Shannon Russell

This week Audra sits down with Shannon, a career transition coach with a diverse background in television production and entrepreneurship. Join them as they delve into Shannon’s inspiring journey, from working in Hollywood to pivoting her career and becoming an entrepreneur. They discuss the challenges of transitioning into a new field, the importance of finding balance as a working mom, and the power of embracing personal growth and self-reflection. Shannon shares valuable insights on how she helps women navigate career transitions and create lives that align with their passions and values. Tune in to gain practical tips, motivation, and a fresh perspective on finding fulfillment in your professional and personal life.

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About the Guest

Shannon RussellI is an entrepreneur, Career Coach, Course Creator, and host of the Second Act Success Career Podcast. She helps women in unresolved careers pivot towards a second act career that produces a balanced life of abundance. 

Shannon spent over 16 years as a Television Producer in New York City and Los Angeles working for MTV, E!, Yahoo!, Pop Sugar, A&E, TLC, VH1, etc. She then pivoted to open her own business running a Snapology franchise teaching children STEM education. Now, as a certified Career Coach, Shannon coaches women on how to change careers, start a business, and follow their creative passions to the fullest as they produce their best life. 

Shannon’s company Second Act Success ( allows her to share her journey from television executive to business owner(x2) and mom. Shannon hopes to motivate more women to make big moves in life and follow their dreams through her businesses and podcast. She lives at the beach in New Jersey with her husband, two boys, and her chow chow pup.


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Episode Transcript

*What follows is an AI-generated transcript may not be 100% accurate. 


[00:00:00] Audra: all right. Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. I guess I shouldn’t assume you’re listening to this in the morning because we’re recording in the morning. welcome to another episode of The Mess in the Middle. Today I have Shannon with me from Jersey.

[00:00:52] So we’re gonna get into a little bit of her story, how she’s showing up in the world and get into helping some entrepreneurs today. So stay tuned and let’s get into things. So welcome to the show, Shannon.

[00:01:05] Shannon: Ah, thank you so much for having me. This is great. Good. So let’s take a few minutes to catch everybody up.

[00:01:11] Audra: What’s happening in your world?

[00:01:13] Shannon: So I am a career transition coach, so I’m really just helping other women figure out where they are right now, and if they’re not happy with what they’re doing, how they can make that shift into something that just fits their life,

[00:01:25] Audra: where they are now.

[00:01:27] Good. How long have you been doing that? Just over a year now. Okay, and what’d you do before that? I began my

[00:01:34] Shannon: career

[00:01:34] Audra: as a television producer, so I worked in Nice. Interesting, okay. Yeah, I worked in New York and

[00:01:39] Shannon: Los [00:01:40] Angeles. That was my dream since I was a little girl to work in Hollywood. And I did that for about 16 years.

[00:01:46] And then when I had started having my family, I have two little boys. we moved from the west coast back to the East coast to Beiner family, and we were doing the two hour commute into Manhattan. And my husband’s in television too, and it just became a little too much. And when I had my second son, I said, okay, I’ve got to figure this out and pivot into something else.

[00:02:07] And so after quite a few mis turns, mis. Steps. I, launched my own business. My, I bought into a franchise and Oh, nice. Okay. Yeah, so that’s, I still own that. It’s been seven years. Okay. And everyone was asking me, how did you go from television to running a STEM education business for children? It was quite the ju juxtaposition.

[00:02:30] And so a little over a year ago I said, you know what? There’s a lot of women who feel stuck and that they can’t, now that they have kids, or now that they’re in this different part of their life, they don’t know how to maneuver it so that they can find something that they love and that kind of fits.

[00:02:44] So that’s when I launched second.

[00:02:47] Audra: That’s good. that’s awesome. one, welcome to the Entrepreneur Rat Race. Yes. Now, how do they compare? So having a job versus being out on your own.

[00:02:58] Shannon: You know what, for me as a mom and just wanting to be a very present mom. Being an entrepreneur is where it’s at because in Okay.

[00:03:07] Television especially, it’s a very niche, very interesting world. You work crazy hours, you travel a lot. I, I missed my first son’s first birthday because I was at South by Southwest, and that still haunts me [00:03:20] to this day. So for me, I just wanted to be more present. So it’s.

[00:03:24] Just as chaotic, I said, in a different way as an entrepreneur. Yeah. But it’s on my own terms and I can decide when I turn it off, when I’m super active. And the best part is that I can, with both my businesses, my kids can be with me, they can come with me into the office, they can come with me to my franchise business and be there.

[00:03:43] So I feel like it just allows me a lot more flexibility than working for a corporate studio in

[00:03:50] Audra: television. Now, do you find that moving from one expertise into another, was that an easy transition for you? Not at all.

[00:03:59] Shannon: No. It really wasn’t. It wasn’t, and I struggled. I took a nine to five job.

[00:04:04] I went back to graduate school thinking, oh, if I just get this certification at the end of it, I’ll be a teacher. And that’s really stable. Like I was just going through all the motions that I felt like I needed to do. Because I really thought that. Entertainment was such a interesting. Small, rare kind of industry that, how would any of those skills transfer?

[00:04:24] And it took a lot of soul searching, a lot of figuring out amongst myself, because all of my friends, including my husband, were in television. So I didn’t have anyone to turn to, listen to a lot of podcasts and. Figured out that, you know what, if I can run a budget, write scripts, produce talent, direct shows, all of those things are managerial and I can, and I’m a people person.

[00:04:48] So I took all of those into running a business. Okay. And found that they really do transfer a lot and it

[00:04:53] Audra: Good. I do find that often with people that make that transition that were working maybe at the top of their [00:05:00] career, decide to pivot into something else, many of them will struggle.

[00:05:05] One, I think, is because you’ve got such a structure. You’ve done it for years. Typically if you’re, especially if you’re going to, tap out at whatever level you did, but it’s. starting over saying, okay, how do I backfill that knowledge that I don’t have? Because it’s not a lateral move. It’s all the way back down again.

[00:05:25] Now we do ramp up faster because you, like you said, there are a lot of skills that will transfer, but there’s still some of this unknown foundation stuff that being an employee, you’re, you just don’t have exposure to. So why would you ever learn that? and a lot of people get stuck there. And they don’t make it out of that because they feel like it should have just been a straight across change.

[00:05:46] And it’s not. You do have to take a step back and build some foundation regardless if that’s a mindset thing or a skill thing or a process thing, you’ve somehow, that information has to be backfilled or partnered with somebody that can provide that if you don’t have it. Yeah,

[00:06:04] absolutely.

[00:06:05] Shannon: And I think it’s knowing that it’s not going to be lateral, like you said, and it’s not going to be that you’re making your same salary tomorrow and that everything’s going to be the same.

[00:06:14] For me, it was going from a really well paying job to starting not bringing any income in as an entrepreneur, growing a business for a good year or so. So it was a lot of. That research and figuring that out before I transitioned. and I think, yeah, it’s also that identity piece of saying, okay, you wrap your identity up in what you’ve done for that first half of your life and now it’s that just [00:06:40] scary.

[00:06:40] Who am I sitting with this unknown. Yeah.

[00:06:42] Audra: And it’s, do I have what it takes? Can I pull this off? How much of this do I not understand? Yeah. Did you find stepping into a franchise model, give you a little bit more security? Yeah. Yeah. I

[00:06:55] Shannon: really didn’t. Okay. and what’s interesting is I started researching, just watching.

[00:06:59] I had a three-year-old and a newborn at the time, and I watched my three-year-old just build with Legos or whatever he had in the playroom. And it just got me thinking about STEM education and kind of, Just the fact that they can take these materials and build something and just what’s working in their little minds.

[00:07:16] And so I was like, you know what? Maybe I can open a business where it’s focused on kids and learning and the educational piece of play. And as I started researching a business, I realized I’d never run a business before and it was very intimidating for me. So when I. In my searching, I found this franchise that basically was taking everything I wanted to do and already had it established, and for me, that was the best venture because there was that support from the corporate office of, Okay. Here’s curriculum. Here’s marketing materials, here’s the support when you need it. And fellow owners, right? Fellow franchise owners. So for me, that was such an easy transition. And then I realized, okay, I really can do this. And now, I was able to launch it second business out of it. But such a great stepping stone to go into franchising

[00:08:02] Audra: if Yeah, if you’ve got the funds.

[00:08:05] Yes. Yeah, that, that’ll be some of the deterrence. So typically, if you, anybody listening to this doesn’t understand what we were just talking about, the franchise model is, would be something like, what would be a good example of a popular,like [00:08:20] McDonald’s? Yeah, McDonald’s is a great one. I don’t eat fast food,I had to think about that one. McDonald’s is a franchise you can buy in, you get a license, then you open up and you run your own business from it. they give you everything. They give you the systems, the processes, the marketing, how to do it, what the numbers should look like. They give you all that in a little box.

[00:08:38] But there is a fee associated with that. And then you also pay them a percentage of the royalties typically. sometimes that’s a good model to step into. If you’ve got a little bit of cash and you want to fast track what you’re trying to build, that could be something worth looking at.

[00:08:54] My franchise was

[00:08:54] Shannon: extremely new at the time, so I wanted at a really great time where it was good, very low buy-in, and it was a flat rate franchise fee. So no matter how much I made for the month, I paid this little amount. Nice. So seven years later, when I’m in the top five out of all of the franchises for mine, I’m making a lot of money.

[00:09:13] And I’m still paying that flat rate. Nice. So I got into a really good time. So you definitely have to do your research. Okay. before

[00:09:19] Audra: entering into that. That makes sense. Okay. So talk about the new business now. Where’s that going and how did you decide? you told me you, it’s about was marrying the best of both worlds.

[00:09:30] So taking the corporate. Trying to fill that void of women, especially with young children or children, trying to balance that. Speaking from a mom of three, that raised them by himself. It was a challenge. There was never enough time and balance was not an option for me. and we did what we had to do to get through it.

[00:09:51] And most of my kid’s childhood, I was self-employed, My kids went to my coffee shops with me cuz I had, my first venture was coffee shops. [00:10:00] And, there were a lot of summers where the days were spent there in my office. Every, my customers knew my kids, everybody knew ’em. And then my next business was a title company and I actually worked from home.

[00:10:11] so I was be able, so was, so at least I was there. They were a little bit older by this point, it’s just, you gotta do what you gotta do to try to balance that. And there weren’t women like you when my kids were little. It was, you want this, you’re gonna figure out how to manage it.

[00:10:27] Cuz there were no other resources. I was fortunate though. I still dug into books early. I still, I found. Tony Robbins probably 23, 24. And that was like such a weird thing, yeah, that guy is odd. it wasn’t the generation that we’re at now, but exploring N L P and exploring all those kind of things to help yourself personally.

[00:10:49] I didn’t talk about it a lot to a lot of people cuz a lot of people thought I was weird, but it was still helping me and it was helping me grow my business and grow myself. So I guess even at this stage in 2023, it is much more acceptable. We are much more enlightened and opened up to the idea if you don’t have a support system that

[00:11:12] we’ll encourage you to do that for yourself. Go watch. Excuse me. Go watch YouTube. Go. If talking to friends is not really an option, maybe you’re young and your friends aren’t like that, there are other resources out there. Get a mentor. look for other people or businesses that you admire and just say, you know what, can I buy you lunch?

[00:11:33] I wanna talk about what life looks like being self-employed or starting something for yourself to get a [00:11:40] little bit more grasp on, do I have what it takes to make that happen? So where’s the business going now? Yeah. And I agree

[00:11:48] Shannon: with everything that you said because it’s it’s podcasts like yours.

[00:11:51] That really helped inspire people too. And for me, it was, my friends and family were not, in this world at all. And it was Marie

[00:11:59] Forlio. Good podcast.

[00:12:02] That really made me realize that I could open a business. So I’m all about what you said for sure. And. And the balancing thing too. my kids, every single summer have come with me to my center.

[00:12:13] And this is actually the first summer I’m trying to take a step back to actually spend some time with them because every year they don’t go to camp. They come with me and, it’s, you just do what you have to do. Yeah. but it was in. Building that business. Like I said, I would, in the beginning I’d be teaching all of the classes.

[00:12:30] So we teach, robotics and LEGO building to kids and I would be teaching and customers would say, oh, you’re such a great teacher. What grade did you teach before this? Oh. And I would say, no, I was a television producer and it would just spark this. Conversation of like, how did you do that? That is such, how did you make that transition?

[00:12:49] And I started having customers ask me. Nice, nice. You helped me figure out, because I don’t wanna do that commute into Manhattan anymore. And now that I have kids, I just feel stuck. I feel like I can’t change. So it started sparking. Those conversations amongst my friends, a lot of my friends in the entertainment industry that were looking to get out.

[00:13:08] And so about a year and a half ago I was starting to think, like maybe I can help other people on more of a full-time basis. So I decided to launch second act success and focus on women [00:13:20] that are our age in, thirties, forties, fifties and beyond that are just realizing that, okay, what I did in that first

[00:13:28] section of my life was amazing, but now where I am now, it just doesn’t fit. Yeah. And what can I do to change it and how can I change it so that it’s not so scary? And I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of friends who feel that their husbands aren’t

[00:13:43] supportive or Their partners aren’t

[00:13:45] supportive, and therefore, I’ll just stick it out until the kids are in college or whatever.

[00:13:49] And death

[00:13:50] Audra: sentence. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:52] Shannon: And I just feel No, there’s ways you can do it where it doesn’t disrupt everything. And that you can do your research before you make that move. And there’s just so many ways. And so I just felt like empowered, okay, I’ve been helping children for the past seven years.

[00:14:06] I’m gonna try to help women now. And it’s been wonderful. And so I do one-on-one coaching. I have a course, I have a podcast as well to give that free content to people. And I just have seen. whether it’s small business owners that just need help getting to that next level, or women that just, I had a woman who came to me with nearly 10 ideas.

[00:14:26] I knew she wanted to do something, but how can I figure out which one is mine? And it’s just having that person that you and I didn’t have

[00:14:33] Audra: Yeah.

[00:14:34] Shannon: When we were starting out to just bounce those ideas off of and have that accountability partner. So I feel like it’s just been growing where at least I can empower.

[00:14:42] the handful of women that I’ve worked with to, make that step and make a better future for

[00:14:46] Audra: themselves. You brought up a very important topic that I think needs to be addressed a little bit further. Our spouses or parents or our family or our friends not supporting [00:15:00] this idea of being an entrepreneur or being, that word is so overused and, but going out and venturing something on our own, regardless if you have experience or not.

[00:15:10] What was a realization for me when I was younger, my family was not supportive either. I come from a family of business owners. I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. Those are two very different things. That means business owners are self-employed. They pay themselves, but they’re working it more as the technician or the manager.

[00:15:32] That’s their job, right? Entrepreneurs are a little bit more, at least in my dictionary, entrepreneurs are a little bit more of a risk taker. They’re gonna push the limits. They’re going to try things that we don’t know if it’s gonna work or not, but we’re a little bit more. fluid when it comes to making decisions and trying to start businesses.

[00:15:52] When my started my first one, coffee shops, I didn’t even drink coffee. I’ve never owned a business before. I think I was maybe 32 at the time. Three kids under the age of 10. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no experience doing it, but it was still something I wanted to try. I wasn’t supported that much at the time.

[00:16:12] But fast forward a handful of years, I work it out. I do fine, I have success. What I found was the people that weren’t supportive, it wasn’t about not supporting me, it was they were fearful. I. Of taking a chance like that, and once I recognized that it wasn’t about me, it was just about them projecting their own fears, maybe security was in their top three, or maybe it [00:16:40] was too far of a stretch for them to be able to wrap their head around.

[00:16:44] For safety or for, just that unknown feeling. It had nothing to do with me. It had to do with where they were with the feelings that they had. Once I was able to let that go and say, oh, okay, it’s not about me. They’re not, it’s not that they’re worried about me failing, it’s just they wouldn’t have the courage or whatever.

[00:17:02] Again, what label it, whatever you wanna label it, but that’s not for them. And then once I got that, I was able to let it go and I no longer needed them to validate my decision or get on board with it. But it took a minute to get there. So if you are finding that I’m, this is my purpose, this is my mission, this is what I need to do with my life, but my family and my friends, they don’t, or my significant other, they don’t understand.

[00:17:29] They’re not supportive. A lot of times it’s not about you. So disconnect from that. disconnect. Yes, we want them to be on board, but they’re never gonna be as excited as you are. They’re never gonna wanna work 80 hours a day like we do. They’re never going to feel that sense of accomplishment when you make your first dollar or your first a hundred thousand, or, they may get excited at the a hundred thousand mark, but, it’s just, you’ve gotta be able to disconnect from the emotions of others.

[00:17:56] And that means your family too. Now, it doesn’t mean go against them. You still want to be able to include them, but you also have to recognize that this is your venture, this is your decision. And it’s a fine line balancing the two between family and friends and spouses and children and a business. It’s a lot.

[00:18:18] that’s why people like [00:18:20] Shannon exist so they can help others get through projects like this. But just, you gotta be able to sit down and say, Would I still go forward with this if my family didn’t support me or my spouse doesn’t support me, and can I be okay with that? Especially here at the beginning.

[00:18:38] And Audra,

[00:18:39] Shannon: I always

[00:18:39] Audra: tell people, keep it to yourself. Yeah. If

[00:18:42] Shannon: if you just sense that they’re not going to be supportive, keep that close to the chest while you do your research. I always say that the more research you do about that venture, the more confident you become. And then you can take that step and almost realize that you don’t need permission.

[00:18:59] keep it to your chest because if you’re someone who feels like you’re going to be swayed By others, then just don’t tell them right now. And Right. And I often, I’ve always been that black sheep going against the grain and family and friends and all of it. So I’m used to people just going, oh, what is Shannon up to now?

[00:19:16] And oh, like I’m just that crazy friend who’s doing something and then they come back and go, wow, like you did it. Yeah. And I just. you just go, yep, I did it and I didn’t have to tell you about it ahead of time, or ask permission or get your advice. Good, because really the only person we need that permission from is yourself.

[00:19:35] Audra: And regardless if it, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. It may be your second or your third adventure before you figure this space out and really get the right product with the right market. Again, it’s not failing. We’re trying stuff. We’re practicing, we’re learning, we’re evolving.

[00:19:52] Stopping so hard on yourself, like I can’t tell anybody until I’m at a million dollars. don’t that. There’s absolutely no [00:20:00] point in wasting any energy on that kind of stuff. Yeah, I feel

[00:20:04] Shannon: like we’re in a better place in our thirties, forties, and older that, you’re more confident in that, whereas in the, yeah.

[00:20:11] I feel at least for me, if I was in my twenties making these kind of decisions, I would’ve been a lot more apprehensive. But I feel like if you are in your, if you’re ready to make a second act and you’re ready to start over, change whatever it may be. You have been there, done that, and you feel like, okay, I’m ready for a change.

[00:20:31] I know who I am now and whatever it is I’m changing to I’m gonna make sure that it is not bringing me back to the place I’m in now. So if you’re unhappy, you’re going to make sure and you’re just more self-assured.

[00:20:43] Audra: That’s a good point. And two, remember where we start and where we end up are not the same place.

[00:20:48] So you will. Essentially grow through this process. it’ll force you to regards if you want to or not. It will force you to, the person that I was when I started my marketing agency in 2009 is a very different person than I am in 2023. My skills change, my clients change, my results change. I change on what I wanna deliver and what I don’t wanna deliver.

[00:21:16] so go with it, enjoy it cuz this is really what it’s about. It’s not just about getting to the end. I’ve done that, I’ve worked, each one of my businesses making a lot of money and then getting there and saying, okay, now what? To open another store. I already have three. Do I wanna have more employees?

[00:21:34] Do I wanna have, so you gotta find what you really love about that as it evolves. Is it [00:21:40] bringing in more staff so you can move out of the position? So you can stay the innovator? there’s lots to consider, but the point is be present in this journey. So what if somebody comes to you and says, I have no idea.

[00:21:53] I just know I need to do something else. Where do you direct them from there? To really

[00:21:59] Shannon: make that list of, the skills that you’ve had from your prior careers, the skills that you have presently, what of those skills do you enjoy? And then make your list of non-negotiables. I know I’m changing and I know I might be really good at admin or accounting, but I don’t want to do that.

[00:22:18] It’s not fulfilling me. I don’t wanna continue with that. But I also know that I really enjoy managing people, and that is the part that I wanna focus on. So that can be a non-negotiable that wherever I go, I want to manage, or you know what, I have to pick up the kids from school, or I want my weekends free to spend with my family.

[00:22:39] So make that list of non-negotiable so you know clearly what you can do, what you want to do. So that when you’re looking for that next step, you can look back to that list, make sure that everything aligns. so I think starting there, and as you make those lists, you’ll say, oh, you know what I thought about.

[00:22:58] Being, a swim instructor and starting a swim school. But you know what, that’s gonna be a lot of weekends and That really won’t fit. And you can cross that off your list, so you’re narrowing it down. I mentioned a student of mine earlier that took my course in the fall, and she had 10 ideas.

[00:23:13] But she was a homeschool mom. Okay. Two little ones. So that really limited what she could do, and we [00:23:20] really had to narrow things down through these lists. And going back to your why of why are you changing? And she got it down to two things. And I’m still working with her and she’s still deciding.

[00:23:30] But the fact that she went from 10 to two is a very big progression in a few months. For her and. I really think,looking at yourself Yeah. And knowing that this isn’t going to be an overnight change, and it’s, you’re gaining that confidence as you do that inner work. To know what, what’s going to fit well when you do pull that trigger and make that first

[00:23:50] Audra: action step.

[00:23:52] That’s great. Now, so do you consider yourself a coach? Is that kind of the label that you give yourself? Okay. Yeah. I say career

[00:24:01] Shannon: transition coach cuz it’s don’t work with executives that want that new, bigger job. It’s really With people who are looking to make that change, whether it’s transition out

[00:24:10] Audra: or, yeah.

[00:24:10] Okay. Do you find your space is very competitive?

[00:24:15] Shannon: I would say so I think I’ve tried to really niche down into other women, other moms who are in that space of just wanting to fulfill, what they’ve always had in their heart that they haven’t been able to venture into. Okay. I’ve been getting a lot of clients lately that are small business owners that just want their businesses to grow a little bit.

[00:24:38] Okay. They’re having a couple to grow, so I’m just finding. Who finds me and going with that. So it’s, I’ve been doing okay, as far as that goes. And really just knowing that this is who I’m focusing on instead of just saying I will help anyone in, in their career journey.

[00:24:54] Audra: Nicheing down or being very clear on who your audience is something almost everybody struggles with [00:25:00] at some point or another. Yeah, so

[00:25:02] Shannon: how do you, if someone finds me, I can help them if it’s a right fit, but to really know that this is what I’m strong at,

[00:25:09] Audra: sure. and who you can deliver results to.

[00:25:12] Yeah. I gotcha. Who, how do you do your marketing now? Is it all word of mouth or do you do stuff online? I really, it’s been

[00:25:19] Shannon: very organic since I am running my other business as well. It’s been a struggle between the two. So yeah, it’s just been basically social media. my email list, I ha I do have a course so I, have my students from the course and that’s gotten more clients that way.

[00:25:33] And it’s a lot of word of mouth. a lot of What about, I’m hoping to expand things in the fall. I’m actually, it’s funny that you mentioned the different,times in your different businesses that you went through. I’m in the process of trying to sell my franchise. Okay. So that I can, so that’s a process that I’m in now is saying, okay, I’ve grown this, now I’m going to sell it so that I can focus on this.

[00:25:52] And it’s made me start realizing that the whole point of growing a business or starting something is that you can sell it and go on to the next thing. Cuz that’s our entrepreneurial spirit. but yeah. So I’m planning in the next six months to be able to really focus on more marketing and really growing.

[00:26:07] This business when I have the capacity

[00:26:08] Audra: to do good. What do you foresee happening with the coaching business? So we’re a year out. You and I are meeting and having this conversation again. What does your business look like? I’m in the process of starting a book.

[00:26:20] Shannon: okay.

[00:26:21] It’s really about,making that transition, getting that mindset ready. So I’m writing that now, so I’m hoping to have that. in a year from now it should be done for sure. Whether it’s published or not, we will see. Okay. and I’m, hoping to start doing more speaking engagements because the more I speak with people, it’s.

[00:26:39] I see the [00:26:40] light bulbs go off and I’m working on my, speaking, my structure of what that would look like and I’d love to get that out there more. And I’m planning on launching a membership in the fall as well. So I have good things cooking and I’m excited to just have more time to devote to it.

[00:26:54] Cuz as having, your hands in a million different things is. Is rough at times. So very

[00:26:59] Audra: rough at times. But that’s great that you’ve got the ability and to maybe the experience with having the franchise. you’ve actually done that pretty smart. A lot of people don’t have that.

[00:27:10] They go from corporate America, straight into nothingness, no income living off of savings, bootstrapping something. And I’ve brought this up before on other podcasts, but. I think a lot of times without the system behind it. Do you feel like you would’ve had the success that you’ve had with the STEM program?

[00:27:30] So say you started it but it wasn’t a franchise. I honestly

[00:27:34] Shannon: don’t think I would have Not at, no. Okay. The time I was now. Yeah. As the business owner that I am today. Absolutely. Yeah. But I feel and I’m confident that maybe I could have, but it would’ve taken a lot longer. And it would’ve, and I might not have been.

[00:27:48] As successful in that franchise as I am now. yeah, I really do. all franchises are different too. Yeah. So I wouldn’t recommend that, every franchise out there, but for me it was the best step and the step to give me the confidence to venture into other things as well. Because now I think maybe being in entertainment too, cuz that’s very freelance and project-based work.

[00:28:09] Like I’ve never been in a nine to five or in the sense of you’ve got the benefits, you’ve got the stability. It’s always gone from. Six months at this company to three months at this company and you bounce around. So [00:28:20] that’s been my blood Okay. To, just make it work each time.

[00:28:23] Audra: Yeah, so that’s a great takeaway from that part of the conversation.

[00:28:28] if you want to be an entrepreneur, say maybe you have a job but you’re considering starting something on your own, but you don’t have either the financial support or, the ability or the confidence to really step out there and do this, go to work for somebody that is self-employed. Maybe you don’t have the funds to start a franchise, but the takeaway is not necessarily buying a franchise there, it’s.

[00:28:51] Being able to have access to the systems of how a small business like that would work. So if you are, can’t do it on your own, go to work. Let somebody mentor you. I had another interview with a gal by the name of Carol Walker that wanted to open up her own photography studio. Spent years and years in the industry, very good.

[00:29:12] One of the top names here in Florida where I’m at, was looking for somebody to come in and train to take over his business as he retired. So she came in and worked for him for a handful of years. I. Then sold the business to her. There’s lots of opportunities like that. So don’t feel like I got this option or I got this option.

[00:29:34] That’s not true. Color between the lines, there’s lots of things to consider. Maybe I mentor, maybe I volunteer for some to somebody that I want to learn their business. I give them my skills, they teach me some things until I’m ready to spin out on my own. It’s time to get scrappy and creative and innovative on what your options could be.

[00:29:56] If this is the path that you want to go down, [00:30:00] so please, think outside of the box and know that other opportunities can exist. okay, so we know you’re, where you’re trying to go with your business. What would you say to somebody that is on a similar path as you, besides sitting down and saying, okay, this is what I wanna do.

[00:30:17] What would be the next step for them if, so if they’ve gone through that exercise and they’ve eliminated down, what would they do next? Then it’s

[00:30:27] Shannon: really making that action step. So make sure if you think you’ve narrowed down what it is that you want to do, then do your, informational interviews, if you will.

[00:30:37] Or like you were saying, alluding to Audra, is that you can go and talk to someone who is in that, at that company, in that position. What can you tell me honestly about what this is like? What is your role? learn about that and in this day and age, I feel like we are so connected on social media and we can go.

[00:30:56] Back to someone that we maybe went to school with or that we worked with 20 years ago. And see them on LinkedIn and say, oh, they are at this company, or they know and just send them a message. Yeah. And say, can I have a warm introduction to this person so that I can just get their ear for five minutes and ask them a couple of questions?

[00:31:15] Because then that just helps you be. All that much more Sure about that next step of yours. And then once you’re sure it’s really tailoring everything. Okay, let’s set that timeline. If I’m currently working and I’m thinking about writing that book or starting that business, when can I afford to do that?

[00:31:37] Is it six months? Is it one year? Is it three [00:31:40] months? Make that timeline, figure out those steps so that it’s not as scary, and then you say, okay, this is where I’m going. And you map that out in a realistic timeline. I was just talking with someone yesterday who wants to leave his corporate career. And he said, I think in one year I will have X amount ready that I can leave my corporate career and bring my side hustle, if you will, to the next level.

[00:32:04] What do you think? And I said, if you feel like you can do that, that will give you one year Of money saved in the bank that you can focus on growing this in one year. And if you don’t succeed, then you know what, if you don’t burn bridges, you can go back to that company. You still have those skills.

[00:32:22] know unless you try. So I think it’s knowing where you want to go, not burning a bridge where you’re leaving. Yeah. And preparing those steps so that you can take that first action step to get there. So just planning,and giving yourself that timeline so that you do it.

[00:32:38] Because so often we can plan, plan, and then never take that first step.

[00:32:42] Audra: Or never save enough to get to that place. The flip side of that is you don’t save enough. You go out and you start working in this entrepreneurial space, and your whole focus is on money and not on serving, and that’s a super challenging position to be in on by itself.

[00:33:00] So giving yourself that runway, even three to six months or something, or have a, not necessarily a plan B, but just knowing. I don’t need to focus on money right now. I need to be focused on building relationships and building engagement, starting a community and getting people to [00:33:20] give you feedback on your product or your service.

[00:33:22] let’s shift for just a second. when you’ve had challenging times, how do you get through them? It’s

[00:33:30] Shannon: really just taking that step back. I find myself a lot of times, and I don’t know if you’re like this too, but if you have a customer or a client, like something, I’m, I don’t wanna say I’m emotional or sensitive to an extreme, but if someone just says something, sometimes it can just change your whole day, right?

[00:33:47] Yeah. Something can just hit you the wrong way. And so for me, if that happens, I have to physically take a step back. Close the laptop, go for a walk with my dog around the block, pick up a book that is not a business or self-help book. Something that’s, I can escape a little bit. and then come back. And then you just realize, okay, we can do this.

[00:34:09] It’s a challenge and you’re gonna get past it, but it’s allowing yourself to take a step back. Cuz personally, I think for so long I wouldn’t allow that for myself. No, it was go. You’ve gotta go. It was just putting all that pressure, and I think just in the last couple of years I’ve realized that I’m no good to anyone if I am burning out,

[00:34:29] I think when there’s something that goes wrong in the business, even in your personal life, it’s just a matter of taking a step back, reassessing, counting the three, and then you’re able to move on and realize that one little hiccup does not define you

[00:34:43] Audra: or define the situation. that’s a great advice because they’re gonna happen no matter how much, no matter if you have a dollar in your bank account, 10 million in your bank account, these kind of things are gonna come up.

[00:34:55] We’re not trying to get rid of them, we’re trying to develop better skills to [00:35:00] deal with them when they do come up. That’s it. So find what that outlet is for you. Going for a run, going for a bike ride, getting out and smelling nature, loving on your pet. Loving on your kids, whatever that escape or not necessarily escape, it’s just a break in that repetition of a thought process that they said this, I did this, we did this isn’t working.

[00:35:22] This is, that record is just insane. And when it gets on autoplay, you’ve gotta be able to interrupt that pattern and get away from it for a minute. So I like the idea that you said of getting a book, but not in the same thing that I was already doing because that will connect you right back to it.

[00:35:41] Shannon: So yeah, same thing with podcasts. I’m sure you listened to a lot of other entrepreneurs. I do podcasts and you know what, I’m a fan of Beverly Hills 91210 from like years ago. And there’s a podcast about that. And whenever I’m in the car, if I just. Wanna take a break from business. I just listened to that because it’s a no-brainer has

[00:35:59] Audra: That’s awesome.

[00:36:00] Yeah. Cause it’s, you do need to turn it off

[00:36:03] Shannon: and realize that you are more than that and more than what do you

[00:36:06] Audra: enjoy? that’s great. So what’s an advice for somebody that has made that decision? They’re working through it. How can they speed it up? Is there a way to speed it up?

[00:36:20] Congratulations that you’re even

[00:36:22] Shannon: like thinking about it, right? That’s the hardest part is to say, okay, yes, I’m doing this, and then I think it’s really. Yeah, making more action moves. Let’s shorten that timeline and let’s Really see what I can do. And people often come to me and say, oh, I’m still working this job.

[00:36:38] And I always say, [00:36:40] congrats. That’s great. If you have that job, you are all the better because you’re bringing in income and you have that time to do the little things. Maybe over lunch, you don’t go have lunch with other friends or you don’t. If you’re working from home, you don’t go sit and watch, TV for that little break you have in the middle of the day.

[00:36:56] But you work on your resume, you update your LinkedIn, look at your connections, work towards that. Your business plan, Templates for,whatever it might be. Your marketing materials just. Use whatever free time you can to your advantage while you’re making money.

[00:37:11] And you can get a lot done if you plan six months out, six months, I’m going to give my notice and I am going to venture into this second act then start planning now. And really you can move the needle so much you can be able to launch in six months and have everything ready. You can have your logo made, all of that.

[00:37:30] So

[00:37:31] Audra: yeah, start now. That’s good. I think it’s also perspective, right? When you’re at that place, what do they call it? short timers. When you’re trying to leave a job, so you’ve mentally, you’ve checked out. Yeah. You’re no longer committed to it. You’re just doing the bare minimum to get through it. And all you daydream about is the day you’re not going into that job.

[00:37:54] But I challenge you to shift your perspective on that. You should look at it like, I am so thankful I have the opportunity. To have this job, to have money coming in because it’s creating this new bridge for me to what’s next? And six months, man, it goes fast. so if you set yourself a six month goal, it will be here before you know it.

[00:38:17] So it’s just shift that [00:38:20] instead of waking up every day, I hate it. I hate it. I don’t wanna do this anymore. I wanna do something else. It should be thank you for giving me this opportunity to evolve into what life looks like for me next, and it will completely change your days. Because in, you’re excited about everything.

[00:38:36] You’re excited about going to work because it’s keeping money in your bank account, feeding your family, and you have all this time that you’re focused on growing your business and you don’t have to stress about having the money. Now, I do wanna put one caveat in there, in that six months, it’s not, don’t get stuck in the weeds of the technology.

[00:38:55] It’s not about stuff. It’s not about building this virtual box of a business. It’s about building a community and finding people that actually want to buy the product that you’re selling. I have worked with thousands of clients over the years that did all the stuff they could control. I’m gonna build the website, I’m gonna build the logo, I’m gonna put all my SOPs in place, I’m gonna set up emails.

[00:39:22] Yes, all that stuff needs to happen. But guess what? At the end of six months when you have to spin off on your own, you’ve got that stuff built, but you don’t have any clients and you haven’t validated your idea, and you’re starting from scratch and nobody knows who you are. That’s gonna take another six months.

[00:39:38] Do you have that kind of runway because you spent too much time doing technical stuff or working in the weeds of stuff? I get why people do it. They do it because it’s steps they can control. I can check this off my list. I’ve got that done, I’ve got this done. And that’s great, but that should only be [00:40:00] half of it.

[00:40:00] The other half really has to be focused on testing and validating the idea. Because if I haven’t validated the idea and I’m building all this stuff for it, and then I find out when I get out to the market, nobody wants to buy it. You can’t get that time back and you blew that runway of what you would’ve had while you were teeter tottering.

[00:40:21] So I go the other way around. Let’s, work at the job for six months or whatever that timeline is. during that time, you’re building community and you’re talking to people about your product or the service that you wanna launch. You’re building relationships. I don’t physically have to have a website to sell something.

[00:40:41] So don’t get stuck in that trap. Do it the other way around. You will be so much further ahead if you’ve got people that you can actually talk to about this when it goes live. Would you suggest

[00:40:54] Shannon: starting social media? Because I think for sure. Yeah. if you know the name of your company, start your Instagram and that’s just growing that community,

[00:41:01] Audra: and talking about it.

[00:41:03] Yeah. Remember, social media works in reverse. So today nobody knows me. I go out and I post, and tomorrow I post. And three months from now I’m posting. Little by little people are starting to get you, but then when you’re ready to come out and say, here we go, the party’s starting. You’ve laid all this pre-work done.

[00:41:21] So now when I hear about Shannon and her coaching, I go look her up. And then she’s got, oh, she’s been there. I just didn’t know about her. Yeah, she’s, she is an expert. Listen, she’s got this talk and this blog content and she’s helped these clients and all of that kind of helps you in the rear.

[00:41:38] And I know that when we’re [00:41:40] building it, it’s like, why bother? Nobody’s responding. Nobody’s even following me. Nobody cares. It will pay for itself down the road. So don’t get distracted with that. But yes, you want to establish yourself as that expert. So as you spin off, you’ve already built that solid foundation that you can start building on top of very quickly.

[00:42:02] Great point. Yeah. I’ve seen it so many different times. It’s crazy about the energy that goes into that, and it really is simpler than what we think it is. it’s, it’s like the Oz from the Wizard of Oz, that man, and they’re making all this magic happen. It really is that simple. like now could you just pop up any kind of business at any point?

[00:42:25] I feel like I could.

[00:42:27] Shannon: Yeah. because I, yeah, but it’s because I’ve done it right. And once you do it, you know your listeners are gonna, once you do it, you’ll be able, you’ll feel that confidence too, and you’ll know the steps to take.

[00:42:37] Audra: And each one gets a little faster and a little bit more efficient.

[00:42:41] I think that’s the whole point of why I’ve started down this other path from my agency. Cause I’m not doing as much services because of the marketplace I built. We need that there is a way to organize this overwhelming chaos that small businesses go through. we don’t need to do it anymore.

[00:43:00] It’s so not necessary, but there’s nobody out there showing them a better way. and that’s the whole point of this podcast to show you this is normal. Everybody goes through this, and get better skills to adapt when these things come up. If you don’t have enough customers, then it’s time to go out and talk to people.

[00:43:19] And it doesn’t [00:43:20] have to only be online. Go to your local chamber, go to your mixers, go to meetups, networking events, start showing up and talking to humans. We still sell that way. It’s still an option. I think people forget. Yeah, they want it to do it all online. it’s

[00:43:37] Shannon: so funny that you said that because I have clients that are all over.

[00:43:40] However, yesterday I went to a local event and I sat at the table and good. I talked to people in the community and I was wondering like, should I be doing this? It was wonderful because there were so many moms that would come up and just start these conversations with me and I was like, you know what?

[00:43:57] This is great and it might only help me in this. In this community that I live in. Yeah, but you know what? There’s, why not help people in your community and people around the country? So

[00:44:09] Audra: yeah, we forget. Yeah, I think when we moved online, everybody just took it online. unless you’ve got a brick and mortar, you expect foot traffic.

[00:44:18] But if you’ve got a business like coaching, most of us only look online, which is so weird. Yeah. Why not go in front of real people and get validated and build relationships? Nice. That’s still a thing. We’re old school like that, but Yeah, I know. But it should be. It should be. All right. So what couple takeaways would you offer the audience?

[00:44:42] that is this makes sense. I don’t know where to start. Just

[00:44:47] Shannon: decide, write down three ideas that you are thinking might be of interest to you. Maybe it’s okay starting a business, writing a book, opening an Etsy shop, whatever it might be. [00:45:00] And really flush those three ideas out.

[00:45:02] Because like I said, you can have lots of ideas, but until you flush them out, you don’t know what might fit your non-negotiables. do you wanna start off slow and maybe have an online Etsy shop to grow your product? Do you want to grow a larger product line? so really just write down any and all ideas, flush out each spend maybe one week, a couple of days on each idea, do your research, contact people who might be in that industry, and then you can make a more educated decision

[00:45:31] on what to further venture into. And then, like you said, once you have that idea, Start validating that business idea. And you don’t need to go and tell everyone and their mother that you’re doing this. But there’s ways online to validate it. Start up that Instagram. for me it was just friends and customers of my other business asking me for help and I said, oh, this is something that, Seems to be needed. So just maybe the people that you trust, you can ask their opinion. we all know a lot more people in this digital world now than, Then we really realize until we need to reach out to them so you can reach out and ask people. and then really from there, it’s follow your heart and know your why and choose that one thing, and set your timeline like we’ve been saying today.

[00:46:17] And however far down the road it might be that when you have the money, you have the confidence, and you have that action plan step, you’ll feel all the much better making that first move.

[00:46:29] Audra: Awesome. thank you so much for being here. This has been great. Lots and lots of valuable things for you guys to think about as you’re transitioning to whatever’s [00:46:40] next.

[00:46:40] And you may go through this whole exercise and come back and say, this is not what I wanna do, but at least you’ve been able to satisfy that unsettled part of whatever’s going on with you. And maybe you’re gonna revisit it down the road when it makes more sense. So stick to it, and until next time, thank you for being here.


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