Monique Hutson is the Founder and Lead Content Producer of Dom Productions. After running the business for 6 years, her mindset and missions have changed and evolved, they have had to. Cheryl Sutherland is the Founder of PleaseNotes, a business she has built to help women step into their power by building confidence, clarity, and creativity. Together, we talk about the mindsets we must adopt to integrate new things into business, and practise being the person we want to become for ourselves, and for our companies.
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Read Happy Money by Ken Honda , a book about making peace with your money
Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a book on ideas and creativity
Read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, a book on negotiation and Chris Voss’s masterclass
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 00:43
Welcome to the Startup Women Podcast, a show where we connect you to Canada’s powerful cohort of women-identifying founders to real stories and case studies of women building businesses supported by true tactical advice from thought leaders and industry experts. I’m your host, Kayla Isabelle, CEO of Startup Canada. Each month, I’ll be sharing the mic with one founder and one expert. Together we will dive into real stories and scenarios and uncover actionable advice for women entrepreneurs across Canada. From funding and hiring to sales and scaling strategies. On this show, we covered the most important topics so you can deconstruct the challenges of starting and running a business with the knowledge that goes beyond the surface level. Let’s get started. Moni Kotzen is the founder and lead content producer of DOM productions. After running the business for six years, her mindset and missions have evolved and changed. They’ve had to Monique knew that this was necessary for the growth of her company. But these things are never as easy as we think they’re going to be our thoughts, beliefs, and nature can get in the way.
Monique Hutson 01:57
But what I found, in the beginning, is that I was getting a lot of advice from Gary Vee wannabes. And that’s just not the direction that I want to take my business in, I was assigned a mentor at one point, the advice that I was getting just did not connect well, it just did not sit well with me. Whereas I want to grow my business. But I also want to uplift more women of color. And then more women and especially more women of color in the media industry, this person was telling me you know, outsource overseas, you know, you can get editing done for you know, 15 cents an hour, we can get so much more done if you just like follow my model. And it just like did not resonate at all. So I had to like go outside of that and think there has to be more than one way to get this done.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 02:47
That’s where Cheryl Sutherland joins us to remind us that you are allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to be honest with yourself, you’re allowed to let things go. Cheryl is the founder of please notes, a business that she has built to help women step into their power by building confidence, clarity, and creativity. In this conversation, we talk about the mindsets, we must adopt to integrate new things into our businesses, and practice being the person we want to become for ourselves and our companies.
Cheryl Sutherland 03:20
Having that mindset of our business is here to grow us. Right is the most important thing. So if I’m not in love with this anymore, if it’s not feeding me in that way, then like, Am I doing this relationship as a business? Am I doing this justice? Am I doing justice for myself? Am I continuing to grow? And then just even checking in with yourself? Am I excited to even do anything? Is it just like, oh, do I need to delegate things? Or do I need to switch to a completely different model, oftentimes, we get sucked into this whole, feeling of guilt of like, oh, I have to still be this person because this is who I am. Like I’m not my business. And like that identity is just tied in a little bit so I don’t wanna say too aggressively, but you’re tied to that. And it’s holding you back versus pushing you forward. The most successful thing or the most important thing, to be successful is having that passion and being honest with yourself about this is something I don’t want to do and if not, let’s try something else.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 04:13
Welcome to the show, Cheryl and Monique.
Monique Hutson 04:19
It’s amazing to be here.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 04:23
I was so excited to get started. And this is you know, such a great intention-setting episode just for myself personally. So I’m selfishly very excited to have this chat with both of you today. So I’m gonna kick things off with Monique, you know, you’ve been running down productions for six years now. What is a mindset that you have now that you didn’t when you first started to walk us through that journey a little bit? And was there a certain moment or lesson that caused a mindset shift for you in this evolution?
Monique Hutson 04:49
Yeah, you know what, starting six years ago, I was just coming out of a full-time corporate job as a content producer for a FinTech company. And I was very reluctant to start because, you know, photography video, these aren’t necessities that people need day to day, it’s not food or water, I’m not curing cancer, feeding hungry mouths. So going into it, I thought, You know what, there’s probably going to be a cap on the amount of money that I can make. But I want to do this because it just makes me happy. I also was concerned with how many competitors I had, you know, there are so many businesses like mine, especially in Toronto, there are so many photographers, so many videographers, not as many copywriters and blog post writers or creative writers, but you know, a lot is going on out there. But the mindset shift came when I realized, hey, there’s only one knee in the world, there’s only one Monique Hudson. So I know if I put my mind to it, I’m going to be successful no matter what. Because everybody has something unique to offer in their respect, it doesn’t matter if I’m one in 1,000,001 in 10,000, I have something specific to give. And that’s why people are going to come to me specifically.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 06:21
I love that. So Cheryl, why do you think that women entrepreneurs struggle with this, and knowing what they’re worth knowing their unique superpowers or unique value prop? Does this take a lot of time to overcome? You know, this kind of thinking as a founder? Or is this just an inevitable process of, you know, navigating life as an entrepreneur.
Cheryl Sutherland 06:40
I think that it comes down to the fact that like valuing yourself as a woman can get kind of tricky, often, we are told that we’re too full of ourselves that, you know, we need to be more humble, that really like that success comes for us in being liked more than being respected. And when we ask for respect, it comes along, along the lines of like, You’re being too brash. Of course, speaking from the Black experience, speaking of being like the angry Black woman, and not wanting to be that, and so that’s why I feel like so many women are hesitant, or it takes a long time to feel okay with asking for what we want. And then also, coming from that place of power coming from the place of no, I’m valuable, and it’s okay for me to know, I’m valuable. And I’m gonna let you know that I’m valuable. It just, it’s a lot of just stuff from a long time, even from childhood that we’ve had to go through. And the quicker we can move through that the quicker we can be richer and more successful.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 07:41
That sounds great to me. I love that. That’s awesome, Cheryl. So again, to your point, I think we need to challenge a lot of these narratives and where we position ourselves in what we’ve been told, or the messages that we’ve received our entire lives. And our partners at BDC published a fascinating video about this deep debunking of myths around women entrepreneurs specifically, revealing that so much of what is said about women entrepreneurship is just concretely not true. You know, women are too emotional to run a business. But in fact, emotions are, you know, a valuable gateway to success and great decision-making. Women are first to fund their businesses themselves before asking for money and funding elsewhere. And women and gender-diverse-led businesses outperform those run by men, we have so much data that speaks to that. Have there been times as founders for both of you when this you know, kind of language or these myths? Are these assumptions affected your mindset or your belief in yourself? Monique, do you have any specific examples through your
Monique Hutson 08:43
Okay, so before I even get into examples, after watching that video, it’s so crazy to me sometimes to see that these stereotypes still exist. Something like Oh, women are too emotional to run a business. Like I remember hearing so long ago, I think when Hillary Clinton was first running for president, everybody’s like, Oh, what if she gets her period, you know, you know, she’s got to like hit the red button that launches all the nuclear missiles or something like just outrageous things like that. People still believe that because I am more in tune with my emotions, it’s some kind of weakness being in kind of like a male-dominated industry. I mean, if you Google photo tutorials or photography tutorials, it’s all white men. Originally seeing that my mindset was to go down that same route is like not tapping into the more emotional creative side, but more going into like the technical side of things. So this did put me back a little bit in the beginning, but luckily I was going to therapy at the same time for my personal life. So it kind of helped me shift in, I’m gonna say within the first year of my business, and thank God because, you know, I was turning to a lot of men in the industry for advice, but not paying attention to what else could be out there. And when I started joining more women networking groups and just talking to more even women of color, especially, just because that’s the situation that I’m in right now, it helps my business to flourish and grow because I was able to, like I said, before, tapping into the more vulnerable side of things, talk to my clients form deeper relationships with them. And also, they just provided me with more referrals, and more connections and they were just so much more awesome that way.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 10:51
A much more human experience overall, like that doesn’t want rocket science to know that but yeah, you’re trying to potentially hyper-correct an assumption that you think people are making, and that they can lead you to be inauthentic. Finding that comfort in that balance is tricky for a lot of founders in general. Cheryl, what about you? Do you have any examples or experiences?
Cheryl Sutherland 11:10
Think initially to go off of that, I think that, you know, I hate to use this particular phrase, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat, right? The traditional model of success that we’ve been handed down is when one that’s more masculine, and of course, more capitalist where it’s like, you know, you have to be very aggressive, you have to be very clear in negotiation, you have to be very strong, but in a way that’s not conducive to our natural state of mind and the way that we naturally communicate. And unfortunately, we haven’t had a lot of documentation or business books or all that in comparison to what we’ve had from the masculine perspective. So what does that look like to be a successful female? Well, I mean, let’s be honest, the statistics are already there, like we’re out here running things, right? But people will tend to give money to people that look like them, people will tend to connect with people or give opportunities to people that look like them. So, unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the people that are in positions of power, don’t look like us. So let’s have that, like just reworking that whole conversation of like, who are the successful people? What did they do? And how did they do it differently coming from that feminine perspective? And when we look for it, we find so much information, we find so many great leaders. And so I think for myself, one of the big things is, and this is something that got written up in one of the things I was never, but where I went to a tech event. And a lot of the people that were pitching or I went to a pitch event, a lot of the people that were pitching were all Tech, and I was the only woman of color. And then, in addition, only there was one woman that was a judge on that panel. And she was harder than everybody on me versus on a lot of the other Caucasian male Silicon Valley tech bros. So I think it’s a conversation to be had. But there’s just so much to be said about supporting each other as women versus trying to emulate a model that’s inauthentic for us and that’s not in alignment with us. And what does success looks like to us to go off on this last bit before like I break into a whole diatribe like what does success look like for women versus men? Right? Again, take that mask and look at it. Some people like land and expand, grow their company do all these things like massive money. But sometimes it’s more like I want to be able to make an impact in my community. I want to be able to support other people in my unique way. I want to feel fulfilled, I want to have something that I can give to my family. And I think that this is also an amazing opportunity to take a look at why are we not valuing these things as much as money in the bank or expansion or what my stock looks like.
Monique Hutson 14:08
Cheryl, you just took everything that I said instead of so much more eloquently. So I was kind of struggling in the beginning because I didn’t want to name-drop or bash anybody but what I found, in the beginning, is that I was getting a lot of advice from Gary Vee wannabes. And that’s just not the direction that I want to take my business in. I was assigned a mentor at one point really, like really fresh in the beginning and he has his real estate, you know, production company. But the advice that I was getting just did not connect well. It just did not sit well with me. Whereas I want to grow my business but I also want to uplift more women of color and then more women and especially more women of color in the media industry. This person was telling me, you know, outsource overseas, you know, you can get editing done for, you know, 15 cents an hour, we can get so much more done if you just like follow my model, and it just like it just did not resonate at all. So I had to like, go outside of that and think there has to be more than one way to get this done.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 15:24
And I think that’s, that’s a great point when he in how, who is feeding you information? Who is feeding you advice? And what do you have to take through this entrepreneurial journey, like you don’t have to, you know, listen to all of those suggestions and implement them? But when you’re struggling and figuring out where you should be going, and you’re a first-time founder, and you’re navigating all this uncertainty, you also don’t necessarily have that confidence in that gut instinct yet that brings you into that direction. And I think this conversation is so helpful, and like, how do we create these mindsets and create these spaces where we’re trusting that intuition, we have enough anchoring us in the direction of these businesses we’re trying to build. And then we decide which sources of feedback we want to pull from, that are trusted advisors that might share some type of life experience that we are also aligned with and that you’re not getting advice that is antithetical to who you are as a person, like, you don’t need to feed yourself that advice if you don’t want it. But where do we? How do we build that? How do we get those mechanisms hopefully, through today’s conversation, we can start with that initial foundation and build that mindset, and set ourselves up for success. Sheryl, to your point earlier, and looking at, you know, what you do with your clients all the time, we know that the women that you’re working with, and all the women that all of us are collectively working with are capable, they are strong, they’re brilliant, they’re innovative, the list goes on. You work with women to practice affirmations, I’m super curious to get a better understanding of what this looks like. Because this allows them to believe that they are what they say they are. What challenges do you see women face when they’re trying to adopt a new mindset walk us through this process a little bit.
Cheryl Sutherland 17:05
Oh, I think I’m gonna speak from my own experiences. I’m an impatient person. Only because I’m also used to having results happen quickly for me, so like things, I think it’s like a real, I’m good at a lot of things. I’m not gonna lie. I’m gonna toot my horn when it comes to that. But then being able to say like, Okay, this is who I am as a person. And this is who I want to be like, Why am I not there yet? Like, I’m decided, like, This is who I want to be like, what’s going on here. So just, I think one of the biggest things is like, it’s not an overnight thing, unfortunately. But then, having that consistency, and clarity really can be hard. And especially when you have a circle around you, that may not be exactly where you want to go. Oftentimes we find a lot of, you know, jealousy, sometimes we’ll find a lot of like, inner work that other people need to do that does affect us. And so like one of the biggest things is, of course, really creating a space that you can grow, whether it’s like a co-working space, whether it’s like online networking group, like something like that, where you can authentically share, like your dreams, your goals, we want to be what that looks like, then I always like to take a look at okay, this is what I want, like, without any shrinking like no chips, no kidding on all that sort of stuff, like who is the person that I need to be? Then break that down into? Like, what is the daily actions that I get to take? And then even like, some of the subtle things like I have this, this great meditation, and it goes over the successful version of you. So who is that person? How does she speak? How does she walk? How does she smell? What does she wear? Even just like the way that she just sticks simulates to does she hang out with what does she every day, and then starting to take those pieces and starting to integrate that into your life, you’re grounding yourself as that person. And then oftentimes we’ll be faced with an opportunity or a situation where it’s easy to shrink, where it’s easy to go back to the person that it was yesterday, where it’s easier for me to discount my services just to like not to have to negotiate or not to have to be in the situation. And then at those moments where you feel that weird feeling in your gut, just being able to sit there and be like, Oh, wait, no, this is my reminder that this is my opportunity to grow. So if I was this version of me that I so desire to be, how would she approach this conversation and come with that level of groundedness to change that, of course, again, it’s all feedback and there’s nothing wrong with you know, even myself, I was just going through a conversation with one of my partners, and we were doing having some conversation around some pricing of options. And I had sold some stuff to like wholesale to somebody and I was like, You know what, I did it again, where I discounted a little bit too much because I just wanted to grow this relationship where I just wanted these people to like me, and I’m like, Okay, well, I know this is where I’m at now. Now, what do I want to do moving forward, the next time I’m in this position, it might be negotiating a little bit harder, it might be asking for more, it might be actually, like doubling my price and just like letting them sit with it because this is who I am. And this is what I’m worthy of. And just seeing how that goes, like, I don’t know, nothing, nothing is quite as seriously as we, as we make it to be. But like, just really sitting in that space of this is who I am, this is what I want. And I’m gonna let it be that way and practice that consistently. is super huge. I love that.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 20:32
That’s good, like shivers. Great, great recommendation, Cheryl. And that’s hard. Like, that’s really hard work, right? This is not to your point. It’s not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to constantly come back to that. Like this. This is challenging stuff. But I think being accountable to yourself and honoring that intention is like you owe yourself more than you owe anyone else. If you’re not prioritizing yourself.
Cheryl Sutherland 20:59
Right? And being gentle with yourself when you’re doing it, too. It’s just like, oh, no, oops, I did it again. Now, I’m gonna do better. That’s it.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 21:09
Many of our listeners might be listening to this and thinking, okay, but my goalposts are moving all the time that throw in a pandemic, throw in the world, being on fire, and all these different ways. It feels like there are so many variables that are changing in our lives. Does that play a role in this exercise? Cheryl? Is this something that you recommend people revisit regularly? If their goals change? Should you be looking at a longer horizon? How do you balance all these changing environmental factors that might be you know, within the lives of women entrepreneurs that are listening here,
Cheryl Sutherland 21:40
I think the most important thing is understanding that everything is temporary. So even if I like, like I was saying to one of my friends when I was living in LA, and I was on the roof of her building, and we were just chilling, and like looking at like, all of the things. And I was like, What do you believe, five years ago that this is where you would be? And she’s like, not at all life is always changing. And so I think most importantly if we get down to the why, of why we want these goals. So let’s say if I want to hit like 100k if I want to lose 50 pounds if I want to be in like a malicious relationship with myself or with somebody else, why do I want that? And even though a lot of these external things may change, the why is what we’re going towards. So yes, the Panini, the community did a lot of different things for people. But I know that the Panini was great for me because I’m not good at like stopping or slowing down. Right. So it’s like, what is the silver lining? And is this moving me closer to that? Why are you farther away from them? And what can we do to get closer to that? Why? Sometimes I feel like certain things are just like increasing the resistance on your exercise machine, right? Like, it’s like, okay, we’re going up a hill, but then you get over the hill, and you’re like, wow, my fights are so strong now. Right? So it’s all in perspective and in how you’re approaching things. But, again, really being tied to that why is super important, and will pull you through anything.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 23:12
And unique from your perspective, working in the creative technical industries, that’s also such a moving industry, and there’s constant change in those spaces. And to your point, you know, all these different competitors. And you know, that space has a lot of competition, how do we think the industry or that type of environment has also impacted the mindset and the discipline you’ve had to have around building that really strong mindset? Has that changed your business as you’ve grown?
Monique Hutson 23:38
I mean, okay, so like, first coming into the industry, as I said before as I realized very quickly that it was dominated by men and mostly white men. In joining that, I realized that a lot of their values didn’t match up with mine. So shifting the mindset to like my mission not just to become the biggest content production agency out there, that’s no longer my mission. My mission is to uplift as many women and women of color as possible to get them into this industry and to make sure that they show up and show out just so we can start to shift the narrative around the industry. So that was a big one in the beginning. As I mentioned before, I encountered a lot of those men with different values than mine. So it was like a huge, huge shock. And a huge blow to what I was doing because it made me think like, Am I really in the right area? Are people going to take me seriously? But like I said before, I was doing a lot of internal work. So yeah, it helped a lot.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 24:49
And the why is your anchor, but the How can change over time, and I think that’s also a nice permission slip that we can give to founders that your business is going to change the tactics you have We’re going to change your environment, I change the nature you might change. Your mission overall might change, why you are coming back to this type of work, and that sort of centering that can keep guiding you forward. I love that.
Monique Hutson 25:13
Somebody told me to shout out Sheena from my last job. But she said something that stuck with me for a long time. It’s that people need different things at different times. So, you know, just checking in with yourself every once in a while to be like, do I still want the same things? Are my not my conditions? Like my scenario? Like, is it the same right now? You know, a pandemic happened? Have I moved? You know, have I evolved? Has my mindset changed a little bit? Do I need to relook at what I need to think about what I want? And do I still want the same things and it’s completely okay if you don’t want the same things? And that is okay.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 25:56
You’re allowed to change your mind, that’s been such a realization, I feel like I had in my 20s of like, you can change your mind. Nobody, you know, tells you that you’re not allowed to do that.
Cheryl Sutherland 26:05
One of the things that you mentioned on the show was, again, like the changing of your mind, and even being able to switch from career to create. I think having that mindset of our business is here to grow us. Right is the most important thing. So if I’m not in love with this anymore, if it’s not feeding me in that way, then like, Am I doing this relationship as a business? Am I doing this justice? Am I doing justice for myself? Am I continuing to grow? And then just even checking in with yourself? Am I excited to even do anything? Is it just like, oh, do I need to delegate things? Or do I need to switch to a completely different model? One of the things that I loved and I think most of us know, is Rachel Kelly from making lemonade shout to Rachel. But she had a co-working space where Monique and I met in Toronto and the Panini happened. And her goal was always to have a co-working space where people can come together, but that wasn’t gonna happen anymore. She ended up trying to do it online for a bit and loved it grew it. So it was International. She’s well with that. And then she was like, You know what, this isn’t giving me what I need to get. She went and had to like to force to school and started now she’s a florist. And making lemonade is now like the floral drops and everything that she does. And I think the most important thing is like, is she happy it is great for her in the way that she wants to grow. Oftentimes, we get sucked into this whole, like, feeling of guilt of like, oh, I have to still be this person. Because this is who I am, like, I’m not my business. And like that identity is just tied in a little bit so I don’t wanna say too aggressively, but you’re tied to that. And it’s holding you back versus pushing you forward. So again, yes, permitting yourself to walk away to try something new to explore something new. It’s the same way that you see relationships, whether it be like friends that you’ve had for 30 years, if that relationship isn’t serving, you let it go, this business isn’t serving you let it go. This job isn’t serving you let it go, you know like you gotta go and do what you need to do. But that’s most like, the most successful thing, or the most important thing, to be successful is having that passion and being honest with yourself about this is something I don’t want to do. And if not, let’s try something new.
Monique Hutson 28:22
I’m really big on pros and cons lists. So anytime you feel like something is no longer serving, you just write down what are the pros and cons. And how much are each of those points, weighing down on you?
Cheryl Sutherland 28:37
Yeah, I’m very much one where I’m like is this? If this isn’t what I want, then what do I want? Because this is showing me clearly what I don’t want to like, let me explore that. And oftentimes, I find that I learned a lot more about myself than I had, that I didn’t know. And then also like, this is something I’m interested in like it well what does that look like? And then just follow that rabbit hole of taking that next step.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 28:59
Cheryl, I want to go into your three pillars of mindset and that’s gratitude, clarity, and manifestation. Can you walk us through these practices? Is there any exercise that our listeners can do to achieve any mindset shifts that they might be interested in and show up differently as founders? Please tell.
Cheryl Sutherland 29:16
Yeah, I love this because I’m honest it’s, it’s such a great reflection of like, who I am as a person and how I’ve grown in regards to like how I’ve rolled out these products like the first item in line were these great sticky notes. So we’re just reminders that you’re amazing. And then I ended up creating my clarity journal and then from the clarity journal, it ended up evolving into a gratitude journal, and then from there it was manifestation planner, and it’s just like, just being more of me and so thank you for that reminder. First of all, I think that they do stack on each other because like first of all when it comes to clarity like you can’t know who you Want to be unless you ask yourself some of those questions like, What does make me happy? What would I do all day? Who do I want to be like? How do I want to show up in the world? What’s fulfilling for me and going through and having those conversations? And then from there just saying, Okay, well, how do I start integrating more of that in my life? Or do I want to start integrating more of that into my life? What will happen if I do start integrating some of these more things in my life, and then, like, again, speaking, as a woman, it is very much like we’re used to putting ourselves at the bottom of the totem pole, like putting ourselves last. So well, how would life be different if we put ourselves first and went after those things? So now that you’re clear on what you want, gratitude, I love gratitude. But it’s like literally like the universe is fertilizer, like, whatever you pour it on, you just get more of it amplifies everything. So if you want more money, be grateful for the money that you have the money that you’re receiving, or even just like, the abundance around you that like isn’t monetary, whether it’s air safety, great love, poor friends, family, it’s wow, I have a phone good. And then that energy just allows more of that to return to you. And then of course, like lowering the day-to-day stresses and anxiety. And we know, especially during the panorama, a lot of people were going through a lot of that because they didn’t have a lot of those distractions that they normally had. So really coming back to how do I be okay with right now, without anything else being different? And then when it comes to the manifestation, so like, money reference before manifestation isn’t just like, you sitting in like a meditative pole of legs, or cross burning all of this sage, like, God just drop a million dollars on my lap. And she’s like, Yeah, right. Like, that would be cool. But that’s also how that works. It’s really like getting into the flow of what I want, and then making sure that you feel really good in alignment with it, and then taking action. So my manifestation planner goes through that, like, Who do you want to be? Why is the law of attraction working for you? Or how are you like, kind of stepping on, your toes with that? But then also, who do you want to be authentic? How do you want to feel? How do you want to affect other people, and then in going through that process, that’s where, it allows you to hold yourself again, tighter to that mindset of success, of joy, of happiness of deep satisfaction that will allow you to have like, the happier life that you want to have. And then I think, like, I don’t know, it’s easy to say, to quantify certain things. Like, if I say, oh, yeah, it’s gonna be easy for me to climb this hill because I lost X amount of weight, then it just like, Oh, that makes sense. But unfortunately, there isn’t that when it comes to being happy. Right? Like if I, if I say like, well, if I’m happier, like, we Oh, that’s cool. But like? What does it what does it do? For me, it doesn’t do anything. But it does. And I think that the more that we start having these conversations and the impact of joy, happiness, and satisfaction in our lives, we’re going to be able to value it more and then start putting in the work to make sure that we’re making a priority and just being more joyous every day.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 33:16
I love that. Let’s just bundle that up and scream from the rooftops Cheryl, that’s fabulous, and helpful that you have also these tools to walk people through it incrementally. Like I think that is part of what feels so overwhelming about talking about mindsets, or what are you looking for in your life, it just feels like way too big of a question. Whereas if you break it down into these different pillars or these different prompts, you get that clarity, you get that honesty from your perspective, you can build in those authentic moments of gratitude, and then ultimately manifest, you know, what, what you truly want versus what you think you want. Because I think that’s also a big part of entrepreneurship, we think of success being this linear path, we think of it being only monetary or only because you’re you know, winning all the awards or getting all the prizes or getting recognized as this, you know, boss, baby, whatever kind of problematic layers that we have. And that is not a success for everyone it is for some, but we have to be ruthlessly committed to our success metrics, and then build in, you know, the mechanisms for us to keep that authenticity and keep that alignment and keep ourselves accountable to ourselves.
Cheryl Sutherland 34:28
I love that and actually, it’s the truth and even in my clarity journal, I have this exercise where you get through and like your current life and your ideal life. Right? So it breaks it down into four areas, physical, mental, spiritual, and then your relationships, your money, and there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve gone but as for my main areas, I’m like, why am I trying to do this off the top of my head anyway? And then so if you’re like, okay, if I’m doing well, when it comes to my career, I’m making the money I’m doing all the things but I’m not paying as much as much attention to like my relationships or, like my spirituality, I’m not connected in that way. Or like, you know, I’m not physically taking care of myself, is that real success? And then so making sure that we have waited for volumes when it comes to those things. And that you have multiple things just like everything like your circle is just going to continue to grow. Versus like having instead of it being like a circle is a square is a triangle. And then you’re like, well, obviously my life is off balance. Right. So just making sure that you have an overall balanced life and multiple KPIs to tell you what success Yeah.
Monique Hutson 35:37
Oh, my gosh, you were speaking to my entire existence right now, right now, I feel like I’ve been doing very well in business. I mean, 2022 has been all about just growing DP. But I am now officially on holiday break. I love Christmas. So I always take off three weeks, this time of year. It wasn’t until Saturday, my last day of work was on Friday. And the next day I woke up that morning, I’m like I hadn’t neglected my self-care for I’m gonna say maybe six months now. And I am not happy, I just need this time to reset. So as much as I love my business, there are other areas of my life that I was neglecting. And just like finding that inner peace, that inner happiness also sounds very woo-woo. But it was I just was not getting there. So being able to recognize that there are different pillars in your life that you need to attend to. Before you feel like, overall good. It’s very necessary, I believe.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 36:40
And that’s, you know, exciting that you’ve had all of this growth, funding, and finances and you know, really focusing on that side of the business. Monique, what are you going to change? Do you think next year to make sure that that pie is different? Do you have any reflections on what you want to prioritize?
Monique Hutson 36:56
And I already started mulling over things in my head because this is also whenever I take these three weeks off, it’s also a time for reflection for me. But just because I’m what into day three of my time off. I haven’t gotten to it yet. But a lot of things have been swirling in my head. One thing in particular, I know that I want to start implementing next year. Hopefully it works out but just sticking to two tasks a day. I know there are a lot of books out there. It’s like oh, choose three things or four things or something like that. For me. Right now I’m thinking like two tasks sounds like what I’m going to aim towards, because my agenda if you look at my daily agenda, it is packed to the brim to the minute of what I am doing. So there are probably anywhere between 18 to 30 tasks. So yeah, in the new year, hopefully, we can just cut it back to two.
Cheryl Sutherland 37:51
In the new year, you’re choosing to cut it back to two. Yes, yes. Awesome. Congratulations. I’m really happy for you.
Monique Hutson 37:59
Thank you. Will it be done? I will work hard towards it, but will have you done
Cheryl Sutherland 38:05
Girl, ttop and leave it alone.
Monique Hutson 38:13
I’m gonna shut up now I’m gonna shut up now.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 38:18
It’s good. We’re getting we’re challenging our minds. This is great. It’s a you know, it’s a process, right? We’re learning. So, I do want to really anchor part of our conversation today around money, because I think this is where things get very complicated for entrepreneurs in general, but also with women founders, for particular reasons, both systemic and deeply personal, because finances are deeply personal. And there’s all kinds of traumas and experiences that inform how we approach money. When it comes to building a business, and making sure you’re honoring yourself honoring, you know, the intention of why you started this, but still needing to put food on the table and pay rent and buy more houses and you know, really navigating what is a wacky money market in this time and day and age. I would love to get your perspectives on some tools or some some shift in mindset to talk about money, and talk about abundance and find what that mindset is for us. So Cheryl, maybe maybe you can kick us off a little bit and talk about abundance and money mindsets and how women relate to them as founders. What do you see within your clientele, and what resources or tools and exercises do provide that help women’s mindsets when it comes to you know, finding the right type of money mindset for them?
Monique Hutson 39:39
Yes, please do tell me!
Cheryl Sutherland 39:45
I find that there’s a lot of conversation around money and it’s one thing that I heard, or I just made up in my head I’m not sure was that the way that people have connotations are like attachments or different perceptions around god, is this a way that people, like feel about money? Right. And it’s like there are people who love money, people who blame money, people who hate money, and people like hate people that have money. Like, it’s just like, there’s a lot of layers around that. And I think if we start treating money differently, in a way of like, it’s just energy, like, just really taking a lot of attachment off of it, then it also helps change that or like, or I love the conversation around money, where we talk about it, it’s just like love like me, being able to pay you and pay you for pay you extra is my way of loving me being able to receive money for my services, that’s your way of loving me. So like, why would I not want to continue like circulating this love, right, just again, just little subtle shifts. One of my favorite books on the subject is actually happy money by Ken Honda. And the thing that he really speaks about is like, and I actually really love this exercise. And I think we actually get into some of this into my seven week course as well. But where, if you were to have a conversation with money, what would you say? Like, are you my best friend? Like, are you pushing me away? Like, I don’t like to hang out with you. Like, when I first did this exercise, I was like, money was telling me like, I want to hang out with you more often. And I want to do more things with you. But it just feels like, keep me like arm’s length, because you’re afraid of me, or like you’re afraid of pissing me off or annoying me or something like that, like why? I like I just want to do cool things with you all the time. Right? But realistically, I was like, ah, like, like, I want to just like, I want to take care of you. But I gotta take care of you over here. Right? So like, even again, having those conversations of how you feel about your money, like what would money say if it was in a relationship with you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with you? And then how do you change that conversation? Like, I think it really starts with self forgiveness of like, you know, like, you know, I forgive myself for judging myself as like, lesser than or non deserving, or that I can’t handle money. And then also, I forgive myself for buying into the misconception that like, there’s a limited quantity, or that I’m gonna do something wrong when it comes to money, right? Because essentially, like, it’s just a tool, if I end up spending a bunch of money ends up going out, it’s not a lot and went to something and went to someone, somebody’s got food on their table. Now, because I spent this money. And I learned something, or I like doing something or I like there’s all these different things that you have around that. So really taking a lot of the guilt and the shame and the pressure on money off, makes it a lot easier. I also think as a woman, there’s a reason that we tend to go into our savings versus asking people for money. And it really comes down to the fact that like, do we value ourselves enough to say like, Hey, this is something important that you should pay money for? Like this. Yeah, this is my idea. And like, look, all the statistics say this should work? And are you confident enough to just like, ask somebody for finances? Because like, yeah, you’re gonna get a lot of nose, you’re gonna get a lot of people, they’re like, this is a dumb idea. Why would I do that? You have like, no competitive, like, some so many other competitors are doing it. Yeah. And, like, there’s a reason this idea came to me, there’s a reason that I feel alive, that I feel passionate, because I feel excited that people are excited when I talk about my idea. Like, there’s something behind that and there’s value, and then like just being able to tie that up together, it makes it so much easier for money to come to us when we are saying that we’re confident, we’re saying that we’re valuable when we’re saying that I’m worthy enough to receive this money, then the money will come.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 43:54
Would you describe that as sort of like an abundance mindset that you’re inviting to come in? Like, how do you even describe that openness? To receive money? Like, what is this called,
Cheryl Sutherland 44:08
It is tied into like, like an abundance mindset, you want to have one of those. But then also, it’s just like this level of peace. I think a lot of people make decisions based on scarcity, like, if I don’t do this, something bad will happen. And that was a lot of the activities that I did at the beginning of my business, if I don’t do something like my business is down or like, like, I’m gonna be like completely screwed, or something bad is gonna happen, which is not a good reason to do anything, you want to take a step back, you want to take a couple of deep breaths, because unfortunately, when we make decisions from the space of scarcity, then that’s what’s going to come back to us versus if I’m making this decision from the space of mine like abundance, like as a boss, like, am I thinking like, Yeah, I’m going to put like 20k into this and I think This is gonna be a good investment, I’m doing it because I want to because I’ve run the numbers, I feel really good about this versus I need this marketing company to be able to, like, crush us out of the park. Otherwise, I’m completely screwed, and I’m gonna be homeless, like, you’re not really gonna get what you want not only energetically, but then overall, like the results won’t be what you want. So definitely when it comes to an abundance mindset, and you want to make sure that yes, you are making the decision from that successful version of you. Love that
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 45:27
Cheryl. And I think this is a good moment, I think now coming in, what are the pandemonium the Panini called?
Cheryl Sutherland 45:37
What else is there, there’s so many
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 45:41
All these different things. There were so there’s there was a lot of trauma around money in the last couple of years that people lost a lot they lost their security, money meant something, or this scarcity kind of mindset was lived in field. And I think that has really that that now is under our skin as well that it’s hard to think in this positive, maybe more abundant filled space, when there has been this really challenging last couple of years. Do you have any advice for founders that may have navigated the worst in losing all their revenue having to completely shift their business models that are really struggling financially? How do you go from that basement to this, this new mindset that’s bringing them into a more positive abundance health future,
Cheryl Sutherland 46:25
For those that have felt that the Panini has affected them really negatively. And they’ve had a lot of loss, I think that sometimes you have to make space for new things to come in. And oftentimes, if you don’t make space, things will be taken from us. So you can have that space. And it can be scary. But honestly, especially for those that are living in North America, I’m going to speak to Canada, like we’ve got so many different resources, we’ve got so many different things that are happening. And then also like, even just going through that conversation of like, what’s the worst thing that can happen for me, like, I end up living on somebody’s couch, or, you know, like, there’s, there’s just so many different things like playing that, like, all the way to the end result of like, this is the worst thing that could happen to me. And then just seeing like, is it as scary as I’m making it out to be? Also, I think that I know, for myself, I didn’t want to be this entrepreneur, that was like, in authentic in the way of if I’m saying I can manifest anything that I want, then how come I don’t have like a million dollars in this business? Or how come I’m not like taking it with Oprah, like eating avocados. Why is this not happening for me? Yeah, right. And like, even I know, for a lot of people, like they did have to go back and get a job, I had to go back and get like a regular regular job, I went back into sales. Amazing, you know, it was really great, direct deposit, right. Like, let me go to the dentist get all this taken care of because I was as an entrepreneur, I did not take care of myself in a way that I wanted to because I was so focused on taking care of the business, right? So it could even be that now I have the opportunity to take care of myself in a different way, and also support my business, because I’m having that additional income that’s coming in this way, right? Just leaving a lot of the pressure. One thing I do you want to throw to is one of my favorite books. When I first started my business was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. And I was very much coming. Like I was coming from corporate and I was like no, like, I got to be hard on myself like 15 calls a day. And then I like, like, why is this journal not done yet journal like, ah, like, super hard on myself. And then in reading it, I had to understand that like, creativity is just, it’s not something that can be yelled at, or wrangled or, or pushed or product right into into being something. And unfortunately, or fortunately, that’s the same thing with certain parts of your aspects of your business. Like you really do have to be in alignment and create that alignment for you to be able to be successful. So I think that yes, it’s it’s an interesting time. There’s always interesting things happened. But then if you understand and if you truly feel this does get into like the affirmations mindset, abundance robot, that you’re always taking care of. The things are always working out for you, no matter what happens, like something is good is coming or something good is here. And so just staying focused on that is like the most important thing.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 49:50
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. There we go back to the third pillar
Cheryl Sutherland 49:53
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 49:57
Monique, do you have any anything to share? With your experience with your money mindset and finding the value of what you provide as a business owner and your services, how did you go about that process of pricing and feeling confident about what you were putting into the world? Because I think a lot of our listeners really struggle with this. How do you know? What is that that sweet spot for it for yourself that really demonstrates the value brand.
Monique Hutson 50:26
I mean, this is something that I’m still struggling with. So listening to Cheryl just now was great. In terms of my pricing, that was, I mean, Tuesday, people are still I have clients telling me you’re not charging. And if you charge more than I’ll still pay it like, don’t worry, you can increase your prices. For for me, it originally was research into my field and just trying to see, you know, how can I be competitive without completely overextending myself. But to this day, I’m still kind of, it’s funny that we talk about like the abundance mindset and the scarcity mindset, because I feel like I operate from two different ends of the spectrum, like, I’m either in scarcity mode, or I’m either in extreme abundance, where I am investing, you know, I’m just like, throwing money at this throwing money at that I’m like, This is gonna be great, it’s gonna make my business a million times better. Let me increase my prices, let me add this service, or I’m working from scarcity. And I’m like, let me take every single thing everybody asks me to do, because I don’t know what next month is going to bring. And that’s kind of, you know, a personal money management issue that I need to work on. But, yeah, I don’t know if I can provide concrete advice to people. I don’t even know if I’m in that position.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 51:55
But the message is fluid, right? Like you’re you’re constantly engaging with, with money, and it’s not.
Monique Hutson 52:01
Yeah,I think it comes from having two parents who view money in those ways. So I have one parent, who is like, I’m going to be in financial ruins in any day. Not that they’re not that they’re going to be they’re in a very good position in life from from what I see. But I have one parent that’s just like, scared of losing everything, and one parent who feels like they have everything. So
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 52:26
yeah, generational money management,
Monique Hutson 52:28
bouncing around from one to the other is just kind of like been ingrained in me.
Cheryl Sutherland 52:33
Yep. I just wanted to add to Monique, your point there. Listen, I’ve been in business for seven years. And honestly, it’s been up and down in regards to like the scarcity data that I think one thing that I’ve recently started doing is pretending that I have a money manager. And then just saying, like, hey, like, like, because like, literally like before this and sales positions, like, let’s say, I’m like, yeah, no, that’s the price. Like, I don’t, I can’t adjust that, like I did, literally, I can’t like that’s not in my power. And then just saying like, yeah, no, like, like, I can’t do that my partner was like, really, really, the partner is like, that money version of you, or whatever. So if you set your prices if you do exactly what you want, but then also who you want to be who you want to serve in that contacts and just being like, yeah, no, I can’t. But you know, I really appreciate, I really appreciate that, like, you know, like when when you’re able to meet me here, I would love to work with you, then it gives them the opportunity to grow as well in their own business so that they can have a goal.
Monique Hutson 53:34
I think one piece of advice I would give is, I think people need to stop being afraid of talking about money. You know, because some of the best advice I’ve gotten from people is in moments where I’ve been vulnerable about my situation. Like I said, with clients telling me verbatim, it’s like, you need to charge more, I will still stick with you if you charge more. Yeah, just, you know, having trusted people on your side and being able to open up to them about they can, they can help, they can guide you in directions you never thought possible.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 54:13
And information just like when you have no idea how much people are charging, etc. That feels very debilitating and often very stressful that you don’t know if you’re very close, or if you’re completely far off. And the only way to get that is with feedback and just information from from the network. And many entrepreneurs are very open to talking about this because they’re navigating the exact same challenges from their perspective. So that openness supports everyone’s growth and everyone’s anchoring and confidence. And, and yeah, just just being in community, right.
Monique Hutson 54:47
I’m so grateful for the communities that I found in the beginning of this journey. make lemonade is one woman who freelance is another one and just the connections that I made it not even you No clientwise. But people that I’ve been able to lean on when I’m having issues in the business and just ask them, what’s their opinion of this? Should I do this? Should I do that? And sometimes they say something that’s like onpoint. Another time they say something that’s like, I don’t like what they’re saying. But now I know what I don’t want to do. So yeah, that’s why I’m saying it’s just like, it’s great to just like, put it out there, talk to people get opinions, because it gets your mind going.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 55:30
Great. Okay, so we’ve covered a lot of ground in today’s episode, lots of great resources shared as well, I think there’s lots of great holiday reading that can happen for all these book recommendations, too, that I love. But final pieces of it of sort of wisdom or recommendations that you both want to share with our listeners. What do you think that women identifying founders need to start doing? And what do they need to stop doing if you could anchor maybe one on both sides in order to continue growing to reach their goals to achieve success in what it looks like for them? Cheryl, kick us off. What do you think is one thing to start one thing to stop?
Cheryl Sutherland 56:08
One thing to start is not betraying yourself. And that comes in so many different ways that could come in like the gut, like not negotiating enough or like undervaluing your product, or, and again, this is very personal for me is like not giving to myself, like not booking out vacation time, or just like letting people know like, Please note this close. Like right now I’ve got all these orders. And I’m like I told y’all, we’re closed, like nothing’s going out until January. And that’s what it’s like, I’m not even going to try and call somebody to break into my apartment because I was like an admin, right? So I think definitely, like stop undervaluing yourself, I feel like there’s such a great opportunity to see yourself the same way that somebody that you really love and somebody really respects to you. And then just, you know, holding on to that. I think something to start is actually an especially for entrepreneurs, especially for creatives, as well is going to business classes and sales classes. I think there’s a lot of googly Googliness. Like around sales, especially if it’s like your own product, because like literally you’re selling yourself, right. And so it can be easy to be like I don’t know, like, but, but if you’re if you get that level of expertise, if you get that practice of really taking yourself away and like D personalizing it, it makes it so much easier for you to negotiate and have some of those trickier conversations. I just finished reading. Never split the difference by Chris Voss. He was like a professional negotiator. Right. And even for me, I’m just gonna, like, wow, there’s just so many ways that I was like, are so many layers of things I was adding to this, but I didn’t need to add because, like, it’s like, I was taking a lot of things too, personally.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 58:05
Love that Cheryl. Monique.
Monique Hutson 58:08
Okay, so I’ve said vulnerability, I think, a million times in this podcast. But definitely let vulnerability be your superpower. You know, like, if you’re struggling with something, the only way to not only get through but also to learn and grow from it is to get help talk to people. Do research, just like be able to let that sit with yourself that there is something happening within me right now. I need help with something or something’s not going the right way in my business in my personal life. So yeah, do the research, talk to people get help. Don’t be afraid to face the bad along with the good. And try therapy. Yeah, I swear.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 58:58
mental health resources. Yeah, that’s a great
Monique Hutson 59:00
Oh, and then really quickly, going back to the whole finance thing I found another thing that helped me this year is having kind of like a financial accountability, buddy. So I have a cousin who’s an accountant and like, he doesn’t really help me with my finances, per se, but at least you’d like go through my statement statement with me. And make sure that I do that every month. So yeah, like binder community. There’s a bunch of different things that I’m throwing out here people combined to find community talk to find trusted people that you can talk to about, you know, both the good and the bad.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 59:34
I love it. I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Cheryl. Thank you so much, Monique for joining us in the startup woman podcast. I feel very ready for 2023 with a lot of the recommendations and a fabulous reading list and potentially some some fabulous templates to leverage from Cheryl’s suite of offerings, which would be awesome for 2023. Thank you both so much for everything that you’ve shared on today’s episode. And be sure to check out both Monique and Cheryl’s businesses I will have more information in that the podcast details.
Cheryl Sutherland 1:00:03
Thank you so much, Kayla. Thank you.
Kayla Isabelle (Startup Canada) 1:00:07
To learn more from Cheryl’s courses and resources and to order your own journal for self growth and reflection, please head to please notes.com and use code startup women for 15% off. Thank you so much for joining us on the startup women podcast where we are committed to telling the stories of women entrepreneurs and uncovering actionable advice that goes beyond the surface level. The startup women podcast is produced by Lauren Hicks and Maddie styles, visit startup can.ca. To explore the startup women flagship program and access advisory support and free resources. Be sure to check out the show notes to access important links, resources and information that we mentioned during today’s episode. Thank you for listening and we look forward to another episode next month.