Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone. Thanks for joining us again on the eggs your way round table, a live stream version. I’ve got Melissa Warrell with me today. And Melissa, I’m happy to have you here.
Melissa Worrel 00:16
Well, thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here too.
Damon Pistulka 00:18
That’s awesome. Well, you said you’re riding bikes. So you’re riding bikes, so the weather must be nice there.
Melissa Worrel 00:25
So I’m in Iowa, and today is a nice day. It’s like 55. Now we will ride in the winter, we bought fat bikes on purpose, so we can go right in No, and put some leggings on and put a put some gloves on and go out and tackle it.
Damon Pistulka 00:39
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the fat bikes are popular. We have a lot of them around here in the Seattle area where I’m at. I see people riding them that are they’re partially electric powered too. And they the people commute with them. That’s me is I communicate with a motorcycle for a while and I would never get on a bike to do it because motorcycles scary enough. So then, in the morning, though, there’s some pretty pretty cool places, right, aren’t there?
Yeah, there’s a ton of trails. Des Moines or Iowa has one of the biggest rides RAGBRAI it was obviously cancelled this year because of COVID. But I think there’s something like, oh, thousands of riders that come from all over the states. One year they had Lance Armstrong. That was when he was in his heyday. And note we do not have electric or motorized bikes. We are all human powered at our
All right, yeah.
Damon Pistulka 01:33
So did they did they turn the rail, the old rail beds into bike trails, they’re like I know they did and some of the other parts of the Midwest.
Yeah, there are a lot of old rail beds, which are great because you have very slight elevation or mine, you can ride for miles. There’s a great trail out by Shannon Doha that runs from Shenandoah Iowa, out to Council Bluffs and it’s old Rail Trail. One of the more famous ones around here is called the high trestle trail. And they turned an old railroad and they did this really cool track over a river. And it’s just some of the beams are made out of old. Wow. Parts of the railroad. I sound very knowledgeable in that, but it’s really neat. And it lights up at night and people will go Park and walk across it, but tons of bikers tons of bikers
Damon Pistulka 02:19
free crazy. Yeah, I imagine being way up in the air and go on across on on a bridge kind of thing, which would be pretty, pretty freaky The first time you did it.
Yeah. It’s a lot of cement. It’s very safe. But it’s beautiful. There’s some pubs along the way. If you want to stop and have an adult beverage or soda and grab food. I mean, you can go out on a Saturday and basically spend all day biking and none of it is too treacherous. I mean, you can get 25 or 40 miles or more. That just depends on what you’re looking for. And it’s pretty flat. So you just kind of keep fueling on. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 02:56
yeah. Very cool. Yeah. So you, you got an interesting background, Melissa, and I’m looking over here at the at the your LinkedIn screen here and some other things. But you were you had owned a gym at a time. Mm hmm. And you started working for insurance agents, hey, companies, not agents, but companies. Just give me a little bit of your background and kind of, you know, up until you made this decision. Yeah. And what did you what you’re doing now?
Yeah. Now that’s a great question. I’ll try to give you the non. I’ll give you the concise version. So after college, I worked at a curse for women. If you remember the franchise, it was a women’s 30 minute fitness facility. And I was gonna I was a science major. So I was going to go to school to be a pharmacist go back for more education. And the woman I worked at the gym, I wanted a free membership. And she goes, you should buy one of these franchises. I’m like, I’m a 21 year old kid, 22 year old kid. What do I know about that? Well, no fear, right? when we’re young, we don’t know what we don’t know.
I asked my parents if they would borrow me some money, which they laughed at and then ultimately, made a business plan went down with my mom to Waco, Texas to check out the franchise opportunity. And they gave me a home equity line of credit was not free money. It was borrowed money for a year and bought my first franchise actually in Seattle. So out in your neck of the woods. I was down in Seward Park. And probably at that time, I was telling you earlier, the franchise was 20,000, which as far as franchises is very inexpensive to get into your checking account was 30,000.
So that left me 10,000 of wiggle room which when you think about starting a business now I would never start a business with only 10,000 in the bank. However, you don’t know what you don’t know. I bought the first one it went so well. I actually bought a second location, about a year and a half into the second location realized I really loved being a single location owner like I really knew all my members and knew them by name. So I sold the second location to a member there and she live out her dream to own her own business.
About three years in, I realized that a luxury renewals, I wanted renewal business but luxury renewals, hair nails, gym memberships, if something goes bump in the night, the first thing that drops, so I started working or contracting with Farmers Insurance. So I started an insurance agency with them from scratch in the Green Lake area, right on Ravenna. And about a year into that I sold my first location and use that residual income as the capital to help build my insurance agency. And then three and a half years into being an agent. I loved it.
My clients, I still remember my first client, her last name was moneymaker, I won’t give her first name just to keep her safe, but she keep her in combat. But I thought it was a sign that her last name was moneymaker.
Right like how can your first clients last name be moneymaker, and just a really great business farmers approached me about three and a half years in or three years in and said we’re building these operations around the country where we have low market share, and we’d like to bring you in to help recruit, train and develop agents just like you so took that leap, sold my agency base, basically back to farmers, yeah, moved to Cincinnati, moved to Wisconsin, moved back to Minnesota, all in that role of recruiting, training and developing new agents. And then I took a move with them to Vegas.
So I was a division marketing manager working with the whole state of Nevada, from there moved into a business consultant role where I was managing business consultants to help existing agents. So I had lots of moves within farmers, you wanted to promote, it was almost like every two and a half years you would you would move and they didn’t, which I think is a smart business model. If you can do it. They never had people promote within because you would be appear and then you’d be managing appear. And it’s it’s hard enough to move up a level and leadership. But then you go from being someone’s equal to now being their boss or their leader.
And it creates some unnecessary anxiety and a lot of areas. So they did that on purpose, which I thought was brilliant. However, it meant you moved a lot. So I’ve done a lot of moving. Once I was in Vegas, Farm Bureau financial services out of Iowa, they recruited me to come and be their director of recruiting out of their home office in Iowa. So they were about a 10th of the size of farmers. I really went from this giant company to more of a Midwest Regional player.
Some of the things that were amazing there is you really knew you knew all the managers in the field, you knew all the regional vice presidents, you really had relationships that were true relationships built on. Not what can you do for me, but you really liked them and genuinely got to meet their spouses and their kids like it was just it felt more family, which is the difference of a small, a smaller operation or a larger operation.
And director of recruiting for 11 months, took on the regional vice president role and took on all of Utah, which was a wild change. Utah’s amazing, I loved my time out there, took backup skiing. That amazing went in. This is a talk for another day, but was the female leader of an all male team who really had no interest in me being their leader. So that was a fun obstacle. And very were rewarding in the end to have that work with an amazing group of men that, in the end realized that it didn’t matter. We all put our pants on the same way in the morning, right and how we get there is working together.
So yeah, there for almost three years and then went back to home office as the vice president of agencies. So I did do that role where you move from appear to a boss. So I went from being regional vice president to managing and leading the nine vice presidents, regional vice presidents or eight regional vice presidents that were in the field and the downline to our basically 1200 agents that were running the operation and growing the business, right.
I always say it at insurance agencies where you have independent agents or captive agents. Nothing gets done until an agent sells a policy for those agents in the field with boots on the ground. There. They’re the difference makers every day, right? Yeah. So yeah, well, that led to March of this year. So 18 years of small businesses building an insurance agency and then moving up the corporate ladder within insurance companies.
Damon Pistulka 09:18
Yeah. In your in your last role. I mean, a lot of lateral but a lot of your roles. You really were developing people. I mean, even as the consultant doing business consulting with agencies, recruiting training, developing new agents in these in these under underdeveloped underperforming areas. So this is this has been that has been part of you for a long time or part of what you’ve been helping people
with. Yeah, well, there’s an N you’re right and it’s a good call out the thing that I always say phrases like fills my cup, right the things that when I started this business, I wanted to do my cup and had my cup run over right I wouldn’t want to have to do things that you, there’s lots of things we’re good at. But it doesn’t mean we enjoy them. So I want to get rid of the good things and really do the great things. And helping people and watching the thing I love about insurance agents. And now this is gonna sound a little silly, but it doesn’t matter where you came from, it doesn’t matter if your high school educated or have your PhD, you can be an amazing insurance agent and build a thriving, hugely successful Insurance Agency.
And so Frankly, I love the underdog, I love the guy or the gal that came in that didn’t have the confidence, maybe they never even sold before. But they had all of those core skills have driven, they had grit, right, like they would skin, their knees and it didn’t matter, they just get back up and start tackling things. They could hear no all day long and knew that they were closer to a yes, those individuals that it wasn’t, they just weren’t that they weren’t the typical salesperson and they had all the makings to be a great agent.
And they love to people, right. So you can’t, you can’t get one to be driven. You can’t get someone to be just a good person with an with a heart to help others. And so that ability to seek out those agents that maybe didn’t see it in themselves and to help them be successful. And it’s not that you did it for them, but it’s a partner. And so it really, that really correlates to what I’m doing now because my entire role is to be a partner with my clients.
Damon Pistulka 11:25
Yeah, yeah. So that that had to be pretty interesting when you are developing agents, because what what kind of a fallout is there when you look at that? And you know, for every 10 agents that you would see come in, how many would make it?
Yeah, so I think the industry statistics are something like 20 or 30%. survive. And that might even be I bet it’s 40%, or 50% in their first year. Oh,
Damon Pistulka 12:00
we got the technical difficulties here. Oh, well, let’s see what happens here.
There you go. Now we’re back near me, but
Damon Pistulka 12:17
I did I should stop you said 40 or 50% in the first year, but we’re good. So
yeah, so 50%, probably, and every company is going to be different. If their life insurance only it’s going to be lower than if they’re multi line, it’s going to be a higher percent independent contractor versus like a W two model where they roll into 1099. Once they hit certain thresholds, however, we probably had, oh, 660 percent first year, and then it would go down from there four year was really a benchmark that if someone made it to four years, they were going to be the stickiness factor staying in the business.
But it is it’s a hard business, they here know a lot. It’s it’s very price driven. So whether you’re offering better coverage, you’re doing things differently on really educating your client, you really have to create that wedge to be able to, to keep that client long term.
Damon Pistulka 13:11
Yeah. Now this is this is something that that that I’d like to ask a couple questions about, because there are a lot of people that are trying to sell things, right. And insurance, I think is interesting, because most people look at the price, but they really don’t consider the coverage. And how, and you talked about creating a wedge right? Because I don’t necessarily mean for insurance, but you’ve got a ton of experience helping people sell and I just think it’s Yeah, depressing topic all the time.
You can from this stuff I do, you can kind of tell that. So how the heck do you do you help somebody else to educate someone enough to really go that hey, yes, this is $700 a month in someone else’s going it’s 575 or something because, you know, there’s a point where it doesn’t make a difference to somebody but there’s a point where it starts to make a difference and you go How do you really create the awareness in that to keep somebody around when it’s the best it’s the best thing for him probably in a lot of ways. Because they’re there they’re always people that are going to go I can get it for you for for $50 less and at the end of the day, less isn’t more in insurance and insurance is one of those things where it’s not
Yeah, it’s true. There’s so many like when you’re talking I’m listening and there’s so many things popping popping in my head. I had a leader once Tell me and I love this line. You better not sell if you’re selling apples you better be selling oranges because apples to apples is basically validating the current agent gave them what they need. So or you’re selling a better Apple right like you’re not a Red Delicious you’re selling a honey crisp. And I’m these analogies are interesting, but what I mean by it is what are you doing that makes yourself different. So every insurance agent has the same thing that they offer, right?
They’re going to offer auto they’re going to offer home, they’re if they’re great, they’re going to add an umbrella to every policy because nowadays, there’s no reason that someone has an added, especially if they own a home, have cars have kids have pets, right? All of those things are extra opportunities. I’m going to sound like there’s lots of risk out there, but you never know it. Nowadays, cars don’t cost 20,000, they cost 100,000 or 50,000, you have an accident, and all of a sudden you realize you don’t have the right coverage, and you’re selling your house or Figg figuring out how you’re going to pay this lawsuit that comes to fruition.
So for me, biggest thing with agents is you can’t sell over the phone, right? And everyone wants to think they can send a quote, they can sell over the phone, you’ve got to be able to make that connection where you’re creating a bond, right? We talk about in our networking events, and all the things we’re doing you want to make real relationships. Well, how do you make a relationship if you’re talking to someone over the phone or sending them an email quote, at that You’re no different than progressive or Geico and no, no, they have set their model that way. And they have it down, they have spent millions in market to do it the way they do it.
However, a local agent is never going to create a wedge by trying to be that person. We also talked about how did you create referral partners? How did you create networks where people would send you business? What I found is whenever my price was lower, I actually had people who wanted to wait because it sounded too good to be true. And we I think, learn that in sixth grade when they’re like if something sounds too good to be true, it’s too good. Well, is less right, depending on their rating, maybe your insurance score, or how their underwriting you’re showing up at a better rate. Most people up to about 20%, you can close that deal.
If it’s 20% higher by doing the right things, helping with the education, creating a relationship, finding things in common being a local agent, all pay more all day long. They have an office that I can pop into and physically see that person and how this correlates to any other sales process is how do you make sure that you have that connection? Where it’s are you sending personal thank you notes, are you doing things that make you different?
Do you any new homeowner I had and this is a long time ago, they would come home after they were a client of mine and they would find a fire extinguisher with a note and ribbon on it with my business card to put under their sink because no one remembers you need to buy a finger fire extinguisher for your kitchen. And little things that make you different and I know that doesn’t sound super salesy. But for me, I frankly, I think sales is not my favorite word. I’d rather call myself an educator if I can help educate my clients on what makes me different, and how I’m going to be there for them. You say you’re going to do annual reviews?
Do you really do them? Or do you just say you’re going to do them? So it’s, it’s your follow through? It’s your follow up. It’s the way you treat your clients, people know if you’re in it for the money, or if you’re really doing it because you want to provide a service that do the right thing. The money will follow all of those things. It’s Um, I don’t know, being good to other humans, right. Like people want people that they like and trust that stuff happened for hundreds of years.
Damon Pistulka 17:58
Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right. It is. And I think about the people that sell in competitive markets. And and even when years ago, when I was selling injection molded products and big companies, right? in plastic arts. Yep. And you know, they would they would bring a mold to us and Dan bigger, somebody that I know he did, he’s doing that in New York now. But did you know it was about the relationship? Yes, it was about, you’re going to probably be about the same price, maybe a little bit different. But it really was about the relationship and the level of service that you could offer.
And that’s, that’s, you know, it ties back into how good you are and other things like that, and how much you can educate in and really perform better because you’ve educated your customers. And, you know, it’s interesting to hear you talk about insurance in that way, because it is an education process. And the agents that will take the time to explain why you should pay this, you know, $50 a month more for your car insurance, and then someone that just sent you the cheap quote. And it really is something you should do. Those are the people that at the end of the day, I think are gonna if they continue to be educators will do better.
Yeah, and there’s also there’s a, there’s a segment of the market for every one of those sales processes, meaning there is a segment that wants progressive and Geico, they don’t have a lot maybe at stake and I don’t mean that rude if there’s someone on here who has progressive or Geico and they choose coverage but as you as you start to build your your wealth and your assets, you start to think differently about how you protect it. And so you’ll see that the the clients in general, who realize I maybe don’t have the right coverage, and now I’m starting a family.
I’m doing more things I’m You know, working towards my elevating my career and all these things, you start to realize that if you have a claim, you want someone local, if something bad happens, you want to make sure you’re protected. It’s when you start thinking about life insurance, right? All of those things that we don’t want to pay for. But as we start adulting, like really adulting, we realized that, and I had a couple of people that would leave to go to progressive, they’re like, oh, they’re $50 less a month, I have to move, they’d have an accident, the claim, I’m not saying you went bad or good, but it wasn’t exactly how they expected it to go.
And they come back, because they’ve told their story to five different reps, and none of those reps did anything wrong. It’s just the process. And they didn’t want to have to do it that way. And that isn’t saying that, that it’s just a different model. And like, shopping, I don’t buy all my clothes at Nordstrom, I don’t buy somewhere in between, there’s a price and value of what I’m paying for at different places. Same thing happens with insurance. Same thing happens with ours. You know, we determine what are the things that are value and what we’re going to pay for them?
Damon Pistulka 21:03
Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. So you, you’ve done all this leadership work, you’ve helped these people develop their businesses, and that had to be, to me that had to be a would seem that that would be really pretty cool to see these people become successful as you’re, as you’re helping them, you know, overcome their obstacles and seeing their businesses start to be more successful, and then ultimately helping them to thrive. Did you? Did you really enjoy that part
of it? loved it. Yeah. So I loved being in the field. I always said my office weeks, were the weeks that I was going to cause trouble because I’d get bored and little stir crazy. And yeah, who, who wants to work on budget and, you know, sending requests for reviews and things that have to go to legal? I mean, all of that stuff is stuff. They’re like, Oh, get me back in the field. Like, I want to be with people.
So yeah, totally. That is when that’s when the magic happens is when you get to help people when they’re in action, and even little things like word choices, right? You say a word and a customer does, like hmm. And you could have said, you know, it’s little things that can make a giant difference in how you’re perceived and what people’s reaction to you is.
Damon Pistulka 22:14
Yeah, yeah, that’s one of the things that Jeff Graham really drilled into me. And when we work together was, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the word you use and, and it’s better to not say anything than say the wrong word. Sometimes.
Yes, yes. Yes.
Damon Pistulka 22:32
That is true. We rush we rush to speak to fill the fill the silence, but it’s not necessarily the right thing to do. Yeah. But, but that’s, that’s cool. Sitting here, you’ve been helping all these people. You’re you’re getting getting things to go and then you decide it’s time for you to try something else. And how, you know, so you’ve been, admittedly, you’ve you’ve worked for companies for quite a while now. And now you said you’re ready to go out on your own? What? What really gave you that that boost to go? Okay, it is time to do this myself? again. I want to be out there on my own.
Yeah. So I don’t know if I had this epiphany or maybe I had a kick in the behind, I think it’s more of a kick in the behind. So in all fairness in our company had a CEO change in January of this year 2020. And I told my boyfriend who’s now my husband at the time, I’m pretty sure my role is going to get eliminated. And he’s like, No way like performance reviews are excellent. When you report to the C suite, right, so my boss was the CMO, when big shakeups happen, and he was the other person vying for CEO and he did not get selected. I my gut was telling me this is going to happen. So I started getting some things ready, right, like thinking about what does that look like?
What you know, are my bills in line Do I need to look at my budget, like you know, when you’re when you have a decent salary, you don’t really think about budgeting you have a budget, but you’re kind of doing your own thing. And so on March 2, I had a meeting with my new boss and I went in with a pile of papers probably like this hi ready to go of all the projects were working on getting ready for manager conference, all these things, and I walked in the room and your heart drops or your stomach sinks. When you see HR sitting in the room because no no longer the meeting you thought it was and I felt like I knew it was coming.
Anyway, um, they did HR and the company did very well by I mean they they offered me a severance package and I you know, you you sign that all things are well and it was and frankly, probably the first month I was hurt, pissed, angry, all the emotions you can think about and at the end of the day. I know many of you are that are on this or are active on LinkedIn. I stumbled upon Kirsty Bonners link on LinkedIn and we started connecting, I sent her an email. I hired her immediately as a career consultant.
And she put me down the path of talking about my y. And it was funny because at the time, I was like, Man, this is Elementary, like I’ve been in business for 18 years. I know what my wife is. And I would tell anyone on this call, like my why was so different 18 years later than it was a long year. And
what Percy challenged me to do was to figure out what were the things I said that I’m great at versus just all the things you could be good at? And our first call, she said, You should be a coach and consultant, I was like, No, no, no, I’m just going to go back and work for a company and keep plugging away, stocking up money in my 401k, like, I’m good. And then a guy I had hired and managed in Utah reached out and said, I really miss your leadership. And I was like, Okay, I’m hearing some similarities. And then I was meeting with a gal who was going to send my resume out around Des Moines, and the greater Des Moines area.
And she was, I’m not sending your resume, because you need to join our team. And they do executive coach and executive coaching, consulting and executive search. And I was like, man, okay, no one has to, like punch me in the face anymore. Like I get it. Like I hear the universe saying, like, I should look at this. And so I made the decision, I was going to go get some true coaching certification, go do a program, make sure that all the street smarts right that I done throughout my career, would really mirror the book smarts that I needed, I went back for my MBA. But coaching training was so much different than that.
And beyond thankful that I went to coach you for my coaching, training, and then getting it start building it into practice, I went and did my certified business coaching, certificate certificate certificate with the professional business coaching Alliance out in New York. And then I went and got certified with my dis facilitation. And I wanted to make sure that I had enough, like MIDI knowledge behind me to make sure like when I got out there and started working with clients that I was really ready to rock and roll. So in June, I announced that I was joining Carlson group, which is an umbrella firm that we do executive search, as well as executive coaching, career coaching, leadership development, facilitation.
So we have an entire boot camp around leadership, as well as group facilitation. So last week, we just did a group facilitation to 15 female leaders at an organization and it was all about how do you be the best leader? How do you elevate yourself? How do you elevate others? What are triggers that really can set you off? And instead of reflecting you react to that situation, and all of a sudden, you’re no longer in the moment, you’re thinking about what set you off? And it’s just those the ability to have see people have those aha moments. That’s why we do what we do. Right? It’s like, it’s that, that fills my cup, and seeing people say, Oh, man, I didn’t think about it like that before.
It’s coaching is never been about telling people what to do. That’s more of a mentor relationship. Coaching is really an ability to help someone whether they’re stuck, right, so I do career coaching, which is people may be in a job they like or don’t love, but they want to maybe switch industries, switch companies do something in that vein, it could be I need help with as a starting point, like take a look at my LinkedIn, right, we are on LinkedIn all the time. And you see great profiles, ones that I’m not a LinkedIn expert, but you you know, ones that stand out versus ones that are just kind of middle of the road.
And then I also work with emerging leaders. So those are really those folks that are looking to be on succession plans there currently, directors VPS, they want to move up to C suite. in that arena of executive president presence leader, I almost said President if the election is clearly on my mind, executive presence, leadership development, things like one of my clients today, she’s likely moving roles. And so she’s like, I don’t even know where to start, like, I’ve never done this role. Where do I start? And I said, Well, let me ask you some questions. And part of coaching, there might be some coach salting is that they get to a point and they just want you to give them an idea.
But you always want to help them first try to come up with some of the ideas or open up their lens of where they’re going. Because it’s more powerful. Like, you know, if you come up with the idea versus me telling you what to do. Any leader that just tells people what to do, I’d say you’re probably micromanaging. Right? Give your team the ability to pull those great ideas out of them. They’re there. And then the third area that I focus on a small business and entrepreneurs so being that I have owned small businesses and been in that franchise entrepreneur mindset, how do they take a business that is maybe doing okay, but has the opportunity to do better?
That small business owner the person that was just like me, where you like we talked about earlier, you’re really good at sales, but you don’t know the ins and outs of a business. You’ve never ran a p&l. The word quick make you start to sweat because you can’t imagine having to work with QuickBooks. hiring staff makes you really uncomfortable because You have no idea where to start, you know, all of those things, those are my, my sweet spot of the people that really I want to work with. And I think with coaching, the more you stay in the vein of things you’ve done and things you have knowledge about the it’s not about telling your clients how you did it, or what you did.
But you have that underlying experience that you’re going to see things that bubbled to the surface quicker than, I’m not a life coach, right? Like, that’s not my area of expertise. It’s not a path that I want to go down. So I, you know, picking that area where you’re where your sweet spot is, and I tell all of my clients, we all of my clients, and I have a 30 minute intro call, and I tank job is to interview me and my job is to interview you, if we don’t think we’re a good fit. It’s not a good one for anyone.
And it’s okay if Mel I need someone who’s maybe a little less energy or doesn’t talk so fast, or dah dah dah, dah, dah. And, you know, same for me like someone that moves. You want to be at a similar pace, cadence, energy level, those things are important as you’re trying to work together. It’s really about partnering to overcome whatever obstacle are that that hot topic that’s on their mind right now?
Damon Pistulka 31:07
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s cool. Because it is it is like that, and people don’t in back up a little bit. It’s, first of all, I think it’s cool that you went back and got some different certificate certificates or certificates, certifications, there we go. Yes, check it out. Finally, the certifications. Because, you know, there are so many coaches that you see that people that call themselves coaches that don’t have the certifications.
And, and that’s, that’s really a detriment, because while anyone can say they’re a coach, that training that you get in coaching allows you to really understand how to be to be more effective at it, and how people get better results and the things that you do, and you learn, I’ve never gone to the coaching, training, and I and my, my reasoning for that is I’m staying in my lane. Is this work that that’s where I stay in my lane, and I and I, I totally a couple things that you said, though, that really, really hit home, is that there has to be a connection between you and your client. And it’s not just, it’s not just like, yeah, I think they’ll do okay.
Because that it’s not, it’s something I think is overlooked a lot, especially when people start their business or, or, or at times when their business might not be going good. It’s really tempting to take take this work, that may not be the right work, or maybe they don’t really believe in you. Like, and I know it sounds kind of funky, but but when you’re going to do something like you’re saying a coaching or you’re going to do something like I’m a plumber, and I’m going to come in and fix someone’s, you know, sink in their house. if if if it’s questionable that you’re going to be the one that’s going to be able to really do a good job.
It’s not good for either one. And for sure, that’s one of the things that I think is is often overlooked is that in business, and when you talk about coaching, and you talk about consulting, or the kind of things that that that you are that we do, where you have to have this high trust factor, and you really have to be able to Oh, and that that doesn’t come quickly. I’m not saying that comes quickly. But that initial you can tell if it’s there or not sure the opportunity to grow that is there or not. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned over the past gazillion years, is that walk away? If it’s not there, it shows it makes it makes such a difference.
Yeah, it makes me think of the analogy of like, I want to be the person that’s like reining the horseback a little bit. I don’t want to be the one dragging the horse across the line, right. And so you you, there has to be that natural like affinity that you’re saying. And you’ll know pretty quickly. I mean, I do most of my intro calls via zoom on purpose, because I want them to get to see me I want to get to see them. I want to see mannerisms. I want to I and really that role. For me. My interview process is about asking questions, why are they seeking a coach?
What outcomes are they looking for? what’s most important to them, and making sure that that aligns with a skill set that I have, and if I don’t have the skill set, man, the network of coaches that I know that I’ve gone to training with or that I’m in with the ICF, which is the international coaching Federation, it’s you know, global, it, there are so many people out there that it me taking on a client that I have no business taking on or vice versa. It’s a bad experience for everyone. Right, exactly.
Damon Pistulka 34:59
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. One of the things that I liked it, and I know, no one believes that when you tell them that, right that that, you know, if I have a business owner say, Listen, I just want to talk to you. If it doesn’t make sense, we’ll find out who does that can help you do your thing. And they no one believes it. I don’t care if it’s business owner, or if it’s somebody you’re talking to about coaches, they think either gonna try to sell me or whatever it is, and it and the real, the the people that are very good at what they do. That is honestly what they want to do.
They want to ask those questions they want to understand because what people that are on the other end of those conversations don’t realize is, is if if we go into a bad relationship, it’s bad for both of us, and none of us get the time back. Yep. And it’s just the people that are good at what they do. And driven like, I know you are, you do not want to be wasting your time. And it’s if it’s a waste for everyone.
And I mean that holistically, both sides of the table are wasting their time in that. And and that’s what I think I really enjoy about when I meet professionals like you and others that are really care about what they do and really understand where they provide value and where they don’t. Yeah, just listen about that that discovery process because it is so important.
Yeah, well, and to your point, it takes one to know one on driven individuals, for sure. And secondly, I tell people all the time, if you interview a coach, and they, they want you to sign up or pay for it prior to even having an intro call, you should run you should run for the hills. Because every every great coach is going to offer some type of an intro session to make sure it’s a good fit. Because you’re right, it’s as important for the client as it is for me. And the last thing I want to do is take someone have someone pay for my services, and then say it was a terrible experience. I mean, that’s not good. Anybody. I want the clients who say things like, you keep saying, awesome.
I got an email like that the other day, and I just made me smile, or a client who sent me a testimonial about how much our work has helped her just get clarity and confidence around where she’s going and what she can do. And those are the things that matter, right? I would take the millennials and clients being happy over money every day, like, Yes, I want to make a living. However, it’s not about the money. And I’ve always believed, if you do things for the right reason, the money will follow.
And you’ll build a really thriving business. And when you build a business, that way, you have a business built on referrals. You’re not having a ton of client turnover, because people want to work with you because they’re seeing results, right? And that’s our job, our job to help them get where they’re trying to go, that they want to come back because it’s a good investment in themselves and in their business. And in their development, whether it’s personal or professional or combination of both.
Damon Pistulka 37:53
Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting, you say that we had we had a client asked us a while ago before, before we started to work with them formally. They asked us how many, how many businesses? Let’s see what what was your sale sell rate on the businesses? And we said, What do you mean, we sell the businesses we work with? And he said we have it, how many do you sell, we sell the ones we work with. And it was it was kind of it that to me and to Andrew and I was really kind of telling because there are people that that will focus on things as transactional, are they’re all that will focus on things as mission driven.
And I think it’s a little bit different. Because we, as you helping someone in that situation, you don’t want to be in that situation, unless you truly believe that you can do what you can do, you can do the best, and believe that they’re a good fit for you to do that. But when you are in that situation, you know, you can make those things happen. And they usually do. And that’s the thing. That’s the where, where the magic really happens is when you can find those situations and do those things like that.
Yeah. And, and you know this with your clients, you’re bringing things up, and they’re doing the work, right. So I’m not, they’re giving me a list of to Do’s, they’re saying, Yeah, these are the things that I’ve identified that I need to work on. And whether you’re working professionally or personally, those are things that I can accomplish for them. However, we’re working to navigate What are those key things and what needs to prioritize to the top what should be delegated?
And you’re doing that with business owners to it’s like, man, all of these things that you’ve taken on what are the most important things if you’re worth X amount of dollars per hour, and you’re ending up doing the things that are $15 an hour work? How do you move those off your plate and start spending the time on the things one that you love to do, but also the things that are driving your business?
It’s just It’s so fun to see that moment like Oh man, I Yeah, I’ve been doing all these things that probably I or I’ve been tolerating all of these things that just grind at me or I’ve set no boundaries with my, my space of saying yes, all the time, right all those things that we naturally do, because we want to give and be helpful. However, we end up that all we’ve done is give everyone else all of our time.
And how do you set you know, you still give but have some boundaries about what you do. So yeah, it’s just those those aha moments or you can kind of see the moment when someone sits back and they’re like, oh, man, yep. Yeah, that’s a good one. Right? Like, and it’s not something they haven’t thought about before. It’s just how do you take that thought and put it to action? So yeah, yeah. It’s great. That’s very good. So
Damon Pistulka 40:44
when you’re when you’re going around, and you’re talking to people and helping them with the coaching now, what do you think the biggest thing you see with COVID? Right now? What is the deal? what’s what’s, what’s really weigh in on people with the with COVID? Right now?
Yeah. Um, so, frankly, with all of my clients, one word that comes to mind when I think about COVID is lack of connectedness. It’s the How do I get my team moving forward? When I can’t go take them to coffee? I can’t take them to lunch. I can’t, you know, my clients that are independent contractors. How do I go network and build a business when I can’t meet anyone face to face? You’re doing zoom coffees, which we know we’re doing things differently, but it’s not the same?
How do I go present a proposal to a new client or potential client I want to but I can’t get in the door or get a zoom. You know, they’re some of those things have become real obstacles. I’m trying to think I’m just running through the list in my head of things. Yeah, connectedness, I think is the biggest one about how do you create that connectedness? How do you create team environment, team culture, when you’re trying to do a team happy hour or team lunch? over a zoom call? It’s very hard. It’s very hard to have it be successful.
Damon Pistulka 42:00
Yeah, yeah, it is. And I was, I was Gary, Gary Vaynerchuk. Was did post I believe it was this morning about how commercial real estate is going to change to this. And this is this is something that I, I believe is going to be permanent, to a fair amount of this, to where they the workweek is going to be much different. Because when you look at metro areas, like Seattle, Los Angeles, or just pick anyone, right, really.
And his point was, is that these cities that are an hour and a half out of these metro areas now become a target for people that actually work in those metro areas. Because if they’ve only got to come into the office twice, once a week, driving an extra hour and a half, that one day a week is not a big deal. And I really think this is my back to the reason behind this, this connectedness in the zoom fatigue, and everything else people is is seeing we do have to come up with some ways to to overcome this.
Yeah, it’s true. And it’s interesting, just that whole idea of someone that now lives an hour and a half away, people, it’s also going to change how managers who have been micro managers, they’re going to have to learn an entire new way of doing business, the ones who have been non micromanagers. This just feels like status quo, trusting your people and knowing that the right people in the right roles are going to do their job. And they’re probably actually working harder because they don’t have commute times they’re available to be on all the time.
And how do you create balance in that environment to have not having the person who will work all the hours say, okay, you need to shut off at 6pm. Right, like, have some, like balance, but yeah, there’s so from both ends of the side, or both sides of that coin, from the the micromanager to the non how, how is they they’re both finding new ways to operate in this environment?
Damon Pistulka 44:06
Ah, that’s, that’s that’s a good point that that never thought about. This has to drive macro managers crazy. Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah. Like, I feel like I don’t think so. And so is working, when they should be? Well, part of working from home is do hours have to be traditional, right? Like, what what does the definition of success look like for workday? Does it now have to be that you’re in at eight and you leave at 430? Probably not. So if someone wants to work from 5am to 7am, before their kids get up, help them get their school day started, and then log back in after dinner?
Why should that be a problem? If they’re still getting their work done? It should be right. And our ability to be flexible and have some grace with people that life situations have changed immensely with kids not being in school and lots of other things. It’s The nurse who keep that flexibility and realize that where people first are going to thrive and more than survive and what’s happening right now.
Damon Pistulka 45:11
Yeah, yeah, that’s that’s a big part of it too is we are people first and there are that I tell you if anything has happened with the the video and stuff is that humanity has really been brought back into been brought back into business because it’s forced. I mean, when you got like cats and dogs and kids and husband and spouses and grandparents and everybody else moving around behind you, or something happens and after shut the camera off, it’s it’s just a part of it anymore. And I’m really, other than that, not being connected. Yeah, I really think that there’s there’s a ton of positive by being able to do more of this from home.
Because I was one of those there there are two years by It doesn’t matter. I’ve flown I’ve had hundred thousand mile flying years, I know you’ve had tons of travel like that, to our one way commutes for more than a year’s time, you know, and you think of these things. And, and you go that wears on you wears on you like it for those people that are listening that have traveled and woke up in a hotel and walk gone, or come back from a meeting and gone to the wrong room number because that was the room number you’re in the night before.
You know what I’m talking about when they know your name at the hotel, because you’ve been in there so many times or you have you’ve got special rate because or you’ve got your room. And that’s worse. Yeah. But this, there are some good things about this, and then that are going to be long lasting because we’ve lost the life. Work balance. We lost sight go now and and I’ve always talked about the integration because that’s what I ended up doing a on workaholic. But that’s another story.
But the now people can actually, if they do it, right, they’ve got this time back this time back because you know, if you’re going to hours a commuter day, even if you’re not driving, if you’re sitting in a bus, if you’re on a train, you don’t have that time now. What are you doing with it? I mean, personal development, reading a book, How can your kids whatever the heck you want to do?
Family, right? Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 47:46
yeah. You know, I think that’s, that’s to me is is really pretty special. And yeah, you know, COVID sucks, guys just get it code sucks. But I had four months with my kids that I’ll never have again. Mm hmm. And because my kids are older, and that’s, you know, you just got to look at those kind of things go, there’s some good is come out of it. And I think I think the long term good though, for people is, maybe we’ll get a little bit of our get of our time back to really be able to, to live a little more.
And staying connected will no longer be a quick text to check in. Like hopefully the having a FaceTime call writing a letter right like doing things a little differently. I don’t want to say get back to the basics, but get back to the basics we got we were so you know, social dilemma one of my favorite videos that I watched recently on Netflix, I mean, it makes you think about why are you doing what you’re doing and should your time be served better serve doing something else like having a real conversation and connecting with someone in real life like we are right now.
You know and valuing that it sometimes it’s not about a massive sum it’s about a close few that really work well together and that you’re all working to help each other be successful. I mean, you think about this right in the network aspect but even in life like are you a person with a bunch of acquaintances? Or do you have a few really close people that you really nurture it because it matters? I don’t know not to get to a tree hugger Anya But
Damon Pistulka 49:20
no, no, no, it’s 100% because I because I I read the power connector or something like that. And they were talking about 150 150 connections, you know, on the different circles and this kind of stuff. And I said, Well, you know, I know I know a fair amount of people. But when I come down to the people that I’m going to call when the when the the the battle is starting. Yeah Is 150 now in the ones that I call I’m going to be pretty happy with Yeah, we brought in the report.
So it is it is but it the euridice is getting them real relationships and building those and and making Making the best of the time we’ve got and but it’s cool to see the transition that you’ve made this year. I know it has crazy different sodoma. But hopefully that you’re the the opportunity to get out here and and what’s this, we got some I got something going on here, oh nevermind, I did notification came up that I’ve never seen before on my screen I was like let’s go on.
But it gives you the opportunity to really rethink about this because you’re sitting here thinking you’re at the beginning of this. And it’s not like the UN agency, or your jam or something like this, it’s you. It is. And this is this has to be a bit of scary freedom. Because you put yourself into something where you don’t have to be anywhere any certain time of the day other than have a connection like this.
Yeah, it’s um, so as we get to know each other better, I’m a very impatient person, it’s a while it’s a benefit, it also can be a curse. So I am extremely calendar bound, I live and die by my calendar, I work very hard to have, you know, opportunities to talk to people I know share with what I’m doing, stay connected with other coaches. My client list is growing every day, which is fantastic. I besides our I book with my clients, I book an hour extra for pre and post work because I do follow ups with them, I do review what we’ve talked about in the past, and just in my mind of where we’ve been because for me to be the best person for them, I have to be prepared.
But I also want to make sure that I provide extra value at the end, whether it’s a resource on time management, a resource on managing up a resource on collaboration, or women in the workplace, right, all of those things, that’s part of my responsibility to them. You know, you get to do the joy of being a business owner of spending, you know, two hours on the phone with Dropbox because you saved all your files, and they disappeared off your computer. So you know, those things happen? The joy of owning your I don’t have an IT department anymore. And yeah, all of those things. But man, it’s a ton of fun.
I actually, I told my mentor coach, so I have a coach that isn’t a formal mentor, but I have a mentor coach that I hired. And we talk all the time about like, what what do I want my clients to look like. And there are coaches that have 40 clients, there’s coaches that have 70 clients, I don’t know how they do it. Like I really want to build to about 25 clients where I know I have the time and space that if they need a 15 minute call or an extra pop in because something just happened that they need to talk about or something happened, where they’re navigating a big change that just got announced at work, I want to be available to pop out.
My mentor coach and this maybe is too much sharing. But she said if I had nine paying clients in 12 full months like it would be doing a really good job because it’s a hard business to build. And I’m at eight clients after announcing in June so I mean, I’m doing well now for me Do I feel like eight sounds like enough? No. And it’s not about the number it’s just I’m used to being so flippin busy, right, the go bag the you made the comment about hotels, and for me it was never going to the wrong room. It was waking up and not remember, I can’t remember what city I was in. I had to kind of do like that mental check. Like Where am I?
So I love waking up in my own bed every day. I love that I get to help my clients from all over the country. And it’s just I get to do what I love right like there there isn’t a part of my career anymore building this practice that isn’t something that is a great in my book I don’t have to do the things that I’m just good at because it happens to be part of my job description. I’m writing that described job description, you know, on a daily basis right now for sure.
Damon Pistulka 53:59
Very cool. And that is great. That is great to hear. Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. Because it is like that when you when you you know I’ve done the things like you have and you you come full circle back into this again and and go into it I’m envisioning how your experience has really prepared you for this and I’m sure your clients really benefit from that. It’s cool it’s cool. Well, that’s very kind of I think cool that’s that’s me but it because I think that it’s just one of those it’s those things that are background sometimes just comes together the way that we don’t even realize it should but it does and it really is cool when it when it happens.
It’s like that song. It’s a happy accident, right?
Damon Pistulka 54:53
Yeah, exactly. There you go. That’s That’s it. 100 100% Yeah. It’s so awesome to get to know you better and and to just hear your story and feel your passion and and understand what you’re doing and how you’re helping people. But if people want to reach out to you what’s the best way to get ahold of you?
Sure. So LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn almost every day under Melissa Worrell, and it’s w o r e L. Or they can reach out emails probably challenging to do over line but cell phones 515-314-0525 Again, that’s 515-314-0525 But yeah, I respond to all my messages and LinkedIn every day. I’m on LinkedIn every day I don’t post every day but that’s that’s my choice. And yeah, it’s it’s great. And Damon I appreciate you asked me to be on the broadcast with you. And just have enjoyed myself immensely. It’s been great.
Damon Pistulka 55:57
Awesome, awesome. Well, until another time, we will end our end our broadcast today but thanks everyone for taking the time to stop by and Melissa world. And thanks for thanks for stopping by. I love to have you