Feb 22, 2024
Every entrepreneur comes to a fork in the road moment—the one that will change the course of their business (and life) forever. In this episode of her takeover, that's exactly where we find Rachel.
As part of Tiffany’s personal mission of being “for others”, she is intentionally inviting people in her community to host takeovers on the Scared Confident feed. This is week 2 of Rachel Downey's takeover—The First Million—where she's diving into the "messy middle" of building a business to its first million, in real-time.
Join Rachel as she shares how she navigated the big decision to either keep Share Your Genius a lifestyle business for her and her family or grow it into something that could have ripple effects far larger. In order to make that decision, she turned to the advice of her newfound friend and client, Tiffany Sauder. And, through their conversations, she got an unexpected proposition.
Tiffany Sauder: I'm a small town kid, born with a big city spirit. I choose to play a lot of awesome roles in life.
Rachel Downey: I'm none of those. But I do still have some things in com with Tiffany. I'm a founder, podcast host and producer, human Razor, a believer in magic and homegirl to Austin, aka my husband. Five years ago I founded the production company.
Share Your Genius. We're in the messy middle, and I'm liking some of it, hating some of it, but loving it all. Obviously. I'm Rachel Downey and this is my takeover of scared, confident.
On the last episode, we left off with my co-founder, Jim Brown, taking his journey around the world. As we continue the story of the first million, we're gonna dig into some of the pivotal moments that happened while he was away. And that led the path for us to see beyond for share. Your genius to see beyond is to be always looking ahead so you can stay in the moment of what you're dealing with and what you're working on.
Staying focused, being consistent, and yet, you know there's something coming around the corner and so you're actively learning, you're actively researching, you're actively having conversations so that there are no surprises for you. It's hard to. Everything that's gonna happen when life is truly so unpredictable.
Every season that you're in is preparing you for the next season you're gonna be in. And so when there are obstacles or there's complications, or there's little issues or things like that that you never thought would happen, it's literally just like, what am I gonna learn from this? How much stronger am I gonna be because of, as opposed to in spite of, we never wanna be behind the curve of the next big.
We wanna be the ones pushing out the next big thing because we're constantly
Tiffany Sauder: seeking and seeing
Rachel Downey: beyond what is real today.
I think to say that it's been easy would be silly. I think there are things that you don't even realize you are experiencing until you're on the other side of. Over the course of 2018 to summer of 2019, Sherry Genius is growing. We're really just trying to figure out what it is we're doing and who's doing what in terms of the team.
So we're evolving the company from that perspective. But my primary focus is generating revenue and meeting with people and delivering value to clients and talking to them. Part of my. Ability to generate revenue is still in this phase of meeting with anybody who'd be willing to meet with me, except doing it in a way that allows me to expand my network beyond who I knew.
So one of the things that I would do is I would look at the clients that we partnered with really well, and I would look at some of the people that they were connected to, that just from a gut perspective, I felt like I should know them. So one of those people for me was Tiffany. I got connected to her through Nick's Marelli.
Nick's Marley is the former CEO of Al Net. He's an investor. He is a business consultant. So I just, I reached out to Nick and I said, Hey, um, I'd love to connect with Tiffany Soder. I'm trying to learn a little bit more about what it means to grow community from a marketing perspective. She's obviously extremely versed in marketing and brand.
Would you be willing to make the connect. Her and I had an intro to meet. We were scheduled to meet in person, I think at her office. And this was in 2019. Um, I might be wrong on that date, but it was definitely around that time and my kids were having literally complete meltdowns that morning. Like all of them line in who I had at the time were just like screaming, freaking out.
I was running late. They. So emotional at the time that I believe I was emotional, like I was, had been crying cuz the morning had been just so insanely stressful and so I think I made something up. I think I was like, my car tire broke or I made up something because I was so embarrassed, but I just was not in a good space mentally.
I canceled the. in one shape or form of another. She ended up getting rescheduled, but we decided to meet remotely and I actually recorded an episode with her. All right. Um, so when I say the word community in the context of marketing, what comes to mind for you? Well, I think when I think about
Tiffany Sauder: community as it relates to marketing, it's really a group of people with a shared passion, interest, or like affiliation.
That's what. Means in my head. I think
Rachel Downey: sometimes there's communication and then I didn't hear from Tiffany. Sometimes there's communities for a long time around, um, kinda a place that they, every entrepreneur goes through these phases of feeling like you're on a roller coaster ride. The highs are really highs and the lows are really low, but more often than not, you have these 3:00 AM sort of natural wake up calls that happen.
I had one of those wake up calls happen at that. I had just found out I was pregnant with my third. I was a couple months into that, and we had been really spending a lot of time figuring out the direction and the vision of where Sherry Genius was going. As the end of the year was winding down, which prompted this natural wake up call at 3:00 AM and I could not shut my brain off because all I kept thinking about was that I didn't have the right team or infrastructure.
To take the company where it needed to go next, and as a result of that realization, I had to make a really tough decision, which was to change course for a lot of the people on my team. Some of that looked like, here are some options of what I need you to become, or there's no longer a place for you here to be totally honest, every single person.
The option that there was no longer a place for them there. It was really challenging because as a leader you have to make some really tough decisions and often you're misunderstood. People have their own side of the story and you're messing with people's livelihoods and their families and their own personal identity.
Personally, it was one of the worst times of my.
So 2020. At that point, it was just me and I got a call from Tiffany's assistant. We had a very short call on what it would look like for us to work together. Said, Hey, we're interested in starting a podcast. Can you have a conversation? I was like, oh, okay. We started working together after she had her fourth kid and I had my third.
The big part of my job was just to ask her questions and try to understand like what the story is that she was trying to. Every opportunity I had with her was like somebody reading the pages of a diary. I never wrote. It became almost therapeutic for me just listening to her stories and her journey. I remember in those meetings I had just had fors.
He's a little bit younger than her fourth Quincy. I remember stressing the heck out, showing up to those meetings. Like I would be like, you know, in a button up and like wearing makeup and like all these things. And my son was like in the other room screaming his head off and I was like, it's okay. He needs to nap and I need to run this meeting.
And just feeling very like needing to be on. And she would show up in those. After a run, like she was like, I just got done running. Here I am with a hat, no makeup, and I'm just here. And it was this really beautiful counterbalance of like Tiffany's authentically who she is. And I'm over here still trying to impress somebody that doesn't need me to impress them.
It was very therapeutic for me, learning from her, listening to her. She'd been running a marketing agency for, you know, 17, 18 years and outside of us just getting to know each other from a client relationship perspective. And again, when you talk to somebody as they're creating and telling their own story, you just get to know them on a different level.
Tiffany Sauder: be very quickly, I think at the end of one of our calls I said, Hey, if I can ever be helpful, not as a client, but like as a mentor, I've been through enough crap in my own business. You don't need to act like it's perfect. So if I can ever be helpful in that capacity, just as like a sounding board as another leader, somebody who's built a services business.
Rachel Downey: me know. And so we would do these walking and talking Fridays like maybe once or twice a month. I don't really remember. It wasn't like super scheduled. Um, but we would go walk and talk because again, she had had a baby. I had had a baby, and we were like, how do we maximize our time? And it was like, let's walk and talk a.
Tiffany Sauder: Fridays because we were both fat from having babies. Can I say that? Yeah. You know what I mean? Like we were, I was like, let's walk because mama needs to walk. Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel Downey: We were being, um, we were multitasking. Yes, we were being efficient. Yes. I,
Tiffany Sauder: I'm not, yes. Thank you. That was
Rachel Downey: better. And then just on one of those walks, told her what I was trying to do and it was sort of this fork in the road moment for Sherry Genius and it was like, do I wanna maintain a lifestyle business or prepared to that?
Are we ready for something more? The ideas. And one of the questions you had asked me, if I remember correctly, was something along the lines of like, what do you ultimately wanna have happen? And I said, well, I, you know, I think it'd be cool to get acquired or to get a different partner in to help me grow this thing and pursue the vision that I have.
Tiffany Sauder: I remember like biting my cheek, like smiling. We were like walking beside each other, so it's not like you could see me and I was like, oh my, um, that's like me. I don't know. I don't know. I, I wish it was like, well, I did the math quickly in my head and I knew I could, it wasn't like that at all. I was like, I just sort of felt my body be like, Ooh, maybe it should be me.
And so I said it kind of at the end of the walk, I was like, well, what if it was me?
Rachel Downey: The thing that I really leaned into with Tiffany and why it felt like the right move for me is because she had. A very similar journey to the one that I was on. She was a mother of four children. She was a wife. Her family comes first, and yet she built a very successful agency that makes a ton of impact on the people that work there, and a ton of impact on the people that those people also serve, both their families and their clients.
And so I think for me, it was sort of just like playing the scenarios out where I. Look, I can continue to build this amazing business with Jim and who I love working with and love learning from. Or I could take this opportunity to maybe try something different from somebody who had literally walked the path and was on the other side of that journey or transitioning into the other side, if you will.
And so it felt like there was a playbook there for me. And then the other piece of it is like I wanted. To her brain a lot more. Um, and I was like, if I move forward with her, you know, I'm gonna get that because we both have a shared interest in building something great together and doing it in a way that aligns to my values and hers, which is like business is an amazing place for fostering growth, both professionally and personally for yourself and the people that work.
Tiffany Sauder: I think that it, it also expanded my vision for the impact that I feel like I'm asked to have. Part of my project of Scare Confident is I, I can't possibly own 80 businesses, but I can help a bunch of business owners. But in, in helping to mentor you, I think it helps me even unearth what I've learned and.
Helps me kind of remember, and I said this on on another episode of Scare Confident, where I really believe real change happens in the micro. And if, if I wished I'd had a wing man or woman and I can create slightly less loneliness for you on your journey, like that is meaningful for me and you will be able to replicate that for one other one too.
And if we all do it for one other, It, it really starts to change things materially. And so it, it also was very meaningful for me to expand my vision of my time and the experiences that I've been able to have. And so this part of me redeeming my own story too, is finding people that you're so teachable, you're so hungry, you're so creative, you're so humble in the sense of like, not needing to see yourself in a certain way, but like being open to.
People reflecting like, oh, this is it. You wanna grow so badly. And so that's really, it's exciting to feel that, and I'm grateful to be on the journey with you.
Rachel Downey: One of the big reasons I leaned into the opportunity with Tiffany is she said to me, I don't wanna get into the podcasting business. To just get into the podcasting business because it's a good opportu. She was like, I wanna get into the Rachel business. One of the biggest things that I have experienced is the realization that I should be more of me.
I should lean into the gifts that I have as opposed to try and control things that are not something that I am actually wired to do. And instead of feeling like this business is Rachel building, so, To serve her lifestyle. It's become much bigger than that. Being able to capture Tiffany's story, hear her story and understand that like, I'm not crazy, I'm not alone, and that there is somebody who is like rooting for you in every facet of your life.
She wanted to help me see beyond. My existing vision for my life and for my own family and for this company. And yes, we are in the podcasting business and we work with amazing brands and have lots of opportunities to tell really creative stories. But when she said that it made me wanna take the leap because I knew that she cared about me.
And yes, this is a business and it's gonna perform and do the things it needs to. But as everyone says, business is human and if those relationships aren't there, then what's the point? Is there anything that I didn't ask about community that you wanna make
Tiffany Sauder: sure you've said your peace on? I think we just have to be careful that we don't use people.
We don't. Think about the idea of building a community more
Rachel Downey: for the purpose of building our own resume. Joining the right
Tiffany Sauder: community can be a total game changer for business and life and career.
Rachel Downey: There's no question
Tiffany Sauder: about it, but let's not lose the integrity
Rachel Downey: of what that word means. Just because as marketers, we're trying to turn every brand into a community
Tiffany Sauder: because they don't all deserve it, and I think we need to be professional and confident enough to be able to accept that.
Rachel Downey: Awesome. I'm.
Next week we're gonna talk about some of the ways that Tiffany has helped me resource the growth of Share Your Genius, not for the short term, but for the long term. So we're gonna talk about clients, we're gonna talk about people, and we're gonna talk to those who are helping me imagine if, for Share Your Genius.
This is an outlet to share the strategies, tips, hacks, and mindsets to help high-achievers who want a lot out of life. We'll drop in your inbox a couple times a month.