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Getting Refocused with My #bizbestie: An Interview With Jessica Kinsey

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Meet My #bizbestie, Jessica Kinsey!

Jessica Kinsey is a Social Impact Strategist and the founder of Prodigy & Co, a strategic consulting firm that helps nonprofits and social entrepreneurs maximize their reach and increase their impact. In addition to building business plans for the changemakers of the world, she teaches classes for small businesses and nonprofits and developed Creativity Power Hour workshops to help people tap into their inherent creativity. She holds a degree in finance and received her MBA from the University of Tulsa where she also worked as an adjunct professor, teaching Creativity and Innovation in Business. She still can’t decide if coffee or wine brings better ideas, but she's happy to discuss it with you over either.

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I’m excited to bring this interview to you because it’s with my bizbestie, Jessica Kinsey. We recorded this interview in our shared office and it was a ton of fun. I asked Jessica to talk about how she gets me refocused when I come to her worried that things aren’t working or when I’m overwhelmed, or when I feel like I need to start over. These feelings are real and they happen all the time. She helps me out of this funk and helps me realize that things aren’t as bad as they seem. So I ask Jessica how you can get refocused as a yoga teacher who might be struggling to achieve a goal and she delivers! She has great advice and questions you can ask yourself.

Jessica isn’t a yoga teacher but she’s still my bizbestie. While I encourage you to have a yoga teacher friend who you can talk business with, it doesn’t have to be a yoga teacher. You can find anyone who’s running a business and share the ups and the downs.

Jessica is a social impact strategist that works with nonprofits and social entrepreneurs maximize their reach and impact. She inspires me daily and I know she will inspire you with this interview. Let’s jump right in!

Amanda: One thing Jessica is really good at is helping me get refocused. In July, I’ve focused on goal-setting and really checking in with achievements. July is that 6-month reset button. I would love to talk a little bit about how to get refocused and how you get me refocused when I’m feeling a little off-course.

Jessica: There’s kind of two parts to that question which align because advice I would give to you is advice I would give to anybody. I’ll talk broadly what I would say to someone else and how that works for us.

The biggest thing for me when I have conversations with people who are feeling a little lost or uncertain. The first thing I always tell people is to just stop and go spend some time alone. Disconnect from computers, technology and as much as can from your business and try to reconnect with yourself. Think about why you’re doing it, who are trying to serve. What is your purpose in your work? Why are you doing what you’re doing and is the path you’re on now fulfilling that purpose for what you want to do? Try to dig into the answers to those questions. Resetting and rethinking things alone is usually enough to re-energize yourself.

I’m not saying that going and sitting alone with yourself for 30 minutes will solve all your problems but you have to start with yourself and then take your thoughts to someone else.

We do this a lot! We’ll come in with what we think are heaps of issues and then we talk it out and realize that not everything is as bad as it seems. Being able to come to someone you trust and have an open and honest conversation.

Amanda: This is why! This is why we have the office right here. I can walk in here and think I’m burning it to the ground, I’m starting all over. You’re able to help me and I’m able to help you.

One thing that stuck out to me is that you really have to get clear and understand what’s going on. Then taking it to someone else is really the biggest deal because you walk in and really say out loud what you think is going badly.

Then it’s usually not as bad as we’re thinking in our heads.

Jessica: Yes! Usually for us, by the time we get together we’re at that point of “this is all the stuff I’ve been thinking about”. THen we talk through that will each other and help sort even more good versus bad out. THen we hash out next steps and we talk through it with each other.

Amanda: Let’s talk about our #bizbestie staycations (one and two).

Every 6 months we go somewhere outside of the office and outside of our home office and we go and strategize. You and I work in this way and it’s awesome. Not everyone has what we have! If our dear yoga teacher friends reading this don’t have a biz bestie, of course we want to encourage them to find one. But you have actually said this best: that doesn’t happen overnight. We found each other and worked on small projects together and that has grown over time.

Let’s take an example of a yoga teacher, Jane. Jane made a goal 6 months ago to fill her classes consistently. For this, this means 8-10 people in her class on a consistent basis. She is now 6 months into this — she has grown her classes but not consistently. She has not felt like she has achieved that goal and isn’t feeling too good about her progress. But she still ready to make the next 6 months of her business grow.

What would you tell her to do today?

Jessica: In that situation where you have a clear and smart goal (it’s measurable, you know what it takes to get there). I’d say to evaluate everything you’ve done. If Jane has put together a marketing strategy on paper or at least in her head — sit down and evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

After evaluating, do more of what’s working! Cut back and save time and efforts that haven’t been working. The other thing I would suggest is to ask the folks who are showing up to class! How did you hear about this class, how did you hear about me, etc. What is it that keeps you coming back?

Also think about things you haven’t tried yet but have been wanting to and see how that works out!

Amanda: I like the idea of trying something new! So much of this comes down to a mental state of mind so working on changing and trying new things hopefully gets you out of that funk.

I’ve worked with so many yoga teachers so I’m pushing them to get past mental humps that’s going on right now. Often times it’s just getting creative that pushes them past it.

Jessica: It’s often getting past the mentality of feeling like you’re failing or things are falling apart. That’s when it’s important to have someone to talk to. If you don’t have that person already, go out and find your person!

Think about what will be fun! When you’re feeling stuck in failure and a space that’s negative — do something that allows you to be fun, it will help flip that feeling. Just doing something that makes you feel good and potential visibility — a win/win.

Offer a free class in the park on Saturday or something that isn’t maybe tied to “can I get more people into class” but something fun for you in that moment. Think back to your “why” and your “purpose”.

Amanda: I love that! The idea of turning the feeling of failure into something fun is a good one. That is such a fun thing to think about! It goes well with how I teach about marketing authentically and having fun! It’s way easier to market something when it’s fun!

Jessica: It doesn’t have to be whatever class you do normally but free in the park. Offer puppy yoga — do something completely different that sounds fun and interesting. Even if 2 people show up it’s a success to you because you had fun!

Let me add one more thing. I felt this way and I had conversations with people in the nonprofit space when it comes to selling. What if you offer a free class and then at the end you’re offering then something in addition that is paid for (more classes etc) — some people feel icky about that type of “selling”.

If you are feeling that way and if that’s something that makes you uncomfortable — then don’t sell. Don’t invite them to your class. Someone will come up and probably ask you questions — where else do you teach, what else do you do? Then you can tell them but don’t plan to pitch anything if that doesn’t feel good to you.

Amanda: I’m so glad you said that because I’m always thinking “okay I’m going to host this free event that’s going to lead to this paid thing” because that’s a great marketing tactic to use. But Jessica is right — you can just have fun. You don’t have to sell! You’re totally right that most people are going to ask for more information about you and other classes etc.

Jessica: It’s really about being comfortable and confident and having fun. But to your point about marketing, don’t make this a monthly thing and then never tell people what you do. Give yourself some credit and spread the word about what you do!

Amanda: Exactly! It’s perfect for when you’re feeling in a rut and helps you break away from the every day — but agreed, don’t offer free things and not sell ALL the time!

If someone is sitting here today and thinking, “alright — I’m going to take the next hour to make progress on the goals I haven’t made progress on”. What would you tell them to do to help get them refocused?

Jessica: I think the best thing to do if you can, is to go talk to someone. Go find your biz bestie, your accountability partner, your coach, your group members — whatever that looks like for you.

Talking through it will help you figure out your next steps — find the “fun” in your purpose! Talking through your goals with someone will help you get feedback and have someone hold you accountable. Then put a plan in place to follow up with that person — an email, coffee date, phone call.

Amanda: I’m sitting here thinking — what if they don’t have that person? I hope everyone does but if they don’t have that person I would say go find that person! Today.

I have encouraged everyone to reach out to a local yoga teacher and connect with them in some way. Just start working on that relationship and work on building your businesses together.

Or like I’ve said before, join a Facebook group and find a virtual biz bestie. This is a great option if there’s no one in the local area you can reach out to.

Jessica: I would agree! I see the benefit of it being another yoga teacher and being in a group full of yoga teachers. I would also say it doesn’t have to be another yoga teacher. If you’re just looking for someone else who is running a business it could be someone else in the service-based industry. All business owners struggle with cash flow, getting new clients, dealing with employees — all of those things are pretty universal. We don’t talk enough about that as business owners, we show the success. We don’t post things like “not sure I’m going to make payroll this week”.

If you can find someone to have a conversation with you realize that the struggles you’re having are more common than you think!

Amanda: I agree, it doesn’t have to be a yoga teacher. I focus on that because I want them to help each other and feel connected. But again, you and I have two different businesses! It works wonderfully for us!

Thank you so much for being here today! I loved having you.

Your Next Best Step

Find someone that you can talk to about business stuff. It doesn’t need to be a #bizbestie right away but someone you can call and talk about a rough day will help you tremendously. So even if you’re not in a place where you need to refocus right now, I still want you to find someone. And if you are in a place where you want to refocus - great, you have something to talk about.

Until next time, give yourself permission to hit the reset button to get refocused and grace along the way.