Have you ever wondered how you can develop your confidence and start your own business? In this episode, Camille welcomes Chelsea Christensen, the owner of Uniformity Apparel, a screen-printing business, a dealer of Zyia Activewear, and a coach and mentor for women.
I honestly think that whatever you want to put out in the world, make sure that you’re also experiencing that.
Chelsea shares how she started her own screen-printing business from the ground up and the steps she took in expanding her business by sharing her hiring employee practices and other business challenges she faced. She gives her advice on how you can build trust within yourself to pursue your passion and ways in which you can get out of your comfort zone.
It’s taking the next best step even when things don’t work exactly how we picture them or celebrating when they do.
If you’re interested in pursuing your own business or passion, tune into this episode to hear how Chelsea built her own successful company and how she balances motherhood, life, and her different businesses.
It’s taking the next best step even when things don’t work exactly how we picture them or celebrating when they do.
Connect with Chelsea:
Follow Chelsea on Instagram: www.instagram.com/chelseachristensen
CHELSEA CHRISTENSEN [0:00]
Last week and we were talking about this process of when things aren't working well, but chances are I think that if it's not working well for you, it's probably not working well for them either, which is probably why they're not doing the things that you're asking or being proactive or feel like they're invested because they're probably not.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:27]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
So, I'm trying to help you with both of those things today. And if you are looking for a community, I would love for you to join me on social on Instagram @callmeceopodcast or on Facebook. We have a group there as well at www.facebook.com/groups/callmeceopodcast. I would love to create opportunities for you to create meaningful connection. Let's dive into this episode, so we can hear more about it.
Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO and this episode is special because this girl, I've been hunting her down for months trying to get her on this show because she has so many golden nuggets that I know you're going to love from this episode. It's Chelsea Christensen. She is the owner of the Uniformity Apparel, which is a screen-printing company that she started back in 2006. She's also a dealer in Zyia Active, and a coach and mentor to women entrepreneurs all over the world. So, Chelsea, thank you so much for being here today. I'm so excited to have you share your light with us.
I am so happy to be here. One of my very favorite things is talking with other likeminded women and I know you're one of those. So, I am so happy to be here.
First, when we are starting out here, I want to say thank you for being here. I was laughing because I was watching a story that Suzy Holman was sharing. One of the first times she met you, and she was like, "And I was so nervous to meet Chelsea Christensen because she is just amazing. And I knew that my energy needed not to be in a place of fear because then our energies wouldn't vibe. I needed to show up with that positive energy." And I just thought that speaks volumes because Suzy, for those of you don't know, she does the Suzy School. She helps entrepreneurial women. She runs retreats and things like that. So, I just want to give you that accolade just coming out of the gate there.
That's so sweet.
I don't know that you even saw that, but I thought that was beautiful.
Actually, I did not see that. And I work with Suzy, so I coach at Suzy School Retreat and I've actually never heard that story, but it's really interesting and I think it's also a good reminder for all of us that we create a difference between us and someone else in our minds. And we're all just women and we all have things to offer and we all have things to learn from each other and we can be inspired by people, but we are all the same. And so, I think that's awesome.
Yeah. I love that too. One of my favorite things that Jay Shetty said, and he's not the original author of this and it's from someone back in the 1940s, but he says, "I don't see myself the way I see myself. I see myself the way I think you see me." And so, our perception of ourself is so wrapped up in what we think other people are thinking, which may be completely false. It's just this cycle of whatever we think might be happening.
That is so good. I love Jay Shetty, but I've never heard that come out of this mouth and that's something to really think about. Because instead of being true and honest, seeing yourself as who exactly you want and believe yourself to be and getting so distracted by what you are thinking other people are observing you or experiencing you, that could change a lot for people, including myself.
I think so too.
That's awesome. Thank you for sharing that.
You're very welcome. I was actually thinking when I knew I was going to be interviewing you this morning, this song and I don't know if it's because you danced to a reel. If you guys are following Chelsea on Instagram, she is such a cute dancer and she dances with her daughters too. It is adorable and really hot. She looks good. And there's a song that's like big, big energy. And I'm like, that's Chelsea. She has that big, big energy that welcomes growth and I love that so much about you. What do you think is a way that you've been able to develop that over the years, that confidence?
So, the confidence I think comes from building trust with yourself. And I think that comes all the way back from to when I was little, I was given a lot of opportunity to make decisions for myself. And I remember when I wanted to leave a softball team and go play for a different coach, my mom was like, "Okay, that's great. Here's a phone. I need you to call your coach and I need you to tell her, thank you so much for everything you've done for me. I've decided to go to this other team, but I appreciate you." And so, I did that.
And as a 9- or 10-year-old, the coach hung up on me actually. She was so angry that she hung up on me. And I look to that experience and my mom could have done one of two things and said, "Shoot, yeah. That wasn't a very good way that she responded to you. She must be really upset and there's nothing we can do that about that" or she could have gotten on the phone and called my coach and said to her like, "How dare you treat my 9-year-old daughter like this? This is exactly why we're not going to play for you, blah, blah, blah."
There were those two options and my mom did the first one. And she was like, "I'm really proud of you for calling her and I'm sorry that she hung up on you. She must be really upset, but we have to do what's right for us." So, I was given a lot of opportunities to make decisions and then talk through or say like, "This is how I feel," and then make a way through those hard things.
I also had a lot of independence naturally, but also my mom was a working mom and my dad owned his own business. They both owned their own businesses, so they were busy. They were available when I needed them, but I was independent. And so, I think growing up like that, I just was always aware of how I thought, how I felt, and then just building trust with myself by trying new things and failing and also experiencing success and accomplishments and just knowing that either way, I was going to be okay and could continue moving forward. So, probably that.
I love that. What an awesome example for your mom to set and to let you own that moment and talk through the emotions of it because those are things as kids especially talking to adults that they have to develop and communication. And we're seeing it now more than ever with kids so absorbed in their phones that I'm like our job as parents is so huge, teaching communication, and being able to pick up a phone and communicate. Yeah, go ahead.
That was the same with my friends. If there was a problem going on with friends, I knew that my mom was never going to talk to the friend or talk to the friend's mom. We work through it together on my side, but she was never coming to my rescue, which might sound rude, but I don't think that was rude. I think that was actually a way of helping me build trust with myself that I could work through problems and find resolution.
That is so powerful. I love that so much. Because you say that your parents were entrepreneurial, so that was something that you were seeing and you were able to model. And I should back up a little bit because I introduced you in saying that you started a business in 2006. And how old were you at that time? And tell me about the steps that you took to get there that you were like, "I'm doing this" and you're ready?
Yeah. It's interesting. So, at that point, I got married in 2004. I went to college for a year and a half and I was just like this Is not really for me. I was a dance teacher. I was coaching the drill team and I worked at a sports club. And when I was coaching the drill team, something that I loved so much was design. I loved graphic design. I love to design logos and flyers and t-shirts.
And so, I started designing the shirts for the team that I was coaching and I had access to wholesale stuff at the club. And so, they would let me order it in. And then, I would just design what we were going to do and take it to a local print shop and they would print it for me. I started like that. And so, I started doing that. And then, my mom was coaching and teaching at a high school and my sister owned a dance studio and they were like, "I love what you're doing. Would you design for me? Would you?" And then, I started adding a little profit on there for myself and getting paid to be doing this.
And so, then I got pregnant with my twins and I was like, I'm going to have two babies. I cannot wake up at 5 in the morning and go coach a drill team and I cannot be gone until 9 o'clock at night teaching dance. And I was just like, ugh, I can't do all of this stuff. So, I was like, I'm going to quit everything. And I think that year, me and my husband made $13,000 when we were going to have our twins. And it's funny because I never felt for a day in my life, but now looking back you're like, how did you survive? Two babies.
And so, what happened was when I quit all my jobs, everyone was like, "Do you think you could still make clothes for me?" And I was like, "Yeah, absolutely. That would be great." So then, what I did was just set up my own wholesale license so that I could get the products, and then I was just shipping it to my apartment and designing and taking it to the printer. And so, it started not really with the intention of like, I'm going to grow this big business, but I always knew I wanted to do something for myself. I always had my hands in things. I've done a million different things, but I knew that I could create a job for myself. I was never waiting for someone to give me a job. So, it started accidentally, but then it just continued growing and growing through the years.
Wow. Was there a time in that transition of doing and starting that business for yourself that you thought, "Man, it's like I am a CEO?" What time was that where you're like this is a full functioning business?
Let me tell you the real truth.
Yes, tell me the truth.
Let me tell you the real truth is when the IRS comes to you. When the IRS comes and you have been paying taxes and you have been keeping invoices and you have been keeping track of records, but what you also have been doing is co-mingling money. They don't like that.
Wait. Say that again. That you're not what the money?
Co-mingling your money.
Co-mingling your money because you hadn't separated then. Got you, okay.
Right. Every day, my husband was like, "You need to separate all your finances. And I was like, "I'm a stay-at-home mom doing her best. I pay my taxes. Here's all the invoices."
Yeah, you're not keeping secrets.
No, really truly I wasn't. And so, I can't say I was 100% accurate. I was doing all the things by myself and at this point, I had three or four kids. I think I had four kids by this point. And IRS comes and they're like, "Prove everything to me. Literally, prove everything." And for the first time, I was like, okay, number one, congratulations, the IRS is taking you seriously. And then, number two, you're like, I want to die. So, that was probably the first time.
A lot of my finds didn't even know that I was working for a long time. And so, it was funny because it was cool that I was making pretty good money and no one even knew about it. But then, it was also hard because I was trying to maintain relationships like normal relationships like doing all the things and going on field trips, all of this stuff. I was trying to balance all this stuff and it was really hard.
And then finally, I gave myself permission to get a nanny to come into our house a few days a week. And that felt like this is a real job. And then eventually, when all my kids were in school, I took the business out of my home and got a brick-and-mortar. It's been like six years now since we took everything in-house and we have a store front. So, that was another step of, okay, here we are.
So, how many years? Can you tell me years of, "I started here and then I took it outside of my home" or where does IRS fit in there?
Okay. So, let's see, so 2006. And then, I would say the IRS probably came in 2010 maybe. 2010, and then let's see, it was five years like I took it all out of my house to a storefront. March 1st was the date that I had signed the contract.
That's awesome. And then, now since then, how many years has that been? It's still operating.
Yeah. So, I don’t even know how many employees I have now. I have 8 or 9 employees. They're awesome. They keep things running. I work from home on Tuesdays, so this worked out great to interview today. I do coaching. And so, it's really awesome. And the thing that's been really cool is that there's been some really great times, there's been some really, really hard difficult times, there have been seasons of fulfillment coming from actually adoring the work. And now, it feels like fulfillment comes from giving people a job and creating together and having a team of people and that feels awesome. So, it's interesting how it works.
Yeah. I think it's such an interesting journey because I have been coaching women on how to build their own virtual assistant businesses. And we have a whole section of financial foundations of creating an entity, EIN number, what kind of entity do you create, and so much of that you were figuring it out just by trial and error literally until the IRS were knocking at the door. And I think that that's fine too that if you're chasing something that you love and you're developing and learning and growing and the different stages of business, that's awesome.
This is also why I coach people.
Yeah, exactly. If you can find a coach, take on a coach.
Literally, I remember one day, I got an email. It was like one of those times where I was working 16 hours a day, right when I moved everything out of my house like things got real and it was a lot. And I was at our cabin in Bear Lake and I got an email from Alison Faulkner randomly. I wasn't following her at the time or anything, but I got this and I think I had listened to maybe a couple of her podcasts and I got an email.
And I was like, I don't know what this is or why I would ever even consider going because it felt like a very social media type event. And I was like, I don't belong there. I literally own a screen-printing company. This is embarrassing. But I just knew I was supposed to go there and I went. And honestly for the first time, I was like, wow. I can create a business that goes with my life. I have choices. I have to set boundaries. I am responsible for what I give to my business and how my business looks. And for the first item, literally, I was like, no wonder why I'm suffering because I was in the most unhealthy too I've ever been in my entire life of just never missing deadlines, meeting everyone's expectations, and showing up as fully as I could for everyone else.
And the people who weren't demanding my attention were my family. They're not going anywhere. And so, all of a sudden, I was suffering because I was overworking, but I was doing a really good job. And I was meeting all the deadlines and people loved me and they told me I was doing a great job. And so, I was like keep going, but then I actually wanted to not do any of it because it was so much and the people who need you will never ask for you. They might act out, but they don’t come to you and say, "Hey, I actually just really need some quiet time." But the people who have a deadline, they will be in your face and tell you they have a deadline. So, that was a big a-ha moment going to Brand School and then shortly after that, I hired my first coach. And that was huge for me.
I love that you shared that. I think you're spot-on that the people that need us and the ones that we want to invest the most in aren't going to tell us.
They're not going to demand.
They might tell us, but banging on the door like, "I've paid for this. Where are you? Where is this or where's my shipment or whatever?"
And they don't even know how to ask, "I need 15 minutes of your time" or the people who have deadlines, they know exactly what they need and the people in your life are just hoping that you will feel the need that they have. It's really hard, but I've also really tried hard to give my children permission to ask for what they need.
I remember and I've told this story so many times, but one day I was working at home and Ella was 5. And she was in the front room and she said to my twins, "I thought mom worked from home, so she could spend time with her kids." And I was texting and I'm like, "Are you being tortured while you work because I am?" And so, I just sat and I listened and my twins were like, "Yeah, that's true." And she's like, "Then why is she in the office working?" And they're like, "If she wasn't working at home, we would be at a daycare or a babysitter. So, when she works home, then she can still be here." And they're trying to talk her though it.
And she's like, "I just think she should spend more time with her kids." So, that was an opportunity for me to go, "Okay." I wanted to be like, "You're rude, first of all. You're rude." But then, I was like, "Okay, whatever she's experiencing right now is all she knows." So, my responsibility as her mom is not to try to talk her out of her experience, it's to connect with her in that experience and say, "Ella, I'm so sorry that you feel like me working from home doesn't give you any time with me. What do you need from me? And I could explain that to her."
She's like, "Do you have to work on Christmas?" "No, Ella." She's like, "Good, because last year, you had to work on Christmas." And I'm like, "Okay," so I want to be mad and that's what happens as moms is when we feel guilty already because we're good at carrying our own guilt forever, we don’t have to practice that. That is just something that comes with us, but when something triggers us, it's really easy to get angry and defensive.
When she says, "You worked on Christmas," I could be angry and mad. And then, instead I say to myself, whatever reason that is what she is telling herself, "Ella, I'm so sorry that you believe that I worked at Christmas last year. I want you to know, number one, that I got all those presents and I wrapped all those presents and I put them." But then, I was also like, "I'm so sorry you would think that. That must mean I was really busy around Christmas. I would never miss Christmas for anything and I want you to believe that." So, we just have to really use some self-control and not let triggering get the best of us.
Yeah, that's really good advice. I think that kids, thank goodness, they don't come with a filter in the way of trying to sugarcoat something that's real. And I think that as adults, that happens all the time. But if you're hearing a child say something like that and you're able to show up and communicate what that is, that's such a powerful exchange for you as a mother and for her to see that model for herself. I believe in choosing too, I believe it's great. It saves you so much time and money in the long run. What is something that you've learned in coaching that's changed your life?
So, being coached or coaching something else?
Let's do both. Being coached for yourself, let's start with that, and then coaching others.
The reason why being coached is so important to me is because they help you take whatever's going on in your brain and get it out and it gives you a little validation, it gives you a little clarity. You're forced to sit down and do the work with someone, which that's the thing that we have a hard time giving ourself permission for is sitting down and dedicating time without getting distracted by the million different things that have a deadline.
Our goals or our things that we want to do, a lot of times, they don't come with a deadline. But when you have a coach sitting there waiting for you, and so it gives you the time. It's also when you show up for yourself and you invest in yourself that the outcome is that it means more to you. So, paying a coach, you're like, "This means it matters to me." It's like this energy exchange. This matters to me. This is important to me and I'm actually going to do something about it.
So, I love that. I love that they help pull your thoughts out and help you make sense of it because sometimes, we get into our own head and we're like, "That's stupid. This might be stupid. Is this stupid?" Or sometimes you'll say stuff and say, "That is stupid. You're right. This is stupid. Let's move on to the next thing."
So, being able to have someone who understands, it doesn't have to think the same as you, but gets the idea of how your brain function is just so powerful. So, hiring a coach is super important and I honestly think that whatever you want to put out in the world, make sure that you're also experiencing that. So, if you are a coach and you want people to pay you, I think it's important to be paying a coach so that you have your example of we can all learn from each other is actually true.
And then, coaching other women, I think the most powerful thing is watching them develop confidence in themselves. And I think the first step of investing in themselves typically is the huge thing. People are so scared to spend money on something that they don't necessarily know what the outcome's going to be, but when they do decide to do that exchange of energy, this is important, this matters to me. Watching them even just show up to the call, they're like, "Okay, this is serious and I'm going to put my energy and put my attention and my focus here."
And also, being willing to trust the opinion of me, that's so humbling to be able to have meaningful conversation about people's thoughts and dreams and also their struggles. We know that anything that is holding us back in our own personal life is going to hold us back in our business and the same is on the other side. If we're struggling in our business, our personal life will probably be struggling. So, being able to work those two things together so people can create lives that actually feel really good to them is just the best thing in the world.
Yeah. I love that you talked about the exchange of energy because I think it is true that when we show up and give of ourselves in that way, that I'm taking this seriously that that's when real change can happen. And so, for you taking on your first coach at Brand School, what transformed for you in that way? You had already had a successful business, but you said you didn't have a good balance of giving yourself time and also the family and creating space for what really matter to you in that regard. So, what was it that changed for you in that exchange?
Brand School, that was just a day workshop, but it was super, super powerful and impactful and I ended up coaching with Alison after that for a couple of years, which was amazing. And then, I hired Richie Norton as my first business coach. And I think I paid him $6,000 and it came with a course, and then I don't even know maybe three or four one-on-one calls.
And I think honestly the biggest impact that it made for me was believing that I could choose what my life and my business looked like. And the reason why I hired him is because I felt like he was doing that. He was actually living, not living in his work. He was still working. He was still making money. He moved to Hawaii. He takes his coaching calls on the beach. He lives with ease and he actually just wrote another book about time management and what that actually means and not being a slave to the time of our jobs. And it's coming out soon and I'm excited to read it.
But I hired him because I was like I just need someone to reinforce to me that I get to choose what my life looks like. And I got to share with him exactly what I wanted my life to look like. And do I think that necessarily he was the magic tool that gave me a big shift? I think he was awesome and I think he did a great job in helping me guide my thoughts, but I think it was me.
I think it was me being willing to step into ownership of what my life looked like. And one thing that he did say to me that was super helpful in my business, a lot of times, we want to fix things, but he's like, "I need you to schedule time away from your work." And I was like, "okay." At this point, I couldn't even leave for lunch. And he's like, "Because if you're always there, then you'll never know what's broken and needs to be fixed." He's like, "You will never know." He's like, "You want to create some extra space for you to do this coaching or to do these other things or to just be able to go lunch with your friends, but if you don't know what parts are only being taken care of by you, then you'll never know what's broken and what needs to be fixed." And I was like, isn't that the truth?
That's really good advice.
Right. And I started scheduling time away where I was close enough if there was trouble and they actually needed me, I could go there, but it also gave them ownership and permission to work. I don’t actually think I'm a micro manager at all. I definitely encourage them to make decisions and be proactive, but I think even me just being outside gave them permission and little bit more ownership in their jobs and what they were doing. And also, I was like, "Wow. They can survive without me. This is very sad, but also amazing."
Yeah. It's like being a mom and being able to see if your kids can not burn their house down as they get a little older and you're like, "Okay, what parts do we still need to work on before you leave the house?" So, yeah, that's awesome. I'm curious and this is a personal question. You are and were at the time so massively successful in your screen-printing business. What was it about Zyia that made you want to splinter that attention? Tell me about that and tell everyone what it is because I know, but they won't know.
Yeah. So, Zyia Active is a direct sales activewear brand, so we were the very first of its kind in the network marketing direct sales industry that was selling activewear. And I had actually seen and been very observant. I'm a watcher of all things. I always am paying attention to what's going on and I had watched these businesses really take off, the doTERRA business, the Young Living business, the Isagenix business, all of these different businesses.
I had watched them really take off and become out there in the social media world especially. And I had seen what it had done for a lot of people who A) wanted to have a business but never wanted to develop their own product or B) were just needed an out, they just needed an out and/or see they needed connection.
And the way that the direct sales business model is created it gives you a product to sell. They typically have a mission statement that gives people purpose, and then it surrounds you with people who are doing the same thing as you to give you that community and connection that a lot of people need. The other thing I saw was that actual business decision of this is a great way to make a lot of money. There's potential if you work the business and you are willing to put in the work and you are willing to be in it for more than six months to see if it works for you.
There's a reason why people keep doing it and it's because there is an opportunity to make great money in this field. And so, from a business perspective, I saw this brand new activewear company where everyone was really getting into activewear. I was buying thousands of dollars of lululemon and sending people to the store. And I was like I already sell to drill teams and cheer teams and studios clothing. I could put this in with what I'm already doing. I could continue doing the coaching that I have with these women that I work with. I could provide them a blueprint of a business if they didn’t want to create their own and really just support and uplift these other women and create that sense of community and connection and that's why.
That's cool. I think we have a lot of things in common because the way that your brain works, I'm like, yeah, I totally see that. So, I know that you don't need to, but if you had to pick one today to give up, would it be hard to choose one over the other?
Between my screen-printing business or Zyia or coaching? Are you saying like that?
We'll put coaching on the shelf because I know that's your life mission purpose. So, we're putting that on the shelf. Just between the two if you had to pick.
Okay. So, here's the thing that there are downsides to the business of direct sales and it's a good thing and it's a bad thing is that you are able to build a business with a lot of people, but you are also relying on a lot of people for your business. And so, that's the hard part with that because you can have months where people are really working, and then you'll have months where you're like, "Did everyone die?"
And so, long-term because I have built something that is 100% mine and I am in control of the products and the process and customers, there is so much more control when you have your own business that is true. So, I would always pick my own business, but I do think that the direct sales network marketing place is a really great avenue for business connection, personal growth, all of those things.
Yeah. I like the direct marketing or direct sales is a lot about personal development and the community. I feel like it provides so much uplifting like an uplifting environment for so many people to really tap into. So, with coaching, because I know you have a lot of experience with that too, there's some major hang-ups that you see happen again and again with the people that you're coaching in business, whether it be in the direct sales or in businesses that they own their own. What are some top tips that you could give people listening today that are very common hang-ups that people have?
I think a lot of people get stuck before they even start. And I've been doing this like I told you I've had a podcast microphone on my desk for two and a half years and whenever I go to start, I think what music would I even choose? Is that important? It's necessary, but we make up all these things to make little roadblocks from having to do what we want to do and we do it to ourself.
And so, I guess I would just encourage you to make it this visual thing of what roadblocks am I purposely putting in front of me to stop me from feeling like I'm ready to go or I have to go? Someone messaged me the other day and they're like, "How do I get out of my comfort zone?" And my response was like, "I want you to picture a comfort zone like a little baby play gate," a little baby, what are those things called?
Pack and play.
Yeah, a pack and play. Think of your comfort zone as a pack and play. Does it keep the baby safe? Yeah, it does. Do you know where the baby is at all times? Yeah. Will the baby ever meet new people or learn how to run or learn how to play or go get dressed or change their clothes or do anything outside if they are stuck in the baby pack and go for their rest of their life? No, they won't, but they will probably be safe.
And that's us. We can choose to be in this baby gate and we might be safe and no one will maybe ever judge us and we might not ever experience failure. We might not ever make a bad business move. We might not find success, but we will stop ourselves from experiencing all the things we actually want, which is growth, which is seeing how strong we are, which is learning something or success.
There's no success in the baby gate. None. It is just purely survival. So, it's like how can we break down the baby gate and just be brave enough to trust that we're going to go and if it isn't going to work out, we can take another best step. It's like taking the next best step even when things don't work exactly how we picture them or celebrating when they do.
Yeah, I love that. Really I like that, the baby gate.
And doesn't that feel claustrophobic?
Yes, oh my gosh.
It feels claustrophobic, but we pretend and we try to make it pretty by feeling like we're safe. It's like your comfort zone. Why wouldn't you want to be in your comfort zone? No, it's actually torturing yourself.
Yeah. And I think there is a scale here. If some of you are listening and thinking, "I like my baby gate and maybe I'll put install a slide in a couple years or whatever," yeah, I get that. And some are more comfortable with risk. That's just the way that it is. But I think taking that next best step of what is that slide that you could install to get you out? What's possible? Can you tell me about a time that you took a step that you thought was the right next step, but you learned a hard lesson? I know you've probably had many because you've been in business for many years, but is there one that sticks out?
But in the end, I feel like it still ended up being the right thing, but I remember when I knew it was finally time for me to open my print shop and I knew that I needed to take it out of my house and I knew that I needed to grow, and so I did that. And almost immediately, it was like the worst experience of my entire life.
And I just kept thinking to myself, why was this the right thing? Why was this the right thing? Nothing about this feels like the right thing. This feels like torture. This feels like I created a monster. This feels like I am 16 hours a day working and I've no options. This feels like the worst thing I could have ever done.
But I always knew that it felt like the right decision to make. So then, initially, I started questioning myself like am I off? Can I not trust myself? I decided no, I can trust myself, so I have no freaking clue why this was the right thing, but I'm just going to keep going. And all of a sudden, when I broke, that's when I was like, oh my gosh, I have learned everything.
And then, I was like, oh my gosh, I want to help other people learn all the things that I've learned. I would never have been like, "I'm going to teach you because I want to help you avoid pain and conflict in your life and in your business," I would never have done that if I never felt that. Because up until then, it was like this is hard because I have babies running around my house and I have a nanny and sometimes that's annoying and I had a lot going on and I was busy, but I had never actually experienced the level of break or the level of having to choose and be intentional with my time and my energy and my business and my life. I had never experienced to that degree and that changed everything.
That's a good answer. Do you think that once you got into the space and you allowed yourself hiring people, what was that transition like for you and how did you allow yourself to get there?
So, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law and so I remember feeling just like I didn't know what to do next and so I called my brother-in-law. He's an insurance agent and I was just like, "I don't know what to do. I don't know what next steps to take in my business." And he just told me that the best thing that he's ever done is hire people who were good at their job and to let them know that they were good at their job and give them reasonability and make them feel loved and appreciated. And he's like, "And that will change everything for you."
And I was just so scared to give someone a job because I was afraid what if I can't pay them? Then what? Or what if I don't have enough work for them to work as many hours as they need to? Any of those things and I think it took maybe two months and I was like, who else can I hire? I will hire anyone. I will hire a million people because all of a sudden, I was like, holy cow. We can produce seven times as much than when it's me.
And I stopped believe that I was the only person who was capable of doing things. I was so precious like I should be sending them the invoice and telling them thank you. Do you think anyone cares who the invoice comes from? No, but I made it mean something to me, but then I was like, it turns out there are people who are really good at invoicing and making sure, "'Hey."
Up until then, I was just hoping that everyone got their product. So, letting go fete things that you're making ultra-precious about your job and letting people do what they're good at and paying them and letting them feel like this responsibility that they know that they're wanted and needed and paying them well and making everyone work together. It's changed everything.
I believe it. I get this question a lot because it comes down to any type of business, but what has been the best way for you to find good employees? Have you had some pain in that regard?
Yeah. Every time I have to hire someone new, it still makes me like, oh gosh, this is the worst.
It's a risk, yeah.
You have to pay someone to do something over and over again, but what I've realized is the more clear I am at what people's responsibilities are, then when there's turnover, it's like, okay, I know exactly what I need this person to do. And you also learn to be more upfront with your expectations and your needs with the employees.
So, you can learn from your past employees, just kindly use them as an example of things like, "I can't actually have you waiting for 15 minutes for me to walk over and notice that you're done with something, being proactive is so important in this job. When you have 5 minutes left in this shop, I need you to let me know that you're ready for the next task." So, just being really upfront has made the process a little bit easier.
And also, I'm not good at telling people when they're not doing a good job. I already know that. That is a struggle for me. And so, I do find myself sometimes having resentment towards people who are maybe not doing things in the way that I would expect them to do and that is my own problem because I've not made it clear. And so, that's something I have to decide on if I actually want something, then I have to ask for it. And if it doesn't come after the ask, then you have to make decisions and let people go. I'm the worst at that. Absolutely, I'm the worst at that.
It's hard. I think like you said it's your baby and you're holding onto that and you want it to go well.
And I don't want to hurt people's feelings. I don’t want to hurt people's feelings. I was actually at a lunch with a bunch of girls who have businesses last week and we were talking about this process of when things aren't working well, but chances are I think that if it's not working well for you, it's probably not working well for them either, which is probably why they're not doing the things that you're asking or being proactive or feel like they're invested because they're probably not. So, maybe even if we can see it from that perspective of it feels off to you, it's probably feeling off and if it's not for them, then that's another red flag and a reason why they probably shouldn't be there.
Yeah, that's really good advice. I really appreciate that. As we're closing up, I'm curious. I know that involving your children in your entrepreneurial journey has been huge that you've involved them in that and it's been a very much part of your parenting and the way that you've done things. What do you want your children to learn from watching you as their mother build business?
First, I let them know where I'm spending time and energy when it's not with them so that they're question of like, "Does she just not care? Is she just not there?" I want them to be aware of what's going on for good and bad. And there have been times where I've been guilty of making business not look fun to them. In fact, they would even say, "No, I don't want to take over your print shop. It's so stressful. It's so much work."
There have been times like that, but there's also times of celebration and they get really excited when we print shirts for awesome people. We printed some custom shirts for Olivia Rodrigo for her record label and my girls were like, "You're kidding me." There's been times of celebration or they'll see shirts out there for big companies that we work for may know that they come through the shop, so letting them be excited and feel like excited about success or what I'm doing has been awesome.
I love bringing them on Instagram with me so that they feel like they're important in that they're a part of everything that I do and I just think that it gives them permission to know that they can do whatever they want to do. They can make up their own job. If they want their job, they can do that. If they want to work for someone else, they can. The possibilities are there, but they are in control of their life. They get to make choices and when you make a choice, then you can do whatever it takes to make it work.
That's awesome. You're an awesome mom. And I really appreciate watching you building business and also really prioritizing your family and it's very apparent in everything you do.
You're so sweet.
That's true. You're awesome.
One thing I've been really, really grateful for is a lot of people that I've either hired at my shop or I've coached or worked with, they've gone through this place where they feel like they lost themselves and they have go back to through this whole discovery. And I honestly think that building something all along the time of building babies gave me that I always knew myself along the way. I never got to this point where I was like, no, I've got to start over. Who am I? Why do I matter?
And I'm not saying that maybe I won't get to that point. Maybe I will have an experience like that, but I will say that the people that I have coached who felt like that was not allowed for when they had babies, they go through this panic morning of like, who am I? What am I doing and is it okay for me to do this? And I never experienced like that.
For those of you who can't see the video, I am shaking my head yes so hard because I agree. I have so many friends if it's like the point where their kids are now in school full-time or when the kids leave the house that they just have this feeling of dread and loneliness and remorse and because, of course, they loved being a mother. They loved doing what they did, but it was a sense of loss of who am I and what do I have to offer the world now? And that makes me so, so sad.
I want to tell someone this. Sorry, I just interrupted you, but I actually had a woman on my porch one day when someone was really mean to me or something, she dropped me a treat on the porch and she was telling me that she was feeling these feelings. And I want to remind anyone who does find themselves in this thought and this feeling is it doesn't matter where you serve, but how and that whatever it is that made you feel valuable as a mother, you can take that same thing and put it anywhere. It doesn't matter where you're doing it. If it was the connection, if it was the wanting to go needed, if it was the sharing your thoughts and bossing people around, whatever it was, it is possible for you to take those same gifts that made you an awesome mom and put them anywhere else.
Yup, amen and amen. I agree with it so fully and I love that it's a journey that each of us gets to take individually and to give yourself permission however small or however big that purpose or that passion or that dream is to explore that and see what that could be for you because there is a purpose for you inside and outside of motherhood. So, I just so appreciate you. Please tell everyone where they can find you and follow more of your goodness online.
Look for me at @chelseachristensen, so it's just on Instagram. @chelseachristensen, that's it and that'll lead you to all the things that I do. So, thank you so much for having me.
Thank you. It's been a pleasure.
This episode is brought to you by Station Park who believes in women-led businesses that are changing the world. If you want a place to come visit to dine, shop or connect with your loved ones, Station Park is only 20 minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City and has a gorgeous outdoor dining and shopping experience that you can walk among the shops and create memories that will last forever. If you happen to be in the middle of the square, Twigs Restaurant is right there in the middle, one of my very favorites. You've got to get the pesto margarita chicken and end the night with the dipping donuts. Trust me. Tell them I sent you. It will change your life.
Wasn't she awesome? Chelsea is seriously dynamite. I hope that there were nuggets in there that you absolutely loved. If you're thinking about something that you might want to start whether it's in your house or something little that's growing bigger or something that you want to take more seriously, you can dive into a free resource of discover your why and purses. It's a free 5-day email sequence where I take you through step by step of how to discover your why and your purpose for free. You can find that www.camillewalker.co and right at the top where it says discover your why.
I can't wait to see you on the other side and I hope you will join me in our online community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/callmeceopodcast or on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. If you found this episode helpful, please leave a rating, a review, and/or subscribe. I would love it if you subscribed because then we can hang out each and every week. Thank you and I'll see you all next time.
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