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How A Mindset Shift Catapulted My Business To Multi-Six Figures

Written by: Kate Greunke, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Starting a business has a way of bringing up every insecurity you've ever had about your capabilities, your intelligence, and your experience. If you're like I was in the beginning, you might feel pressured to make you and your business look a certain way, much like putting on a costume. And yes, that costume likely feels awkward and fake.

female hands typing om her laptop on at wooden round table

Unlike your colleagues, you might not have a big team. You can't fathom hiring anyone to help you ‒ because how on earth would you pay them? The thought of outsourcing things you despise, like marketing or bookkeeping, sounds like a dream but you have no money for such luxuries. Despite the lack of funds, you feel nauseated every time you send an estimate or *gulp* an invoice.


Your inner critic whispers worries such as…


"What if they think you are too expensive and tell all their friends?"


"What if they ask for a discount?"


"Do you ACTUALLY know what you’re doing?"


Mindset over Marketing


Before you can successfully market your business, you need to discipline your mind. Your inner critic will always be there, but you don’t have to listen to it. Imposter syndrome will appear every time you try to step outside your comfort zone; embrace it.


I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2014. It was painstakingly emotional because, as hard as I tried to delineate between my work and personal life, my business was personal ‒ as it should be! I didn’t believe that a girl from the rural midwestern United States could become the leader of an international brand. That thought honestly never crossed my mind. I was dreaming small because I felt small, and I was teetering on the edge of fulfilling my own dismal prophecy.


Fortunately, I wasn’t alone.


After a particularly defeating work day, I was hiding in the bathroom (yes, my own bathroom) and feeling quite sorry for myself. I had been working long hours and doing everything I knew how to do to market my services, but no one seemed interested in hiring me. Or if they did, they didn’t stick around.


“Maybe I should just be done.” The whisper escaped me in a long sigh. Everyone told me that I was such a great copywriter but no one wanted to pay me for it. What was the freaking point?


Suddenly my head jerked upward.


“Don’t you think I gave you your gifts for a reason?”


Who was that? My eardrums didn’t pick up on a voice, but I heard the firm, somewhat annoyed tone anyway.


Today, it makes me laugh a little. I was throwing such a pity party that God was finally telling me to suck it up and have a little faith. Why on earth was I expecting everything to be so easy?


Because I’m a stubborn, redheaded, type A, enneagram 3, I questioned that statement. Maybe it was my own mind trying to be hopeful or just mess with me. But that voice. I knew that voice.


God decided, however, that I needed to hear the message again. This time, He used a different method.


The Prophecy that I Didn’t Believe


Later on, I was at my lowest point as a new business owner. I attended a networking event at a fancy, waterfront hotel. It was awful. Everyone else looked like they'd stepped out of high-end meetings where they'd just landed the biggest client of their career.


And then there was me. My blazer was from a thrift store. My business cards sat in my sweaty hands. My confidence had forcefully wormed its way out of my skull and into the nearest alley dumpster.

But then it happened.


I was standing at the huge windows overlooking the waves, pretending to be in awe of the view while assessing whether the heavy drapes would be enough to conceal my petite frame.


"Hello?" came the voice.


I turned. An impeccably dressed woman in her 60s approached me with a polished, bearded husband in tow. She asked who I was and what I did ‒ typical networking questions. I answered but was admittedly distracted by the glittering rings she wore on nearly every finger. She was somebody's rich grandma, the trust fund wielding, "let's take the yacht" type. At the time, I was a 23-year-old kid from Wisconsin who knew more about the proper care of cows than about fashion brands, but I was pretty sure her entire ensemble cost more than my annual income.


"There's something about you," she said, her voice suddenly changing from polite to intrigued. She turned to her husband. "Don't you see it?"


Her steel gaze was edged with something I couldn't pinpoint. Did she pity me? Did she know I was a fraud?


"Okay?" My nervous laugh annoyed me.


"You're going to be extremely successful." It wasn’t a compliment or a lead into some other comment. It was a point-blank assessment.


The “Rags to Riches” Moment


I have no idea who this woman was, but I could sense by her don’t-argue-with-me statement and the telltale, encouraging smile of her husband that perhaps she, too, had started at ground zero. Just maybe, she knew what was possible with a strong work ethic and the passion to serve others. Just maybe, she knew it didn’t matter where I started but where I was right then.


I didn’t know it yet, but in the coming years I would be…

  • Working with clients in 10 countries

  • Growing my team, including hiring my own husband

  • Taking a 3-month maternity leave, after which I never returned to full-time hours

  • Making multi-six figures while working part-time

  • Named in the Top 20 under 40 by Vision Magazine

  • Listed as a Brainz 500 Global Entrepreneur by Brainz Magazine

  • Instructing national organizations and corporations on best marketing practices

  • Hosting a marketing podcast that ranks in the top 1.5% globally

Yet in that awkward moment, I didn’t believe her words. I politely smiled and internally scoffed. Part of me hoped that she might be right, though I didn’t dare voice it.


A few years later, I had forgotten her prophetic statement and was busily building my brand. I kept my head down, nose-to-the-grindstone style, and put metaphorical blinders on so that I wouldn’t so much as see a social media post from my competitors. What they were doing didn’t matter. I was doing my own thing, and that really started to pay off.


When I was updating the accolades section of my website, I suddenly recalled her words, and my fingers froze in mid-type. I instantly wished I could go back and tell her thank you – thank you for believing in me.


Her unbiased proclamation of encouragement carried me through that terrible evening, and her words were neatly tucked away in my brain for later use. Her mindset of “you will” instead of “you might” made all the difference.


Let me be that person for you today. I believe in what is possible for your business. I believe that you WILL make it successful. I also believe it will be one of the hardest, most uncomfortable things you've ever done.

And I know you can do it.


If you’d like to hear more stories that will encourage, commiserate with, and inspire you along your emotional (er, entrepreneurial) journey – or if you just want clear cut marketing advice that works – follow The Kate Show Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and visit my website for more info!


 

Kate Greunke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kate Greunke founded Socialite in 2014 as a virtual agency of professional marketing specialists exclusively for the home industry. Kate hosts a marketing podcast, The Kate Show, which is ranked in the top 1.5% of all podcasts globally and available on all podcasting apps. In 2021, Kate was named 20 Under 40 by Window Fashion Vision Magazine. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and two children while managing an international team and extensive client roster.

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