The F Word: Special Edition with Resolute PR, Switchgear Recruiting, Inner Circle Vodka Bar, Tulsa Regional Chamber

August 22, 2018

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A PR agency. A recruiting company. A vodka bar. All very different endeavors with their own unique challenges. However, there's a common thread in these three companies. They were all founded by Tulsans who had the boldness to say "I can do this"- even when they weren't sure they actually could. Join us for this special, panel-style edition of The F Word podcast as we chat with Nicole Morgan, founder of Resolute PR, Dixie Agostino, founder of Switcchgear Recruiting, and Andy Cagle, founder of Inner Circle Vodka Bar, about how they got started and the big (and expensive) mistakes they've overcome to get to where they are today.

This special episode of The F Word podcast was produced in partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber.


Dixie: You have to be pretty either cocky or delusional or optimistic or whatever the word is to start a business.

Nicole: You think I would have learned from my mistakes, but unfortunately I don't see all the warning signs.

Andy: You're going to take a lot of beating, especially at the beginning of trying to start a  business.

Dixie: I just knew in my bones this was happening and I would figure out a way to make it work.

Lauren: Hello, and welcome to a special midseason edition of The F Word Podcast. I'm your host Lauren King, and joining me today is a special cohost from the Communications Department of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Chris Wylie. Welcome, Chris.

Chris: Hey. Thanks for having me.

Lauren: Chris is a master of sharing information about the innovation and growth happening with Tulsa businesses, so we're really excited to have him with us.

Chris: Master might be a bit of a stretch, but I'll take it. Thank you.

Lauren: In studio today, we've got Nicole Morgan, the founder of Resolute PR. Nicole's client list includes companies like Osage Casino, Tulsa International Airport, and ImpactTulsa. She also was the most recently named Tulsa's Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Andy Cagle, the founder of Inner Circle Vodka Bar also joins us. If you haven't tried his infused vodka, stop what you're doing, pause this episode, and go try it out. It's incredible. Andy has had wild success being located in the Tulsa Arts District. He's right across from Cain's Ballroom and soon to be right next door to the new OKPOP Museum. Last and certainly not least, Dixie Agostino is the founder of Switchgear Recruiting, an external recruiting company that helps businesses hire the right people. She's landed on Inc.'s 500 list and has served as a mentor at multiple incubators in town. Nicole, Andy, Dixie, thanks for being here today.

Nicole: Yay.

Chris: Yes. Yay. Yay. Our hope is that all of us really foster an active conversation, ask questions of each other, jump in when you relate to something that one of your colleagues and peers says. If you have something to add or a fun anecdote, we really want to hear your thoughts and dig a little deeper than just the stock answers. So, with that, each of you give us please a quick version of how you got started. Nicole, why don't you kick us off?

Nicole: Okay, so my career started for a startup PR firm. I started there as an intern in college and then got hired on after I graduated, worked my way up, and then after about 10 years, the owner of the company started having some significant personal issues, and it got to the point where I really had a choice to make. I knew that the company was going to be closing, and I could either get out of the agency world and try to go corporate or start to do my own thing. And I know a lot of people who were telling me, "You know, Nicole, I don't know why you're still there. You could do this yourself." That is never a thought that had crossed my mind. It wasn't something that I had really planned on but had gone on vacation with my family, was supposed to be gone for two weeks, and I had to book a flight to come home early. And so I'm sitting in the airport by myself, had just left my family, and said, "You know what? This isn't worth it, and maybe I should just try to see where this goes. And so the next day I came home, I quit my job, and I started Resolute, and that will be four years on August 1st.

Lauren: Wow. Congratulations. So, did you believe people when they said, "We think you can do this. We think you can go on your own?"

Nicole: I knew that I knew PR, and I knew that I understood marketing. I did not know if I knew how to run a business, and so I never anticipated that it would be something that would grow into 11 people, that it would be the size that it is, that we would be working with the types of clients that we work with today. I just knew that I loved what I did, and that's really what I set out to do, and also there were people that told me I couldn't do it, and so I wanted to prove them wrong too, because that's the last thing that I want to hear.  So, I felt like I had a lot to prove, and I still do a lot of times.

Lauren: Dixie, what about you?

Dixie: So, I had worked in transportation logistics for 10 years and was just very much like, "Oh, I don't know what I can do with this. I can literally only sweet talk truck drivers into getting into their truck and doing their job." So, I was talking to one of my friends, and he said, "Well, I think you should just do my job, be a recruiter." So I came on board with an external agency for a couple of years. One day, I had had my oldest daughter, and my husband and I were having breakfast, and I was just like, "I just don't think this is worth it. It's not worth my time away from my daughter," and he was like, "Well, just start your own thing," and literally that morning at breakfast we had seen an ad for The Forge, and so I said, "All right. I have money saved. I'm good to go. Let's give this a try," and we jumped in, and I had six months to make it work. Five months and one week in, we got our first client and placement done, and then we grew to 15 people in three different offices and then oil tanked, so that was a really crappy, crappy time of my life, and now we've built back, and we have got an even stronger team than we ever had before. Ups and downs.

Lauren: For sure.  For people who don't know, what's The Forge?

Dixie: The Forge is a startup incubator where you can come in, and when I came in you had the support of other entrepreneurs. You also had a full set up office, which was quite a relief at the time too, because who wants to negotiate getting your phone and your internet and all that stuff. This is very turnkey.

Lauren: Yeah.  Chris, The Forge is actually part of the chamber.

Chris: The Forge is one of the chamber's several ways that we invest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, so we're taking somewhat of a systematic approach, so the chamber supports 36 Degrees North, The Forge, and a few other initiatives to try to build the infrastructure that allows for successful entrepreneurs rather than investing necessarily one on one with individuals. So I like hearing Forge success stories. I like when 36 Degrees North tenants grow too big for the space.

Lauren: That would be Nicole he's referencing.

Chris: Yes. I'm pointing at Nicole for all of the listeners who don't have a third eye. Yeah, our hope is that we see these entrepreneurs mature and grow out of what we can offer them into bigger and better things.

Lauren: Andy, what about you? How'd you get started?

Andy: Well, I was actually practicing as an attorney in Texas for almost a decade, and I hated it. I was miserable. Anyone who's ever met me knows I'm a people person. I love people, and I started hating people, all of them, and I realized I just needed to make a change. A friend of mine from college who was a bar manager at Eskimo Joe's, we went to Oklahoma State together. We had been talking about opening a bar for a long time. We were both going through transition periods with our careers. We were like, "You know what? Let's just do this. We can do this." And so I quit my job, moved to Tulsa, and tried to figure out how to open a bar.

Chris: One thing that you all mentioned at various parts in your story was the moment where you said, "I can do this." How important was self-confidence to each of you in making the switch from the thing you were doing before to the venture that has now brought you to where you are?

Dixie: I never had anyone tell me I couldn't, but it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, because I just knew in my bones this was happening and I would figure out a way to make it work. There was literally no alternative. I feel like at this point for sure, I'm unemployable because I'm too stuck in my own ways, so now it's gotta work. It always had to work.

Andy: I always had a fall-back. I still have my law degree. I haven't been disbarred yet. Yet. I've always felt really good about, I hate it, but there's always way for me to make money, even if I hate doing it, but, you know, I have a lot of self-confidence anyway. I think you almost have to.  Yeah. I think you have to believe in yourself, because you're going to take a lot of beating, especially in the beginning of trying to start a business.

Dixie: Yeah, especially when you're doing anything like Nicole and I do where you're externally consulting, you're constantly doing sales. That's the absolute first thing that you do, and so anyone that's ever talked to me about, "I want to start my own business," then I'm like, "Great. Do you like sales?" "No." "Oh, okay. You're going to be doing sales for years. So, if you don't like sales, that's gonna suck."

Nicole: Yeah. I felt like I just had this image of riding a bicycle, if you're learning to ride a bicycle, and you're on these two tiny little wheels. If you think about that too much, that's scary, but if you're learning to ride a bicycle, you just can't think about it. You just have to go and do and trust that your legs are going to carry you and just go for it, and that's really how I felt, I think, at the time, because it wasn't something that I planned on, and I think, kind of like Dixie, I can relate to, "I didn't have really an alternative option," so it was like, "Okay, we're just gonna go for it, and this is gonna work. It has to."

Lauren: What's the hardest part of running a business?

Dixie: I think that it never stops. There's not a place where you go home, and you just completely shut it off in the way that you can shut off a job, because it's all on you at the end of the day. Unless you guys are good at that. I'm not. I suck at it.

Nicole: No.  Dixie and I have talked about this before. There is such a home and personal and work, they all just run together. It's always there, and, for me, when I'm at work, there's still a part of me that's at home, and when I'm at home, there's a part of me that's always at work, and so self-care is something that I've really had to work on and trying to find boundaries and balances, but I think that that's really hard to do, especially in such a world where people expect an instant response all the time, and how do you train people to say that it might be a couple of hours before you hear back from me and that that's okay.

Lauren: And what do you do. What are practical ways you build boundaries? For you too, Dixie, because you have kiddos also.

Nicole: My son's taken my phone away from me. If we're watching a movie and I have it on me, he'll be like, "Mom, we're putting this away now," and he'll take it away.

Lauren: And he's how old? Six?

Nicole: Yeah. 

Lauren: Yep. That's amazing.

Dixie: A couple of years in, I quit checking my email at night. It doesn't do me any good. I used to wake up in the middle of the night with all these ideas, and I would email myself all these great ideas, and they all sucked in the morning. They were terrible. But my kids have an office at my office. I don't know if there's really that much of a work-life balance. It's just where the pendulum swings, like sometimes it's super-heavy work, sometimes it's super-heavy family. I'm just doing the best to keep up with everything.

Andy: So, I don't have family or children. The bar is my baby, and so I don't turn off a lot while I'm in Tulsa, but I've had to go back home to Texas a lot recently. I have parents with health issues, and so when I'm there, I have had to be just like, "All right." Luckily, I have business partners, which does make it easier. I know you guys ... sometimes it's just like, "Hey, take the reins. You're going to have to do this without me for a little bit," and that's really hard to do.  But, it's just like anything else. You just have to do it. Life happens. You have to address those.

Lauren: But the people you pick, it sounds like, are what helps you be able to do that.

Andy: I'm really glad I have business partners. I would not want to do this on my own.

Chris: Dixie, you told us the story before we recorded about picking the wrong leader for your team.

Lauren: Twice.

Chris: A couple of times.

Dixie: So, I think this also parses into what Nicole and I were talking about with the boundaries. We grew so fast. We hit the Inc. 500 in our third or fourth year, and I had another daughter, so first I had my second daughter, decided I was going to take three months off, which was incredibly stupid, came back and lost three of my four employees, so I hired a guy and said, "Hey, if you can make this work, we'll become partners," and it did not work at all. We didn't have clear enough communication, and also he was coming from working in an existing business that was highly structured, so the, "Hey, we gotta figure it out," startup vibe just didn't click for him. I lost a couple of clients with him too, because just our personalities were so different, but then I was like, "Okay, great. I've got this. I know what I'm doing," and we expanded to multiple offices, and I was running all of them, which was really dumb. So, two young kids, and I got burnt out, and basically like sat down and was just like, "I don't know. I want to run away to another country and not ever come back," and so I've been trying to recruit another person to come in and be basically the GM, the CEO, whatever. I said, "Great. You're hired. Peace out. I'm going to Fiji," and I did, and that was really stupid. While I was gone for the couple of months, and I wasn't in Fiji for months, but he ran the show for a couple of months, and I basically had my team doing intervention and say this person has to go. Then I realized I actually had had a superstar in my team the entire team who I'd overlooked, brought her in, and now that's where I'm at, is she's running it, and I'm just overseeing and figuring out what my next move is, so I'm getting a lot better at having those boundaries, because technically she doesn't need me any more, which is a little sad too. My baby's growing up.

Lauren: It's healthy.  Tell me a bit more about all of y'all's teams, because I think that's a big daunting task for a lot of entrepreneurs. It opens the door to a lot of opportunities to fail, of picking the wrong person. You know, you might pick someone because they're nice or friendly or because they have a great work background, and you just think that it's the right person. Sometimes you hit the jackpot. Sometimes you don't. How do you pick? How would you guide other people to pick who you bring on your team?

Andy: I think for me, having business partners is tough. I love my business partners. That helps, but I think you really have to find someone that complements you. You don't always have to agree on stuff. It's better if you don't. I'm a very excitable person, and so my business partner, Jacob Harper, tells me no all the time, and that's necessary. You have to find someone that complements you and works to balance you out.

Lauren: How do you hire your bar staff, because those are the people who are really interacting with your customers and will make or break your customers' experience. What do you look for with that?

Andy: I have a great bar staff. We've had almost no turnover. They're fantastic. They work really hard, and so part of it is you're just gonna have to, man, ... Dixie can talk better about this, but for us, it was really finding people who were looking at it as a career. For bartenders, i`t's tough, because sometimes they're doing it while they're in school or it's their second job or things like that, and that's fine. You can have bartenders like that, but we wanted to be like, "Hey, we need people who this is what they do." They're career bartenders. So, because of that, we have ones that are a little bit older, which isn't a main factor, but it means that they've been doing it a while, they're not going to be flighty, they're going to take it more serious. Man, I've stepped back more and more, kind of like you have, to where I'm not there all the time, and I'm working on stepping back ever further, and it's nice when for the most part, I can trust them, and I know that they're gonna do a really good job.

Lauren: Dixie, you really are such an expert in hiring. What tips would you give?

Dixie: You have to have someone to say no, so ultimately I got in trouble with those two hires, because I was the recruiter and the advocate and selling myself, and there was nobody to provide a check and balance to that, and so after the second time, I called a girlfriend of mine who has three law firms in Arizona, and she flew in and said, "This is what you're going to do," and she laid out a system which we use to this day, and it was very similar to the system we had used for our clients, but basically what happened was in the past it had been a "shoemaker's kids go barefoot, I think I know what I'm doing," and it just got messy. So now we have a system. We have me and my two senior people hire everybody, and basically they're the ones to check my optimism, because you have to be pretty either cocky or delusional or optimistic or whatever the word is to start a business, and then sometimes those traits are not the best in that situation of hiring. Somebody's got to be the suspicious one.

Nicole: As I think of how we built out our team, one of the things that I've really loved about it is that I had a system for how I did things, but every person that we've hired has added to that, and it's continued to evolve, and so we really do approach things as a team, which means people have to be able to work together really closely, and they have to be able to pick up where the other person left off and be able to jump in when someone's starting to feel overwhelmed. And that, I just love that environment. That's a really important part of our culture. I think one of the things that we have struggled with a little bit lately just as we've gotten bigger, is now we have so many personalities and so many ways of doing things that we're starting to implement a lot of those processes for our team so that things can run more smoothly. And that's been a little bit of a growing pain for us.

Chris: One, Nicole, failure that you had mentioned in our pre-interview was around maintaining a vendor relationship for a little too long, so it's not necessarily somebody who's directly on your team but that you work with often? So, tell me a little bit about that situation.

Nicole: Yeah, so we have a lot of subcontractors and vendors that we work with, and we're really transparent with our clients. They know if it's someone who's in-house or someone we're subcontracting to, but we've had situations. This actually happened more than once, so you'd have thought I would have learned from mistakes, but unfortunately I don't see all the warning signs, but the example I gave was that we were working with a specific vendor, and we'd done some projects together, and they'd been really great. But they were working on a project, and the quality of the work started to slip. We addressed it with them and gave them opportunities to fix it, and then it just kept getting worse and worse, and communication started to break down. We'd already made a deposit on the project, and I was too nice. I didn't want to ask for money back, because they'd done work. Eventually, it just got to the point where I had to take a step back and say, "At the end of the day, this product that we're producing is a product of Resolute, so whether it's being done by our staff or by one of our vendors, we're the ones who recommended them, and we need to make sure that's top notch, or we're not going to get that type of work again.  And so I had to go to the client and tell them what was happening and own up to the mistake and take responsibility for it and switch vendors and eat the cost, but we felt like at the end of the day, that was what was best for our clients. It was best of the project, and it was also a learning opportunity for the vendor too. I was able to have a real conversation with them about, "I've been in your shoes, and this is what you need to learn from that, because you're not going to continue to get clients that way."

Chris: And were they receptive to that?

Nicole: There are two different examples I'm thinking of. One, they were.

Chris: Great.

Nicole: The other one, they were not, but that's okay.

Dixie: I do think that's one thing the chamber's really good about, is putting business owners together to have those kinds of conversations where you can run something by somebody who's neutral, because when you're in it, it's really hard to see all the little warning signs, especially because you don't want to. Because, you're like, "Oh, as long as it's going to be okay, that's less work for me. When I admit this is not working, now I have a whole bunch of stuff to clean up."

Nicole: Yeah, I actually was talking to a friend who also has a business, and they had worked with this vendor as well, and so I was like, "Have you ever had these issues?" And their response was, "Okay, we had a similar issue with someone else, and we know exactly how much that cost us, and we talk about it being our $5000 mistake. They will still talk about that any time they start to feel like something starts to go down that road. It's just a mistake that they learned that hopefully they don't make again.

Lauren: Speaking of expensive mistakes, Andy, when we talked to you ahead of time, you had a totally different experience, but it also was a very expensive mistake. Will you talk about your Dr. Who Night?

Andy: Yeah, so my role at the bar, besides community marketing and promotions, I also do all the events. We've had some really great events. You know, we do a lot more than the average bar, because I like throwing parties, and usually if I tend to get a little excited and go too big or get carried away, my business partner tells me no. But we did a Dr. Who event, and we flew someone in from England, an actor from the show. We did all the stuff. While we do some nerdy stuff at the bar, that's not necessarily our core audience, and so doing almost like a mini-con type of thing, we just didn't sell tickets to it. People didn't think it was our thing.  We were outside of our wheelhouse and probably shouldn't have tackled this. There was a lot of people who were like, "Oh, that's really cool. That's really exciting," but at the end of the day, no one really got tickets to it. Then at the end of the night, it was on a Saturday when we had our normal crowd come in, and it was still like, "Dr. Who thing's going on?" And they were confused. "Why do we have a giant TARDIS?" And that was a very expensive mistake, and so I try to do big events. I try to do it to where I know it's going to be low cost and ones that, "Hey, here's my budget," not that we expect money to come in. There was one where it was a lot more expense, but I sold more tickets to things to, and it's just been more hit or miss. But I am the [everly 00:24:51] optimistic person, and so I have another giant event coming up that could be a complete failure, so I think it's more in our wheelhouse. I'm slightly learning from mistakes, but I could very well be making more.

Lauren: That's part of it.

Dixie: I don't think we ever stop making mistakes or stop having problems. It never stops being challenging. It's just challenging in a different way. You know, the same problem keeps coming up until we actually learn to deal with it and to not have that problem any more, and then we just get the higher quality problem.

Chris: Nicole and Dixie, you both mentioned talking to other business owners who had been in similar situations as you. How important is it to have a network of peers to run this kind of stuff by, and is that something you find enough of in Tulsa? Do you need more of it? What's that balance?

Nicole: It's been super-helpful for me, so having office 36 Degrees North when we first moved I there, we had just hired our number three person and grew into the space. I think we stretched 36 about as much as we possibly could, but this time last year, we had half the people we do now, but it was also double what we had the year before. So we had six people and clients. Things were just really starting to snowball, and I remember being in the kitchen one day. I don't even think I knew what I was looking for, and Dustin Curzon just happened to walk in, and he looked at me, and he was like, "You need a mentor, don't you?" And I was like, "Yes. I don't know what I'm doing right now," and he was like, "I've gotcha covered," and so he hooked me up with someone from the board, and that's someone that I continue to talk to to this day. It was just really nice to have a balance of not only people who have been through the fire and can say, "You know, back in 1983, I had this problem, and this is how we dealt with it." There's comfort in knowing that they did make it through and that they're still very successful but then also having other people that are in my shoes that are in the fire at the same time and being able to band together and help each other through it, so I think that resources like The Forge and 36 Degrees North have been incredibly helpful for people, and I think that you see that when you look at the new businesses that are sprouting up and growing, making it past that initial stage.

Dixie: Yeah, I would not have been able to keep it rolling without my friend from Arizona as well as some other mentors. Even when we very first started out, we were the fifth company in The Forge, and so when something happened, you're, "Oh, my God," there was somebody to go run it by, and that knowledge that we're in it together even though we're in separate companies made a huge difference. It made me feel, for certain, not so alone, especially when I literally was alone in a room all by myself with one tiny window.

Lauren: You've all mentioned chamber resources, and it's no secret. We're here today with the chamber, we're talking about the chamber.

Chris: Surprise.

Lauren: Tell me a little bit about which chamber resources you've used, what has been most helpful. I know sometimes there's a perception of like, "The chamber takes too much time," or "It doesn't really help your business." What would you say about those things? Why be a part of the chamber?

Andy: Well, one of the big ways I'm involved with the chamber is the TYPROS organization which is under the chamber, and that was one of the things really that when I moved to Tulsa, I knew three people, and I realized that I really needed a network. The TYPROS organization was my demographic of who I eventually wanted to sell to. I got really involved. I'm currently the crew leader for the Business Development Crew. We've talked about The Forge. That's the idea that came out of the TYPROS Business Development Group. So TYPROS has been a great organization that I've gotten heavily involved with, and, through that, I've met a lot of people, and that jump-started me on some of these other ones.But then I've also done some of the networking events and different things. Some of the peers that I've talked to have been set up through the chamber, so people whom I've gone to for advice and things that have led me to the right path I've met through some of these chamber events. Sometimes you just want to complain and hear someone who's like, "Okay, get it."

Chris: Use the actual F word around other people?

Dixie: Mm-hmm. The CEO Roundtable is really helpful for those venting, "I'm not quite sure what to do," but also just having ... My CEO Roundtable has been going on for five years, I guess. I've been a part of it for two, and we're getting to the point now where there's not really any filter, so people will come in, and they'll be, "This is what's going on," and the group's like, "Nope, that is not gonna be. You're gonna fix this." I met one of my business best friends at one of the Small Business Socials, and she was just such a lifeline in the first couple of years of us starting. Also, through TYPROS, I met one of the smartest hires I've ever made, and she was really instrumental in helping us grow in those first couple of years.

Nicole: I've been involved in a lot of different things throughout the chamber, but one of the things that I don't really even know how I got plugged into was the OneVoice Agenda. I think it was because they added entrepreneurship, or you all added entrepreneurship onto the Small Business Task Force, and so I thought, "Well, I'm an entrepreneur. I'll go try this out now." And what I realized when I got there was that there were a lot of issues being discussed that I didn't know were issues or that I could see potentially being issues for me as we continued to grow, so I've made a home there. I'm chairing that task force this year. I've gone to the Legislative Day at the capital. Just getting into a new bubble that I hadn't really been exposed to before and then meeting people there, like Liz, that works with Dixie, one of the people that I've met. So, it's been great for networking but also just expanding my own knowledge.

Lauren: So, do you think your experience in the chamber has been worthwhile? Is it worth it?

Nicole: Yes. There have been a lot of people at the chamber who I feel like have advocated for us. Kathy Duck in the Small Business Connection has been fantastic. Chris has been fantastic and people in the Communications Team. So, I've just always felt like, especially early on, I knew a lot of people in the chamber who knew that I was good at what I did and could talk to other people about that, so it wasn't always me just beating my own drum. There were other people who could vouch for me.

Chris: Okay, rapid fire. I'm going to ask each of you what are you looking forward to happening in the next year with your business? Andy.

Andy: I'm looking forward to being able to step away a little bit and focus on a new venture that I'm working on and make sure that it still goes smoothly.

Chris: Dixie.

Dixie: I'm looking forward to adding four people to our team and also bringing some of our senior-level people into the business as partners.

Nicole: I'm looking forward to getting out of startup mode and getting into serious approaching our five year, I think that's a big milestone for us.

Lauren: What does it look like to leave startup mode and go into serious mode? I'm really curious what that means to you.

Nicole: I think it's being more strategic about the projects that we take on and being more consistent in how we do things across the board, no matter who it is on our team that's working on a project, even though there are different styles, really honing in on how Resolute does things and what's made us successful until now, what makes us different in the market.

Andy: For us, it's stepping back, instead of us being their hands all the time, we're trying to put in practices and standards so when we leave, we know things are still being done. I want it to the point were I don't have to be at the bar to know it's going to succeed, and I think that the way to do that is to put in those standards and practices, and it's tough sometimes, because a lot of it is you. You're the personality of your bar, and you have to get to the point where you've stepped back and, if not, them relying on you. 

Chris: Trust the process.

Andy: Yeah.

Dixie: Yeah, it is all process. All process and clear expectations and dashboards. At that point, you know like, "This is all gonna work."

Lauren: Okay. The question we always end with: What advice would you give another entrepreneur who's in the midst of a really big failure right now, who's feeling really hard on themselves, who's like, "What in the heck am I doing?" What would you tell them to encourage them?

Nicole: The thing that is hardest for me to do is to stop and take a look back at what I've done. When you're in the middle of that, all you see is a giant mountain. Everything's against you, and all the doubt, all the fear, all the hate, all of that is all that consumes you, and so you have to take a step back and look at how far you've come. How far are you up the mountain? What have you done in the last year? What have you done in the last six months? Because it's like a middle school relationship. A week is like a month or a year in your head, but it really hasn't been that long. Just taking stock of your wins. We all have them. You wouldn't have gotten to where you are if you didn't have some wins.

Dixie: I was lucky enough I got to be a mentor for a year to a guy who had lost 80 million dollars, so he got completely wiped out in the '80s because he didn't have processes, etc., no one to say no to him. Then he basically sat down after a couple of years of pouting and wrote out all the lessons that he learned, and he's since grown way past all the things he'd ever had before, but it's also systematized, and he can step away, and he has dashboards, and he knows every day where all of his businesses are. Seeing that example, it's not a matter of if you fail; it's when you fail and just making sure that we keep our log of lessons learned up to date so we don't miss out on any of these valuable lessons we paid so much money for.

Andy: For me, I like to look at the big picture. If something is not going right or there's a failure, I'm like, "Okay, yeah, this is really tough, and I get bogged down, but when I look back, I'm like, okay, big picture things, how important is this? Is it really as big as it feels? And what's important in my life, and that comes down to family and different things like that. I'm like, Is this affecting any of those things? No. Well, then it's just something I'm going to have to move past. It's just something in my way I've going to have to move past, but it's not something that's going to affect my life forever. Big picture was not really affecting it, then I try to not stress and not worry about it as much.

Chris: All right. Dixie, Andy, Nicole. Thank you all so much for joining us today. Lauren, thank you for inviting me to cohost with you.

Lauren: Of course. I'm glad you were here. I loved this, you guys. Thanks for coming in. Season Two of the F word Podcast is set to roll out this fall. We're still solidifying a date, but keep an eye on our Facebook page. We'll keep you posted. That’s also where we will announce this season's lineup. I already know who's in the pipeline, and, trust me, it's going to be a really good, vulnerable, super-honest season. Until then, take care.

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