Today’s guest, Patty Lennon, who is an intuitive coach to female entrepreneurs. She wanted to do a conference, but didn’t have enough money to do it, so she created a kick butt crowdfunding campaign that not only funded her conference, but got a lot of sponsors and people on board. In today’s interview, she shares a bit of her wisdom around starting a business, as well as around crowdfunding and how to get stared with that. Crowdfunding has really changed the entrepreneurial landscape in the last few years. Before crowdfunding, it was either getting a bank loan or going to a venture capitalist. Crowdfunding has really changed the entire game, so it’s great to have somebody on who has experience with it.
Meredith: Patty, before you started your coaching business, you were a VP at a large global bank and you were mentoring people. It says on your website that you really wanted to follow your calling. Can you tell us the story behind your decision?
Patty: Sure. I had worked my way up the company ladder and loved the banking industry and my career. But as I reflected on the parts I loved the most, it was when I would mentor team members and get them into a place that they really loved and enjoyed in the bank, or outside the bank if that’s what their calling was. The senior managers who worked around me started to reflect that back to me and said, “Maybe you should move into HR because you’re really good at this.” At that time, I thought, “That’s the opposite of my calling,” but I started training with Martha Beck, a very well-known life coach, while I was still there. Also, I started my Master’s in Psychology and started to explore that world. As I got my Master’s in Psychology and was wrapping up my coaching training, I realized that this was really where I was called to be — helping people uncover inside of them what they were meant to be and do in the world and to really go after it 150 percent so they could be happy.
Meredith: So you moved from your big corporate job to a work-from-home job. How old were your children when you made that transition?
Patty: When I made the decision, they were six months and two years. By the time it finally happened, they were a little over one and three years old.
Meredith: How did you go about making the transition to working from home with such little ones?
Patty: First of all, I kept some of my daycare hours, so they were in daycare two days a week.
Meredith: I would recommend that, by the way.
Patty: Yes, I think you need to separate who you are. If you’re a mom and you’re going to raise a business while you raise your children, you’ve got to decide who you are in that market. If you’re seriously pursuing entrepreneurship, you need to have someone caring for your children at some point so that you have active work hours when you’re conscious and not exhausted.
So that was primarily when I did the bulk of the work. Then when they were home with me, I could do more of the blog writing and things that you can do in 15, 20, 45 minute increments that having small children allows.
Meredith: Was it lonely for you being at home?
Patty: It was awesome in the beginning because I didn’t have to go to a job. As much as I loved my job, not having the responsibility of getting out the door was fantastic. But, yes, it was lonely, and it was scary because you’re not making money. And no matter how many good advisers you have going into an entrepreneurial career, you tend to be delusional and optimistic and think that you’re going to be the one that makes money from the day you open the doors. So pairing a lot of hard work with not a lot of money is lonely and scary. You have to look at your soul and really ask “What is it, what are you made of?”
Meredith: How long did it take you before you were actually making a profit?
Patty: Well, it’s all relative. The first year, I didn’t really spend any money on my business, so I made $2,000 profit, which is, unfortunately, how a lot of people run their businesses. They only invest what they earn or barely any of it. When I had my taxes done, I had a come-to-Jesus moment when I found out that I had only made $2,000, because I didn’t know that. I was deluding myself. I just didn’t look at my numbers. I hired a mentor coach and invested a lot in coaching, and the second year was when I turned a profit. I invested over $2,000 in her, more than I had made the
year before, and I made that back within six weeks of working with her.
Meredith: I always ask that whenever anybody leads me to the question, because I think it’s really important for people to realize that this is hardly ever a “you’re going to be making money in two months” thing. And almost everybody tells me two to three years.
Patty: Absolutely. I actually did very well for the coaching world, but I think that second year I made a profit of maybe $30,000. Then it wasn’t until the fourth year that I crossed into six figures, which I thought was super slow. You know, you listen to everything out there and it sounds like everybody becomes a six figure business overnight, but I think I was probably on the faster track.
Meredith: From what I know of the coaching business because I’ve been in a marketing support role in that area forever, $30,000 is probably the average of what a successful coach is making, period, ever, so you know you’re doing awesome.
On your website’s About page, you talk about this awesome conference you did, so tell us about that and how you pulled it off.
Patty: Yes, that’s one of my most favorite moments in my entrepreneurial history. When I launched my business, I was running under the brand of “Mom Gets a Life” and my mission was really to help moms start to connect to the idea that they need to take care of themselves in the context of their family and prioritize their own needs. As I talked with so many women, what I heard was that most of them understood this and weren’t confused about it. What they did feel was that unless they were bringing in money to the household, they just didn’t feel that they could invest in themselves. And I really wanted to show them how to create small amounts of income from home, that most women have within them a $20,000 business, and for most stay-at-home moms that’s really what they needed to start taking care of themselves.
As I did that, I found a lot of them weren’t willing to invest in coaching because they didn’t see a big payout. That’s when I decided to launch a “Mom Gets A Business” conference to teach women how to start a business. The same weekend that I launched “Mom Gets a Life”, my husband had been let go from his job and he ended up being out of work for two years. So we were really in the squeeze because we had been a multi-six figure household when we were both working our corporate jobs and now here we were living on less than $100,000 a year. I know $100,000 is a lot of money for a lot of families, but it wasn’t for us and our budget.
Meredith: The income needed is a very different thing between, for instance, Albuquerque vs. New York. In New York, you need that six-figure income as a bare minimum.
Patty: Right, so I knew I couldn’t risk our family’s savings because we didn’t know when my husband would get another job. Also, at that point I realized I wasn’t sure when I would have the kind of money coming through my business that could support us on my own. So I didn’t want to invest my family’s finances in the $45,000 risk that was the conference. Clearly, if I sold all the tickets and got some sponsor dollars we would do well, but going into it the first year I didn’t know that for sure. As I was speaking to my mastermind group about that and considering what my options were, a woman there recommended crowdfunding to me.
I didn’t know what crowdfunding was at the time, but I had heard of Kickstarter, so I looked into it. The more I learned about it, the more I realized it was perfect for me and it was the exact solution I needed. I ultimately launched a crowdfunding campaign for $10,000 and succeeded. My intention was to launch three campaigns that would add up to the $45,000 that I needed for the conference, but what happened was the first one was so successful we funded in two weeks. We were featured by IndieGoGo and got tons of social media by IndieGoGo and other supporters so that sponsors actually came to us and offered to sponsor us. We got the rest of the money we needed from sponsor dollars.
We launched the conference to a sold-out crowd. This will be our third year. It’s been fantastic. It’s grown with the women who attended. Where we started out teaching women how to start businesses, now the conference is focused on women who have established businesses and really want to grow to a scalable level where they are looking at $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 in business while spending reasonable amounts of time with their family and personal lives.
Patty’s top tips for starting out with crowdfunding
1) Start by looking at kickstarter.com and indegogo.com – they are the two biggest crowdfunding sites.
2) Invest a small amount – even $1 or $5 in somebody else’s crowdfunding campaign to get a feel for how crowdfunding works. It is also crowdfunding karma – putting out what you hope to get back.
3) Be very clear about why you do what you do and the change and transformation you are creating in the world makes all the difference in the money you raise.
4) You must must must have a video. 95% of campaigns that succeed have a video.
5) Have your video cut 3 different ways by an editor – 1) as a crowdfunding video, 2) as a promotional video for your product or service, and 3) as a 30 sec reel that you can use on social media.
Favorite Book: Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest? Click here to download it.
Before launching two successful businesses, Patty Lennon, M.S. enjoyed a 15-year career at one of the world’s largest banks, Citigroup. Promoted to VP at a young age she learned early on that an entrepreneurial attitude creates success in every environment.
During her corporate years she received numerous awards for excellence in sales, training, leadership, operations and product development.
She has a breadth of experience including leading operational teams through two mergers, training hundreds of employees in product disciplines, managing multi-million dollar technology projects and creating double and triple digit sales growth in every territory she managed.
And none of this has been as challenging or rewarding as creating two profitable businesses and raising two children.
In 2010 Patty founded Mom Gets A Life ® in response to a need she saw in mothers of young children. Her multi-media company hosts sold out events to cheering crowds throughout the year including the Mom Gets a Business ® Conference, which launched in 2012.
In 2013 Patty founded Crowdfund with Ease ™, a training company dedicated to sharing the valuable business growth potential and marketing strategies Patty uncovered while running her own crowdfunding campaign in 2012. Patty is the author of The Crowdfunding Book: A How-To Book for Entrepreneurs, Writers and Inventors.
Patty is a national speaker and author that inspires audiences to lead and sell with passion and purpose. She is an expert business coach that partners with individuals and groups that want to build a business plan that works, learn how to balance dreaming with action to achieve true success and produce transformational events that create real sales.
Learn more at http://www.PattyLennon.com
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