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Episode #191
Heather Younger

From Side Hustle to Consulting Business Owner

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Summary

When we say side hustle, the word “hustle” in it is real. This is a story of how a side hustle grew into a full-blown, sought-after consulting business. Michael Zipursky’s guest today is Heather Younger, a keynote speaker, two-time author, and the CEO and Founder of Employee Fanatix. Heather believes that you have to be realistic about how much you can take in and what you can do when side-hustling. And part of making your goals happen is managing your mental and physical healthDiscover more tips on how to grow your side hustle into the company you’ve always wanted to have. 

I’m very excited to welcome Heather Younger. Heather, welcome. 

Thanks for having me. 

Heather, you’re a keynote speaker, two-time author, CEO and Founder of Employee Fanatix, an employee engagement and leadership development consulting firm. You’ve been featured in many publications like Forbes, HuffPost, CMSWire. Your clients are Harvard Business Review, California State University, Fullerton, First Bank and a whole bunch of others. Before we get to all that, I want to go back a little bit in time. How did you get into the world of consulting and employee engagement? What were you doing before you started your company? 

I started my company as a side hustle. It was only based upon demand. I was working for a company. I’ve been fulltime in my business now for about 3.5 years. It was a side hustle for a couple of years before that while working in another organization running organizational development for them and writing my first book. My head was spinning. It was a lot going on. I felt I was traveling, working my fulltime job, taking a lot of days off there because they gave me a lot of days. I would take those days and travel the clients in between my workdays, come back, be doing the work, having to fill some of the client work then writing that book at the same time on employee loyalty. I have four kids. 

If you want something, you fight for it. Find a way to go around it. Click To Tweet

I got to the point where I felt like my head was going to explode. I felt like I needed to go into a mental facility to help me work through some things. Let’s just put it that way. I said, “I can’t keep doing this.” I was making the same amount of money in that job as I was in my consulting business working that as a side hustle. I can’t do this anymore. Part of it was I was already writing. I started writing on LinkedIn a few years ago or something like that. I don’t know exactly. It was therapeutic. It was after a big layoff on the organization I was working for, which put me on the whole trajectory I’m on. 

I started to write and people were, “I love this.” I don’t know how many articles that I’ve written. People are reaching out to me, “Can you help my team with customer and employee experience?” I used to focus on both of those. I still hadn’t had a business yet. I got to the second client that had come to me from my writing on LinkedIn and finally said, “I probably need to incorporate.” That’s the lawyer in me. I’m like, “I should legitimize this thing a little bit.” I decided to create, at that point, it was Customer Fanatix. Now I’ve changed the name to Employee Fanatix. 

At that time, you’re in a situation that many people find themselves in or at least are considering or preparing for in the future. You’re still employed. You are now dabbling and starting to work with clients as a side hustle consulting business. How did you manage that? Was it as simple as taking time off? A lot of people’s employment may not allow them to do that. What I’m looking for is what advice would you have for somebody who knows they want to venture out, start their own thing but they’re currently working a fulltime job? Is there anything that you did that you think worked well in terms of talking to your boss or in your contract? How do you position to be able to do those two things at one time? 

There wasn’t a contract in Colorado. You’re atwill employees. In that particular role, I was in a good position because there could be times every other week that I could work three ten-hour shifts. I had the ability to do it around that. The other thing is I didn’t sleep a lot. It would be 11:30 at night and I was writing or doing separate clients or emailing people. I would do things on my lunch hour. I’d go out in my car and have clients. When we say side hustle, the word hustle, the hustle is real. If you want it, you fight for it. You find a way to go around itAs I said, I have four kids. I was traveling. The company I worked for, the organization, was about 45 minutes from my house. I was traveling there for 45 minutes and then I would have to get off and rush to get a kid from school. 

The next day, I could be leaving to go on a trip. Life was crazy. I would say, know that the hustle is real. It takes real hustle. You have to be realistic about how much you can take in and what you can do, managing your mental and physical health. All of those things as you’re going through that. Most people can’t quit their job and consult unless they’ve saved a lot of money. Maybe that would be the alternate. The ultimate thing I would say, if you think you want to do your own thing, start saving a lot so that if you decide, you’re leaving and starting. Make sure you have a year’s worth of money to build up a coffer while you’re trying to build the business. 

Why the hustle? What was going on inside you that was driving you to work so much and to have as much dedication? You’re getting pulled in multiple different directions. You’re relinquishing or giving up some time that you could be spending with your kids at that point. You’re grinding. What’s going on inside of your mind that’s telling you to keep doing that? 

I’m grinding because I got to get that from underneath the people who were holding me back from the impact I could have with the work that I do. I knew that I was hyperfocused and aware that I needed to get from underneath that, unleash my own self and all the greatness that was there to be able to have the impact that I needed to have. That’s where the drive was at. The drive wathis whole thing for me as a kid feeling like I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t good enough. It’s always been a big driver for me. I’m constantly out. I’m proving it to, I don’t know who cause there’s nobody to prove it to. I prove it to myself. I don’t know. 

In your book, you talk about you growing up. Your mother’s white and Jewish. Your father’s black and Christian. Within your family ecosystem, you stand out a little bit and felt different. Is that what you’re referring to? Was it something else going on when you were younger? 

It is mostly that part of it. The message that’s underneath the surface that you’re not just good enough or you don’t belong. Those are the things. When you have those messages, it rings in your head no matter how much you try to battle it and how much you try to fight it. 

I see this a lot with many people who come on the show. There’s something that happened early in their lives that’s driven them or got them going down a specific path. In my case, I lived in Israel for about 4.5 years when I was a kid. I came back to Canada. I didn’t speak English and know anyone. I felt like an outsider. For me, the way that I tried to prove myself was through sports. I became focused on athletics and trying to be the best. I find that interesting amongst many people. You might see a mountain in front of you but you’re still going to climb it. You’re still going to work to get to the top even though many people would get up halfway, turn around or look and be, “I don’t want to do that.” I find that to be very interesting about you as well. 

The other question I had for you on this, Heather, is, you have a lot going on. It was a stressful situation. Your mental state was maybe not the best at that time. You weren’t running optimally. There are two parts to this. What were you doing at that time to manage the stress? The second part is looking back, knowing what you know now, what do you think you could have done differently? I’m asking because a lot of people, even if they’re not in the same situation where they’re working fulltime job and consulting on the side. Even for those who are doing consulting 100% whether they are sole independent consultants or they have a team, they might have a lot going on. They’re feeling the stress. They’re feeling anxiety. There’s a lot of worry going on in their minds. What were you doing then? What advice would you offer to yourself back then and others who might be feeling stressed? 

CSP 191 Heather Younger | Consulting Business

 

I’d say two things. One, I did take advantage when I could of my organization’s mental health program where you could call someone or talk to them or see someone. They had good benefits. I did try to work out as much as I could in between the times, on lunch hour or whatever it is. I would try to walk a lot even if I couldn’t get to the gym. I would try to do a lot of that. The other thing is I also took advantage of all the days off. I took advantage of every single one. I wasn’t trying to accrue. I was using it as I was earning it. I knew it was a shortterm thing because I was going to be out of there. That was one thing, the subpart of it. 

Looking back, what would you maybe have done differently? What advice would you have for somebody in a similar situation or who is feeling a lot of stress and being pulled in different directions? 

Looking back to some of my own specific situations, I would have left earlier. I was holding on because it was good benefit. As a solopreneur, that’s what I was about to be doing going out. It’s not easy to find benefits that would cover the whole family. There are six of us. I have four kids. I had to be smart. I was being super responsible. In retrospect, I could have gotten a lot further faster if I’d have left early or not waited. You can imagine. If my side business I’m making as much as my day job, you are imagining I’m working awfully hard to get there. That’s what I was saying. I would quit the day job earlier, go ultimately. 

Employee engagement, HR, some people look at that and go, “These are softer skills.” The value can be a little bit more intangible. It’s not like the work that you do directly increases sales in most people’s minds. How do you think about communicating value to your clients and going about creating value in the work that you’re doing? A lot of people, even if they’re not an HR or an employeerelated work, the value they create might be intangible. They might be doing research or some other work that isn’t intangible. What advice would you have? What have you been doing in your own company to try to identify that value, capture that value, communicate that value to your clients and in the work you do in your marketing? 

I believe in storytelling. As much as possible, we try to tell stories. We work out case studies and try to present those as far as connecting a bottomline result to the work that we do. I believe the IX on Fanatix is metrics. Everything that we dothe foundation of it is to get organizations to use the quantitative and qualitative data to make informed decisions related to change that better impacts employees and leaders. That’s the position we work from. When we go in it’s, “These are all the things you need.” 

In my book, The Art of Caring leadership, it’s, “There are all these things we need. It may sound soft. I give you the ROI part of it. There are some actual numbers to it. Let’s look at the things you want to track. What does success look like? What metrics do you have that you’re either already tracking or that we can easily access? Let’s set those up inside of the plan that we put together so that we can continue to track that way.” That way, it’s not squishy, intangible thing that you talk about but it has results. 

The storytelling is huge. Also, making people dream of it a little bit, reflect on their own experiences in the workplace when things are going well and having them start thinking about, “What does it leaders look like? What do they do? How do they act? How does your team act around you?” When you start to do that, you realize, “I had a leader who was supportive. He allowed me a lot of autonomy. He brought the team together. We achieve great things together.” When you start having them talk through it that way then they start to go, “I get it. That’s what we need to be doing too to make people want to go over and above.” 

How clear were you on that in the early days of your business? From the start, was it very apparent to you that you need to focus on the metrics, try and make something that might seem to some people a bit more intangible, more tangible and focus on the value. Is it something that evolved for you as you did the work and took on more clients more projects? 

The value proposition has changed over time because it gets more pointed with more client engagements. However, data qualitative and quantitative, mostly qualitative, was always the foundation. It’s been for years. Before I was on the employee side, I was othe customer side. All of the employee surveys, customer success numbers, CSAT numbers were always a North Star that I had to work from particularly because I reported to the COO or CFO. 

As a result, they expected to see that data. I knew that I was always going to be working from that place of needing to convince the COO or CFO so it was always going to be about data. What I do now, I coach these types of leaders. With those leaders, I’m always moving them closer to their heart so that they work away a little bit from process, numbers and say, “We have that. We know that. Let’s talk about the things that aren’t number,” as you talked about. Those are not quantifiable on a spreadsheet but they are ithe hearts of people who stay next to you and do the work you want them to do. 

How does all of that focus on value metrics influence your pricing strategy and the different offerings that you have? Can you give us a high level as many details as you’re able and comfortable in terms of how you think about pricing your services and what that looks like? 

This is another thing that’s evolved. I remember doing my first year of consulting or maybe even the first six months. I put an RFP together for a nonprofit that was out in New York. I’m assuming, “It’s a nonprofit but it is New York. Let me go there.” I didn’t know it because I was following the lead of another consultant who does this particular way. She bids hourly. It’s based on the project but it’s hourly. I bid hourly and I thought I was bidding a lot. In the end, I didn’t win. This particular gentleman leading it like me, he gave me 30 minutes to tell me why. One of them is the message. I had a 27page proposal and that was too short. In his mind, it wasn’t as clear as the others that I understood their business. I bid it hourly and no one else had ever done that before. It’s only been my project. I was too low. I had to process this. 

You did not win that project. 

He’s on the phone for 30 minutes. He followed me even after that on social, my newsletter because there’s something that called him to the work and how it presented but again, it was a whole committee. These other people did it, which is fine because it was a good learning experience for me. After that point, I no longer bid hourly. Hourly doesn’t even take place. I never have hourly. Sometimes that value is subjective. Sometimes it is like, “Yes. You put together a detailed proposal and it has things in it that I try to tie a metric or tie an identifiable thing they can track or see what success looks like for them so that they can feel good about it. Because it’s not early and it’s projectbased, that’s gone up over time. 

Having a purpose, mission, and vision are critical even as a one-person firm as you start to grow and develop. Click To Tweet

Once you see your values there, what people are willing to suspend, what you can deliver and you know your results, your confidence increases. You feel more comfortable being able to put bigger numbers out there. You’re like, “This is like this contract now that I know what the service is.” The other thing that becomes clear even as of this year into the pandemic, there’s so much clarity on where we need to focus as a firm based upon demand. You realize what your niche is. This is something that doesn’t happen right away. Sometimes it does but it usually evolves over time. You figure out what your niche is. We’ve determined where that’s at. It’s our sweet spot for now. It doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way. That’s the other thing, being flexible about what you might iterate to.  

Now that we’re there, it’s like, “This is the thing we do and we do it uniquely well. Everybody knows that. I’m not saying we’re going to be ridiculous. We’re going to be fair in what we charge but it’s not cheap. It’s going to be the best. You’re going to get what you want. You’re going to get a high touch. That’s the other thing we’ve determined. We aren’t the kind who are going to have 100 customers at a time. We go deep. We go wide. We know you well. You know us well. You trust us deeply. We connect. That’s how it works. Because we know that, we don’t try to replicate it in any other model. 

You’re also a bit like a fortune teller because you’re hitting on my next question already. That’s good. You’re setting me up well. What I wanted to point out, which is something important for many consultants who struggle with this, that your messaging and offerings evolve. They change over the years. You’ve only been doing this for 3.5 years formally in the business. It’s not a lot of time but you’ve already been making changes. 

Many people find themselves hesitating to get out of the starting block to put out a message, to reach out to people, to talk about what they’re doing because they don’t have it perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s about progress. It’s about putting something out there, getting feedback from the marketplace and adjusting. You’ve been doing that exceptionally well. In terms of your offerings, this is what you were hitting on that I want to ask you about. In all aspects, industries or areas of consulting, there are many consultants that do HR or employee engagement type of work. What steps have you taken? What have you been doing? What have you been seeing? This ties into what you started to mention there. As a way to differentiate yourself and create an advantage or an edge, how do you think about that? What shifts have you made in your business to position yourselves so that you’re not the same as others offering similar services? 

The high touch part we’re relationshipbased. There’s also a huge amount of congruence between me as the founder and CEO and everything that gets put out. Every piece of content, every piece of work, any project we take on, there’s a huge amount of congruence. I started the firm for the why behind it, the desire to show care to make people feel important, to make people feel heard. It’s the thing that’s never gone away. It’s the beginning. Every single thing we do, we’re clear. It’s the North Star. Everything we do stems from that. Having a purpose, mission and vision are still critical even as a oneperson firm as you start to grow and develop. 

I want to interrupt you. I want to push back a little bit because to some people, that’s going to sound wishywashy. It’s, “Have your values. Have your vision.” Can you make that more tangible for us? What have you been doing? I can understand you’ve written down your vision and values. You’re clear on that. Your team is clear on that. How does that now connect to your content, the materials or to your conversations with clients? You offer me a bit of a tangible example or two of how you have done that. 

Think of something like push and pull, a stream that flows and things naturally flow in it. You decide for yourself what your purpose is. I’m thinking as a solo consultant. Whether you’re starting in or you’re in it now with five people in your firm. When you know what that is and you’re clear, everything flows at the river in that very consistent direction. That means conversations with the clients. The clients could be at crossroads with their business. I had one where there’s something going on with their business and they needed to pause on doing a survey and listening sessions because, from a strategic perspective, they needed to hold off for a second. 

I wasn’t pushing them like, “We need to listen. We need to do it now.” I didn’t do that because it was about what the client needed and their business direction. I needed to pause. I needed to act congruently. What do we do? We create cultures of listening to Employee Fanatix. We help organizations create a culture of listening. Sometimes we execute upon it. Sometimes we help them put the things in place to create a culture of listening that makes people feel heard, respected and important in the work they do. They have meaningful work and all of those things stemmed from listening. 

We’re hyper clear and focused on listening. Everything we do stems from that. Any piece of content, anything that we put out, any video, any client interaction, if it’s not me listening, they’re saying something to me and I have not truly heard them, they’re going to know it. I’m going to be inauthentic with what we put out there. We’re telling you we will help you create the culture of listening, yet I haven’t listened to you. I’m trying to make you go in a different direction. I’m trying to sell you on this or that. 

CSP 191 Heather Younger | Consulting Business

 

As a consultant that has focused on listening, when I listen, I am listening to uncover new opportunities inside that organization. It’s to meet their need. It’s to continue to meet our needs as consultants. We have to continue to feed the beast as well. I don’t know if that’s helpful. I have found that this is a lot of fun when you can be authentic and congruent with what you say you value. That’s the thing I would say would be the most important. 

We do listening sessions, employee listening sessions from an engagement perspective. We also do it on DEI, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in belonging space. Those are confidential sessions we do for organizations following some big survey that we’ve also helped them aggregate an action plan around but not always. Help them with the entire culture of listening and the journey of listening. It’s a multistep process. Most organizations fall short so we help them not fall down. We hold their hand, make sure that they know exactly the steps to take and how to bring it back full circle so that team members do feel they’re heard. 

You have a personal website. You also have the Employee Fanatix website. Can you talk us through the reason for having those two separate? They’re linked but two separate online properties. What’s the reason for that? 

We have four now. It’s crazy. One of them is my book. It’s TheArtOfCaringLeadership.com. It has its own book site. We made that decision. We wanted to have a standalone. I respected a lot of people who had done that before. Their book had done well. I thought, let me have that separate identity, great for SEO. Employee Fanatix was all one. I started off with one. I didn’t have the separate website because it’s Employee Fanatix and not Heather Younger consulting. I wanted to separate myself out from the company because my goal is to grow it, scale it and be about me. I want to be able to do other things and not have it all be Heatherbased. That’s the reason why I decided to create the Heather Younger speaking site so that that could be its own separate standalone thing. 

At what point did you start building a team? You’re three and a half years into this. Take me back on the timeline. When did you bring on the first employee or team member? Who were those people? 

The first person I had brought in within six months. At the beginning of 2018, I brought in a VA. She was a VA from the Philippines who is still with me in different capacities now. She was the doer of all things. She was amazing. She does so many things. She has been with me since the beginning of 2018. She stays then. I’ve added more. I had at the height 5 or 6 contractors, multiple VAs. I have somebody who does my podcast editing because I have a podcast as well, Leadership with HeartIn 2019, I brought on two employees. 

One is my righthand person who knows I can do everything. It’s amazing. The other person is our community manager. She manages all of the communities that I start in this space all over the place. She does that, which is awesome. I need that. I have an outsourced marketing director. She keeps us on track. She makes sure the marketing stuff is getting all consistent. We have a strategic plan. All those things.  

At what point did you feel you needed to bring those people on? Was it based on your schedule and capacity? Was it based on hitting a certain level of revenue? How did you go about thinking, “When should I bring in these people?” The VA makes sense. I don’t think much talk has to happen around that. Your schedule is busy. You want someone to take care of scheduling, emails or administrative stuff. What are those other roles? How did you think about bringing in more contractors to two employees? When that decision take place? 

You decide for yourself what your purpose is. Click To Tweet

The contract is little by little. I have a podcast. I am not a technical person. I do the relationship stuff very well. It’s my forte. I put myself in my strength zone. I don’t put myself in the place I’m not strong. For a couple of years, I was doing my own blogs from scratch. I have one point for about 8 or 9 months. I was doing two blogs a week because I had rolled them out to the Heather Younger site. I have two different audiences in a way. I’ve been intentional about when I bring on a new person. It’s always for a specific purpose. Yes, the revenue has to be there. 

What happened with me during the pandemic because we do a lot of listening, the DEI listening stuff started to scale up because of George Floyd and everything that happened. I knew I had to start partnering with site consultants that do things that I didn’t do. I love collaborating and partnering. I don’t do what I don’t do. I do what I do well. I want to make sure I delegate, bring in and collaborate with other people who do what they do well so we can complement one another. That was it. I always say that this thing is a beast. I have a marketing machine and the work I do has to feed the beast. 

If you look over the last few months, from marketing perspective, what’s working best for you to bring in new opportunities, new leads, fill the pipeline and create great conversations? Is there 1 or 2 specific marketing tactics or approaches that are working well for you? 

Here’s what I would have to say to anybody. Consistency is key. It’s not always a size that matters, it’s what you do with it. You hear that a lot in a different space but it’s true here. Let’s say you got 100 followers or 50 followers, whatever you’ve got on your email or whatever, you nurture those relationships and those connections so that you grow. The fact that we’ve been so consistent for the last few years of nurturing each and every one. That’s a differentiator for me. It is. The high touch thing, the way I rolled through life is a differentiator. It’s a scaling of the mountain thing you talked about. Not everybody’s going to want to have that high touch. It’s exhausting for a lot of people. I’m not saying it’s never exhausting for me but this is my stamp. 

How do you do it? Before you brought a team on, what were you doing? We say high touch, outreach and nurture me. You could post an article on LinkedIn or your website blog. You could send out a newsletter. Is there anything else that you were doing that you feel critical to sustaining or taking your pipeline from a place of being okay to be much better? 

When my marketing director came on, she’s like, “I’m impressed by how you’re doing all the things.” The reason why I brought her on was I needed more focus. I needed to be more strategic with all the things. All the things are what got my brand built where it was. There’s a level of intentionality. None of this was a mistake. There was not one accident. Having said that, I don’t control the universe. Things do happen. Things come along. For example, the George Floyd thing, I didn’t control that but we were already set up to be the ones who listen closely to employees and have a process and infrastructure in place to do that. It happened to be. That’s how it worked. 

One of the things I did for my own speaking side of the consulting practice is I decided to hire a speaker office. They manage my entire speaking business. That way, I didn’t have to be tied down. I got to the point where in the pandemicI was writing this book. My head was spinning. I said, “I’ve got to do something to let go of the details,” because I cannot scale. I cannot get to where I want to go unless I let go of the details, which means I’m going to have to let go of some of the revenue shares. There’s less money that might be fully staying in my pocket. I had to let go of that and say, “Get more comfortable with that.” That’s where I was at. 

How do you feel now that you’ve done that? You’ve invested back into the business, which means your profit margin might be less. You might, at times, be making less than you were before. Long-term or as things move alongthe goal is even though your margin might be lower, the overall profit that is still coming into your account or into the business is growing. How do you feel about that looking back? Any advice you’d offer somebody who’s in that position where they want to bring on another person or invest into some other area but they’re hesitant because they’re looking at it as a cost, not as an investment. Any thoughts on that? 

CSP 191 Heather Younger | Consulting Business

 

From a sanity perspective, having four kids and all the stuff I have going on, I had to do it. Think about what it is you’re giving up by not doing it. What is it that you could be doing or what kind of success could you have if you would take the step forward? Maybe it’s not doing a fulltime person. What I discovered is after all these years of working with contractors, they work with a lot of other people as we do. As contractors, as consultants, we work with a lot of the people, which means we’re not wholly focused on their business and they’re not wholly focused on ours. 

Because I knew it was time to take it to the next level in the business, I needed to have all hands on deck. For me, the two fulltime employees were necessary because I know they’re focused on my work. I needed that. It was almost what can you control? What can you influence? I knew, in that case, I could influence for sure then because I’m paying them a salary. They’re fulltime employees. I can control my decision to do that. There’s very little we can control in life. I control and influence all I can. 

I love that within a few years, you’re already thinking about the next steps in the future of the business. It sounds like you may not be 100% dedicated to the business in the longterm. You want to look at other opportunities, which is smart. What steps you’ve been taking when you think about scaling your expertise? A lot of consultants are held back or don’t leap into that or don’t move forward with that because they think and they hear from clients. The client wants them. They want their brain, their mind. For whatever reason, it might be that. It might be they just want to make investments into bringing in other people. What would you say you’ve been doing more specifically when you think about the future of your business? From a systems perspective, processes, team, how to scale more efficiently, effectively, what have you been doing in that area, Heather? 

I’ve ramped up my collaborations. Bringing people in as consultants might come along. We will do co-market with my firm and as an individual because they aren’t as established as my firm is. We’ll bring them in because they have a skill set that I don’t. I don’t need to have it. That’s the other thing. I don’t feel like I need to have every skill set because I don’t want the end game to be all about me. When it comes to Employee Fanatix, I need to make sure other people can come. It’s collaborating with people who can augment. 

I do believe in building our skills. During the pandemic, I became a Certified Diversity Professional. I got that certification. I may do more overtime. Sometimes it’s like, “I’m going to do what I need to do. I don’t need to do more because I can outsource that. That’s a part of it, getting comfortable with clients, seeing other people. I’m going, to be honest. I’m very particular about who it is I partner with. Their values have to be aligned with mine and how they show up. There’s a lot of alignment there so that if for some reason I can’t make it and they show up, they’re there to do the thing with the clientWe’ve got listening sessions or whatever it is they’re presenting. I would need to feel comfortable because there is such high touch, relationshiporiented type of thing.  

I do have a certain level of control. I control what that looks like. It’s still my baby in there. I’m like, “Here, go take this. Go off in the wild blue yonder. Here’s what I would love to collaborate with you right here.” It’s contracted with a master service agreement. We got an NDA. We have all of that in place. It’s because that takes a lot of time to build this up for those who are reading. You know this to be true. You need to make sure that all the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed before you unleash other people onto the clients you’ve worked so hard to have. 

It’s still early days for you in terms of scaling this out and bringing people on. What lessons have you learned as you’ve been engaging with others and collaborating with consultants? Is there any mistake that you’ve made? Think of lessons learned, “I could have done that differently. I didn’t have that agreement. I didn’t use that.” What are some of the best practices from that perspective that you think would be important for people to know? 

Be very particular about who you partner with. How they show up and their values have to be aligned with yours. Click To Tweet

I’m early enough in it that I haven’t had any issues at this point. The only thing I would say is because I have a marketing mind, I’m always, “How do I make it so that even though they’re on their own, they still are in line with me?” For example, there’s a person I brought on for training, a training that I didn’t do during the pandemic. I knew she did it well because I’d seen her before do it. We recreated one sheet that had she and I, created that as a team approach. Even though it was fully disclosed, the person was not fulltime in my business but it still helped. That was a best practice for me. I’ll be doing that each time to another person. I’m looking to do something here. It presents more of a team stronger front than 5 or 6 people come in from all these different places that don’t seem to have anything in common. 

You created that one sheet. You give us a positioning around it. What do you do with one sheet? 

That would go to the clients who are interested. I’m not sitting there doing a cold call or cold type of email with people. I may talk to them on DEI listening sessions. They might want to have a different type of training. I’ll say, “I have someone on my team who can do that.” I know I have the person in mind and their openness and willingness to do it. I’ve seen what they can do. I’ll bring that person in as a part of Employee Fanatix to do that. When I do it, it ends up being in proposal where it’s a team focus. There’s a little mistake that I can’t even think about. I’m sure I’ll be making plenty of others as we go. I would have to say being consistent, having a plan, revisiting the plan because I am a doer. I scale mountains all day. That’s what I do. Having somebody on your team that says, “Let’s stop scaling for a moment. Let’s go back to the base. Review the plan right before we start scaling some more.” Having that person around you whether it’s a contractor or somebody who’s outside that helps you. It’s good. 

The Art of Caring Leadership is your latest book. I want to make sure that people can learn more about your book, your work, and everything you have going on. Where’s the best place for them to go? Is there a home base for all that? 

CSP 191 Heather Younger | Consulting Business

 

Check me out on LinkedIn. Look up Heather Younger on LinkedIn. That’s a good one if you want to continue to follow. As it relates to the book, the best place is TheArtOfCaringLeadership.com. It will give you access. You’ll be able to find me everywhere else if you go there. There are a lot of free downloadables and infographics and stuff there too. It’s fun. 

Heather, thanks so much for coming on. 

Thank you. 

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