Mompreneur Sara Speicher's Story:
- Never had Business Experience, How Sara Succeeded.
- What does it take for new entrepreneurs to succeed?
- Starting Your Own Biz for the First Time…
- Create Business Opportunity with Freedom for Family
- audible book for additional resources
Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App
More about our featured guest Sara Speicher
Sara O. Speicher, MBA is a President and Founder of VBM Pro, Inc. – Virtual Business Management & Consulting, and an international best-selling author. As a former internationally recruited NCAA Division 1 basketball player, and now a mother and wife, Sara and her team help business owners and their teams worldwide grow and scale their businesses and buy back their lives.
Other resources for launching a business as mentioned by Sara Books:
Get them on Audible (FREE Trial Membership)
Productivity Resources Sara Mentioned
- Teamwork http://www.teamwork.com/
- Asana (we love it too!) http://www.asana.com
- Online Scheduler (we use as well) http://scheduleonce.com
[00:02] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, and practical solutions to help you build a business and a life that you love. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show, thank you for tuning in, and thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations. And if you are new here, just know that you are among friends. And this is what you can expect: Unique insights, aha moments, and actionable information from self-made successes as they share their trials, tribulations and their come-from-behind victories. And a quick mention and a thank you to two of our listeners who visited our iTunes channel and recently left a rating and a review. Let's see here… Tessa M, says that she loves what Joel and Pei are doing. And then she goes on to thank us for having such great information offered by our wonderful, wonderful guests. And then, Shawn Manaher, he says that the lovely couple, and I can only assume, Pei, that he's talking about us…[laughter]
[01:18] Joel: He says that the lovely couple never fails to give us a wonderful episode, and then he really likes how we tackle the idea of relaunch and of transformation. So Tessa, Shawn, thank you so much for visiting our iTunes channel. And that's Relaunchshow.com/ITC, stands for iTunes channel or we can just use the letters ITC. Joining us on today's show, international best selling author, and a great collaboration book, you need get your hands on this book. The book is called “Bold,” and our guest today is Sara Speicher. Sara, welcome, welcome on today's show. We're excited about having you on today's show because in addition to being a wife, a mom, and a business leader, you are also an expert on how to scale a business, which is very important these days. And even more important, how to buy back your time? So, we're going to learn about that a little bit later on in today's show, welcome.
[02:26] Sara Speicher: Thank you. Thank you for such a warm introduction. And I'm so excited to be here today.
[02:31] Joel: Thrilled that you're able to be here today, Sara. And you know how we roll on this show. This show is all about the relaunch. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our life, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant for them or the most transformational, and then we just kind of unfold the stories from there. And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes if that's okay. But first, you've played division one basketball, and I would have no excuse if I didn't talk a little bit of basketball with you so… If you would, just humor me here. And what is your funniest or your most memorable moment on the hard wood and from that experience? What do you think, Sara?
[03:25] Sara Speicher: There is so many stories from traveling to practicing to running suicides after the games that we won because we didn't meet our goals that we had. But the ones that was the most transformational I remember was, I came to the states to play basketball, I barely spoke any English. I was super quiet. But my coaches on the contrary, they were huge on communication. You had to speak clearly, you had to be loud, 'cause if nothing else, how else are you gonna communicate on the court. Right?
[03:59] Joel: Right.
[04:00] Sara Speicher: So at one practice, I remember they were trying to do everything possible to get me to talk. And I just… I was quiet. So coach had it. She put me in the middle of the court. She made my entire teammate… The entire team sprint, and she turned to me and said, “Now, it's your choice. You either start talking, or they keep sprinting.” So…
[04:21] Joel: Wow.
[04:22] Sara Speicher: Okay then.[laughter]
[04:23] Joel: So how long did you make them sprint? [chuckle]
[04:26] Sara Speicher: Not too long. Not too long. But it was amazing the looks on their faces, it's like, “Come on, Sara, you can do it.” Not from the perspective of, “Oh, my God, make her stop 'cause I can't take it anymore. I can't sprint anymore but you can do it, you can really do it.” I was like, “Oh, yes, I absolutely can do it.” So, that was one of the memories that stuck.
[04:49] Joel: Yeah, but that is a great story and far from from that story, you started learning about the love, respect and the support that your teammates had for you, and how that they were pulling from you from the beginning. And there was support there… And I wasn't there, but there was support there, probably from the beginning for you.
[05:13] Sara Speicher: Oh, absolutely. And that's the foundation of any team. ‘Cause you can go through life as an athlete or as a business person, you need to have a team. And if the support is not there, you have to keep searching for the people that you can actually feel aligned with and that you know they're 100%, and you can say the same, “I'm here supporting you 100%.”
[05:33] Joel: I love that. Pei can relate with you tremendously, or at least I would think that she can, because she actually immigrated from China as a single woman when she was 25 by herself.
[05:48] Pei: Right. When you're sharing your story, you were so quiet at the time, oh, my goodness, yes. And I was so self-conscious about my accent or if I'm even expressing myself the right way by using certain words, yeah.
[06:12] Joel: Yeah, I guess we could go down that, that could be a whole another story about learning the culture and the atmosphere in a brand new country. But right now, let's get in to ReLaunch. Okay, you already told us about one transformational relaunch when you started opening up to your team, what other relaunch can we zero in on to unfold the rest of the story? What do you think?
[06:39] Sara Speicher: When I'm looking back on my life, and I know everybody has an amazing story that's there truly and it could be inspiring in one way or another, I'm looking back on my life and I'm realizing it's been through several stages. It's been in a stage of being a student athlete and it's been in a stage of being an employee and now as a business owner and a mom and a wife and you could slice it and segment it and do whatever you wanna to put the pieces together, but I think the most transformational point so far has been the week that my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first daughter was the same week I lost my job. And we just moved to a new house, everything was amazing, the honeymoon stage, I said, “Oh, okay, we can do it.” And we sat down, we had a conversation and before you knew it we decided, “Oh, well, we're gonna start a business.”
[07:44] Sara Speicher: Because it was also one of the driving forces behind it was definitely being able to be home with the daughter still contributing to our household income and then also my entire family's in Europe so I wanted to have a flexibility of working from anywhere at any time, to be able to go visit them. But that was something so foreign to me, now all of a sudden making all the decisions for yourself because I was used to having coaches around me, having professors around me, having my bosses, and it's…
[08:17] Pei: So how long were you in the corporate environment? What was your position or your experience?
[08:27] Sara Speicher: It's been, I believe, almost three years altogether. This particular one was in marketing for insurance [08:36] ____ company that had nationwide offices, so it was a very different dynamic going from collaborating with employees nationwide to going back into my home office and like, “Ha, okay, now, let's find the clients. Let's first figure out what I'm gonna even do, what can I do, how to do it.”
[08:55] Joel: So take me through that process a little bit if you would. So providence stepped in basically and not only did you learn that you were getting ready to be a mother for the first time but also that okay, now, you're gonna have a different opportunity instead of going to the office that you've grown accustomed to you're going to be able to have the freedom, the flexibility, but also the challenges of entrepreneur and a business owner. So what did you, Sara did you learn or relearn about yourself and your own possibilities and potential during not just that season but also even after your daughter was born? That's probably the better way to say it.
[09:42] Sara Speicher: It's been a huge learning experience over this past three and a half years. The funny part was that I thrived under pressure because the first time around I had a deadline. I knew I had nine months to get it up and running and figure it out. Because then who knows what's gonna happen when the baby comes? No one can predict. So that was the first stage and I just had to figure out and was actually really helpful to have some of the books around, one was 4-Hour Work Week, which was kind of inspiration in terms of insights to see what people are looking for and that there is a whole market out there who needs the support system in place to be able to scale back their work week, to free up their time, to scale their business and grow their business essentially.
[10:32] Sara Speicher: Another book that was really helpful was from Good to Great, and I remember the Hedgehog Concept. It's pretty much to figure out what is it that you think you're the best in the world at doing? What is that people are willing to pay you for? And the third one is, What Do You Love Doing the Most? And where those three intersect, that's what you're supposed to be doing to build your business. And then the third book that is super helpful was the Blue Ocean Strategy, which was kind of an eye opener there really is no competition if you know how to position yourself, how to find your own market and create a need within the market.
[11:13] Joel: Okay, very good. So I appreciate the heads up on the books that helped you in your transformation, but that last one that you mentioned, how did you personally relate with the story?
[11:24] Pei: Right. How did you apply what you learned into your business?
[11:30] Joel: Yeah, how was it a game changer for you basically?
[11:32] Pei: By the way I'm gonna include all Sara's mentions and resources in joelboggess.com/284.
[11:41] Sara Speicher: It was a process. It didn't click immediately and I have to be honest with you because I'm still learning. But just to see where I was mentally, emotionally when I started with the business and then going through different coaches, masterminds, mentors. At first, I was really confused when people kept saying, the ones who've been in business, in the same business for years, how to focus on certain things. It doesn't make any sense, can you be more specific? Now I realize I had to go through those struggles myself. For example, how to price your offers, how to even put your offers together, how to find clients, how to build relationships with potential clients. Because in a service business, very rarely you make a sale during the first conversation you have with somebody. It's all about building relationships and trust and being there to provide a value for them first, before you can ask them to buy something. So that was all a learning experience. So then three months ago, my second daughter was born, and I remember…
[12:50] Joel: Three months ago…
[12:51] Sara Speicher: Yup, she's a newborn.
[12:53] Joel: Congratulations!
[12:54] Sara Speicher: Thank you. And I remember when we found out we were expecting the second time around, I sat down, I said “Okay, that's it. I have nine more months, there we go again.” [laughter]
[13:04] Joel: So I see a pattern forming here.
[13:06] Sara Speicher: [laughter] Yeah, I think we're done now. But… [laughter] No, what I'm trying to get to was with the “Blue Ocean Strategy” it was yes, it was a great book with great insights on how you create your own community, how to create your own need, but it didn't make much sense to me at the beginning, and it couldn't be something that I can pinpoint right now. I think it was a mix of all the experience and tracking especially was happening in my business, how many conversations am I having, what are people asking for, where are the rejections coming from, how I even communicate with them, and even personally, before I left on my maternity leave I had an amazing team to step in. I came back very differently. My focus was entirely different than it was when I left. So I had to go back to the drawing board just few weeks ago, I was like I had to figure it out again what is it really that I'm passionate about that can add the most value to my clients.
[14:16] Joel: Now let me ask you this: Did that surprise you, when your areas of interest or passion were changing, and also your areas of focus were changing. Sometimes there's that internal resistance, sometimes it's like an inner civil war, where we don't want to acknowledge or recognize that our interests, our passions are changing. Was that a surprise to you, was that a welcome change, what was that like?
[14:48] Sara Speicher: That's a fantastic question. And I have to say that for everybody who's going through that, I personally was pretty lucky to be working and supporting my clients, who, majority of them are coaches and consultants, and are actually consulting and coaching their clients, on just that. How to go through transformation, how to break through your inner blocks, and find what you're really passionate about, and monetize that. Because…
[15:18] Joel: Okay, so let me jump in right there. So how did you, Sara, get past some of your own internal road blocks and obstacles, because we all have them, as entrepreneurs, as spouses, as parents, and as sons and daughters, we all have those internal stop signs. So how did you get past some of yours either in being a wife and mother, or in being an entrepreneur?
[15:46] Sara Speicher: Well, first of all, you have to get really clear on why you're even doing what you're doing.
[15:51] Joel: Okay.
[15:52] Sara Speicher: You have to have that answer, you have to have it clear what it is that drives you, what it is that pulls you, what it is that pushes you. So once I got really clear on what I'm working towards, it was…
[16:03] Joel: Which was what? Which was what, at that time?
[16:06] Sara Speicher: Creating freedom for myself and for my family.
[16:09] Joel: Got it.
[16:09] Sara Speicher: Financial freedom, emotional freedom, and then to realize that we do change, regardless whether you want to admit it or not, you do change. Like you said yourself couple of moments ago, you change, you evolve, you grow up, interests change. So then I had to figure out do I wanna push myself and keep doing certain things that I was doing in my own business with a resistance, or admit to myself, first of all, I run my own business, I make a decision, if there's resistance in there, I gotta figure it out. It's either something that I can bring somebody else on board to do, because for every single thing you resist, there's somebody who loves doing it. And then on the other hand, if there is a resistance, how am I supposed to serve my clients and be passionate about presenting them what I can do for them, if I feel resistance within myself to begin with? So that was really hard to admit, to be honest, because I got very comfortable in where I was, and that's the worst enemy, it's the comfort zone. And I'll be the first one to admit…
[17:14] Joel: Okay, talk about… Talk about… Talk about that a little bit, the worst enemy is the comfort zone. That is definitely tweetable and you know what? That's absolutely spot on true. So, comfort zone. Talk about that a little bit, and did you find yourself in that at some point?
[17:34] Sara Speicher: Oh, absolutely.
[17:34] Joel: Okay.
[17:35] Sara Speicher: I found myself in a comfort zone within basketball. When I came to the certain point when people looked up at me as a superstar, like “Oh, awesome!” I can live off that. Now I can't, you go, you get your butt back in the gym the next day, and you start from scratch. Then in the business, when I got pretty comfortable in how things are running, how, we were working with certain clients and it was amazing, everything was perfect. It's like, “Oh, I can take a breather.” No, you can't take a breather in your business because if you don't hustle, somebody else will out hustle you.
[18:12] Joel: I love that.
[18:13] Sara Speicher: And there are certain things that I just didn't feel comfortable doing for example getting on the phone, or having this perception that every single phone call that I make it's a cold call, sales call, and I really had to work on that because it's not… It's let's get to know you. Let me see what you're struggles are. Let me see what help do you need. Let me see how I can help you, if it's me or if it's somebody else that I know. And it's just a mindset shift, and I'm still working on it, I do not have it all figured out.[chuckle]
[18:42] Joel: Sure. Okay, so that's a great way to frame one of the things that you practiced on to get better, but let me ask you this, once you and your husband came to the decision about opening up your own business and doing your own thing. What was some of the strongest parts of your personality? The strongest parts that you were able to harness and build upon? The reason I ask you this is because a lot of start up entrepreneurs think about what they're not good at and what they're lacking, missing completely some of the best parts of who they are and their strengths. What were some of the strongest parts you were able to harness and build on?
[19:26] Pei: And this could be hindsight too.
[19:29] Joel: Well, sure.
[19:29] Pei: Yeah.
[19:31] Sara Speicher: I love how you brought it up that we most often focus on our weaknesses, and it's a really hard thing to answer because I was focusing on my weaknesses for so long. But I think what really came through was just the persistence and stamina that I still have from the years of playing basketball which means that if I had to stay up until [3:00] in the morning to figure something out, I had no problem doing that. If I had to reach out to somebody, I had no problem doing that and one thing I do probably miss out with… Actually there are two things. First one is I don't have problem apologizing and admitting I don't know something. So, I tried not to waste a lot of time on trying to figure something out if I know there's somebody else out there who does know what to do and how to do it 'cause they can do it in half the time, twice as better.
[20:24] Sara Speicher: And then the second thing that certainly very well, and I just got a compliment on it the other day and tell me this sounds too much as patting myself on the shoulder, but the follow-up and follow through and you'll be surprised how you rarely you see it these days, even when you go to a networking event, how few people are actually follow-up with you the next day, and the day after, or check in, circle back in a few months. So I think it was one of the things that was really pulling me through and when clients started to come in, a few of them got on the call with me and said, “You know I've been cyber stalking you for a year now, I see you're consistent. I see that you're on the spot. I trust you with my business now.”
[21:10] Pei: Mm-hmm.
[21:11] Sara Speicher: Like, wow.[laughter]
[21:13] Pei: Yes. I guess how you do anything, is how you do everything. If you're consistent with making connections and that's a habit that transfer to other areas of our lives too. So Sarah when you were pregnant for your first and then you were building the business, that's almost like you're having two babies at the same time and you're gonna have to share with is, there's gotta be some productivity tips. Maybe you didn't realize 'cause that comes natural to you that you could manage your time and still have time for your family. ‘Cause so many times when we try to build the location for your business we end up working in the business so much that there's actually not as much time for the family. So yeah…
[22:13] Joel: Productivity tips.
[22:14] Pei: Yeah.
[22:16] Sara Speicher: You know and this still bites me especially now that my daughter is two and a half and she's starting to need more and more attention not just physical attention, but attention for me to actually interact with her. And just the other day she was doing something and I called her to help me clean up her toys and she's like, “Mom! I'm working. 10 minutes okay? I'm working.” I was like, “Oh my goodness, that is exactly what I tell her.” So it was really a wake up call for me that I really… Even though I think I have it pretty figured out in terms of productivity that I need to improve that too. But some of the things that I would recommend to anybody who is running or starting a business how to get more productive is to invest in for a business more or less. In a project management software.
[23:07] Joel: Okay.
[23:08] Sara Speicher: It doesn't have to be expensive. There are some that are even available for free but what this will allow you to do is every single thing that you have, you plug it in there. Every deadline you have. Every connection you have to make. This is just to manage your own time. When you have a team you assign them everything, the deliverables are right there, the budget is right there, the time tracking is right there, everything in one place.
[23:32] Pei: Can you give us a couple of examples?
[23:34] Sara Speicher: Sure, I personally infer my clients to use Teamwork PM, Teamwork.com and then there's also Asana and Basecamp.
[23:44] Pei: Yes, we use that.
[23:46] Sara Speicher: So the teamwork that I'm using it's one of the first things I open when I log into my computer. The second part would be try to automate as much as possible for example, get yourself an online scheduler that synchronizes with the calendar you're using. So instead of corresponding with people you wanna set up meetings with 15 times before you even set up a time that works for the two of you, you preset it. “These are times that I can make myself available, please pick something that works for you”.
[24:21] Joel: That's a great tip. I'm talking with Sara Speicher today, President and founder of VBM Pro. Of course, we're gonna have the link and the social media hotspots in the blog article that accompanies our episode. But that's one of the things that I use and it has just been phenomenal. You probably remember, either you or if your assistant scheduled our time together, it was through an automated scheduling tool so great tip there. I use ScheduleOnce and I've been very, very pleased with how easy that is to work. So kind of coming in for a landing, if you don't mind, Sara. We've got a lot to cover or rather we still could cover quite a bit, but I wanna respect your time. I'm kinda piggybacking on what you said. Our listeners here, they generally have just a handful of things that they struggle with and there's information overload which we obviously know what that means, there's information everywhere. People struggle with time management and you've kind of covered that and also struggle with direction. And specifically for the entrepreneur, it's entrepreneurial direction. So yeah, coming in to the runway here, what can you advise our listeners to how do they manage that?
[25:55] Pei: Yeah, especially you actually mentioned in the beginning you had to develop that clarity, what you're gonna get into.
[26:03] Joel: Correct.
[26:04] Sara Speicher: Exactly. My advice would be surround yourself with a team, and it could be a team that helps you implement whatever you want to do. But most importantly, also surround yourself with mentors and coaches and consultants, whoever you feel comfortable who are gonna keep you on track. Who know your vision, who know what you're working towards, who know your strengths, who know who you're serving and what you're trying to achieve. So when you get sidetracked they can push you back on the track and push you. Because having somebody on your team like this is just… It's equivalent to you try to make a trip and you on your own will be taking side roads and back roads. With them you're pretty much getting in the fast lane on a highway. They keep you focused. They hold you accountable. They offer you a different perspective on things. They even challenge you. I've been challenged by my own mastermind. It made a huge change in my own business and every single person that I know who works with experts like this can attest to the transformation that they've been going through either in terms of shifting their mindset or actual success of their business, but I think they both go hand in hand anyway.
[27:25] Joel: Very well said, Sara. And Pei, do you know what basically Sara wrapped up for us very nicely? She wrapped up the three Rs of ReLaunch and you and I talk about it all the time, the ReLaunch resources. She talked about the books that were transformational for her early on. Right now, she touched on the ReLaunch relationships, being surrounded by people that know you, like you, trust you, and that will also allow you to stand on their shoulders. And then of course there are the ReLaunch routines which are those things that you do over and over again, kind of like running basketball drills. Those things that you do over and over again that lead you to success. Go ahead Pei, final words.
[28:08] Pei: I just absolutely love the entire show, I hear this word “team”. ‘Cause the story you shared in the very beginning how they supported you on a basketball field, and that whole team is… No matter what we're launching, what the phase of our business or life is in, if there's a support team around us, we're gonna get there.
[28:35] Sara Speicher: But if I could add just a little bit detail here.
[28:38] Pei: Yes.
[28:38] Sara Speicher: I still am a firm believer that there is “I” in the word “team” because regardless of who your teammates were, if you don't pull your own weight you can't do anything anyway, just to keep our mind on… Something like that in mind.
[28:54] Joel: Absolutely, and great way to end today's show. Again, Sara Speicher is our guest today. We'll have all of the go-to places right there on the blog article that accompanies this episode. Sara, thank you for your time today and you are welcome back here on the ReLaunch show any time. Bye-bye.
[29:11] Sara Speicher: Thank you, Joel and Pei.
[29:14] Joel: Thanks so much for tuning in. You can also access our show from many mobile apps and by visiting our website. Just go to joelboggess.com/284. You'll also find show transcripts and additional resources to support your relaunch into the life and business that you love.
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