As part of my series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Caitlin Scott.
Caitlin is a Business Niche Expert helping online women entrepreneurs go from feeling unfulfilled with their business and chasing the illusive “6 figures”, to actually making their version of rich a reality; creating a business they love that brings them prosperity and freedom.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Absolutely! I am originally from Houston, Texas. A die hard Texas Aggie! Mainly because of college football! I grew up in a small family but a very competitive one. My mom was a successful business woman, and my sister and I were competing in sports at a very young age. I showed horses around the country growing up and then carried this passion over into some collegiate events. After college, I landed a great job with a fortune 500 company, like everyone said I should! However, 6 years later, I realized I didn’t have the love for it, and I just wasn’t cut out for corporate. It hit me one day in the office, there was no competition.. And at that moment.. I started down the path of entrepreneurship. Solely to challenge myself in ways I had never before.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I was on my first sales call EVER, trying to land a deal. I finally got the commitment of 15k. I thought I had hung up the phone so I started celebrating. Literally yelling and jumping around my living room. Turns out the guy was still on the phone! How embarrassing! It turned out to be hilarious though. I picked the phone back up and we started celebrating together! I learned to always make sure your zoom or phone is turned off!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’ve always heard “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with someone”. Although I have had some fantastic mentors since being in the entrepreneur space, The person that has helped me get the furthest in life in general is my horse trainer. Not only because he supported me, but he pushed me out of my comfort zone. Always pushing me to strive for more, for better. I saw him and his wife fall behind in business so many times, yet he always seemed to land on his feet and move onward and upward. I know that seeing this from a very young age showed me that the only way you fail is if you quit. I follow that religiously.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
Simple! To help women live a life of Health, Wealth and Freedom. I want women to wake up everyday and have this fire in their heart about what they are doing. I want to impact as many women as I can in my time here on this earth. If you aren’t serving others.. What is the point? We only get one chance at this thing called life, and I plan to make the most of it! Without purpose, how can you truly devote your heart to your work? I wholeheartedly believe that people should live a life they love. How can you live your life, if you are unhappy where they spend most of their time (their business).
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
Covid is a prime example. The world was crumbling and my team was looking to meet in order to hold the company together. I remember the week when it seemed that everything had changed.. On our morning call, my team was worried about two things.. Getting sick.. And getting let go because “nobody would buy anything”. The meeting was very tense. I remember telling them we aren’t going anywhere. We are going to get through this together. We are going to stay the course and do business as usual and not let this virus get in our heads. Instead of meetings every other day — we met everyday. Mainly to work on morale. To keep the team’s head up and mindset right. To push forward! In April, we had our best month YTD.
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?
Absolutely. It is easier to give up. It is easier to just drop everything and go back to working for someone else. But, that’s just not in my blood. I have never quit, and I don’t plan on starting now. I know that the only way I will be able to truly live the life I want, that supports my mom and family is to own my own business. I know that the only way I can make a huge impact in this world is to be the fire behind it!! I wake up everyday and say “there has to be more” and I keep striving for that. Nobody should strive to be mediocre!
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
Leading by example, hands down. Your people will follow you. Especially if they look up to you. If you show them it’s okay to put in less effort.. To skate by.. They will too. Not to mention, they feed off your mindset. Our biggest slumps in business have come from when I’m not in the right mindset. You must keep your eyes on the prize and keep your team up there on that level with you. It’s your duty as a leader to not let them fall behind.
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?
Boosting morale when times are uncertain is one of the toughest things I have ever done! This doesn’t happen from just telling them “good job”. I go through a specific 3 step system everyday with every team member. Acknowledge, Appreciate, Accelerate. I think leaders need to take the time to truly acknowledge what someone has done. Appreciate it, give them credit and then pour fire on that inspiration!! Remind them of WHY they are doing it and how it feels when it works out!
What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?
Sometimes it just takes a little bit of empathy. Understanding why you are handing over this news.. And addressing what to do next very clearly. So many people just dump bad news and run. They let their team or customers handle it on their own. You must lead the thoughts and actions of what happens next. That is how you control the narrative in the best way possible.
How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?
Stay the course. Don’t go changing everything because of uncertainty. We aren’t certain things will change. We are assuming it will change. Reacting to uncertainty is the worst move. You must cut through the noise and listen to what people actually still NEED. Some of those needs will never change. Make your plans around what you absolutely know you can do for people and let everything else work itself out.
Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! That is what we follow as a team. We stick together no matter what. No one is in it for themselves. It’s all for something bigger. For the entire team and for the people we help. When people start isolating themselves, the collaboration and vibe in the company falls apart. We will still be pushing forward as a team while everyone is sitting on the sidelines.
Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
First, they are reactionary. Second, they pull back on the reins. Third, the leader’s morale drops. Fourth, they don’t put trust in their team.
Being reactionary only causes you to make irrational decisions based on the outside factors in the world. Instead of looking within and holding steady to your goals. Most companies pull back the reins during difficult times, which is actually when the real winners are gunning for first. If a leader’s morale drops, so does everyone elses. Finally, somehow when times get tough, companies lose faith in the ability of their employees.
Always keep in mind that difficult times shall pass and staying the course usually gets you to the best spot at the end of the day.
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
We try and run lean anyways, but during these times — we run EXTREMELY lean. We really do get rid of all the fluff that has built up for months. We then increase our employee performance bonuses. This causes them to work harder — thus benefiting the company. Lastly, we outsource what makes sense to come at a lower cost. There is a formula.. But I can’t share that ;)
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Trust themselves, their ideas and thoughts
As entrepreneurs, our worth is not measured by how hard we work, but the ideas and innovation we bring to the world! This is the best time to trust yourself. I launched a business during COVID 19 — when everyone was hiding under rocks, and We hit 10k in revenue in just month 2.
2. Inspire and support their team
Your team is counting on you. If you don’t inspire them, who will? When we were transitioning business models, our team was terrified. They were buying into the noise that it wouldn’t work. Every day we said over and over, believe in us because we believe in you.
3. Push the limits — don’t pull the reins back
Most people stop when things get tough. That leaves open opportunity for top notch leaders to take their business to the next level. We hired two new people during covid, while everyone else was firing. We increased advertising spend, and It paid off ten fold.
4. Embrace the fear of the unknown
This is the part about being uncomfortable that forces growth. Quitting my corporate job was the hardest thing I ever did. I bet on myself, because why would I bet on anyone else. They can quit on you anytime. I know i’ll never quit!
5. Visualize success for yourself and your team
I am a firm believer that you can’t physically get anywhere until you have envisioned that exact place. I did this starting our second business. I literally saw our bank account hit 10k in month 2 in my head. Then guess what? It happened!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable”
I have always been good at a lot of things.. And it’s not until i’m uncomfortable that I am truly growing, getting better and learning new things! When I am comfortable, I am stagnant, I am mediocre and I’m just not okay with that. I know I am meant for so much more. Everything I have ever been proud of has begun with me being extremely uncomfortable.
How can our readers further follow your work?
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