When it comes to your finances do you know your numbers or are you avoiding them? If you’ve been acting like an ostrich with your head in the sand, know you aren’t alone, but also know that you can’t stay there if you want to experience true financial success and peace of mind.
In Episode 02 of The Vendor’s Daughter podcast Cathy Donovan Wagner, Founder of Retail Mavens, a retail coaching and consulting company that empowers independent retailers to have more freedom, increased profits and better sleep, shares:
10:20 Why you can’t see the picture when you’re inside the frame and what that means for your business.
16:15 You aren’t your numbers and that’s a good thing.
20:45 How her company help retailers get better sleep.
33:00 Why we need to respond rather than react to numbers in our business.
38:10 What makes holiday shoppers different than regular shoppers and how to prepare for each stage of the holiday season.
43:35 What HIPPA activities are and why you need to be doing more of them.
49:55 How the simple act of planning your day can save you hours.
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When it comes to your finances, do you know your numbers? Or are you avoiding them? If you've been acting like an ostrich with your head in the sand, know that you are not alone. But also know that you can't stay there if you want to experience true financial success and peace of mind. In today's episode, I sit down with Cathy Donovan Wagner, the founder of Retail Mavens, a retail coaching and consulting company that empowers independent retailers to have more freedom, increased profits and better sleep. I met Cathy very randomly, but divinely at a Rise convention in Dallas. Rise is an event that was put on by the Hollis Company, we went a few years ago. When we jump into today's conversation, you are jumping right in to two friends talking about a more recent event by Rachel Hollis, I included it because we talk about some pretty vulnerable things that I thought you might actually benefit from hearing as well. There's not really a formal introduction, Cathy and I just start talking and along the way she dropped some very powerful knowledge. Alright, I hope that you get a lot out of this. I hope that when you're done you feel like you can have more control over your finances, more peace of mind that will result in better sleep. And you'll have figured out a few ways to get some more time. Let's get to today's show. You're listening to The Vendor's Daughter podcast. I'm your host Jennifer Calderon, also known as the vendors daughter. I started this podcast about seven years into working at my family's business at the time and really ever since I've been geeking out on two main topics, self improvement in business growth and development. I firmly believe that the healthier we are both mentally and physically the better we show up for ourselves, our lives and our businesses. On the show we talk a lot about things like a positive mindset, why what you eat matters, why it's important to move your body and how a gratitude practice can change your life. And because growing a business is my favorite topic ever we also interview entrepreneurs in various fields so that they can share how they grew their business, which means along the way, we'll also talk about things like email lists, growing an Instagram and knowing when it's time to hire your next employee. The only thing I might like to talk about more than business is coffee. I love coffee. So grab a fresh cup and listen in as we deep dive into all the things.
There are people from 65 countries! They never said how many people were actually there but the 65 countries so that was kind of fun.
What an awesome problem to have. I started liking everything she does, it just seems like she's unstoppable right now.
It’s the whole thing of how I just think she's pretty honest about what she does, right? I really think that's a key part of it. I think there's so much pressure, I think if you have any sort of platform you feel like you have so much pressure to often be perfect? And of course you're not.
03:46 I think it's difficult to figure out how to create content that people want to consume but also be liked. Most days my life is boring. I don't know how to make this life look more exciting. Like my videos take place right here, I have a beige wall for goodness sakes. I don't know what to do especially came up with an app, so that's kind of cool.
Well, it's official. I thought they weren't gonna unveil it. I think on June 1 or something
I can't download it yet. But it looks they did a little trailer on her Instagram, it looks pretty good.
She was saying that was one of the pivots that they made, it was really cool. It was so cool hearing her talk about when it all happened how she pretty much spent the whole first week just so depressed and then how they just had to pivot everything because they're an event company. And now there can't be events.
She's pivoted so fast. I mean she just put on this huge live conference.
Yeah it was really cool. Have you noticed it's just unlike anything else, so much of the stuff you feel like you've heard before but you hear it in a different way. One of the things that's resonated with me, oh my gosh I could feel it in my bones, is that this whole thing is about courage and about pivoting and moving forward. And you know what, Jen, I really feel that. I thought, could I say this more confusingly? I don't think so. My point is that I've somehow always just got the impression that they're the people who are courageous, Rachel just keeps going like she might deal with that fear. But she deals with it. It's done. She turns her back on it and moves forward. What every speaker pretty much talked about is oh, hell no, that's not it, that fear is with you every step of the way. It's just that you decide to have the courage in taking action, in spite of it, that inspires me. That's the part that I thought was so powerful to remember because I thought that I was less than because I kept having fear throughout everything. Even about doing this podcast I thought “what the heck is wrong? Why am I so afraid of this?” And I almost canceled it over the weekend, I started saying “I don't think I'm feeling very good.” I told myself you feel fine.
You honestly have that statement? I love it so much. And I think that you're not giving yourself enough credit because from what I can see you're crazy brave. You're out there with your Instagram and stuff - the videos. You do show up all the time you do stuff that I've been too afraid to do and you're jumping on this, even though you don't want to. You're just not giving yourself enough credit. I think that you're showing up far braver and with more courage than you're giving yourself credit for.
The message here is that the same is true for you, right? When I think of how I see you showing up in places I don't think “Oh, it's that damn beige wall again, of course I never think about that. I think about the adorable video that you showed with your husband and your dog going through your house for the fruit. And when you move, I think that's the message that we have to bring to everybody because everybody feels like this. Right? They can't be encouraged enough, people just can't be encouraged enough.
It's so true. I think you messaged me why I didn't join the live event and I thought, oh man, I think I'll just wait until I can see her in person because I love Rachel so much. I'm so grateful for everything that her and Dave have done and the encouragement they've given me but I also have a really difficult time because I get really jealous sometimes. I just feel like I've gotten up every day and I'm doing all this stuff and I'm not seeing the needle move as much. I keep having to remind myself that it's not a comparison and that we're each doing our own race. We each have to show up in our own way but sometimes it gets a little too difficult for me. I just don't think I have a conference in me right now. But now I'm hearing you talk about it. I thought, gosh dang it Jenny, you should have gotten over yourself and showed up.
Jen, can I tell you that that literally brings me to tears because again I deal with that same bull crap in my head too. Feeling like I see competitors coming alive. I use the word I like literally. I'm serious about the time I see colleagues do things and I know I'm a good girl, I know there's enough out there for everybody. I know that but I tell you just like you sometimes I think this just isn't fair. I've been working, I wish I had thought of that, how come I didn't think that. I would love to say every single time I think bless you sweet child I wish success for you and bless you too, what a great idea, you go right ahead, but I have to choose to stop choose community over competition, because there isn't enough for everybody.
That was one of the main talks that I've made. Points I think John Maxwell was talking about earlier, I forget which speaker said it, but the whole point is about your story and voice is different than anybody else. It's the same thing I would tell a client, I would say it doesn't matter. I think at the time when I worked with three women's clothing stores in a block and a half of each other in downtown Chicago. They all were mad that I was working with the other person, it just kind of happened gradually, but the beauty is that I could see clearly how they were all very different. They for sure, shared customers, but they were very different. So I always try to remind myself about that, about how I was able to help them all increase their sales. Jennifer it's like I'm your mom calling you by your full name, it's because I allowed each one I helped have a voice. I helped each one of them hone in on what their own voice and messaging was and how it was all so different. As they stood taller and stronger in who they really were they just all did more business, it was so beautiful.
That is beautiful. I love that you could look into them. I think it's so important sometimes to have the outside perspective because people can see what you can't see in yourself. For you to be able to pull that out of them and say you are competitors or colleagues or however you want to say it, we each have this individual thing to give, I think it gets really dangerous. And this is where I go for myself, which helps pull me out of it sometimes is that we do each have our own voice to bring and even if it's a similar message you can still reach certain people. For me, I think, “well, maybe I can say something to a friend and Rachel Hollis wouldn't be able to speak to them the way that I could” kind of thing. So I just keep saying “well, you have a voice you are created for a reason and you need to show up for whatever that reason is and stop wishing that you had the same reason as somebody else”, right? I love the idea of being able to look at somebody else and see clearly what their strengths are and then helping them stand up straighter. Because sometimes you just can't stand up straight on your own.
That's a beautiful way of putting it, you can't and honestly that's the same thing that happened to me last week when I met with you. I was really suffering from feeling like that an hour before you and I got on the phone. I was feeling “Oh my gosh, my messaging is so weak, it's so vague” and you get on the phone and we start talking you say “oh my gosh, your messaging is so clear, Cathy, all points about more profit and better sleep and it's so beautiful” and I thought “Oh, she's right, dang it, that is pretty clear, yeah”.
You're pretty clear. I was on your website again this morning, I just go in so everything's prepared and, again, I was struck how it's right there on the homepage, make more money, better profit and get better sleep. You could not be more clear, you know exactly what you stand for.
It is so funny though, the other analogy that I like to use is that you can't see the picture when you're in the frame.
I've never heard of that.
I always visualize actually how in a picture it's like you're holding the frame around your head and you can't really see it. The most practical action step of that is to make it more clear, that's why you always need to have the strong powerful people around you. This is the reason why I do what I do because I can I tell this to prospects all the time like present or future fans, I call them and when they're talking to me about struggles or having in their store I always say “listen, I can clearly see the steps you need to take in order to prove that in order to improve it and it's not that you're not smart, not that you can't do it” I said “but you can't see the picture when you're in the frame”. I feel like it's literally what God put me on earth to be able to show people, to be able to look and see that. The thing that I remember is how I'm guilty of the same thing about my own business and that's the reason why it's so important to make sure that you're surrounded with people that can speak truth into you and be a hype squad when you need it and they will also be honest with you. That's what I appreciate, crazy friendship is exactly that.
I keep thinking all the time that I wasn’t actually supposed to be at Rise, I just left that weekend feeling so loved and so taken, I also have my faith and the whole way home, I just thanked God for taking care of me and helping me meet you. The experience I got from Rise, that's why I feel just gross sometimes because I'm so grateful for Rachel but then I also am so jealous of Rachel. I just keep reminding myself that humans are allowed to have complex emotions.
Absolutely, one of the things that I was listening to Dave talk about was when he decided the kind of person that he wanted to be going through this pandemic, going through the quarantine. He said that he didn't want to fall back into old habits and into habits that he knew would numb the pain. They would comfort him at the time but wouldn't make him a stronger person for the next day. I was thinking about how that is just so hard to do in the moment and my point about it is that I see that what he found he did was actively journal and start to realize why he was triggered. What you're talking about being triggered by that, there's such power in genuinely recognizing that and knowing that and claiming it. I'm so proud of you for just being willing to share it because that happens to everybody. Then my challenge to you, as to myself, is to think through it and to think “why is that? I really want to do a conference? Is that what I want from it?” because don't we so often then just race forward to the next thing?
I just want to get away from the feeling of I'm just going to work, work, work, work, work and try to outrun it. I did hear the concept about jealousy, I grew up in a Christian home where I learned that jealousy is bad. You're not supposed to be jealous, you're not supposed to covet all these things. Then I started getting into podcasts in the world of self-help and someone said to look at jealousy as an arrow pointing you in a direction that you want to go. If you feel jealous about something, is it because that's a direction that you're supposed to go, try to use it as a guiding light instead of something, try to work through it. Don’t be negative about it but try to use it as a positive direction. This is my first time doing a video with the podcast as well. I've avoided it because I can hide behind the microphone you can't really hide with the screen. I laugh all the time I think “if you really want to do a conference, you're going to get way more comfortable in front of people that you currently are.”
I'm proud of you for doing it.
Thank you, I'm proud of you for doing it too. Let’s Talk about Retail Mavens should we?
Well, actually, it's a beautiful stage because I realized that’s one of the things our messaging is about. I think the other thing that people don't like to talk about or think about or deal with is money and numbers. Yes, and how much people love to just stick their head in the sand about that. When I give speeches, I often use the analogy and even have like a great image of like an ostrich that has its head in the sand and it's been up in the air because that's what tends to happen with all of us is that's not a reason why people go into businesses because they love Excel sheets. But the thing is that passion doesn't pay the bills. I mean, it can for a little bit, but it can't sustain it forever not if you really want to take it. And so that's the part that I really love to do also is to look at numbers and see and hear the story that the numbers are telling me because there's always a story unit. And people tend to take the numbers and judge themselves about it. I'm always telling people, you are not your numbers, you are not your numbers. You are not your numbers, know that your numbers are just a reflection of something on a certain day. That's all that it is. His reflection of a certain day, they're black and white you have to remove yourself from the emotion of it and then let's just tackle it. But if you want to change it, let's just change it. And if you don't want to change it, that's fine, too. Because not everybody is ready to.
Yeah, for the people numbers are emotional because you look at it and I feel like that's why you want to avoid it when they can be complicated. I'm not a numbers, girl. But then you do look at it and you judge yourself for not seeing something you should have seen before or like for knowing that you should have dealt with it but not wanting to deal with it. So when people are in that space, how do you help them get past that to actually tackle the numbers? Or how do you like help them remove the emotion from it? Because I feel like if you could remove the emotion it would be far easier because you wouldn't be beating yourself up while you were trying to solve the problem.
True. So true. Well what's so interesting about that journey is that I always tell the story about how we really changed accountants a couple years ago. And before that, we've had the same accountant for 15 years or something and so we changed accounts. So I had to bring my numbers to them, my financials. So I bring all my financials, I bring it all down and I mean, this is what I do for a living, I'm very comfy in QuickBooks, I'm a total dork about it. I love all that stuff, you know? I'm very comfy with it. So I'm bringing all my numbers showing all the numbers with them. Then the minute he started asking questions such as “so this number right here” my heart started to pound. And I felt like he's asking so tell me what goes into this number. What happened was that I launched into this big huge story about this one number and so he was so kind and just listened to the whole story. He said after, actually, my question about it was more just Is this a recurring expense? And I just started laughing, because I said to him, this is what clients do to me. I just did what all my clients do and I've been dealing with these numbers for so long. It was hilarious to me even though I teach this all the time and I love numbers how instantly it became emotional.
Immediately defending it. And he said no, I just needed to know.
Exactly! And that's totally what I let people do, too. I let people go down this whole rabbit trail and I'm just watching them on Zoom, taking a sip of my water listening. I know they got to get it all out and then at the end, just saying, yeah, thanks very much. Is this A or B? Because this is how I'm going to teach you about how; I always share the story of how. I even get anxious about it I have to remind myself that this is a work in progress and that you don't have to get emotional. The thing is, it goes back to what we were saying, during the frame you can't see the picture. So you tend to then, I think, respond emotionally. Whereas what I can do. This is what I tell people, what I do is I'm looking at the whole picture for you. So I can see where your numbers are good compared to everybody else, there and then where there's opportunities for improvement. I don't ever say that anything's bad, because frankly, it doesn't even matter. Even if you made a quote unquote, bad decision. I've had credit card debt, which is horrible, right? I really have worked hard; it was a decision I made at the time with the light that I had. I'm trying to make as good of a decision as I can. And I've just learned we keep moving forward and we keep improving. And that's the only way you can look at any of your numbers. That’s literally how we give people better sleep than, Jenny, because you can wake up at two o'clock in the morning and be going to the bathroom and start freaking out “oh my gosh, my sales are so down, my store is closed, what am I going to do?” But the thing is, courage is having fear but taking action in spite of it. And that's the thing, right? That's what I do is give people action steps that they can take so they then at two o'clock in the morning, when they wake up, they don't know exactly what action steps they can take the next morning but the next morning when we sit down and look at it together we'll lay it out. That's exactly what we'll do.
Well, I love that. I love how you can take something as scary as numbers and say “No, we're gonna make it less scary. We're gonna take away the emotion.” And because of that, you're gonna be able to get sleep and you might not. You might wake up at two in the morning with heart palpitations but you can know that you can go back to sleep because in the morning you have somebody to tackle it with. You don't have to do it by yourself. You can do anything if you know that there's somebody who's gonna come alongside you and show up for you. It's easier to show up for yourself when we know that someone else is going to show up.
Exactly right. It's the whole thing about setting yourself up for success. I always talked about how I want you to set yourself up for success so that you trip over it. I really love to work out and it's also a mental health thing for me, I have to work out, it's fabulous for me on my working days when I know I'm gonna work out. So what I will do is if I know I'm waking up first thing in the morning I will literally go to sleep wearing my workout clothes so that when the alarm goes off in the morning I have no reason why I can't just get up and work out. I mean, I'm already all dressed. It really helps.
I'm going to start doing that because what I'll do is get up earlier than my husband and I know that I if I work out in the morning I have a better chance of actually getting it done. I feel better throughout the day. I like the after effects, I don't like the actual working out part so what I'll do is make a cup of coffee and then I couldn't, I did that this morning to be honest. So if I had just slept in the workout clothes I couldn't out trick myself; I'd think “you literally have no excuses, you have to do this.”
Right. My husband will always say it's not his favorite thing. It's not his favorite habit of mine but it works.
It totally does and I do have a lot of anxiety naturally so the days where I drink a lot of coffee it's bad. I drink a lot of coffee paired with my natural anxiety but on days I work out I do feel better. It's just hard sometimes to prioritize it because I'd rather just jump into the work even though I know logically that I do better work when I've had my workout.
So yes, you're not alone in that. I'm gonna take your trick of dressing for it. Well, before you started Retail Mavens, you actually had your own retail store. So I want to make sure we tell our listeners about your origin story and how you got started with Duck Duck Goose. Is that right?
Yeah, that was the name of it. So I was actually on my way to medical school, believe it or not, and was in a Lamaze class and met this guy who owned a kid's store. I had applied to medical school and I was waiting to hear then I happen to run into the guy; I had my daughter and he had to get his son. And anyway, I met them on the street and he solely said “So what do you do?” and we started talking. He said, “Would you ever think of coming to work with me where I'm at I really need people?” and I've always worked but I somehow my whole life I had never worked in retail ever before. I've done all the other kind of jobs you typically do but somehow I've never done retail so I said “yeah, sure, if I could bring my daughter sweet, let me bring my daughter”. So I worked there and I just loved solving people's problems and finding solutions for what they were looking for and taking care of them. Then I started getting all these great ideas and ultimately, the guy says, “listen if you have so many great ideas, maybe you should just open up your own store”.
It was that feedback that was so funny. So I said “hmm, okay, all right”. Then what had happened is that my grandmother or my auntie just passed away and left us some money. Then my sister had also just graduated from college and she was trying to decide what to do, I was still waitlisted from medical school and hadn't heard so I decided to just take steps and look into it. We decided to go ahead and open our own store, so we did and it was hugely successful at first; we were sure that we were retail geniuses, obviously. If one store was good than two stores would be better. So almost immediately, we opened up a second store, wow, that is where the story really begins because what happened was that the economy changed. Turns out we didn't really have any tools to fight the fight, you know, fight a crisis, to fight a negative situation and everything that we had done before it stopped working and sales were plummeting. Really the whole point of it is we were almost bankrupt. And I asked my Godfather for money because you know he's my Godfather I had to be his favorite he wasn't going to turn me down right? I remember bringing all these numbers because I always loved the numbers part of what we did. Sitting down with him over dinner and explained everything, laying all this stuff out talking about our plans and at the end of the dinner, it's just one of those moments in life, you can remember so clearly, he says “Cathy, I totally believe in you, I really do but I just don't think you really know your numbers”. Not nice. “You just obviously don't understand retail because I love them, I know numbers and I love numbers.” He said, “Oh, for sure I don't know retail like I know electrical contracting and I've been very successful there but I think the real reason why I've been successful is because I do know my numbers and at the end of the day you've got money that comes in and there's money that goes out and there has to be enough afterwards in your hand or none of it makes sense.” He said “I just don't see that.” It's one of those moments where I just drove home crying and I was so angry but it turned everything around for me because it's what made me. It's what then forced me too. I for sure went through the whole grieving about how maybe I should get this whole thing up but then I was just too mad about it. So I really just dug in, got help, hired a consultant, did a whole bunch of research, worked really hard and was able to turn everything around. It was not always easy but we ended up turning off to on. We ended up opening another store and then I stopped working weekends. I had four kids and didn't work weekends and three stores it was just fabulous. We’d go to trade shows and I just discovered that I was really super passionate about that. Not everybody else was enjoying retail as much as I was. So I just got super passionate about sharing that with people and so that's why I sold the stores then to my sister because that was becoming much more fulfilling to me then actually retail itself.
I'm gonna listen to your story and I think you are so much braver than you give yourself credit for. You were on a path to med school and you left to open up a retail store, that's a pretty big shift.
That's what I love to tell because it doesn't make any sense.
What was your family’s reaction like?
It was really interesting as my dad was a doctor and what's fascinating is that he really, at the time, recognized how much medicine was going to change and how much more the impact that the insurance industry was going to have on it. So he said “I don't think it's a for sure deal you should do what you feel really passionate about”. That was really great how he encouraged me. I really got a lot of support and it was also very satisfying doing it on our own because we didn't get money from him. We got this little inheritance from my aunt and then we went to the bank and they gave us the money so we really did do it all on our own. It was really cool.
And then you said about 15 years into it you decided that you were going to make another change.
Right! So literally in the last century, I like to say it's literally in the last century. March of 1999 is when I sold the store and started Retail Mavens and turned we turned 21 Last month, which means that we're legal!
Happy 21st birthday!
Thank you very much.
That's a really big deal. Was that scary for you to jump again or were you excited about it?
No, I was super scared, It's so funny, isn't it? A entrepreneurs we're wired to love growth, right? I mean we're wired to always want to grow and to always achieve more and that requires change. Yet I know quite a few other people I would suspect hate change.
My husband says “you always want to start something new but you don't want anything to change”. It's like, again, complex people.
Exactly! We get in this place of comfort, it was really hard even deciding to open the stores originally. Frankly because I'd been on this other path for a very long time but that's where I'm so grateful for my faith because I really believe God helps you. He gives you some signs along the way and it was powerful but it was scary. I have to continually remind myself when I am dealing with an uncomfortable place, dealing with change, that it's what I feel I have to ask myself “do I really want that?”.
Yeah, you have to remind yourself sometimes when you want to make a change if you've done that in the past, I did it before I can do it again. You start building reps so you get a little bit stronger at it and a little bit faster. Sometimes it doesn't make it less scary but you do start to build like this and become a little bit of your own cheer squad. You think “no, I got this, I did it, I can do it again”.
For sure. John Maxwell talks about how courage is meant to be used up not stored up and wound and that's exactly what you're doing. I think that you can remind yourself of other scary things you've done and think “well, if I did all that I can for sure do this, right?” I can appreciate that and I think that one of the problems that happens with all of us is that we end up just continuing to move forward so fast that we don't take time to intentionally look at what triggers us or look at how we respond to that trigger. We don't often make a choice we just react and the choice comes from forcing yourself to think about all the things you've done that before that you've succeeded at.
One of my clients does that, I just love this. So we talk in our world, we talk all the time about hashtag pat your own back and I believe it's so powerful to celebrate your own achievements because we tend to move so fast that we miss them, we forget who they are. So I have a client who came up with this genius idea that I've totally swiped. Every month well she had in Evernote just what she called celebrations and wins. At the end of every month, she breaks down with her celebrations and wins because we forget what we've already done that was hard to move on to the next thing.
You do just move right past it. You struggled and then you just blew right past the thing. I've been working hard this year to celebrate milestones so to take a break and say “No” like you did. Just take a minute or two or an hour and just like celebrate the fact that you spent a very long time trying to do something and you did it but it is hard because I just want to move on to the next thing.
So what has worked for you, Jenny, to really make you stop? How do you make yourself stop?
Honestly I think just the only thing I can really think of that's different is my husband is really big on kind of like slowing down and just enjoying life a little bit more and because I value that relationship so much I say “Okay, well, I can't just go, go, go, all the time” because we're not in this business right now together so if I were just to go all the time then I'm not prioritizing that. I think in order for me to slow down my brain enough so that I can just go relax and enjoy time with him. I do have to have this pause in the day or the week where I can just release everything and then I can go show up for what is arguably the most important part of my life but that I tend to push away. So that's kind of been the only thing that's really caused me to sit still long enough.
It's interesting because what I hear when you say that is that you're recognizing the power of how you can't see the the picture when you're in the frame, you're recognizing that your husband can see it more clearly. Your being intentional about that relationship and so that's what I love, that it's your intentional relationship that is really causing you to celebrate more.
It’s also because he can so clearly see into the frame sometimes I get super frustrated because I'm like you don't know what you're talking about. You don't know what it's like to be in the frame, he puts up with a lot from this girl so he's a keeper.
I think it's so interesting too about the intentionality about numbers. That the other thing that happens is that you were talking before about how emotional they are and isn't it so true too that even when we can remind ourselves that “hey, look, I did deal with my numbers last week. I looked at my profit and loss, I looked at what I was supposed to look at”. But then you go to do it the next week and you don't even remember that you had done it and that you had that courage because the emotion comes up just right away. It takes such a process to work through and honestly you have to just do it time and time again because it's like creating a new habit. Creating it takes a long, long time to break.
With your Retail Mavens, when someone joins the program how long is the program? Or how long do you stay with them? Is it an indefinite membership renewing every year, every month? Or is it a six month course and at the end of it everything's hunky dory?
So we have a bunch of different guns, that's a very professional term, a bunch of tools. We have different online tools that kind of help people get started in certain areas that they need help with. We have a tool about how to have a killer clearance sale because that's something that people always need and then how to have a six figure holiday blueprint and in how to really handle the, because I'm just a geek about the science, retail in the science of consumer psychology. Honestly, the thing I love so much about the six-figure holiday blueprint is that it looks at how the customer that shops the week before Thanksgiving has different needs and wants than the customer that shops the week before Christmas, who is of course then very different than the customer who shops after Christmas. Which is more obvious but even the difference between the week before Thanksgiving and like the beginning in December and then the week before Christmas, it's so interesting how your marketing should be different. How what their average sale is different, how many items that they'll put it's all so fascinating. What I love to do is take all that really kind of complex stuff and break it up into easy action steps so you know exactly what marketing you should be doing for that week based on the science of the customer you know exactly how you should be motivating your team. In all of that there's marketing, there's the motivation and there's also the merchandising.
So how should things be merchandise on your front counter? Because how they should be merchandised before Thanksgiving is very different than how they should be merchandise later and often people don't think about that kind of stuff, you know? So the long answer to your question is that actually all the products that I developed are because of how it came from what clients needed. I just got tired of repeating the same thing to people. All these are my clients, then and now we also sell them separately, then it kind of gives people kind of a taste into what we do. We work with clients one on one, too and the reality is that business keeps changing. I mean now is such a perfect case in point. Right? Honestly I don't usually tell people this because I feel like it sometimes freaks them out, but honestly, we usually just stay with people forever because we keep showing how we pay for ourselves every single month right there.
On your website, there was something like a 20% increase in sales and like a something reduction in skews and I thought that's crazy for business. It's important to me for all businesses but to limit the skews it can be difficult to bring that down so I was really impressed by that number. I actually am glad that you said that you stick with him because I feel like once you have a coach or someone who kind of plays that role for you it's important to maintain that relationship. I think what happens is that you get to kind of a healthier place, you think I can do this on my own and then you step away from it and all of a sudden you start falling back into the old patterns or you miss something and then slowly but surely you just recede back to where you were and you think oh, I need to get a coach again but then you have all of that uphill climb to do again. So I really liked the notion of just staying consistent with somebody and just sticking the course out I think it makes sense.
Well what's been interesting is that is the approach that I've had and all the time. It started out that I was full on calling myself a consultant and a speaker and that was what I did with people but the reality is that I'm still a speaker and I speak everywhere. We do consult but honestly it's coaching is really what it is. It's not just that we give people the information and say, okay, this is how much you should buy, this is how much inventory you're going to need and all these different classifications, this is exactly what you need. The thing is, is that if the person is not following through on it, I mean, my team and I get so involved in their success and wanting them to succeed, that we have to help dig into what is triggering them, you know their why. Why is it that you can't follow through on this, let’s talk about it there's got to be something. That's why we really ended up coaching also, in addition to consulting, because it's really the two different things and that's the reason why our clients are able to have so much success is because they for sure do the work, but that we're both we're working with them to make sure they’re pushing through some of those triggers and pushing through some of that emotional stuff. That'll stop you, you know.
I love that was like the Superbowl, the coach and the players get a ring. Everyone's doing different work. I love it. I don't want to take up too much of your time because I know you have to do all of the work that you do. But one of the things that we had talked about previously was the idea of HIPA and LIPA. I thought it was really valuable so far, listeners, I was hoping we could dig a little bit into that and then if they want more from you, which I'm sure they will, we'll send them over to Retail Mavens.
Thanks. Isn't it just so true that we all wake up in the morning with this big to do list of all these items and I really feel like I've spent my life studying productivity and learning to be more productive because I feel like I screwed up so much. Isn't it so true that we end up always making our mess to become our message? That is so good, it's incredible how true that is. The thing about productivity, one of the most impactful things, I approach this from so many different ways, but the impact was the idea of evaluating your to do list from a standpoint of “Is it a high impact or income producing activity or a low impact or low income producing activity”? That's where the HIPA or LIPA comes from. That becomes such a clear way of evaluating whether or not you should be doing something because the biggest mistake that everybody, including myself, makes is that we can do things pretty fast. I think people with kids find it's easier just to have you make the bed for them, it's easier to just load the dishwasher yourself, it's easier to just put stuff away yourself because you just know where it goes but are those activities going to a low impact act? A low impact activity can become a high impact activity if there's something going on but crash nine times out of ten. There's stuff that everybody does on a daily basis that they shouldn't be doing or they have to add someone to their team to be able to share that because the trick is, is that, we were talking so much about growth and about change and change requires that your to do list changes also.
Yeah, oh that's good. That is so good.
I was just realizing it last week about some stuff and so what I challenged my clients with last week was to look at the end of the day reviewing your previous day, just taking 15 minutes and don't use your phone because you'll get distracted by a million other things because that's what's happening to me. I literally have a little timer over here that I try to always use but sort of review the day and to think about what did not have to do today.
That is so good. What could someone else have done? Because what we all tend to undervalue is the unique high impact and high income things that we have to do thinking no one could else could do this for you like this. You have the actual interview part of it is what you have to do but you know that ultimately what you should be getting to is getting help. Having somebody else help you edit it like you don't have to, that's something you don't have to ultimately do. And even if the thing is if you're not in a situation right now to be able to afford what it is that you think you shouldn't be doing you've got to be thinking of yourself like that. You've got to be thinking of yourself as that multimillion dollar business and where are you going because otherwise you'll never get there, right? That's so good.
That's so true. I run a danger of thinking oh no one can edit the way that I edit and I think, really Jenny, anyone can cut out the ums and the pauses and they can, you could teach them what you want to keep and what you don't want to keep. But then I also think if you don't start training yourself to think of someone else taking over the work then I know I can be very guilty of thinking I can do it, I can do it, I can add more and still do that my to do list hasn't changed, it just gets longer. So everything that was on, it is still the exact same, which just now just goes on for a couple of pages. Then I'm not getting enough sleep or I'm not prioritizing the relationships I need to prioritize.
I think it's really a good idea. I like what you said “even if you can't afford it now” like I can't afford an editor but I could certainly have that as a goal. I could write it down in my start today journal over here that I have an editor so I like that idea a lot. it's a slippery slope to think “oh, I'll just do it, oh, I can do it”. It’s like you really have a high estimation of yourself and the amount of time that you can fit into one day.
That's the reason why you have to keep choosing to hold the time sacred for that, which is really the most important things like you said, the relationship with your husband and being present for all that. The only way that can happen is for you to also feel that you're on top of your game, that you're on top of what you're doing on a daily basis. And you know, not necessarily getting it all done, but knowing that it can happen, right? I mean, knowing that there's actions you can take. We all end up in a situation where we feel overwhelmed and that's what then forces us to change. Wouldn't it be great to be able to kind of help that happen faster by evaluating it a little bit along the way?
Agreed. I heard a statistic the other day, it was like even taking 10 to 12 minutes a day just to plan your day can save you up to two hours a day. I thought how is that possible? That's when I wake up and I think I should just go, go, go and really if you just took a few minutes and just planned it out or took a few minutes at the end of your day to see and assess what you did you didn't need to think about tomorrow you would save so much time instead of just like pinging all over the place.
Literally, creating time planning creates time, it does. You can create time with it because then if you have a few minutes for something, well, you have your list here. So you can look at your list and what can I do in just a few minutes, it's incredible. You must do it the night before, if you do it that morning it ends up expanding to fill up way too much time. If you're a super creative person you can get all fancy with colors and all that kind of stuff but you don't need any of that. It makes a big difference. That's why you got to just keep thinking about what is it that you need. What is it you need to do in order to make sure that you're doing as many of that high impact and high income producing activities? And how can you set your day up so that you're tripping over success? So good.
Gosh, I love it. Oh my goodness, Cathy, you've been amazing, this is gonna be so good. I don't want to take up longer than the hour that I promise so we're kind of coming to the end of it. But is there anything you wanted to share that we didn't cover.
I hope that I could inspire people to take control of the number side of their business because every business has this art, this passion side and then has this science side a number side and they both have to work well for you to really get the success that you deserve. Every single business owner no matter how big or small the business is, they know that in their heart of hearts they're not happy letting the business run them yes which is what happens. I mean people will often say that you're running your business by the seat of your pants but the reality is that you're not running at all you're just reacting to everything and for sure, crazy times happen like the pandemic when there are reactions but even that can be done intentionally and you can choose how you're going to respond. What I find the biggest holdup is that people think that those numbers become so filled with emotion and that emotion comes from the fact that they think those numbers are themselves rather than just viewing those numbers as just black and white pieces of data that you can learn to take action from.
That is so good, I needed that, thank you Cathy. The numbers make me think how have I been doing this for this many years and I haven't gotten further with the family business? I think, how's it possible that we don't have more money in the bank to get through this right now? Or how's it possible that we owe these people this much money or that we have an outstanding balance with these customers for so much? How were we not more on top of it? It's hard not to look at it from an emotional standpoint of I'm not enough, I didn't do enough, someone else could do better, as opposed to looking at those numbers and just seeing them as the data that they are and then using that data to make better decisions moving forward. Because you don't want to deal with it, it's easier just to push them.
I'm so proud of how you just verbalized all that. That is for sure what every person feels like what you just said and the thing is that once you know that you really want things to change that's exactly why you should reach out because we offer a complimentary analysis where we can look at some stuff and we see opportunities. This is the thing that always happens when we look at that data, at the numbers, is that there are things that people are rock stars about that they probably don't even know. Because my team and I have the vision we look at this all the time. Did you know that with this you are a rock star? Like this? Amazing, you know what, about this over here, though, I think this might be one of the issues that we have to change. Let me show you the impact it can have if we can change it then let's talk about some of the steps you can take to change it. We honestly offer that for free because it's just a great introduction into seeing if you want to be in a coaching relationship with somebody or would you rather just take some of this information and do it on your own? Which is fine too but what I know is that independent business owners like yourself and like me we are literally the backbone of the economy, we're the ones who create all the jobs. We are the backbones of communities we're the ones who do all the donations to the local communities. We have such an impact. We are for every dollar which is the impact of how much money that a local business inputs into their community, as opposed to, a bigger company. The other thing is that we're also the backbone, literally of society, this is for sure. That's the reason why I'm so passionate about helping people not letting numbers stop them from achieving more success. And it's also the reason why I'm so passionate about people getting sleep is that I don't want them to get burnt out because you are needed. You cannot you can't afford to get burnt out, you can't. That's the reason why we kind of look at this whole thing.
I love the idea of you can't afford to get burned out, I tell myself that often. I think you could keep going at this but people are counting on you and if you're not going to be your healthiest version you're not going to lead well. And then what's the point? So you think you're doing something beneficial when you're really not. You're just gonna work harder or you can just keep going. But in reality, you just burn yourself out. And the ideas you have at two in the morning are often not your strongest.
I love that. They're not your best ideas. Usually, they're not your best ideas at two in the morning. You're not your numbers, it is just data, there's no emotion to it. Yep, that is exactly it. I think the point is that it allows you to then, when we're talking about HIPA and LIPA, when we're talking about these kind of activities like the time with your family, that absolutely is a high impact and really also income producing activity because when you feel fulfilled with that it allows you then to go into the next day with more energy. So I always talked about how there's no such thing as work life balance, it's all life and you do have to make it all work. One of the things that I'm frankly most proud about is my title as the mother of America's most fun family.
I love that it’s so fun and for sure what I want you to know is that there's things that I didn't do perfectly when I like to. Do you see with every decision you make there are consequences to it. I don't know, this isn't probably even a good place to go down.
So, so? Well, I'm totally sharing my dirty laundry about how I will always choose to go to the game or to be present with people and I'll always upgrade. I'm a crazy extrovert and I'll always choose relationships, so meanwhile, I don't clean up my closets ever. For example, I literally was cleaning out my closet last week and in this closet, in my bedroom, there were literally empty shoe boxes; I couldn't fit anything else in this closet it was so completely full. There was all this stuff from 2002 in my bedroom in a closet, six feet from my head. Thank goodness I had all this stuff at access for anyone. And I was totally beating myself up about it. What kind of person does this so I surround myself with people to help me see things that I can't always see. A therapist is one of them. She says, actually, I choose you. I mean, I challenge you to see this, to embrace the fact that you are an extrovert and that in the moment you chose relationships over tests. So who cares that you didn't clean out that closet? I mean, who came, it does not matter. It was a choice that was right for you that you did and now you're cleaning it out. And now your kids are big and they can help choose what they want to keep what they don't keep. They can help with all this stuff now. And it was such a great perspective about how nobody does it all right. What good does it do you to beat yourself up?
Nothing! It doesn't. Again, I always think what are you gaining from this? What internally do you think you're receiving? You think if you feel guilty about it that actually makes you a better person or, you get an extra star or an extra cookie or what does this do? It doesn't do any good. And like you said, I think your kids and you have grandkids now, right? They're gonna remember the mom who showed up for the games and who was the mother of America's most fun family. They're not going to remember an empty shoe box. So, yeah, they don't care about that. I love that you say that it's not work life balance It's just all life and you have to figure out how to make it work. And I feel like your empty shoe boxes are you just figuring out how to make it work.
You know, what I didn't appreciate until right now is also that whole thing about HIPA and LIPA and how at different moments in your life, different things are HIPA and LIPA. Right now, it is a HIPA activity for me to clean up that closet, but 10, 20 years ago it wasn't at the time but at least I'm doing it now. And for sure something that we all do is the LIPA activity of beating ourselves up. And I mean there is you-talk about low impact. I mean, that's negative impact.
Yeah. Oh, gosh, that's good. Preach. It's my question when I get to heaven to ask God why is it that you made a se all the negative stuff so clearly and we don't see the positive stuff?
I really did question that. Its what I am very good at seeing.
Everybody is and I think that that's the beauty of things. That's the beauty, Jenny, you do bring your realness into all of this and you're willing to share what it is that you struggle with. And that's not what everybody does and so people love to hear. One of the things I've talked about all the time is that I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars, of mistakes so that you don't have too. Oh, that's so good. You'll probably make different ones. I'm not telling you that you know what I'm saying but no you don't have to make these? Right? Exactly, exactly. Because there's such power in people knowing that they're not alone, that they're not alone in what they're struggling with. There are other people that are struggling too and this is the beauty of how we can all help each other to be better and to be healthier.
So true. Gosh, Cathy, I love you so much. I just so appreciate you. I'm so glad you decided to do this. I think it's gonna be really helpful for everyone listening. I know it's what I needed this morning. So for anyone who is looking to connect with you afterwards, where can they find you? Where can they find out more about your services?
Yeah, for sure, you should just shoot me an email at email@example.com and just tell me what you do and we'll get you set up. We'll get you a link to my calendar and the team and I will take a look and chat with you if you're interested. Also at the website, we have all the other products and stuff that we offer. But really I encourage you to if you really want to change something it speeds up the process so much if you just book a time to chat because there's no pressure, there's no charge for it. Let's just see if we can point you in the right direction so you can get the success you're looking for.
Hey guys, thanks for listening to today's episode. If you enjoyed it, which I hope you did, make sure you subscribe so that you never miss what's next. If you really enjoyed it, I'd be super grateful if you could leave a review on iTunes, or anywhere that you listen. And if you really, really enjoyed it, then I'd love if you share it with a friend. Last but not least make sure you're following us on Instagram at the vendor's daughter for a behind the scenes look at my personal and professional life. And for what I hope is a little bit of daily inspiration as we walk this crazy journey together.