If you’ve reached a point in your entrepreneurial journey where you feel like your business isn’t allowing you to live the life you want, you may need to give it an electric shock in the form of Vanessa Zamy, also known as The Business Defibrillator!
Inspired by Rich Dad, Poor Dad, armed with expertise that she acquired from working in the corporate world, and driven by her deep desire to help mom-and-pop business owners thrive, Vanessa founded Your Vision’s Catalyst; a coaching service that revitalizes finances, operations, and marketing for businesses that are making between $75K and $250K.
Are you ready to transition from bottleneck to breakthrough? Tune in today to hear the process Vanessa goes through to ensure that she meets each business owner’s unique needs, the importance of mindset, and why entrepreneurship is a catalyst for authenticity.
What You’ll Learn On This Episode:
- [02:02] Vanessa explains how she acquired the nickname, The Business Defibrillator
- [03:01] An overview (and some examples) of the process Vanessa goes through to assist business owners in taking their business to the next level
- [08:15] Exploring the mindset element of Vanessa’s work
- [11:01] Important lessons from The 4-Hour Workweek and Change Your Questions, Change Your Life
- [13:17] Why Vanessa recommends seeing a life coach before attending her coaching sessions
- [18:14] Why Vanessa only works with business owners in a particular income bracket
- [22:17] The story of how Vanessa became a mom-and-pop business coach
- [28:28] How entrepreneurship facilitates authenticity
- Learn more about the TRANSCEND Community
- Get the New Business Checklist for free
- Need help forming your LLC in California? Check out From Me to LLC
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- Change Your Questions, Change Your Life
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
Connect With Us:
- On Instagram | @ashawilkersonesq
- On Facebook | @ashawilkersonesq
- Connect with Asha on LinkedIn!
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Connect with Vanessa Zamy:
- On LinkedIn | Vanessa Zamy
- On Facebook | Vanessa Zamy
- Twitter | @ZamyVanessa
- Instagram | @zamyvanessa
- YouTube | The Business Defibrillator
- Website | yourvisionscatalyst.com
[0:00:03.3] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. Here’s the thing, the wealth gap in America is consistently increasing and while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle could change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. I’ve run my own law firm for over 10 years and in that time, I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.
[0:00:47.5] AW: This episode of the podcast is definitely one you won’t want to miss! Today, I’m talking with Vanessa Zamy, who calls herself The Business Defibrillator. She talks about how to move through that stuck stage in your business where you were growing and now you spent a couple of years at the same revenue or you’re not, it’s not getting lower but it’s not getting bigger either.
This is a great episode, tune in. I guarantee she’s going to drop some gems and you will enjoy and also, don’t forget to share this episode on social media or via text to your favorite friend and business owner if you like it and want to spread the word. Thank you.
[0:01:22.1] AW: Alright, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. I am so excited to have a special guest here today, who is also another business coach, which is absolutely fantastic. I am here with Vanessa Zamy. Did I pronounce that right? I should have asked you before I got started.
[0:01:39.6] VZ: Yes, you did pronounce it right. Vanessa Zamy, yes.
[0:01:43.4] AW: Awesome. Welcome, Vanessa. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.
[0:01:46.3] VZ: I’m happy to be here, yes.
[0:01:48.7] AW: So I’m excited to dive into your story but the first thing I have to ask you is, The Business Defibrillator, how did you come up with that? That’s catchy, I’m going to remember that, what makes you The Business Defibrillator.
[0:02:02.0] VZ: That is such a great question. So, my clients call me The Business Defibrillator because I help bring life back to them in their business and in an ideal scenario, you know, the businesses that I work with, they are making their low six figures but they’re not at the financial freedom that they thought they would have when they started the business 10, five, 15 years ago.
So, an ideal scenario though, they would reach out to me, they would come into the hospital for their check up and all would be good, right? But usually what happens is people wait until sort of the last call, people wait until they’re on their hospital bed and their business just needs a great old shock. So I provide free electric shocks to these local community businesses to help them survive, grow and scale their business without the burnout, sleep deprivation or meditation.
[0:02:44.7] AW: I like it. I like it. They’ve been in business for a while and like, “Man, I’m moving along, this is not what I thought it would be, I’m ready to kind of give it up,” and they find you and you shock some life back into the business. So what are the things that you’re looking at when they’ve hit that plateau or that wall and they’re not sure where to go?
[0:03:01.2] VZ: Yes and the thing about it is that what I look at, the first part I look at is their vision. So I’m looking at, where do they ultimately want to go? Because even though, you know, financial freedom looks like different things for different people. A lot of my clients are in their mid-50s and so they’re thinking about retirement from the perspective of like, “I’m a business owner so I should be already, you know, able to vacation wherever I want to go and spend time with my grandkids and I’m not,” right?
But it looks like different things for different people and so looking at what’s their vision and then from there, I then explore, “Okay, what is their current state?” and the current state that I’m looking at, I’m looking at all areas of their business. Including, I look at the marketing, their sales, their leadership or lack thereof, their finances and also their systems within all those different areas and then what I do is I help them craft the right strategy, a customized strategy, a personalized strategy relative to their current state and their vision state and to fill in that gap from where they are now to where they ultimately want to go with their business.
So for example, one client, she’s going off to Portugal now next month and – but she has a bar in California and she had that bar for 12 years. When she came to me though, she was at a place where she was making the same income, great income, like a great business income, right? For people who are not making any money in their business, you would look at my clients and be like, “But they do so great, why do they need help?” and it’s because they’re not doing as great as they know they can do, right?
So and also, when you hit that stuck amount and you’re at a business and you’re like, “Okay, I want to keep growing though. Like, let’s get back to growth,” and so a lot of my clients want to get back to that growth and for her specifically though, she was looking at also expanding internationally and she want to be in a place where she could, you know, go back to Portugal and visit for a couple of months and still have her bar in California, still producing income, still growing, all that jazz.
So for her, we did a lot of work on one, the financial magic component of the business and then two, getting her leadership and her hiring in place, so that she could, you know, leave, like physically herself leave the business and go somewhere else and still have the business operate and run while she’s away.
[0:04:50.8] AW: Yeah, that’s beautiful. I mean, on so many levels, one, California, which is where I am so hey. Two, Portugal, I love it. I think I kind of want to move there myself like yes, and three, I like what you said too that it’s not necessarily about the income. I mean, you’re working with people who have an income but it’s whatever their stuck point is.
So someone may be stuck at a 100k in revenue and someone else may be stuck at 300k in revenue but the point is that they’re feeling stuck and they’re not sure how to move out and I love them you take that back to what the vision is because if you don’t have a vision, how do you move forward or you don’t know where you’re moving forward to?
[0:05:23.3] VZ: Exactly. That’s the thing, it’s like, they don’t know where they’re moving forward to and also for me, as someone who is, I’m trying to like, as you probably know as a business coach yourself, right? It’s helpful for me when I’m coming up with a strategy for my clients to say, “Where do they ultimately want to go?” Because there’s so many different ways to, you know, be a leader, to do your marketing, to different systems that you can implement, right?
Even one, if I’m working, if I have two clients, you know, two bars, what I’m going to tell one bar is going to be completely different from what I tell another bar and likely because, why? They have different visions, different current states, right? And so ultimately, it’s really understanding, where’s their vision? Where they ultimately want to go, right? Whereas, if that client has said, “You know, I just want to be in a place where the business is growing but I’m still there,” right?
If that’s her next step, we would be having a whole different conversation, right? Portugal, wouldn’t have been in the discussion, right? Her team would look a little bit, probably quite different than it does now in terms of keeping our business going and growing so to speak, right?
Another client of mine, she has a home décor business in Michigan and for her, when she came to me, she was – she sent me that Facebook message, “Help,” because she was on the hospital bed. If only, if only she came in beforehand but ultimately, she had been following me for a while, trying to do the stuff on her own and, you know, that was great and dandy and that she found herself not getting the return that she wanted and she was like, “I hired this marketing agency, it’s not getting me back to the growth,” and she had been in the business actually for 13 years at that time and she had been at that low six figure range and she was like, hitting the same amount for the past three years.
And that’s when she was like, “Okay, like, I try to do this all on my own,” but she was at some point just hemorrhaging money, just losing money and for her though, her vision though because she has a lovely supportive husband, they’re looking to expand their real estate with fix and flips as well too and she also, you know, at the time, her daughter who is helping her with marketing was also looking, was pregnant. She was about to, you know, produce a grandchild in the family.
And so, it was all these different pieces come into play where her next step look a little different where ultimately, yeah, she does want to go eventually, you know, be on the international trip with her husband but first, you know, having the time and flexibility to work on her other projects while still having the main project still going, the home décor business, while still then, you know, taking advantage of all the other properties that they have in their asset portfolio as well. So for people that just looks a little different.
[0:07:37.6] AW: Right, absolutely and I also appreciate what you’re talking about, you’re talking about people who have been in business for multiple years, right? It’s not just the new folks, there’s a lot of marketing of course to new folks who need business coaches but people who have been in business for a while also take advantage of business coaches because life happens, business happens, right?
You might need that expertise to get you through to that next step. So my next question is about how much mindset work do you do with people?
[0:08:05.6] VZ: Yeah, so the mindset work I do a lot of, I just don’t advertise it as much, right? Because as you probably know, entrepreneurs don’t like to hear that word. They’re like, “What is that word, okay?” But ultimately, I’d like to say, it’s 20%, the work that I do is 20% strategy, 80% mindset and so because what I could do is – what I do is, rather, I get people distracted. I give them the clear plan, the clear path forward, the action items, the next steps, the recommendations and then they gotta do the things and that’s when a lot of stuff comes up.
Like for example, even the financial management piece, right? And so, I’ll help clients with that whereas looking at, “Okay, yes, your business is making, you know, almost $400,000 per year but you’re still hustling, why? Because you’re not looking at your money or even paying yourself. So let’s do that.” Like and but then all this stuff comes up around, “Oh but if I pay myself, my business will lose money,” and it’s like, “What?” So we go through a whole lot of stuff around like money and money mindset as well, right?
Other times, it’s a leadership thing and leadership discussions, like when a client has to do a lot of work around even just – because a lot of my clients at the stage that they are, you know, making the six figures, in their mind, yes, they understand the power of outsourcing and delegating. They have a team in the store or in the restaurant or in the salon doing stuff and doing other things.
So like, yes, they have that first step, whereas new entrepreneurs tend to not even like, think about it. They’re like, “I could do this myself,” right? Whereas the people in their early six figures, like, they understand. They probably already have a staff of people but then, the question is, are they leading their staff in the right way, right? Which then, takes it to account, just different leadership stuff in terms of you know, “Okay, your employees are unruly. Your employees are leaving.” Like, you know, I have one client who was like, “Oh yeah, but that’s just the industry, that’s the industry.” I’m just like, “No, that’s not the industry, that’s you.”
So then, we go into all those different pieces, right? And then, I take that messy stuff and turn it into strategy and I always taking it into, turn it into action items for my clients and that’s what they appreciate because it is mindset but then it’s like, next steps to improve that mindset, next steps to improve the situation in the scenario and tangible things that they can do, so that they can keep moving forward on their vision.
[0:10:08.1] AW: Yeah, that made me think of a couple of different things. A couple of weeks ago, I said I feel like I don’t, in one of my business coaching containers where I was being coached, I was like, “I don’t think I need more mindset right now, I need more strategy, I need like, something tangible to do,” and my coach was like, “I hear you but also, mindset is strategy,” and I was like, “Yeah-yeah-yeah, okay,” and then a couple of days later, it sunk in, right?
Getting your mind right is a part of building your business and people are talking about it more now. We weren’t talking about this five years ago in entrepreneurship or 10, definitely not 10 years ago. So I appreciate that learning how our brains work and it being okay to say, “I don’t have it all together in my brain just yet, I might be to get some accountability or some coaching or guidance to move forward on that so that I can implement these other pieces of the strategy.”
Like financial strategy, like sales strategy, like marketing strategy. The other two things I thought about are years ago, I read, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. I read it way too early but when you’re talking about managing employees and sometimes we’re standing in our own way of getting the best out of the people who are supporting us and in that book, Tim at the time ran a supplement company and he was spending, I don’t know, I think he said like, 20 hours a day, 19 hours a day on email and then he realized the questions that he was asking or answering had to do with, like, returns.
Customers were unhappy and the cost was like $10, right? The average cost was $10 or below $10 and so he empowered his call center staff to make any decision that they needed to, to satisfy their customer as long as that cost and amount is more than $10 and that greatly freed up his time. And it can be little decisions like that, that we’re keeping for ourselves and if we just empower those who are working for us or at least, one other person to make that decision, we eliminate some of that bottle neck.
So learning how to work with your staff is super important and then yeah, absolutely, and then, the third thing I was thinking of was I recently read this book called, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, and it is written for business leaders, which I guess we all are and it was the synopses associated like, my takeaway from it was this leader was leading this team and he felt like he had to have all the answers and so, when he would go into the team meetings, he was frustrated because the team wasn’t performing like they were at his last job.
But instead of asking his team and working with his team and getting information from his team, he would shut down suggestions and it was circular because the way that he would respond meant also that his team wasn’t making suggestions. So he thought his team was just disinterested, not working, kind of dumb because they weren’t coming up with ideas but by his attitude towards them, because he was carrying this chip on his shoulder or this assumption where he felt like he had to have the answers, he also wasn’t inviting their response because it wasn’t a safe space.
So all that to say, when you start managing people, there are a lot of things to look at when you are building out your team and you’re wondering why people just won’t get on board or why it’s not working, it’s probably you.
[0:13:19.0] VZ: That is true, that is true and the way I think about it is that even like, some people will come at the beginning stage, not in the beginning stage but they’ll just come to me and be like, “Hey Vanessa, I want to work on this and this and this and that,” and there are sometimes when I won’t even recommend people do business coaching with me. I’ll just say, “Here’s a life coach, I got about three to five options for you. Hit them up, do that work first, right? And then, come to me.” Because as a business consultant, as a business consultant, it’s like, yes, there are mindset stuff that we do and for those listening, I don’t know what stage of business that you’re in but guess what?
When you’re at a billion dollars, a million dollars or hundred thousand dollars or $10,000, there’s going to be mindset stuff, right? It’s not a, “Oh, I do it for the first year of business and then I don’t have to work on mindset, the end.” That’s not a thing. So just FYI, right? So ultimately, the mindset work is a forever thing. There are some people though who need to do even more trauma, grief work and I have them do that first before they then, you know, work on their business because you don’t want to bring that energy into your business when you’re actually trying to grow to the next level. So yeah.
[0:14:17.7] AW: Yeah, absolutely and I think the thing that I’m like really realizing now and that’s really sinking in is that, there isn’t a final destination to mindset work or working on your brain or working on your attitude or working on your emotion or your spirit or whatever it is. We are dynamic people and there’s always things that are going to come in and out of our lives, people that come, situations that come, instances that come in and out, and so mindset, it’s like going to the gym, right?
You don’t go to the gym once and think that now you’re going to be fit for the rest of your life. We understand that it’s a continuous process. Mindset is the same thing, and it’s not bad. I feel like a lot of us have, “Oh, I got to do mindset work.” Even myself, I’m like, “Oh God, I gotta get my mind right,” right? But my mind is a part of me so why don’t I just accept that my mind is going to take work just like my body is going to take work. I don’t know, what do you think about that?
[0:15:03.6] VZ: I completely agree with you. It is a one of the things where your mind, body and soul are in – actually, I’ll take a step back with this. What I always tell people in my workshops is that, you are the core of your business, right? As a business owner, you are the core of your business and so if you don’t show up for your business, no one else will but ultimately also, if you don’t show up optimally for your business, your business will not show up optimally for the rest of the world, for your leads, for your clients, for your customers, for, you know, the traffic coming to your website, for whatever it might be.
So as the core of your business, it is important and necessary to ensure that that core is nice and tight, okay? And so, whether it be your core or whatever it may be, but assure that that core is nice and tight so that you can show up the best way you can for the potential people who can become your customers and clients and for your actual customers and clients as well too, so they can feel better about you and your business.
[0:15:53.3] AW: I 100% agree with that. So let’s talk a little bit more about the businesses that you helped. So I know you have an income range between 75k and about 250, why is it that you’re working with businesses in that range?
[0:16:06.4] VZ: Yes, so I’m working in businesses in that range and so and I’ll a step back here. So I call my clients local Laura. I also work with local Laurence’s sometimes but we’ll say local Laura. So local Laura is the way I describe her, she’s in her mid-50s, you know, but she looks like she’s in her 40s. She has a lot of life left in her and she has this business that she’s had for eight years and unfortunately though, she had a point where she is an empty nester.
She has a very supportive partner but her business is not in the financial freedom stage that she thought it could be or it should be at the point of eight years of business and still, you know, making the six-figure income that she wanted it to make and what’s happening is that behind closed doors, local Laura is tossing and turning at night because she’s just like far from the financial wealth that she wants, far from the financial freedom that she thought she could have.
You know, far from just the idea of really true success that she wants in her business and for her grandkids also, right? It is not even just about her and her spouse, it was also about the kids and her grandkids and generations to come and the thing about it is that that’s causing local Laura heart wrenching stress but she’s really great at keeping a straight face, you know, to the customer and the clients but behind closed doors, she’s uncertain about getting the ideal sort of customers.
I say it to say, someone in the early stages of business maybe like, “I feel like I am facing the same challenge,” but the thing about it is that at the six-figure business range, they also sometimes will face that same challenge and usually what’s happening is that they were getting to a place where their energy and their mind was impacting who was coming in the door and who wasn’t coming in the door.
They’re also at the same time they’re frustrated because they’re not hitting, they keep hitting the sales peak year after year after year and they wanted – they know their business can make more and they’re also discouraged because they’re just like, “Okay, will I ever be able to just take a vacation?” Right? Because their staff is unreliable, they’re like, “Is it going to be possible for me to just go off and be free and still have the business going?”
So all of these uncertainty and frustration and discouragement, what happens to local Laura is that that’s why she ends up on the hospital bed and she just goes, “Okay, The Business Defibrillator,” and I enter with the defibrillator and like, you know, or whatever the sound is, right? And then helping Laura get that increased door traffic, increased sales and get that loyal intelligent team.
The reason why I say it’s 75 to 250k is ultimately that’s the sweet spot of the businesses that are ready to do what they need to do to get to that next level in their business, right? They are ready and able and they love it, right? They are in a place where they’ve experienced success to some extent. They have experienced success to some extent and even though its not where they know they could be but there is certainly some level of success and so they’re hungry for more and they have the energy and passion in them and I love working with them.
It’s great but also at the same time, usually my clients, what happens is that they’re at the space where they are thinking about the future. It is not just about, you know, “How do I get this house now?” Right? But it is, “How do I get that third, fourth, fifth investment property? How do I ensure that this is a wealth business?” The wealth business versus the get rich business is two different things and so there’s also that different mindset that they are approaching it as well too.
Which is why I appreciate working with local Laura and then ultimately, what it comes down to, as you probably read in the description, I help mom-and-pop shops, I help brick-and-mortar businesses and those are a lot of businesses that are not getting helped, right? You have the online businesses, the digital nomads, they’re like all those, a lot of my peers and creditors are working with those sides of businesses, which is great. Awesome, love it.
But there are also mom-and-pop shops and small businesses that you know, not a 100% of them even businesses that make it past 10 years not a 100% of them make it to 15, 20, 25. It is not because they didn’t want to, it is not because they can’t, it is because they ultimately had a problem that they didn’t turn into a question that if they had, they would have then been able to really take their business to the next level.
So I help these brick-and-mortar businesses multiply their revenue by revitalizing their business’s finances, operations and marketing so that that business owner can get towards that wealth producing business portfolio and retire comfortably and have that financial freedom that they’ve always wanted that they can have as well. And so for me, it’s just like a really soft spot for the mom-and-pop shops and so yeah, that’s where I come from.
[0:20:10.7] AW: Yeah, I like it. I mean, it makes sense that your business is going to look different after eight years or ten years and if you’ve been doing it the same way for the past eight or ten years, you may need a spark from the outside to think it, to be able to look with different eyes about what changes to make inside the business, right? I’ve been doing the same workout for the last – this isn’t actually accurate but let’s say I have been doing the same workout for the last three years, so I am going to get the same results that I’ve always gotten.
But if those results aren’t what I want anymore, then I am going to need to change it up and sometimes that’s hard to do when you’re in the middle of your own business and I love also that you work with the brick-and-mortars, like don’t forget the brick-and-mortars. You’re right, everybody is trying to be online and that’s where I try to hangout, I like that but the brick-and-mortars are important too.
So does it matter where they’re located? You mentioned, I think you said Michigan and California, can you work with anybody all across the US or internationally even?
[0:21:03.9] VZ: Exactly, yeah. So I do work with clients throughout the globe, most of my local Laura clients are within the US. So I have my local community businesses accelerator, which is a three-month program where I work with these businesses to help them increase their sales by 50% and we also do all a bunch of other work that we talked about here on this lovely episode.
But ultimately, if need be, like for example, I did go in person to visit a client. I hopped on a plane, flew on over a couple of weeks ago and I went to go see her in person because that was what was needed to ensure that we took the next step with her business and based on her portfolio of what she needed for me to understand as well too. So I do the work that needs to get done and most of my clients, so we do work virtually.
But I will do an onsite visit, if I need to do an onsite visit but everyone within my local community business accelerator, they get access to me as their trusted strategic business adviser and they get that one-on-one attention, that customized, tailored support and I am happy to provide it. I am happy to provide it, yes.
[0:21:59.3] AW: I love it. I mean, it is obvious that you are passionate about it and love what you do. So how did you even get into this, how did you become a business coach?
[0:22:07.5] VZ: Yes, so ultimately, I’ve actually answered this question multiple times today surprisingly but I don’t know why, it seems to be the day.
[0:22:14.0] AW: Not with me yet.
[0:22:14.9] VZ: Yeah, not with you, no. It seems to be like the origin story day I guess but ultimately, what happens is that so I was doing my corporate job. So I was in corporate strategy helping Fortune 500 companies make their millions and billions. So I was doing consulting, helping different industries from retail to manufacturing to financial services to consumer packaged goods and then I spent essentially the last two years of my corporate career at a retail apparel company specifically.
While I was there, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and that was a book that introduced me into just how accessible entrepreneurship was. So I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family background. It was very much so, I was like, “Oh yeah,” like and I wasn’t actually, I was in Oakland, I lived in Oakland at the time when I had this, when I read this book and I was on the bar actually reading the book but –
[0:22:55.4] AW: That’s so local like you really lived here.
[0:22:57.5] VZ: Yes, I was on the bar, the public transit for those who don’t know it in Oakland reading that book to from work and this was pre-pandemic and ultimately it was in reading that book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, that I realized that entrepreneurship wasn’t just for people in Tesla in Palo Alto and so it was also for pretty much everyone around the country at least in America, at the very least.
So that was what inspired me to say, “Okay, maybe this whole entrepreneurship thing is the path for me because this corporate world, I was like, man, I was moving on up but it was a struggle of a chess game. I was like, “Oh my god, this cannot be my life for the next 30, 40 years please,” so that’s when I read the book and the book happened upon my lap. Someone, the VP at a company shared it with me. I was like, “Oh my god.”
So I read that book and it wasn’t until a couple of months later that I actually woke up with the idea of my company, Your Vision’s Catalyst, through which it is the umbrella consulting company that I used to consult my clients. I use the tagline, The Business Defibrillator, as a way to reach out to them but ultimately, Your Vision’s Catalyst, that came to me in a trance when I was in Oakland, Rockridge neighborhood and the sun was coming up on a Sunday morning and I woke up with the sun.
I grabbed my laptop, started typing away and three hours later, I looked up from my laptop and I looked back at my laptop and I was like, “Oh snap, I have a business plan.” So I had the mission, the vision, the pillars and less than a month later, the logo was up, the colors, the website, all the things were already there, registration, all the stuff. You know, California business registration is a whole other story but I had all of that set up within a month.
I was like, “Okay, time to get clients. Now, I kept my day job intentionally while doing my business in the beginning stages. I recommend that for everyone but ultimately, that was the decision that I made and I saw other people in my line items and budgets that I had to send money to. So I was like, “Cool, we’re just going to try to keep calm, you know, stay calm.” Keep still and stay calm, and so I kept my day job while doing my business.
Then also I made that full-time transition but yeah, that was how that happened. So pretty much what I do for my business now is I apply the corporate strategy problem solving that I was doing from Fortune 500 companies and I apply that to these small businesses.
[0:24:51.4] AW: Yeah, that’s awesome. I feel like I mean, you work in my backyard. I love it, so it’s like a movie scene, reading the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, on the bar, right? And then watching the sun come up in your Rockridge neighborhood as you’re typing, like I can totally see it. I can totally picture the scene and it sounds so inspiring. So that’s awesome, thank you for sharing that journey.
And also the other thing too is it sounds like you were in a position where you sort of waited for the vision to come to you. It doesn’t sound like you forced it. I think that’s beautiful. That’s a beautiful way to start because I believe that entrepreneurship is one of the fastest ways to transform our personal economic situation but also that of our families and then our communities and oftentimes, a lot of people start a business because of the passion. Other people start a business because they want to have the money.
But there is something about waiting for the right timing when those things like passion, money and just the opportunity or the inspiration come together because this journey is not easy and it is not for the faint of heart but it is also hard to be working in corporate. It is also hard to be, you know, working per hour for somebody else. So you just have to choose your heart and know that it gets romanticized but there are some very real situations, mindset, just problems, just life, like life will be life and so it will happen in entrepreneurship and you got to work through that too. So when you are committed to the big vision, then it is much easier to get through.
[0:26:16.5] VZ: Yeah and the first six months, there was imposter syndrome, doubt, there was like, oh my gosh, shiny object syndrome, ooh my goodness girl. And then, I found the online space of like I started my business off I was like, “I’m not going to go online. I am a private person,” and then when the pandemic happened, I was like, “So you want to stop your business or do you want to go online?”
So I said, “Okay, cool, I guess I am going online.” This is me speaking to myself and then yeah, then I went online and then all the ads started popping up on Facebook for all these 15 million different things and I was like, “Okay,” and so I invested. I made the investments on, so yeah, I mean lots of things. It’s been definitely, the name of my show is called Entrepreneurship is a Marathon, it has been a marathon.
It has been indeed and the marathon continues. It keeps on going because the journey doesn’t end. The journey doesn’t end.
[0:27:00.0] AW: Right, you mentioned something, you mentioned imposter syndrome, self-doubt and you know, this audience is primarily business owners of color, black and mixed business owners, probably primarily women in terms of the listenership and so there is an extra layer on top of just entrepreneurship being a personal challenge. There is an extra layer, so do you have any advice for women of color or either maybe just someone who is not a white man, I guess really, right?
Because I want to be inclusive in terms of what the non-dominant experiences are and how that just adds a layer that you have to work through and find your confidence in as you are building this thing that is going to be your business.
[0:27:37.6] VZ: So the thing that pops up for me, a few things there, is the white man authenticity and vulnerability. So first, I am going to address the white man comment because funny you mention that because when I was in corporate, my statement that I used, I said WWWMD, “What would white men do?” And so I made a decision, my choices, my strategies, my intentions was all like, “Okay, what would white men do?” and then I put a little, you know, color buffer on it.
Like, “Oh but wait, I have a frill, so let me buffer that a little bit real quick,” and I am in the Bay Area, so let me buffer that a little bit but ultimately, when I just started entrepreneurship and business and why we bring up authenticity is that once I flag, whenever I reach that point, I was like, “Oh my god, this is the quadrant for me,” this B and I quadrant, this business and investment quadrant is where I belong.
Okay, so I was certain of that. Now, how would that enter that quadrant? Well, that would come in the whole trends a couple of months later but I was certain that that was the like where I belong and what I found so beautiful about the entrepreneurship journey and even just becoming a business owner was that I was able to make it what I wanted and so that was really important to me.
So I was able to find the authenticity like sort of space from the very beginning of my business because I said, “You know what? If I have to do certain things in order to be a certain way with my coworkers or whatever, you know I’ll do that,” but in my business, no-no-no, all right? In business it was very much even from the very beginning I was just like, “There are eight billion people in the world. I don’t need eight billion people to get to the sales amount that I need in my business.”
And so it’s okay. Some people are going to be like, “No.” Hopefully most of them will say yes than they say no but hey, it’s going to be okay when they say no, right? To hiring me, to help them with their business and so it was the reason why I bring up authenticity because a lot of the times when people are trying to do their business, right? Especially when you are talking about Black and Latinx people in general or women in general, it’s like if you are coming from that corporate space where you are, you know, you kind of have to cold switch and you’re kind of doing, maybe you don’t feel comfortable being your full self every single day and sort of use your business as a space to do that, right?
Be unapologetically yourself because you can do that in business, right? It may not seem like it but you can do that in business and when you do that in your business, it allows you to have so much more freedom and space to then get the abundance that you actually want within your business and that’s all I can say there.
It’s like I don’t know how to tell you but it is a great experience. It is a great experience when you are just your full self.
[0:29:56.2] AW: Right. It becomes really affirming. I mean, I’ve had experiences like that where going into corporate, that first law firm job when I get interviewed, I think my hair was straightened and then I had put kinky twist in and my mom was like, “They might not hire you, they might fire you because of your hair,” and I was like, “Well, if they fire me, I don’t want to work there anyway,” right?
But that is also a place of privilege to be able to do that because I knew that I was going to be okay and I had a lot of degree to fall back on but when I showed up comfortable, my work was better because I was comfortable, right? Another thing was about like what kind of pictures do I want on my website. Attorney holds are very, very bland. They’re very boring and straight laced and, you know, that’s not how I am.
In terms of like, I have a serious side for sure. I definitely have a serious side but I like bright vibrant colors and I just went for it one day and took a bunch of bright pictures and again, the comment was like, “Well, are you sure that they are going to want to hire a black attorney? Maybe you don’t want that many pictures on your website.” I’m like, “Look, if they don’t want a black attorney, if they don’t see it on the website when they go to it, they’re going to be surprised when the meet me in person.”
I’d rather tell them now than let that come but to your point of showing up fully and being yourself, there is enough space for you. There are enough people in this world, enough clients who are going to want your services and those things that you are trying to hide, people can feel that and those things that you are trying to hide are going to be the things that your people really want and identify with. So don’t hide, don’t shy away.
You know, fight through the imposter syndrome, fight through the doubt because you are absolutely – there is enough room for all of us creating our own tables in this world. So you can do it. You can do it, yeah. So where can people get in contact with you or how can they find you if they are interested in following you or working with you?
[0:31:36.8] VZ: Oh yes, so my two main platforms are Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re an Instagram person, you can click the follow button on Instagram. Every now and again, my teammates posts something but you’ll see much more activity on Facebook and LinkedIn. I also do go live every week, Tuesday evenings on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. So you can also check out my YouTube channel.
Just search Vanessa Zamy on YouTube. Actually if you just Google Vanessa Zamy, it should pop up and yeah, so we’ll love to connect to say that, “Hey, I saw you on Asha’s podcast” and I’ll be like, “Oh okay, great” because I don’t accept requests from strangers that often, you know? So I got to be like a, be careful out there. So yes, so Facebook and LinkedIn, reach out or you could send me an email.
If you are looking, if you are a business owner looking for support and growing your business and you’re ready to take that next step and getting that support, then you are welcome to schedule time at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll put some links in the show notes probably, I don’t know, but yeah, happy to connect and reach out or you can just see my website, Vanessa Zamy. It will be on a LinkedIn page as well, as well as Facebook. So, I can be found. Just Google me folks, Google me. I’m really easy to be found.
[0:32:36.2] AW: Awesome. Well Vanessa, thank you so much. I won’t hold you any longer, you have definitely blessed us today with your words of wisdom and your story. You are an inspiration and you’re so appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
[0:32:47.8] VZ: Thanks for having me.
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