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314. Uncovering Your Why to Create Opportunities

 Uncovering Your Why to Create Opportunities

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Harnessing Financial Acumen and Strategic Planning for Business Growth

Understanding Your Why: The Foundation of Entrepreneurial Success

At the heart of every successful business is a clear and compelling 'why'. This is not just about what you do, but why you do it. For entrepreneurs, revisiting this fundamental question can provide the motivation and direction needed to push through challenges and make strategic decisions. As discussed by Kelsey Knudsen on "The Motivated CEO Podcast," knowing your why helps in aligning your business actions with your personal and professional goals. When the going gets tough, your why is the anchor that keeps your entrepreneurial ship steady.

Financial Literacy: Empowerment Through Numbers

One of the less glamorous, yet most critical, aspects of entrepreneurship is financial management. Many business owners shirk this responsibility until it becomes unavoidable, which can lead to unnecessary stress and business failure. A proactive approach to understanding your business finances is empowering. By setting up a system like the profit-first model or consistently setting aside money for taxes and savings, you create a buffer that can sustain your business during lean times.

Entrepreneur Kelsey Knudsen shared her experience during the COVID-19 pandemic on how having solid financial practices in place helped her navigate the crisis effectively. She used her knowledge and preparation to not only survive but also to continue thriving. This underscores the importance of financial literacy — it is the backbone that supports all other aspects of business management.

Strategic Planning B: An Entrepreneur’s Safety Net

Many entrepreneurs are conditioned to think that they need to take massive risks without a safety net. However, having a Plan B isn’t about doubting your business; it’s about smart entrepreneurship. A strategic Plan B acts as a risk management tool that enables you to explore opportunities with confidence. Whether it's returning to a previous profession or leveraging another skill set, knowing you have options can free you to innovate and push boundaries in your primary business.

During the podcast, Kelsey Knudsen elaborated on how she ensured she had multiple contingency plans throughout her career transitions. From potentially walking dogs if her salon didn’t work out to returning to hairdressing if her consulting business didn’t take off, she always had a viable backup plan that reassured her entrepreneurial spirit.

Leveraging Technology and Systems for Growth

In today’s digital age, solopreneurs and small business owners have a plethora of tools at their disposal to automate and streamline operations. Efficient use of technology can compensate for the lack of a large team, allowing entrepreneurs to maintain lean operations while scaling effectively. Tools like Zapier or other automation platforms can manage repetitive tasks, freeing up precious time to focus on strategic decision-making and business growth.

The essence of entrepreneurship is not about working harder but smarter. As Kelsey points out, the integration of simple systems can lead to significant efficiency improvements and reduce the overwhelming burden of day-to-day operations.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation: The Entrepreneur’s Mindset

Lastly, entrepreneurship is an ongoing learning journey. The landscape is constantly evolving, and only those who adapt survive and thrive. This requires staying informed, seeking knowledge, and being willing to adapt based on what the data tells you about your business performance. Whether it’s through podcasts, like Kelsey Knudsen’s "Get Shit Done," educational platforms, or networking with other business owners, continuous learning is key.

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Transcript for Episode 314.  Uncovering Your Why to Create Opportunities

Amy [00:00:02]:

Hey, welcome back into the motivated CEO podcast. I've got the coolest guest with me today. I have Kelsey Knudsen. Did I say your last name correctly?

Kelsey [00:00:13]:

Knudsen. But Knutson, 99.9% of people say it wrong.

Amy [00:00:17]:

Usually the k is silent, so, like, we're breaking the rules today. Well, Kelsey, I'm so excited for the conversation we're going to have, because I've been following you for a while now. I'm like one of those silent stalkers online that I'm like, yeah, her stuff is really good. She needs to come on the podcast as a guest. Like, your podcast is awesome. I think you're awesome, and I'm super honored to have you here with me today. But before we dive in, tell our listeners more about yourself, who you are, what you do, and who you serve.

Kelsey [00:00:48]:

Amy, thanks so much for having me. And what a generous introduction for those not watching. I'm literally blushing a little right now. I'm just going to say this, like, as someone who. I'm on my second, like, true business, it takes a while to feel really seen. And it's cool when, like, your friends and your family and your neighbors cheer you on and support you. That's great. But when it's someone who you have never met Irl in real life to, like, shout you out like that, it's still.

Kelsey [00:01:14]:

It'll never not feel cool. So just thank you so much for such a kind introduction, and I'm honored to be here. She has the word CEO on her podcast, so that was a non negotiable for me. I was like, yes, I would love to serve your audience, and I'll bring you up to speed. If you're listening today, as I'm talking in front of you, I help six to seven figure entrepreneurs scale their businesses. I love, especially helping teams and handing off the baton in a really confident, empowered way. You know, as entrepreneurs, we wear so many different hats, and I've just heard horror story after horror story of people I don't trust so and so, or I've tried a va and it didn't work out, or, you know, I just. I do it best.

Kelsey [00:01:52]:

I do. I want to do it myself. And that will eventually cap how far you can grow as a business owner. So my specialty right now is really in the team development area. I've helped hire, I've helped fire, and I'm really big on culture. I also talk a lot about money. So I think it's important to be confident in your finances as an entrepreneur. But that's what I do today.

Kelsey [00:02:10]:

But to get here, I am just a girl from a small town in Washington state. I studied entrepreneurship in college because within College of Business, it seemed like the most fun major. So that's how I picked it. I actually worked for a startup right out of college. I did something similar to Shark tank, but through my university and that was a great experience. And then I took a really sharp right did some consulting work and then after that, the sharp right was going to hair school. So I went from helping people with business stuff to building my own business in the beauty industry and really understanding how do I apply all this theory of entrepreneurship to my own business. And then now I've kind of come back full circle where I'm consulting.

Kelsey [00:02:48]:

But I feel like I have so much more empathy and understanding since I had built my own business at outside of the coaching space before doing what I do now. So that's kind of the Cliff notes versions. There's lots of stuff in between, but that's what really matters here on CEO podcast.

Amy [00:03:02]:

What a cool story. I always love seeing the transformation because when we look back, it's really cool to reflect on that and see how we got from point a to point b. Because as we're navigating this as entrepreneurs, it doesn't always make sense as we're going through these changes, as we're making these little pivots and adjustments and refining and testing and guessing and revising all of the things. And you're so right, like so many have been burned in the online space. So it's very, very rare that you find someone that's truly as genuine as you are and just has such a heart of service. So first of all, thank you for that. And second of all, you said something too, helping others apply the theory that they learn. Because it's easy, let's be honest, it's easy to consume.

Amy [00:03:51]:

We love to learn all the things, but we tend to procrastinate on the doing. And you recently made a post on stop waiting for opportunities. So I'd like to unpack this topic a little bit more today about how we're just waiting. We're waiting for these opportunities to magically appear. But it doesn't always have to be that way. We don't have to wait. What is one step that we can take as entrepreneurs in order to seek those opportunities out and really grow our business as an entrepreneur?

Kelsey [00:04:31]:

I could TED talk on this specific topic, but I'll try to keep it succinct. One thing that really is coming to mind, as you're saying this is that the why matters. So first, before you even take that risk and jump or leap or whatever that looks like, really challenging yourself to answer the question of why, because sometimes it may not be the right thing to do or to, you know, take a leap of faith in, and that's okay. But I think if you can articulate the why to yourself, to the people you care about, the people you look up to, mentors, then I would say the next step is to have a solid plan B. Not in the sense of, oh, this isn't going to work out, I'm just going to lean on that. But for me, when I opened my hair salon, and to give some context, I was already in the industry. The salon I was opening was about a ten to twelve minute drive away. So clients didn't really have to move too far.

Kelsey [00:05:22]:

I already had built a reputation in industry. It was just my business versus someone else's. But for me, the thing I always said, if this business fails, I can go walk a dog. And my plan B was I could go, I think Rover, you know, those different apps where you can just sign up, and if I need to pay some bills, I know there's a way to do that. So I have nothing to lose but to try this business. And Amy and I were talking about this before recording, but I think as you're growing in your entrepreneurial journey and you're pivoting, maybe like I did, like Amy did you, your plan b changes and evolves. And so for a long time, it was, I'll get a side hustle to sustain me if I need to. So then I have nothing to lose, so I just need to go for it.

Kelsey [00:06:01]:

But then, now being in the coaching space, when I pivoted from owning a hair salon to coaching, I was like, I could always go back to hair if I had to. So it was, I'm building this business that I'm running, and I could go back to a different business that I ran. And then now at the place that I'm at in my business where I'm actively scaling, I have team members I'm building and launching a retreat and mastermind that will be coming out very, very soon. And I'm adding more offers to my offer suite. All those things are at play. My brain is I can always sign more one on one clients. So I think if you're, if you're waiting for the perfect time, the perfect opportunity, the perfect amount of information to help you take that next step. First ask yourself why you want to take that next step to make sure it is the right next step.

Kelsey [00:06:41]:

Secondly, from there, I think having that solid plan b and letting that evolve with you as you continue to grow and walk through the journey of entrepreneurship.

Amy [00:06:49]:

Oh, there's so many things that you just said that I want to dive even deeper into. And the first thing that you said, I appreciate so much, really getting deep on why. Why are we doing what we're doing? And I really feel like why and how? Are two questions that as entrepreneurs, we don't take the time to ask ourselves often enough. And even when you think you know your why, revisiting that often, very often, because as we evolve, so will our why. The more action we take, the more clarity that we get. So knowing that why and taking the time to know why we're doing what we're doing will keep you going on those days that life just knocks you upside down, because it will happen. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. And that's just the reality of it.

Amy [00:07:42]:

And that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your business. It does not mean that you need to burn it, to burn it down to the ground. But your why is what will keep you going. So the fact that you mentioned that, like, right off the bat is. Yes, like, preach it, sister from the rooftops. We need to know our why. And then the second thing you dove into was really having that strategic plan B and that plan B that evolves. And.

Amy [00:08:07]:

And I think a lot of times, as entrepreneurs, we hold ourselves back because we're so worried about, okay, well, what if things don't work out? And I think it's really important to have that plan B. And for me, it alleviated a lot of the stress and anxiety and fear about taking that next step, about stepping into that next version of myself, that evolution as an entrepreneur. And a lot of times, we don't talk about this. We don't talk about what happens if things don't work out in the way that I thought they would. But when you start to address those underlying fears, it's like when I left my nine to five to go full time in my business, it's like, okay, there's always going to be ways to make money. I can always figure it out. And the more you continue to take those risks, the bigger and bigger the rewards get, because now you're giving your brain proof that, okay, guess what? I figured it out before. I'll figure it out again.

Amy [00:09:03]:

And it's really cool stepping into that, that new mindset. I know when I first stepped out of my nine to five role and into full time entrepreneurship, I had a lot of people, like, really close loved ones saying, what are you doing? Like, you're trying. You're making the biggest mistake. Like, you have a degree, you have a license, like, you've got a really good job. And it was like those golden handcuffs that kept me confined. And I feel like that happens to so many entrepreneurs that things get hard and that we just give it up and go right back to that nine to five.

Kelsey [00:09:40]:

Yeah. And I don't. I say this with love, but there's no shame in the nine to five. Entrepreneurship isn't for everybody. And I think that's why that why question matters so much. Launching a business may not be the answer. It could be just like, making a pivot in industry. It could be creating a side hustle that is like a passion project, but kind of stays at that level, and that's okay.

Kelsey [00:10:01]:

I wish more people were openly talking about this because I see so many people get into entrepreneurship and then they get stuck and resentful, and at the end of the day, the core skills they need to really scale and grow just aren't there. And they're. I wish all we all need to be more honest with ourselves, too. I mean, for me, like, I've always felt myself being. Having this pole to, like, build an empire and, like, I can't, not, like, on the weekends I work on my business. If a friend wants to grab lunch, we're probably talking about launching a business. Like, I live and breathe this stuff because I love it so much. And if that's really what you want to build, if you want to build that empire, multiple streams of revenue, multiple facets to your business, that's what it's going to take.

Kelsey [00:10:39]:

And that's okay if you are that person, but if you're not that person, I think just being honest with yourself and then setting yourself up so you're in a situation where you're still fulfilled with the. The way that you're working, the way that you're living and all those other things.

Amy [00:10:51]:

Yeah. Really taking the time to get honest with yourself and asking yourself, like, what do I really want? Because it's easy to get sucked into the glitz and the glamour of, oh, my gosh, you know, I should just breathe in money and effortlessly make ten k every time I post something online. The reality is building a business takes a long time. It's a long game, and it requires that strategy. It requires that intention. But when you go back to that, why, that's going to get you through. And it's okay if you decide, you know what, this isn't for me. And I love that you mentioned that.

Amy [00:11:28]:

There is no shame. There is nothing wrong with that. Likewise, as you're building your business, I think it's helpful if you are, you know, building your business alongside your nine to five. You can do that to build up that safety net of income, of savings. Because until you know how that cash flow is going to fluctuate, it's going to be a roller coaster for at least that first year where you're trying to figure out, okay, what are the trends, what's happening behind the scenes in my business, what's working, what's not. It's in the doing that you get the data and then the data tells you such a beautiful story and you can use that to drive your decisions.

Kelsey [00:12:11]:

Exactly. Could not have said it better myself.

Amy [00:12:14]:

Yes. See, this is why I just adore you so much. Because I'm like, yes, we speak the same language. Why do you think so many business owners don't do that? Why aren't business owners, like, looking at the nitty gritty? I have my thoughts, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Kelsey [00:12:30]:

It's easier not to, it's not sexy, and no one is serving it to them in a way that's digestible and understandable and actionable. So here's a great example. Prior to what I do now, had a hair salon. So it was me in a little studio, but I had a team of contract employees. We did a lot of on site weddings. So even though on the cut and color side of things, it was just me, I still led a team. I managed all the proposals and the finances and payment of everything and marketing of everything. I really wore all those hats.

Kelsey [00:13:01]:

And it's funny because it came naturally to me, and I will. I talk about this a lot. I don't know that an entrepreneurship degree is like the be all, end all. Like every small business owner has to do it. Hire me for two and a half hours. I feel like it could give you the cliff notes you need. But one thing it did teach me was how to find answers. I.

Kelsey [00:13:20]:

Yeah. How to find answers to things I didn't know. And a great example was during COVID I think that was a very humbling time for business owners and a huge wake up call. I was one of those salons that I had been filed as an S corporation. Full disclosure, I live in Washington state. I am not a lawyer or attorney. I'm also not an accountant, but this is my experience. So I was filed as an S corporation.

Kelsey [00:13:42]:

I was able to get PPP funding, and I also was able to get unemployment. And I had been treating my business profit first. So I had a nest egg that I had been saving into just to support my business in case something happened. So when it happened, was I sad and a little worried? Yeah. But financially, I was fine. And I was in a studio where there was 30 plus other professionals around me, and they were not fine. Not one. Not one of them had the setup I had.

Kelsey [00:14:08]:

And that's when I realized, like, oh, most business owners don't approach it this way, that I am small business owners. And I realized the gap is just an education. And again, you don't really face it till you have to. But I was doing things back then like, I was setting aside a percentage of my money for taxes every month. I was setting aside a percentage for that profit account. Like I mentioned, I was clear about my numbers. And I knew, you know, on an average month, to hit my end goal for the year, like, how much I needed to make in a month, how much I need to make in a day, if I was close that day, like, I was approaching my business that way, and in that industry, I realized that was not common. And then when I transitioned into consulting, because I do help the beauty industry, but it's not my only niche that I serve.

Kelsey [00:14:51]:

I've learned that this whole money stuff and analytics, KPI's key performance indicators, all of this stuff is something everyone turns a blind eye to because it is not sexy, it's humbling. But also, once you do face it, it can be super empowering and a great tool to help you make confident decisions moving forward. So I will preach it to the end of time. Whether you're bringing in ten k a year or ten k a day, you need to face your numbers. And I think it's important to have that conversation over and over and over again until it makes sense to you.

Amy [00:15:19]:

Right, exactly. And you do not need to have a degree in accounting. You do not need to be a statistician. Just start somewhere, start simple, start tracking that data, because it really does take a lot of the just fear and anxiety away because you are taking the time to get real with yourself. You know where you're at, you know where you want to be. You can reverse engineer anything. That's exactly like you said. I knew exactly how much that I needed to make in a month.

Amy [00:15:48]:

I needed to make in a day. And when you know those numbers, it is empowering. It is so empowering. And anyone can learn this. That is the beauty of the time we are living in right now. I mean, there are awesome podcasts out there. Like, Kelsey has this amazing podcast that she shares so much value on. And we'll walk you through how to demystify this entire process, because it's not as scary as we make it out to be.

Amy [00:16:19]:

But like you said, it's not the fun stuff. It's not the glamorous stuff. It's not the things that we necessarily love doing. But taking the time to know your numbers and start treating your business like a business can be such a game changer. Such a game changer. And that right there is another powerful way to open yourself up to more opportunities, because now you're starting to see the opportunities instead of all of the limitations that are around us.

Kelsey [00:16:49]:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing, too, is you don't have to hire people to grow your business. I know plenty of solopreneurs who are actually making more money because they're solo, and they've set up some great systems. That's another big piece of the puzzle that I love to speak on and teach on, but just don't listen to this episode and think, oop, I need to get to a place where I hire people. That's the only way to grow. You can do a lot with. With a little. And it comes with having clarity, a game plan, the systems to support it, and the awareness with what's going on in your finances.

Kelsey [00:17:20]:

Because I've also seen the solopreneurs make hires too soon, and all of a sudden, their personal money, the money they're taking home, just completely diminishes. And it's not then replaced with more sales opportunities, which is, if you're hiring, that's what should be happening. So, all this to say, if you're not looking at your numbers, please do shameless plug. My podcast is called get shit done in. All of my episodes in the month of April 2024 are about money. So if you want, like, a nice crash course on money from different things, like how to track your numbers, does passive income really. Is it really passive? How to have a money date with your spouse? All those things are covered in the month. So definitely go check that out.

Amy [00:17:56]:

Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. Like, yes, go binge her podcast, because there is so much value there. And, yeah, it really goes back to, again, knowing your why. Knowing why you're doing what you're doing because you're right. So many solopreneurs do start to outsource way too quickly. And we've all made mistakes in our business. So if you're in the point where you're like, you know what? I feel called out.

Amy [00:18:19]:

Like, guess what? I've been there too. Like, I have made bad hires in the past. I have fired too slowly. And that's okay, because I've learned from that experience. I've learned, and now I can educate others. Like, hey, please don't make the same mistakes that I did. Oh, it doesn't. You don't need to have this team if what you're doing is working.

Amy [00:18:39]:

And that's the really cool part about technology right now, is that there are so many beautiful systems and automations that you can set up to run on autopilot, so you're not having to do those repetitive tasks. And a lot of these systems are free. I mean, even Zapier. Zapier. However you say it, you know, you can get so many zaps per month done for free. So start to explore these different options. If you find that you're doing a task over and over, google it. See if there's an automation.

Amy [00:19:11]:

And guess what? If there's not, chances are next month, maybe there will be. You know, keep searching. Because we're living in a world with endless information, and technology is growing and booming so fast, it's kind of wild. It's a little scary in a way, but, hey, let's embrace it as entrepreneurs, right?

Kelsey [00:19:29]:

Totally. Yeah. Yeah. And I think those numbers help you make smart decisions on what to do with the money. And do you need to get more clients in the door? Okay, we're gonna focus more on marketing. Are you getting enough clients? But your systems are crap. And I just think it's so empowering as an entrepreneur to be able to decipher that aside from being like, it feels like it's going well this month, or it's feel like it feels like it's not going well. Well, what does well mean? How do you measure it? How do you adjust for that? So I love this topic, and again, I think it's just important to talk about.

Amy [00:19:57]:

Yes, it really is. Kelsey, I could talk to you all day about this, but in the interest of time, I would love to have you share with us more about where we can connect with you, find you shared. You have the podcast. Where else can we connect?

Kelsey [00:20:11]:

Yeah, I would say most active on Instagram, and it's just my name. Kelsey Marie Knudsen. All one word, lowercase, nothing crazy there. I would definitely just recommend coming over there and come say hi, send me a DM. I manage all of my own direct messages, and I'm a big voice note person, so don't be surprised if you get a little voice note responding to you. But definitely come over, say hi, send me a message. I don't bite. I just think that all of us are better off supporting each other and sharing from our lessons learned.

Kelsey [00:20:39]:

And my why in life is to inspire people to take action so they can live a life with purpose. And the more I can do that, whether I'm sharing content that's helpful or cheering people on, that's important to me. So I would absolutely love to see you over there. And then if you find your way to get shit done, podcasts, I'd love for you to share that too.

Amy [00:20:55]:

Yes. Isn't that the best thing when people drop in? Or like, hey, I heard your podcast episode, and this was a big takeaway for me. Like, that, to me, is the most fulfilling thing. Like, actually being able to connect with a listener, someone on the other side of the world that hears the message that I'm putting out there. It's so cool. So get into Kelsey's DM's, follow her, listen to the podcast. And Kelsey, thank you again for being just such an awesome person, such an awesome light in the online space.

Kelsey [00:21:29]:

Amy, thank you. And if you're listening and you like this episode, let Amy know. Leave her a comment. Share it with your friends. Podcasting, there's so much work that goes into it. She has so much intention in what she's doing, and I know it would mean a lot to her, too, if you found it valuable. Definitely share it to people who you feel like would benefit from this episode.

Amy [00:21:45]:

Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you. And until next time, cheers to making the money you want so you can create the impact you desire.


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