The Stories We Tell Ourselves that Hurt Our Businesses

Stories we tell ourselves

At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve gained a little bit of wisdom.

I used to get frustrated because I felt there were so many things that I wished I had done differently or had paid attention to or done years ago.

Not anymore.

Of course, I still get frustrated, but I never really go down that old path of ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’. It just doesn’t happen… or if it does, it’s very brief and I catch myself. I don’t feed it.

Because of this, my life has a completely better flow and I move through things much quicker.

I’ve had a handful of experiences recently that have been massive validation that things happen exactly when they’re supposed to… in divine timing. As I’ve had these experiences it’s made me evaluate other areas of my life and business where I can start shifting my mindset on things and start telling a better story.

Isn’t it crazy that we can hear something over and over again, but we don’t “get it” until we’re ready to?

I want to share some of those stories and examples with you, how they’re playing out in my business, and hopefully, give you some insight into where you can start telling a better story for yourself.

Story: They’re probably out of my league

It’s been almost 12 years since I’ve been online, doing this full time (my ‘anniversary’ will be in March of 2020). It’s been one hell of a journey and I’m beyond grateful to be where I am today, but I also know I wouldn’t be where I am today (or ready to hold all that’s coming) if I hadn’t experienced the things I’ve been through.

Here’s one of the experiences recently that applies directly to what I’m talking about.

In August I had the good fortune of being invited to speak at the Recurring Revenue Retreat in Orlando, hosted by Robert Simmons, Christina Romero, and Matthew Rodela. Speaking is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school (I spoke at my high school graduation). For a while, I was a speech major in college and really wanted to go the ‘motivational speaker’ route.

For many reasons I pivoted and didn’t follow that path, but I always knew I wanted to speak (and something inside me knew I would).

This wasn’t the first time I’ve spoken at an event, but it was exactly what I needed when I needed it.

The event was about 6 weeks after my Mom passed away and I was very close to canceling. I felt bad that I hadn’t done much promotion, but my Mom had been in the hospital for 6 weeks prior and it took everything in me just to take care of the basics.

I went because I knew that was what she would want me to do.

She was my biggest cheerleader and always believed in me.

Besides it being a great event (Michael Killen wrote a great recap of the event here), I was able to meet some good friends in person as well as establish some new friendships.

One of those people was Cory Miller, who used to own iThemes.

I had known of Cory for years and for some reason our paths never quite crossed. I think I reached out to Cory at one point to be on the podcast, he responded yes, and then I don’t remember what happened, but for whatever reason, I never followed up. I think I told myself a story that he must be super busy and was probably ‘out of my league’ for guests.

Then I sat with Cory & his wife Lindsey (who I’d connected with before via her role at LiquidWeb) for lunch one day and felt like I had known him forever.

Cory recently had me on his YouTube channel for an hour-long interview and it was amazing.

We literally could have talked all day and after the interview continued our conversation for about 20 minutes. I’ve got an interview scheduled with Cory this month to have him on my show but more than that, I feel like this is the beginning of a quality friendship.

Here’s the thing…

I know Cory showed up in my life at exactly the right time.

Who I am and where I’m at in my life has me in a place that I’m craving deeper relationships: whether that’s taking existing friendships to another level or developing new friendships, I know the right people are going to show up at the right time and Cory is one of those people.

You can listen to my interview with Cory here.

Story: “X” isn’t for me… in my case, E-commerce isn’t for me

You can insert the methodology, tactic, or type of marketing for ‘X’ that applies to you (video, podcasting, YouTube, Messenger, Instagram stories… etc.).

I had thought about doing e-commerce for a LONG time, but always had this impression that it had to be finding a ‘niche’ and then finding products from overseas to sell.

I know, I know…

That’s a super narrow impression of a huge industry, but the only person I know who has been wildly successful is my friend Trey Lewellen, and that was the direction he went (although he started with t-shirts).

This is one of those perfect examples of the importance of really knowing your ‘why’.

Trey loves the ‘game’ of e-commerce, so to speak.

I think he could do well in any niche because he understands how that space works. As much as I love online marketing, part of what drives me is my desire to create. If I’m going to sell something, I want it to be mine (I’m not referring to affiliate products that I use and recommend, obviously).

So somewhere along the way, I let go of ever getting into e-commerce because it didn’t excite me to find and source products and set up a shop.

I like creating content and building a brand.

So I told myself a story that didn’t serve me.

On the flip side of that, it clearly worked in my favor because I let go of it and when the idea for the Content Creators Planner was born I almost didn’t connect it with e-commerce (bear with me, I’ll try to make sense of that last statement).

I framed it as a tool for content marketing that happened to be a physical planner.

Fast forward to almost a year later (the planner officially started shipping in February of this year) and we (my business partner on the planner) have a thriving e-commerce business. And we’re just getting started.

Which brings me to my next story…

Story: Ads don’t work (or I can’t get them to work)

I’m just going to start this piece off with a “hell yes they work!”

When we launched the Content Creators Planner I said right off the bat to Jodi that once we the pre-orders had shipped and we were past that initial phase then we were going to start running paid ads, from day 1.

I believed WAY too much in the product to not give it the best chance to succeed.

Which I knew meant paid traffic.

Jodi and I went to an event at the end of March this year at Trey’s house and before the weekend was over we had a funnel up on CartFlows (we use WooCommerce for the planner site and CartFlows is a complete cart/funnel/checkout plugin for WooCommerce).

We used copy from the website and our Kickstarter (that failed by the way, and you can listen to the entire episode I did on that here) and got a landing page up. We added our Content Masterclass as an order bump (it’s only $47) and then we were ready to write our ad.

Jodi had created a great video that shows the planner pages, so we used that.

We had also invested in FunnelScripts earlier this year (easily one of the best tools I’ve ever spent money on) and together wrote the copy for our ad.

Because we’ve both been in this space for a long time, knew our audience, and had product validation, we set a very simple target and were committed to paying for some data.

Fortunately, we made sales pretty quickly and have consistently made sales.

In fact, when we had a call with a friend of mine who runs an ad agency he ran our numbers and said we’re getting over a 300% return on as spend… to which he then asked: “why aren’t you spending more money?”

And yes, we’re spending more money now (it’s working, but there’s a learning curve every time you adjust things).

We’ve launched a second ad and are also testing a third ad directly to a piece of content. All of these ads start at $10 a day.

The ad we launched in May we’ve slowly scaled over time and has the highest budget right now and we’re starting to test a few more things.

Here’s the magic of all this:

I’ve said this so many times before, but we had zero expectations on what the planner was “supposed” to do. We knew we wanted it to sell, but we weren’t attached to what that looked like or how quickly it happened. We both have other businesses, so we’ve been pretty relaxed about how quickly this all happens.

And here we are, less than a year later with an amazing product and massive potential.

We’ve given ourselves the runway to grow this on our own terms with plans to hand off fulfillment and traffic at a certain point.

We have lots planned for this brand, but we’re letting it evolve organically.

This has been the easiest, most fun, and most profitable project I’ve worked on to date.

Personal Stories

Stop and think about all the things you’ve told yourself over the years that continue to play out as “truths”…

Maybe it’s stories around your

  • Health
  • Money
  • Relationships
  • Intelligence
  • Confidence

My therapist was the first person to say to me “a belief is simply a thought you keep thinking.”

At first, it was like “duh”… but her point was that just because I continued to think that thought doesn’t mean it was true.

Think about all of the things that you’re good at or that come easily to you.

To someone else, that thing that is so easy and natural for you is probably terrifying for someone else. You don’t think twice about it because it’s simply a part of who you are: whether you worked hard to get better at it or it was one of your innate talents and gifts that you chose to foster.

We also tend to dismiss those things that come easy to us, instead of owning them.

What would your life look like if you made a conscious decision to start looking at things differently?

To honor who you are, what you’ve been through, and how hard you continue to work for what you want?

Here’s the thing… I’m all for learning new things.

Seriously… it’s food for my soul.

However, I know that if I don’t do this ‘personal’ work (working on my mindset, staying in alignment, meditating, etc.), that nothing else matters.

Take the time to start telling yourself a different story.

Start with ONE thing.

And if you’re not sure where to start, here’s something that should make this easier (and another bit of wisdom from my therapist).

“If you’re going to play the ‘what if’ game, you have to play it on both sides.”

Meaning, if you’re going to beat yourself up for the way you did something (what if I had done this differently, what if I hadn’t said that, what if I had ‘only’ done this…), you have to look at what would have happened if you had done it differently.

Here’s an example:

When I look back on my attempt at launching a SaaS product (LeadSurveys), I could have easily beat myself up for having spent all that time and energy on something only to have it launch and then shut down a few months later.


If we had stuck with it I can pretty much guarantee that the Content Creators Planner would never have happened.

Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball, but that’s a pretty safe assumption.

At the end of the day, it ALL comes down to the thoughts we think and the stories we tell ourselves.

Start telling yourself a better story.

Other Episodes You Might Enjoy

Re-evaluating Business After Heartbreak & Loss KDS: 042

When A Failed Kickstarter Leads to a Successful Product KDS: 024

Content Traffic Kickstarter

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