Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Stephanie D. McKenzie. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Stephanie D., thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Are you happier as a business owner? Do you sometimes think about what it would be like to just have a regular job?
In August, I returned to full-time entrepreneurship because I was not being fulfilled by my work as a college professor. While I loved teaching my students, I felt that I was not being celebrated or treated fairly apart from my classroom experiences, and that was reason enough to begin to put together an exit strategy. I have been an entrepreneur and small business owner since the age of nine or ten; however, it had been 11 years since I had to rely solely on my efforts to sustain and support me. What many people fail to realize, is that you don’t have to suffer through working for others. That’s not healthy…it’s toxic and once that energy becomes a norm…it can normalize in every area of your life. I was not going to allow that to happen, but I had to be smart about it. As such is the case, my exit strategy included some pragmatic actions financially and organizationally. This was not a knee-jerk reaction, this is was a well thought-out strategy to ensure that I had a proper foundation to expand my business and remain profitable and sustainable without the safety net of a consistent paycheck. If the question is, “am I happier as a business owner?” Yes! I am not only happier…I am ecstatic as a business owner! There are so many opportunities on the horizon and I have the time to seize them all! If there is a time that I wonder about having a regular job, it’s the 15th and last day of the month, because there is a difference in knowing when you’re getting paid and not. But even in that, the joy of and security of “beating” my paycheck time and time again gives me peace. I know that I made the right decision to leave me, “good job,” and make myself available for a greater more impactful calling.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I came into coaching kicking and screaming! That’s the truth. At the time coaching entered my life, I was an award-winning marketer working on a project that eventually went defunct, leaving me with individuals who wanted my “coaching” services. In fact, the only reason I got certified as a relationship coach was for this project only. I never wanted to be a coach. But, clearly coaching wanted me. Still I fought going “all in” for years. I repeat: I did not want to be a coach. However, after spending over a decade as a professional coach, I am proud that I have developed a holistic approach to supporting my clients–head to toe, inside and out. No matter what brings them here, we assess the whole person. A relationship issue is not just about the people in the relationship. It’s about sleep science, nutrition, health, overcoming trauma and loving your self at a higher level. Launching a business or expanding one is not just about the marketing and the brand. It’s about how you embody that brand through healing from a life of woundedness into a life of worthiness. The holistic approach to every challenge is what sets me a part as a coach, and what sets “The Firms” (The Relationship Firm, The Healing Firm and The Launching Firm) apart from other coaching companies.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to learn not to disregard and discredit what comes easy to me. In my marketing career, I had many highs and great accomplishments. Yet and still, I thought that there was nothing special about my skills in this area. I figured that everyone could do this because it came so easy to me. And because of that, I didn’t set the appropriate prices and I was never paid the value of what I truly brought to the table. In coaching, I did the same thing–but not for long. Though I have been a coaching professionally for over a decade, my mother will tell you that I have been coaching since my teenage years, if not before. The truth is that things come easy to us because they are our gifts. Not because they are common or ordinary. I learned to value my gifts and abilities (“zones of genius,” if you will) with the support of others and the belief in myself. At first, it felt a little arrogant to believe that I was truly great at something…and then I settled into the reality that my belief was not arrogance, it was merely the confidence that I hadn’t allowed myself to experience before that moment.
We’d really appreciate if you could talk to us about how you figured out the manufacturing process./
Recently, we launched a coaching deck called, The 52Q Coaching Deck. Its a deck of 52 cards including questions and actions that can allow you to coach yourself–in a sense. The coaching deck was a whim, a fluke. Just something that I created in my head one day and put on paper the next. Next thing that I knew, I had hired someone to lay them out and then we went to print. I was aware of companies that would print the cards, so it was just a matter of getting the files there for printing and then ordering the first decks to review. The biggest lesson to-date, is to streamline the fulfillment process. Creating and printing the cards–easy. Shipping to customers initially was easy–as long as it was a few orders a day or week. However, I soon came to realize that the way we were getting the orders ready to ship was inefficient and would stop us from scaling. So, I had to go on a hunt to find a shipping process and partner that was efficient. It took about a week…creating a Zapier…and syncing a printer, but it will be worth it was we move from our soft launch to a large scale large with advertising and promotion.
- Website: http://www.stephaniedmckenzie.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/stephaniedmckenzie
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/CoachStephanieDM
- Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/stephaniedmckenzie
- Youtube: http://www.stephonyoutube.com
- Other: The Coaching Deck: http://www.my52q.com
Photographers: Josie Artavia, Al Torres Photography and TED.com