Episode #28: Handling Low Seasons in Your Business

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Handling Low Seasons in Your Business

In today’s episode, we’re talking shop all about how to handle low seasons in your business. We’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.


Cassy Joy: I’m going to ask for coaching when I think I might need it. I’m going to hunker down, right, during those low seasons, and hibernate and try to develop some great ideas to carry me through the next low season. But even I’m going to also remember it’s not about me. Right? Sometimes, it’s just about the industry. It’s about the seasonality, and I’m doing my best. And that doesn’t mean I need to quit just because something didn’t go my way.

Diane Sanfilippo: Here, here!

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:17]
  2. Shop Talk: Weathering the dips in the seasonality [12:58]
  3. Tip of The Week: Consulting a mentor [49:30]

Diane Sanfilippo: In today’s episode we’re talking shop, all about how to handle low seasons in your business. And we’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.

1.  What’s on my plate [1:17]

Cassy Joy: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Diane, what’s going on with you?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, hello.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I will be at the NTA conference later this week. So this episode will air on February 24th, so I will be at the NTA conference speaking to NTPs NTCs. And I guess anyone who decided to attend the conference about three different entrepreneur types. So I’m kind of excited to just dive into that.

You and I have talked over the years about a lot of different ways to categorize entrepreneurs, but what I did for this particular talk was think about the types of opportunities that are presented or could be presented to folks who are nutrition professionals coming through a program. And I wanted to bust some myths. Because I think that what most people assume when they come out of a nutrition program is that they can and should be coaching people one on one. Right? That’s what most of us think. And I think that’s a good place to be for most people for at least a short period of time, because you do learn a lot in that time. Both about yourself; the way that you coach people, the kinds of questions and problems that you’re solving for people.

But I think that ultimately that format is very prohibitive for a lot of reasons; first and foremost because you’re trading your time for dollars, which is never a wise way to try and earn a living. And second because I just don’t think that it’s the best use of everybody’s unique skillset. And for us, as two examples of people who have gone through nutrition certifications, and did work with people but then kind of pulled back from that. I learned very early on that I’m comfortable speaking and teaching in front of a group of strangers from 10 to 50 or 500 people. I don’t really care. I’m more comfortable doing that than I am being scheduled for 10 to 15 or 20 hours a week for one on one coaching. So we have to all figure out what are we good at, and how do we know ourselves better, which we’ve talked about a lot on this show, and how do we translate that into a format for being a nutrition professional and earning a living at it in a way that works all around. That works to earn us money and also suit who we are.

So I’m excited to talk about that, because you know I always love to talk shop with anyone. {laughs} So I basically get the talk shop for that whole presentation. And then just a little housekeeping note. A reminder that we do have podcast episode blog posts at TheDrivenPodcast.com. Each episode has all kinds of notes. Most of them have a transcript. The last couple of episodes, our transcriber has been ill for a couple of weeks, so we should be back to those shortly and of course we’ll be catching up on them as well. If Amanda is listening to this, hopefully she’s having a speedy recovery soon, we wish her well. But we will have those transcripts coming as soon as we can.

But if you’re looking for notes. If you’re like; I know they talk about something in one of those series and I can’t remember what it was; just head over to TheDrivenPodcast.com. You can also drop comments there. We’ll make sure that we’re checking those periodically as well for questions and all that good stuff. So that was really it today for me, because I know we’re going to have a whole episode of shoptalk, and I’m sure I’ll be able to update folks on a lot more throughout the process of chatting about this episode. So what’s going on over in San Antonio?

Cassy Joy:  Well, our copy editor just started work this week and; Diane she; Amber’s been training her on getting her started. Her name is Brandy; welcome to the team, Brandy, if you’re listening. And as part of some tester projects we gave her some stuff that’s coming out, publishing later this week just to review. This is stuff that I have read multiple times. That members of my team have read multiple times. And I was like; hey, just read through these and see if you can find anything. And she found all kinds of errors. And I was like; oh my gosh, if I could do a backflip right now I would! I was so excited {laughs} that she found these errors. She’s going to make us look so good. And it’s, you know, I’m a very detail-oriented person but I’m not a copy editor. And there’s just such a distinct difference. And so I’m really, really excited to elevate the user and reader experience of Fed and Fit with her on the team. It’s going to be so exciting.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like I need a copy editor right away {laughs}.

Cassy Joy: Right! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Right quick. Let me do that. Let me get right on that.

Cassy Joy: Get right on that. I feel like, in hindsight; every decision I feel like was a great decision when it comes to mindfully adding onto my team, very purposefully taking my time choosing the right people. And I can already tell that this is going to be such a great fit.

Ok, and then the other thing on my list of what’s going on right now is I’m just in that grind. That grind of writing book 3. And also, it’s such a weird process to be in, y’all. Because yes, it takes a lot of diligence and stick to it-ness to sit down and write when you don’t want to write necessarily. And I can do it, it’s going to be a great product. It’s not like I have to wait for this moment of brilliance or inspiration to put out a good product. But it’s just difficult. Let’s just acknowledge what it is. It’s difficult to sit down and do this thing when I’m really more of a butterfly chaser in the rest of my life and my business I get to just chase these projects that I really enjoy. And a book is a significant hunk of work to put out. So it’s just the grind of going through that. Hours upon hours at a coffee shop drinking caffeine-free herbal teas. And then also coupled with this paralyzing fear, if I’m being totally honest, of; oh my gosh! Are people going to like it? You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I do know.

Cassy Joy: I know that it’s the best work I’ve ever done. And I know that it’s the best that, from a production standpoint, that I’ve ever put out, due to the combined team. But there’s always this element of; but what will they think? And it’s just; I texted my husband the other day when I was at a coffee shop. And I was like; I don’t know what it is but I just have this haunting fear; something, I just can’t shake it, of I don’t know where this is going to land. And I won’t know for another year. Right? I won’t! I mean, I have hopes and I know that I can actionably work through a campaign that will really help people understand the new concept, and we can make it really exciting.

Anyways. For anybody out there feeling fears before you’re launching on something, especially when it’s months and months if not over a year away before the world sees it and before you get that feedback that you’re wanting and really craving. I mean; I feel like we all feel that. We all go through that. And you just do it anyways.

Diane Sanfilippo: Here, here. That is that is the pain. The big pain of all of that. Part of it is just how isolating it is to be writing the book, even when you’re working on it as a project collectively. It’s still your name as the author. And there is that combination of wanting to make it great just because you know what you’re capable of, and you’re like; I hope this is as great as I think it is. And then; this isn’t personal to you, it’s all of us. Putting out this work, like there’s the ego piece of; will they like it versus; because in the moment that’s the fear. Will they like it? Will there be too many errors. What will be wrong with it? Somebody’s always going to have something to say. And I think, you know, my hindsight on having done it as many times now is just like; ultimately the best part is when it does get into people’s hands. And you know this because now you’ve gone through it many times, and this is the third. But; you can’t even focus on, will they like. It’s just; there will be people who like it, and it helps them, and it solves problems for them, and they are like; oh my gosh, I am so glad you did this. You know?

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: And the big picture; she didn’t ask for advice, but this is just how I roll, where I’m like big sister, hindsight, whatever. That whole big picture thing of like; what is it all for? Am I doing the right thing? Is this project the right project in the grand scheme of the business that I have in my head? I feel like those are all the things that swirl around. And I feel like I say that to you all the time with what I’m doing, right? Where I’m like, what is it all for, Cassy? What am I doing? It’s like, we can never know. I could never know what would’ve happened with my first book, or with any of them. You know? We just have to do those things that we’re burning to do.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: No matter what, right? And then it’ll be what it will be. Because you didn’t know what Cook Once would be.

Cassy Joy: No idea.

Diane Sanfilippo: And then you really ran with it and you made it into something bigger than maybe you ever even thought it could be. So you couldn’t have imagined where you are now so you can’t imagine where you’ll be in another year or two.

Cassy Joy: You’re totally right. You’re totally right. That’s exactly it. I think I just; I really don’t want to let people down.

Diane Sanfilippo: You won’t.

Cassy Joy: With this book. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: You won’t. You won’t.

Cassy Joy: If I’m being really honest, I think. So that drives a lot of this; oh, this is going to be my best ever! And because of that, I’m giving it my best mental energy. And I have rewritten and revised the top level concepts and even just how the recipes are working together more times and I’ve critically thought through it more times than I ever did a previous project. I’m like; this is going to be; I just want it to be my best work. And I think that is coming from a fear of not wanting to let people down. But you’re so right. You just don’t know what your career is going to look like at the end of it.

I had a friend who is an interior designer many, many years ago tell me something, because I was crippled by this fear of choosing the wrong piece of furniture for my house. And he said; I was like, I just don’t know what my style is. How do I choose the right couch for my style? And he said; you pick the things that you like, that you’re drawn to. And at the end of the day; at the end of the years and decades you’re going to have a home filled with pieces that represent your style. But you won’t know what that is until you’ve picked all the pieces. And I feel like a career is built very similarly. You know; you, Diane Sanfilippo; did I get it?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah {laughing}!

Cassy Joy: {laughing} We worked on pronunciation the other day. I was like; phonetically write it out for me, please. But you; you’re going to look back on your career. I know you know this. I’m preaching to the choir here. But you’re going to look back on your career with; I just see the work products that you’ve touched as this eclectic collection that makes sense, you know, because it’s your home and it’s your career.

Diane Sanfilippo: One can hope.

Cassy Joy: I know it. I know it for you. I hope it for myself. I don’t know why it’s so easier to believe it for somebody else. But yeah. Anyway. That was a level 10. {laughs} What’s on my plate.

2.  Shop Talk: Weathering the dips in the seasonality [12:58]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable and helpful. Diane is whipping her ponytail around {laughing}.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just trying to make her laugh.

Cassy Joy: It’s a very 1980s pony moment. I really, really like it. So today we’re talking about handling low seasons in your business. And this is; we’ve already kind of introed a little bit. This is a sort of a one-off episode. When Diane and I first started talking about The Driven Podcast, this is really what we thought we would be putting out.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Where we get on the phone together and we would say; what do you want to talk about?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, because that’s what we normally; well, now we haven’t done it in weeks because we’re saving everything for the show. Which is kind of weird,

Cassy Joy: It is weird.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I miss those 15-20 minute, I’m half trying to do my hair and get out the door, half talk to Cassy about something that’s just on my mind. But we had this idea of; well, we like to talk shop. We’re pretty sure there are folks out there who would like to be a fly on the wall. And the way that we developed the first; oh, it’s been more than six months now. So this is episode 28; one of my favorite numbers. Because my birthday is the 28th.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But we took some time to really dive deep into different topic so that we could give you all a library of these miniseries where we’re covering different topics. Right? Where you can go back and hear our take on all different kind of basic business 101 types of information. And I’m sure in the future we’ll have more miniseries topics that we’ll go through and we’ll deep dive on, and we’ll break it into parts and we’ll do a Q&A specific to that. But I think that to stay true to our entrepreneurial hearts and the way that we kind of; I wouldn’t say it’s just a shiny objects sort of topic, but it’s like, of the moment. What’s on our minds right now in our business and how can we just talk it out with each other in a way that we think will be helpful for you all to listen in on and, you know, just give you all something to, I don’t know, dial into or feel connected to and know that you’re not alone. And that throughout any stage of your business you’re probably going to feel these things.

And gosh, you know, I hope we look back on this one day and have fond memories of Cassy being how many months pregnant sitting on the floor of her closet {laughs}.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Casual seven months pregnant.

Diane Sanfilippo: NBD. And one day maybe our businesses will be in some astronomical places and we’ll just look back at this and say; remember when we used to talk shop, and you’d be sitting on the floor and we just decided we wanted to do this and share our lives with all of you.

So today we’re going to be talking about these low seasons in our business, or your business or what have you. Anyone’s business. And a couple of things came up for us. One is kind of the mindset around it, and how do you handle it. One is the expectation, and the seasonality of different businesses, and just knowing that it’s going to happen and how do we work through that. And then another thing we definitely want to touch on today is the concept of side hustles or having like your multi-passionate heart tapping into different things that you’re interested in.

Especially if you’re in your first, let’s say 1 to 5 years of a business that you are not necessarily just dropping all your eggs in one basket. Because I think for most people, going all in within that first handful of years on just one thing, could be a little more risky than it needs to be. It’s almost like diversifying investments. Diversifying the investment of your time in a way that allows you to follow your heart in a lot of different ways but then ultimately narrow that down over time to, if not one, maybe 2 to 3 instead of let’s say 5 or 6. So, that’s a little conceptual high level, but we’ll kind of bring it down. 

So do you want to get into the beginning of this, this kind of like the mindset part of how people might be feeling and what they might be thinking. Or what you’re thinking.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, definitely. I think that in business in general, especially in this social media world, it’s so easy to look at what we think other people are enjoying in terms of success, and compare ourselves to it. And this is especially challenging when we don’t feel like we have any wins in our own tank for that point in time. And I just want to highlight that everybody; everybody. Every business owner, whether you perceive them as being extremely established, or maybe a really lucky start up with a lot of initial success. Every single business has highs and they have lows. And they’re probably just not highlighting their lows, because it’s not great marketing. Unless you have a community-based brand, right? Unless it’s something built around; hey, let’s have a real talk here. Right?

And so I think that if we go back to maybe the fear miniseries back in the day. Diane and I really touched on this. But misinterpreting seasonality in your business for; you’re doing the wrong thing. Maybe you are wrong for the business. You’re ineffective, or some other; this is a sign that you’re not meant to do this. It is not a sign; you just in a low season. Right? And I think it’s so tempting to be a low season, especially. Let’s say right now; we’re in February. I think this is going to still air in February.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it will.

Cassy Joy: Ok. So we’re in February. And traditionally, for most online consumer-based businesses, January and February are not high purchasing months. So if you have something that you’re selling, this is usually going to be a time of the year where things dip. Especially coming off of the holidays. And as much as you might; a mentor of yours or you might know looking back year over year that, yes things dipped in January and February, they picked up a little bit in March, right? Let’s talk about all consumer businesses. They’re going to pick up a little bit in March. It’s going to dip again in the summer, right? When folks are busy and maybe they have children that are home from school over the summer. And then they’re going to go back up again in the fall and then continue to climb in September, October, November is out of the high; December, oh my goodness, could it be better than November! And then you’re so tempted to think in December this is the new normal.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: This is how I crush; I mean, look at my track record. If we look at Q4; right, quarter four, oh my goodness the trajectory is only here up. And then all of a sudden…

Diane Sanfilippo: Crickets.

Cassy Joy: Crickets! And it’s so hard. It’s so, so hard, no matter who you are or how long you’ve been in business to not let that get to you. So I think that’s; we just want to kind of talk about that. Because Diane and I both have lows in several of our businesses that we work in. Now, I think that something we’re going to talk about is matching up your highs and lows, if you have different businesses that you do touch, so that you have a win in an off-season of another leg. Right? And I think that’s a wise thing to do. We’ll elaborate and tease that apart in a second. But really we just want to talk about the mindset of; it’s OK. If you are sitting in that. If you’re sitting in a business that you gave your all, and you felt like you told your spouse and your close friends; watch me! I’m going to make this thing work, and you said it over the holidays, and it did work, and now you feel like you don’t have much to show for it. It doesn’t mean that you’re in the wrong place. It just means that there’s a seasonality to what you’re doing.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that one thing the social media does is it makes it seem that there is no season or there’s no off-season. Right? Because we’re kind of constantly expected to deliver at a certain pace. We’re engaging in a certain way. If anybody ever worked retail; and I don’t know what the restaurant business is like. I kind of consider these like two different avenues of service type jobs when you’re younger and it’s like; what kind of job can you get. It’s like; you either end up working in foodservice, or you end up working in retail. I don’t know what else. Babysitting, which we all did before we were old enough to work, maybe? {laughs}

But I feel like having worked retail from the time I was 16 knowing that from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year; hopefully you see year over year growth. Hopefully, right? But most likely you’re not going to see day to day growth. You’re maybe not going to see week to week growth, and you may see monthly fluctuations. One thing that I think people might want to look at is like, the year over year comparing today to last year today; comparing this week to last year, comparing this month to last year. Those are some wise things to look at. And I think that if somebody does that more so than just within the time span of their own calendar of like right now, in three months, etc., you’ll have a much better reflection of that.

I think one other thing that people don’t tend to consider is the political climate. And we’re not going to get into the details of all of that on this show. But just in general, whenever there’s a sense of a heightened sense of unrest politically, it changes consumer spending. People are just spending less money because they’re unsure of what’s going to happen with their money. You know? What will happen with their taxes, what will happen with their income etc. So I think being aware of that.

But to your point of; if somebody is going through a business where they’ve had this big high and then they’re hitting a low. I think one thing we can always do is lean on mentors or people who’ve done the same thing and who have come before us to say; hey, this is normal and expected. Like, yes, you can break a mold. We might say; don’t expect January to be a fantastic month for you, etc., etc. And someone can have a great January. But I think it’s unrealistic to expect that we’re going to break the mold every single month, right? Or if we do have a great one that that will always be the case. So finding people that you trust who you can say; hey, is this normal?

You know, we did this, right? Reviewing our businesses from last month at least with our Beautycounter business, which is a thing that we have that we do that’s the most similar I would say. Like apples to apples in terms of a business. And we might each have higher highs or lower lows at different points in time over the last several years. But collectively comparatively a similar trend line. So to be able to say to each other; hey, how was last month for you? You know. We can turn to each other and have that conversation. And we can also ask some people who are mentors and say; is this normal? Are we doing the right thing? Is there something else we should be doing? And if somebody says; “Hey, you’re doing everything you should be doing and you could be doing,” I think it’s fair to believe them.

Cassy Joy: I think it is too. The thing that I ask is, what are my blind spots? What are the things that I’m not seeing right now? And I only ask that when I’m in a place to be coachable. When I’m in a place to possibly implement something that I have not thought about. Rebel tendencies, right? Like I need to choose to be open to somebody telling me something that is new or different than I would’ve thought of myself and then be willing to go with it. And I think that’s very wise in those seasons.

And I also want to say; if you are; I hope this doesn’t discourage anybody, what I’m about to say. But if you are in a low season, I think that; yes, there are things that you can do to patch the holes in the ship, and to maybe create a little bit more buoyancy in what feels like the perceived success of your business in the slow season. But, it’s hard to course correct when you’re in the middle of it. I think that the thing to do is, if you’re looking out ahead of your business and you say; OK. My business typically dips down between May and July, and I don’t want to do that this year. Now in February is when you start building a plan to help take away some of the dips later on in the year. Right?

Gosh, how do I put this. It’s like when you get a failing grade in the class and it’s one of your very first grades, it’s harder to bring up a bad grade than it is to have hits as time goes on, right? Like if you had a couple of good A’s on a test at the very beginning and then you have a C, for whatever reason; the math is the same but it feels more difficult to lift something. So if you’re in a low season right now, I think talk to your mentor and ask them; hey, do I have any blind spots right now? Or am I doing a good job? And see if they have any insight for you. But just know that you might just have to endure this season right now, and then prepare yourself for the next low one with plans that you can implement ahead of time. Is that fair?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I think as you go through working in an industry that you may not be as familiar with. Right? So if you’re in a new industry, you’re just starting out maybe as a health coach. Or if you’re a health coach, this is your season. Right? So the flip side of the low season is, if you’re a health coach; January, February, March, this is your go time.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: And hopefully you were talking about what you were going to be offering throughout the entire fall and November, December when nobody wanted anything to do with your 21-Day Sugar Detox. Well guess what? January, February come around, and they are looking for you. And if you hadn’t been consistent during the low time, then you’re not primed to receive that great business flow in the high time.

So I think that’s the other side of this, too. Is that if folks are in a low time, you have to stay the course and you have to do the things you know are right to do for your business. Because when people are ready to pay attention to what you have to offer, whether it’s a product or a service. If you’ve not been consistent in communicating online, in writing blog posts, in getting out in your community, in going to conferences, etc. If you have not been consistent with that, you’re going to fall off. And so this is one of the things if you look at like the food trade shows that we often go to, they tend to happen throughout the early part of the year. Because then the influx of sales, you know, with that the natural products expo is one, the fancy food show. It’s like; they’re all at these expos for the first part of the year because so much of their sales are happening through the last part of the year. It’s like; everyone is on a diet the first part of the year. And then everyone is like; bring me all the snacks! The second part of the year. Back to school and the holidays and all of that.

And so, you know, they’re not maybe expecting the same sales but they’re in a moment where they are spending on these conferences. They’re spending their time. They’re putting all this energy into it because it’s fully cyclical. So we have to identify what those cycles are for the different businesses that we’re in, and if we’re not sure, to turn to people who might know.

So then, my point on this was also that picking businesses, if you have; let’s just say you’re a health coach. And this actually works really beautifully with the types of businesses that we run or maybe the folks who are listening who are health coaches and who may also happen to be a Beautycounter consultant, right? So when I look at my business from last year, we had a pretty strong finish to the year for our spices, because folks are buying gifts and it was a pretty good time of year. We had some sales, and that went great. And Beautycounter; obviously that business does great when people are gifting and they’re shopping for themselves through the holidays. November and December are always the strongest months of the year.

But the flip side of that is heading into January, right? When people are doing like a no-spend January. People don’t want to spend any more money on themselves. They’re not buying any more gifts unless you’ve got a few random people with a January birthday. But you know, it tends to be a pretty slow time in a lot of retail businesses. But, as I said, it’s the high time in a nutrition business. Well, it turns out it’s also a high time in a retail business that’s related to nutrition like meals.

So Balanced Bites meals, we were finally; you know, we were a little late launching what we wanted to do with our brand-new menu. We wanted to launch that early January, after the first shipment of the year, we were going to get it launched. But, you know, things happen, and we launched it a little bit later in the beginning of February. And it’s been fantastic. We’ve had some of the best weeks we’ve ever had. And so identifying; and this is a good hindsight for me in this moment. Because I don’t know that I thought about it so much until the last several weeks. That these two businesses that are kind of the core of what I’m doing. They are kind of polar opposites in terms of when their highs are going to be. Which can be challenging because I need to plan my energy flow and what’s going to happen with my attention. But at the same time, knowing that at least in terms of income and revenue, they’ll kind of like point-counterpoint each other. That will be a really nice thing.

Now, that being said, the summer is a slow time for all of it. {laughs} So that will be a really good, like; let’s make sure we’re planning. Get all our ducks in a row heading into the fall and the holiday season. But I think if somebody is thinking; what can I do to diversify myself as an entrepreneur when I’m not 100 percent sure that this one thing is how I can earn all my money day one. And for most of you listening, it’s probably not wise to be 100% only dedicated to one thing. I say that from experience.

I’ve had side hustles for many years. I still do that; funding what I’m building with Balanced Bites largely with what I’m doing with Beautycounter. But I love Beautycounter; I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. But, those things feed into each other. And you have to find ways to; if you’re going to be relying just on yourself, you have to find ways to diversify. And I think that that’s a wise way to invest your time. So you would obviously diversify investments of your money, right? You wouldn’t invest all your money in just one thing. So I think that there’s a way to balance that out.

Cassy Joy: And I think there is an exception to that rule, I just want to point out. Because if you know; you know. Let’s say you are; it’s like taking a new job in a totally different industry. You’re putting all of your eggs in that one big job basket. There’s a time and a place where you really do know that this is it and this needs all of your attention. And then there’s a time and a place, for the majority of people, to Diane’s point, where diversifying is the wise thing to do. Right?

If I could rewind the clock and invest all of dollars into Apple, right? You know, if I knew. If I had a crystal ball, then I would’ve done that. But unless you really have that degree of conviction; that you know this is the thing that needs you the most and needs 100% of your attention, then I do think diversifying is the way to go.

Somebody asked me recently, because it feels weird. Beautycounter could be a full-time job. Diane and I could; I mean that could be, it could very easily be a full-time obligation in terms of time that we spend on it, in terms of income. It could very happily support me as the only thing that I do. And they asked me; they were like, is Beautycounter full time or a side gig? And I was like well, I guess it is a side hustle. But I don’t think of it; I don’t think of it necessarily in those terms. But it really is a side hustle that continues to support the other business that I’m chasing. It’s a thing that I’ve done. Oh, it was the Gary Vaynerchuk video that you sent me that got me thinking about it. But it was essentially; doing what it takes to continue to chase your dream and make it happen. And if you’re able to diversify the things that you’re doing and the potential income earning possibilities. If you’re able to diversify that as much as possible and stabilize your earnings and also your future successes, I think that it shows that you’re actually in it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, that was; the video clip I sent, he was giving a talk somewhere. And this guy was sharing about what he was doing, building his business; it was a guy in the audience just sharing his story. And he said; I went back and got another part time night job, or something like that. And Gary kind of pointed out that people basically were applauding to all these points the guy was making along the way about his success, and the minute he said he got another job to help bring a little more money in, nobody clapped. And Gary was like; hold on you guys. I need to highlight this, because this is a thing that I want to clap for and none of you are clapping. It’s the humility factor, right?

So that’s the thing that I’m identifying here. It’s not to say; so your example I think was last week about your parents kind of cashing out some money and being like; we’re going all in on this. And I think there’s something to that, right? When you’ve got a really crystal-clear vision. I would venture to guess that we’re lucky if 1% of our listeners are that person.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know? I think most of us; and most of us it’s going to take a decade to get to the place where we’re like; you know what? This is where I’m going. All in. And even that being said, even when I take what I’m doing and I go even more all in on it, I don’t know that I would abandon investment I’ve already made. Because they’re there. And, why would I just abandon them? I don’t know. We’ll see. But the point is, having the humility to say; I’m really convicted about this thing, but I’m not going to be foolish about money. Because if you’re foolish about money that’s when you end up really getting stuck, I think. And I think that’s the thing that has always paved the way for me. Is that I’m not about growing a business to put on a show. I just want to do the things that sound fun and that I think other people would love. And I’m like; that sounds cool. I kind of want to make that thing. Or, I feel like people could really use that book, and it’s going to be hard but I think they really want it, and I think they would need it, and it would be great. {laughs} You know, like let me make that thing.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t know what’s going to happen financially. I can just know that I’m enjoying the process. And so if in the meantime that means I need to do this other thing to pay the bills then that’s what it means.  And I think that that’s where being really clear on identifying like going after your passions doesn’t have to mean at the same time abandoning being a responsible adult who can earn money.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Yes. And I think that to bring it back to enduring highs and lows in your business; if you’re in a low season and it has you questioning whether or not you doing the right thing or the wrong thing; you’ve made the right decision, I think that probably what’s happening is your pride and your ego are wounded more than the practicality of that business decision that you’ve made. Because your pride was so wrapped up in the success of that singular business venture. And so the advice we’re trying to give y’all; and this is also self therapeutic, and these are lessons I’ve personally learned the hard way. But is to expect lows, and try not to base your ego and the success of who you are as an entrepreneur or a business person and whether or not you’re able to sustain what you perceive as an extraordinary amount of success 12 months out of the year. Because there’s going to be lows.

So if that’s you, and you’re sitting there and you’re thinking; yeah, I’ve been second guessing myself because I had kind of a low January. February’s not looking so great, you know. The business isn’t wrong; it could just be that you had too much pride and too much ego wrapped up into it. And that’s totally; I mean, what you’re saying; that’s why I’m so proud of the work that I do with Beautycounter, and all of my other affiliates in other people’s products that I’m selling on my own platform. I’m able to do that proudly because I’ve checked my pride, right? I’ve checked my own personal, I’m not just selling my own products. And at the end of this I’m not just going to look back on it and say, I did that by my own sweat, my own grit, my own tears, my own products; I only have myself to thank for it. Right? I have no desire for that experience. There is not a bone in my body that desires that.

And I think that you have to get to that point that you abandon your ego if you really want to feel successful 12 out of 12 months. Right? Is you just have to say; I’m along for the seasonality ride of all of these different pots that I have my hand in. I’m going to ask for coaching when I think I might need it. I’m going to hunker down during those low seasons and hibernate and try to develop some great ideas to carry me through the next low season. But I’m going to also remember; it’s not about me. Right? Sometimes it’s just about the industry. It’s about the seasonality, and I’m doing my best. And that doesn’t mean that I need to quit just because something didn’t go my way.

Diane Sanfilippo: Here, here.

Cassy Joy: It’s just; it honestly ticks me off.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s so true.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, when people are like; they set these intentions; and especially at this time of year. At the end of February, because we started off 2020 with these goals, right? And these extravagant plans. And we set those goals and those intentions off of a super successful holiday season, right, for a lot of folks. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a really good chance that; unless it’s the diet industry, I guess.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I’m like; we were on a shipping freeze for three weeks when {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Just kidding! {laughing} Except for health and wellness, which is ironic. Both of our original backgrounds. But for just about everything else, that is the height of the year. And then we set these goals and these intentions coming in January, but it’s kind of built on a false bottom. Right? It’s built on a false reference. And then as soon as that crystal clear picture the we painted for ourselves shows a teeny tiny fracture, and it’s really a fracture of how we view ourselves, not how we view the potential of our business from an objective standard point of view, then we want to give up on it! We throw in the towel. What’s up with that?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} I don’t know that I can answer that one. So what I want to say about being in those low moments. Because; gosh, over the summer. So we’re just now over a year of my meals business, right? I launched that January 25, 2019. We’re now almost to the end of February. So it’s been more than a year. That business; I mean, it feels like it launched out of thin air, but also it had been like 10 years in the making when, you know, I had a meal business back in early 2008, and it just was not the right incarnation of that business. And then, you know, recipes and cookbooks and all of that.

So then going through a pretty solid first, I don’t know, 5 or 6 months, up’s and downs, week to week, number of customers, etc. And we had expectations on us. We had some minimums we needed to be hitting every week to just kind of maintain the business, right? And if I wasn’t hitting my minimums of how many people were ordering each week, I was basically paying for that minimum, even if people weren’t shopping. So that’s a loss, you know. And look; that’s to be expected your first year in business. I mean, if you’re profitable at all or just breaking even, good for you. Pat on the back; like, that’s a big deal to not lose money, right?

Well, the big thing that I can reflect on now, and I need to remember this for myself, is that in those moments when I was feeling like I was letting myself down, I was letting my team down, I was letting my business partners down on what was happening with how many people were shopping. Look, over the summer is a slow time. So now in hindsight, a couple of things. One; at that time, I was having the conversation of like; I don’t think I worded it what’s my blind spot, because I think my ego was probably too big to be like, what’s my blind spot. I don’t think I would have said that word. But it was like; it was the, what can I be doing better? Because I feel like I’m doing the best that I can and I feel like this is just going to take time. And so what can I be doing better. And when I was told what I could be doing better, I was like ok, I’m on it.

And now, in hindsight, it was like; I was on it just was going to take a while to get there. Like, it wasn’t something that I could do in one week or two weeks or even one or two months. It was work that had to be done over the course of many months. And so I just had to endure the next part of the year to be able to come into the beginning of this year and say; OK what we’re launching with this new menu is my best hindsight on how we did with the meals that we had. What we’re planning for the rest of the year, when the menu will change again, is again, my best hindsight on the right schedule to change it. When I need to back out and start executing new recipes so that we can see the development timeline for how those will be produced.

So it’s like; all this stuff that I learned that first year during the lows when I was like barely sleep, I was so anxious. I was like; we’re not making these numbers again week after week, you know? I mean, I was telling you. I was like, I don’t know if I should be doing this. And then I hit a point this year where I was told; well, you know, what I did in my first year was like twice what a lot of people have done in their first year in a similar business. And I’m like; well, could you have told me that like the middle of the low? {laughs} The lowest low, you know?

So now I’m like; oh. You know, I thought I was doing OK, but I also, I honestly was probably in a four month or longer period of time where I felt like I was failing week after week after week.

Cassy Joy: Brutal.

Diane Sanfilippo: It was brutal. And so what I did though was just say; you know what? My goal is that this thing is going to be here and it’s going to grow and I’m hoping by the end of this year, 2020, that we end up on an average doubling what we did last year week to week. You know, it might not be right now that we’re doing double, but by the end of the year and early next year, I’m hoping to see twice as many orders on a regular basis as we have right now. But it’s just all this time of planning.

So one thing that is falling into place right now are the things that we started working on and planning in that low time last year. And so, you know, in the low time I at least had the wherewithal to say like; I don’t know what’s happening, I don’t know if I’m cut out for this; I don’t know if I can make this work. But I’m not going to go out quietly. I’m at least going to put my effort into it, what I know I can do. Because that’s the thing that you and I are always; that’s where the topic or the name of this show came from; Driven. It’s like, I have to give something my all before I can say I wasn’t the right person for that job that I thought I was the right person.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: Because we’re choosing all of this. And it’s like; I’m pretty sure I’m cut out for this. And then to hear I did twice what other people did their first year of this type of business. I’m like; see, I told you I could do this! {laughs} But in that moment it was just so painful, you know. In that moment, I just felt like I was, week after week, being kicked down. And it wasn’t me. It was just the season. It’s like; that’s what happens in the summer. So guess what? This summer I’m looking ahead to having a shipping freeze over the summer for a couple of weeks, and we’ll have it again over the holidays. And I just have to plan that out to a point where the kitchens have their schedules planned so that we’re not like hurting the fact that people need jobs and hours and they’re working, right? That’s a really big important part of this business, is that we have a lot of people who actually do that work, and that they’re getting paid regularly and they know what to expect.

But I need to just have a moment where I’m like; I can’t expect my business to be something it won’t be when that’s just not what people want to do. In the heat of the summer, they’re on vacation. They’re not buying meals and it has nothing to do with me. You know?

Cassy Joy: Amen.

Diane Sanfilippo: So anyway. You know, the big hindsight was; use those low times to plan and get executing on the foundation and the infrastructure and the framework of what you need to be able to grow on in the future. Because then when the time comes for the growth your infrastructure is there. Does that make sense?

Cassy Joy: Yep. That makes perfect sense. And if you’re having trouble getting that perspective and understanding; because what Diane just pointed out, there’s a distinguishing factor here. Am I the right person for this job? Right? Did you actually give it your all and your best? And when is it an appropriate time to move on? If you’re in that point and you don’t really know; seek one on one mentorship. Seek

somebody in your industry who is doing the same thing, that knows you and knows your business, and ask them for some insight. And be bold and brave enough and humble enough to say; tell me what I’m not seeing. Ok?

And then if they tell you and they give you that perspective and they say; no, you’re doing great. You’re doing great, yeah, this is just a crummy season of the year, period. Believe them. And then, like Diane said, work on building the infrastructure and the plan to help endure the next time around. And if you don’t have necessarily somebody you can reach out to but you do have something where you can look at month over month, year over year; look at those side by side. And like we said at the beginning of this; also pay attention to what’s going on in the world. The political climate, like she said, does have an impact. There’s a good reason why my book three is not coming out this fall. {laughing} that originally was the idea, but there is just going to be too much going on this fall {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: I can’t remember if we were on an episode, if we were recording at the time, when I recounted. We were sitting in the room. We were in a meeting somewhere.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: And it just like literally occurred to me in the moment; people were talking about something else and I shot Cassy a look; I go, oh my god, when is your book coming out? {laughs} In the middle of a conversation. And she’s like; next year. And I was like; ok, good. Wipe the sweat from my brow.

Cassy Joy: That’s right! We were across the room from each other at a meeting with Beautycounter.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I was like; whatever they’re talking about, I have to ask her right now, I can’t even save it!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: It just dawned on me in the moment.

Cassy Joy: Call the editor!

Diane Sanfilippo: Don’t get preempted.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: So funny.

Cassy Joy: So just pay attention to those things. And I think give yourself grace. I think what frustrates me is when folks invest so much time and energy into building really incredible inspirational goals and plans. I love that. What frustrates me is when you doubt yourself because of things that are not necessarily in your control, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: So get some perspective. Buckle down on the things that are in your control, right? And then do the work. Do your best, and then make an objective decision after that.

3. Tip of The Week: Consulting a mentor [49:30]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Cassy; why don’t you give us a tip?

Cassy Joy: Yes. Ok, so today’s tip, if you’re feeling a little unsettled. You feel like you’re spiraling in a season of self-doubt because your business seems to be in a dip, then I want you to reach out to a mentor or a friend. Somebody who can give you a little perspective within your industry on how you’re actually doing. So swallow your pride, just tell them how you’re feeling, and ask them for their perspective. And you will be more equipped to make a decision going forward after that conversation.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Don’t forget, you can also check out our website at TheDrivenPodcast.com. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week for more entrepreneurial advice and inspiration. We’ll see you then.