Intro (00:02): You're listening to the Smart Gets Paid Podcast with me, Leah Neaderthal. I help women land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses, but I've never been a sales person. My background is in corporate marketing. And when I started my first consulting business, I learned pretty quickly that it's about a thousand times harder to sell your own stuff than it is to sell someone else's. So I taught myself how to do it, and I created a sales approach that feels comfortable, makes you feel confident, and it works consistently. And now I teach women how to land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses. So whether your client contracts are $2,000 or $200,000, if you want to work with more of the clients you love, do more of the work you love, and get paid more than you ever imagined. Then you're in the right place. Let's do it together. Welcome to Smart Gets Paid.
Leah (00:54): Hey, and welcome to this episode of the Smart Gets Paid Podcast. So what happens when you just need a break? I'm not talking about like, you need to take a walk outside, kind of break. What happens when you feel absolutely depleted? If there's ever been a year for that it's this past year, the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more, the bright spot of the election followed by that very dark spot of the insurrection. It's been a lifetime of emotions, all rolled into one, and sometimes you just need a break. I think it's hard for women like us to feel okay taking a break. I know it's hard for me, but I also know that when my head won't let me take a break, my body will force me to. A few years ago in 2016, I was absolutely overworked and stressed. And in response, I had a stroke.
Leah (01:44): That's a topic for another episode. This year when we had to pack up everything and leave our home in Brooklyn, which was an early pandemic hotspot. And we were staying at my wife's parents' house and trying to do life in a new place with no childcare and trying to pretend like everything was still going to be fine. I started losing my hair and my therapist told me your body is screaming at you saying, please, please listen to me. And finally I did, but only then did I realize how important it was for me to slow down, to stop putting so much pressure on myself, to take care of my body and my mind. And I have been, but getting here hasn't been easy. It also hasn't been easy for the woman I'm talking to in today's episode, she's a consultant who does diversity and inclusion work mainly with tech companies. The call you're going to listen in on took place over the summer when the pandemic was the worst it had been. Although looking back, it wasn't the worst it was going to get, but it was the worst we had seen up to that point. And she and I spoke the week after George Floyd was murdered. And a week before that, we found out about Brianna Taylor. And of course still remember the pandemic and the woman I'm talking to in this call is black. And you're going to hear how she's feeling with all of this going on. And it leads to one important question. What do I do now in my business when I'm feeling the way I feel?
Leah: So you're going to hear us start right in the middle of that conversation and get right into it. This conversation is a one-on-one coaching call with a student in my Signed program. And I know I always say this, but I want to say an extra special thank you to this student for allowing me to share this very raw conversation with you. Take a listen to our call and actually at the end, you're going to hear us talk again later. And then she's going to come back and say, what followed after we spoke.
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Guest (04:18): I think the reality is that it's an interesting thing when you decide to go into business for yourself, right. And then a pandemic happens, right? And then one of the things that you promised yourself when you went into business, and for me, that was, you know, that I would really try to take this opportunity to uplift and add value to impact brands that are doing work around issues that are important to me. For all of that to be manifested in six months is just an emotional roller coaster. You know, with a lot of good because as I've told you, so many new sales, new clients coming through. But this week has also made it really real to me, just, you know, how difficult it was and how true, I mean, I've always known this, this has been my whole life, but just how true all the stuff that we're seeing in the news really is about racism and anti-racism and privilege. And me feeling like I still have to run a business despite really, really crippling stuff, because my business also works on that. So one of my biggest clients is a foundation that is still in the voting space, specifically for serving black and brown college students and providing information and access to the polls. So like even in my work, it's the stuff. So I think I'm just doubled down, you know, and exhausted. I have to apologize that I even missed yesterday's session, but the number of just like deliverables plus emotions flop.
Leah (05:47): Yeah. I can certainly imagine. And I mean, it's one thing to uplift, right. But it's so hard to uplift when you're also beaten down.
Guest (05:58): Yes. Full stop.
Leah (06:02): I mean, so I validate all of that.
Guest (06:05): You know what I think, and that's the thing, the question I had for you, it's hard to uplift others. It's hard to uplift myself. Right. And I recognize that like running a business and then selling really does require that mental effort of just, you know, feeling confident and mentally in the game and, and strong. And you know, a lot of times I'm pitching to white folks. You know, I pitch it and it's a super awkward and uncomfortable thing. And sometimes I'm just like, well, I won't even say sometimes this week it's been especially difficult because I just mentally do not feel any aspect of me is in the game when it comes to just the selling component. I'm hardly in the game and the running of the business component this week. And so I think I'm a little nervous, and this is me being an overachiever maybe. I'm a little nervous that I'll fall behind as well. Right? As a result of really taking real time to deal with the entire country, sort of coming to a head and recognizing and acknowledging something that has been very real.
Leah (07:07): Totally. Yeah. And seeing it in your world too, you know? I mean, I think there's different levels of, you can sort of be angry and be heartbroken and grieve for what's going on in the country, but I'm assuming that you've seen this play out in your life too. So how do you separate that sort of national whatever, from the reality of your own experience?
Guest (07:32): You're right. That's it right there. Like, I think for me, the first emotion was overwhelmed because I felt like, Oh my gosh, this is something that I have been saying for, since I was literally four years old. Right? Like my father was literally telling me how to respond to kids in school who would say racist things. Right? And I have been steeped in this education because I've had to be for my survival for 30 plus years, and now everyone is listening. And I think, unfortunately and fortunately, what happens then is that you feel sort of like this is an opportunity to actually really make sure that all of that information that I've been trying to give is available and ready. But at the same time, that's also a very dangerous game to play because just the depletion of trying to get people up to speed on something that you feel like you've been saying your whole life. And, you know, I think anyone who is in a marginalized group can understand that. And I know, and I'm sure you can understand that. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed working with folks like [anonymous] was because I felt like it's a lot easier when you're dealing with folks who already know and get that in their own experience as it relates to their own experience. But again, I think most clients don't look like that. You know, you're like, “hi, I'm exhausted!” And they're like, “why?”
Leah (08:53): Well also, there are people who are entering conversation for the first time, you know, right out of the gate fired up. And you're like, I'm operating at 2% right now, because welcome to the party. But, you know, and I just want to call out also, I appreciate what you said about, you know, other marginalized groups. I want to be clear. I mean, when you're a lesbian and you look like this, I'm not all that marginalized.
Guest (09:19): Right. Because when you walk in a room it's, it's not on your face.
Leah (09:22): Right. It's not on my face, it's not on my body. And so I just want to acknowledge that, not that we're playing the, you know, adversity Olympics, but like I'm not even in the game.
Guest (09:32): Clearly I respect and appreciate that too. And I think that that's awesome to hear just that acknowledgement of that.
Leah (09:37): I mean, listen, you know, to this, I grew up with Matthew Shepard, right. That news. And so where we're staying is kind of in farm country or whatever. And you know, my wife will try to kiss me and I'm like, I don't want to make out in front of them. I just don't, you know.
Guest (09:51): A hundred percent. Yes. You know, or, and look, I have all the bro clients that we first talked about when I first started working with you. I mean, I think about folks like that and they have, in their past, historically, employees started to come forth to me actually and share all manner of stories about the racist things and the homophobic things that they have said. And just, I also had to do an audit of like, now that this is on the table and everyone knows it's on the table, do I even want to continue to work with folks who have this degree of just ethos? Like, or do I want to just also make some decisions, sever ties and that has financial implications. So there's just a lot going on in my mind and I'm not sure where I should fall when it comes to actually trying to run this business, you know. I want to have success full stop, but I also want to protect myself.
Leah (10:46): Absolutely. And you know, you sort of mentioned earlier, like when you are this overachiever, I feel like oftentimes what I've experienced for myself and what I see in other people is it's like your sort of fight flight freeze response really just looks like working harder and doing more.
Guest (11:09): That's me. Full stop. So like, on a regular week, if I was busy, busy, and now I’m like busy, busy, busy, busy.
Leah (11:13): Right. And that is a way I think, to mask some of these feelings and depletion and you know, when the pandemic started happening, I was like, I want to solve all the problems for all the people all the time, you know? And I burned myself out. And so I want to just offer that if you take some time for yourself, if you take your foot off the gas, you don't actually fall behind because you need to take care of yourself. However, that looks. Things will not fall apart in your business. I promise, take a day, take three days, take a week. I promise it won't fall apart. Like would actually happen. Tell me what it would look like, or you're laughing right now. But tell me what that would look like.
Guest (11:58): I’m laughing because it would be radical to do something like that. But, you know, I think what it would look like is a complete restoration for me. I mean, I can't remember in the last time that I really felt like I took a week and a real week, even when I'm like, I'm taking a whole month off between leaving the job and starting it, I was still working. So I think I would probably be a different person, you know, just in terms of how to approach everything. I think I have to be a little better about not constantly thinking about money. I think that is actually part of it. In fact, it’s just what I've grown up dealing with and thinking about. That there's just this deep seated that if I stopped for a week, you know, all the money will go away. And I definitely deal with that in therapy. So I will, I will, I won’t worry you with that.
Leah (12:41): You've already got somebody working on that.
Guest (12:43): I've got someone hired to, to deal with that. But I think you're right. I think stopping for a week would be fine. I don't think I'm going to lose any new business. And I certainly don't think I'll lose existing business because I've already put folks in place to carry things along.
Leah (12:58): Well, I mean, that's great. And you don't have to start with a week. Right? I mean, part of the overachiever is like, I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it all the way. Take a day, start with the day, then go to three days or whatever. Right? So, and also it's good that you have put people in place to sort of carry things on as, as needed, but separately, even if your only reason for taking a breather was this has been a really hard time, as you might imagine, I'm going to take some time and reflect and restore and so I'll see you in three days. That would be enough. That's enough of a reason.
Guest (13:35): Okay. Yeah. Cause the question that obviously comes up in my mind, it's like, what will I tell clients? You know, as they look to hear from me or they want to talk to me directly, instead of people on my team, it's like, what is that messaging? But I think I can move past the guilt of, you know, I think the only other question I really had for you, was like selling. Does selling have to happen every week? Like how do you actually implement rest in a way that honors the sales process?
Leah (14:01): Well, that's the thing I'm terrible at taking time off, which is how I know, you know, the tendency to not do that. And only recently have I forced myself to really check out, you know, for times. And that's how I know how restorative that is.
Well, your story about the stroke, I'm not gonna lie scared me. Cause I felt like I was reading it and I was like, that genuinely feels like my future. Because everything you were saying about the way you operated, it felt like something that I could see happening. And I think the emotional and psychological weight of racism and everything else in the world also just adds to that. So I also just want to honor and hear that like really clearly, because I don't want that to happen. Right. I'm sure that was a very terrifying thing.
Leah (14:46): Oh, it was really terrifying. And it really did cause me to rethink a lot of things. But interestingly enough, so the word finding deficit went away and I felt, I was feeling back to myself. What did I do? I tried to do all the things again. I was like, I tried to make the course and that's actually what led to the creation of the programs. Right? But I was like, I didn't do this, I need to do this tomorrow. You know, and I need to do this other thing and I do this other thing. And if I'm going to be honest, what was driving you is this fear, right? The fear that the next big one is going to happen, right? And so I had to sort of move through that and then get to a point where I was like, okay, no, I can't repeat this.
Leah (15:29): I can't solve all the problems now. I can't burn myself out. I will say also that I'm not gonna say I have, like, I had a pre-existing condition. So I went on birth control, like really, you know, when normal, you know, age years or whatever. And I also had migraines ever since I was 10 I've had migraines. And so what they began to discover was that if you have migraines with aura, which is like the visual stuff and you take birth control that can lead to a stroke. Now the numbers were like so low and it was, you know, nobody really seemed all that concerned, right? But then when you pair that, I mean, by the time I had the stroke, I wasn't on birth control. Right. But when you pair that with the overwork and the stress and all these other things that just are bad for your head, it happens. You know, it's like a one in a million chance, but it happened to me. Right. So I say that also because you know, I'm clearly not a doctor, but like your average person is clearly not about to get a stroke.
Guest (16:30): Okay. You're like the likelihood is not that, yeah. It’s not imminent.
Leah (16:35): So I don't want to scare you that much.
Guest (16:37): Yeah. Yeah, no, I get that. I get that. So I'm just curious. Cause I think you also, you know, one reason I enjoy working with you is because you have a good command of like, I know you just had a child, right. Me and my husband are actually, like, I just found out that my state insurance is going to cover full fertility treatment. So like getting that news is great, but I went through a cycle last year. It ended in, um, a miscarriage early term miscarriage. And so now I'm going back into that as well. So I also appreciate hearing from women who understand the motherhood aspect of business because that also I understand that those women specifically understand balance, right. Or are forced to have to figure it out. I will welcome any advice there.
Leah (17:22): Totally, I mean, there are things I can tell you now that rationally you're, you'll be like, yeah. Okay. That makes sense. I'll do that. But there's very little, you can do to really prepare for what that means. So we'll continue this conversation. I will say also that, um, I probably didn't share this with you, but I had a miscarriage also and eight weeks, was it eight weeks, 10 weeks. And so like that you know is right. I mean, that's devastating and all of that. And then, you know what that means. It's not just something you sort of move through when you go through it again, you know, another cycle or whatever, it's always there, you know, it all builds up. You never get past any of it. Whether it's 30 plus years of microaggressions or events like a miscarriage or whatever, it's all a sort of lodges in there. But I want to make sure we talk about your, your question, which is, well, probably a few questions, but one question is, do I have to sell right now? What do you think the answer is?
Guest (18:27): I mean, I feel like no, because it's not going to be good. I don't feel like the process, like I said, and there's a whole module on this, right? Obviously for a reason, which is about mindset. I think mindset is such a valuable part of the process. And I think it has to, I have to be there. Right. And I have to work on that part. I might have to revisit that and the tools that I already have in place on mindset, because selling right now, I think it wouldn't honestly go so well with where my mind is at. Right.
Leah (18:57): Well, you know, the way we tackle a mindset in this, I mean, you can look at mindset a million different ways, but the way I tackle mindset specifically is around the idea that when a lot of people go into a sales sort of environment, they feel like they really don't have much power. They feel lucky to have these conversations. They feel lucky to have the business. And that feeling is called being one down.
Guest (19:22): I was like, this is so great in the modules. I was like, oh my.
Leah (19:25): I remember you saw this. So that sort of resonated with you.
Guest (19:28): Oh my gosh. Yes. Because I always, and you know, I think it's also a word to talk about this era of like, or this climate of like talking about racism. I think that that is also one very real function as being black in America. Is that like you do sort of internalize this one down positioning. I have heard my friends all week talk about how, you know, we have to move past in our own community feeling just happy to be in the room. Right. That, that stinks. So when I was watching that module, I was like, whoa! That was like a worldview shift for me. I think because I've lived. I think even if you were to ask [anonymous] her interactions with me, she used to say, you were really deferential. And I always played a one down position. It was just so powerful for me because I was like, my God, permission to be on the same plane. Not one up either.
Leah (20:17): Exactly. That's the sort of salesy feeling that we've experienced from salespeople. And that's the feeling we don't want to be, right. Not one up, but yes, just a peer level. So when we think about mindset in selling in the context of right now, it's not like, should you be selling? No. Cause I don't have the right mindset. Mindset doesn't mean like you have to be happy or you have to be fulfilled or you have to be at a hundred percent or whatever. First of all, if you're depleted, of course don't sell. Yeah. Take a break. Right. But from a mindset perspective, if you don't feel like you can walk into that room as a peer, then just take a break because there's a lot of emotions right now. Maybe you walk in feeling one down because you feel like they can see the sort of grief on your face. Right. Maybe you walk in one up because you're angry.
Guest (21:05): Yeah. Right now I feel like I would be having, you just verbalize what I was feeling. I feel like if I was selling right now, I would be selling from a place of anger, do you see what's going on? Like, are you really going to even make me have to explain and sell myself? And that's not appropriate. Like that's a very real visceral feeling, but it's not right for this.
Leah (21:25): Forget appropriate. Is it, does it feel good? You know, of course it doesn't feel good. And I'm not saying you should feel good, but does it, does it serve you in the sales process?
Guest (21:35): No, because it's just, you're just doing everything from a place of anger. It's just not my thing anyway. But that's the feeling when it feels like definitely don't.
Leah (21:42): Yeah, totally. And you know, it might be the case that you could feel angry for quite some time. You know? I think a lot of people are going to be angry for a long time. So you don't want to get to a place of like, it's not about waiting till you're happy or, you know, you, you don't have this sort of, are you kidding me? You're just paying attention to this now feeling. But does it have to be so raw? You know, is it better to maybe wait until you can come at it from a place that feels better?
Guest (22:10): And I think that honestly, I just envisioned myself sleeping this weekend going outside because the weather is finally beautiful and actually getting to a place where I'm not, cause a lot of my anger right now is just that I'm depleted. Right. Cause now it's turning into like, I'm just mad, but like I have to deal with so much right now and I can't just watch Netflix. So I think that I could very well just if I gave myself that permission to rest that yeah. The anger could dissipate significantly.
Leah (22:37): Totally. And so then it becomes a question of, this was your other question around, what do I do with these prospective clients or will this affect my business? What about the clients that I want to get moving forward?
Guest (22:51): Thank you for reminding me about that. Because I think the one thing that I have felt that has honestly fueled me this week is using my platform, my social platforms and so forth to really speak in the land that I've always spoken in, which is about, you know, education, but also the things that I really feel right. Like if I, if I want to say black lives matter 1500 times on my Twitter page in, in some form or expression as part of the conversation, am I putting my business at risk? It's a real question. I don't know how to answer that. You know?
Leah (23:24): Well, talk to me about what you mean by, at risk.
Guest (23:28): I know. Cause then I, if I narrow it down, I'm like, well, what I'm really asking is am I isolating folks who maybe aren't really interested in anti-racism right. And then it sounds weird because it's like, am I isolating folks who don't want to hear about it?
Leah (23:43): Well, you say isolating like you’re repelling? So is this going to prevent me from getting the clients who don't want to fight racism?
Guest (23:55): Exactly. That's why I started laughing. Cause I'm like, I'm basically saying, is this going to prevent me from getting racist clients? But you know what, Leah? That is also, crazy as it sounds, that's revolutory because I've always used code words around it and coded language around like I want folks who are focused on impact. But I think the real crux of the issue that I'm coming to this week is that, you know, if I'm going to be my full self and show up as my full self in a moment that I want to, and it's meaningful for me and my community, now's the time that I'm going to have to stop using coded language and say bye to potentially racist clients. Because I used to say like, Oh, I'm interested in clients who care about impact. I'm interested in clients who aren't racist, right. Clients who aren't homophobic, I'm interested in clients who are not, you know, just completely bigoted to people. I just don't want any of those clients Period. Full stop.
Leah (24:49): Right. Well write that in a post-it and put it on your laptop. You know, we all come from these backgrounds where we've worked for other people and we felt like we had to watch what we say and, and we didn't want to put our job at risk or whatever. Right. Corporate Bull. But that's not the case anymore. You're in charge of you, you know, you're the boss of you and you're the boss of this business. And so absolutely. If I say something and it alienates these racist clients or homophobic or what have you, is that okay? And I think the answer is yes, like a thousand times. Yes. Right. So because we're no longer afraid of the consequence, what's stopping you from saying what you want to say, right? I really believe that there's enough work.
Guest (25:36): Thank you. That's what I honestly needed to hear that because I was like, okay, that means there might be only five people left.
Leah (25:44): I mean, there will definitely be more than five
Guest (25:47): I’ve said black trans lives matter for example. Right. Which I’ve said a lot. Who's left? Who’s still gonna listen to me?
Leah (25:59): Well, I mean, you're not going to get any calls from like the American Family Coalition or whatever. You know, but the thing is, what's that quote from Arlin Hamilton, the black VC. Oh my gosh, she's amazing. I follow her on Instagram. She's a black VC. She was homeless. She got herself out of . . .
Guest (26:21): Oh, I’ve heard her story.
Leah (26:24): So now she funds founders of underrepresented groups and she's just amazing. But one of the things she says is you have to be yourself so that the people who are looking for you can find you. So maybe there are people who you will turn off. Right. But the people who are looking for you will know that you are a safe space, you know? Not just because you're black, but because you care, right. It's because your ethos and what you stand for is along their lines, right? It’s in alignment with them. So the people who you want to work with, you want them too, to come to you and say, Oh, thank God. Thank God I found her. Absolutely. And so here's an example. Like I, so I talk about being gay. I talk about being bullied all this stuff. Right. But like, I don't get a lot of Trump supporters coming to a Jewish lesbian to learn how to sell. Right. And that's okay. Because think about like, your shit works and who do you want it to work for?
Guest (27:32): I love it. I do love it. Okay. I know I’m over time with you. You’re fantastic on every level. I really appreciate you. I appreciate you reaching out. I think that means a lot. I know a lot of folks make statements in the sensor and I feel like you really are a thousand percent genuine. And I just want to share that because it's helpful for me. Right. And these are great tools. I feel very, very empowered to do what I'm doing here and not second guessing myself every step of the way. Cause that's part of the exhaustion.
Guest (28:04): Totally. Totally. Well you probably were second guessing yourself before. Right. But now it feels a thousand times worse because you are depleted, but it takes some time for yourself. Thank you for saying that also. And you know, take some time for yourself, go do your bad-ass stuff when you feel ready and when you can come to it from a place of strength and peer-ness.
Guest (28:26): I love it.
Leah: Hey, just popping back in here. So in fact, this student did end up taking some time off and she actually missed a few weeks of Signed, which was okay and perfectly understandable. And when she came back, she told us how it went. Hi everyone.
Guest (28:43): Hi everyone. I know I've been sort of missing for a little bit, but I've missed this class. And I think, you know, the mindset win, is that I actually was talking to Leah sort of a couple of weeks ago about just feeling completely drained from just everything that's going on. I think on a cultural level and societal level. And I took some radical time to rest, which is just something I was so terrified to do. But I think my mindset win is just that I'm so renewed and I swore that my business would fall apart if I took time, and it has not at all. In fact the opposite. I actually think like a technical win has been that I used to close maybe like 20% of things on my pipeline. I'm now at like 60% rate, just from my little Monday table I can see. And it's almost like it was the universe's way of showing me that if I take naps, maybe more we'll work out than not. So it's been a really massive just worldview shift for me about what happens when you do kind of like slow down to speed up.
So I want to just pull out one key point here, which is it's okay to take some time for yourself and I'm not going to sit here and just say like self care, like it's so easy to just do it. As if there aren't a million reasons why we don't take care of ourselves. But with my sales coach hat on, I'll tell you that your business will not fall apart. I know it feels like that sometimes, but your business will not fall apart if you take a day off, if you take two days off. But your business can fall apart, if you fall apart. So it takes some time for you, put yourself first and replenish yourself. You'll be glad you did.
Hey, thanks for hanging out with me. If you liked this episode, take a second and click the subscribe button wherever you're listening to your podcasts. And you'll be notified as soon as I release a new episode. And if you're listening on Apple podcasts and so appreciate it. If you took two seconds and left a rating or review. This tells Apple podcasts, hey, there's good stuff in here and they'll recommend it to other listeners who might benefit from these lessons for their business. So please take a second and add a rating or review. Thanks. So that's it for now. I'll see you next time on the Smart Gets Paid Podcast.
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EP 5: The fastest path to revenue for consultants