The Ease of Hustle Podcast

46. Value-Aligned Business with Sam Munoz Consulting

Have you ever felt that there are things in business that you are just “supposed” to do? You decide to follow other people's tactics or what society tells you is “correct.” However, that comes at a cost to yourself.

It is possible to build a business that is supportive of you and what aligns with your values. You can implement tactics and scale in a way that is right for you, not in the way that you think you “should” do it.

In today's episode, I have an awesome conversation with Sam and Karyn of Sam Munoz Consulting. We talk about their origin story, how they came to work together, how they work, values-based business, aligning your business with what you truly desire, slower scaling, not really chasing revenue, just to chase revenue and a whole lot of other fun topics. I think you'll really have a fun time listening to our organic conversation.

What You'll Learn From This Episode:

  • Sam and Karyn's origin story of how they started working together
  • How Sam and Karyn run Sam Munoz Consulting
  • How you can look at scaling based on what you want in your business and not what you “should” do
  • Questions to ask yourself to help you check in on your business and what you aspire for it
  • Sam and Karyn's experience in being intentional and have sustainable growth in Sam Munoz Consulting
  • Examples of how Sam and Karyn have made more values-based decisions in Sam Munoz Consulting
  • How Sam and Karyn decided to drop their email list
  • Questions you can ask yourself to help you recalibrate and refine where you want to go in your business

Listen to the Full Episode:

46. Value-Aligned Business with Sam Munoz Consulting

The Ease of Hustle with Lauren Cash

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 46.

Welcome to The Ease of Hustle. I'm Lauren Cash. I'm a master certified coach, calendar queen, and multiple six-figure digital business owner. I adore helping you create goals your mind never thought were an option by blending together spirituality, mindset coaching, minimalism, and psychology. If you're looking to go from procrastinating perfectionist to easeful entrepreneur, this is the podcast that is meant for you. Thanks for being here. Let's get to the show.

In today's episode, I have an awesome conversation with Sam Munoz Consulting. Sam and Karyn and I have such a fun conversation about their origin story, how they came to work together, how they work, values-based business and aligning your business with what you truly desire, slower scaling, not really chasing revenue, just to chase revenue and a whole lot of other fun conversations. I really enjoyed hanging out with them and recording this podcast. I think you'll really have a fun time listening to our organic conversation. I hope you enjoy. Let's dive in.

Lauren: Hi everyone. I am so excited to not only have one guest on the podcast today but two guests who are so amazing. I love them because they just created a gorgeous website. Well, two websites really, for me and the company. And if you're in Cultivate Margin or any of the offers in The Shop, you know the beautiful work of Sam and Karyn. I would love to have them introduce themselves though. Sam, do you want to go first? And then Karyn, you can introduce yourself.

Sam: Sure. Well, hi everyone. Thank you so much for having us, Lauren. It was such a pleasure to be invited to your podcast. I love it, by the way, avid listener. But I'm Sam, I've been building websites and owning this company for almost four years. I have loved building websites since I was a child. I got a degree in engineering though. So I went off and did something totally different, but eventually kind of came full circle and was about to be laid off from my software development job and decided, “You know what, I'm going to take my life into my own hands and stop being dictated by other jobs and other things,” and decided to jump fully into entrepreneurship. Started by kind of offering everything, and then over time really narrowed it down to web design and web development where my heart was always at in the past.

And you know how you can look back at different things that have happened through your life and you're like, “Oh now that's the thread that connects it all together.” It's definitely like building websites. I used to build websites for the Sims. If you guys know the Sims games, I still play today. I played last night. That's a little bit about me. I'm a coffee lover. I play a lot of video games and I love to build websites.

Lauren: Yay. I love it. Karyn, tell us about you.

Karyn: Hi, I'm Karyn Paige. I work as a developer at Sam Munoz Consulting and also mentor now in our Making Website Magic School of Business program.

Lauren: Yay. I love the name by the way. It's so fun.

Karyn: It's very fun. Yeah, and gosh, I got into building websites, I would say by happenstance. I'm very multi-passionate. I've worn a lot of hats. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur and working in web design. I was working as a professional nightclub singer in San Francisco and I've worked in hospitality and just been all over the place, trying to figure things out. And then once I delved into entrepreneurship, then it was like, I literally just dove into the deep end of mindset work and procrasta-learning and all of the things. And so I think that has really informed my whole trajectory in terms of web design. I think ultimately the through-line for me, the through-line for Sam is, it's always been websites.

I think the through-line for me is, it's always been, anytime I'm in a situation, I immediately start picking up on the patterns and how things work and looking behind the curtains in a very Wizard of Oz type of way. And then creating a plan of attack, how to master stuff. I think that's the human design generator in me.

Lauren: I was just going to say, now I have to know your Human Design, Karyn.

Karyn: I'm a generator. I just learned that about a year ago. And then again, I think that's very me. I was just Human Design. I need to know everything. This explains so much. I wish I knew this sooner.

Lauren: Oh my gosh. And then Sam, you're a projector as well. Right?

Sam: I believe so. Yeah. That's what you are. I just knew that I was the same as you. I don't know anything about it, but yeah, that's what I am, I believe.

Lauren: That's so fun. Yay, so two projectors and a generator on today's call, so we will use your energy Karyn and the energy of coffee.

Karyn: Go for it.

Lauren: I love it. Okay, what's the origin story of, so Sam, you're doing your thing at Sam Munoz Consulting and doing that. And then how did Karyn come along and how did you join together and start working together? And how did that unfold? I'm so curious because I don't know that story yet.

Sam: Yeah, I don't even know if we've told that story. Karyn, is it okay if I share it?

Karyn: Yeah, go for it.

Sam: Okay, cool. And then you have your own perspective on it. So I will let you interject, as much as you want to.

Karyn: Cool.

Sam: About, I think it was 2019, I put out this thing, actually, I put it at the bottom of my website. So, Karyn, you are an ambitious queen, because I don't even know how you found it. But I put out this thing, techs that I was looking for. I called it a Tech Wizard. I was looking for someone to join the team to do development and to help me with all of the website stuff because I was very overworked and overwhelmed with all of the things that needed to be done. And Karyn was one of the women that applied for that. And then when we got on that call, and I told her this later, and I'm just going to tell you again. I had so many “interviews” with a bunch of different potential contractors, and I got off the call with Karyn and I was like, “I think I've found the one.”

And you were number two out of seven. You were in the back of my head the entire time. And then when it came to choosing, I remember sending you the email and just being like, “I really hope she says yes.” And then you did. And I was like, “Yay!” That was really exciting. And then almost a full year later I was looking to expand the team more permanently and I invited Karyn to join on as an employee and a developer. And that was an even bigger email that I sent out and just waiting for the offer to go through and seeing what she said. I remember I was at a friend of mine's house and she said, “Yes.” It was like, I just got engaged. I was so excited. I cried a little bit and I'm not typically a crier, but that was from my perspective how Karyn came to join the team. But I'm sure on your end, there's a lot of story behind that. Feel free to share that too.

Lauren: Yeah, I want to hear. I really, I don't know if it's just me, but I love podcasts that sort of talk about this whole, the two sides of the story, and how things came together. Anyway, Karyn, tell us your side.

Karyn: It couldn't have been more synchronous really, because I was at a place in my own business where I was feeling really alone and isolated, you know? And I was looking for just exposure to web design from a place other than being self-generated. Right? Really being in community with someone who's a little bit ahead of me, seeing what it's to do the work, just give me the design, let me build it, free from client acquisition and operations and all of those things. But also I was really at a place where I wanted to be in community and also just become a better designer. When you're doing things really in this isolated insular bubble of just yourself, sometimes you're not getting a lot of feedback or inspiration and things like that. And so I actually gotten a mutual friend, was like, “Hey, there's this opportunity, I'm thinking of you. I think you should go for it. I think you should reach out to Sam.”

And so that's when I reached out and I'd never done anything like that before. It brought up all of these things for me of submitting a resume to a tech startup and all this stuff. I was just like, me being the jack of all trades, I'd worked in a tech startup at one point. And so all this stuff came up and I was like, “I don't know if I'm okay with this.” But then once I started working with Sam, it was just like, the training wheels came off and I learned so much. I was introduced to so many ways of being in business that were different than what I had been learning and what I've been practicing. It was very refreshing and very liberating. And so when I had the opportunity, when Sam invited me to join the team, it was just a no-brainer. And it felt very aligned and very natural. And so I said, “Yes.”

Lauren: I love that. I'm curious if you would be open to sharing, you mentioned ways of doing business that were different than what you were seeing, taught, or the way that you were doing that. Can you remember any of those ways to share with that?

Karyn: Yes, simplicity comes to mind, right off of the top. Nothing was complicated in Sam's business, nothing, from the marketing to the operations, to having a culture of feedback within the team, everything was so straightforward. All ego was removed. There was nothing unnecessary happening in the business. And that was very enlightening because prior to that, everything that I learned, that I'd been taught, that I was doing just seemed really complicated. And so it was really refreshing. There were a lot of “aha” moments, a lot of light bulbs going off. And even just the way Sam approaches business and the mindset, Sam always uses we, for the pronoun. The pronoun is always we. That felt very inclusive. And also it let me know that there's a bigger vision, we are here today and the company may be Sam Munoz Consulting, but it's the intention behind is we, it's more than just myself. And so I really appreciated that as well.

Lauren: Yeah. I love that. And working with you as a client, I can definitely say that came through from the beginning, that it was like, “we,” and that, it didn't seem it was just a Sam thing and not even coming across to the client felt really, I don't know. The inclusivity of that. I don't know, there's sort of a warmth involved as well in that, and being held by the team, which I really enjoyed too.

Sam: You guys are so sweet. I'm over here blushing. That's so kind. It's interesting because I think that when I started the business, I'm one of those people who, I think Karyn and I talked about this before, but I didn't read Twilight until 10 years after it came out because I was like, “It's popular and I don't want to be everybody else.” And so I pitched the business the same way. Yeah, it's like, you want to be the hipster right? Doing things differently. And so naturally went in that direction anyway. I find a lot of online business, I'm going to use online business with air quotes, tactics, and techniques to be very sleazy and disconnected from human connection. I was not about that life. Does that make sense?

Lauren: Totally. Yeah. I feel I've been going through a recognizing of where are the areas where I've sort of just been doing the things because that's what you're supposed to “do.” And what is actually aligned with not only me and my energy, which is really important, but what is going to be more supportive of the relationships that I'm building and relationships are huge in business and to tie it back into the Human Design as well. I have a four in my profile and that means that really I'm meant to do business with people that I know or referrals of very close-knit network. So friends of friends, and people you all know, that you're like, “Lauren's really an awesome coach.” That's how I meant to build my business more, according to Human Design, which I think is interesting.

I'd be curious, Sam, what your profile is and stuff too, but that's been interesting because that's how I started building my business. And then all of a sudden I got into this place where I was like, “But no, I “should” start doing Facebook ads. And like, “I'm supposed to grow this reach,” all this stuff. It didn't feel right to me and I couldn't figure out why, but I think it's also losing sight of really the relationship and the values and really why are we here doing what we do? Which I feel it leads us into one of the conversations we've talked about having, which is, sort of this conversation about growth and scaling and in the online space, digital entrepreneurship. I feel there's really this pressure to grow and to grow fast and to scale.

And the question of, is it scalable? Is always a thing that's happening in that space. I definitely have been somebody sort of adding to that and using that same language before. And now I'm starting to really question that more, but I would love to hear both of your experiences with that sort of pressure and what you're noticing going on in the space and then maybe sort of your take on slower scale, or do we even scale and all of that conversation.

Sam: Sure. You know, this is a really, really interesting and important conversation, because I think anyone listening to this podcast, owning a business, there's aspirational things, right? There's people that we follow and we watch and we aspire towards. And if we're being told that the way to get there is to scale your business, automate things, have bajillion people on an email list and send them emails, and that's the only way, then it feels like, “Well, if I want to be them, I got to do it that way.” One thing that I found very interesting working with you Lauren, was that, during the project, you were open to checking in with yourself on what you wanted to do next in your business. I noticed that because obviously things changed throughout the project and that actually happens a lot when we work with clients on a long-term scale.

But you specifically, you were like, “Is this where I want to go in my business?” I think that that's something that a lot of people lack, especially in the beginning where we are just trying to aspire towards something bigger. We're just like, “That must be the way to do it. There is no checking in on like, but is this authentic to the way that I want to operate in my life and in my business.” I feel that's an invitation to anyone listening, to just check-in, just take five minutes today and say, “Are the things that I'm doing on the day-to-day in my business actually things that I think I want to be doing and are going to perpetuate the destination that I'm trying to achieve?”

Lauren: And even what is that destination and where is that coming from? That's been a huge one for me recently of like, is the, I don't know, seven-figure business, it's like “aspiration,” something that I truly deep down desire or is that just, that's what you're hearing in the space that you should want. There's nothing wrong with, if you actually truly deeply want that, don't hear this and now think that we have judgment about you and what you desire to create. But I find that a lot of us are just, or at least I've done this too, where you just copy and paste other people's businesses and the way they have things set up and their goals and what we “should” be creating. And so I think that's a really interesting conversation to have. But I think that's interesting that you noticed that Sam of the checking in with my inner voice or myself or all of that.

When you were working with me, it's a really interesting time for me, because right around the time we had our discovery call, was right around when I figured out what my Human Design was. And I was just getting diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. I basically had completely burnt myself out last year and was living like, not in alignment with my energy. I've been doing a lot of reconfiguring and it's challenging, because I naturally go back to trying to be my generator self and that I had been being, but then I have to keep readjusting and then maybe I'll decide something because it sounds good. And logically, I think that's what I should be doing. But then I realized, wait, that wasn't true intuition-based decision. And then I have to then clean up sort of the mess because I hadn't made that decision from that place, to begin with.

I'm getting better at doing that, but it's like an ever-evolving process and in the process, it looks really messy. And I feel you got to see a lot more of sort of the mess of that then maybe, my team does too, and some clients do, but the outside world doesn't necessarily as much see that. For me as a recovering perfectionist, it's really hard for me, because you're seeing the vulnerability and the mess of it all rather than just, I used to be like, “This is what I've decided and I get it done.” I used to have that badge. But you handled it so gracefully and stuff. It made me feel more comfortable in that. I like that you were able to sort of witness that too. Karyn, when you're thinking about the growth and the “scalability” and this pressure. Do you feel that pressure in the digital space, or did you before you joined forces with Sam? What has that been sort of observing that in clients? I don't know.

Karyn: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. I absolutely observed the pressure to scale. I think what happened, everything started to come into alignment when I started working with Sam. And then when I joined the team. Sam and I are both very much in agreement with each other. It's startling sometimes. I think that that is a true gift. One of the things that we both uncovered together was this idea of building your business from the inside out. Right? And so, thinking about these external influences and these external messages that we're getting, the shoulds that we're always hearing, that we should be doing, right? That can be very challenging if you don't have a foundation of inner work. And if you're not coming from a place of really knowing who you are as an entrepreneur, who you are as a person, how you function, what values you hold, what your mission is, even your own natural biorhythms, listening to your body.

If you're not in tune with that or having a dialogue with yourself, it can be very easy to actually be influenced by those external shoulds. Right? And so SMC, for Sam Munoz Consulting, we're very grounded and centered in our values. And so through that process, there's always this conversation of refining, revisiting, how is this decision for the business in alignment with our values? If it's not, then we need to have a conversation around that. To your point, Lauren, about being vulnerable in the project and making decisions and feeling it's maybe messy, I'm here for that. We're here for that. Because that is refinement in action. And that is checking in with yourself in action. Right? Besides, Human Design Generator, I'm an INFJ, I'm an Enneagram 4w5, right?

If you tell me that I need 10,000 people, I can't deliver that for you, because I'm not interested in it. It's not in my nature and I'm very clear on that. Then what happens is, the more you know yourself and you're really grounded in your inner work, it becomes so much easier to make decisions that make sense for you. And some of the best advice that I got from a mindset coach was, you get to decide, you get to decide what feels good, and even if it doesn't feel good, so maybe it's not for you. Right? And so I'm actually very, I've tried to be so much more intentional these days about how I even use the word should or when somebody uses the word should with me. I'm like, “Let's unpack that. And let's take the time to step back.”

Because ultimately I feel there's so much space and opportunity in entrepreneurship and to really build your business from the inside out. And that is what is sustainable. Sometimes scale isn't sustainable, but through slow growth it's possible. And when you check-in and you ask yourself, “Is scaling to this certain place in alignment for me? Does it make sense for the vision that we have for the business? Is it grounded and rooted in our values and our mission? Are we drifting from our mission if we go in this direction?” When you start having all of those conversations, everything becomes so much clearer, so much simpler. And then the decisions actually get made a lot faster.

Sam: And there's less resistance too because you're going in the direction of the flow and in the direction that you naturally want to be going in. And so there's not this, like, “I don't want to write this email today,” because you're showing up and you're doing the thing that you actually want to be doing. And that's not to say that all parts of business are easy and fun, but the parts that constantly feel you're just grinding, like, “I have to make another social media post or I have to put out another product,” or whatever it is, that might be an indication that you're just out of alignment. You have to make space to actually think through that, and you can't just be chasing that next dollar. And sometimes it's scary to be like, “But if I stop, then I won't get to that next goalpost.”

But maybe that goalpost isn't even the one that you should be shooting for in the first place. We've all been in the business world long enough that we have been here when people were talking about making a six-figure business. That was the first goalpost. That's not even the goalpost anymore. Having a six-figure business, apparently, according to the Internet is like, “Come on, everybody's doing that. Now it's all about having a seven-figure business.” And you know that when people get there, the goal post isn't going to move anyway. Why don't we just set our own goals?

Lauren: Yeah, that makes me curious too, like, do you have any practices around, I know I've heard a little bit on your podcast, so teaser for their podcast, it's super great and recently launched. You've talked about these values, so maybe, do you have certain examples that you could bring up of how you made values-based decisions that maybe to somebody else wouldn't be how they normally make decisions or were maybe more challenging for your minds, but you knew deep down that was in alignment with the values?

Sam: Definitely. I think one of the biggest things that we do is, I would say maybe every six months, but minimum, every year, we create a full, this is super practical. We create a full outline of every aspect of the business, starting with the mission statement, going into the values, our core values as a company, which I can mention those in a second. And then everything we offer, every marketing thing that we're doing and we just look at each of the different things and assess if it still aligns with the mission. And if it doesn't, then we cut it and there's no qualms about getting rid of stuff. Every single year we're cutting things out because we try stuff, right? That's the best thing about owning your own businesses, is you get to try things in play and tweak along the way. But you will do something and it will eventually be out of alignment. You'll see that and it's clear.

I think starting with you, what you value as a person and really digging deep into, what are the things that are non-negotiables for the way that I operate my life? Some of our values are empathy, honesty, kindness, transparency, female empowerment, those are the core things that this business is about. And so if something that we offer doesn't help us get closer to actualizing that value, then it's an easy decision to say no to it. That's with everything. It's not just different offers that we create. It's also like, “Should we have an email list or not? Does it feel in alignment?” I mention that because we're getting rid of our email list. I'm just scrapping it.

Lauren: Tell us more.

Sam: Because we really believe in one-on-one, personal, deep connections and that's how this business has always run. From the beginning, I connected with people after I was about to quit my job. I wrote this Facebook post, and I was like, “My job is going to become extinct and I need to make money. Let's talk. Here are my skills.” And then I just started talking to people and like, that was how the business started. And like you said, which now I'm really curious if I also have that same before.

Lauren: I think you have to, I really do Sam, because that's how I started my business when I relaunched my practice almost two years ago, was, it was all about how many conversations am I going to have this month? Either text or phone call or any of that. And that's how I grew the business before I even had an Instagram or email list or any of those things too. I love that.

Sam: Right. And then if you hold so tightly into these shoulds, then you don't even give yourself the opportunity to move into the spaces that you really need to be in. And so those are the kinds of things that we refine all of the time and we use the word refine because it's always just pulling it back to the core. Right? It's not changing, it's evolving. That is a very practical thing we do. Karyn and I do that together, so if you want to speak on that to Karyn.

Karyn: No, you summed it up. Actually, I take that back. I love that we do this on a periodic basis because I truly believe that our values evolve just the way we evolve as humans. Right? So what you set out with your foundation as your business grows, it naturally is going to evolve anyway. Right? It's an invitation to constantly check back in with yourself and with the values that you have for your company.

Sam: Honestly, what's really nice when you do that, is that you create binary decisions for yourself, because it's like, “It either fits or it doesn't fit.” And there's no more like, “Well, I don't know, should I invest in this program? Or should I invest in this tool?” It's just, “It's a yes or no.”

Karyn: Which I love as a generator. Right? It's like, just get a response. Is it a yes from the guy or is it a no? It's really clear.

Lauren: You're a sacral, a pure generator then. Okay, cool. Do you know Sam, what your authority is?

Sam: I have no idea. I put my birthday and that's all I know.

Lauren: Okay. I need to know now all the things later, we'll have to connect if you're open to sharing your soul in a body graph.

Sam: Absolutely and I'm so curious.

Lauren: Yeah. I think people are still going to be super curious about this email list thing because it's one of the things in the online space.

Sam: Holy grails.

Lauren: Yeah. Could you talk about, have you had an email list? What happened that you've now decided it's not aligned? What's your current vision for marketing and how are you going to actually make money? All the minds are freaking out about this. Can you talk us through more about this? Because I think everyone is curious.

Sam: I think, honestly what really spurred this, and I've been feeling a lot of resistance around the email list for a while and we do have one, it's not huge, but that's fine. Karyn and I were having this conversation about the difference between a contact list and an email list. The way that we described it as an email list is, how we all normally traditionally think of it. Someone opts in, you send emails, maybe there's a nurture sequence. You're selling products through some sort of funnel. That's a traditional email list. Contact list on the other hand is more like the people that you've connected with. You've had discovery calls with, you've met them at networking events. You have their actual email address and you can send them a direct email. You can refer someone to them. Those are the people.

I was thinking about it, and I was like, “First of all, I far more enjoy talking to people directly, one-to-one, but also the email list has not necessarily been super profitable for our business model, because we're not working with people in a one to many capacity.” The nature of the web design business is one-to-one. Even if you're working with small team to small team, it's still a personal connection. The experience of the work is one-to-one. I was like, “Why do we even have this email list? And why am I stressing out about sending things to them?” That was the basis of that decision. And then what I've been doing is, I've been going through the email list and seeing if there are people that signed up for a specific thing, maybe they signed up for a waitlist for something that we were putting together. And then I've been emailing them directly and just saying, “Hey, do you still want to be a part of this? If not, great.”

And if so, putting them on a separate little thing. My plan is, I'm going to send out one last email and invite people to our community, because that's where we're going to be spending time with them and talking to them, is in our community. And that's where we're sending everyone to. I had one, well, maybe two opt-ins in the past. People came, but they were looking for DIY stuff, and I wanted them to hire us for done for you thing. It's really about understanding your business model because if you're a blogger or an influencer, or you have courses where you're teaching people one to many, an email list might make sense, but if you are a coach and your goal is to work with people directly, one-on-one, emphasizing something like an email list, doesn't really support that type of business model.

Lauren: Yeah, I think that's so interesting. Also, I really enjoyed how you all mentioned on your latest podcast episode about how web designers or developers will create Instagram content that's really pointed towards the person or the client that really wants to do it themselves rather than a done for you. And if you're selling done for you, that just doesn't align and you're going to attract the incorrect client for you then. I think a lot of us don't really think about that, how are we interacting with others? And is that in alignment with what we have to offer? It sounds so obvious, but I think it's not as obvious when you go to create an Instagram post or whatever. Would you be open, because the email list and you're one-to-one conversation opened up back to our talking about scalability almost?

Would you be open to sharing more about your beliefs around working more one-to-one, rather than trying to maybe, I don't know, create more templates that you could scale or whatever it is in your space for your type of business? What are your beliefs around that? And do you have things to say around that I guess?

Karyn: Well, I have things to say, but I don't know if it's really speaking to SMC as the company, but again, I feel it all comes back to what do you want to be doing every day? What is the work that you want to be putting out? Because there's nothing wrong with a one-to-many business model if that feels suited for you if that feels in alignment for you. When we really determined that the work that we want to do is one-to-one centered, then that made the decision to forego traditional email marketing so much easier. Because what we learned and also looking at numbers and metrics and being really intentional about that aspect, the conversions for the work wasn't coming from the email list, the conversions for the work and the clients were coming from the one-on-one connections.

They were coming from word-of-mouth referrals. They were coming from what we call the dream client feedback loop, right? Where you talk to someone, you have a connection, you work with them, you have a great experience, and then they refer all of their friends to you, or you keep talking to new people and meeting new people. And so if that's what's working and that's what is helping the business grow, then let's focus the attention there instead of trying to really like, what is that phrase? Sam, I love a cliche. There's some sort of cliche about trying to pull water from a dry well or beat a dead horse or something like that. If nothing is coming from the email list, why are we still trying to make this email list work?

Lauren: Yeah.

Sam: Piggybacking off of that and the idea of scalability, this is where it really comes down to you understanding what it is that you actually want. Because for example, I'll be really honest, I don't have a desire to own a million-dollar business. I don't think you have to have a course or a one-to-many type thing to have a scalable business. I think you can do that in many different ways. You can do that through like you mentioned, there's things like templates in our industry. There's things like creating an agency if you're focused on small teams and creating still that one-to-one relationship with clients and still performing that same level of work. But if your goal is not this grand giant thing, it's okay to have a one-to-one business. And that's like, there's nothing wrong with, maybe you scale in a different way.

Maybe you charge more for your work because it just continues to get better, and the results that you're giving to your clients are exponentially better. Maybe you scale by having more time in your day, because you are, again, charging more. And so, therefore, you don't have to take on as many clients. There's different ways to scale that are not even necessarily related to money. I would even say, let's just throw out the word scale and just say more finding your own inner success, right? When did scaling and growing become the only way? I'm sure there's a lot of capitalistic roots where our value is inherently tied to our output, which I just 100% disagree with and do not co-sign on. I don't think that scaling has to be what we all desire.

There's more than just the money. There's the freedom. There's the time. I know that you've talked about on Instagram, taking a day off or whatever, that's, hello, that's success, right? Being able to just be an ownership of your time and be in alignment with the things that you want to be doing, the impact you want to be having. That's why creating that bigger vision for your business, rooted in what you want for your life is the foundation. And you can do that at any time. If you're like, “No, I've been doing business for three years now, I totally messed up.” No, you can refine at any time.

Karyn: I want to circle back to something that you had said, Sam, as well about this idea of moving the goalpost, right? There's scalability and then there's also sustainability, right? And this idea that if you keep scaling and you having these quantum leaps and it's constantly just quantum leap to quantum leap, is that sustainable? How far did the leaps actually go? Right? And then also tying that back into the idea of really knowing who you are as an entrepreneur. If you are someone who really excels and thrives and feels nourished in a one-to-one capacity, but a one-to-many capacity feels draining and doesn't feel good, and it's not something you desire, then that's worth listening to and making decisions around that. And also sustainability is slower because it's not extracting as much, right? Sustainability, if you want to think of growing your business in a sustainable way, those things do take a little bit longer.

And so it's also about being okay with that and really accepting that growing slowly and more intentionally takes a little bit longer because it's not a sprint. It's not sending out one email to 10,000 people and having a 20% conversion, it's maybe making a few meaningful one-to-one connections. We were actually talking about this with one of the women that we're mentoring. “Okay, what's your goal? How many people do you need to talk to in a year to reach that goal? It's only 20?” That takes a lot of pressure off of you. Right? I think, again, with scalability, it's a sprint. It is not a marathon. If we said, hey, you'll get there, but it's going to be step-by-step, 26 miles any, right?

That would change the way you showed up that way, reframe how you put every intention behind what you're doing. And so sometimes it's literally just having that conversation about, we can do this. It's just going to be done in a different way, and that's okay.

Sam: This is why I taking breaks off of social media because I am not a social media person. I see it as a business tool, it's over here. I use it for that. And once I started noticing, I was gravitating towards Instagram to fuel my entertainment, I was like, “No, this is an issue.” And so I started deleting it off my phone every weekend and now at the end of every workday. I don't know if I could do that if I had a different type of business model. And so I need to make sure that the business that I'm creating allows me to take full breaks, to take two weeks to a month off for winter and to spend more time with my daughter and to not be connected all the time. I understand that there's this mindset that passive income is the way to do that and I get that.

But also like, Karyn said, it's not you're just going to wake up overnight and that's going to just exist. There's a lot of considerations when it comes to building a business and scaling and just being more and more “successful.” I think the moral of the story is to really make sure that what you're moving towards actually feels like something that you want to be living in because let's say you do make that million dollars but to get there, you are staying up every single night, answering DMs or you're working 80 hour work weeks, or you're never taking a break or all of these other things that might come along with it. If that's what you want then awesome. more power to you, make all the money, do that if that is your true goal.

But if you're like, “I actually would be totally fine. If my business brought in $250,000 a year and I had a small team and I was able to really impact those people and have the things that I needed in my life, then awesome.” Set that as your goal and then just reverse engineer how you get there and be okay that maybe this first year, the second year, you're at 150 and you are moving towards that. It's okay that we don't do it day one.

Lauren: And that's what I've been really returning to the last couple months, is like, what is that number that I can have the support that I desire in my business. I love my two employees right now. I love that we have a PJ to edit the podcast and hiring you all to do our beautiful website. But what is that amount that, and also how much money do I want to bring in and what sort of lifestyle do I want to have and are the nails really worth working an extra, however many hours this week? I don't know that they are. So right now I don't have my dip nails anymore and I painted my own nails to see like, am I cool with this? Maybe I don't want to, I don't know, I was getting the house cleaned every other week. Maybe I just want support on that once a month instead.

Maybe I want to live in a smaller place that I don't need support for cleaning, because I can do it myself because it's small enough of a place. Maybe I don't need this big of a house to pay for the air conditioning in the summer, really questioning all of it and seeing like, what is it that you desire? And for me I'm noticing the autonomy is really high and time abundance and the autonomy over that is way higher for me than maybe necessarily certain luxuries that money would maybe buy.

Sam: Totally. And how do you figure that out? You have to stop and you have to check in with yourself because if you just keep moving towards the next thing, you don't even have a chance to realize that that's not what you want until you do wake up 10 years later and you have all those things in you are in this huge house or, whatever it is. And you're like, “Oh wait, I didn't actually want this.” And then you have an opportunity to do it sooner and more frequently. Because I do, like Karyn said, I think it is important to do it periodically and just check-in and say, “Am I still feeling like,” we do temperature checks. “Like, am I still feeling I'm good here? Do I like where I am? Okay, cool. We're moving in the right direction.” Or, “Did I somehow assume someone else's dream? Okay, let's check-in. And let's just recalibrate. It's not a big deal. Slowly recalibrate.” Okay, I'm going to go all engineering on you guys for a second-

Lauren: Do it.

Sam: But I promise it'll make sense. I was in this robotics class, we were coding and programming one of those Roomba robots. There's this whole thing about, it was trying to navigate around a little maze or whatever. And it was like, if you are just off by the tiniest angle in the beginning, then just by nature of geometry, by the end, you're going to be way out here. And so really incrementally checking in and adjusting and getting yourself back on track is the best favor you can do for yourself. So you really, aren't just constantly moving in a direction that isn't going to work for you.

Lauren: I love that visual for everyone to consider. That's so fun. I constantly am talking about airplanes and how they're always constantly recalibrating in flight and they don't know exactly what the wind will be or they can guess, all of that is really fun. I'd be curious since we have a little bit, tiny bit more time before we wrap up. If somebody's listening, because I know we do have a lot of coaches or other entrepreneurs that will need beautiful websites or desire beautiful websites. If they're thinking about working with somebody like you, you, who would you say, for you, who is your more ideal client? Who do you love working with? Who's ready to work with you and your team? And then you can extrapolate for whoever else might be, it'll be probably more specific to you and your company, but then we can extrapolate for others.

Sam: Yeah. So we have recently, and this is what I'm talking about with constantly refining, because always thinking about, who do I want to work with? Because in terms of, you said time and autonomy are really high on your list. Mine is also related to time, but also impact. I want the websites that we create to be doing something bigger and broader than just being a website. Like with working with you, you have this mission to help entrepreneurs stop being procrastinators and all these other things that you do that I'm just like, yes, I 100% agree with that. So let's make them an amazing website to perpetuate that. And so we are looking to work with women who want to create a digital universe for their mission. And so the mission is not as important as their overall impact. What are they trying to do? It's not we're like, “We only work with nonprofits.” Does that make sense?

The mission just has to feel like something we want to co-sign on and we want to share it with everyone so that we're not just creating the thing, but we're also creating the movement in that direction.

Lauren: Yeah. So you're down with helping procrastinating perfectionists become easeful entrepreneurs.

Sam: That's it. Yes.

Lauren: Yay.

Sam: It's so much more fun when we work with people that we are like, “Yes, let's listen to the podcast as we're uploading the podcast.” I know Karyn and I both had that experience at working on your project.

Karyn: Yes.

Sam: And I think that's important that the person that you work with who's building your website also has that passion because I do think it makes a more, it makes it a richer experience because you're able to get feedback and ideas, and it is a more collaborative experience. Karyn, I definitely want your help on this, but I would say that if a coach is listening and they're looking to work with a web designer or developer, the biggest thing is, and this is going to tie everything together, is them understanding what their mission is and what they want their website to do, by understanding what their services are, why they started their business because having all of that information is so helpful for someone who's trying to create a website for you. Because yes you need branding and you need typography and you need all those assets. But most importantly, you need to know the heart behind your business so that someone can visually represent that via a website.

Karyn: Period.

Lauren: Beautiful. Well, this has been such a fun conversation with you both, and I really hope the listeners enjoyed, meandering around about your story, what you do, what you're about, and then sort of our current musings and values around how we run our businesses. I hope everyone gets a chance to really check in with that for themselves and not just continuing, have you heard the cutting off the ends of the roast, tail before? I don't know if it's actually from my family or if it's just my family started telling the story that a lot of different people tell. But there's this story that at Thanksgiving or some gathering of some event that somebody was getting ready to get the pot roast ready and they were cutting off the ends of the pot roast to put it in the oven.

And somebody asks, “Well, why are you cutting off the ends of the pot roast?” And they're like, “Well, that's what you do for the pot roast to put it in the oven, my mom or my grandma, or whoever always did it, just like that.” And they're like, “But why?” And they're like, “I don't know, that's just what we do.” And then it comes to like, they end up asking mom or grandma or whoever, like, “Why do you cut the ends off of the pot roast to put it in the pan, to put it in the oven?” And they were like, “Oh, you don't need to. The pan we had at the time wasn't long enough for the pot roast, so you had to in order to fit it in the oven.” That story always comes to me about thinking about the why behind, are we just cutting off the ends of the pot roast, not knowing that we don't need to anymore, because the pan is now large enough for the whole pot roast.

Are we just doing rinse and repeat things just because we've seen other people doing it and maybe that's not even what we need to or want to do. I hope everyone can sort of check-in. If people want to find you or connect with you, where would be the best place?

Sam: I would say two places. One is our community and that's at That's where we give tech advice. We have got a bunch of website people in there. So if you need help with building your website or feedback on how it looks, you need tech support. That is why we created that community, to be like a little hive. And then the other thing is the Making Website Magic podcast. That's the podcast that Karyn and I host together. It is a lot of fun. We have a lot of deep conversations and it is really targeted at women web designers and developers. However, if you're a service provider, like a coach, we have a lot of good episodes. And I mean, you listened Lauren. We extend beyond that too.

Lauren: Yeah. I love listening, I've probably listened to three or four episodes so far, and I think the conversation is just so rich that anyone in the online space will enjoy listening to it. Anything else before we leave?

Karyn: Thank you for having us on the show. It's been a pleasure.

Lauren: Thanks so much.

Karyn: Yeah.

Lauren: Thanks for coming. Thanks for chatting with me and I'll talk to you all next week. Bye.

Hey there, thanks so much for listening. I wanted to invite you if you're ready to integrate what you're learning on this podcast and want to dive deeper, you must come check out Cultivate Margin. It's my coaching program that's a hybrid between a self study course and a coaching program designed just for you. Join me in the community of others like you at And you can get that link in the show notes as well. I can't wait to see you in there. Have an amazing day.

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