Episode 10 Transcript

Jun 16, 2022 | Uncategorized

Welcome back to another Imperfect Marketing episode. My guest this week is guest Nancy Maurer. She is a coach and has grown her business throughout the pandemic—which, as you can imagine, was not the most ideal time to launch a business!

However, she has learned some lessons about staying focused, avoiding procrastination, and getting started as soon as possible. She shares these lessons with us and adds some tips on getting out of our own way.

Click here to check out the show notes and resources!


Kendra Corman:

Hello, and welcome back to Imperfect Marketing.

I’m so glad to have you tune in, and I’m really excited for today’s conversation with Nancy Maurer. She is a coach, a leadership coach, sometimes known as a human card catalog and the former executive director of Leadership Oakland. She’s also held many other roles.

Nancy, why don’t you go ahead and take a second to introduce yourself?

Nancy Maurer:

Well, thank you for having me, Kendra. I’m excited for this.

Well, basically I help people achieve their potential and lead less stressful and more fulfilling lives. And I focus on the workplace because I really believe that life is too short for work to suck. So I share my human card catalog knowledge and my years of experience in both communication and leadership development to help high-achieving individuals do just that, have a fulfilling work life.

Kendra Corman:

No, that’s great. I love how you say life is too short for work to suck. I agree with that 100%. I think you told me that last year in 2021, that really resonated with me.

Nancy Maurer:

I cannot take credit for that. One of my idols, Adam Grant, who is a professor at Wharton. He coined that, in fact, that’s his tagline for his podcast.

Kendra Corman:

Very cool. We’ll have to share a link of that in the show notes. So be sure to check out Adam Grant’s podcast that we’ll link to in the show notes.

So, Nancy, you’ve got a ton of experience in communications. You spent a large portion of your career in communications, and then you made the shift into coaching.

And you did that a while ago as an employee at some organizations, and then out on your own, what drove you to want to do your own thing?

Nancy Maurer:

It’s really in my DNA and in my genes, my parents were small business owners. I grew up in that world, but I took a more traditional work path through my career and it gets comfortable. It gets comfortable with a steady paycheck and climbing that organizational ladder, so to speak. It gets comfortable.

As the years went on, I realized that it was fear that was keeping me in that type of environment. And if I got to my deathbed at hopefully 85 plus, and I look back, I would really regret if I had not taken the opportunity to at least try to have a successful business on my own.

Kendra Corman:

I love that. And I’ve got a framed picture behind me at my office that says, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Cause I think fear definitely is a big barrier for a lot of us.

Nancy Maurer:

Yes, it’s what keeps us stuck. We don’t move. If we wait until fear isn’t there, we will never move forward.

Kendra Corman:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Now you started out on your own, coaching right before the pandemic?

Nancy Maurer:


Kendra Corman:

You mean you had a full schedule, full calendar, everything was going gangbusters and then everything shut down. So clearly we know there were some barriers when you were launching your business, but did you have any other roadblocks or barriers when you were starting outside the pandemic itself?

Nancy Maurer:

I did. And it sounds counterintuitive, but I was very fortunate when I started out on my own that I had had the experience with Leadership Oakland. And there was a seven-month timeframe from when we announced that I would be leaving to go out on my own and actually transitioning over to someone new.

So I had a lot of people expressing interest to work with me during that time and I had clients right away. That sounds great and it was.

However, I feel like I sometimes did things a little backward because I was serving clients and what they needed, which was great. And then when that lull kind of happened a little bit, I was going back to what I felt was square one and defining what is it that I really do? And I was working in the business a lot and not on the business, so to speak.

Kendra Corman:

That’s really hard for a lot of us to do for sure and I definitely get that. When I started my business, H2H consulting, my former employer, who I thank all of the time for being my first client. It made me a little lazy because I didn’t have to do things. I didn’t have to market. So I didn’t really know where to go next. And so I can definitely see how that would be a barrier to growth or to getting things going and started at quite as fast as you’d like to.

I do know that you are crazy busy because I see you around a lot. And I love how you practice what you preach when it comes to taking care of yourself, which is one of the things that I’m jealous of.

Because I definitely do not take enough care of myself or prioritize myself nearly as much as I should.

Kendra Corman:

And I think a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs run into that problem. How do you make that work? How do you balance that with working on your business?

Working in your business, wearing all the hats that you wear, how do you prioritize taking care of yourself?

Nancy Maurer:

That’s been a long road for me and it hasn’t always been the priority that it is now and I learned the hard way. I would push and push and push until my body would say, “I’m done.” What I realized is if I’m not taking care of myself, I cannot take care of my clients. I can’t take care of my community. I can’t take care of the people that I love.

If I’m not taking care of myself because I’ll end up, you and I have known each other a long time. How many times have I had to reschedule because of migraines. Migraines are something that happen when I don’t take good care of myself and prioritize that. So I look at it as an act of service and not selfishness.

Kendra Corman:

What are some things that you do to take care of yourself?

Nancy Maurer:

I’m in nature. I love a good sunrise over a lake. I walk. I do quasi-meditate every morning because it just sets my day.

My first hour of my day is sacred. It is where I don’t touch my phone. I get myself ready to really take on the day.

And I try to take rest breaks throughout the day, which is still a work in progress.

Kendra Corman:

With the invention of Zoom, infiltration of Zoom and Teams meetings. I think that those breaks in the day have become even harder and harder. I used to have breaks. I don’t anymore. Because you can go from Zoom to Zoom, to Zoom, whereas you had to drive someplace. And so you got those little mental breaks that when the pandemic hit you just no longer got. So I definitely get that.

You have to set that aside. So I love the fact that the first hour of your day is sacred. I love that and I wish I could be better with that myself.

What are some things that you do? So you quasi meditate, is that just like breathing exercises or just chilling or?

Nancy Maurer:

The first thing that I do is my form journaling, which is basically two sentences so I do that first and foremost. I will read something inspirational.

My form of meditation and what it looks like right now is through the Ten Percent Happier app, part teaching, part meditation. And that really works for me. And it embraces the fact that the mind is going to wander, the mind is going to go places and just gently bringing it back. And I do crossword puzzles in the morning too.

And then I’m ready, I’m usually ready to go. And well coffee, must have coffee.

Kendra Corman:

Well, that’s great. You work with a lot of people. You help them with their roadblocks, through your coaching and you focus your business even more recently. Now you still help a wide variety of people, but your messaging become more focused and on point, I think, for your audience.

Many of my clients and the people that I talk to really struggle with narrowing down and finding their niche. I know we’ve had that conversation before, you narrow it down too. And it’s something that people struggle with including myself. I mean, I’m not special here.

It’s really hard, especially when you’re starting out to narrow your focus and narrow your messaging because you’re worried, I think sometimes that you’re going to miss out on something, but I do that too. And I find when I work with clients who narrow their focus, they’re usually more successful, which you think would convince me to do it better.

How did you get to where you’re at, narrowing your focus, narrowing your messaging and really growing your coaching business into the stuff that you want to do?

Nancy Maurer:

That has been a work in progress. And it’s funny how we sometimes know things, we know logically, but putting it in into practice can be a bit of a challenge.

When I started out and I had clients, I was serving whatever their need was. And in my approach back then was I just want to work with interesting people who are motivated to solve problems in some corner of the world. Well, that’s a pretty broad brush stroke and I really fought niching down.

When you’re starting out as a solo entrepreneur and I’m single. So I am a single-income wage earner. I need to pay my mortgage. It’s very easy to get into, “I’ll take this because I can help. I want to help everybody.” But what I realized is if I’m helping everybody, I’m not really helping the right people to the best of my ability.

There’s a big difference between things that we can do and then things that we are uniquely qualified and love to do. And since making the shift and focusing more on leadership and team development, it’s been great.

I kind of wish I would’ve done it sooner, but everything in his due time. It’s all a learning lesson.

Kendra Corman:

It is. And I think you have to go through that. I think every solopreneur and entrepreneur goes through that piece of discovery in their business. I know I did. And everybody I talked to, I think does. And I think that’s really very interesting.

What have you seen that do for your business, since you started being a little bit more focused?

Nancy Maurer:

I communicate a lot more clearly and the right people come to me versus, and what I really had to learn was that by niching and getting specific, I was also serving in that way because the clients that weren’t right for me, I’m not right for them either, they knew early on and then I could direct them to someone else. So there wasn’t this back and forth as we tried to figure out if it was going to be a good fit long term.

Kendra Corman:

How did it feel to say no or to offload some of your existing clients that didn’t fit that new mold of where you were headed?

Nancy Maurer:

It was so hard. I felt like I was letting people down. I got scared because why am I redirecting clients that want to work with me to someone else and walking away from the revenue. But what I really realize is this isn’t a short game. This is a long game, not that business is a game but this is a long-term thing. This is a marathon, this isn’t one lap around the track. And so I put that with that mindset.

And then also asking the question, what is the best for way to serve these individuals? And there are a lot of coaches out there, a lot of coaches that niche in different areas. And so it’s pretty easy to say, “I know someone who is going to be able to serve you better in that area.” But it’s hard because I felt like I was letting them down and I was walking away from them.

Kendra Corman:

No, I get that. That’s not an easy thing to do by any stretch of the imagination.

I know the first couple times that I said no to business, I actually felt empowered. And mine’s a little bit different because I’m not serving individuals the same level that you are observing businesses in their marketing. But when I wasn’t the right fit, it felt empowering to me.

Are you getting that now that you’re further along?

Nancy Maurer:

I can definitely relate to that because at first, when I made the decision to niche from just being a broader career and leadership coach to really focusing more on leadership and team development, it was like, “Oh good.”

Again, it was one of those I can do this, but it wasn’t really the type of work that my face, it was friends that really, really drove it home because they said to me, “When you talk about leadership and when you talk about healthy workplaces and teams, your face lights up.” In a way that they didn’t see when I was working more on the career transition end of things.

Kendra Corman:

When we were talking about, when I asked the question a little bit back about helping people and niching down your message and things like that. When you started talking about what you’re doing now, definitely your face, you smiled. You can definitely see the energy increase with what you’re doing now, which is awesome. So I love that you were able to identify that for yourself.

As you know and as many of our listeners know, I am an email advocate or enthusiast. I could use other terms, because I could be the crazy email lady.

But you recently started an email newsletter and I believe that every business needs an email newsletter in case you’re curious. And I think it’s amazing. I’ve heard amazing feedback from people that are in our shared network about it. They’ve loved it. I enjoy it.

What motivated you to finally get started on your newsletter and what has that done for you and your business?

Nancy Maurer:

What motivated me to get started? You.

Kendra Corman:

My harassing?

Nancy Maurer:

Yes. And you knowing me well enough to know that the reason that it wasn’t getting done was because I was waiting for it to be perfect. I was waiting for it to be just to have that full A to Z plan.

And once I finally committed to getting it launched, it was a weight off my shoulder. And then I started to see the metrics behind it and the feedback from people and people emailing me to thank me for the information. And I really thought, “Wow, that really didn’t take me all that long to do.”

It’s providing, again, a service to people who may not work with me one on one. I mean, most of them don’t work with me one on one right now. They may never. But it is solidifying in sharing my expertise with them. And I have become way more top of mind after starting the newsletter.

Kendra Corman:

It’s definitely all about top of mind. I was actually just in a meeting with a prospective client earlier today and it was very interesting.

Cause I said, “Do you do email marketing?” And they’re like, “No.”

I’m like, “Okay. So how do you stay top of mind?”

And it’s a very labor-intensive piece. They’re talking about transitioning and hiring more people and scaling their business up and they’re not doing email marketing. They’re doing one-to-one networking.

I’m like, “How do you find time for all that?”

Nancy Maurer:

It just provides such a wealth of exposure even if people, if they’re opening it or just even seeing it in their inbox. I keep emails, newsletters that I’m interested in my inbox because I’m going to go back and I’m going to read them.

Kendra Corman:

No, definitely. You’ve been marketing your own business now for a while. You’ve helped others that are marketing their company and business. Again, you’ve been in communications for a long period of time.

Do you have any advice for our listeners on marketing their business?

Nancy Maurer:

Just take the steps, just do it. Don’t wait for it to be perfect because it will never get off the ground. Start earlier rather than later. And I know because I read a lot, that there are a lot of books that will say, “Just start serving the client.”

Don’t worry about the fancy website. Don’t worry about the marketing strategy.

And I can see that to a point, but then there does come a time when like I did. I got to, “Oh, I got to figure out this marketing thing now.” And by that time it was very overwhelming.

Kendra Corman:

There’s a lot of people that say, “A year from now, you wish you will have started today.” And so starting today is whether it’s perfect or not is a great place to get started. Whether it’s email marketing, marketing your business, going out to networking events, starting social media, starting your business.

Whatever it happens to be, a year from now you’re going to wish you started today. Cause you got to start somewhere. We can’t have an interview with you without talking about improving yourself and your leadership skills.

The biggest issue, I think, a lot of people face when marketing and growing their business is time. There’s never enough of it. I recently spoke with Marcy Taran of Bradley + Company. And she said the same thing.

My favorite phrase my mom always said was that the cobbler’s kids had no shoes. That was one of my favorites because the cobbler is so busy making shoes for the whole entire town that his kids didn’t have any.

It’s always about your customers and not enough about working on your business. Again, you’re always working in it and I get it. I totally do because I’m guilty as charged.

What do you tell people or what do you do that helps you balance your business and theirs?

Nancy Maurer:

This was a tough one too and a work in progress because the leadership and professional development coach who helps people get out of their own way still trips herself up and needs the support to get out of her own way.

When it came to scheduling and I know you’re a big fan of Michael Hyatt and so am I. His ideal week concept really resonated with me and it’s taken some tweaking, but for the most part, on Mondays and Fridays, I am working on the business. And Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, I’m working in the business, doing the client-facing work.

And I tweak it to see it’s not always an exact science, but that is the rhythm that seems to really work for me to keep my energy up and be able to really balance working on and growing the business and doing the admin work versus working in it and doing the client-facing work.

Kendra Corman:

I always love tips. Yes. I do love Michael Hyatt and my Full Focus Planner. But I also love time management tips. I think that they’re key, protecting time on your calendar is extremely important.

And last year, I think is when I started marking off time on my calendar working on and protecting it because I used to book over it all. And I was like, “Oh yeah, I can schedule over that.”

Nancy Maurer:

It’s so easy if you have white space and this was something somebody told me very early on is to determine your availability upfront, communicate that rather than just letting other people take the lead in filling the white space in the calendar.

And that was something that I was really guilty of early on. And I was working in a way that wasn’t really conducive to being sustainable long term. Thank you.

Kendra Corman:

Now this show is called Imperfect Marketing and I have to give credit to Marcy again, who we both know for this idea.

But when I was interviewing her, she said, “I was surprised you didn’t ask me what my biggest marketing fail was because marketing is not perfect.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s an awesome idea. I’m going to start doing that.” So I have to give her credit for that!

But what could be at one of your previous positions, it could be your biggest marketing mistake. Again, marketing is not an exact science, it’s part art, part science, because there’s definitely a lot of data and I know you’re a data fan like I am.

What would you say is something that maybe, failure might be the wrong word for it, but what wasn’t perfect for you and what’s something that you learned from?

Nancy Maurer:

Well, first of all, I love Marcy and I love this question. I would say that for me, my biggest fail was failing to act, failing to do something because I love data. There’s always going to be another best practice, email marketing newsletter in my inbox that I’m going to feel like I need to read before I can take action.

So it’s done perfectly and it’s not. It’s an art and a science and the only way you can figure out what works is to actually put some stuff out there and throw away this, what are people going to think if it’s not perfect attitude that I really struggled with.

Kendra Corman:

And I definitely get that. I think perfection is the enemy of progress I think is what they say so got to keep moving forward. Progress is better than perfect.

When I started my business, I went through Sandler sales training with Ken Seawell and he was fantastic. But he always talked to me about head trash and that’s what he would talk about. A lot of the things that hold us back or limit us are head trash. It’s our own limiting beliefs. And I know that my biggest limits have been and continue to be around the ones that I make up for myself.

What are some tips that you could share that maybe help leaders that you work with or entrepreneurs or in some of your coaching throughout your career, how do you get help people get around their own head trash and limiting?

Nancy Maurer:

Well I love Ken Seawell and Sandler. I’ve gone through that program as well.

My biggest piece of advice is that you have to take out the head trash every single day. You take your regular trash out on a regular basis, but the head trash every single day. And most often where that head trash shows up is in limiting beliefs, which fall under the categories of, “I can’t handle this. I’m not enough. What will people think or say.” And put the head trash to the curb and put things in better perspective on those limiting beliefs.

And for, “I can’t handle this”, it’s looking back and realizing that you have survived 100% of whatever life threw at you to this point. And how did you handle it then?

And that those skills of resiliency and resourcefulness build up over time. The, “I am not enough.”

Well, that is just a classic one. Again, going back, you have been enough. And what will people think or say, we get way wrapped up in what we think people are thinking or saying. And most of the time, they’re not even thinking about us. Their opinion of us is really none of our business. It’s their challenge.

And we are notoriously inaccurate as human beings, research geek out on you a little bit just momentarily, at accurately predicting or interpreting what people are really thinking or saying about us. So that all gets taken to the curb and we move forward in a better way.

Kendra Corman:

I remember listening to a video presentation by a woman about doing video and people were saying she gets, I get people saying that they don’t like their voice and they don’t like how they look on camera or they think they’re going to mess up. And she goes, “You’re just not that important to me for me to worry about it.” And a lot of our head trashes around our own limiting beliefs and what we think. And I love that she said that.

She’s just like, “I’m not going to overanalyze your video performance because I got my own stuff going on. If you give me value, I’m going to take the value. I’m not going to be micromanaging if your hair was out of place.” So I thought that was actually really cool and a neat way to think about it.

All right. So before we wrap up, I always ask everybody, what superpower would you choose for yourself if you could?

Nancy Maurer:

Well, that’s a fantastic question!

As somebody who is just ever curious about human behavior and what’s really going on, I would love my superpower to be invisibility. So I could be that sort of fly on the wall to observe what’s really going on in a situation. So yes, it would be invisibility.

Kendra Corman:

That’s very cool. I love it.

So thank you so much, Nancy, for taking the time to be with me here on Imperfect Marketing. I appreciate it.

If you’re interested in connecting with Nancy, any of the resources that she has or learning a little bit more about what inspires her, be sure to go ahead and check the links in the show notes.

And I look forward to you joining me on another episode of Imperfect Marketing.