PP 026: Authenticity and Entrepreneurship with Shauna Gingras

Shauna and I go deep in our chat, discussing the need to be truthful in our entrepreneur endeavors, not just for ourselves but for others as well. We also discuss the biases against entrepreneurs, our missions, and much, much more!

.@SRPConsulting and @thekimsutton dive deep into a chat about authentic entrepreneurial experiences. They also discuss the biases against entrepreneurs, our missions, and more! https://thekimsutton.com/pp026/ #positiveproductivity #podcastClick To Tweet

Episode Transcription

KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host, Kim Sutton. And today, I am thrilled to have Shauna Gingras.  I got that right, right?


KIM: From SRP Consulting. Shauna is a business strategist who creates systems, tools, and processes to help businesses plan, perform, and profit. Welcome, Shauna!

SHAUNA: Thank you so much for having me, Kim.

KIM: Oh, I’m thrilled that you are here. And listeners, just so you know – because this is just part of me being more transparent than I probably should be… We had such a fabulous “pre-chat chat”, if that’s what I should call it, that some of our pre-chat is going to be inserted into this, because I don’t want you to miss all the fabulous conversation that we had before. But with that said:

Shauna can you tell us about what you do and your journey up ’til now?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Sure. So my journey up to now, I think, has been sort of typical and atypical because we all have our own story. I was working for a company – actually, I’ll back up. I spent a lot of years working with companies to help them increase their revenue through increased delivery, strategy – to really get them making more money, and serving their clients better, and streamlining the process. And I was working for a company that was so poorly run… And of course I didn’t realize that when I took the job, it was one of those things that you learn as you’re going through your job journey, the questions you should ask like: Do you have enough money to cover payroll? And I was not getting paid, and my health insurance is getting canceled.

KIM: Oh, my gosh.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: And I thought – oh yes, it was very stressful, and I was working crazy hours because the clients still needed to be serviced, but I wasn’t getting a paycheck.

And I thought, “This train is going off the cliff. I need to do something.” And I started looking for another opportunity. And I was very fortunate, I had some offers, but I thought… You know, “I’ve always wanted to go out on my own, I’ve run a couple of businesses previously,” and I thought, “there’s no time like now. I have absolute – right now, I have absolutely nothing. I am working 80 hours a week and getting no paycheck. I have nothing. I have nothing to lose.

And so I started my business in three days. I kind of made the decision to start a business instead of taking a job, and I started in three days. I was very fortunate, in a sense, that I was so focused, my entire goal really was to replace a paycheck.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: And I brought on consultants within the first couple of days, just because I was able to sign a lot of work in the first, you know, three days – kind of thing! And my founding premise is: If someone ever will go without a paycheck, it will be me. I will never put anyone in a position of where I felt like, “What if I can’t pay the rent ,because I don’t know I’m going to get a paycheck.

And that was really it. I had no real goals of, you know, being a millionaire or any of that kind of stuff. It was just, replace a paycheck, and then I had a need for some consultants to service some clients. I knew some people that had – were looking for some work, and I thought, “This’ll work out nicely!” That was my only goal. I had no greater goal than that at the time, because I think our first goal always is we need to get to like our survival-steady space, right? Where, we’re not going to be worried about, “Is there enough money for food.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: And then, as my business grew – and I realized, I was having burnout. I was so tired and so overwhelmed. And I thought, I can’t… I can’t do this for another 20 years. I can’t do this for 20 minutes.

And I started to transition my business a little bit, and I moved into the small business market, which I didn’t – honestly didn’t really know how large it was. I wasn’t aware of the huge number of solopreneurs, small business – you know, the under-10 businesses that existed out there that were struggling. As I started to meet them, I would hear these heartbreaking stories about how they’re really struggling to bring in the dollars.

And also, as their struggling to bring in the dollars, in order to get clients, there was this belief you had to have this whole facade of “I’m very successful!” Right? “I don’t need your business, but I’m happy to say it” kind of thing! And, it was so heartbreaking to me to see that. And so, I realized that a lot of the tools that I used when I worked in large business and medium business and Fortune 500 were not trickling down to the small businesses segment. And so they were trying, essentially, to build a house without any tools or materials at all.

And that’s when I really started focusing a stream of my business on bringing those tools and those resources to small business, because I think it’s really hard for them to succeed. The deck is stacked against them. And so that’s kind of the journey that brought me here today.

KIM: That’s so fascinating, and I think you touch on so many points, including how many small businesses are out there. I don’t think people realize – or I should say, people who are not in the small business community – I don’t think people realize how many small businesses are actually out there.


KIM: And there are – I would love to look up a number, I’m going to look up a number after we’re done here, but: How many small businesses are actually in America?


KIM: Because even for – my husband and I are going through this right now. We’re trying to get a mortgage on the house that we’ve lived in for three years, and the cards are stacked against us because of the fact that we’re self-employed, even though there’s a good income coming in.


KIM: They’d rather see that he’s working a low-paying job in retail, just so that they think that he has a steady income, which I guess is so backwards.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes, it’s very backwards. And there are banks now, as we’re coming out of the recession, that are looking to lend to entrepreneurs. And also they’re willing to lend to you for your business – and actually, this is one of the things that I go through with a lot of my clients, is kind of getting your business established and then paying yourself a salary.

Because what the bank wants to see, the reason they love to see – I’m not going to say love, but the reason that they will take a low-paying steady job over a steady income of self-employment is because you are less likely to lose or give up your lower-paying job because you don’t have another option, right? But they know that if you work at – and I’m not going to try to pick on lower-paying jobs, but if you work at, like, a Starbucks or a Target or something like that, those places are pretty steady. And they’re taking their bet based on the business that you work for, as opposed to a small business that doesn’t have necessarily that longevity – you know, that history of longevity.

So it is starting to shift, and there are ways you can really hedge against that as you start your business and as you grow your business, so that you can still be the same as somebody who works for any other company the bank hasn’t heard of, that’s not a multinational. Right? Just if you worked for a small business, they’re not going to assume that small business is going to go under, but when you own it and you work for it? They assume that there’s a bit of instability in it, always inherent.

KIM: Which is so backwards. I mean, if you look at, in my mind – sorry, bakers, I hope you don’t disqualify me for this, but – we’re the ones that are working 80 – well, way too many hours a week. I’m really trying not to be working 80 hours anymore. I can’t remember the last time that I had a typical day, “typical” being very loose, where, you know, I “got home from work”. (And that’s hard to say, too, considering I work at home!) “I got home from work, made dinner, and then sat down and watched whatever was going on on TV.” We’re, like, the most – well, I’m generalizing again, but we are the most motivated and ambitious people, and that’s where the burnout comes from. I mean I don’t really see burnout in the corporate world as much, or we don’t hear about it as much.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Right, and I think we don’t hear about it as much because a lot of times, like, entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week to avoid the 9-to-5, right? And people who are in the corporate world, I think they’re just in a constant state of burnout in the sense that they’re not really doing what they love and enjoy, but they’re doing what gives them a lifestyle that they love. And so it kind of – it’s just a different kind of burnout, where they’re just tired and dreading their job, which is… I think, equally bad as burnout in some ways.

But entrepreneurs and small business that are growing, that are very committed to their business – not hobbyists, but business people – are working 80 hours a week, a lot of times, especially at the start. Right? It’s 80-hour weeks, nobody knows you’re there, it seems like nobody cares you’re there. You kind of feel like, “Why am I doing this when it’s never going to bear fruit?”

And it’s very frustrating, and I think that’s where a lot of the burnout comes, is at the start. We go, “If I just work a little harder…” and we sit on that train for a while, and then we hit the – “I’ve worked so hard and nothing’s happening,” is kind of the progression you usually go through.

And just when you’re about to give up – you know, when I have clients who are very frustrated, and they’re like, “I’ve been trying and trying and trying,” and I’ll say, “Okay, what are you doing? Let’s look at what you’re doing and what we can shift so that we can start to bring in some of those results, because this is not a lack of effort issue. This is, maybe, a lack of focus; it’s not a lack of effort.”

And I see the frustration, and I’m like, “Hang on!” When it’s fighting back is when you’re really, really close.” When you’re a hundred miles from the finish line, the finish line doesn’t care you’re coming for it. But when you’re really close is – as in, when it starts to fight back, you know. You’re right there.

KIM: Oh, my gosh. I love how you said that when you get that close, it pushes back. So maybe that’s a sign… I would love if that was a sign.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes. I really think that it is, because the finish line – if we think of, you know, wherever you want to go right now is the finish line, right.? There’s always going to be a “next” finish line. Whenever you get there, I think it’s like – and I’m not a sports enthusiast, so I don’t know if this is a real example – but I always think it’s like climbing a hill. You know where you want to go, right? You want to get to the top of the hill, and you get there, and you’re like, “Oh, my God. If I just look up a little bit, there’s another hill.

But when you’re – wherever your goal line is for right now, it doesn’t get hard, it doesn’t get steep… until you’re close to it. Right? Because that’s what you want, and this is the thing that generally you want so badly. You know, you’re so close, it’s like “I can taste it! Why isn’t it here.

And, I think, when it starts to fight back – first of all, it’s a lot of resistance we put in our own way, because it’s scary to get what you want. As long as you have what you want, you’ve got something to work at. It’s terrifying to get what you want sometimes. And so we – in addition to the resistance coming from externally, which is far less than we typically think, generally, there’s a lot of internal resistance going on, right? And that’s where we can end up with, like, some of the self-sabotage and those kinds of things, because it can be terrifying.

I know, I remember my first really big month – where I had a $163,000 month – and it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. And I was run over by a truck once. Like, it was scary.

KIM: Literally run over by a truck?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yeah, when I was nine. I was run over by a truck! Like, I have a baseline comparison for frightening! And, it was very terrifying to me. And that’s – I think a lot of times, is we want something so badly, and there’s that fear that sets in as we’re getting closer. That’s where the pressure comes from a lot of times, I think, as well, right? It gets steeper as we get closer to the top of the hill, but also a lot of that stuff that starts to come up, like, “What if I get this? Then what am I going to do?”

KIM: Right!

SHAUNA GINGRAS: So I think that there’s a lot of that, that comes up as well, that really starts to push back, and that’s what leads to burnout: that pressure we put on ourselves. If we treated another person that way, we would be arrested.

I always find that so remarkable, a lot of times – the way we treat ourselves when we’re going after a goal, or when we’re starting a business. If we did that to another person? If we made someone else work 18 hours a day and all those kinds of things, we would be in violation of 10 laws, right? But we do it to ourselves, because we want it so badly.

KIM: In 2008, I was pushing myself that hard, and I actually – well, I was doing it for a couple of years, and I was only sleeping two or three hours a night, and… Long story short, I wound up taking a mini-vacation in a mental hospital for a week.

And the ridiculous thing is, is that it would have been less expensive for me to take a real vacation to the Bahamas and stay in a – not just a five-star resort, even though I know that’s the highest – but like a 20-star resort! It would have been less expensive for me to do that and give myself a break than it was for a week in, basically, what felt like a jail cell.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes. And I think one of the best things we can do is take time off. And it doesn’t need to be big blocks, right? It needs to be that time to recharge. I know I used to have – and it’s only been the last… I dramatically reduced my work hours probably about a year ago – where I went from those 80- to 120-hour weeks, and I was like, I am 40 to 50. That’s it, right? I am not working this hard – like, it doesn’t matter how much money you have. You have to, I think, hit that level of having more than enough money to really understand and appreciate the value of the phrase “money can’t buy happiness”. But I dramatically reduced my hours, but I still would work… I thought I had reduced my hours, and I did. But I would work on client work the majority of the week, and then I would do business development on the weekends. And now, I’ve started actually taking part of the weekend off, where I’m like, you know what? I’m not doing development all weekend. I’m not going to do all of these things. In fact, this past Saturday I went out for brunch that ended up lasting for six hours. I’m sure the restaurant was very irritated – and I did not feel a stitch of guilt! Like, I’m just going to sit here and enjoy this. And you know, yeah we talked about some business stuff, but normally I would’ve felt guilty, even now. And that, “Oh, I should be doing something” because I don’t – you know, my weeks are pretty stacked with client things. And so we always, I think, put ourselves last. We service all of our clients and keep all of those commitments, and then we “fit in” running our business. And I think – if you can just take that time and say, “I am my business’s most important asset. And I need to be in peak condition, and I can’t do that if I haven’t slept, I haven’t eaten, I haven’t exercised, I haven’t seen my spouse, I haven’t taken care of my kids, their emotional needs…” You know, all of those kinds of things: If you don’t take care of yourself, you are really devaluing your business’s greatest asset.

KIM: This past summer, so just about five or six months ago, I was in another point that I could see leading into that same point that I was in in 2008. And, thanks to a friend, I found some resources that really helped, and I started sleeping my seven to eight hours a night. Again, not that I’m – I’m not saying that there haven’t been nights that I didn’t get enough sleep. Because there certainly have.

However, I really started taking care of myself, started drinking more water, and when I look – well, I just have to spit the name out there: Harvest is my bookkeeping tool. (No, I can get an affiliate commission, just so you all know, listeners.) But when I look at Harvest and I look at what happened – what my income was before then compared to after – it’s ridiculous! It actually doubled after I made those shifts!

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes, because you are performing at a higher level, right? And when you’re kind of just treading water – we go into this “survival mode”, right?

Like, I do some neurolinguistic programming with money coaching, and our first goal in life is always survival. That is the sole purpose of your base brain function, is to survive. It cannot predict the future. It doesn’t care about the future. If you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, and all you’re doing is treading water, it doesn’t occur to you to turn your head to the left and look for land, right? Because you are so focused in “I have to get to the next 10 seconds.”

And when we’re in that survival mode, in our business and in our life, it is impossible to actually get out of the situation that’s dangerous. And I think it’s so important to take a breath – and I never used to do this, I was like, “I can outwork this!” Right? “I can outthink this, I can outwork this.

And I think that – in a lot of ways, go back to that “superpower woman” thing, right? That we’re sort of… this generation of women is being taught – and women have done it for years, I’m not devaluating or devaluing the previous superpowers that were going on – but I think, when our goal is that survival, it’s really hard to even look beyond that and say, “It doesn’t just have to be about getting through it.”

KIM: No, I mean the only superhero costume I’m going to put on is for Thanksgiving – er, Thanksgiving? Hah, my husband would love that! The only superhero costume I will put on is for Halloween. I am no superhero on Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, I can burn mac ‘n cheese out of a box, so I stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Yeah, it’s been completely mind-blowing, the fact that I can see when that shift happened and know exactly what happened during that time.

I do have to ask, though, so you said you made changes last year, and you cut down your work hours. Did you put any of your business development tasks into the week where you would have normally had client tasks? And what happened to your business as a result of the shifts that you made?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: So, when I went through kind of the first transition, I took a significant drop in – not significant, I took a drop in income. And then, within a couple of weeks as I started kind of going through the transition, it was back to level again.

But I didn’t have a lot of the overhead because I had a lot of – you know, I use consultants for my businesses as I have the need for them, and as my clients have the need for them, I bring in other consultants. And so, when I made that shift, a lot of that – the consultants that went along with that, I found them other placements, and so I didn’t have that overhead.

Initially, I took a drop as I was regrouping, and I honestly didn’t even care. I was like, “Right now, if I never made another cent, I need some mental peace. If I have to live outside, I will.” Like, that was kind of where I was at, before I made the transition.

And then, as I started moving into… getting really clear on the service I could bring to another market, another slice of my business, I started to see my income go up slightly, because I wasn’t entirely sure yet what I was doing. I knew what they needed, I just wasn’t sure how to package it and how to get the messaging around it. So I did go through a development period where, thankfully, I had the investment dollars to really invest in that development. And I started shifting some of that – and a lot of times it would still get done at night, right? I am a night person; I am, like, at my super most creative from like 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. And I have to force myself – if I go to bed early, I’m okay. If I’m up at midnight, I’m like, “Oh, I’m on a roll.

So as I moved that stuff more into the week, I found that my income did start to increase. And in those new lines, that I was bringing up, were those live streams of revenue that I was bringing up. But it was hard at the start, because the other thing we get addicted to is the “busy”. We equate “I’m working very, very hard” with “I’m being very, very productive,” and “if I’m being very productive, I’m very valuable.”

And I think that’s something that we’re taught, like in school, right? “If you work hard and you get a good mark, that means you’re great. And if you’re not working hard, and you’re slacking off, and you fail, that means you should try harder.” And so I think we’ve got a lot of judgments and beliefs wrapped up around that idea, and there’s almost a “prize” for who’s working the most hours, kind of thing. Right? In our mind.

So I noticed, for me, initially I took a dip, and I was prepared for that, and I was fine with that. And then, as I started refocusing my effort into just one message for my small business segment, that’s when I noticed that the dollars started to, you know… I would say the trickle-flow-gush, right? They start to come in slowly. All of a sudden, there’s a more steady stream… and then you get to the point where the money is rushing in the door – is really the goal of business, right? It’s kind of the ramp-up leading into the windfall.

KIM: Were you clear on who your ideal client was before you made that transition, or did the transition lead you to becoming more clear about who your ideal client was?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: I had no idea who my client was when I went into the transition. I really didn’t. I remember, I had never been to any kind of networking event. I didn’t even know what they were, to be honest with you.

And a friend of mine who had a small business, she said, “I’m going to this event, did you want to come?” She says, “It’s for small business.” And I went there and I expected to meet, kind of like, the presidents of smaller banks, of smaller insurance companies and small medical companies… That’s what I thought of “small business”, kind of that “under 5-billion dollar” range, with under a thousand employees. And I went, and I met bloggers, I met marketers – this whole segment of the world I had no idea existed.

And I remember sitting in the room and thinking, “I don’t have anything in common – like, I don’t have anything to say to these people, right?” And I just sat and listened, and that’s when I started to hear about their struggle. And even then, it took me a long time to realize who was at a stage, at a level where I could be of value to them. Right? Because, you know, the wrong tool is not helpful for anybody. It’s like, if you’re in 8th grade and someone comes and gives you a 10th grade algebra textbook, the book itself is not going to help you unless you have the kind of foundation in place. So I had no idea who my ideal client was. It actually completely shifted: I was looking for smaller businesses that were in that kind of 1- to 5-billion-dollar range, right? That was kind of my definition of small business, so I had no idea when I first started to transition. This market, in a way, found me, to be honest.

KIM: Wow, 1- to 5-billion, I mean that doesn’t even fall within my thought of “small business”, so hey!

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Not yet, not yet! Yeah, it’s a gradual – they didn’t have that when they started either, you know. Apple started out of a garage. Let’s keep some perspective. You know, Apple started out of a garage, and they’re Fortune 3 right now. So, I think the seeds are the same. Everything that is huge was not huge when it started. And I think that is so important for people to remember, because if you look at, you know, Oprah – there was the day before Oprah was “Oprah”. Right? She was working hard –

KIM: And Martha Stewart.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Right, and Martha Stewart! And all of those people who who we now look at and go, “Well, of course it was going to work out for them. Of course Mark Zuckerberg was going to end up with Facebook.” No, he could have ended up being a computer programmer, right?

When we first start anything – and that’s part of the frustration, and that’s why I think so many businesses end up folding, is because they’re expecting… And I’m not trying to blame, like, reality TV shows, but they kind of expect because of things like The Voice and American Idol and all of those shows that make you an overnight anything. That’s very rare. It doesn’t happen. There’s no such thing as an “overnight success”, or if there is, it’s very rare. But generally, an overnight success has been, you know, many years – and you can move through it faster. It doesn’t have to take 10 years, right? You can get to it faster, but the process has to occur. It’s all of that, you know, “unknown” when you’re in the unknown. And then all of a sudden, it’s realized, and people start to become aware of you, but we don’t ever talk about the struggle.

We talk about the – just like you were saying, “I had a half-million dollar launch!” Well, good for you. How many four-dollar launches did you have? How many launches did you have that you spent 20,000 bucks and made nothing? Talk about that. I’m not saying, talk about the negative. I’m saying, give a fair and balanced… you know, so that people who are sitting there going, “Well, I would really like a 500,000-dollar launch.”

Your first launch is probably not going to make you 500,000 dollars. That doesn’t mean it’s not a successful launch, doesn’t mean you didn’t learn anything. It doesn’t mean it’s not the seeds of your half-million-dollar launch. It means that it needs time to mature. And I think it’s so important that people realize that, that business owners realize that when you’re toiling in that anonymity, and you feel like you’re not making headway – that’s when all the work is happening. When you get to that half-million-dollar launch, that’s just the result. That’s not the cause; it’s the result.

And I think we need to draw that delineation for ourselves and give ourselves a break, basically, and celebrate those seeds, because it’s the seeds that’s going to lead to those huge successes later.

KIM: My first and second launches made me a whole 0 dollars.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: And that’s a successful launch, let’s be real. That’s a successful launch, because you didn’t lose money.

KIM: Oh, it absolutely was a successful launch, because I later realized that those products were the result of me chasing other people’s dreams.


KIM: They were not promoting anything I was passionate about. Period.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Mm-hmm.Yeah. And I think if you can realize… When we realize – and I have a program where I walk people through this piece – I can look back now and say, “I built a really successful business on a garbage dump,” right? Like, “I built it in a place I did not want to live” – not geographically – but I built it so that it made a lot of money, and it was burning me out.

It made me miserable, and had I given some thought to, at the beginning, “What do I really want, beyond replacing a paycheck?” Had I done that at the start, it would have been a lot easier, but I wouldn’t have learned as much. I learned a lot! You know, even though it was kind of like a “successful failure” in the sense that it made money, it was a really great learning experience. So I wouldn’t trade it, but I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody either.

KIM: Oh absolutely not. I would rather that Positive Productivity and the brand make zero, and I enjoy what I’m doing until the end of time, than to ever try to relaunch something that I’m not passionate about.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes, because at first, when you’re passionate about something – and I hear in your podcast how passionate you are and how honest you are – and the world needs that. I think the world has had enough of this “sitting around by the pool pretending we’re making a bunch of money” and the – I won’t say “lying”, but – lying that’s going on out there.

I know when I run – you know, I run Facebook ads for my business – and there are times I’m like, my biggest fear is to look like another one of those frauds. And I’m not saying they’re all lying. It’s just, if somebody put out an ad that said, “Hey, want to be like me? I’m struggling to make money, I’m working like crazy, no one knows who I am…” You know, nobody puts on an ad that says that, right? It’s all, “Hey, I did this, and – my rags-to-riches story,” and all those kinds of things.

And I think it’s great – to overcome, I think, is fantastic, but I think we’ve been too hyped on that, and the world is ready for truth now. And I have to believe that because that’s what I’m trying to, you know, that’s what I’m trying to share! So I have no choice but to believe the world is ready for truth.

KIM: I am right there. I am ready for truth, and I am loving – even just the week that this podcast launched, right at the beginning of October 2016 depending on when you’re listening, there were some huge posts on Facebook alone about people actually telling what was really going on behind the scenes.


KIM: And that gave me so much faith in what I’m doing, because I realized, “Okay, this is good. I’m not all alone out here being totally transparent and sharing stories about the mental hospital, and what it’s really like to have five kids and run your own business, and how my cats create havoc behind the scenes.

(And listeners, if you haven’t listened, there’s an episode back there that tells about how my cats had sex in the view of my first-ever client interview. I think that’s Episode Three, “Keep Moving Forward,” something like that.

But yeah, things do happen, and it’s not perfect. And if people are trying to convince you that it is perfect, then it’s time to run.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes. Watch your wallet, because that is generally part of the sales pitch. But also, maybe to anybody who is in that “I need it to be perfect”… And I was like a recovering perfectionist, right? And I still struggle with it sometimes, but every day honestly, like it’s always going to be a thing for me. But if you’re stuck in that “It has to be perfect,” I can’t.

This is the number one thing especially, and I hear this – I’m not sure if it’s just because I’ve been speaking more recently at women-focused events, but I hear this from women, “If anyone knew I was failing, what would they think of me?”

First of all, who cares? Right? Somebody who’s going to ride in a limo with you is awesome; you want someone who will push it with you. They’re not going to be there when you’re struggling? Don’t let them come to the party when you’re not. So first of all, let go of that idea that it matters what they think.

And also the power of just saying, “I am struggling” – I think acknowledging it – that thought goes through your head a thousand times a day. Let it out, and be okay with it. We are all struggling. No matter what level you’re at, when money is no longer a struggle, something else will come up to struggle with. Truly, I believe that.

There’s always going to be something that is going to be a struggle in your business or in your life. That’s just how it goes. When you wake up in the morning without the baggage of that “I have to have this perfect thing going on”, it’s so much easier to actually create the imperfect stuff that’s going to lead to huge results. Because it’s always a mess in the middle. Everything successful is always a mess in the middle.

KIM: Shawna, I’ve never asked this question on the podcast before. Actually there’s three questions.


KIM: Is your inbox at a zero right now?

SHAUNA: Oh heavens, no.

KIM: Is your desk organized and clean?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: My desk generally is organized and clean, but I move. I’m portable, so I move throughout the day. And I – when I feel very chaotic, my desk is clean, so that I can go to a clean space.

KIM: Awesome. When I find myself getting overwhelmed, that’s when I clean my desk. But usually, it is not.

Are there dishes in your sink, or do you have clothes in a laundry basket that need to be taken care of right now?

SHAUNA: Oh, yeah. I’ve got a laundry basket. The sink is empty, but I’ve got a laundry basket. Totally, yes.

KIM: I need to know how to get a clean sink!

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Um, I don’t have five kids!

KIM: True!

SHAUNA GINGRAS: But yes, all that chaos is life, right? All that stuff that we’re trying to fix and avoid is life. And if the worst thing you got is a laundry basket that needs to get to the washing machine – then hey, you’ve got clothes, right? And if you’ve got dishes in your sink, you’ve had food. And all of that mess means that you have enough to at least have “stuff”. There are people in this world that live without the basic necessities of life.

If we can just put some perspective around that, and realize that there’s no such thing as “perfect”… And imagine how dull that would be anyway. Like, if we woke up every day going, “Oop! Today’s another perfect day!” Right? It’s like, no, there’s no – that’s kind of like a constant state of flat-line, in a way. “Perfect” is very stressful, I think. So let go of the “perfect”, because it doesn’t exist, and it’s stressing everybody out. And who needs the wrinkles and the gray hair, right?

KIM: That is so beautiful. I love that. And I just have to share, last week, I was not so happy to have to do dishes. It’s actually one of my son’s chores. He wants a cell phone, he does the dishes. But he hadn’t done them, right?

So, I was standing there in the morning one morning, doing some dishes so I could have a bowl of cereal. So I’m standing there looking out the window, and I see one of the cats – Fortune, to be more specific – climbing the tree to go after a bird. And it just made me laugh, because I saw this little young tree bowing underneath his weight, and him just doing his best to hold on to the branches – with no chance whatsoever of getting this bird, because tree was going to collapse before he got to it.

But it was the break I needed in the morning, you know, the humorous break. Yes, I was going to say, “I had to do dishes”. But I “got” to do dishes. Thank you for the reminder.

SHAUNA: Yes. My pleasure.

KIM: I got to do dishes, and I got to watch my cat being an idiot in the backyard.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: And a cat in no way thinks he was an idiot, by the way. The cat does not think he was an idiot. The cats like, “I want the bird, that’s where I’m going.” And I think we could learn a lot from that!

KIM: Yeah!

SHAUNA: “I will not be distracted by the tools around me, that my branch is not fully on board with this idea is not going to distract me from my goal of the bird,” right?

KIM: And how many of those branches do we climb sometimes, and we just have to find a different route to get to the bird?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yes, and realize that the ground will never be steady. And I think that’s one of the things – and I talked about this in one of the groups that I host – I talked about how, when you are running your own business, you’re kind of always living in the unknown, which feels like failure. No matter how successful, it is, it kind of feels that way. Because when you have a job, your boss tells you what to do, right? When we’re in school, our teachers tell us what to do. “If you want an A, this is what you do.” When you have a job, the boss says, “If you want to keep your job or get a raise, this is what you do.” When you’re running your own business, there’s no one to tell you what to do. You know what you’re supposed to do – sometimes you don’t, actually – but even when you know, there’s that… We like rules. We like that structure; we’re raised and conditioned on structure. And I think that is a lot, also, where the angst comes from, is, “What if I do this, and I don’t have a guarantee at the end? What if I walk out on this branch, and there’s nothing – the bird’s not there anymore? Or the branch collapses?” or all of these kind of things that we put in our way? And I must say, to the whole… You know, I have never been to one of these, but I’ve heard about them, where they talk about – you know they have like the little two-by-four that goes between two buildings: Would you walk across it for a thousand dollars? Or a million dollars, or whatever? And I’m not saying, you know, “Take unnecessary risks that’re going to be dangerous,” but the reward is on the other side of the risk. And when you take calculated, strategic risks, the rewards that you get are something you’re never going to get sitting in a cubicle. And that’s the reason that people are running their own businesses, is because they want that reward that’s on the other side of the unknown.

KIM: We are walking a tightrope every day, and I never thought about it that way. Because I don’t know that I would actually get on a literal tightrope.

SHAUNA: I wouldn’t. I have absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever.

KIM: Do you have two left feet like me?

SHAUNA: I don’t even know that they – I think they’d even need to be upgraded to be “two left feet”! Like there are days – it’s so funny, because people are always saying to me, “You’re so calm, and you always look so -” and I’m like, “Really? Really?” I am not – you know, I can’t dance. I am not one of those, like… “I should never do that in public” people. You know, I never dance in public, as a courtesy to others.

KIM: Oh, my gosh, we should have a dance party of people just like us! Because I am exactly the same way.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yeah, I would see them, and I’m like, “Huh”. And then I realized, though, it’s true that there’s a lot of people who can’t dance until they drink. When I see the videos on YouTube – or the Facebook Live is always great for that – the people are at the club, and I would go, “look at that guy! He said he couldn’t dance, and now he thinks he can!”

But I think that we’re on that tightrope, and we choose to be there, so if you’re going to be there anyway – if that’s where you really want to be – commit to the tightrope. And also realize that it doesn’t have to be a tight rope forever, it’s going to come a point where you’re actually going to be able to build a freeway. And you might start on the tightrope, but the more tools that you build and the stronger your foundation is, you’re going to be on much, much more solid footing.

KIM: Shauna, have you read Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

SHAUNA: I have not. I’ll grab it – I’ll get from you when we’re done here, and I would love to read a book you recommend.

KIM: Yeah, listeners, I will put it in the show notes – which, by the way, you can find at TheKimSutton.com. (I forgot my own web site for a second. Positive Productivity Podcast, where it’s not about perfection!) TheKimSutton.com/PP026 for Episode 26, and it’s Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard.

It’s a fiction book, but it’s phenomenal. It’s a fast read. I mean, as a mom of five, I got it done in six hours, and my husband actually took it to work and got it done in five, and wanted to know who he could pass it on to next. But they do actually have a tightrope section in it, and yeah. Phenomenal, though, definitely a recommended read for everybody, not just entrepreneurs.

SHAUNA: Fabulous.

KIM: This has been absolutely amazing. But before you go, I’m really excited about your Profit Circle – which we talked about a little bit before our official chat here. Can you share with the listeners about Profit Circle – what it is, and where they can find it? And also, where listeners can find you in general?

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Yeah, for sure. So I host a tool site at IWontGoBroke.com, and that’s where I host a Profit Vault where I store all of my online courses and programs that I have created. And I have a program – it’s a membership program – that is designed to be a “Show Me How to Do It.

And it is the tools I wish I had had when I first started working in the small business space: Everything from How to Start Your Company Up Legally… (You know, a lot of times, we start up, we’re passionpreneurs, and we start up, and then we realize – when you go to the bank, and you explain to them what you do, but you don’t have any real documentation to show for it?)

So everything from How to Register Your Business, right through to How to Become Profitable and then Scale Your Business. And it’s all broken down into what I call “Power Packs”, which are designed to give you the quick “Show Me How to Do It” without spending a ton of money.

And then I also host for my members – twice a month, I host office hours. So those challenges that they’re having, that they think, “I’m the only one having this problem.” They bring them, and we work them out together.

So it’s something I’m super excited about, and the membership is reopening – I believe December 1 we’re going to reopen membership. We like to control the inflow so that we don’t… I want to make sure I can service everyone who’s there, right?

It’s online, so it is convenient. And everywhere you go you’ve got access, so it’s not based on my schedule, it’s based on your schedule – which I think is also really important. When you’re in this, when you are fitting in “running” your business around “working in” your business, I think it’s very important to have tools available to you 24/7.

KIM: Oh, definitely. Especially for people like you, who get their major inspiration between 10:00 and 3:00.

SHAUNA: Yes, yes.

KIM: Absolutely, so IWontGoBroke.com is hers – that will be in the show notes, which again, you can find out TheKimSutton.com/PP026. Shauna, thank you so much again. This has been incredible.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: Thank you so much for having me!

KIM: As promised during my chat with Shauna, here is one portion of our Pre-Show Chat, which I just found so valuable that I didn’t want you to miss out on it. In this portion, we talk about “Facebook fluff”, a mini meltdown that I had the night before, and a whole lot more. (I do want to give you a heads-up, however, that if you are listening in the car with littles around, I apologize in advance because I do let a curse word slip out of my mouth.)

SHAUNA: I love your honesty in your podcasts. Its amazing.

KIM: Oh, thank you. I love the podcasts that I listen to because they’re very honest. But I’m… I sort of got tired of the fluff on Facebook.


KIM: And that’s where I was spending so much time, and to be totally transparent, I broke down on my husband last night because I just told him, “I’m tired of seeing these people talk about their 500,000-dollar years, because I think they’re full of shit.” And I don’t curse very often.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: They are. A lot of them are, and a lot of them are – and this is one of the things that I’m trying to fight, honestly, with the people in my demographic – is it makes them feel like crap. That feeling that you were feeling? I am so sick of people feeling that, because of a few people… And there are people who have half-million dollar launches. I was very fortunate, my business took off very quickly, I made a lot of money out of the gate – it doesn’t happen all the time. I learned how to do it and repeat it, but I think those – when people walk in, first of all, a $500,000 launch. You had expenses. You did not net out at $500,000! And nobody ever says, “Oh, I made $100,000, but I had $99,000 worth of expenses,” because that’s not as impressive. But they kind of announce the top line, and they forget to talk about the bottom line. And I think if you’re going to celebrate the topline, that’s fine – but then be honest about it, and don’t make people feel like crap! It just drives me insane. That’s my rant, sorry!

KIM: No, I totally appreciate that. And before I tell you the next part – and I want to be respectful of your time – before I tell you the next part, I need to preface it by saying that my husband is from the trailer park, so please don’t think I’m like insulting trailer park at all with this. However I – being an Infusionsoft certified partner, I notice things like footers and what information people are in including in there, because it’s CAN-SPAM law. You’re supposed to include your address. Well, I noticed – I’m not going to name any names – that somebody in that $500,000-$2,000,000 – you know – “That’s what I make every year, and here’s how you can do it” circle had a fake address. And I didn’t write a rude email, I just said, “Hey, I don’t want you to get fined. You know, I noticed that you have a ‘123 Somewhere Lane, Anytown, USA’, and that if somebody reports you, that could be $25,000. And I know you work really hard for your money just like I do, so you might want to consider changing it.


KIM: No response, but the next day when I got an e-mail, it was updated. And I was like, “Okay, cool.” I’m glad that they’re protected now, you know… And then, as time went on, I kept on getting the e-mails and kept on seeing these posts, and I was just like, “Hmm… Wonder where they actually live.”

So I googled it, and it’s seriously like a trailer in the middle of what looks like a whole bunch of junkyards. And it’s just like, “Something doesn’t add up here.

SHAUNA: Unless you’ve got a postbox in the middle of it, maybe?

KIM: No, there’s no post office there. I mean, you can see the piles of trash. I was like, “Okay.”

SHAUNA: And the other problem, the flip side of that, is they’re making people – like, let’s assume that that is someone who’s exaggerating… greatly… or, someone who says, “You know, I’m making a lot of money, and I’m giving it all away, and I’m willing to live in a trailer park.” Whatever their story is, right? Like that could be their thing: They’re like, “I’m going to make millions of dollars, and I’m going to live on $10,000 a year, and this is how I want to be,” and that’s cool.

KIM: Which is absolutely cool. Yeah.

SHAUNA: Right? But if, let’s say, they’re living there because they’re not making any money. They – every single day of their life – wake up with a lie. And it is so hard to maintain a lie, and that is my mission in life. Aside from, “I want everyone to be rich,” I want people to get out of a lie. Because that lie is what’s stopping people from being successful, and it’s driving me insane.

KIM: Can we talk so much about that, in our chat?


KIM: Because, I think that so needs to be addressed. And my mission with the podcasts – and I haven’t really discussed it much – is just to keep one person out of the mental hospital. If I know that I – and I don’t know how I would ever know, but just helping one person get back on a personal and professional care plan that keeps them from working all night and all day, and prevents them out and going to the mental hospital.


KIM: That’s good enough for me. Would I like to makes money doing it? Absolutely. But, that’s that’s my focus.

SHAUNA: Yeah, and there is – that’s a huge market, and there’s lots of money to be made. And making money does not make you a bad person, which is the other problem people have, is we’ve got all this stuff around actually making the money… It’s, “I’m greedy, I’m selfish, I’m – you know, because a lot of particularly women are conditioned to be supportive, as opposed to you know – as we’re brought up, right?”

KIM: Oh, and I’m woman and Christian, which she adds in a double… Like, you shouldn’t be making money. But I actually have an awesome Christian business coach, who’s like, “Nothing says in the Bible that you shouldn’t make money.”

In this second portion from our Pre-Show Chat, Shauna and I discuss competition and knowing who our ideal client is.

SHAUNA: I am not a believer in competition.

KIM: Neither am I, thank you! I love that.

SHAUNA: I refer people, like when I’m like, “I don’t know that I can help you, but let me find someone who can.” My goal is to help people, and if I can be of best service to them by finding them someone who’s not me, then that’s what I do.

KIM: You know, as a child I watched Miracle on 34th Street where Santa is giving referrals to other stores that actually have the toys.


KIM: And that’s totally what we need to do as business owners.

SHAUNA: It is, because I think first of all, there’s no point in trying to service someone who is just not a good fit. And I think, depending on the offerings that you have – for instance, in your podcast, is it important that every person who listens to it shares your exact same points of view? No. But if they were to be a one-on-one client for you, I think that’s very important, because you can’t be of great service to them, and they’re not going to get their money’s worth.

KIM: Oh, absolutely.

SHAUNA GINGRAS: There are times that it’s less important, but I think that fit is so, so important for pretty much everything – but particularly in business. When you’re looking at this allocating your business resources like your dollars, I think that’s so important.”