Transcript Episode 64
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 whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in!
Hey everybody. Welcome back to 100 degrees of entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski and I’m really excited to have Brandi Jordan on the podcast with me today. Brandi is the founder of The Cradle Company, where she’s been helping new families grow, adjust, and find balance for almost two decades. After hearing an NPR segment on midwifery, when she was 19 years old, Brandi cold called a birth center in her hometown of Houston to ask if they could teach her how to help women through labor. She took a doula training course and found her calling.
Now over 20 years, and thousands of babies later, Brandi is an internationally recognized and board certified lactation consultant, pediatric sleep specialist, newborn care specialists, postpartum doula, and social worker. Known as the Baby Sleep Fairy, she finds individual solutions for each family. Regardless of location and socioeconomic status, allowing them to thrive once her time them is complete.
Over the past few years, Brandi has made headlines with high profile clients like Mandy Moore, Rosamund Pike, Megan Fox and Julia Styles who praise her approach combining modern ideas and technology with age old, wisdom and protocols. Every client loves her most used mantra, calm is contagious. Brandi holds a BA and child development and a master’s of social work from USC and founded the National Association of Birth Workers of Color in 2018.
Brandi and I had an amazing chat today, all about her journey when she started her business as a 19 year old with no children at that point and how she has really shifted her perspective from, you know, “okay, I don’t have kids, but I want to, you know, help women through labor,” to what can she bring to the table? So that was like a huge, huge light bulb moment for me. We talked about her business journey.
She lives in both France and California, and we talked about what those experiences bring to both her personally and work and her business and some different decisions that she’s made throughout the course of her business and how she’s really made those decisions based on intuition. And that is so applicable to parents who are, you know, trying to get their babies to sleep and also business owners who are trying to make their businesses grow!
So she just dropped so many gems in this episode and I really think that you’re going to love it. And especially if you have kids, especially if you’re a mom and maybe if you have worked with a doula before, but even if you haven’t, this conversation was awesome. I love talking to Brandi. So without further ado, let’s get right to the episode!
Hey, everybody, welcome back to 100 degrees of entrepreneurship. I am super excited to have Brandi Jordan on the podcast with me today. Welcome Brandi.
Brandi Jordan (03:14):
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here as well.
Stephanie Skryzowski (03:17):
Awesome. Well, I am so excited to talk about your business because honestly, a lot of the businesses and a lot of the business owners that we have on the podcast are very much B2B. And so I’m really excited to talk about your business because it’s not B2B, it’s different. So I’m excited to hear a little bit about your business model and your business journey, but I would love for you to just kind of share with our listeners first, who you are, what you do, what your business is.
Brandi Jordan (03:42):
So my name is Brandi Jordan and I started off this journey 20 plus years ago as a doula. And that turned into like sort of B2B, I would say a B2B-family in that. I basically grew a business just serving families in any way you can think about zero to five. And so we’ve had brick and mortar stores.
We do a lot of in-home support for new parents. So basically thinking, you know, pregnancy, childbirth ed, having a birth doula, having someone come to your home, you know, have a night person come help you with nights, postpartum doula, newborn care specialists, all those things. We kind of built, I would say my little baby empire around really serving families and filling those gaps that most people, particularly in the United States don’t have when it comes to the support of having a young family.
Stephanie Skryzowski (04:26):
Yeah. That’s amazing. And honestly, that’s something that I sort of knew existed when I had, I mean, mine are only five and two, so it wasn’t that long ago, but it was never something I really sort of realized was accessible to me. So I’m sure, like what is the sort of, you know, we use in the business world all the time, like what’s the transformation that you see your customers go on or your clients? But what is that transformation that you see with families with the services that you provide?
Brandi Jordan (04:52):
I mean, it’s very depending on the family, but in general, you know, we get to see people at one of the scariest, most intimate, most happiest times in their life and to leave them feeling competent and nourished and well, and just ready for the challenge that is parenting. And so I would say it’s immeasurable to even quantify that transformation.
Like there’s people that I keep in contact with when their kids are going to college and they still say, oh my God, that time with you all was just so amazing. I think that we also give people that, one of the things that are as my focus is that I just, after doing for 20 years, what I’ve realized is that people in the past 10, 15, especially have really moved away from trusting their intuition. And I think, you know, it’s a good thing that we have so much information out there.
You can go on baby, you know, baby center at 2:00 AM and get lots of information. But sometimes I think people will take that information and stuff down what they know to be true for themselves and their family. And that’s really not what our work is supposed to be about. Like me being a parenting baby expert isn’t about someone overriding what they know to be true for their body, for their baby, for their family, based on what I’m saying as someone who’s just starting the game.
And so what my job is and what I teach people who work with me is our job is to work ourselves out of the job and really kind of pass that baton on. I want parents not feeling dependent on us or feeling like, “Oh, what am I gonna do without you?” But like, “Now, I feel so sure of… I feel like I have the armor that I need to go into this and really rock parenting hard.” And that’s what I really believe my work is.
Stephanie Skryzowski (06:20):
Oh my gosh, you’re so right. And I feel like that’s probably true across all areas of our life, not just parenting, but just consuming so much information that we have completely lost sight of like, like you said, what is true for us? What’s true for our family. Have you experienced that in your business journey as well?
Where I know I personally have, that’s why I’m asking, like I’ve gotten so sort of consumed by what the internet and all the gurus are telling me to do. Then I’m like, wait a second, this is not aligned with who I am or what I want my business to be like, have you experienced that at all?
Brandi Jordan (06:55):
For sure. I mean, I’ve really experienced it my entire career. Like, you know, there’s always like group think about how something should happen, how you should be. Like, I mean, I think the biggest one for our generation of business owners is social media. How we’re supposed to use it, how often, what’s the cool platform you should be.
And like, I always tell people who work with me and, you know, and as I’ve kind of developed, you know, in this work, I’ve started to consult a lot of people who work with, you know, service based businesses that the place you’re supposed to be is the one you’re gonna show up to. Like, that’s where you’re supposed to be. Wherever you’re gonna show up, wherever you’re gonna show up consistently and where it feels like you can do it with ease. Like if you’re terrible on video, lives aren’t a thing for you.
Like you don’t need to be doing that. And so I felt that a lot, that we’re supposed to do a certain thing, particularly in a field like mine, where it is mostly people who identify as female, particularly in those fields, we’re not supposed to talk about making money. So that’s something that’s been a big, huge thing. And I’ve been very adamant about people who work in domestic services, who work with families, you know, my backgrounds and social work.
You know, these are all fields where we’re supposed to just get high off of, you know, the good works we’re doing, and you’re not supposed to talk about being compensated fairly or beyond fairly to be abundantly compensated. And so that’s something I’ve been saying different, which in the beginning, was not a very popular thing to be saying, like we’re supposed to just do this and everyone deserves this care.
How could you charge that amount? And I always say that, yes, every person does deserve this care, but it doesn’t mean that the individual caregiver, service provider is the one that should be providing that. Our government should be providing those things. And I’m happy to advocate for that, but I still have dreams for myself and my family that, you know, people can pay for all this 20 years of knowledge.
Stephanie Skryzowski (08:34):
Mm-Hmm, oh my gosh. That’s so powerful. My career started in the nonprofit field, and so it’s very similar where it’s like, yeah, you’re gonna get paid basically minimum wage and spent, you know, how many hours a week and have no life because you are working for the greater good and..
Brandi Jordan (08:52):
Stephanie Skryzowski (08:52):
That is not how we’re going to really create lasting impacts that outlast us in our generation and ourselves. So I love that you’re unapologetic about something like that. Because I do think that, you know, the services that you are providing are so, so vital, but that also doesn’t mean that the people who are providing them should not be able to, like you said, sort of achieve your own goals for your family and for yourself.
So I love that conversation. And obviously as a CFO, as a money person, what we’re doing with all of our clients of course, is helping them make money so that they can achieve their personal goals and whatever their impact goals are as well. So I love that you’ve sort of ingrained that into your business. I love that. Was there a time throughout your journey?
I loved in your bio, you said you know, you heard a segment on NPR about midwifery and then like cold called to birthing center and then boom, your career was born, like, what was that? Was that like scary to you? Or were you just like, Nope, I’ve got like, this is what I wanna do. I’m just gonna go it.
Brandi Jordan (09:56):
I mean, I was like 19 or 20, so I don’t think that even thought about it being a career, which just like, what is this, what is this old time meeting they’re talking about? Like what and so I was just like, let me just see what this is about. So I literally cold called this birth center and for whatever reason, they were crazy enough to let a 19 year old come and train with them.
And you know, my first birth, there was a first time, couple, and they had a 10 pound baby in the water. It just was like, I just didn’t know that our bodies could do this. And it was just fascinating to me, but I was also 19 and okay, like, this is amazing, but who’s really gonna hire, you know, me to do this. Like, you know, who’s really gonna hire me.
And so I kind of, you know, I did a training with them, I had a love supporting birth and learning about it. You know, we weren’t even called doulas back then. And I moved to California to finish my studies and I moved next door to the Hollywood birthing center. So I was like, okay, I think this might be a sign that I need to keep with this work.
And then they said, oh, what you’re doing? You should go take a doula training, that’s similar to what you’re doing. And so I did that training and then I kind of was doing it a lot, but I had been told all along the while, this is not something that can be a career. You cannot make money at this. It’s just like a little side thing. You do it for the love of it.
And so I took the doula training. I was also well at the doula training. I was even told that I should consider volunteering in the urban neighborhood. So you can take from that what you want, but that was the advice that I was given and that I couldn’t make money at this. And you know, I was so busy like the first six months. Finally, my mom was like, I think you should charge people. I think this seems like a job.
Cause I wasn’t even charging people. I just loved it. And I wasn’t even charging people. And she was like, you do this a lot, shouldn’t there be like a fee? Should you charge them? I was like oh, but they told me I couldn’t make money at this. And so again, from the beginning, like it’s people’s own limiting beliefs that we allow to like tell us what’s possible.
And from that point on, like I’ve never been in that space and not made six figures. From that point on. And I was told that this could be only a side hustle that I should just go, you know, volunteer with poor black people. That and there was no model in LA at that time, I knew one other black doula. Which is crazy if you’re talking about the city of Los Angeles, you know?
And so there wasn’t like a road map, I didn’t see anyone doing what I was doing and I just kind of instinctively knew what would work for me and what wouldn’t, you know. So that’s kind of how it grew and I just was good at it and kind of kept going with it and kept going into school and kind of figuring out like how I could use my gifts to really do this in a way that felt good to me.
Stephanie Skryzowski (12:30):
I love that. When you have initially started, did you have kids at that point?
Brandi Jordan (12:35):
No, and that was the other thing. I got a lot of side eye from the people who were just like, oh, how are you gonna do this? You haven’t had a kid, how are you gonna, you know. And I was like, I don’t know, I just know that this feels right, you know? So one of the things that I learned really early on was that, so often we go into situations like this highlighting what we don’t know as opposed to highlighting why you’re the person for the job.
And so one of the things I’m most thankful about in that period of time of not having kids when I first did this, was that I had to, I was different than most people who were going out and doing this. Like people had babies and that had sparked their reason for becoming a doula.
And I didn’t have that. But I did have lots of information about child development, you know. I had in my own family of origin been helping with kids since I was like nine or 10 and just had this comfortability around babies and families. And that’s what I highlighted and I was able to keep people focused on the good parts of me and not where I was lacking. So I really got good at being able to do that in this early part of my career. And then eight years later know I had my own child.
Stephanie Skryzowski (13:38):
That is huge. You’re right. Because we do like, we will put together a list of all the reasons why we’re not good enough or why something can’t work. And maybe you weren’t thinking about that in that terms when you were 19 or 20 years old, but you just instinctively were like, well, here’s what I do bring to the table. I think we don’t often do that enough.
And I’ve been in my business for seven years and a 15 year career before that. I still find myself doing that thinking like, why I can’t do this thing or why I wouldn’t be good for that thing. And I think that shift in thinking is so important. Did you consciously realize that you were doing that is you were sort of selling yourself as a young, you know, doula?
Brandi Jordan (14:20):
I didn’t consciously understand that like now going back and just seeing you know, my mom is very much this way of being really careful the words that we used to talk about ourselves and what you, she would always say, like, don’t speak that to the universe. Don’t say that to the universe, you know, and we make fun of my mom, she used to be so annoyed when she would say that, but it’s so true.
Like, you know, the things you focus on grows. And so if I focus on before going to an interview, all the reasons why these people aren’t gonna hire me, then this is probably not gonna go well. So I got really good at saying things like, you know, people would be like, do you have children? And even the social worker, because I worked with parents even when I was a social worker and my question to them would be, you know, it sounds like you’re looking to understand how I’m able to help you.
Like, how do you feel like me having kids is something that’s helpful to you and then get them to answer their own question. And then once they answer that, they’ll be like, oh, well I have this, this and this so that’s why I’m able to help you. Like, I would get really good at figuring out, like why are you asking me this question?
It’s fine if you want someone who has kids, it’s totally fine. Like you should get the person you feel most comfortable with. But once I can understand why you’re asking this question, then I could really answer them in a very truthful, authentic way about why I was the person that could help them.
Stephanie Skryzowski (15:29):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love that. Yeah. Really getting to the root of the question to figure out, oh, wait a second. I hear you asking one thing, but you’re actually asking something entirely different. Yeah, I love that because I’m sure there are opportunities that we rule ourselves out from.
We cross ourselves off the list when we really shouldn’t like, we’re not off the list, we’re on the list. there’s a possibility for us to do that, but we just rule ourselves out because we’re thinking that. Yeah, we’re just telling ourselves these things that we’re not qualified or we’re not the right person, but it’s not true at all.
Brandi Jordan (16:01):
Mom would say like, let other people tell you no, like don’t make the no yourself, you know?
Stephanie Skryzowski (16:06):
Yes, yes, exactly. Oh my gosh. That’s so true. I really like that. I’m just like, my wheels are trying to go, I’m like, okay, how can I apply this to like 50 different areas of my life? Because that’s really good.
Brandi Jordan (16:17):
I know it’s so good. But something you mentioned earlier that made me really think of something. You were talking about having all this access to things that gives us this decision paralysis, because you just have like, well, maybe I should be doing this or I should be doing that, I should be doing this. And something that my mom said, my great-grand father, he died when I was like 13. So I’ve been so lucky, I’ve had like, even my kids have great grandparents.
My grandmother, she’ll turn 101 on April 15th. So we all have had these amazing multi-generational families. And so she said, he used to always say, each generation of parents is weaker and wiser. And I was like, oh, what does he mean by that? Like, you all have so much access to everything. You have the technology, you have the book, you have the experts, but you’re like losing this ability to just know what the thing is for you.
That connection to your intuition, that connection to like what my family needs. We’re losing that because we’re, you know, saying like, oh, this person who knows nothing about me and my family knows better than I know about what my needs are. And we can’t make decisions because we’re so clouded by all of this extra information, which I always think is really interesting that, you know, little term he would say.
Stephanie Skryzowski (17:20):
Yeah, oh my gosh, I love that. I just think about, yeah, again, there’s so many areas, I feel like I could apply this. I think about our clients as well, that I’m like taking, you know, parenting and you know, newborns. And I’m like, let’s think about this in terms of finances and money, but I can see the parallels where it’s like, yeah, you’re watching other people.
So you know, on Instagram or whatever, doing these things in their business. So you wanna do these in your business, but it doesn’t really make sense for you for your business model. And then when you start putting the numbers together, like that doesn’t really make sense either. I just love that, really. And like I said, I’ve struggled with this so much in my business, seeing this person get this win.
And I’m like, Ooh, I think would do that, let me do that. But actually this is not feel aligned at all. Yeah. I love that. The other thing that I saw in your bio, your most used mantra, speaking of sayings and things, calm is contagious. I love that. Tell me more about that. Where did that come from? How do you use that?
Brandi Jordan (18:22):
Okay. So I used, I have done and used to do a lot of sleep stuff with clients and that’s how people find me. Like my work has been, I work with a lot of celebrities, high profile clients. And so that’s kind of how I really started to build things. So people always reached me out, used to reach out to me for that reason was for sleep and stuff.
And back before the panini, when we went to people’s houses and stuff, I used to often, even before then I did virtual work with people and I would teach them how they could get their baby to sleep or their toddler to sleep. And then sometimes I’d be like, you know what? I think you need more hands on support.
And so they would then have me come in and so I’d get the baby, we’d do the thing. And they’d be like, okay, first of all, this kid has never done that in like 13 months, like, what is this voodoo? We do exactly what you’re doing, Brandi. Like, why isn’t he doing. I was like, it’s not what I’m doing, it’s what I’m feeling and thinking, calm is contagious.
I used to always say that and I really saw that it was like it wasn’t about the actual technique. It was really that I was coming with a sense of a cure. Like I’m never thinking a baby’s not gonna stop crying. I’m never thinking they’re not gonna sleep. You know, it’s always this idea of let me just figure it out. Like what’s going on bud, let’s just calm down and figure this out.
And like you’re gonna go to sleep and it’s all gonna be great. So I used to just talk to him about a lot about that. Like, you know, I can give you all the tools, but you are gonna have to figure out how do you create that calm in yourself and that knowing, because that security is what your baby is feeling in me right now. Cause I don’t have this way when you’re thinking like, oh my God, how long is this gonna take?
Like when are we gonna be done? When can we go to bed? And of course you should be thinking that if you haven’t slept in six months. But when we’re talking about children who are just so open and they’re just absorbing everyone’s, you know, everything and their nervous systems are just so open and fragile, they’re absorbing all of that.
And so I started really talking to parents about calm being contagious, but you know, in every aspect of where I worked, whether it’s been a social worker working in crisis or now working with other service providers, growing their businesses. That sense of calm whenever you get into a space where you’re feeling really squirrely and you’re reaching for all the things and you’re gonna do these five platforms with everyone said, you should do it.
Usually that equals nothing. Or your business goes down instead of flourishing because that vibe that energy that’s being put out of this anxious feeling, that’s also contagious to people. And usually people who are in those states aren’t usually gonna be good at buying things or doing things. So it really came from my work with families and babies, just understanding how powerful my own energy was.
I didn’t really get that until having so many people mirror that to me and say like, oh, you’re doing something special. And I’m just like, no, I’m just doing what I normally do. You know? I started really thinking about okay what’s different here? And I knew it was really just my outlook on what was gonna happen and that situation.
Stephanie Skryzowski (21:09):
Yeah. I mean, I could definitely feel like I have read that some, you know, about trying to get babies to sleep and stop crying. And so I definitely felt like when I had little ones, I did think about that consciously instead of this sort of frenetic energy. But I completely, I mean, I was not perfect by any means, but I definitely get that.
And I think about, again, I think about my business as well and listeners, thinking about whatever you’re doing in your business. You know, one thing that we have clients say to us a lot is you’re so calm. Like when it comes to our finances, I feel so stressed out. But like, you’re so calm and I think it’s like you said, I’m just approaching it with like, okay, well let’s take a look, let’s see what we’re gonna do.
Let’s talk about it, and there’s no need to have this frantic energy. It just, you know, it is what it is and we’re gonna figure out the problem and create a solution and so on. So I love that. And again, I feel like that’s another thing is calm is contagious that you can apply to all areas of your life. I was actually thinking of it when I have a two year old and a five year old, they’re both two girls.
And the two year old is deep in the throes of the terrible twos that she’s very opinionated and she wants things her way and her way or the highway. So she, and my five year old kind of butt heads and then their energy gets me like, you know, I’m up here.
And so I was like, okay, calm is contagious. I am going repeat that mantra in my head again and again, when my girls are going at each other and making me really stressed, I’m just gonna take it down a notch and hopefully they will do the same. So I like that a lot.
Brandi Jordan (22:39):
But when I tell parents about this, because this is the idea that you have to be perfect. There’s plenty of times where I’m yelling at my kids, cause they won’t be quiet. Like it’s not about perfection, but it’s really also modelling to our children how we do regulate our emotions. And so when I am in those space and just like, you know what, you guys, I’ve had too much and I’m gonna step away because I’m getting really upset or I’m getting anxious or this is making me whatever.
And having them see that evolution is important as well. So it’s not so much about being perfect as like showing our children how we can be upset, be angry, be sad, be happy, have all those important emotions and nothing changes. We still love each other, we’re still a family, we still go on.
And I think that’s equally important to being calm. Because I think some people hear that, this idea that I have to always act I’m calm and happy in front of my children. And that’s actually one of the worst things because then our kids don’t learn how to regulate their own emotions.
Stephanie Skryzowski (23:33):
Yeah. I love that. I’ve definitely taken advantage of the mommy time out. Like I’m just gonna step away from the situation for a few minutes so I can calm down and I will be back shortly.
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So how many kids do you have?
Brandi Jordan (24:25):
I have three. They are four, six. They’re all gonna have birthdays. So we’re just gonna say they’re five, seven and fifteen. Because they all have a birthday in the next two months.
Stephanie Skryzowski (24:33):
Oh my gosh. Five, seven and fifteen. So how has your business or your work changed or evolved since you’ve had kids and obviously you’ve gone from newborn all the way up to, you know, grade school slash I guess high school kid, right? 15
Brandi Jordan (24:46):
Mm-Hmm, starting high school. Yeah.
Stephanie Skryzowski (24:48):
Yeah. So what does your business look like with kids? How has it changed, how has it grown? What does that look like?
Brandi Jordan (24:55):
Well, something interesting when I was really, when I was young, I always thought to myself, I know there’s so much focus on being with your kids when they’re young. And I definitely wanted that and I did that to some extent. But I always said to myself, it was so important to me to make sure that whatever work I was doing, that I was around when they were like teens, I felt like that’s when I need to be all in their business even more so than when they’re like two and three.
And so, you know, being at the space where I have kids at all those ages, like right now, they’re actually four, six and 14 and having flexibility, that was all is my dream to have a situation where I can be involved. Like I know what’s happening.
I’m there when my kids come home from school, I know where my teenager’s going. Like that was important to me. I grew up as a latchkey kid and luckily I was a good kid, so I wasn’t getting into trouble, but it could have been different, you know? And I think how it’s changed for me, so I did work a lot, prior to having kids, I took any job anywhere, any time.
Cause I was just so hungry for the experience for, you know, just learning my business curve when I started my business. When my oldest was one year old officially, I’d already been working with clients, but I didn’t have like, you know, it was kind of like mom and pop, just showing up and people were writing me a check kind of thing.
And then I started thinking like, I gotta make this a little bit more something, I have a kid now. Then I opened up my business in 2008 and kind of figured out from there. And each time I had a kid, I had to rethink how I did business to incorporate. Like when I was pregnant with my daughter I was opening a brick and mortar location and it was amazing. And then I had my surprise third and it was like, this is not gonna be so amazing. Like what am I gonna do?
And I actually chose to walk away from that, and it was crazy. Like we had grown so much, we increased like by a hundred K in sales in a year and people are like, are you crazy? It’s like, no, I just know that I don’t wanna be here from nine to five with two small kids.
I just don’t, you know. And by doing that, it opened up this opportunity to be able to live abroad in many ways. So it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise and then obviously the pandemic happened. So I made a great decision not to have a retail store during that time.
Stephanie Skryzowski (27:05):
Yeah. At the time when you were making that decision to shut the retail store down, did you just shut it down or did you sell it or you just, did you just close the doors?
Brandi Jordan (27:13):
You know, I still run the business so basically it was like a one stop shop. Like you could now have our services, you could do classes, you could do, you know, all those things, you could buy stuff. But I’m much more person who likes experiences over things. And so oftentimes I like talk people out of buying things like, oh, you don’t need that. My husband would be like, mm, I don’t think you need a retail store if you’re gonna talk people outta buying things.
Stephanie Skryzowski (27:35):
Brandi Jordan (27:36):
But also there’s just a part of me. Like, I’m always looking ahead and I little bit have people come in and scan our stuff and like compare to Amazon, like can I get it cheaper on Amazon? Literally like in our face. And you know, part of me was annoyed, but I also was looking at the writing on the wall, like you know, if I wanna compete with an Amazon, the target, which we were. We were competing because we had the community that those places didn’t have, like they could come in there and cry on someone’s shoulder and meet other moms.
We were doing that, but I knew that if I really wanted to really compete then I’d have to have a bigger vision for it. And I didn’t really have the want to have a chain of retail stores or to go big or to get capital or whatever. And knowing that I didn’t have that drive, I just didn’t see it being a long term, something that I should keep doing.
Stephanie Skryzowski (28:22):
Yeah. Did it feel very clear at the time or was it a tough decision for you?
Brandi Jordan (28:28):
It felt very clear. It was tough because I was obviously six months pregnant and it was my income. So it was a tough decision, but very clear. It’s clear I’m not gonna keep doing this. Unclear how we will live after this closes. But, you know, I always feel like when your fist is closed, that it can’t receive, and it was just like holding onto something that I know that I really don’t want is probably preventing that thing.
That’s like the thing for opening its weight to me, and that’s what happened. We decided to close, we actually lived abroad in Asia for that year after I had my baby. And it was the one time in my life that really showed me that I could do my business from anywhere.
And it was amazing. Like our plan was only to be there for my maternity leave, which was great. And we loved it, and my kids had this amazing experience and we had lots of people giving us, like, you’re taking a baby to Thailand. I’m like, I’m pretty sure they have babies in Thailand and people have babies there, but it seemed like, you know, you’re closing your bit. Everyone thought I was insane, which I probably was a little bit insane.
Because I was eight months pregnant. But I was just very clear that I didn’t want this life where I was working 60 hours a week and feeling so exhausted and not enjoying why I got into the work. And that’s what was missing at the store. Like it was great, I made amazing people, but I’m a people person, not a paper person. And so doing inventory and that kind of thing was just so different from how I wanted to transform the world.
Stephanie Skryzowski (29:55):
Was living abroad, something that you had always wanted to do or did that kind of, you know, pop up as a desire, like around the same time, or is that something that you’ve dreamed about for a while?
Brandi Jordan (30:06):
I always wanted to do it. It always felt like it wasn’t possible just with work. Everyone would be like, oh, I would love to, but I can’t cause of work. Like that’s what everyone usually says. And at the time I was also teaching at university at USC. And I was doing that online. They had created an online program for the social work department. And so I was teaching online and I still had the core of my business, which happened virtually.
So it was like just figure it out, I’m gonna be on maternity leave anyway. And so let’s just go figure this out, and so we did that. Then when I came back six months later, I had the opportunity to actually move abroad and kind of split time between France and California. But without that experience, I don’t think that I would’ve known that I could do it. So it’s kind of like a trial run.
Stephanie Skryzowski (30:52):
Yeah. That’s been something that’s been a dream of mine as well. And I have a husband who is employed by a company here. So I’ve been telling myself the same thing as well. Like, oh, I’d love to, but we can’t, his work, but you know, there’s a way for everything. You just have to be open and kind of figure out what that way is. And I love that you were able to do that. I need to, that’s a lesson for myself.
Brandi Jordan (31:16):
Give me 10 minutes with you guys. And I will have you moved abroad in like 10 minutes.
Stephanie Skryzowski (31:22):
Oh my gosh
Brandi Jordan (31:22):
Seriously, I have this conversation with so many people and it’s very rare that I ever find someone who has a valid reason why they just can’t move. It’s very rare. The only times where I’m just like, okay, you’re right. Like is when, for example, people who are co-parenting and that parent is not willing to move like yeah, your kid needs their parent.
Got it. You know, like, got it, totally get, you know, that’s a reason. But it’s very rare. I feel like we just make decisions and you know, it’s not that you can’t, there’s just other things that are more important right now. And I think if we get clearer saying that you’ll get closer to your dream,
Stephanie Skryzowski (31:56):
Yeah. That’s so true because it’s the truth. It’s the truth. It’s like, yes, I want to, but it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I’m choosing that to make that a priority.
Brandi Jordan (32:05):
Stephanie Skryzowski (32:06):
Like the little thing, like, oh, I don’t have time to work out. Well, actually you do cause you spend three hours scrolling Instagram at night. You’re choosing not to. And that’s okay, but let’s say what’s real. Yeah.
Brandi Jordan (32:17):
But by saying that you’re more likely for the thing to happen cause it’s, I can’t, you’re basically creating a whole story around why you can’t do something
Stephanie Skryzowski (32:24):
Brandi Jordan (32:25):
Versus taking ownership. Like I could totally do that. I’m just noting enough to do that right now.
Stephanie Skryzowski (32:29):
Exactly. And what a more powerful story. Like you’re owning the story, not putting yourself as a victim of the situation. Yeah. Oh, so good. So you had said, okay, you know, now I know that I can work from anywhere. You don’t have to be changed to a brick and mortar or to a certain geographical location. So in order to get you to that place, have you had to grow your team in any certain way or add certain people or is it just you? What does your team look like and how has that evolved?
Brandi Jordan (32:57):
It’s evolved quite a bit. I always say I wish I hadn’t have been afraid to have a team earlier cause I probably would be well beyond where I’m at now. But it is what it is. Because even before at the store, obviously I had someone there who was managing people when I had someone doing sales and things like that.
But mostly it was me. And then once I went abroad, I still had someone who was helping with administration, with parents and things like that, like scheduling and that kind of thing. But it was just us two. And I think when I came back at that point, I had have been like, okay, this is where we’re growing. This is what I need. It doesn’t let this today.
But if I can hire for the business that I want, I’m gonna have to stretch myself a little bit. And I wish I would have known to do that earlier on. I was just so afraid. Like what if I can’t make payroll? It was such a fear of not being able to pay people, but not understanding that having those people was integral to me making more money. And I don’t mean just hiring a bunch of people, like being really intentional.
So now I have an operations person, I have an executive assistant, I have someone who does social media. And then I have some people who do like freelance things, an extra person does graphic design and things like that for us, but that’s a team. So I do wanna keep it lean, but I know that just the few things that I’m doing now, I wouldn’t be able to scale without their support to be able to show up in my zone of genius, which is connecting with people and creating community.
I was doing a lot of things that weren’t in my zone of genius was why I was kind of plateaued for a while. And once I kind of got out of that, like, okay, I’m gonna have to get people who have a skill set that’s different from me to compliment what I’m doing. That’s when I was really able to make that big financial leap.
Stephanie Skryzowski (34:35):
It’s true. The two are so intertwined. It’s like you feel like you can’t hire more people until you make a certain amount of money, but you’re not gonna make that amount of money until you hire the people. So you just have to really take a leap of faith and know your numbers, nothing crazy. But like hire the people that are going to help get you to the next level.
I love that you did that. Did you have any type of financial forecasting or any that was helping you make that decision? Or were you just like, this is the right thing to do, I’m gonna do it.
Brandi Jordan (35:06):
I wish I could say that. Yeah, so no, I wish. Like you know personality wise, no. I’m kind of just like, you know what we’re doing it. I wish I would’ve done things like that, like forecast and things like that. And it’s things even along the way I’ve had to learn even past like making multiple six figures, I wasn’t doing any forecasting. I wasn’t really paying attention to my numbers.
There was a lot of fear. I grew up with a lot of feast and famine in my family. And so even making money was a little bit anxiety producing for me because I always learned it on the other side of that while something bad was gonna happen. And so I didn’t realize I was creating that same thing in my business by not looking at the numbers and forecasting and doing all those things out of fear.
So part of my growth has been to be more comfortable with numbers and know that making money, something bad doesn’t necessarily have to happen. Because you’re making money and, but it’s something that I continue to learn. I continue to watch my triggers around that. And it would’ve been helpful to have that.
I don’t even think I knew that it was possible to have someone like you five years ago and it probably would’ve been integral to my business. But I didn’t even know that was an option when I thought CFO like, oh, I don’t have 200 K to hire that person. That was my initial thought, you know, not knowing it, oh, someone could be fractional in my business and do this.
But I think it’s just being in circles and being exposed was so important to me because I didn’t know those details.
Stephanie Skryzowski (36:26):
Yeah. Well, it sounds like even with, oh, in the absence of a forecast, it sounds like you’ve made some very strong decisions for your business. So I love that, but you’re right. I mean, I’ve even thought about other roles for my business that I was like, oh, I didn’t even know you could hire, like, I’m a fractional CFO, but I didn’t really realize you could hire like a fractional chief marketing office.
And I’m like, oh, that exists. That’d be awesome. So yeah. It’s yeah, you just don’t know, like you said, until you put yourself in those circles and learn from others.
Brandi Jordan (36:54):
Yeah, you don’t know. And then it’s also I did a lot of hiring and investing in things that weren’t gonna move my business for, and I didn’t know. So I made a lot of bad decisions too. But had I like had those numbers of what’s gonna be the biggest return of investment. That’s where I should put ahead in my money. But I didn’t know that in the beginning, which is like, oh, spend this $7,000 on a website. Like, no, that was not.
Stephanie Skryzowski (37:16):
I know, I know. And you know what, some of that stuff we do just have to like, you know, you make the decision and you figure it out and it becomes a lesson learned that you can add to your pocket full of lessons learned that you won’t do again. And it’s just part of the journey. I’ve had lots of those as well, believe me. Well, as we start to wrap up, I usually ask just a couple quick questions at the end. So my first question is what helps you disconnect from work?
Brandi Jordan (37:43):
That’s a hard one because my work is so life that like, let me lemme think about this really. I think just being with my family. Being with my husband, like I’m disconnected. I would say that’s one of the good things of splitting time is that I get to see two different sides of it. Like, you know, in France, when you leave work, you leave work.
People don’t even wanna talk about it. Here in the states, it’s like that small talk, like what do you do for a living? And people will literally hear, say like, I’m not at work, why are we talking about that? Like sorry.
Stephanie Skryzowski (38:15):
Brandi Jordan (38:16):
More like when you’re not at work, you’re not at work. And this idea of not at home, making sure you eat every meal with your family, that’s really important stuff. So I feel like I’m able to disconnect then and just being with friends and having joyous occasions. I think that’s how I disconnect.
Stephanie Skryzowski (38:33):
Yeah. I love that, I can imagine. Like at five o’clock, not talking or thinking about work for the next 12 to 15 hours. That’s novel, which it shouldn’t be, but it really is.
Brandi Jordan (38:47):
I mean, it is very novel, but it’s also when a community does the same thing, it’s easier. I always tell people, like you could try that in the states, but you’re gonna be considered lazy. You’re gonna be like have terrible work ethic. Like you know, you’re gonna get fired. Like yeah. You know, it’s not acceptable.
Like here it’s acceptable. Here it’s actually, when we’re in France, it’s against the law for employers, I think to email you after work hours. So things like that are in place. So if the whole community is abiding by that, it’s much easier to do those things.
Stephanie Skryzowski (39:15):
Exactly, exactly. And I would imagine, I don’t know. Maybe do some of those sort of principles kind of come with you across the Atlantic. When you’re in LA, do you feel like you try to embody that?
Brandi Jordan (39:28):
Yes, but vice versa. I tell people, like even one of the things of being away from the states also gives me much more gratitude for having that upbringing as well. Like, you know, the American optimism, there’s something to that, you know. We believe we can create anything, we can do anything. Like there is no, no, it’s I’m gonna make it happen. And that is not the sentiment in France.
So having that kind of mindset when I’m here, also, for anyone, it increases your chances in this market because you’re coming with this fresh idea. Like there is no such thing as no, like I’m gonna create the opening for this. And so I think by having these varied experiences, living around the world and maybe it’ll take those amazing things from each culture and it becomes part of my life. And so I get the best of each of these places to incorporate into my own life.
Stephanie Skryzowski (40:15):
I love that, that is beautiful. And it’s so much more, I would imagine that it’s so much more impactful than, you know, you don’t really get a sense of a culture on that level from traveling somewhere for a week or two weeks or even a month. It’s like, you really have to immerse yourself. And I love that you’ve gotten to do that for yourself and your family, your kids, like what a gift to them to be able to experience that. I love that. All right. Well tell us Brandi, where can our listeners find you?
Brandi Jordan (40:43):
Well, if an old lady like me, you can find me on Facebook, Brandi Jordan, Brandi with an I, and my page is public on Instagram. I’m @brandi_jordan_official and then I have my podcast called dear doula, which is on apple and Spotify and audible. All the places where you listen to podcast. And you can also follow us on IG @deardoulaposcast as well.
Stephanie Skryzowski (41:05):
Awesome. Thank you so much. Is your podcast for moms of like little, little ones, newborns or?
Brandi Jordan (41:10):
All parents. And so we do talk a lot about the early years. But there’s also, you know, we’ve had lots of discussions about mothering and entrepreneur and being an entrepreneur. And navigating parenthood after divorce. There’s lots of conversations that I think work for all families. We definitely do talk about things in the early years as well. So I think anyone who’s on the parenting journey would benefit.
Stephanie Skryzowski (41:33):
Awesome. Thank you so much. Well, we’ll definitely link to all of that. And Brandi, thank you so much for chatting today. I feel like I walked away with lots of gems and quotes and things that I’m gonna be thinking about and applying to my own business, my own life. So I really appreciate your time. It was great to chat with you.
Brandi Jordan (41:50):
It’s so good chatting with you as well, Stephanie. Thank you for how me.
Stephanie Skryzowski (41:55):
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 for Episode 64