Giving Yourself Space to Explore with Monica Lee

Giving Yourself Space to Explore with Monica Lee

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why a feeling of restlessness is the sign that it’s time to explore the possibilities for your business.
  • How to scale back or alter technologies and strategies to fit into your own goals and business. Just because everyone else is doing them, doesn’t make them right for you.  
  • Why you should embrace continuous exploration to be sure you and your business are headed in the direction you want to.

As artist, illustrator, mentor and podcaster Monica Lee shared on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast episode, even entrepreneurs can “quit their jobs.” Really! Well, at least push the pause button to give yourself time and space to explore new directions and possibilities for how to make money in a way that is meaningful to you.

I sort of ‘quit my job.’ I kind of just had to stop and regroup and really ask myself: What do I want to be doing? What does my life look like earning money?

– Monica Lee

When you get restless, it’s time to explore

You really have to believe in your hustle. And be authentic about it.

– Monica Lee

When Monica found herself extremely restless about what she was doing and hustling for, she knew it was time to rethink her art and her creative career. Although it was a really, really hard decision, there was really no other option, Monica explains. So, she put a full stop on things that were generating income for her allow her the “elbow room” to make decisions on what she really wanted to be doing.

Evolving into your own

When Monica found herself in a creative transition, she challenged herself in a new way and jumped in full force to learn online marketing. She immersed herself in the goal to expand her business expertise. Monica learned how people developed their e-newsletter list. She started a video interview series that ultimately evolved into her podcast Smart Creative Women. She began mentoring other artists; with experience in licensing, illustrating, freelancing and in the children’s industry, she had a lot to offer. And, like every good online marketing person, she developed an e-course.

As the pendulum swung to the business side, Monica had to ask some hard questions. Was she a teacher? Was she an artist? How is her creativity going to show up or if she’s all in as a business person, should she just go be an art director for another company?

When I started asking myself those harder questions, that’s when I had to put a full stop. It was hard to execute things as I was peeling back the onion layers on myself and where I want to go.

– Monica Lee

Continuous exploration

What if this growth isn’t good? It’s that risk of not having everything turn out ok, but it’s doing it anyway.

– Monica Lee

Although there are people who can determine the balance between their entrepreneurial side and their creative or core offering by doing them both simultaneously, Monica found that if she was going to give herself the time and emotional space to truly figure out her direction, she had to set the business things aside. To get back in touch with her creative self, she traveled a lot and rediscovered what inspired her. Once her creativity was nurtured and she got back to creating work that was exciting to her, she added back the business side, but with more intention. Monica set her financial goals, and then worked backward from that to determine how she was going to make the money she wanted to.

As you will learn in the full episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, Monica continues to challenge herself in new ways and asks hard questions of herself to ensure that she’s on the right path—for her business and for herself.

We go live every Tuesday with tangible takeaways for your small business from some of today’s most inspiring business owners. Be sure to tune in every week and subscribe on iTunes to Profit. Power. Pursuit.

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Navigate a Slow & Steady Business Brand Transition with Racheal Cook

Navigate a Slow & Steady Business Brand Transition with Racheal Cook

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why a slow-and-steady approach to change can still lead to success
  • How Racheal’s business evolved naturally and her brand was built intentionally
  • How publishing her last book helped her further grow her business

There’s nothing wrong with a slow-and-steady approach to change as Racheal Cook, my guest on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and author of Your Business Sweet Spot, reminds us.

In 2008 she started The Yogipreneur, her first business, by accident as she was recovering from a career in corporate consulting that had left her unhealthy and unhappy. While The Yogipreneur still exists, Racheal embraced a full brand change in 2014 and you can now find all her resources for entrepreneurs of holistic and service-oriented businesses, including the Sweet Spot Strategy, at


I like to test things A LOT before I bring them forward.

– Racheal Cook

Rachael doesn’t rush things. When she left the corporate world, she took her time to figure out her next move. It ended up being entrepreneurship. When it was time to reorganize her business around the Sweet Spot methodology, she started testing ideas out within her program and on her alumni students who receive lifetime access to coursework. The evolution took more than 3 years. As a slow-and-steady girl, her vision right now is to stay focused on growing the program and strategy she has in place now rather than add other elements to it.

Branding Evolution

True to Racheal’s nature of slow and steady, the first steps to evolve her brand began in 2014. While she credits sticking to yogis in her early years with giving her “big breaks” quickly because she was seen as an expert, she noticed that she was attracting a more diverse clientele by 2014—doulas, midwifes, healthcare practitioners. The tip was happening naturally. Her ultimate brand evolution took many steps and several years.

The Sweet Spot, based on the Hedgehog Concept from Jim Collins’ Good to Great, but modified by Racheal to resonate with solopreneurs, was a concept that had always been part of her philosophy. As Racheal began to envision how her brand would evolve beyond yogis, The Sweet Spot was a natural focus. This time, rather than bootstrapping her branding, she hired a professional branding company, Public Persona and set out to update and modify her programs, rewrite her materials and website content, update photography and all the other things involved with rebranding, on the side—all while the business continued to hum along and make money.

As long as you’re helping people they will forgive a lot of imperfections in how it looks.

– Racheal Cook

Book Helps Drive Business

If they like the content, they will love the support.

– Racheal Cook

Racheal was motivated to write her second book, Your Business Sweet Spot, because she needed to create a resource that was easily digestible for her students to pick up. Rather than write it from scratch, she pulled together all her coaching calls, transcripts, worksheets and more, and edited them into a book. While it only covers about 1/8 of what she does with her students, it gives the most foundational pieces of information. It also gives prospective clients a taste of what is to come when working with her. They can “try you out” very inexpensively to see if investing in classes makes sense.

You don’t want to miss a word of my interview with Racheal. Listen to the full episode at Profit. Power. Pursuit. to delve deeper into her brand transition, why she was initially hesitant to write her book and more.

Next week, we will have another interview with one of today’s most inspiring business owners. Don’t miss a single episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit and subscribe on iTunes.

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Fixing What’s Broken to Develop New Products with Nathalie Lussier

Fixing What's Broken to Develop New Products with Nathalie Lussier

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What prompted Nathalie Lussier to transition her business from information marketing to software development
  • How the development of new products is driven by fixing what’s broken
  • How Nathalie’s team has evolved since they began to focus on software development

It’s always a good idea to listen to the pain points of your customers to develop your next big idea just like Nathalie Lussier, this week’s guest on the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast and founder of software company AmbitionAlly.

Since she built her first website at age 12, it’s probably no surprise that she graduated with a software engineering degree. But she certainly surprised friends and family when she turned down a job offer with a Wall Street firm to become an entrepreneur. She launched her first business, originally Raw Foods Witch but now called Real Foods Witch, to share information about healthy eating. She used her software development skills to create a menu planner app for subscribers to use to drag and drop recipes and build grocery lists. But then she realized she didn’t have the audience or the number of subscribers to make it a worthwhile project.

Fixing What’s Broken

What was different about the development of the products that eventually became AmbitionAlly, intuitive software for ambitious business owners, was she knew that this time they had a solution that people were excited about. What started out as “scratching an itch” her own team was bothered by turned into solutions that help other small business owners. Her transformation to software development began.

Do fewer things better.

– Nathalie Lussier

The first plugin Nathalie and her team developed was AccessAlly to solve problems they had with the membership plugin they used. Because it was more complex, they didn’t release what they built as a solution to the public, but kept using it internally to keep improving it. The first tool they released for the public was PopupAlly. While they have a lot of ideas they could push into production they hold themselves back to stay true to the one of the team’s mottos: “Do fewer things better.”

We do a lot of listening to our customers and the people in the marketplace.

– Nathalie Lussier

This effective listening helps them come up with the next big idea and also confirms they are on the right track with new product development. Nathalie’s team solicits feedback from existing customers through surveys, they pose questions to their Facebook groups such as “What would be your ideal solution? How do you wish this worked?” and talk to their Certified Partners who are in the trenches using tools daily.

They have the finger on the pulse and they bubble things up to us if they think it’s important.

– Nathalie Lussier

The lean-and-mean team

Behind the scenes of AmbitionAlly is a lean-and-mean team made up of 6 full-time employees and 1 part-timer who make the magic happen. With the exception of Nathalie and her husband, all team members are dispersed in various parts of the world and rarely work side by side. To keep the team on track, Nathalie credits her team’s secret weapon: their project manager and a daily 5-minute stand-up phone call.

Learn more about the evolution of AmbitionAlly’s team and the priority they place on continuing education, Nathalie’s thoughts on trends that will impact the small business world and what’s on the horizon for new projects by listening to the full podcast.

Subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss a single episode of our award-winning podcast named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 24 Exceptional Women-Hosted Podcasts for Entrepreneurs in 2017.

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The Evolution of a Person & a Business with Beryl Ayn Young

The Evolution of a Person & a Business with Beryl Ayn Young

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How personal exploration contributes to the evolution of your business.
  • How to use your personal values to guide the decisions you make in your business.
  • Why Beryl decided to create a membership community called The Village and isn’t afraid to “do it wrong.”

My guest for this episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Beryl Ayn Young, the founder of Recapture Self, a community for moms who want to expand beyond their roles as mommies and explore their inner creative geniuses. Her story reminds us to be open to possibilities and what happens when you follow your “yes”—even when that means you might be called a rebel.   

No one should ever be expected to be 100% on, 100% of the time.

– Beryl Ayn Young

Your Business Can {and Will} Evolve

Entry into entrepreneurship wasn’t Beryl’s intent when she picked up her camera as a creative outlet from her full-time gig as an elementary school teacher. Or when she and her husband lost their first child when Beryl was 20 weeks pregnant. To work through the healing of that loss, she leaned in and created a blog where her writing and photography helped her express her grief.

She ultimately started a photography business that allowed her to leave her full-time teaching position, against the advice of friends and family who valued the stability and consistent income of teaching. Beryl admits, it’s a scary process transitioning to working for yourself full time.

I knew that I would beat myself up if I didn’t try to go to the entrepreneurial route.

– Beryl Ayn Young

Beryl quickly realized she was not meant to be a photographer—she experienced stress and anxiety about how the photos would turn out—so she decided to offer a photography class to combine her loves of teaching and photography. That class went well, she became a photography instructor.

When I taught my first class, even though there was fear there, it felt like a more natural fit.

– Beryl Ayn Young

As you will hear in the podcast, as Meryl’s energy flowed to different areas, her business evolved. In addition to her online classes, her business offers extensions of creative exploration.  Today, she inspires moms to live a more intentional, present, and connected life by giving themselves permission to lean into their creativity through a community she calls The Village.

Figure Out Your Values and Follow Your “Yes”

Get honest with what your values are.

– Beryl Ayn Young

You must get in touch with your intuition, listen, and be honest about your values. When Beryl considers a modification to her business, it has to be in alignment with her values—flexibility in her life and day, connecting with other people, and her creativity. Even though inherently Beryl knew that these were her values, it took her awhile to get really clear about them and then trust and use them to drive decisions about her life and her business.

And when does she know when it’s time for a change?

The process starts with getting curious and trying different things. There were plenty of things I tried and knew, well, that’s a no.

– Beryl Ayn Young

When it feels like a “yes,” you know it is something you should be doing.

Building a Movement

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when I was growing my business was to ‘do it wrong.’

– Beryl Ayn Young

One of Beryl’s core values is connection, but it’s small, intimate connections where vulnerability and deep conversations can happen. As she began to think about building a membership community, as with everything, she wanted to do it her way. She asked herself, “How could I do this part of my business and do it wrong, in a way that only I can do it?” Her membership community, The Village, is going to speak to that process. Beryl wants to show other members of The Village how they can do their life wrong as well.  

To learn more about Beryl’s movement of moms who make space and time for themselves through creativity, how she does “it wrong,” and The Village community she is building to extend beyond her personal brand, listen to the full episode at Profit. Power. Pursuit.

The Recapture Connection Project

You can join Beryl starting March 16th for the Recapture Connection Project as you follow sparks of creativity and see
where they lead. Because creativity is the guiding force that connects us to our truest, most authentic, meaningful ways of living.


Every week we bring you tangible takeaways from some of today’s most inspiring business owners. Be sure to tune in every week and subscribe on iTunes to Profit. Power. Pursuit.

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Discovering a Need And Filling–Twice–with Digital Strategy School & Doki creator Marie Poulin

Discovering a Need And Filling--Twice--with Digital Strategy School & Doki creator Marie Poulin

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What is the difference between digital strategy and web design
  • How Marie identified the need for Digital Strategy School
  • How her product Doki has evolved in a market that just keeps getting more crowded

Every small business owner needs to hear Marie Poulin’s confession on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast.

And I hope when you tune in and listen to her, you will have the courage to ACT. Just jump over whatever barriers—you don’t have a list, your MVP isn’t ready—hold you back. What you actually DO is more important that what you are supposed to do.

Marie is a designer and digital strategist who uses her big-picture thinking to help business owners design and deliver products, services, and experiences that matter. In 2014, she launched Digital Strategy School, an online mentorship program to help designers become digital strategists. She followed that up in 2015 by co-founding Oki Doki to help business owners dream up, create, organize, and launch online programs. Oh, and along the way she and her partner Ben launched Doki, a learning management web app to help sell and deliver those online programs for interactive course creators.

Marie’s “Specialist Generalist” Journey

Turns out Marie’s history of wearing many hats and absorbing whatever she could with each opportunity allowed her to become a “specialist generalist.” She studied graphic design, but learned the ins and outs of web design in her first job at a small design shop when her boss wanted nothing to do with it. After that position, she spent some time freelancing until a company wanted to hire her as a digital strategist. Although within 4 months she determined she didn’t want to work for someone else again, she did learn a tremendous amount about what a digital strategist is and how that role works in a large company.

So, what is a digital strategist? Marie didn’t know either when she took her first job as a digital strategist. Today, she defines it as:

Someone who takes a high level look at a plan for how you will use digital tools to succeed in your online business.

– Marie Poulin

It’s a natural career progression for those who start out as a graphic designer.

Expand Beyond Graphic Design

As Marie continued on her own, she was helping several companies with their entire digital footprint from content marketing to list building in addition to the aesthetics of their brand. She started to notice that some of her graphic design colleagues resisted this trend and were complaining about low rates. In her own business, she was capitalizing and commanding higher rates for digital strategy. After a little strategic Facebook lurking and listening, she realized there was an opportunity to help graphic designers learn how to become digital strategists. Digital Strategy School was born. SPOILER ALERT: Listen carefully for her confession.

Be the Action You Want to See

As is often the case with new products or services, Marie saw the struggles her clients were having with their online courses and knew there was a better way. She and her partner, Ben, began the development process for what would become Doki. In the podcast, she shares the conflict, the process, the uncertainties, the self-doubt, and the learning lessons with taking a new product to market. One thing was consistent: They focused their product decisions on the customer.

It never, ever works the way you expect it to. Jump in and get moving.

– Marie Poulin

Learn more about the Doki development process, the value of talking to others in your space, and what the future holds for Marie and her companies by listening to the full podcast.

Subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss a single episode of our award-winning podcast named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 24 Exceptional Women-Hosted Podcasts for Entrepreneurs in 2017.

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Why You Need to Think Bigger About Your Next Business Goal


When I’m feeling cheeky, I will admit to having retired two husbands with my business.

My first marriage ended (it’s better for everyone involved). And my second, well, okay…

Technically, we’re not married. But we own a house together, pay the bills together, and he survived about 25,000 miles of travel with me in one 12-month period. So, give me a pass on the shorthand.

Now, a few months after I retired my first husband and hit the biggest revenue goal I could imagine at the time, I started looking for a new goal.

I felt rudderless without a challenge to work toward.

I asked everyone: How do you dream bigger when you’ve just achieved more than you’ve ever dreamed of?

How do you dream bigger when you’ve just achieved more than you’ve ever dreamed of?

Now, I realize that sounds like a really quality problem to have–and it is.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Here’s why:

You can’t create what you can’t see.

When you’re a student or working in a corporate career, your goals are based on what’s in front of you, what you’re exposed to.

You eye the scholarship. You fantasize about the acceptance letter. You want the promotion. You look for a raise.

You can see yourself attaining any of those things because they’re right in front of you. You see people achieving them and know they’re possible. They might be a dream, but they’re dreams you can see yourself living.

With business, it’s often very different.

I didn’t know I could dream of running a million-dollar company. I didn’t know I could dream of hiring a team of fabulous employees. I didn’t know I could dream of speaking on stage in front of hundreds or thousands.

Before I was connected to people who were dreaming those kinds of dreams and–more importantly–working those kinds of plans, I didn’t have a clue about my potential as an entrepreneur.

Every step of growth my business has taken has been a direct result of my connection to someone or something that allowed me to finally visualize a bigger goal or challenge.

When I retired my first husband, I didn’t know how to think beyond, “I want to make $100,000 per year and retire my husband.”

I had no close relationships with people who had achieved that.

When it came to ambitious colleagues and friends who took their businesses as seriously as I did, my well was damp at best.

As a result, my business suffered from my lack of vision and creativity. It kept growing but not at the pace it could have.

I worked harder instead of smarter.

I pushed for incremental successes instead of exponential steps forward and new ways of creating value.

Now, you might be thinking, “Tara, I haven’t hit the goal I’m working on right now. How can you expect me to look beyond that?”

Here’s why I expect you to–and why I believe you must:

The action you take is dictated–consciously or unconsciously–by your vision and goals.

Try this thought experiment.

What would you have to do differently to reach your goal for 2017 in the next 6 weeks, without working more in your business?

Your first reaction might be panic. But your second might be a pretty creative way to reorganize your business and your time to achieve more, at a faster pace, than you originally let yourself plan for.

That’s why you need to be connected to people who push you, challenge you, and take their businesses as seriously as you take yours.

Those connections help you take dramatic steps forward in your business–starting with the way you spend your time and the action you take right now.

They help you get creative about how you’ll achieve your goals and see new possibilities all around you.

The decisions I make and actions I take today are based on the vision that I can now see myself living, and that vision was inspired by the possibility I’ve glimpsed in the lives of people I know.

It’s such a relief to make big decisions with ease and take action that supports those decisions.

And, it’s all thanks to the ambitious and open business owners I’m connected to on a daily basis. They’ve helped me dream bigger dreams and take different action.

On Monday, I’m going to share with you how a completely different kind of connection–with people who have businesses wholly different than my own–helped to dramatically transform my vision for my business.

Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek of what we’ve created for you to solve this problem.

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