a regular basis. And we’ve got a lot of organizations in this country and globally. Why is everything being held so close to the vest? Why are we not sharing the wealth and knowledge and tools and systems that have worked and also what hasn’t worked, “Oh, don’t go down that path?” Why are we not sharing that? Butcher this quote every single time but it’s a tide lifts all boats.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Rachel Bearbower:

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes. 

Rachel Bearbower:

Thank you. It’s one of those that I quote all the time that I can whenever. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

So I know what you meant, we’re good.

Rachel Bearbower:

Every time. We can empower each other and improve the nonprofit sector. This goes for the entrepreneurs who are listening, supporting each other is a good thing.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, it is. Because at the end of the day, I feel like it all just boils back down to that scarcity mindset, like we’re afraid to share with other people, because we’re afraid that there’s not enough to go around. And I kind of felt that in the beginning of my business and I feel like I did kind of keep things a little bit closer to the chest and didn’t want to share too much. And I also felt kind of like funny when I saw other CFOs doing similar work. I’m like, “Yeah, why are they doing that, that’s my thing.” Now, I could not handle all of the work in the world, let’s be real I have my space and I’m doing my thing and I’m happy and she’s doing her thing and she’s happy and we’re all good. And if we have resources to share it, let’s share them. Because at the end of the day, a template that’s yours that somebody else is using, nothing’s going to happen. So I love that. Yes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

You hear me talk all the time about how important it is to know your numbers as a business owner. But you may be thinking, “Well, how in the world do I do that? Where do I even begin? So I have a free resource for you. The profit playbook is an amazing template that you spend about 15 minutes getting it all set up and you can literally see into the future of your business, revenue, expenses, cash flow, just like a crystal ball. It is a huge resource that will absolutely help you create a roadmap to reach your goals in your business. It is for free, over at 100degreesconsulting.com/profit.

I wanted to ask you so we talk a lot on this podcast and I talk a lot about getting outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes we get outside of our comfort zones on purpose because we want to push ourselves past our limits. And other times we’re kind of forced outside of our comfort zone and it often helps us learn really good lessons and hopefully we come out stronger on the other side. So I would love to know if you have a time in your journey, either with Girls on the Run or with your business now, where you felt like super outside of your comfort zone in the moment. What was that like? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Oh, man, I feel like I do that to myself all the time. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

That’s so good. That’s how you grow. I love it. That’s so good.

Rachel Bearbower:

I enjoy risk. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it. I’m comfortable with risk. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay. 

Rachel Bearbower:

I think that pushing boundaries is a very important… I’m going to give an example that has nothing to do with entrepreneurship and nothing to do with nonprofit. So during the time, just before I left my organization, I took a leave of absence. So that was very scary. That felt I was losing all financial security, my health insurance, like I was taking a true leave of absence. I decided to hike the PCT. That is the Pacific Crest Trail, it runs from Mexico to Canada, it’s 2600 miles. And [crosstalk 00:25:43].

Stephanie Skryzowski:

It’s The Wild Book, right?

Rachel Bearbower:

It is the Wild book yes.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Or slash movie if you’ve ever seen the movie?

Rachel Bearbower:

Yes, yes.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay, so you were… Wait, it was Reese Witherspoon, right? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Reese Witherspoon. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay, so you are Reese Witherspoon.

Rachel Bearbower:

I was Reese, yes. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Got it. 

Rachel Bearbower:

And so one of the ways that hikers get on and off the trail is by hitchhiking. Okay [inaudible 00:26:05].

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I’m nervous just thinking about that.

Rachel Bearbower:

My mom is not a fan of this. Okay? 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

No. 

Rachel Bearbower:

But during that time, the first time I was a little nervous, but I was with a group of friends. And over time you started to learn like the different tricks and how to do it safely. And so, for those of you who are wondering, you always want to have two points in mind. So which way are you going to go? Are you going to go north, or you’re going to go south. So if somebody pulls up, and you get a bad vibe, because we all have those experiences, you have that gut feeling with every decision that you’re making, whether you listen to that or not, is a different story. 

And so somebody would pull up, be like, “Hey, we’re heading to Bishop or somebody would pull up and they’d say, “Where are you going?” And the way to do it safely is ask them, “No, actually, which way are you going?” And then that gives you a chance to decide, are you feeling okay about this? And if you’re not, you can say, “You know what, I’m actually going the other way,” and you can wait for the next ride. So what I’m trying to say here is that, using your gut allows you to take risks, and to listening to what feels right for you and for what is best for your current situation at that time is important.

So I guess when I say like, I’m always challenging myself, I’m always listening to my gut. I think the biggest one in current time is that I just moved to Iowa. So I am from Washington States home of the rain and evergreen trees and mountains and water, and I moved to the middle of the heartland, from Iowa to become a farmer. And when I say just, it’s actually been almost a year, but it feels like I just moved here because I moved here just before the pandemic happened. So I am still in a community that I don’t know many people. 

And it’s scary every single day, I know that I have to go make friends, but I have a pandemic that is still raging on. So I would say that has been one of those challenges where I’ve had to go outside of my comfort zone. And I’ve been so grateful for the community around me, and not the actual community, the virtual community that I’ve been able to create through your membership program, the CFO corner, which has been amazing, and some other groups that allow me to work through what I’m feeling. So I think that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone all the time and that’s something that I strive to do because it helps me grow. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

No, I love that. And it actually connects to another question that I wanted to ask you is, what tips do you have for sort of pushing through that discomfort and coming out the other side, and I love that you were focusing on your intuition. And just like trusting your gut, like it sounds like that is your tip for how do you get through those uncomfortable situations?

And I don’t know about you, but every time I listen to my gut, it is always right and anytime I don’t listen to my gut, I regret not listening to my gut because it’s always right. Your instinct is always right. And so I love that as like, “Okay, how am I going to get through this,” just follow your intuition, and you’re going to get to the other side. I love it. 

Rachel Bearbower:

And I think something that should be said about that is just because when a situation approaches like my membership program, I had to sit with that for a while. I had to really think on and be like, “Is this the right way or right thing for my business, the right way to move forward.” And it took me a little while to think through some of that, but I kept coming back to that gut instinct of this feels good. This feels easy. That’s the other thing is we overcomplicate everything and oftentimes your gut is like, “No, no, here’s the easy path. Just do that.” And continually we try to make it hard on ourselves.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

It’s so true. It’s so true. This woman that I was in a mastermind with, her name is Susie Moore. And she is just, first of all, she’s a ray of light, and the most positive person you’ll ever meet, so if you don’t follow her on Instagram, follow Suzy Moore. I think she’s writing a book right now that’s called, Let It Be Easy. And ever since she announced that or said that phrase, let it be easy. I’m like, “Why am I making things so hard for myself?” Let’s do the things that are easy, that flow, that our intuition says yes, yes, yes, do this. Instead of just over complicating everything. I love that. I love that. And I feel like yeah, listening to your intuition really helps things be easy, because it’s when you fight with your intuition. I feel like when you fight with your gut, that’s when things get hard and that’s when you’re like creating more barriers for yourself.

Rachel Bearbower:

Absolutely. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Love it. So I would love to know, since you are an expert at helping executive directors and leaders sort of get past their overwhelm and feeling overworked and underfunded. I think you said that phrase somewhere, overwhelmed, overworked and underfunded. I would love to hear, “Do you have a couple of tips that you give just quick tips or little hacks that you give to the people in your membership or maybe even entrepreneurs that might be feeling overwhelmed, overworked, underfunded, what tips do you have?

Rachel Bearbower:

Yeah, so first of all, there’s a little tough love that also goes along with that. Because was it Albert Einstein, who said like if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’re going to get the same results. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah.

Rachel Bearbower:

If you don’t decide to change your habits, your attitude, your mindset, you’re going to continue to be frustrated, overwhelmed, underfunded. So it starts with you. And it starts with your mindset. So once you decide that you can reframe your mindset, have maybe a better attitude, and then real change can happen. So I start there. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I feel like sometimes that action alone is outside of your comfort zone. Like we kind of get comfortable just sitting in the yuck and whining about it and complaining and not really doing anything like somehow that feels comfortable in a weird way. And so I feel like even that is sort of pushing beyond what’s comfortable to be willing to change your mindset.

Rachel Bearbower:

Yeah, if you are one who is saying, “Well, we’ve always done it this way.” I back away slowly.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

That’s like my least favorite phrase ever. I hate it. 

Rachel Bearbower:

I mean, we just talked about how much I love risk, I’m always shaking things up, I always want to change the paint color in the house, I always want to try something new, reorganize the fridge, whatever it is, I am always looking to better the way that I do things. So I guess it’s starting out with that mindset change. That is number one. Number two is you have to set aside the time to do the work. If you are one who just keeps playing whack-a-mole, and just putting out these dumpster fires over and over and over again and never putting pause on hey dumpster fire, you need to simmer over there because I’m going to deal with some other stuff.

Like if you are just in that constant state of chaos, you’re also not going to make any real change. And so that starts with making the time to step back and create a plan. And then it’s being consistent, so anyone can post on social media for a week. Anyone can go to a workout class for a week, but you are not going to see those results. Unless you are consistent, and to be consistent that takes a plan. And that goes back to my second tip of you have to have a plan, you have to schedule it into your schedule so that’s where I start.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that. I feel like that consistency is just everything, like the consistency piece is so important. That’s something that we drive home in the CFO corner with your numbers. I’m sure you do the same with the different things that you work on with the people in your membership. And I mean, there’s no way they were ever going to get better or grow bigger at anything if we’re not doing it consistently. And I feel like that’s also just such a good way to practice, the more you do something, the better you’re gonna get.

I was instantly, three different analogies or whatever came to my head. I’m like, “Well, if I think about my treadmill downstairs, if I want to run faster I have to practice running faster. And thinking about podcasting, I’m a new podcaster. If I want to get better at podcasting, I have to keep podcasting. So it’s that consistency. I love that. So for anyone listening, think about what you want to be better at, or what you want to do or where you want to be and what is one thing that you can do to be more consistent about that.

I love it. For me, I know that if I want to post on Instagram or show up in Instagram stories, I have to put that into Asana or it’s not going to happen. I just know it’s not, it either has to be in Asana or on my calendar or it’s not going to happen. And so I think that also goes back to like tools that you were talking about Rachel earlier with what you help your members with. It’s giving them the tools that they need to like actually get things done. 

And sometimes the tool is your calendar or a task management system so I love that, especially the consistency. That’s so good. I want to know, I asked all of our guests list, and you don’t have to get into any specifics, but because I’m a CFO, I want to know how you manage your numbers in your business? And how does that help your business grow and empower you? 

Rachel Bearbower:

I love this question, one as women, as entrepreneurs, I think that having conversations about money is extremely important. And I’m not going to say it here on the podcast but if anyone ever calls me up and asks me what I charge, what I make, I will have a very frank conversation with you because knowledge is power. And I think as women, we really need to step up and own money, one own money, have money, but own the power that comes with money. 

So I will also say my relationship with money is complicated as well, and I have a scarcity mindset, and I do dumb things. So how do I track my money? Actually, I feel like I did an okay job for a long time. But I joined your CFO corner and that was amazing. Again, talking about the tools like the profit playbook, which I think you can even get online. That has been huge. Because one, I didn’t want to take the time to like create a really elaborate spreadsheet and so you did that for me. So that was great. 

And, again, I schedule in my calendar a time every single month to go through that. And so let me kind of step back from that as well. I decided in July of last year that I hated doing my books. I wasn’t late every month, I was consistently screwing something up. It’s not where I wanted to spend my time so I decided to invest in hiring a bookkeeper and joining something that will give me the tools I need to be successful. Because who doesn’t love gaining a little confidence in something, they [inaudible 00:38:07].

So by doing those two things, it was awesome. And then I took the product playbook and really decided to, this is the cornerstone of my business. So I talked with my bookkeeper, I was like, “Listen, you’re doing my books, can you update my profit playbook.” So that is already done so-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that. 

Rachel Bearbower:

So then I’m not having to go back, spend the time, she’s already in there, she’s doing it. So that’s been really, really great. The other tools is, as an entrepreneur I don’t have a 401(k) or I had a 401(k) when I went to Bank for America. So I rolled it over to an IRA. So I decided to get really serious about investing my money. And so I joined Ellevest and decided to really make sure that I was putting money into again, building that wealth and planning for my retirement. 

I also worked for Sallie Krawcheck, who started Ellevest so I’m a fan girl there and I started loving the program or the platform that she has. She makes it super duper easy. So I would say between those two things as an entrepreneur, your money is both your personal and your professional. There is a fine line but you know. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, it’s so true. All the accountants will tell you don’t mix up your business and personal and I agree. Let’s not actually mix everything up in the same account. But you’re right, business finances are personal because that’s what supporting your life. So I love that you shared a little bit about what you do with your business finances and the profit playbook. Yes, there is a free version. The one that’s in the membership is like an amped up version of so it’s like a special-er version. I love that you use that to kind of forecast.

And I don’t know if I knew that you had a bookkeeper who is keeping that updated for you every month, that is so good to recognize, okay what is maybe not a weakness, but what’s one area of my business that I hate that I’m not going to do that is going to fall behind if I don’t hire somebody, and I’m going to hire somebody for it. So I love that. And yeah Ellevest, I checked that out once, I need to go back and dig in and check it out a little bit more.

But I love that, it’s basically a platform to help women invest their money in the market, it helps you make smart investment decisions, rather than just going to Vanguard and opening an account and now what do I do with it? And what do I invest in? And there’s lots of education that they provide. And yeah, I love that, that’s a really empowering platform for women to invest. And that’s awesome, that’s so good. I love that there’s that sort of future, you’ve got that future thinking piece because no time like now to invest. Love it. 

Okay, Rachel so we are going to wrap this up and I have three quick questions for the end of our time together. I feel like first of all, I could keep talking to her like three more hours. So I’ve got to do this and wrap us up. So three questions, the first one is what is your favorite productivity hack either in your business or your life? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Okay, there are so many-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Choose one.

Rachel Bearbower:

… notifications, turning off all notifications on everything everywhere, all of them.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes. 

Rachel Bearbower:

All of them.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

So nothing’s popping up on your phone.

Rachel Bearbower:

So anytime I go into my email or I log onto my computer, it’s with intention of doing something instead of it flashing at me and-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes. No chasing notifications. I love it. I love it. Turn off… I don’t have the little red number bubble on my emails, on my phone or actually on anything on my phone. I have no little red bubble notification things because I don’t like them there. So I’ll just go clear it even if I don’t really even want to. Good. No notifications. Okay. What is a favorite book that you have read? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Man.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I should have warned you about this. 

Rachel Bearbower:

I know these are good. Okay, so my favorite doing to, my favorite fictional book is The Hate U Give, it’s by Angie Thomas who is amazing. It’s a youth book but it’s so good. It is so good.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay.

Rachel Bearbower:

And then Untamed by Glennon Doyle who was pretty fantastic and I’m also wearing a teeter shirt so that feels-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

It works.

Rachel Bearbower:

It works so yeah we’ll go with Untamed.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

You know what, I have heard so much about this book and I have not read it. So it needs to go on my list ASAP. 

Rachel Bearbower:

It’s good. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

It’s really good. Love it. Okay, last question. Imagine that you had a week day, not a weekend but a week day, like totally free from work, no responsibilities, nothing to catch up on, a weekday totally free from work. What do you do? 

Rachel Bearbower:

Oh, man, okay. Well, if we’re being practical, it is probably something around the farm usually my job during the week is to mow the six acres that we live on. And that can take a couple of hours. But I don’t commute anymore so it’s also my time to listen to all my podcast.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I was just going to say, do you do it with headphones? Yeah love it.

Rachel Bearbower:

So it’s kind of fun.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

How long does it take? What did you say?

Rachel Bearbower:

Well, it depends on how fast they go. Which I’m not supposed to go so fast on the lawn mow but it should probably take me four hours if it takes me about three. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay, all right. Yeah pedal to the medal. I love it. 

Rachel Bearbower:

Spending time with my dogs, I’ve got three puppies who are super duper naughty, and like A plus farm dogs, and doing something with them. And then the other thing I love to be outside in the woods, in the mountains, struggling to find those a little bit in Iowa. But going out for a long walk with no music, no nothing like that’s one of my creativity hits and being able to step back from the work that you do, it’s easy to just every single day just keep working, keep working, keep working. But when you give yourself that mental break, oh my gosh, the creativity that comes out of that and that’s for me really helps when I am in nature. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love it. So a day outside with the dogs, with the grass, with your podcast [inaudible 00:44:23]

Rachel Bearbower:

My human too is mixed in there, I do have BFM, which is-

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah him too. 

Rachel Bearbower:

… boyfriend might and who’s the real farmer of the family and just very ordinary. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes, I love it. That’s beautiful, simple is sometimes better. I love it. Well, Rachel, thank you so much. This was such a great conversation. I loved learning about you and your journey and the how you help other executive directors today. And I’m just so appreciative that you came on the podcast today.Thank you. 

Rachel Bearbower:

I love it. Awesome being here. I adore you and you have been such a huge part of my journey. So thank you and I look forward to catching the episode. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Hello, Stephanie again, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Rachel and learning all about how to go from feeling overwhelmed, overworked and underfunded to confident in your business and in your own skills and abilities. If you are interested in learning more about Rachel and the productive executive director, Rachel’s membership, feel free to head on over to her website. It’s smallshopstrategies.com/beproductive. We will also drop that in the show notes for you. 

This was a great episode. I hope you enjoyed, I hope you got a great takeaway from it. And I’m excited to catch you next time. Bye. 

Thanks for listening to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship Podcast. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreesconsulting.com/podcast. Make sure to snap a screenshot on your phone of this episode and tag me on Instagram @stephanie.skry and I’ll be sure to share. Thanks for being here friends, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcript Episode 18

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