343 Amber Swenor: Hustle to Flow
Do you believe it has to be hard to succeed? That you have to work hard, strive and struggle? That if you’re not hustling 80 hours a week you somehow don’t deserve success? If that’s you, you’re not alone – and there IS another way.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur and branding expert who learned on her journey growing a business how to move from hustle to flow.
Amber Swenor is a Brand Strategist and Impact Coach for Purpose-Driven People and Companies who desire to create massive impact and do good, through their business.
She is the founder of Impact Academy which provides transformational personal and business coaching through retreats, coaching and courses designed for people who desire to live in authenticity and alignment.
Amber is also the founder of Strategic Partners Marketing, a brand strategy and marketing firm that helps businesses do more good, through better marketing.
Today we talk about finding your truth in personal branding – plus how to overcome perfectionism and get past that hustle into the flow.
Amber Swenor will be here in a moment – and first…
Amber calls herself a dreamer, a life-lover and a business strategist. She helps heart-centered badasses make their dream lives, and profitable businesses, a reality.
Her supershero power? Guiding others to live their truth, by living hers.
She lives life all-out and full of love, thriving on guiding others to unleash their badassery into the world. She helps entrepreneurs and others heart-centered inspiration, supported by proven business and brand strategies that help transform your life and business to where you want it to be. Amber was a 2018 Vital Voices International VVGrow Fellow, and a 2019 Goldman Sachs Fellow.
When she’s not strategizing with clients at Impact Academy or her branding agency Strategic Partners Marketing, you’ll find her rocking with her band, Morningstar.
So are you ready for Amber Swenor? I am. Let’s fly!
Melinda Wittstock: Amber, welcome to WINGS.
Amber Swenor: Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m happy to have you too. I’m so intrigued about entrepreneurs who really put heart-centeredness and purpose as the focal point of their business and their business growth. What was the “aha” moment that let you to work with people and put purpose as a central part of your business?
Amber Swenor: Great question. Thank you.
Amber Swenor: As a little back story, growing up, I have wonderful parents, hard-working people, and my mom is this amazing, loving, heart-centered person who has cleaned houses for years and was, has hardly ever raised her rates, and I would watch her drive to houses. Sometimes, she’d be accidentally locked out, and they wouldn’t pay her. I was always that teenage daughter that was like, “Mom, you need to charge more. You’re worth more. You’re so trustworthy. You’ve cleaned houses for 30 years. You need to raise your rates.”
Amber Swenor: She was still charging $25 to drive an hour to clean a house and just backbreaking work, that I, through growing and coming into my business, I can look back and realize how much of this is driven from watching a woman like her that was so amazing and, in a lot of ways, I felt sold herself short when she didn’t need to. In September, 2017, I was at a conference in Vegas, and there was a speaker, a guy named [Dougal 00:12:58], who’s this, an amazing intuitive. This might sound a little woo-woo, but I’m going to share this in my story.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s okay. We like Woo. Woo is good.
Amber Swenor: Well, in the audience, there may be 300+ people in attendance, and he said he was just going to call on people who he felt he had a message for. He called on me, and I knew it was coming. It was weird. It was like all the tinglies were happening, where I just felt like, this is going to be a pivot in my life. The message he had for me was, that my color that radiates is blue, which means truth, that I speak the truth, sometimes to a … It could almost be to a fault, but that it’s really my gift, and I need to tap into that.
Amber Swenor: That, I see the truth in people. I help them understand their truth. At the time, I didn’t understand all those, but I do now. He said, “You have … It’s like you’ve been living your life climbing up a mountain with a backpack on your back that just keeps getting filled with stuff and getting filled with stuff, and life is hard, and everything is getting harder and harder. The more you go through work, you’re pushing harder, and you’re loading that backpack up.”
Amber Swenor: He said, “I’m here to tell you, you need to set that backpack down. It is time. Your business is growing. You have multiple things unfolding. You need to accept help. The story that was written for you of growing up is not when it needs to be moving forward.” Then, he said some other things, but after reflecting on that over a few weeks, I realized the story in why I was telling myself was, that life needed to be hard.
Amber Swenor: I have amazing parents, and they did have difficult backgrounds. I was the first in my family to even graduate high school and then go to college, a background where everyone always worked three jobs just to get by, and I had reached the point where I was growing a business, a million-revenue business. I had a team now. I was finally earning a stable amount that was more than my, I’d ever known people in my family to achieve. My mission has always been to help purpose driven people to live a good life and follow their passion, but it also means, that in order to do good for people, that you don’t need to stay poor. You don’t need to stay in struggle.
Amber Swenor: I really think that comes from having amazing people in my family but seeing that they unnecessarily sometimes stay in struggle. I believe that everyone deserves to have a baseline quality of life and level of happiness. That’s my huge mission, is to help companies do great work with, for those individuals who lead the companies to know that you can have a great impact and income, and in order to do good, doesn’t mean that you need to stay small.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so interesting though, don’t you think? The stories that we carry with us from our childhood and from our youth and the people around us, so if we saw our parents struggle, we think, “It’s got to be hard,” because that’s all we know. If we take that into our businesses or other ideas like that, say, any scarcity thinking, it actually impacts the business.
Melinda Wittstock: It forces you to confront all your stuff, all your beliefs, especially ones that don’t serve anymore. Yeah, especially the beliefs that don’t serve anymore.
Amber Swenor: Yes, 100%. That’s such a great point. It’s like, “My business is growing me up.”
Melinda Wittstock: Ask any successful entrepreneur, and all of us have had to retire a whole bunch of limiting beliefs that we didn’t even know we had when we started.
Amber Swenor: Yes. Around that time of fall 2017, I was believing that whole “have to work hard, have to do the 70-hour week thing,” and I’ve really focused the last couple of years on making that shift and realizing that my staff is not going to admire me being burned out and not eating balance and not happy with my weight and believing this lie. My job is to be more strategic and optimize the leader I can be. My job is not to work hard. It’s to be strategic. It’s to be optimized.
Amber Swenor: I just looked back on how much I used to wear that, a badge of honor, and I’d go into interviews and put it on my resume, “The hardest worker you’ll ever meet. I work 80 hours.” The difference now is, I am active doing things 80 hours a week? Probably. They’re not things that I consider work, because I’m just having so much fun, finally just being more in flow, but it all happened from finally opening my eyes to some of the things that had carried through from my childhood and stories that were around me, and I realized I could, had the power to change that. I didn’t need it to be my story anymore.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. This is so interesting actually, where we have somebody who says something to us at some point in our life and we hear it. It’s not so much that maybe, maybe that information was around before. We could’ve discovered it at any time, but the teacher always appears when the student is ready. You know what I mean?
Amber Swenor: That is, that’s some good insight. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? There you are, and you’re like, “My God, this is really cool,” because you could’ve gone on, Amber, and created some eight-figure, nine-figure business with the same attitude, so you would’ve put more zeros around the problem, because I’ve seen people do that too, right?
Amber Swenor: That’s so true. I don’t know what would’ve been different if I wouldn’t have received that message, but I definitely feel much happier. I just, I think new opportunities, in a way, a view, outlook has opened up because of choosing to shift my mindset, and I have to imagine, it wouldn’t have been possible. I mean, the fact that I hosted a transformational retreat for other women in business, I could not have done that if I wouldn’t have been walking my own transformation, so-
Melinda Wittstock: Right. My goodness, yes, because as we go through it, someone once described this to me as, say, “The senior in high school helps the junior. The junior helps the sophomore. The sophomore helps the freshman” thing, right? Where, we’re just a little bit ahead-
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … of our clients or our team or whatever by virtue of going through these things that, often, many of them can be really painful. They can be traumatic, right? At the-
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … time, but they are done for us, not to us, and with a little bit of distance, we can see that, but I assume this is true in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship for sure.
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: You talk a lot about, and this was the other epiphany, was about the truth. That, you have this ability to see truth. How does that show up for you as a branding expert? Break it down for us.
Amber Swenor: Yeah. I realized after doing a lot of internal work, that me, personally, I have a high value for individualism. I’ve always been a creative person, and I feel also that I maybe have been misunderstood at certain points like not taken seriously. I really love strategy, and I really love problem-solving and working with businesses. For me, I also just knew that … I am, I’m also a musician. For me, it’s fun to do different hairstyles, wear funky clothes.
Amber Swenor: Sometimes, people can confuse those things and not take you seriously, or they think you can only be one and not the other. When I finally just got my confidence around, “This is who I am. This is how I show up. You don’t have to be one thing or the other,” so that’s my journey in living my truth, and I know that there are a lot of other people out there in business who are the same way, where they need to fully show up as who they are in order to be confident in what they’re doing in their business.
Amber Swenor: Not everyone’s that way, but through my coaching, that’s really who I strive to help, are those people who just feel that same way. They felt misunderstood and, but it’s very important to show up as who they are, or they just can’t be successful. Now, through the business, through the agency side, when we work with clients through their brand strategy process, there are tactical things we can do, competitor research, all that, but really to synthesize all the data we collect, it’s important to get the essence of how it feels in working with them.
Amber Swenor: That’s usually where I dip in on the project is, all the research has been assessed, and all the information is laid out in front of us, and it’s just being able pull that together in a sentence, a hook that just connects the way that company, what that company has been trying to say. There’s just something there, that when you can grasp the values of a company and what they’re trying to do, and you can say it in a way that just clicks with their ideal audience, to me, that’s how we help companies understand their truth is, when they can really make that connection between why they exist and why it matters to their audience.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s vital. There’s a bunch of things I want to follow up on with you about that. I’m going to go back a little bit to truth, when a client, say, has multiple sides of their personality that may appear contradictory, right?
Amber Swenor: Sure.
Melinda Wittstock: How to embrace the truth of all of them, especially entrepreneurs, because I find entrepreneurs are really good at lots of different things. We wear lots of different hats, and so… At the same time, society is so, so intense on pigeonholing people into just one thing. How do you solve that in a branding perspective?
Amber Swenor: Well, I believe that the old idea of marketing was, that you have to have a very specific industry niche, where now, the way that people brand themselves, and we’re talking about more of a personal brand.
Melinda Wittstock: My question was really very much about personal branding, because-
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … you have CEOs increasingly, that all the research bears out that if a CEO has a really, or a founder has a really compelling personal brand, their company does so much better.
Amber Swenor: Yes. I often focused on people with what’s the feeling and the experience that you want people to have working with you, and usually, these are things that are rooted in values. We don’t have to fit someone only in one box. For me, it’s all around being passionate, being strategic, building your business to where it supports the life that you desire and really following the path that matters for you. I strive to align with people that resonate with that message. Now, that doesn’t… I’m also a metal musician and a rocker.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s awesome.
Amber Swenor: I think maybe some people just get a little too tunnel-visioned, thinking that they can only show up one certain way, and every person is unique. If there are different sides that do appear contradictory, I just work with people who embrace exactly who they are and say, “Well, who says they’re contradictory? What lie… Who told us that lie?”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Right. Right. I get it. Yeah.
Amber Swenor: You got myself, being the musician, and I had a farming background, and I’m a world traveler and business owner. It didn’t look like it needs to go together, but here I am. I’m in existence, and that is so-
Melinda Wittstock: It’s what makes people unique. I think… Who was it? Sally Hogshead says, “Just be more of you.”
Amber Swenor: Yes. Yes. The deeper you can just go in that, the people that are meant to work with you and resident, they’ll be there. I always say, “The more you focus your message, the wider it does,” and it’s, the more that we are in tune with who we are and just in flow and rather than trying to coerce or force a certain, showing up a certain way. I walked that journey myself with different coaches or communities. They’re like, “Well, you’re the rocker chick. You should show up as the rocker chick online.”
Amber Swenor: I was like, “Well, that’s true, but I’m also actually really deeply heart-centered and really into business strategy and how that all comes together, so I don’t want to show up as just the rocker chick online,” and so I shifted. That’s okay too. As we grow as people, you might show up a certain way. What I don’t think change is, really, are the values that drives how you show up in the world, but if you feel that you’re only presenting one side of yourself, and you feel you’re being inauthentic and not whole, then I’d say, it’s never too late to pivot and show up more authentic. No one-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Amber Swenor: … in the world that says you can’t.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. I see a lot of people struggle though with this, because of who they are relative to and being authentic in and of themselves and their business mission, their highest values, all of that, and then what their customers want or what they perceive their customers actually want.
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Marrying the two-
Amber Swenor: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: … is not necessarily easy. I think, often, founders are speaking past their customer to some customer that’s not actually their customer, or, perhaps, it’s a good fit, or their customers are not seeing the business in a way. How do you get that fit right between being authentic of who you are as the founder of a company and actually being heard in a way that your customers, that really resonates with your customers?
Amber Swenor: That is, that’s such a great question to bring out too, because, so I always think it goes back to the basics of, “Talk to your customers. Talk to your customers. Talk their customers.” We even revisit this every few months, just customer interviews. I think the more that the entrepreneur evolves, it’s easy to get sucked into talking at a more evolved, from a more evolved place.
Amber Swenor: However, if the problem you’re still solving are about person, your passion about happening is still at point A, and just because you’re at point Z, in order for you to help take those people from point A to point Z, you need to go back and speak to them from point B.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Having that empathy and not losing that as you succeed in business.
Amber Swenor: Yes. I think that’s a great point, is having the empathy and not losing.
Melinda Wittstock: I think of all the groups that we’re in. I mean, Amber, you and I are both in Archangel Masters, and I think of all the other groups I’m in like Unicorn Club or Maverick or Mastermind Talks Community, or any of these-
Amber Swenor: Unicorn… Where do I sign up for that?
Melinda Wittstock: It’s for women. You have seven- to eight- and nine-figure businesses.
Amber Swenor: Great.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s awesome. I think we all get to this, this, I don’t know, this place of, perhaps you could describe it as higher consciousness, or, “We’ve learned all this stuff, and we’re operating at this level with people.” Hopefully, I’d like to think they’re smarter. What’s that phrase? That, if you’re in the wrong room, if you’re in the smartest person in the room, right?
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay.
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: We’re exposed to all this amazing stuff like cutting-edge knowledge, influencers, all these amazing people, and that’s… If your customer is that, then you’re speaking the same language, but it is really easy to stop speaking in a way that your actual customer is going to understand, so you can get too far ahead. Do you see that happen to a lot of people?
Amber Swenor: Well, thank you for that, because I, myself, a few months back, was having a little bit of an identity crisis, where I, because I want to grow as a leader, and my own growth keeps surrounding myself with people who are further along from where I am. Then, I was struggling at some of my different groups to think, “Well, do you… ” I, realizing that those people are not my customers, they could be through the agency side, but not from my coaching program, but decide, realizing the reason I invested my own growth is, because I’m evolving as a person, so that I can come back and serve my customers and have more tools in my toolbox.
Amber Swenor: What it doesn’t change for me was my personal mission, and huge part of that mission is to help that solopreneur woman who wants to grow, but she’s just stuck in fear, lack of a business know-how mindset and get her past that first six figures, because that’s a huge first benchmark. There are a ton of women-owned businesses that’s, that are at that place. Only 12% of businesses ever get past $100,000, and it’s I think less than 2% of women-owned businesses reach a million annually.
Amber Swenor: For me, it’s, I want to keep on this journey and associate with other people that I can look up to and learn from and network with, and I can bring value to them as well, but it hasn’t changed my core mission, because I believe that there are masses of women that each, in their own way, make an impact. If they stayed where the point of small and struggling, where they’re not even able to pay themselves with they could at a regular job, I just see that I can help those people get past that point.
Amber Swenor: I think it goes back to that root core place of having this mother and women in my family that I saw is amazing and the small things that they kept doing that I felt kept themselves small. I can see that in people and want to help them move out of it. If they want to do the work, then I want to be there to help them past that place.
Melinda Wittstock: So many women get stuck there, and I want to break that down with you a little bit in terms of, why do you think that’s true. I mean, “Are these 2% to 3% make it to a million? That’s a small number. I’m really determined to change that. It’s part of my mission as well to do that. A lot of women are stuck, yes, can’t get to the $100,000, can’t get there, but then can’t get to the high six figures, and then can’t get to… I see it all as a mindset issue at the end of the day.” What are some of the biggest, biggest problems that you see, Amber, that, that, where women are held back by their own way of thinking?
Amber Swenor: Yeah. A lot of it, and in different people, it’s different mindset it triggers, but usually, it’s some thought that feels rational to them. Then, when we talk through it, it’s different fears, fear of that they, that if they have to bring in a team member that, that person can’t do this service at the level that they do. I worked with a lot of service providers that have a vision of doing something else, of levering their knowledge into additional income streams.
Amber Swenor: It requires getting them out from that one-to-one, getting them out from the massage room, or getting them away from being the only one to do the web design for their client, or they need to have that shift, where they take their vision, and it’s carried on by other team members who can keep carrying this: That they have the growth space to focus on their business and not in their business. A lot of the first steps, as simple as it sounds, I coached people through, “How do we outsource so many services, and how do you make your first hire?”
Amber Swenor: I think it’s the fear around, if they don’t have the money yet, they have to be able to see this strategy laid out and believe that… We have to look for proof, and we say, “Okay, look. You got all these customers, and you got this much revenue on your own, so why can’t we do it again? Why can’t we double it when you get properly resourced?” It’s hard to see what’s not, what you haven’t, what you don’t always have, you don’t have it on your hands yet.
Amber Swenor: It’s a belief thing. It’s a belief that it’s, it can happen and having to shift from being the doer to being, working on the business instead of in the business.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. It’s a big shift, right? Because a lot of people go into business doing the thing that they love to do, and so they create a job for themselves. Then, they get to the point where they’re running faster, they start to succeed, running faster and faster and faster in place, but not having the capacity to grow. At that point, I mean, it just leads to burnout and often failure, right? Because it just can’t be sustained over time.
Amber Swenor: Well-
Melinda Wittstock: [crosstalk 00:35:01], and so the root cause of that, I mean, is it just that we’re, we go into business or we tend to go into business, yes, with a doer mindset rather than the business owner mindset?
Amber Swenor: That’s, that’s what I see a lot. Also, that there’s never going to be a perfect time. Usually, when people make that transition, they already feel overwhelmed, but we say, “Okay. We’re just going to take this piece by piece.” If you can carve out this much time to train your new team member to do this, and you just have to piecemeal it knowing that they’re… It’s not like there’s a perfect moment, where you’re like, “Okay. Things are going to slow down enough, where now I get to shift gears and focus on X, Y, Z.” It all keeps moving forward, and so perfectionism is part of it as well.
Melinda Wittstock: God, yeah. There should be an AA for perfectionists, I mean, really. We all struggle with this. I’m trying to figure out why women are more prone to perfectionism than men.
Amber Swenor: I don’t know. Fear of showing up and being judged that, fear that we don’t look like we have it altogether, fear that we figure that we’re going to be called out for not having all the answers.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so funny, because I see men not having answers. That doesn’t stop them, I mean, right?
Amber Swenor: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: You just look at any meeting, and men will start speaking before they have an idea. There’s no shame around it. Whereas, we’re just waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, not speaking up until it’s all figured out, and in business, gosh, that’s lethal. I think the best person, and I’ve quoted him so many times on this podcast, that nails this is Reid Hoffman who founded PayPal, one of the cofounders of PayPal and then LinkedIn. He said, “If you’re not really embarrassed with your product at launch, you’ve launched too late.”
Amber Swenor: That’s so great.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? Because you need to just get out there and just, look, I think, often, men advance more, because they’re just out there. It’s not perfect. They’re not trying to make it perfect, but they just get by in faster. They’re more likely to see these markets faster, all that stuff, because it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Amber Swenor: Yeah. I think what you’re getting there is this false belief, that it’s not okay to make mistakes. It’s not okay to be vulnerable. Maybe a way to shift it as a positive is, I always tell my team, and I tried to strive to embrace curiosity and always stay curious. If we look at it from that perspective, I mean, you could show up in the room and maybe, and share your ideas, it’s coming in replace of curiosity and exploration, because, like you shared, if men are not afraid to share their idea before it’s thought out, where women sit back and we wait and we wait, what good is-
Amber Swenor: If we shifted and say, “We’re embracing an anthropologist mindset. We’re exploring here to get to a bigger end result or navigate to an answer.” I think we just have to remove shame around mistakes.
Melinda Wittstock: You’re reminding me of a great book that I’ve read recently. It’s another Brene Brown called Dare to Lead, It’s really about this theme really, how to get out of shame, and shame is one of the most difficult emotions at the root of just about everything that’s wrong.
Melinda Wittstock: She has a really practical roadmap for how to create a great culture in your business around this, not only to get out of shame and out of perfectionism and all of these things yourself, but how to take your team with you in that sense as well and be able to show up in a vulnerable way and be curious, all the things you’re talking about, Amber. It’s funny. If you haven’t read that book-
Amber Swenor: I haven’t. See, I need to. [inaudible 00:39:02]-
Melinda Wittstock: … it is so in-line with what you’re saying. I mean, it-
Amber Swenor: Okay.
Melinda Wittstock: … really is. It’s called Dare to Lead, and it’s Brene Brown’s latest book. It’s fantastic.
Amber Swenor: It’s been recommended several times, I believe when things show up in threes, you have to listen.
Melinda Wittstock: You have to. You got to go get that book. Order it right now.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so nice to sit here and just have a conversation about what it takes to grow, run, and lead a business and balancing so many things in our lives. I mean, the thing that’s so important to me is just a demystified process, because there’s no one way to get there, and also just getting out of comparison-itis.
Amber Swenor: Yeah. Right.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? Do you think that haunts a lot of people when it comes back to branding? Because that’s, obviously, your area of expertise. Does that haunt people, when they look on Facebook and they see, say, one of their competitors doing a certain thing with their brand and think, “My God, I should be doing that too,” or, “So and so has that, so I should be more like that?”
Amber Swenor: Absolutely. Yes. If we, for leaders who want to be really authentic, whether it’s her personal brand or their company brand, it really starts with looking inward and really looking at the values on, “What was the company founded on? Why does this product or service exist?” and allowing that to lead. It can just allow you to shed that other compare-itis.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Amber Swenor: It’s just the, really, the more that you can go back, I call it root center, the more we can steer from that. Whenever I feel that creeping in, or it happens with clients, I’d say, “Okay. This is about why your company exists. This is about what you want for your life.” A lot of, we have heard a lot of owners who have a vision for their life, and then they built a company to do good, but ultimately helped, it supports them as the founder, living the life that they want as well. It just always goes back to those, that root center.
Amber Swenor: What’s, why is this product or service or company created? When we stay focused on that… Competition matters, yes, but not from the point of trying to replicate.
Melinda Wittstock: Again, be more of you. That, of course, takes confidence, and it takes a while. Do you think it takes a while for people to really understand their own unique purpose, their own truth?
Amber Swenor: Absolutely. Yes. I think… Right. Sometimes, people are left asking or searching when the answer is right there, that-
Melinda Wittstock: It’s always right there, but it’s just so hard-
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … to see yourself sometimes, especially when you just think of how we’ve all been acculturated what we’ve learned from our parents, school, all the things we have been told by the media or social media or whatever about ourselves or who we should be-
Amber Swenor: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: … and to… That’s all, we know who we are as little kids. Then, we have this whole structure built up around us of all these beliefs. Then, we’ve got to unpeel all of that. We got to get rid of all that to get to the essence. Of course, we are shaped by a lot of those experiences as well, but-
Amber Swenor: Of course.
Melinda Wittstock: … to finding your core purpose, your reason that you’re here right now or suit to do something right now that’s uniquely yours to do, that’s, that’s what everyone says you should do, but it’s hard. Where do people struggle with that? Where are the blind spots? How do you help people get past those, so they can actually find their brand?
Amber Swenor: Yeah. Some ways that I actually help people get past that is a, is just some process of actual, different exercises and things that have to do with talking and journaling and working through exercises that help reveal when you go into your core and you remove any fear around, “Well, what are people going to think, how realistic this is?” Again, simple things, but when we get people to a place of visualizing what they truly feel that they desire for their life, while not allowing any of those what-ifs to creep in, it’s amazing what people can state what they truly want for their life and what they want to do, what direction that might mean for their business.
Amber Swenor: They are often times able to state what they want. It’s that there are all these other irrational excuses getting in the way of why they think that they can’t. Usually, it’s rooted in because of how they’re getting money now. They just maybe haven’t made the shift to get the money in a different way, so they don’t think that they can pivot. Then, we just talk through it and go back and we look for proof like, “Well, when you started your business, you had no customers. What did you do to get customers and why?”
Amber Swenor: Then, we just look to our proof to show that it’s possible to do that again and to pivot in a new way. Yeah. A lot of it is spending time with going deep in yourself around, even just in a day, what comes naturally and in flow, and where do you have resistance? What do you no longer like doing in your business? Then, it is a question of outsourcing that, or is this something, it’s time to sell or move away from or pivot? Those are the things that I usually start with and look [inaudible 00:45:53].
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. No. That’s all really, really good advice.
Amber Swenor: Yeah, around, the thought around people in finding their purpose, so for some people, I think the differentiator here is, if it’s so soon, there’s a group where it’s so clear, and then I… Then, it’s just the matter of helping those people to get over mindset humps that are preventing them from doing it. For other people, sometimes they say, “Well, is there something wrong with me that I don’t really know what my purpose is?” There, I would say, it’s important to explore what brings you happiness, what brings you joy.
Amber Swenor: For some people, if they’re living their purpose, it could mean, it might not be attached to their career. It’s different for everyone. Now, I know, for me, as this really strong rooted individualism, where I just need the show up fully aligned loving what I do, I have friends who are so happy to go to a job, where they’re like, “I’m okay with it.” It’s, I don’t really derive my value from that. I derive my value from my children or the family life or my hobbies, and so it’s different for everyone, and I think it’s important that people are okay with what feels good for them.
Amber Swenor: You don’t have to feel… Everyone doesn’t need to be an entrepreneur, right? My vision, it couldn’t be fulfilled if I didn’t have some awesome entrepreneurs who are willing to work for my company. Around that purpose thing, I just, I think it’s important for people to follow what is right for them, but there is a good portion of people who really need to feel their purpose in their work. If that’s you, it is important to go on that soul-searching journey, and maybe it’s a personal transformational retreat. Your personal development opportunities can help you explore that path.
Melinda Wittstock: I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs create businesses that they think they should. They see the opportunity, but it’s not a business that’s really aligned with what they’re here to do on earth right now, right? In my own experience, I mean, I’ve done that, so this is, for me, this is business number five. I’ve had businesses in the past that have been hard, because they, and looking back on it now at 20/20 hindsight, you can say, “Yeah. Okay. Well, that wasn’t really an alignment,” or, “I was doing that, because I thought I had to do that,” right?
Amber Swenor: Sure.
Melinda Wittstock: Those businesses were always harder for me. You had two steps forward and step back, or they’d just be more… They should be tougher. They’d be more like hard work, right? That, you had to hustle for them. The businesses where it’s been in alignment with who I am, what I’m here to do, they’re in flow. All kinds of things happen. Synchronicities happen, or the right people show up at the right time as team members or customers or as advisors-
Amber Swenor: Sure.
Melinda Wittstock: … or whatever. They just seem to be easier and more in flow. There’s more of a serendipity around them, right? I wonder. When you’re in your truth, there’s a providence I guess.
Amber Swenor: Yeah. Well, and sometimes, I mean, we need all those different experiences, so that it does become clearer when it is right. Sometimes, it’s like friendship. Sometimes, there’s friendships that feels harder. They just clash, and they’re… They had their season, and it’s time to move on, but we don’t know that unless you had that opportunity of sometimes feeling the conflict or when something wasn’t in flow. That, when it is, now we have a compass for it, and we can see the difference.
Melinda Wittstock: Amber, what’s next for you? As you grow your business, so you’re in a growth spurt right now. You’re four years in. You have a good-sized team. What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Amber Swenor: Boy, well, yeah. I mean, with the agency, we continue growing, really leading with our strength around brand strategy with really helping businesses own what their story is and make a plan for how that comes out in the world. Then, a product line within my company is Impact Academy, and I’m growing that. I’m doing more retreats, public speaking, and I really see that I love doing that. It’s a way I feel to make greater impact by speaking with greater audiences.
Amber Swenor: I love being an educator. I think I used to have fear. “How can I do that when I’m leading the team over here on the agency?” I realize that, that is the way that I get to choose how I show up as the leader. I can do more of that, and it only helps the agency, because it helps call in more of the right clients. That’s the path I’m walking, is following more of what I enjoy doing and how I enjoy leading and always checking in with the team, make sure that it’s, that the culture is there, but I’m doing more of that, more retreats.
Amber Swenor: As with the band, we’re starting to do some touring. We’ll see if we’re still doing it in 10 years, but the next couple of years, I’m just really happy. I built the business to a point where I can work from anywhere, and I’ve got that core team that I can continue following my passion with the band.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it. I love it, that you can do both those things. It’s amazing. How can people listen to your music and find you and catch you on tour first of all?
Amber Swenor: Yeah. Morningstar is the name of our band. morningstarband.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay.
Amber Swenor: My company is strategiesthatpay.com. Strategic Partners Marketing is the brand strategy firm. Then, for individuals that are leading companies who want to work with me on more of an individual basis, it’s Impact Academy. My vision is to keep growing that, to help people live their best lives, and we do that by making an impact in our own lives. That’s how we can then also have an impact on others. When we’re fully aligned and living in our purpose, we can have an impact on others.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for an inspiring conversation, putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Amber Swenor: Thank you. It was so great. I just love everything that you do and bringing great conversations for people to think about and learn from and raise all women. I just appreciate it.