Michele Scism is a decisive, driven and committed entrepreneur who loves helping business owners build thriving, leveraged, businesses. She believes that business failure could be eradicated if business owners would make a few simple changes to the way they do business.
Michele is a leading authority on business growth, an international speaker, an author, and the founder of DecisiveMinds.com. She is a serial entrepreneur who knows how it feels to fail miserably at business; at one time the bank actually called demanding their $1.5 million back! She also knows how it feels to sign the contract to sell your company for $9 million dollars. For business building tips, visit DecisiveMinds.com
In this interview, Michelle shares her entrepreneurial story with Startup Savant. We get a close up on how to find your sweet spot and how she built the type of business that worked best for her. Michelle is the perfect example of an entrepreneur building a business while maintaining an awesome relationship with her family. Be sure to take notes!
Her advice to entrepreneurs starting a business in California:
Create a community of loyal fans, don’t get hung up on the thought process of leveraging your time, and create an instant credibility by writing a book or start speaking.
Can you tell me a little bit about Decisive Minds? What else do you do as an entrepreneur?
In 2010, Decisive Minds came about because I was looking for a way to use my lifetime of building business to help entrepreneurs expand their businesses and I was clear I wanted to work with decisive people.
As a 3rd generation entrepreneur, I grew up working in our family businesses and as an adult I spent 20+ years building our trucking business to a point where we sold it in 2007 and I retired. I quickly found out I didn’t like retirement and started looking for my next business.
What does Decisive Minds do that makes it better than the rest? In other words, how did you find your competitive edge?
We focus on building service based businesses with entrepreneurs that want to expand their online presence as well as build their visibility through speaking, writing books and education. This came about because as an extreme introvert, I started this business with an intention of building it exclusively online (that way I didn’t have to talk to anyone, LOL).
I spent 2010 getting really good at social media, email marketing, blogging and writing sales pages. For me, it is something that is very strategic, duplicatable and repeatable. It wasn’t long before my coach started telling me to teach what I was doing because it was really working to get me seen.
What do you consider the biggest milestone that you have hit with your business? What was the biggest thing you did you get there?
I hit the 6 figure mark in my business within 18 months of opening the doors and then we hit the $500,000 mark in 4 years. That came about because I sucked up my fears and started speaking. I also started hosting my own 3 day events. I have now been doing them annually since 2011.
What does a typical day look like for you? Is there something you make a point to do each day?
I start working at about 9 and my days are busy and segmented. Mondays and Fridays are for follow up. Tuesdays are focused on team meetings and working on internal processes. Wednesdays and Thursdays are coaching days with my private clients as well as days I am interviewed on lots of radio shows, webinars, etc.
I usually work straight through till about 6pm then I work out with my personal trainer 2 to 3 times a week. I make dinner for my family and then watch sitcoms while I check emails :)
What is the biggest business mistake that taught you a powerful lesson? Would you mind sharing how it changed your business?
The whole idea that I would build this business without leaving my home was a joke. That year, I only made $12,000. Then at the end of the year, I got invited to speak for the very 1st time at a luncheon. I said Yes quickly before I could change my mind and during that 20 minute talk, I made a $97 offer and had 21 people hand me money.
I realized at that moment that speaking provided a different level of relationship and that I could get new clients and make money quickly through speaking. At my 3 day event a couple of years ago, I sold $300,000 in coaching programs from the stage. I knew at that moment that this was my sweet spot.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
First, I have a team of 8 people who rely on Decisive Minds to provide for their families. That keeps me motivated. Second, I want my kids to see that no matter what gets thrown at me, I get back up and keep going. It’s an important lesson to teach your children.
Did you have a hard time starting your business? How did you handle time and resources constraints?
Yes, it was difficult even though I had built many successful businesses before. This company was different in so many ways – I didn’t have a sales team, I didn’t have the technical knowledge that I needed. I had hired a coach prior to starting this business and he told me to hire my first VA right off the bat. That was really helpful.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Of course, anyone who says they haven’t probably hasn’t had any clients. What we do with our clients takes time and that is what they find to be most frustrating. They are wanting to get clients immediately and unless they already have an audience and fans that process takes time.
It is our job to keep them motivated, show them that they are making process and help them start making money as soon as possible.
I strongly believe in reading. Do you have a book that you highly recommended Startup Savant readers and I grab a copy of?
I love the book “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. It is all about how to create exponential growth in your business.
What are the top 3 pieces of advice that you would give someone starting a business in Louisiana? What do they need to know from the beginning?
- Creating a community of loyal fans will build long term cash. That means building your list and social media community.
- Don’t get hung up on the thought process of leveraging your time. In the early days of business, you should be focused on building one on one clients to create a consistent cash flow in your business.
- Create instant credibility in your industry by writing a book and starting to speak immediately. I’m not talking about a novel. I started with a 6x9 that is about 90 pages. When people hear you are an author, they instantly believe you know what you are doing.