490 Renée Warren:
What is it that you value most in your life? The Coronavirus might be changing what you thought was most important to you … connecting you closer to people you love … connecting you closer to yourself and your inner wisdom.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is on a mission to help women launch their dream businesses.
Renee Warren is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of We Wild Women – and today on Wings we talk about how to “flatten the curve between the things you really want … and the things you need.”
As we hunker down at home, isolated from friends and family, it’s an opportunity for reflection … a time to look within to find inspiration on what needs to change in your life … and society as a whole.
So many women fall into the trap of living the life they think they “should” live… trying to “do it all” and be all things to all people. Probably there has always been that little niggle that you’d prefer a different path… and maybe up until now you haven’t known where to start.
Renee Warren is a serial entrepreneur, the wife of a serial entrepreneur, a mother to Irish Twins, an author, a Crossfit athlete, and a woman with her hands full in managing motherhood, marriage, business, and all the little things in the messy middle. Today she shares how her journey has led her to her true purpose to help other women turn that side hustle or dream into a profitable business – and why the time is now to get clear … and double down on … what matters most to us.
For me, I know the value of making our voices heard and connect in new ways with this new normal.
Melinda Wittstock: Renee, welcome to Wings.
Renee Warren: Well, thanks for having me, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: It is so good to talk to you and catch up with you, because of course you came on this podcast in the early days of it, and I guess the world’s kind of turned upside down since then. Right? How are you doing with it coronavirus?
Renee Warren: I’m an O.G. How am I doing? It’s interesting, I don’t know how to answer that only because there’s just so many people that are experiencing the worst days of their lives. And I mean, for me, it’s like this has obviously, it’s shook us up to the core. We’ve had friends whose cousins and relatives have passed away from this. Luckily for us, no one’s been directly affected. We’ve had friends that have filed for bankruptcy, friends that have been sued, friends that have laid off a hundred employees, people that have lost jobs, people getting sick. And I’m just super grateful and thankful for our health and that my family is together. Yeah so, how we’re doing, I think, in the grand scheme of things we’re doing really well.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Well, that’s good to hear I sometimes think the virus has a message for us, because it’s shining a light on all the things that aren’t working in our society. It’s shining a light on like wow, okay, you can actually see the sky now in LA because nobody’s driving or flying or whatever. You might be inadvertently solving climate change. What are some of the things that it’s making you re-examine, I guess, in your own life? Is there anything that this experience is showing you that was unexpected in your own life?
Renee Warren: How much I love my friends and family. When you’re physically taken away from them it hurts so much, and I feel like I’ve re-fallen in love with my husband all over again. I have probably never connected with my family so much than I have because of this, because they live far away. They’re a two hour flight away so we don’t get to see them very often, but realistically it wouldn’t have changed anything, but because we know we can’t actually get on a plane or drive to see them, we chat way more. I don’t think I’ve been busier in my life. I feel like I’m very strategically and honorably in a place of giving and I love this community that we’re in.
Renee Warren: I love the global community. Our community, Melinda, is some beautiful people, so I think it’s just opened up my eyes to how much love there really is around us, that there’s no other circumstance that we could have really seen this because this isn’t just like a 9/11 thing where it affects a few people. This is global, and to see what’s happening on the grounds across the world is just, it’s heartwarming. Just seeing all the people giving as much as they can with what they have and I think that we needed this.
Melinda Wittstock: Gosh, it’s true though, because it does make you value the things that are the most important. It’s forcing people to look within a little bit more. It’s certainly forcing a lot of business pivots. Right? Or just to re-examine what is it that actually really lights you up? I mean, I think so many people live a life of, should’s I call them, they’re doing the thing that they think they should do. And then now, everybody’s habits are changing. All the rules are being rewritten. It’s a really good opportunity to just double down on what it is you actually love to do, like what your unique kind of soul purpose is in life.
Renee Warren: Yes. There’s that, and there’s also a lot of it that’s missing. So, I think more now than ever, we’re seeing on the biggest level that human beings are creatures of connection. We need to physically be with other people, not just the people that we live our lives with, but physically with each other. And while platforms like Zoom do a great job in bringing people together, it’s has not anywhere near the same effect.
Melinda Wittstock: It really doesn’t. I feel like I’m talking to people way more than I did, but it’s also a little bit overwhelming. I feel like I’m constantly on Zoom. I’m constantly being bombarded with great information and great stuff and people are giving away amazing things. There’s so much going on, but wow, gosh, I… like you… have never been busier. And I don’t know, I get off some of those Zoom calls, I’m like, “Oh man, I think I need a nap.” It just feels super, super busy and a little bit overwhelming actually.
Renee Warren: Yeah. It’s just, and overwhelming from the sense like we just don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. We don’t know how long things are going to be in limbo. We don’t know what to expect. Could this get better? Could it get worse? Could there be a second wave? How many people are going to be affected by this financially, physically, mentally, socially? It touches every single facet of our life for everybody. There’s not a single person on earth that is not affected by this. For me, the gift in all of this is the connection. I’ve reconnected with pretty much all of my high school friends again. The gift, I think is, from my perspective, is the grace that we’ve given mother nature to see that they’re random wild animals roaming the streets of metropolitan cities because there’s no traffic and there’s no people, and then the emissions are down, and people can see the sky or the sun or whatever, and LA and the mountains in the background. It’s like what have we been doing this whole time? Why are we doing this?
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah, it’s a big wake up call. It’s kind of like mother earth saying, “You know what? We gave you a bunch of nudges, a bunch of warnings, you ignored them all and it had to get pretty bad for you to see.”
Renee Warren: I love it. So, there’s a lot of graphs going around, like memes about flattening the curve, and there was one I just saw the other day about flattening the curve of between the things that you want and the things that you need. And I thought that is so profound because the curve for the things you want is a huge hockey stick curve, right? It just goes way up. But what you really need is just a little inkling of that. And so, the perspective from, especially being a first world nation, a place of privilege that probably all of your listeners are, is we need to flatten the curve from the things that we want, from like the physical things that we want, because what we need, is not physical, unless it’s connection. What we need is to have great relationships, to have our health, to have our mental health, to have a place to sleep, to have the food that nourishes our body, the basic needs. Those are the more important things. Everything else is just gravy.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. And it makes you really realize just how grateful you are for things. I think people who are on that fast track of just accumulating things for the sake of accumulating things, or thinking that happiness was some sort of destination outside of themselves have an interesting challenge now because it’s really all that happiness comes from within.
Renee Warren: 100% yeah. I’ve never been more grateful for having to pack another school lunch.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, it’s funny because with the homeschooling thing, I really want to talk to you about this because you have, not only are you an entrepreneur obviously, you’ve got a business, you’ve got a lot of stuff going on, and you’ve got two young boys. Right? And suddenly you’re a homeschool. You’ve got all the other things. How are you managing with all of that?
Renee Warren: Well funny, is that my oldest son, Max, is seven. He’s in grade two. Noah is six, he’s in grade one. When this whole school thing came on our radar with the boys, we had actually elected to homeschool from the beginning. So, we did a year-long escapade into researching what it meant to homeschool. We interviewed all of the homeschooling friends that we knew, the experts who read all the books. We did all the research to set up for when September came, we were homeschooling our boys. So, it started with Max, and we lasted a whopping two months because it did not fit our lifestyle. We had these preconceived notions of what it meant. And to homeschool, quote homeschool, a five year old child is realistically, at the most, an hour worth of teaching a day. And that’s spread out over like three or four chunks. And so, it made me realize that the way that our old school system is created is very… It’s old first of all.
Renee Warren: It stems from the patriarchy, so we are essentially creating educated students based on jobs that existed a hundred years ago. Yeah, so it’s a glorified daycare, and I’m not disrespecting teachers at all because quite frankly, I think we’ve all learned very quickly how hard their job is. But at the end of the day, it’s really what it is. Because my kids go to school, I’m not going to sit at home for eight hours and teach them how to write in cursive or how to read another language or do math, because they’re not going to retain that information beyond anything that’s longer than 15 minutes. And now, all of a sudden there’s this kid that needs to be entertained and I have to go into meetings and I have to do this and do that. So, it didn’t work for us. But how it’s benefited us is that we were mentally prepared for all this and we had all of the books and resources we needed up until grade three.
Renee Warren: So, we’re set. And how we apply things for our family life, for our business life, and for homeschooling, it’s all very business oriented. It is routines and spreadsheets and Gantt charts, for us internally, and over communicating to the kids about setting expectations. Every day it’s over communicating. We have alarms on our phone. 9:00 AM is when homeschooling starts, when that thing goes off, TV’s off, whatever’s on if you’re playing, you’ve got to stop. We get to work. Now, on the days where they’re playing well or they’re really in the zone with whatever they’re doing and everything’s good, I’ll just hit snooze on that alarm and I’ll just let them continue playing. Because the thing about teaching at home and homeschooling at home, it’s not effective if you’re just taking what people do at school and bringing it home, it’s not going to work.
Renee Warren: There’s so many other intricacies about school. Think about like whatever, a seven hour day at school, the majority of that time isn’t spent sitting in a classroom and teaching or learning, it’s in transition. It’s lunchtime, it’s recess, it’s getting on the bus going home, it’s whatever. So for us, it’s like we made it work with regards to what works for us. So, what works for us isn’t necessarily going to work for you. When we know the basics of what my child needs to know to get to the next grade and to do the next grade comfortably, that’s all we’re focusing on. So for Noah, for instance, going into grade two, he needs to read up to level H in his French books and he needs to know the numbers to number 60. That is like the basics.
Renee Warren: I’m like, “Cool.” Then that’s all we’re going to focus on. Everything else is just gravy. That being said, it’s not easy. There’s some days when it’s like how do you not know what the number 16 looks like? Why is this so hard for you? And you get frustrated. So, we apply business like philosophies to our homeschooling life. We schedule an end. It’s the same time every single day. They have the same bedtime routine they did when they went to school so that they’re waking up at the same time, going to bed at the same time, and the expectations are set.
Melinda Wittstock: See, that’s so smart. In a way, what you’re describing is a really good entrepreneurial leader of a team.
Renee Warren: My kids might not say that.
Melinda Wittstock: I know, but if you can kind of manage and inspire and motivate, whether they’re toddlers or older kids or teenagers or whatever, I find as a mompreneur, in that sense, that my kids have made me better at leading and growing teams, and managing teams have made me a better mom. So, there’s a little bit of… Is there a kind of cross fertilization between that for you? You were mentioning that like as a family you do apply business metrics and things like that to the way you organize your day and your life.
Renee Warren: Oh yeah, 100%. My kids don’t really get it. And the way it works is, you have an employee that shows up to work and they’re like, “I don’t really feel like doing this today.” You’re kind of like, “Shut up honey. You got to get to work and you got to do it.” With young kids, you have to understand that regardless of the school, especially if these kids are grades kindergarten to grade three and four, is that they’re still learning about the life and the world around them without you actually teaching them. If all they learn is to cook an egg today, girl, you’ve accomplished something, because the life skills are just as important as math skills. So, they’re learning how to do their own laundry. They’re learning how to cook, how to cut vegetables with a really sharp knife. This is all education and stuff that we probably wouldn’t have had time to teach them otherwise.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. That’s so interesting. I think a lot of kids, there’s an opportunity here, particularly for entrepreneurial parents to really teach their kids a lot of entrepreneurial skills. I mean, just even the mental and emotional capacity to be able to handle change and uncertainty. How to create a positive, I guess, in that. I mean, that’s something that entrepreneurs, I think, are handling this crisis so differently because we’re wired to run towards problems and solve those problems and figure out solutions and whatever. Right? So, we’re sort of like born for this time. I think we’re generally adopting a little bit better to it because every day is uncertain and there’s all these things beyond your control.
Melinda Wittstock: So okay, so this is magnified like a hundred X that, but all the same, there’s a more of a mental or emotional preparation for it. And I think a lot of kids, like you were saying about school and that institution, it was created in a way to prepare them for either nine to five or the factory or whatever it was going to be, and not be able to really be necessarily resilient or think for themselves or innovate, like think outside the box. Do you think that this time will actually be beneficial in a weird way for kids in unexpected ways?
Renee Warren: 100%. I think it’ll allow the kids… I think parents are going to learn more about their children than they ever thought possible in all this. Being stuck with people 24/7 teaches you a lot about yourself, but about them. And I think it’s just really, it’s really looking at what’s important for them educationally. So, there’s the curriculum, there’s expectations of what they should know, and grades, and they should know this in grade nine and whatever, but is it really necessary? I think about my university days when it was like for me to graduate from my BA, I needed to have all of these courses and probably two thirds of which were useless rubbish that I paid thousands of dollars for just to get a degree that I’ll never use again. And that’s education? That’s stupid. That’s so stupid. It’s like hey, why didn’t anyone ever ask me what I really wanted to do with my life, ever?
Renee Warren: Never happened. It’s like here are the courses that are available at university, find something that’s interesting to you. Do the work to get into the school and then graduate. But no one ever had the time to just be like, “But Renee, what do you really want to do? Or if you don’t know, how would I help you figure it out?” And so, for my kids that are six and seven, it’s like what do you really want to learn today? So, there’s some things that are mandatory obviously when they’re that young, it’s learning how to read, learning how to write and their numbers and math.
Renee Warren: That is an absolute prerequisite in my books. Beyond that, it’s like you tell me. And so, yesterday we went off the beaten path. There was this book about the world atlas there and Max is like, “What is this about?” We opened it up, I was like, “Pick a page, honey, let’s get to work.” And it wasn’t perfect, but at the end of it, we both learned so much. Did you know in North and South America there’s a thousand languages?
Melinda Wittstock: Wow. I did not know that.
Renee Warren: Yeah. Did you know there’s 35 countries and at the time of the print there was 953 million people?
Melinda Wittstock: Wow.
Renee Warren: Okay, and then in Europe, this is weird. Europe, much bigger population, much smaller landmass, they only have something like 45 different languages. And I’m like, “Where are all these languages in the Americas?” So I mean, it’s stuff like that. Kids retain the information better A, when they’re not stressed, and when they’re learning something they’re interested in and they’re applying it.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. But what’s interesting about that too, is just following their natural curiosity and rewarding them for being curious. I think curious people are much more successful generally. I mean, it’s certainly necessary as an entrepreneur.
Renee Warren: Yeah. And as adults we always think curiosity is for kids, but some of the most intelligent, loving, profound adults I know are the most curious. And they know what they don’t know and they’re okay about admitting that, but they’re also okay in doing the work to figuring stuff out.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly, exactly. There’s so many opportunities in this. I mean, I think it’ll be interesting when kids go back to school, there’ll be a lot more questioning of it. Like wait a minute, why do we do it this way? This doesn’t make any sense. A lot of kids… I think my kids, my daughter is turning 17 in a couple of weeks and the fascinating thing about her is she’s a singer songwriter. This time has been perfect for her because she’s been able to set her own schedule. Her grades are better than they’ve ever been with much less work, with it taking up less of her time. She’s written 23 songs. She’s got a song called 17 and Quarantine.
Renee Warren: That’s awesome.
Melinda Wittstock: Which is really good actually. It is really. She actually is supposed to go into the recording studio and obviously that’s been postponed. But it’s been interesting because she’s in 11th grade, so next year for her senior year, she’s like, “Wait a minute mom, will I even be in school? Can I just be homeschooled? Do I need to go?” It’s fascinating to kind of watch how that’s all progressing. But Renee, it strikes me that you have the perfect business too, because you help all of these women deal with all of these things, and now it’s not a nice to have, it’s like a necessary. So, you have like a… I’ll call it a pandemic proof business, I guess.
Renee Warren: Yeah. So, I think the last time we spoke I was doing Family Academy, and that was a gift and a curse at the same time because it was something that people told me they wanted and needed, I just couldn’t figure out what the thing I was selling. So, while I made money, it wasn’t what I wanted to do. In that time though, I had interviewed over a hundred entrepreneurs, and mostly women, to ask them like, “What’s your biggest pain point in starting a business?” Or “Why haven’t you started one?” And I just found that there’s these women that, like there’s a lot out there to help first time female entrepreneurs take that first step, but the focus isn’t necessarily right. And so, that being said, it’s like hey, know how to grow your business on Instagram and get 10,000 followers, blah, blah, blah.
Renee Warren: That’s great, but there’s this whole thing pre-doing anything that’s called mindset that we need to work on. And the same can be said with homeschooling. If you want to be the best teacher for your children, hold the mirror up to yourself. Because if you’re not showing up to be the person that your kids need or your community needs, you will not be successful. And so, the same can be said with starting a business, is that you need to physically and mentally, emotionally show up to be the person that can withstand pandemics literally. Because we see it now, there’s people shutting their doors, filing for bankruptcy. Just magically losing all of their customers literally overnight.
Renee Warren: And it’s like what do you do? Are you going to give up or are you going to look at this from a different perspective? So, what I do is, I mean, before all this happened was really educating, inspiring and motivating women to take that first leap. So, the first step is idea to action. So, what’s your idea and let’s get some action around it. It doesn’t mean you’re launching a business. It’s you’re doing the very, very preliminary steps to get this thing out the door. So, there’s a lot of women that want that now.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so many women get stuck right there because they have this sneaking suspicion that they’re meant for more, that there’s something that they want to do. They have this dream but just don’t know where to start. Right? And underneath that, I find, is just that God, am I enough? Can I really do this? Because they look at other women and other women make it look easy from the outside. And we all know that it’s not, right? To get really authentic about it, God, being an entrepreneur is… There’s so many ups and downs and times when you just, you’ve got a hypothesis basically and you’re trying to find that product market fit and it just takes so many iterations often to get it right. And speaking as a serial entrepreneur, which for years actually my kids thought I ran the Cheerios company, and they were pissed that the prizes weren’t good enough.
Melinda Wittstock: But anyway, some of them fly and some of them don’t. And like how not to take that personally and how to just, again, it comes back to that curiosity and also self-acceptance. Yeah, so the mindset of doing that. So, you’re helping women now who, a lot yeah, there’s so much demand for that because everybody’s like, God, well I had this side hustle or I was thinking of doing this. What should I do? And then now, how to orient, I guess, to figure out how can you best be of service in these times. What’s a problem that you have unique expertise to go solve, right? So, I think it’s amazing that you’re doing that. So, when you talk to these women, what is the main thing you think that holds them back from action? Are they waiting for permission maybe?
Renee Warren: There’s a lot, but I know the one thing is a version of imposter syndrome, and this stems back thousands and thousands of years, believe it or not. So, the patriarchy has oppressed women, and men, forever. And because of that, we are born, women are born with the belief already that they are not good enough. They’re not good enough to ask for more money. They’re not good enough to launch their business. They’re not good enough to be the best mother that they think they could be. And that is deep. And that’s a lot of work. There’s so much trauma and so many triggers. It’s like for me, I see it in myself, is the moment that I start getting an inkling of success on something I pull back because in my mind I’m told that I don’t deserve that or that’s being too loud. That’s being too out there.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that is so common. It’s like a fear of success. It’s at the root of it maybe is like, okay, if I really succeed maybe no one will like me. Maybe I’ll be kicked out of the tribe. And literally that. Yeah?
Renee Warren: Yeah. And it’s tough because, I mean, oppression is a big deal, but I’m talking about not just women, I’m talking about pretty much everybody. Like I said, it affects men as well. So men, they don’t know it. They’re unconsciously also serving the patriarchy by doing things that they think they need to do or should do when they don’t want to. And it’s causing them to have many issues: mental issues, emotional issues, you name it. They’re, “Oh I’ve got to be this macho man and make all this money and drive all these nice cars,” or whatever it is, when inside they’re like, “I don’t want to do this.”. And so, I mean, there’s so much more, but for women, and I see this, is imposter syndrome is huge. And they don’t think that they’re good enough because they were maybe never believed in.
Renee Warren: They weren’t ever the top of their class in school. They were told once maybe they weren’t a good writer or they weren’t organized. And so for them, they take that internally and it stays there. And they’re like, “Well, maybe I’ll just dabble at something, but if I start making money from it, I don’t know, I don’t want to get too busy and it can’t consume my life because I’m not allowed to pursue that.” And so, we work through that. That is the first step. I don’t care how great your idea is and how much you’ve already validated it. We got to backtrack and just at least look at that. What’s under the hood in all of this? First of all, what’s the motivation? What work have you done? But what more needs to be done? And it’s not just two weeks of intense work. It’s every day.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, and it carries on too, because there’s layers and layers and layers of it, right? Like the more of this stuff you let go or clear out, whether it’s epigenetic, literally in ourselves, because we all have memories, epigenetic memories of the last time there was a pandemic or a depression or whatever. Right? Those things that where a lot of people are triggered right now because it’s not only just empirically what we’re experiencing and seeing, but we have an old memory of the same thing passed down generations and generations. Yeah, and it’s easy to be triggered by that.
Melinda Wittstock: So, it’s such an interesting time and opportunity to be able to let that stuff go and sort of accept it so you feel your feelings and triggers. What I’ve learned over the years is whenever I’ve been triggered, and I get triggered much, much, much less now, to actually sit there with it. What am I feeling? Okay, I’m feeling this, accepting the feeling and then just being willing to say, “Well, wherever it came from I don’t really need it anymore. So, I’m just going to let that go now.” And it’s actually, I’ve found, miraculously it’s that simple. It took me a while to get there to that realization, but it’s kind of like radically simple.
Renee Warren: Yeah, and I think with women is, there’s the big thing around this too, is our relationship with finances, with money, because historically, women weren’t ever the ones that really made the money. They give birth to the kids, they raised the kids, they kept the household, they made sure that the food is cooked and prepared and whatever. They never made the money. And all of a sudden we are, and there’s a huge opportunity equally men and women to make money. But going back thousands of years, there’s that trauma that sits in all of our DNA that makes us believe that that’s not our duty. And then on the other side of things too with men. It’s like men, it’s not their duty to stay at home to be with kids all day. And some men, they want to do that. A lot of men do. There’s stay at home dads that are just owning the process.
Renee Warren: But because of the way that the trauma has worked for so many years, they’re don’t. So, women are supposed to have the kids and stay at home. They’re supposed to look like they don’t have kids, but raise their kids. It’s just these expectations of us are so crazy. You need to break out of that. And so, for you to actually start a successful business, you have to look at your past trauma, and like you said, you have to sit with it and it’s so uncomfortable. You have to sit with why am I afraid to look at a spreadsheet? It’s not that you can’t understand it, but why won’t you look at it? Why won’t you look at your sales projections for the next three, six, nine months? Are you afraid you’re going to be successful? Why? Right?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, or even doing sales calls and not asking for the sale.
Renee Warren: Oh my God, exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Or not actually, or closing business and not actually sending the invoice. I mean, it shows up in all kinds of ways. And I joke that if you want great therapy just become an entrepreneur, because these things will come up and they’ll trigger in the process. And so, just getting that mindset around that every stage of a business too, I mean even into you get there, they get launched, they get into the kind of early six figures, higher six figures, and then into seven figures. Only 3% of women make it to seven figures which is crazy, it needs to change. But you have to be like a different person at each step of the way. So, you master one thing and then suddenly it’s like you’re on a trapeze and you’ve got to let go of a bar and grab the other bar and go totally to completely new skills. So, it’s just like constant change and it does require, as you say, it’s like a rewiring of the brain in a way.
Renee Warren: 100%. It’s like the person you are today when you’re starting your business, is not the person you need to be when you’re making the first six figures. Then the seven figures, because… I mean, you look at any startup or business for the most part that’s done incredible on like a series A or B around, or have been acquired, the founding team is often not there anymore because they’re the startup guys that are coding lines of code in the back room. They don’t have the business sense, and that’s okay. They’ve built a very successful company. But the person that needs to drive that business is somebody who can understand that position, because it’s very different. And so, that’s another thing that holds women back is, how many women are multimillionaires or billionaires that are still founders that are in the driving seat? I can think of one.
Melinda Wittstock: Very few, very few. And do you even want to be? I mean, some people are, yeah, as you say, natural starting people and other people there’s a certain point where, “Okay yeah, so I’m just going to hire a CEO. I’ll be the owner.” Or you exit and you keep a piece of the company and let someone else grow it. I mean, so there’s so many different ways to know, but it does require a real self awareness. And sometimes it’s really hard to know until you go through and walk that path.
Renee Warren: And walking that path is defining what success means on your terms, not in anybody else’s terms. I’m not saying don’t ask your mom what that means or your husband or your best friend. It’s like what does that mean to you? Because success is personal, right? So, some people will be like, “Oh, it’s me making $2 million a year and traveling,” and that’s great, but don’t expect that that’s the success of what that means for the person next to you. Because for me, it means I’m with my family and we’re all healthy and we have a roof over our head and we can visit our family that lives far away without having to worry about finances. That, to me, is success. Right? So, when you start your business, if you’re going into it just to make money, then you should just do MLM or invest in the stock market. Don’t even bother. But if you’re actually going into it because you’re solving somebody’s problem and you want to change the world, then that’s a different reason.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, you need a burning mission. So, I love when Mary Morrissey says, “Stay focused on the vision, not the circumstance.” That’s the best quote for right now in the situation that we’re in. It’s a beautiful quote because the vision, I mean, to succeed as an entrepreneur, you really need to know where that North Star is and it does require like tremendous self-awareness and growing self-awareness, but that kind of vision because the circumstance is going to change. You’re going to get blown off course or just… I like to use the sailing metaphor, where it’s actually impossible to sail in a straight line. It’s impossible. You can reach your destination, but the winds are going to change and you’re going to have to tack and jibe, right, to get there. Just recognize focusing on what you can control and the stuff you can’t, it’s how you choose to be, I think, in that circumstance.
Melinda Wittstock: One of my mentors has always said to me, “act, don’t react.” So when we’re in fear or uncertainty, which is really easy to be in right now, we can either make bad decisions or freeze in place and make none. And the most important thing is just that yeah, to be so in touch with who you are and what you want and all of that, which is a real process. So, what you do, Renee, for women in this stage is so important and so important right now. I want to make sure that everybody who’s listening to this podcast knows where to find you and how to work with you, because you have so many insights, not just the homeschooling thing, but for women who maybe they’re sitting at home, they can’t go to work and they didn’t really like their job that much anyway. Right? It’s a real opportunity right now.
Renee Warren: I hope there’s a lot of those women out there. So, my website is wewildwomen.com.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that name.
Renee Warren: Yeah, and I just want to add to this too, that I was one of those, I think, 3% or some percent. I ran an agency that made over a million dollars, and it was great. Again, when I look at what success meant for me, it wasn’t that at all because that took me away from my newborn babies. So, my two boys are 11 months apart, and I launched the business when I was eight months pregnant with my first son. So, there was a lot that was happening and if you were to ask me under any circumstances to recall any point of those first two years, I wouldn’t. It was a black hole. But that being said, I know how to make babies and grow businesses, I failed to recognize what I wanted because I just kind of went with the flow.
Renee Warren: I didn’t put the goals out there, but we surpassed that financial threshold. And what got us there too was, it was interesting, and I wrote this down because I kind of wanted to mention this earlier, was the fear of asking for the sale is, I think, is like a pandemic in itself and especially for women. Not only that, but when you get past that is the fear for asking what your worth, it runs so deep. So, one story for me is, now in business, typically a service based business, if you get so busy that you quote “have a waiting list of people that want to work with you” is a big indication you should raise your prices. And we were doing so well with our… so I ran a PR agency… that we were on sales calls all the time and closing like 80% of our deals, that I was like, “Okay, we need to raise our prices.”
Renee Warren: And at this point we didn’t know how to do that. What does that mean? How do you break down the raising your price? So, I remember having this conversation with my husband the day before going into a sales call, and he goes, “Just raise your price.” And I was like, “By how much?” He goes, “You’ll figure it out.” So, we’re on the call with my business partner at the time, this one particular package was like five K a month, and it was a six month retainer. And he goes, “Okay, this sounds really good. It’s exactly what we need. So, what is this going to cost me?” And I remember pausing and looking her in the eye and we’re both kind of shaking, and her and I had the conversation about raising prices, but we never exactly determined by how much. And he’s like, “What’s this going to cost me?” And I said, “Oh, it’s 10K a month and it’s a six to 12 month retainer.” And he goes, “Cool, sign me up.” And I’m like, “What the fff?”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, isn’t that amazing when-
Renee Warren: He ended up being the best client, and it was within two weeks he was now paying us 22K a month, because we added on a couple other things and the value was there for him.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. So, it’s interesting though too that people who are paying more also value it more.
Renee Warren: 100%, and one of the best clients that worked with us pretty much for four years. So, the whole point of this is ask for what you know your worth. Don’t be outrageous because you won’t make a sale, but people pay attention to what they pay for. And if you’re selling a amethyst crystal online and you know that it does X, Y, Z for you, and most people are selling it for 50 then why aren’t you selling it for 80 or 100 dollars? So, people pay attention to what they pay for. So, women and men out there, know your worth and charge it, please charge it.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s such good advice. We talk about this a lot on the podcast because that’s like a real, I don’t know, recurring thing for women and it’s all tied up in our self-worth and what we perceive, and just everything that you’ve said, Renee, and this is a beautiful conversation. I could talk to you for a long, long, long time, but thank you so much for what you’re doing in the world. And again, just give out that website again so people can find you.
Renee Warren: Yeah, it’s wewildwomen, so E-N for women, dot com.
Melinda Wittstock: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Renee Warren: Thanks, Melinda.