Ep 44: Business Systems That Help You Work Smarter with Renée Warren

Ep 044: Business Systems That Help You Work Smarter with Renée Warren for Dawn of a New Era Podcast ‘Chronicles of a Serial Entrepreneur’ 

On this episode we’re going to be talking about all things entrepreneurial with a very special guest. Renée Warren is an award-winning entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author, and founder of We Wild Women, a platform that helps entrepreneurs start and scale their own businesses. She’s also the host of the celebrated podcast, Into the Wild.

Renée went from being a restaurateur to an entrepreneur and acquired tons of experience by becoming the co-founder of her previous agency, Onboardly. She has since moved on to launch the Family Academy which helps Entrepreneur families to gain more freedom.

🔥 @Renée Warren – Award-winning entrepreneur, Inspirational speaker, author, and founder of We Wild Women.

🔥 Host of the celebrated podcast, Into the Wild

🔥 In 2012, founded a Content Marketing and PR agency, taking it from the ground up to a 7-figure, globally-recognized company.

🔥 Co-author of Get Covered! How to craft pitch and tell your startup’s story to get more customers

🔥 Over 22 years of experience as an entrepreneur and is a declaration to be an unapologetic risk-taker.

🔥 Renée spends time with her family, working out, enjoying really great business books, or refining her drumming skills.

Did you know that my podcast Dawn of a New Era has reached the top 5% most popular shows out of 2,249,182 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score?… Just 9 months and 44 episodes in – SUBSCRIBE NOW
Interview with Renée Warren

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{2:56} Becoming a Mum, starting a business and managing the work-life balance

{10:11} Social media fatigue and the art of working smarter, not harder

{22:03} The 80-20 rule

{32:02} Knowing when to say no

{34:18} Success is self-defined

{40:44} Setting personal goals and managing productivity

{46:05} Consistency is your currency

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Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital MarketingHelping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.
 
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Introduction

Dawn McGruer:

So happy Monday everyone. And on this week Dawn of a New Era Podcast, we have a very special guest who is joining us, Renee Warren. So she’s a fellow podcaster, she has her own podcast and also a speaker, author. And you are the founder of We Wild Women. And then your podcast is Into the Wild.

Renee Warren:

Yes.

Dawn McGruer:

So we’re going to be talking about all things entrepreneurial, and it’s great to have you with us because I’ve just been reading through your bio and just trying to see what your background was. And it’s very similar actually to mine. Because I started my agency back when I was 21 and you were very much content marketing, we were anything to do with digital. And then that’s where my academy grew from. And then that’s where my personal brand came from, where I started the coaching and mentoring. So we followed quite a similar path, I think, in the way that our businesses have unfolded. So can I pass across to you just for a little intro about yourself Renee?

Becoming a Mum, starting a business and managing the work-life balance

Renee Warren:

Yeah. So I’m Renee Warren. I’m currently located on the west coast of Canada. So I feel like almost a full business day behind you. But I started in entrepreneurship when I was 17 years old. I started a restaurant with my sister, and it was a seasonal restaurant. So we ran that for four years, which was enough for us to pay for college and not have debts. And then I’ve always had some agency or consulting business. And then one year, I was eight months pregnant with my first son, Max, I co-founded a PR agency. Because I was doing a lot of content marketing and social for tech startups in the valley. And my friend was doing PR for tech startups, and we started doing projects together. And so again, eight months pregnant with Max, I was sitting across lunch table with her. And I essentially proposed to her to start a PR agency together.

And she’s like, “You’re crazy, you’re pregnant.” And I was like, “Yeah, it’s a baby. They sleep all day. No problem.” And so we started this company and it grew very quickly. And so my son, Max, was about four months old when I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Noah. And so in the first year of starting a business, I had two babies. So they’re Irish twins. Yeah, and so we talk about systems, we got it down pat, because my husband’s in the tech space. So he was starting a start-up and he was raising around. And so all of these crazy things transpired to first to create a more integrated life. And now I’m out of the marketing agency rat race, and I coach female entrepreneurs with a keen interest on PR obviously because I love talking about it and I love helping create systems around it. But yeah, that is it in a nutshell.

Dawn McGruer:

Wow. See, do you know what is fascinating is, so many entrepreneurs that I talk to, most of their big ideas have come from the points of their life. That has been the most crazy busy, the most inappropriate time to actually start it. Because I think sometimes when you’re maybe thinking about doing something, it could be just the distraction that you’re not really feeling all those big emotions when you’re doing it because your emotions are elsewhere. Do you feel that yours came at a time because of that or why did you do it at that time?

Renee Warren:

I always laugh about this because for me it’s like I don’t actually remember the first two years of my kid’s life. Because when your body is living, like surviving, right?

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah.

Renee Warren:

We were in a survival mode. But just the trauma of lack of sleep and all the little things that happen when you have newborns, I can’t remember. But I will say this, obviously those situations in our life, those broad rough moments, broad years definitely contributed to the people that we’ve become today. And that’s a tough lesson learned, but just like starting a business, you can’t really grow unless you’ve failed at something. Because it’s that failure that makes you stronger. Because I can’t imagine any entrepreneur that’s grown their business over three to five years, making millions of dollars and never failing. Because the worst case scenario is something bad’s going to happen if you’ve never experienced the minor little paper cuts along the way, then when the big thing happens, you won’t be prepared.

And so with this, my husband and I created… We’re really huge proponents of the integrated life and what COVID has taught us too, is the ability to be able to learn to work from home. We’ve always worked from home. And so we took it upon ourselves to teach other people to this whole remote work thing. But now it’s kind of normal. It’s normalized now.

Dawn McGruer:

Well, normal day-to-day, isn’t it?

Renee Warren:

Yeah. But we’ve learned a lot in having those two babies and growing businesses. And we had clients from South Africa to San Diego, all over the world, different time zones. We had employees across eight different time zones. So we managed a lot.

Dawn McGruer:

Wow. When you talk about integrated life, I talk a lot about my big thing during COVID was really leading an enriched life. Something that… Because we were so busy, and I was traveling and I was just doing, doing, doing, doing. You often forget this work-life balance because you’re in it. And it’s not until you stop that you realize that actually there’s more things happening. When you talk about integrators, is this what you mean like having a balance of things and work, family, all those bits and pieces?

Renee Warren:

Well, it’s not so much about the balance because there obviously are some weeks, some months that are better than others. But it’s really about scheduling your priorities and not prioritizing your schedule. And so that means in the 24 hours we have in a day, what’s the most important thing for me is time with my kids, exercise, nutrition. And once I have those scheduled and dialed in, then everything else can just fall in, right? Because it’s sand, it just fills in the cracks. And I mean, now it’s… Before it was nine to five, Monday to Friday, at least, right? Maybe it’s like eight to six, maybe it’s Monday to Saturday. People working so much. But the reality with what a lot of us can do working online in digital world is, we don’t have to work those hours.

We can work when we’re productive, we can work after we take the kids to the dentist appointment. We can schedule in our workout anytime in the day, if it’s between meetings, it doesn’t have to be after work. And so the integration means that your life isn’t about working so much as it is about putting in those things that are significant to you. The priorities that, talking to your parents on the phone, bringing your kids to soccer lessons at 3:00 PM if that’s what it means, and clocking out early.

Dawn McGruer:

So I think there’s this huge pressure. People see this 5:00 AM start work, and then I think there’s a guilt with entrepreneurs as well. Where sometimes we forget that freedom and flexibility where why we started this in the first place. And so we feel like we should be working, working, working. And I saw a lot of entrepreneurs during COVID and the pandemic that, because they were working at home and there was less time traveling, there was more time, they were really just in it all the time. And it’s important, isn’t it? To step away. What do you do for your downtime? What’s your creative space?

Renee Warren:

Oh, downtime… I love reading. I love doing CrossFit and spending time with the kids. So going to the beach, just being with them. We used to do a lot of traveling and then with COVID that stopped, but I also played the drums. So I’m drummer. So that’s my meditation, I find CrossFit and drumming is my form of meditation. Visiting friends, being as social as we can given the restrictions. But yeah, I feel like that’s enough to fill my days.

Dawn McGruer:

We’ve been talking a lot in previous podcasts about what we’re feeling fatigued from as entrepreneurs. And I love the way that you talk about automation because that’s so on the same page as me. Everything for me is about taking the repetition away and just being more efficient. But when we think about how our businesses have grown, what would you say is the biggest thing that’s pushed you forward? Because a lot of people feel a bit fatigued from showing up on social all the time. I’ve been this online visibility is too much, especially because we’re on Zoom 24/7. What do you think has contributed to your growth? The actions that have impact.

Renee Warren:

It is connecting, collaborating, partnering with the right people. And I’m in and out of social media fatigue right now. And so there’ll be some weeks where I show up and I’m doing Reels and I’m doing all this stuff and I feel great. But then after a while, it’s just like, “Ugh.” I just don’t have sometimes the emotional strength to deal with the trolls.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. And to just be showing up there and put yourself out for it.

Social media fatigue and the art of working smarter, not harder

Renee Warren:

Yeah. It takes a lot, it takes a lot to be like, “Rah, rah, let’s do this.” And I believe it is just as important to step back and take a pause and maybe turn it. I deleted TikTOK off my phone a few days ago because I found it very distracting. Yes, I could just… I don’t have the discipline to not look. I see the right dog and I’m like, “You know what? No.” So it’s about that… Yeah. So to answer your question that, it’s just, you have to be okay with not checking things all the time and not showing up, and just knowing that things will transpire.

But for me, it was the partnerships, it was connecting with the right people and intentionally, but also unintentionally trying to find these people. And the more you expand your network in terms of the relevant people that have the same values as you, then the faster you can grow. So I don’t know a single business that hasn’t grown without their network. And if at the end of the day, there’s the only thing that I could keep from my business, it would be the people that have connected with.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. The community and the collaboration. And now I see this, I mean, all day we’re teaching people how to use digital marketing and social media, but we’re not saying that you got to be there on 24/7. I mean, I think nowadays it’s about working smarter, not harder. And in LinkedIn, one of my fav networks, I’m spending 10 minutes a day, but I’m getting huge impact in terms of the partnerships you talked about and community. I don’t think you have to be there all the time. And I think Amanda’s just said social fatigue is a real thing. It totally is. But I think for me, social is an element that if we use it correctly, and as you say, you’re building these partnerships. Do you think your podcast has helped with these partnerships? Because for me it’s changed the whole way that I meet people.

Renee Warren:

Yeah. It definitely contributed. So obviously as big ticket clients, so I asked them, “Where did you hear about me?” Some of them will say, “Oh, I know you on Instagram. And then I started listening to your podcast and I realized, “Oh, she knows what she’s talking about. And I want to work with her.”” And it’s gone the other way around as well. I felt like with the podcast, it’s helped me to establish that sense of authority in the space like thought leadership. But yeah, and just having incredible guests on my show and connecting with them, it absolutely helped. And I’m only one year into podcasting too. So it’s new for me.

Dawn McGruer:

Same as me. I started mine in July 2020. It had been on my to-do list for three years, and locked down I wasn’t going anywhere. So I thought, “Hey, why not start a podcast?” But do you know what? For me, as I’m talking to people, as I’m sharing my message, it definitely helps in terms of being able to express what you stand for. You can have your mission and vision and people build this real relationship with you. Because for me, I’ve been very much behind corporate brands for our academy. And I think it’s helped share a lot of my own personal life experiences. One of the life experiences we were just chatting about for you before we come online was, how you met your husband. So into we can get into that. So I need you to share this with me.

Renee Warren:

Right. Well, my story is different than his. We met on Twitter, but what’s interesting about it is, so I used to live in Toronto and he lived in San Francisco and I saw that he was coming to town to speak at a conference that I was attending. And so I just connected on Twitter. And this was the very early days of Twitter, there wasn’t a lot of people. And so whenever you would open up Twitter, it wasn’t just a bunch of content because there wasn’t that many people online. And I just said, “Hey, I would love to pick your brain when you’re in town.” So Twitter turned into a couple of emails. And I was already seeing somebody else, so there was no intention there. But then by the time he ended up coming to town two months later, I was single and we just met and it’s been a lovely experience ever since. So it’s being 11 years now.

Dawn McGruer:

You really have to leave the social media collaboration thing there, haven’t you realized..

Renee Warren:

Oh yeah. I was this social media influencer in Toronto. I got free Virgin air tickets to San Francisco. Yeah, I don’t know. They don’t do that stuff anymore. But yeah, I mean, at the time social media was pretty much just Twitter and Facebook.

Dawn McGruer:

I think one of the things that I’m hearing so much is that as we’re coming out of, obviously the pandemic fingers crossed, people are a bit uneasy. And I think there’s an anxiety around business and what people should be doing, because we were almost in a little bit of a pause. For me, I felt like I’ve just worked all the way through full speed ahead, but some businesses have had to wait. They’ve been working on their businesses behind the scenes, but people don’t know what’s next. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that are just in that stuck overwhelm? Like, “I don’t know what to do next,” like prioritizing.

Renee Warren:

Yeah. I always say people are often stuck because they have too many ideas. So most businesses die from constipation and not starvation, right? They’re constipated with ideas which overwhelms them, which doesn’t allow them to focus. And so I always say, step back, look at the things that you do that actually drive your business forward. So they can move the needle to revenue generating activities. If it means that you’re on Pinterest and LinkedIn and Twitter and YouTube and TikTOK, and you realize, oh, Pinterest and TikTOK aren’t really doing anything for you, which you’re wasting all this time there, then why do it, why be there?

If it’s going to make you feel better and if it’s not moving the needle, it’s actually not going to help you in the future. And I always say the best business are the most simple. They have a very simple system, they have simple channels. And here’s a little thing too is, they put the time in to these specific channels for an extended period of time. I’m not talking two weeks or three months, it’s even a year. What can you do for a year, one thing or two things that’ll help you drive your business forward and simplifying… Pardon?

Dawn McGruer:

What’s your favorite channel of choice at the moment then?

Renee Warren:

It’s Twitter. Oh sorry not Twitter, Instagram. Instagram has been super helpful in helping me connect with new prospective clients and just seeing what’s going on. And I mean, the algorithm is serving me well right now because we’re in the process of renovating for a new house. And so my feed is pretty much people that I am business, friends and a bunch of really great furniture. So it’s positive. But yeah, now Instagram works and my podcast works. But really the big thing is just it’s networking. It’s just knowing the right people in the right places. And yeah, it’s been super helpful.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. I think so. And see for me, I’ve always been on LinkedIn and I have loads of people that are not fans of LinkedIn. Because it’s always been the network where it’s a bit more clunky to use and people not really knowing what to do. But I mean, I’ve been using it since 2002. So it’s taken me a while to get to where I am. And my mission is to get to that 100,000 followers. And I’m at 30,000 direct connections about the same as followers at the moment. So I’ve got a way to go. I think it’s showing up consistently, but showing up in a way that suits you. And I think this is a big thing. And I think that about social festive fatigue.

Not every day do I feel like showing up on social media and I don’t. Actually when I feel like I can give. And then I think people need to understand that you don’t have to be constantly on it, on it, on it, but what you have to do is I suppose, think about what’s valuable and what quality over quantity I guess. If someone said, “Right, okay, they’re at any stage of their business right now.” What resources have you been using or would you recommend for entrepreneurs who are at any stage right now?

Renee Warren:

In terms of social media or just in general?

Dawn McGruer:

Well, it could be books, podcasts, anything that you feel like has helped you, or you think would be useful for entrepreneurs right now?

Renee Warren:

So books, love The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. And why this book particularly it took me forever to pick it up is because it really teaches you about your limiting beliefs. Everybody has them, everybody functions in their own zone of genius. So he classifies four zones; zone of incompetence, competence, excellence, and genius. And when you’re working in your zone of genius, you are really focused on the task at hand, and it’s like time flies, you’re in flow. Things could be happening around you and you don’t even know. And so if you’re an entrepreneur, obviously there’s a lot of things you have to do in your business that you don’t want to do like bookkeeping and all this stuff. But when you have more time dedicated to your zone of genius, then you’re not only happier, but you’re actually moving the needle, driving your business forward.

So definitely that I have so many favorite podcasts. So I can’t recommend just one, it depends on what I need. So there’s marketing podcasts that I love. There’s just generic podcasts from out for a walk, I’m like, “Oh, I obviously want to listen to Oprah and who she’s interviewing.” It’s just when people ask me, “What’s your favorite book? What’s your favorite business book? Or what book are you reading now?” I always have three books on the go, always. I have one for parenting, I have one for business and then a general motivational type book. So my rule is 10 pages a day. I have to read 10 pages a day, and I’m going to actually read them before bed.

If at the end of the day and I had a really tough parenting day, then I’m going to grab that parenting book and I’m going to make sure I’m getting the information I need for that situation. And like, “Hey, if my parenting is on check this week, then maybe it’s the business book that I’m grabbing.” But I always say don’t connect or don’t listen to the podcast or read the books just because everyone else is reading them right now. Grab what’s important to you in this moment to help you. And I feel like I’ve only..

Dawn McGruer:

It doesn’t matter. So it’s whatever is helping your mindset and your headspace. I don’t think we all have to be in the Uber professional learning mode all the time, do we? But sometimes you want to be listening to a little bit of a chat show kind of thing. And its different things, isn’t it? I think for different moods. And some people listen to podcasts as they work. I listen to music nonstop and well you’re missing out. I can’t have someone talking to me all the time.

Renee Warren:

Well, I’m trying to think.

Dawn McGruer:

Because I’m like the lost track and move on.

The 80-20 rule

Renee Warren:

And I agree, and I have a good rule for this. It’s the 80/20 rule. So you should be written consuming content 20% of the time and 80% of the time applying what you learn. So I have friends and people that are perpetual students of life. I mean, this is great. We should always be learning, but there’s also other side of this called application, which is equally just as important, if not more important. People just give up too soon. You put something in like two weeks and I’m done, it’s not working. It’s like, “No.” They say the last mile is never crowded because most people aren’t willing to go that last mile.

Dawn McGruer:

Exactly. And this is it. And the thing is, is like all the things you’re saying is I totally rings true to I think a lot of people’s mindset now. You don’t have to show up when you don’t want to show up. You have to do what’s important to your business, and obviously implementing things and also taking that creativity and headspace. So I talk a lot about marketing motivation mindset. Marketing is great, but without having that motivation and the mindset, what advice would you give about delegating? Because you said about obviously being in this genius zone, how do people let go? Because for them, the business is their baby and sometimes it’s quite difficult to let go of things.

Renee Warren:

So the easiest way to do it is just create your SOPs from the day one, so your standard operating procedures. So with a lot of my coaching clients like, “But I don’t even have a team, why would I need that? I was like, “But you’re going to have a team someday.” And it makes it a heck of a lot easier for you to train people if you have everything documented. And I just use Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets for this. So I have my spreadsheet is like the table of contents for my SOPs. And you can go and click on a Google Doc, it brings you to, what’s the social media or is it podcast publishing document, it teaches people how to publish a podcast for me. And so start by doing that and then when you look at all of the tasks that you do in the day that you shouldn’t be doing, then you start creating just the job description for that particular role.

And as an entrepreneur, I always say you should always outsource legal and accounting from day one. I pay, I don’t know, $400 a month to my bookkeeper. And sometimes she’s doing a lot of work, sometimes she’s not. But come the end of the year when it comes to preparing for taxes, I don’t have to do anything and I know how much it’s going to cost, I already paid it through the year, right? It’s like, oh, it might be expensive this month, especially for first starting out, but eventually it gets to the point where things are so systematized. You know how much taxes you’re going to have to pay, you know when things are due because you’ve already outsourced that. You don’t have to worry about it. And it’s with somebody who probably knows bookkeeping a heck of a lot more than you do.

So there’s less likelihood that you’ll make a mistake. So I say it really depends on the task, but communication is the most important thing. Is like, “Here’s the task at hand, but here’s my expectations for what I want in this role.” And I always say start with the test case. So whenever I’ve hired an employee, we did a one month test project, I paid them. So they acted like a freelancer, and one month to some people is not long enough, but just to see their capacity and capability to do the work with minimal instruction. It’s like, “Can they read the play?” And if they can, then we hired them. And most people, it’s not so much their credentials that we look for. So this is all to do with freelancers too, or outsourcing or hiring, it’s their ability to read the play and it’s their coachability. I don’t care if you’ve never done social media before, but if it’s going to take you only a few hours to figure it out and you’re going to crush it, I’ll take that chance.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. Exactly. And I think this is it. I mean, especially in the digital marketing space, we see so many people who have not had experience to get into digital roles. So someone’s got to give them the first job somewhere and often the people who have never done it before, they’ve not got any bad habits. They’re doing things and they’re immersing themselves in your world and starting fresh. So it can often be the best thing coming in terms of finding somebody who’s maybe newer to it and maybe hasn’t got the same experience. So yeah, when you meet someone, do you go with your gut a lot?

Renee Warren:

Oh yeah. I know. I have stories about not going with my gut. But I’ve this particular applicant or somebody looks good on paper and/or, but my gut was like, “No, no, no.” And I’ve had nightmare situations because of it. But a 100% go with the gut. And I mean, a woman’s intuition too, we just know, right? But I think there’s a process where you got to get through the initial filter. Like we just finished hiring a full-time nanny and we have this whole recruiting filter, but the decision making factor comes down to, what does my gut say about this person? And it might be like, “Oh, well, she’s a great fit values wise, but she needs to be trained here.” Then if her only deficit is the fact that she doesn’t know how to grocery shop or scrub toilets, I’ll take that chance, right? I can teach her that.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. Exactly. Some skills are transferable on some things. It’s just like, yeah, it’s choosing the important things. And I think one of the points you made earlier that I just want to touch upon, because I think it’s so important is this simplicity. So a lot of people obviously will be thinking about, “How can I diversify? And we heard all this pivot, change your business and more items, the changing needs of consumers, obviously with the pandemic.” But actually we’ve been doing the opposite. We’ve been scaling everything backs and flying it down. If somebody is in that position where it’s a bit like the runaway train, they’ve got all this and they don’t really know how to bring it all back in. What’s your advice to simplifying and bringing that clarity back to the business?

Renee Warren:

It’s baby steps, because that’s the only thing that is sustainable is I know people are like, “Oh, I want to lose 20 pounds by the summer, so I’m just only going to drink water for 50 days.” I’m like, “Yeah, good luck.” It’s like just scale back a little bit and a little bit and a little bit. And a perfect example is like me and Pinterest. I had hired a lady last year because she was convinced, she convinced me on Pinterest being this big conversion tool. And I was like, “Well, show me then, prove it to me.” And it didn’t end up being the thing, right? It ended up being Instagram and my podcast. So it’s just about looking at all the tasks at hand, all of these things, looking at your calendar. I mean, okay, what isn’t necessary today? Are you doing this because you feel bad? Are you doing jumping on an interview at 6:00 AM? “Hello, 6:00 AM my time,” because it’s something you want to do or is it because you feel obligated to do it?

The obligation means you’re not going to show up in the energy, in the state that you’re the host or the guest is expecting. And just I always say, look at the signals too. Look at the signals as something or someone giving you a sign that you need to slow down or stop doing this thing or pause it. So there’s the Eisenhower matrix of delegate, delay, do or delete. So just know your priorities and you know them. Your intuition is like, “Oh my God, Renee, you’re so right. I should probably start a podcast.” That’s just an example. And then you also have to ask yourself, “What’s stopping you from doing that thing or what’s stopping you from not stopping doing that thing. What are your limiting beliefs?” So food for thought.

Dawn McGruer:

It is. And do you know why? Every day I’m still doing that. And I’ve been in business 20 years. You started at 17, I started at 21. I’m still doing this every single day. I’m still thinking like, sometimes I look at my diary and I used a lot of time blocking and I only do calls and things on Thursday, but sometimes it just starts filling up again. And you just have to write it all back in and start thinking like, “Why am I doing this?” Because sometimes giving your time and energy to people, you do get roped into it and you start moving forward maybe in things that are not impacting positively in your business. But do you think that you just get slightly quicker at seeing it or? Because I mean, for me it’s something that I’m always trying to delegate things and I’m trying to look at my working day. What would you say has been your turning point of kind of…? Where do you feel now in terms of balance? Do you feel like you’ve got it there or?

Renee Warren:

No. No. But there’s so much opportunity. I get pitched a lot. So the funny thing is being in PR and coaching on PR is, how much I teach about how to pitch and build those connections. But I also receive a lot of pitches for people to be on my show, to contribute to the blog, to be a collaborator partner. And before I just be like, “Yes, say yes, yes, yes to everything,” right? So my husband is like, when I first started public speaking, he goes just say yes to every opportunity to go out there and start practicing and then eventually start charging for it. And even Rachel Hollis said at one point, she was like, “Just say yes to everything. Go out there and then just get the rust off, and get better at your craft.” But there does come a point when you have to start saying no, and that no feeling again from intuition is when you’re like, “I just, I don’t know what’s in it for me.”

And I think it’s okay to ask yourself that. I know a lot of women are like, “No, no, I have to be everything to everybody.” But if you’re not protecting your time, then you’re going to burn out. And a lot of clients for me, they say, “Well, I have FOMO.” What happens if this interview with Don is going to be like the bee’s knees for my business and all of a sudden I’m going to be making $2 million? Because I show up I’m like, Well, Don, I really hope this happens.” But it’s like, is it because it’s something you want to do and need to do? Or do you feel obligated to do it? And the best word to use to say no to somebody is a simple, “I don’t have the capacity for this at the moment.” I’ve used that all the time. People don’t take it personally, but-

Knowing when to say no

Dawn McGruer:

I’m going to.. this week. I have three things that I feel I’m going to apply that to. This is my new words, my new words are going to be out there.

Renee Warren:

Yes. You just don’t have a capacity for it. That’s it.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. Because if you feel overwhelmed by it and it’s triggering you, and you’re having a sleepless night or something. Yeah, Just delay people. You get this a lot with if you show interest, someone pitches you about something and you go, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Like using TikTOK or social media, some new tool or fancy software. And then as soon as you show interest, you feel like you’ve made that commitment. And I think a lot of clients that come to me they’ll go, “Well, I felt like I just need to get that meeting.” “Well, why do you have to go that meeting?” And it should be on your time and we need to keep remembering that I think. And it’s weird because the most downloaded episode I ever did was, do what you want, not what you need.

Renee Warren:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sorry.

Dawn McGruer:

And I think we always think that we need to be doing things and not always is that the case. Because we see as you say with clients like you got FOMO, you see people on social media think, “Well, they’re in their journey and they’re doing this.” Well, what do you think in terms of, the question I struggle with all the time in terms of people say, “Oh, you’ve been really successful,” right? And this is something I really struggled with it. As soon as they say, I can feel myself recoiling and just brushing it off. What do you feel when people say that to you in terms of what is your success? What do you see that as?

Renee Warren:

It’s self-defined because success to one woman for example, might be having five children and being a stay at home mum. And that is what her calling is and she’s so good at it. That’s not me, right? And she might look at me and be like, “Oh, I could never do that.” That’s all right. Success is self-defined. So for me, success is having a healthy mind and body, a healthy relationship with my family and a business that’s purposeful, right? And yeah, I mean, people like, “Oh, you’re successful,” or, “You’re such a power couple.” And I’m like, “Well, thank you.” So when they say that, it means that you’re doing something or you’re showing something online that they eventually want to achieve, right? So it’s like probably one of the greatest compliments. Because you might look at somebody like Bill Gates and be like, “Oh, he’s so successful.” Right? But then as of late him and Melinda are divorcing, it’s like..

Success is self-defined

Dawn McGruer:

Not very successful right now.

Renee Warren:

Yeah. Exactly. Right. So we have these ebbs and flows. And it’s just it’s never a perfect moment, right? It’s never perfect moments throughout our life. But I’d say it’s the biggest compliment. And someone says, “Why are you or you’re successful? How do I do this?” I think, especially if you’re taken aback by it or you and I are like, “Oh, really? You have imposter syndrome is to ask them, “Wow. What about what you’re seeing makes you think I’m successful?”

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. “Which part of my life is it that you’re looking at or seeing online because this is it.” I think in entrepreneurialism, I think there’s a lot of focus on online because that’s what we’re seeing in people’s lives. So that’s just like 1% probably of what we’re doing and what we’re coping with. We could be having a life drama over here and still be getting a top 5%, top 1% ranking podcast. To me it’s all [inaudible 00:36:25]. So it’s like, “Where are we at?” So I always say to people that, for me, it’s like I’ve not quite understood what success is, but I understand when I’m successful in something. But I think it’s like a moving journey because entrepreneurialism I think is, sometimes we’ve put too much on a goal whereas actually the journey is the thing. Being successful is like starting a business from nothing. Like, “Actually, that’s good.”

So when people start off, I don’t think they sometimes recognize the stages of success enough. But I certainly didn’t when I started because got caught up in like growing my business, getting a team and things like that. And I think I’ve watched past a lot of the things that I achieved and it was very much on a process like, “Tick it off, tick it off, tick it off.” So now I feel like I try to embrace more of my day-to-day, and if I managed to do all the things in my diary and actually have a nicer one hour lunch and a walk, that was pretty successful. So I’m just breaking my own day more into increments I think. Now as I get older at the grand old age of 42, it seems a long time since I started the business at 21. It’s a moving game, isn’t it? And what have you got lined up for 20 21? What are your big goals you’ve got?

Renee Warren:

Well, so every December my husband and I go away and we have a quarterly… So we do a quarterly couples retreat every quarter, but December is the biggest one where we take the entire year and we look at the big events coming up. So in a normal year, no COVID, it’s like my husband has three big events a year. I like to attend two big personal development events. We put it in the calendar to see where things line up. But this year has been really interesting. We just decided to move across our country. So from the east coast to the west coast and that just transpired rather quickly. So that was a big change of plans. So I look back at what I created in December and I was like, “This isn’t what’s really happening.” But my big goal was to keep growing my podcast to get at least a 100 episodes.

Yeah. And then just creating roots here on the west coast and making sure my kids are happy and healthy while growing my business. But I turned 40 this year, and I want to be the most fit version of myself too. So I want to be the strongest I’ve ever been. And I mean, we’re getting close to being halfway through the year, I got a lot of work to do.

Lots of work to do. But saying and actually wrote a post on entrepreneur.com that went live a few days ago about how the process and systems is more important than the goal. Because it’s easy to say, “Oh, I want to be the fittest version of myself when I’m 40.” But what does that mean? That means for me going to CrossFit four times a week at least. That’s four hours of my week plus travel time plus shower time. So at the end of the day, it’s a lot of time. So some people will say, “I want to publish a book.” That’s great. And I’ve published a book before and you have two. But the journey-

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. And you’re in the 400 pages.

Renee Warren:

Right. It’s like, “What does that mean?” It means you’re writing three, four, five pages a day, every single day. So people don’t break down their goals. So when I work with clients, I asked them their revenue goals for. Every single woman says, “I want to make a million dollars,” and I go, “Do you even know that means? That’s 83 plus $1000 a month. That means it’s $20,000 a week.” And they’re like, “Oh, whoa, I’ve never broken it down like that.” I’m like, “So what does that mean to you?” Goal is nice to have, right? It’s motivation. It’s inspiration. It’s hope. But if you’re just putting something out there for the sake of putting something out there, you’ve already failed. “Why is this significant to you?” For me, it’s just like, because 40 is such a significant year because it’s like your last decade of being young, right? And it’s like-

Dawn McGruer:

Birthday I’m like, “Whoa,”

Renee Warren:

I know. Great. It’s like, “Okay.” But for me, I just want to prove to myself that I can do this and realizing it’s hard, It sucks, but you have to be able to do the hard things. And not a lot of stuff, and even looking at your day-to-day, so most people are given eight hours a day to get work done. Doesn’t mean you have to work eight hours a day. The average employee only has less than three hours of productive work time a day. And look at that, look at that as a signal like, does eight hours make sense? Especially if we’re creative in what we do. Just sitting here doing work for eight hours, actually move the needle. Or maybe it’s two hours of super creative brainstorming work and you’re literally going for a walk for inspiration.

Setting personal goals and managing productivity

Renee Warren:

Because just like a muscle in order for it to grow, you need to work it out, but you also need the rest. The rest and repair is actually what makes the muscles stronger. It’s not just going to the gym, right? You’re 30 minutes to an hour at the gym, tears the muscle in which you need to go home and let it rest to repair. So the same is for business and life. Is like, you need that rest, you need the recovery because if your body and mind aren’t good, then you can’t serve anybody.

Dawn McGruer:

It’s about breaking it down, isn’t it? It’s these increments. And it just brings it back to what you said in the beginning. It says small steady steps each day. It’s like me saying, “I want to get to this 100,000, and no direct connections on LinkedIn.” That’s not just going to happen overnight. I have to break it down into how many people I need to be connected to each day. And if I’m not doing actions that are moving me towards those, I’m never going to achieve it. So I think the other thing is, I met someone the other day who had 26 goals that they were working on. I mean, that is just overwhelming. I work on three. I’m about the rule of three, my brain capacity doesn’t go past it. And I have three different things and there are all marketing motivation and mindset.

So I have a goal in each and each day I’m working towards. And let’s be honest, some days I won’t make that mark and life balance does get in the way. But the next day I can move it forward a little bit. So what would you say in terms of if… Obviously entrepreneurs at the moment are growing the business, et cetera. What are you seeing for the changes that we’re going to be working in? Because at the moment I’m launching some new programs in my personal brand and people are saying, “Don’t you think that, that’s a good idea launching into a whole new business?” I mean, for me, I just see it as an exciting opportunity. Where do you see the pandemic impacting on people?

Renee Warren:

I think… I mean, well, we’ll put the obvious aside, the death, the illness and economies and people losing their jobs. So put that aside is, there’s been so many more women starting their business, some of them out of a need, but some of them are like, “I hated my job for so long, and now we can actually do something I love to do.” So there’s definitely going to be more e-commerce. But it’s a red ocean out there now. So it’s the most important thing in all of this. Before it’s like, you could launch a lingerie line 10 years ago, and if you did a good job and had good quality products, you could do very well. But now it just seems like everyone and their mother are launching a new underwear line, right? So what is needed is, where’s the innovation in everything, right?

Innovation is the most important thing. Yes, I’m a business coach. There’s millions of business coaches out there, but what is the innovative thing that I do? It’s my process. It’s my program, but also coming from a place of experience. So running a multi-million dollar agency and hiring employees all over the world, it’s like people come to me now for that advice. So hands down is, “How are you doing this differently?” But not only that is like, “How is doing this differently actually serving your ideal customer?” Because we can just throw so much innovation at the wall and see what sticks, but it’s like, “Are you actually solving a problem?

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. It’s just really understanding, isn’t it? What the needs and wants are right now. Because what he was a year ago, where it was 18 months ago is completely different to maybe what your clients actually need right now. And I think it’s a case of you say, having that process, having that success path or whatever you call it and understanding how that’s going to push someone on it. And also for them to understand that, I think people’s investments, people want authenticity I do say. This morning, walk the walk, talk the talk, being there. And he was actually going to share some hardship. I think on online, you go on sometimes you think, “Oh, wow. Have they done well?”

And you just see someone moving and there’s a bit of a resentment or fame as you say that can happen. But you’ve got to remember that everybody started somewhere. I remember starting in LinkedIn, one person connects it. It’s all relative, isn’t it? And yeah, we’re all different ages and stages. So what would be one final piece of advice for our lovely listeners that-

Renee Warren:

To help many.

Dawn McGruer:

We could talk forever. We have to let you get on with your day.

Consistency is your currency

Renee Warren:

Right. Well, my day just begun. So I always say this, consistency is your currency. And I’ve alluded this to this throughout this interview. But what I mean by this is, pick a thing or two, like your three tasks, your three goals for the day, but you’re consistently showing up for that. Like you’re growing LinkedIn. It’s not like all of a sudden boom, one day a 100,000. It’s the consistency. So I coach on PR, the only way to win in PR is the consistency. It’s one step at a time, because you might pitch literally 90 contacts before someone is totally would love. The media kit, send it over, we’ll do a feature. 90, everyone gives up after 50. They’re like, “Well, hey, this sucks. You don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not getting any media wins.” I’m like, “Just keep at it. Keep pushing. It’s the consistency and everything you do.”

And if you can think of it and write it down, write that on a poster note, put it somewhere. You have to keep showing up. So you have one person you connected with on LinkedIn, you might do a Facebook live and one person is watching. Well, guess what? You might change that one person’s life or that one person could be this woman named Erica who has an email list of a 100,000 people and now wants to partner with you. And sending one email, could result in $250,000 in revenue. You don’t know.

Dawn McGruer:

Isn’t it? It’s crazy that these different exhibit it’s like sliding doors, isn’t it? Kind of thing. This one relationship could be game changer. And this is why I think, for me community and making that connection with people is so much more valuable. And especially on LinkedIn and channels, people often connect because they think about, “Oh, are they going to buy from me?” Connecting in a community because of the power of this connectivity could introduce you to someone else. I sometimes get people introducing or referring people, and I’ve never worked with that person because they’re connected. They’ve been in my network for five, 10 years. They’ll refer. So it’s powerful, isn’t it? In terms of thinking of it in that way.

Renee Warren:

The know like in trust factor, which I think is how you and I connected because Shaw was on my show.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. Shawn was in my show.

Renee Warren:

Right. And there’s the point of connection is like, “Okay, so the filter is strong because Shaw obviously knows us and knows that we’re good people. So she’s comfortable coming on our show.” So then you see that as a positive filter cause you respect Shaw. And so you’re like, “Okay, well, if Shaw is on her show, that means that she’s got to be somebody that’s worth chatting with.”

Dawn McGruer:

Exactly.

Renee Warren:

So that’s one person, right?

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah.

Renee Warren:

So maybe Shaw is that one person you’ve connected with and all of a sudden it’s opening up these doors of possibility.

Dawn McGruer:

And the thing is, is then there’ll be the next thing. And it’s having that relationship now, we’ve had a chat and then the next thing will come up. And it’s like a rollercoaster kind of thing. And it spirals and gets legs, doesn’t it? And you start thinking about an event or something comes up and you build a community. And I think the podcast has been a huge, huge change in the way that I’ve had conversations with people that maybe I wouldn’t have had prior to the podcast. So I love it for that. And for me, it’s been a game changer during the pandemic and not being able to see people in person, but to connect and chat like this on the podcast.

Renee Warren:

Exactly. That’s like when the pandemic hit last year, I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to take these women’s time interview them.” So I would email them because I had all of these emails lined up or the interviews lined up, and I was like, “We can reschedule.” Everyone is like, “No, I need this.” And you had this conversation with you right now. And I would record three, four, one hour long episodes in a day. And yes, it’s exhausting, but I felt so topped up. I just had to talk to you as a best friend.

Dawn McGruer:

Yeah. But you get some much out of it. I think when you’re sharing your message, you’re almost evolving your message. And I think also when you’re talking to someone else and having that connectivity, it is, it’s a powerful thing and it’s an energy that I think has been positive and much needed. And thank you for peering. And I’m going to be on your show soon too.

Renee Warren:

Yes. Yay.

Dawn McGruer:

And for all of our lovely listeners who have been tuning in and either listening or watching the interview, how can they connect with you? What’s the best platform for them to come and see what you’re doing in your world?

Renee Warren:

Instagram. So Renee_Warren, so R-E-N-E-E_ W-A-R-R-E-N. Or they can email me if they want it to [email protected]. But yeah, Instagram is probably the best. And again, it’s the eebs and flows of just emotionally have no capacity for it this week. So I always slide DMs, but I might not be posting because I’m just like. But no, and that’s the thing. It’s like, “Show up when you can,” but it’s the consistency. I’m always there. I’m always taking messages and connecting with people behind the scenes. But yeah, that’s where we can connect.

Dawn McGruer:

Oh, well, thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure and I can’t wait to come on to your podcast. I think it’s in a couple of months time. So it will be Into the Wild. So don’t forget to subscribe to Dawn of a New Era. And of course Renee’s podcast Into the Wild too, where you will get all things of an entrepreneurial nature and a real mix of obviously tips and insights from us both. So thank you and have a super day. And yeah, I look forward to collaborating and being in your community in the future, Renee.

Renee Warren:

Well, thanks for having me. This was awesome.

Dawn McGruer:

Take care.

Renee Warren:

Bye.

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