15 May Get out of your own way, with Susan Baroncini-Moe
My guest is my long-time friend, Susan Baroncini-Moe. She is the author of the bestselling book, Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms in Your Own Style.
Susan has worked with clients on four continents in a wide range of industries. She’s a sought-after strategist and has been featured on ABC, in Redbook magazine, USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance and I could go on and on.
She is the host of 2Questions.TV, a YouTube show and podcast, where she interviews celebrities, best-selling authors as well as esteemed experts and entrepreneurs.
She is a freakishly successful executive coach and business leader with over 16 years of experience.
She’s a great encourager. You’re going to love her…and like I said…I’m excited to share this conversation with you because I know Susan will help you shift some of your perspectives — and — get out of your own way.
You can go to suebmoe.com/mitch to find out more about Susan and get some goodies just for DREAM THINK DO-ers.
So let’s get to the INTERVIEW.
Susan…welcome to DREAM THINK DO:
Thanks for that great introduction, Mitch!
As you know, Susan, we’ve got a lot of people that listen to DREAM THINK DO who are rocking it. A lot of them that are already leaders, entrepreneurs, and globe changers. But there’s a lot of people that they’ve got this idea for a business or they want to launch their business.
Susan, “Business in Blue Jeans” came out of some particular circumstances in your life. So tell us about that season of life. I mean, you’ve created this great business, but tell us about the season where you weren’t doing things on your own terms.
Yeah, we’ve never talked about this by the way. Thanks again for having me on your show. I have had a season in my life when I was not doing things on my own terms or in my own style. I think you know, that I studied sociology and social psychology at the University of Iowa.
Right. Iowa ties!
I actually paid my way through school by working in one of the tech labs and it was back when the Internet was new and I was really interested in, fascinated by it. So I learned at light speed and, and I just learned so much that I taught web design and development classes to faculty, staff, and students at the university.
The university liked me and they liked what I was doing and so they recruited me. So my first job was in academia and really, I loved it there and I might have stayed there, but I got recruited by a magazine publishing house in Des Moines. They made me a really interesting offer and painted a really beautiful picture of what my future would be like. So I went there to help them take their printed content and turn it into salable digital content online back when doing that was new.
Oh, yes indeed. Those world wide webs. Who knows whether it’s going to work or not?
Right! I liked the work that I did, but I found very quickly that the environment was “Intrapreneurial”, meaning entrepreneurs inside of a company. I came up with some really cool ideas that I loved and, and what would happen is I would come up with big ideas that would get taken out of my hands.
So for example, I came up with this really great idea. Let’s do some videos. And so my boss thought it was a great idea and he sent me to Chicago for some in-depth video training. When I came back from a training, I found out that this big player in the company had taken a special interest in my idea and decided his department was going to implement it… and I didn’t get to work on it. And that bummed me out. And that kind of stuff happened a lot.
And I also found that I would come home from work late in the evening and I felt like I was losing my life. And you know, I think this is a concept we get wrong a lot. Just we in general…humans…get it wrong and we have this idea that you go to work, you spend your day and then you come home and you have this little chunk of time to enjoy your life and then you maybe have a little bit of a weekend to enjoy it.
But the thing is…I watched my friends, and I watched myself, and I watched my significant others. They all came home and they hardly had any time to do anything. So what actually happens is you go to work, you spend your eight, nine hours, you come home, there’s no commute time and then you don’t get to enjoy your life because you’ve got laundry and dishes and cooking dinner and homework and all these other things you have to attend to.
The enjoying life part gets pushed to the side.
I want to leverage my creativity and my idea generation and frankly my revenue for myself, for my own company. And I don’t want anybody to be able to take those things away from me anymore. So I really spent a lot of time thinking about what do I want to do. What would those things be if I was going to go out and do something on my own, what would that be?
As it happened, this is also when I found out I had carpal tunnel and the doctor said, you can quit your job or you can keep this career going and have multiple surgeries in your lifetime. And I am not down with surgery.
And the company was not at all supportive about that. So I really spent time doing the soul searching. With a lot of great family support, I got some training and hung out my digital shingle as an executive coach.
I always love hearing people’s stories because, you know, for me, there wasn’t a lot of entrepreneurial blood in my veins. So it excited me and horrified me all at the same time. I knew that I wanted it, but at the same time it scared me to death. So this transition was a little bit more gradual for me.
I got lucky though. I did get lucky, let’s be honest. I mean, back when I started the Internet was new and it was very kind of field of dreams. Like, you could build it and they would come because there were like five websites out there. So that was back in the days when it was easy. So I feel lucky in that way.
Funny how the challenges were more just figuring it out as opposed to the challenges now of finding your voice and getting your voice heard. So I’ve got a series of questions that I want to ask you about all of this, so let’s jump right in.
What would you say, as you’re working with your coaching clients, are some of the things that you help them to do? To get clear? You know, you talked about having a successful business on your own terms, in your own style. How do you help people figure out what that means to them?
It’s interesting. Business in Blue Jeans is an interesting thing because if you talk to you about me staying on the path and it’s true. I stayed on the path of having my own business, right? But Business in Blue Jeans also took me off the path for a bit. When I started out, I was doing executive coaching with a focus primarily on leadership. But at a time, all these entrepreneurs were drawn to me. And so for a while I added “done for you services” like logo and web design, and business start-up stuff.
But in the last few years I realized that I had strayed a little bit from the roots and what I really enjoyed doing. So I actually relaunched my executive coaching business and started to really, really immerse myself in that kind of work.
So in terms of small businesses, in terms of people starting up, what really is the challenge is getting out of their own way, right?
It’s really looking back on your past and then the patterns of your life. And some people start out and they have complete clarity about what their purpose and meaning in life is. It’s about really just focusing on what do I want, what I want my life to look like? What do I want out of my life and what do I enjoy doing?
I’m not saying you have to love every minute of your work – there are things that need doing that you don’t love doing like accounting, bookkeeping, scheduling, whatever. But what it IS about is that in the aggregate, when you look at your life, do you enjoy the thing you do? And if that’s true, then you’re doing the right things.
Sometimes…a client thinks they don’t have the right to do something…or…they don’t deserve to do something. And that’s the imposter syndrome in action.
Impostor syndrome is huge.
I know you and I both tried some different things and really got to grow our skills, but also got to figure out, OK, what are we good at? What are we not good at? What do we want to do more of, what we want to do less of? You’ve given yourself that permission to say, wait, this has grown into something that’s not quite what I want anymore. That takes guts. So I love, I love that. So when you think about leadership skills, what are some important things or maybe even some of the challenges that you get to see?
Well, culture is a huge thing. A lot of times people think that they have to wait until they have employees to build a culture. But culture is a huge piece that should start immediately. So even if it’s just you sitting in your home office – she said, sitting alone in her home office – you still have to be thinking about your company culture. Because as soon as you bring someone in, they’re going to be a part of that culture and you don’t want to start when it’s too late. So you’re thinking about, yeah, I want people who have skills, but I also want people who mesh well are, are excited about helping us grow this thing. You want that culture to already be there. So that’s the first thing.
Can I jump in here? This is one of the conversations around even the name of this podcast: Dream. Think. Do – right? In some ways, culture is the same way. Like if you decide what the culture is, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally, but in some ways it’s saying, all right, who do we want to attract and who do we want to repel, right?
So part of it is what you do, but a big part of it is how you do it. And I think. I think that’s a great point. I hadn’t thought about that, but that culture element is so important, even if it’s just a company of one to start with.
Well, and the other thing is knowing that you’re going to be a leader means you have to think about being a leader. So the other day I was talking with someone and he said, you know, I’m about to hire my first employee and I’m really nervous about will I be a good leader? And I said, well, what have you done to make sure you will be a good leader? And he realized that question wasn’t really on his radar.
Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about your show, 2Questions.TV. You’ve done such an incredible job of cultivating great relationships across the board. You really do add and consider a lot of great thought leaders about what you do with the show is you’re, you know, you’re getting to talk with a lot of, of entrepreneurs, best-selling authors. You’ve interviewed all sorts of different people, all different backgrounds, all different topics, all of that. What would you say are some of the, the revelations from some of your interviews that maybe were something that you knew that the world needed, but it was also something you needed?
I’ll tell you something though, it’s not the exact answer to this question…I will answer that question, but I have to tell you – all those years ago when I met you for the first time in person and I went to your big dream gathering, I put on my list that I wanted to have a successful radio show. I had completely forgotten that until I think the last time you and I talked. Now I have a successful YouTube show and podcast and I think it kind of started back then. But I realized it was possible. I wasn’t alone in creating that goal. And so I had to tell you that at some point during this interview.
That’s awesome. I love it!
One of the great things about the show is I get to read so many books to help me prepare for the show because a lot of people host a show and they have not read the book. So they ask the questions that are on sort of the standard pitch sheet. And it’s frustrating because you want to talk deeper, you want to get into the meat of the topics and you can’t because they haven’t read the book. So it’s always very interesting to me, the fact that now I get to read so much. I read 10 books a week now and it’s wonderful and it makes me so happy.
The thing that I’ve learned from that is that there’s so much rich, incredible deep content in these books. One of the interesting things that I’ve heard again and again and again is: Just Do the Thing, right? Like, stop feeling so afraid. Stop worrying about anything. Just do your thing. Because at the end of the day, it’s not going to be conquering fear that gets you ahead. It’s managing fear. So it’s feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway because you know you’re going to be scared. I’m scared sometimes I do things. When I talked to Dolph Lundgren, I was a little nervous. I’m not gonna lie…intimidating.
It wasn’t his demeanor that intimidated me because he’s super nice. It’s that he’s a genius. He’s wicked smart. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I hope he thinks I’m smart too.”
One of the other questions that I have for you that I would imagine a lot of other Dream. Think. Doers. can learn from you is – how do you build relationships? I mean, you’ve interviewed Chris Brogan, John Morgan, Dolph Lundgren. You were hanging with the big dogs in a relatively short period of time. What would you say are some of the things that you’ve done to build relationships with, with thought leaders? I mean some of the biggest thinkers in the industry who you now consider friends, right?
Yeah. Well, in terms of relationship building, what I have found is that I’m not trying to sell anybody anything. When I reach out to someone like that, like if I reached out to a Larry Winget or someone like that, I’m not selling him anything. I’m offering you something. I want to promote you. And I think that’s something that happens a lot is people go after relationships. Like they’re a commodity and I don’t think about it that way. I think about relationships like this is someone that I would really like to know more about.
So when I first started reaching out to people like that, it was only because I read their books and I had questions about things that were in between the lines of the books that I read the chapter and I would go, yeah, well, but what about this? Or this is great in theory, but how does it work in practice? I think that’s really what interests me. And, and when I bring an author on my show, one of the first things I say to them is, “Listen, I want this to be an interesting and informative interview. But let’s be honest here. You’re on this show so we can sell your book. So let’s do it. Let’s make you and your book seem really interesting and cool so people want to know more.” That’s the goal, right?
So, I think the fact that I look at it from the perspective of – what can I do for you? How can I help you? And what ends up happening, not because it’s what I’m after, but because it’s a nice consequence, it’s sort of a side effect is people are willing to help me. And so when I decided I want to do something crazy like break a world record, Mitch…you helped.
So, it’s just because I’m not after anything. I’m not trying to sell them anything. I’m not trying to get him to do anything that would really take any more than, you know, a little bit of their time. But that’s it. It’s not that hard.
There’s so much in what you just said. When it’s a legitimate offer to help and then to follow through on that is incredible. Especially when we think about thought leaders, whatever it is, best selling authors are just leaders in your industry, every one of them, because we don’t have clones are robots that are all that effective yet, right? Every one of them as a human being and every one of them, you know, they need encouragement. It makes a difference that stands out in this world. I just love how you built your business around that.
Well, there’s a great book. It’s a classic. It’s Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of the great, I mean it’s one of the greats, right? I recommend every single business owner read it because it teaches you not just yes how to win friends and influence people, but how to be a great human being, a person that thinks that way and it sees the world in a variety of perspectives.
When I talk to someone, I’m not just talking to them, thinking about my perspective and what I want to get out of it. I have to think about it from their perspective and what they’re looking to get out of our interaction. The thing that makes the difference is if you’re putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and you’re able to look at the relationship and say, how can I help that person? How can I help that person get something from me that is valuable to them? That’s really the question and I think that book is where I learned that.
I was just speaking with another guest about “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I think that has become even more important because of how the world has changed.
What’s funny about that book, we all have it on our bookshelves and most people haven’t read it. Every client I ask, “have you read it?” Nope. Go get it. Read it. We all have it. We just haven’t read it.
Susan this has been great. So Susan, how do people find out more about you?
Susan, thanks so much for all that you do and for taking time today and appreciate you.
Thank you for having me on the show. I loved it. Awesome.
Okay… what stood out to you? What story or strategy stuck with you? What’s something you’re going to try as the result of this conversation? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know.