Casey Lightbody supports women with small voices but big dreams to step up and fulfill their extraordinary potential. She is the Founder of the Empowered Women Revolution, an organization whose mission is to help sensitive and quiet women find their voices, rock their businesses, and love their lives.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Casey was spending all of her time consuming, learning, and investing, but no time PRODUCING! BIG mistake, Fire Nation, and we talk about how you can avoid a similar fate!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Casey was ‘busy’, but in a flailing way. There was no solid plan that she was following. Be careful, Fire Nation: entrepreneurs have a love affair with being workaholics, and that is NOT the path to SUCCESS.
Small Business Resource
Best Business Book
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Casey: Absolutely John.
John: Casey supports women with small voices but big dreams to step up and fulfill their extraordinary potential. She’s a founder of the Empowered Women Revolution an organization whose mission is to help sensitive and quiet women find their voices, rock their businesses, and love their lives. Casey, take a minute, fill in any gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Casey: Sure, John. Firstly, thank you so much for having me on. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. To fill in the blanks, I launched Empowered Women Revolution just eight to 12 months ago, John. But the truth be told I’ve been working the idea for almost two years. I went through multiple iterations, I think I redid the website at least twice; I’m embarrassed to say, and then finally found the courage to pre-establish back in December 2014. And in hindsight obviously I wish I’d done it earlier, but John, I’m so glad that I did because I truly call this my passion project.
It’s grown significantly in just really such a short space in time, and the amazing thing is that I wake up every day feeling really alive and not believing that this is what I get to do every day. It really is so fulfilling. But prior to that prior to launching Empowered Revolution, really up until a month ago I’ve also spent three years building up a digital [inaudible] [00:01:22] consulting business from the ground up. So I’ll dive into that story a little bit later, but that’s kind of the filling in briefly on the blanks. On the personal front, John, I’m originally from Javari Zimbabwe, so I went to school there, and then I went to the University in South Africa.
And after graduating I moved to England where I spent the next 12 years, and then I immigrated one more time this time to Australia. So I’m now lucky to call Brisbane Australia home. My hubby of 15 years – I’m very proud of that milestone – and I have three gorgeous boys age 13, 9, and 8, and I couldn’t do without two girls in the family, and that’s my dog, Ebbie, and the latest addition is my kitten Rosie. So that’s us.
John: I knew I was having a hard time pinning down the exact origins of your accent, but I think it makes a little more sense now with the Zimbabwe to England to Australia. You’ve got a little good mix in there.
Casey: Absolutely brilliant natural accent.
John: So you’re in Brisbane, you’re hanging out, you’re the networking part, and somebody walks up to you and they say what do you do, how do you in ten seconds?
Casey: I would say you know those quiet sense of introverted women who are stuck on the sidelines with entrepreneurial success, the ones with small voices but big dreams, they’re too afraid to be seen and heard, but they’ve got a deep yearning to make an impact in the world, well, I’m building a movement to help inspire these women to unlock the power of their voices through connection, collaboration, community at the empowerment revolution.
John: Boom. And you’re not pointing at anybody in the corners of the room that are sitting there quietly, are you?
Casey: Absolutely not.
John: Casey, you’re doing a lot of great things. I mean you launched in December of 2014, you’ve been rocking and rolling in a bunch of different areas. How specifically are you generating revenue? This is fire nation and we’re building businesses, we’re looking to find ways to create these viable businesses.
Casey: John, the first thing that I did I went big when I first launched, and I host an online global summit for introverted quiet women, so that was just three months after launching the business. And it was just amazing. We had the most phenomenal guests. We had Amy Porterfield, Jaime Tardy, who I know, Tara Gentile, Carrie Green, a host of amazing speakers. The awesome thing was that I had almost 4,000 women attend that summit. The feedback that I got was truly phenomenal, and it was so fulfilling for me, John, to know that I’ve inspired so many women straight off the bat, you know? But what it also helped me do was drill down and really figure out how I can help shy, sensitive, quiet women.
So I’ll be hosting another summit in 2016. It was so much fun I want to do that again, but in the meantime, I’ve just launched a big subversion of a six-week program, which is called Quiet Impact, and this is an intimate group business coaching and mentoring program. We’ve tried to get it to really help quiet women get the clarity, the courage, and the connection to really start building their goal changing businesses. So I’m gonna be running that further during the fourth quarter, and then the summit will be held in early 2016.
Casey: That’s exciting because Fire Nation there’s a lot of people who I would kind of consider more on the naïve side for entrepreneurship who might be listening to this and saying well man what about all of the loud and abrasive women? What about all the dudes? Like she’s leaving out all these people that could be potential clients for her, and it’s the exact opposite Fire Nation. Casey had no credibility. She had no authority. She hadn’t done anything in this space yet. She had to earn that, and how do you earn that? Well, you find a niche that you can dominate. Every single shy, sensitive, quiet woman out there who heard about this was like that’s me.
This is for me. This is the kind of conference; this is the kind of thing that I need to listen to so that I can break out of this shell, so that I can get forward with my natural gifts. And she just clicked with all of those woman, and that 4,000 person list that she grew, is chock full of her avatars because she stood up loud and proud and said shy, sensitive, quiet women unite and you made it happen, Casey. So it’s all about the niche Fire Nation. Get down and just dominate that one area that you know you can, and then guess what, Casey can broaden that a little bit if she wants to because she now has the credibility and the authority to move forward with.
Now Casey you’ve had some ups. I mean that was a successful 4,000-person launch that you did, but you’ve also had some tough times. I mean you’re an entrepreneur. What is your worst entrepreneurial moment? Take us to that moment and tell us that story.
Casey: John, I really had to think about this one, and I really struggled to choose one to be honest because there’s been so many. But I think this one in particular was a game changer for me. So I mentioned in the beginning that I started off running an online marketing consulting business. So I’d been running that business for about 18 months, but I was really struggling to make ends meet. I was working crazy hours. I remember waking up at 4:00 o’clock in the morning just trying to fit in a couple of hours work before my family woke up. And I’d quickly pack them off to work and school, and then dive back into the office, and right up until school pickup.
And then quickly throw some dinner on the table, and then back into the office I’d go, and my relationships really suffered to be honest. I barely saw my husband let alone spoke to him. My health suffered. I wasn’t exercising, my diet was terrible, I picked up so much weight, and I started getting these heart palpitations. And that was the moment that I realized okay I’ve got to actually call a family meeting now, and in that family meeting my husband and I sat down one evening, and I shared with him the struggles that I was going through – the financial, the physical, the emotional – struggles. And I so desperately didn’t want to leave my entrepreneurial dream, but I knew that I couldn’t continue like this.
So what we agreed is we agreed to a six-month deadline. I had six months to turn things around in my business, or I had to go back to finding a job. And there was no way I was going back to find me a job, so I had to figure out to really make this business a success. So what I did was I noted the facts, and this was really difficult. It was actually really confronting for me, John, because I had to dig deep and get really honest with myself. And one of the problems was that I’d had almost 15 years of marketing experience.
I knew my stuff, but I had this deep-seated believe that I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t good enough, and what I’d done is I spent a fortune on training and buying every online product under the sun – books, I hired coaches, I hired mentors – just to feel that I was getting more and more schooled, and then I’d feel expert enough who really knew their stuff. But the realty was when I looked at the numbers; the numbers told me that I knew my stuff. The business was growing through word of mouth. I wasn’t doing any marketing, and I had so many repeat customers, and then on the retainer side of the business my customer retention rate was really high it was like in the 80 or 90 percent range.
So it was at that moment that I realized that the number one thing that was really holding me back was myself. It was really me that was getting in the way of my entrepreneurial success. So that’s when I started looking inwards, and I actually started working on myself putting myself out there and really just doing the work on myself that I needed to do.
John: There’s so much I want to talk about from that. I want to go way back to the beginning, Casey, when you actually used the phrase “make ends meet.” I’ve heard that phrase so often and I never actually sat down and thought about it. But finally when I did I was like what does that exactly mean. Well, way back in the day, it was the end parts of the meat that were the cheapest. So if you could just make barely enough money, you could get the end pieces of the meat. Isn’t that fascinating?
Casey: It’s amazing I didn’t know that.
John: We just say those things. We never actually kind of sit down and break it out like we never think that breakfast actually means you’re breaking your fast from your night before, the night before sleep. So there’s so many things, Casey that you were talking about. I mean Fire Nation so often we spend all our time consuming, learning, investing all of which are great, by the way. But we spend no time producing, no time producing content, producing something that we can actually monetize, and that’s where I want to go back to my boy Ray Higdon, great episode. We talked about ILT.
You do need to invest in yourself Fire Nation. You do need to learn the content, and then the key is turn around and teach. Turn around and teach because you are an expert to 99 percent of people who haven’t taken the time to invest learn in themselves, you have. Teach, teach, teach, and Casey finally got there, but it took her way too long. That’s my big takeaway. What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Casey: That is absolutely right, John. I agree with that and I think the biggest takeaway for me is that you really have to invest in yourself too. I think being an entrepreneur is as much a personal journey as it is a business journey, so really spend the time to invest in yourself as well.
John: So let’s shift. This is gonna be too another story. This one being an epiphany, a ah-ha moment, and again, Casey, you’ve had a lot of these. But you know Fire Nation. You listen to Entrepreneur on Fire. What’s one that’s gonna resonate with our listeners? Take us there. Tell us that story.
Casey: Great, John, well, this one is actually a really recent moment, so I’ll share it with you now. It was a few months ago, and I had this feeling that I was really scattered. I was all over the place. I couldn’t focus, and usually I’m quite the opposite. I’m usually really productive, really determined, I get stuff done, but the feeling that I was feeling at that time was almost – the word that comes to mind is – flailing. I was busy. I was finding things to do, but it was really unproductive work with no structural plan, and it got really frustrating. So the first thing that I put it down to was a term that I came across with Brené Brown. The called it the vulnerability hangover.
So I’d just completed the online summit, which was very, very fulfilling, it was thrilling, but it was also a massive amount of work and I had taken some huge steps out of my comfort zone. The adrenalin had been going seeing all these women attending and that kind of thing. But I definitely hit that slump afterward, but I couldn’t shake that feeling for several weeks. So I shared my experiences with my coach, actually, and she suggested just to take some time to just be. She shared her experiences with me of tapping into that feminine part that we all have as not constantly being on the roller coaster of doing, but just taking some time to be. So I took her advice one day.
I was having a really bad day and I thought you know what I’m gonna follow that advice. So very sneakily I didn’t tell anyone but I poured myself a glass of wine, and I went and sat outside on the veranda in the sun.
John: What time was this exactly?
Casey: It was about three o’clock in the afternoon.
John: Okay, not too bad. I thought you were gonna say 10:30 a.m., which would’ve been fine too. I mean come on.
Casey: I had no agenda, John. I literally just went and I sat outside and I just sat there, and I had this moment of clarity, and it was something that I had been avoiding. It was an [inaudible] [00:12:29] that I’ve been avoiding, and I realized that I couldn’t juggle everything. So I had at this time both businesses, so I had the marketing agency going and I was trying to build Empowered Women Evolution, and I was trying to spend as much time with my family as I could. And the realization was that I went into business for the fun, the flexibility, the freedom, and really to make a difference to my life, to my family’s lives, and to the lives of others, and I really wasn’t experiencing that.
So I made the decision and it was a really hard decision to close down and wind down the marketing end. It was something that I spent three years pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into, but I really just made the decision to close that down and have a single focus and that is to focus on growing the Empowered Women Evolution family because that for me fills my heart and that’s really what my true calling is.
John: Now Casey was busy Fire Nation. She was flailing around. There was no like real solid direction like she had just finished that big launch, and now she’s kind of like okay I got what I was working towards then, but what am I really working towards now. Because entrepreneurs we have this love affair with being workaholics. It’s like if we’re not working we’re slackers, somebody else is getting ahead of us, there’s so many things we can learn, there’s so many things we can improve in our business. It never, never stops in Fire Nation unless you put your foot down and stop it and finally Casey did.
There’s a great book by Michael Michalowicz, Casey, called The Pumpkin Plan, and it’s about how you know the best pumpkins in the world that are grown like – the award winning pumpkins – are grown because they actually have people that wash them and snip off the other pumpkins that are attached to the same vine because that pumpkin can only grow to be an award winning pumpkin. If there’s other pumpkins that are on that fine aren’t sucking all of the nutrients off of it, so they cut it off. So there’s just that one vine going to that one pumpkin, and they want it to try to grow off that, forget about it, and that’s what you’ve done, Casey.
You’ve cut off the other pumpkins so that you can focus on making an award-winning pumpkin, and for you that’s the Women Empowered, and that’s really exciting because that’s what it takes to be a champion in Fire Nation. So don’t be afraid to get those sheers out. That’s my takeaway what’s yours, Casey?
Casey: Oh, I agree with you, John, and I love that pumpkin vision again I’ll check it out, but it was that single-minded focus. So for me it was that turning off all of those shiny objects and really just focusing on the one thing that I wanted to do and that is building Empowered Women Evolution. So that’s my takeaway there.
John: Casey, you told me in the pre-interview chat you listen to Entrepreneur on Fire, what is the acronym for focus?
Casey: You’ve caught me out on that one, John.
John: I called you out, girl, oh you basically said it too in the last sentence when you were saying some different things. But focus is follow one course until success, focus.
Casey: I’m familiar with that. That’s step one.
John: Casey, naughty, naughty. So what is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Casey: John, I think my biggest weakness and something that I’m really working and I’ve touched on it a little bit now is my people pleasing and my inability to say no. So in the past it’s really led me to accepting clients who have probably haven’t been the right fit for my business. It’s really probably led me to over-committing on projects and sometimes missing deadlines and following up on bills invoices that haven’t been paid, and avoiding the confrontation that comes with that. So that I would say is my weakness but something that I’m really, really working hard on to overcome.
John: What’s your biggest strength?
Casey: My biggest strength is my ability to see the big picture, the 10,000 foot view, and then drill down. I haven’t been able to drill down into the detail as well to create an action plan to get stuff done. So the feedback that I could get from clients is that oftentimes I can see a vision for their businesses that perhaps is even bigger than what they can see for themselves, that they aren’t able to drill down and provide them with a really clear step-by-step growth map to help them walk through the steps to actually get to their vision.
John: Casey, you have a lot of cool things going on, but what’s the one thing that you are the most fired up about today?
Casey: I’ve got a super exciting initiative that I’m working on, John, at the moment. It’s gonna be launching in the next couple of months, but something that I’ve really experienced first-hand is the value of having a super supportive community behind you as I’m sure you have too with Fire Nation. And something that I believe in really, really strongly is that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I’m completely passionate about connection and collaboration. In fact, when I see the vision of Empowered Women Revolution it’s these conjoining circles.
So what I’m gonna be launching is the sisterhood circles, which are gonna be small intimate group gatherings where women will come together to share their visions and really help each other get to the route of who they are and how to own the power of their own voice. And I’m so excited about this because I think as women we really are deeply committed to helping each other, and together I really think that we can course an action to create massive positive change in the world. So I’m just super excited to create these sisterhood circles and to bring women together.
John: Well, I’m excited for you, Casey and Fire Nation. I’m also excited because we’re about to enter the lightning round, but before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Casey, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Casey: I am, John.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Casey: I’ve touched on this a little bit, John, but it was definitely myself. I was so worried what people would think of me, that I’d be judged, that I’d be criticized, that I didn’t know enough. It was so me getting in my own way.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Casey: So the best advice I’ve ever received was from a coach of mine, and they said to me just show up and get into action. You don’t need to have the full picture. You just need to know that next first step, and they shared with me this analogy of walking up the mountain and to follow a path at the mountain. They said you can’t see the tip of the mountain but you can see the next step as you go around, and that’s just helped me so much because as soon as I got into action with this business, John, I was in the main term and that fueled the fire even more.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Casey: Looking back on those hard times when I was building up the marketing agency I got into this habit of waking up really early. But what was interesting, John, is that I got into this habit of waking up, and I really listened to my body and realized that I’m probably most productive early in the morning. I’m an early bird, so I actually wake up still at around 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock, and I call those my power hours, and I’ve done so much productive work in those couple of hours and I just love it. So that’s probably a personal habit that I’ve gone into.
John: I snapped my Instagram photo today of the sun coming up over Seal Bay and that’s my morning, Casey. I love owning the morning.
Casey: Love it.
John: Do you have an Internet like Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Casey: I do. So I absolutely love BuzzSumo. I’ve been using it for probably about six months, but I just love it because it helps me with content. So it helps me get content insights. It shows the content that’s being shared a lot. I can get some ideas around headlines and topics that are of interest. I can dive in and look at competitors and see what content is being shared from them, and then I can also check out instances and figure out who I want to approach in terms of collaborating or getting together with and that kind of thing.
John: Or being on a podcast.
John: If you can recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Casey: So my book and I’ve thought about this a lot because I love reading. I’ve got so many books, but the one that really stands out to me, John, is Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. This was really a game changer for me given the limited beliefs that I was struggling through it really helped me to embrace my imperfections and to just get better at accepting my mistakes, to not having to be perfect, to be compassionate for myself, to forgive myself. But it also gave me the courage to stand tall and be a better person, a better wife, a better friend. So I just loved that book it was a real game-changer for me.
John: Well, Fire Nation, I know you love audio, so I teamed up with Audio Books, and if you haven’t already you can get an amazing Audio Book for free at iofirebook.com. And Casey, this is the last question of the lightning round but it’s a doozey. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world. It’s identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Casey: You’re right, John, this wasn’t easy and I really had to think about it. What I would do looking back is that I would buy a domain name and then I’d run some Facebook ads to a landing page offering a really value packed lead magnet, and then I’d add a video on the thank you page because I really find that video actually builds rapport much faster. People can see and get to hear you and really get to know you. So I’d add a video on the thank you page and invite them to share their challenges, and then I’d just continue building that trust for offering really value-packed content to them based on the challenges that they share.
And then it’s possible to get face-to-face with others via Skype or in person as soon as possible to really engage those early adopters to become flag bearers for you, so that’s what I’d do.
John: Casey, let’s end today on Fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say good-bye.
Casey: Great, John. So I think my parting piece of advice is just get into action. Just take baby steps if that’s all you can do. Just even five minutes a day to get into action because honestly that’s where the magic happens is as soon as you’re in momentum the path becomes clearer and it just becomes so much easier. So that would be my parting piece of advice, and you can find me at Empowered Women Revolution and I’ve got a manifesto there that if you’d like to download to find out more about the revolution at empoweredwomenrevolution.com/fire.
And I also share my strategies that I’ve personally have used as a shy introverted woman to really find my voice and create a business and life really that I absolutely love.
John: I mean Fire Nation you know this. You the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hanging out with Casey and JLD today, so keep up the heat, and head over to eofire.com just type in Casey that’s C-A-S-E-Y in the search bar. Her page will pop right up with everything that we talked about today: book recommendations, resources, and of course go straight to empoweredwomenrevoluiton.com/fire for your gift it awaits. And Casey I wanted to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Casey: Thank you so much, John, I had the best time ever.
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