Permission to Kick Ass

Brenna McGowan: Keeping Business Simple

Episode Summary

It’s not often that someone’s success story starts with bartering for fake eyelashes. That’s how it began for my guest today, Brenna McGowan. And what’s so fantastically brilliant about this approach is there’s no overthinking. Brenna’s approach to business is simple because her focus is crystal clear: providing value in order to hit her goals. If you’ve ever been guilty of overcomplicating your business, Brenna’s journey will inspire you to keep it simple.

Episode Notes

Brenna’s focus on helping people allowed her business to evolve in a natural way. At each step of her journey, she took notice of what she liked (or didn’t), what she was naturally good at that her clients weren’t, and what else she could do to help. Brenna didn’t get caught up on what her path looked like, choosing instead to focus on the next step. Listen now to learn how to lean into your instincts and keep your business moving forward. 

Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:

This one is jam-packed full of advice. Don’t miss out - listen now!

Brenna’s Bio:

Brenna McGowan is an award-winning email copywriter who helps get the confetti out of your head and into personality-filled copy that glides onto the page.

Going from a stay-at-home mom who just wanted to make an extra 500 bucks three years ago to a booked up, in-demand copywriter working alongside some of the biggest names in the space, Brenna has a knack for helping clients tell everyday stories that fill up their programs and jack up their open rates—all with a strategic pre-launch plan. 

When not hunkered down behind her MacBook, you can find Brenna walking her pug Frank, practicing yoga, reading chick-lit or shuttling one of her three teenagers around their Northern California neighborhood. 

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Episode Transcription

Angie Colee (00:01):

Welcome to Permission to Kick Ass. A podcast about leaving self-doubt in the dust, punching fear in the face and taking bold action toward your biggest dreams. I'm Angie Colee, and let's get to it. Hey and welcome back to Permission to Kick Ass. And with me today is my friend Brenna McGowan say hi.

Brenna McGowan (00:25):


Angie Colee (00:26):

I love this. We met in a mastermind that we both happen to be part of. And you know, his name has been dropped many, many times on the show by now, but Kevin Rogers runs this mastermind. It's called the super group, which I fucking love because, you know, I love Disney and everything regarding it. So I love thinking of ourselves as business superheroes, this super group, um, and fun fact, one of the former members' daughters actually drew pictures of us once all with superhero identities.

Brenna McGowan (00:51):

Oh man, I missed it.

Angie Colee (00:53):

You just missed it. I bet we could commission her though. That would be hilarious. Um, she, she drew a picture of me with like a, a stage microphone, like a rockstar microphone and a phone and a big heart on my chest because people talk about my ability to have hard conversations with people and really love on them, even when I'm telling them stop do that. Don't do that. So, um, anyway, enough about me in the super group, Brenna, please tell us about you and your business.

Brenna McGowan (01:22):

Oh, well I am a copywriter and launch strategist and I got started in this crazy online business world. Um, gosh, about three, three and a half years ago. And um, I kind of started on a whim. It was, I, I don't, I had no, um, real plan. My plan was I was working for a website development company and at that time they, uh, I'd been, I, I had worked for my primary job, was raising my children and then I had been taking like odd jobs, making some money. Um, I had been making, I had started to work with a friend of mine, had a website development company. And the great part was it was super flexible. I could do it from home, but they, at one point in time, they said, you know, we don't, we're not making enough money. We're not gonna, you know, I was like, at least on the totem pole and I thought, gosh, I need, I don't wanna have to go like, get a job. And I like making a few a hundred are at extra dollars a month. About that same time. One of my best friends started an esthetician company. And, uh, she, I wanted eyelashes. I wanted fake eyelashes. And so I kind of took some of the knowledge I had from these like odd jobs I did over the years and uh, said, Hey, I'll do your social media. How's that like your Instagram and your, and then you give me eyelashes. And, um, that was pretty much it. Now at the time I didn't have any type of social presence at all. I wasn't even on Facebook, I had just done some like blogging and posting for other companies. And, um, I, I started to do this and people started to comment to her, like, who's doing your stuff, who's doing your social. And so I had a moment like, Hey, maybe I should start a business doing this because, but because I'm not, was never on social. I never knew that there was like things like social media managers or people like I had you it's like a world that was removed from me. And so, um, so yeah, I started off, I became a social media manager. Hated it. Um, I, I did would not, but I, I loved the content and at the time people, I kept on hearing from my own marketing, like people liked my writing. And so, uh, I, at that point in time decided to become a copywriter and pivoted my way over.

Angie Colee (03:44):

That's really, really awesome. Um, I was writing down some notes while you were talking about that and I love that you were like, I didn't really have a plan. I just kind of decided to do this. And I freaking loved that you eventually started a business based on the fact that you wanted fake eyelashes.

Brenna McGowan (03:59):

Well, and it's so appropriate for me, my sister jokes around that. I'm a little vain um, and I'm like, it's like the perfect. And to back up a little bit further too. I think the other thing that I joke around is I was about to turn 40 and I had been wanting to lose some weight forever. And I was kind of that point in your life. You're hitting 40 things. Haven't exactly. It turned out the way you wanted. And I did. I was like, if I'm gonna turn 40, the one thing that I can control is I can finally like lose this weight that I've been talking about for 10 years. So I did Whole 30. Um, and I think that I actually kept to something that I had just failed at so many times before. Like, I couldn't imagine like waking up and not drinking a French vanilla Coffeemate creamer my coffee. Like there was things like, I just couldn't give up and I did. And I think it was like this like spiral of like I did, like, I finally like caught momentum. I was turning 40. I wanted eyelashes. It was like the perfect storm of vanity that, uh, propelled me into who I am today.

Angie Colee (05:01):

I didn't even say vanity. I would say confidence. Right? Because feeling good in your skin is really, really important. Whatever that looks like to you. I was making a joke with a friend yesterday, cause I was actually at a theme park yesterday and I was talking about, I, I made this quip about, I hope someday when, when I have more lines, I'm blessed to have really good skin. My late thirties here. I was like, when my lines come in, I want them all to be laugh lines. Like I want the story of joy to be written on my face as I get older. And then I realized I was like, no offense to get, you know, anybody that's listening to me, uh, that has Botox. That's not a, uh, a comment against you. You do what makes you feel good? I feel really good with laugh lines. So, so yeah.

Brenna McGowan (05:43):

Well, and I joke that I work so that I can get my laugh lines removed and not worry about like taking from my child. My children's like college funds. So, uh

Angie Colee (05:53):

I think that's great. Like knowing what you want to get out of things is really super important. And also I just so many people that I've coached in helping start their business, have this kind of block about where do I get my first client? You got my, you got your first client before you even knew that you were looking for a client. You know what I mean? So

Brenna McGowan (06:15):

Well, oh yeah, I guess so, uh, I didn't think about that.

Angie Colee (06:18):

Yeah. At the risk of sounding kind of flippant or implying that's easy, which is, it's not always easy, but it's worth the effort, I think, to start your own business, but here was something that you want and something that you could help this person with. So it made so much natural sense for you to go strike a deal there and you didn't even worry. Like I once the whole B word, the business word enters the, the picture. Sometimes it seems like people forget about that aspect, that you could just go find somebody who has something that you want and help them with something that they want business

Brenna McGowan (06:55):

Yeah. And that's exactly what it was. It was just like this need. And, and I think it was great to start it off that way too. Cause then it gave me a confident that when I did quote, you know, quote unquote, start my business, I, I felt confident enough where I just like threw it out on social. Like, Hey, I'm starting this business is anyone interested? And I got clients almost immediately. So, um, I think that, but I never thought about it the way that you just said it, that like I went and got the clients and then I started the business.

Angie Colee (07:24):

And I think that's really brilliant too. I wanna highlight that is your first instinct was to actually lean into that and go out to people and say, Hey, I'm starting a business who wants to join. There's an interesting trend in the entrepreneurship community. And tell me if you've noticed this too, you know, now that you've gotten to a certain level with your business, that people that are on the newer end of the spectrum, kind of get lost in this research spiral.

Brenna McGowan (07:50):

Oh, that's exactly what I was gonna say.

Angie Colee (07:52):

And then when they get caught up in the research spiral, the first iteration of their business is this whole complex, big funnel. That's gonna attract the right client to them. And they get stuck in building the website and figuring out the offer and the trip wire that like they spin their wheels, trying to figure out so many different things where your first round of business could be as simple as reaching out to people that you know, and going, Hey, I'm starting a business new who needs help with this.

Brenna McGowan (08:20):

Exactly. Yeah. I think that's a great way. Cause even in my latter part of my business, I get, I get myself in the re and I'm sure Kevin might agree. I get myself in the research trap. Right? Like I wanna have it figured out. There's so many resources where I went into to this like completely ignorant as to what I was doing. And the ignorance, I think helped me get, move me along and not get trapped in this because there is so much resources everywhere we turn around that it is super easy. And I did do, like once I knew, I mean, I was like going to the library and like checking out books like Gary vs crush it. Like, that was my like, oh, okay. Maybe I should actually like read up on this, but that was where I started. And I would say too, and this is kind of going off in a different direction. If it is someone that's listening and starting and feeling like I don't have, like, I didn't throw a lot of money, my business at the beginning. And I'm very happy. Because, I mean, I think too, I was blessed. I didn't need to like, you know, I was just trying to make 500 bucks a month. That was my goal. But I think at the same point, it allowed me to, before I invested a ton of money, I was able to kind of pivot and not have I had debt or resources or spent all this time because I, I didn't have, I didn't even know what I was doing. So I know it should be really helped.

Angie Colee (09:42):

I love this. I was making notes while you were saying that, because I wrote resourceful and underlined it a couple times and, and jotted down library. You're the first person that I have spoken to on, on this podcast though. Certainly not in the entrepreneurial word, but specifically on this podcast who has mentioned, you know, I basically self-educated by checking out a free resource that I already have access to versus, and this is not talking down to info products or courses or training, like news flash. I train people. I'm gonna have courses eventually. Uh, but you don't have to start there. You don't have to do all of that before. You don't to wait until you could just go check out what resources are freely available to you right now, or low cost available to you right now and see what you can learn with what you've already got. I love that. I love that. I think that's so brilliant.

Brenna McGowan (10:31):

Yeah. I don't. I, well, I guess I invested in the small membership, but the first time I, I invested, so I started, I considered like April was my start date. And then I did like a low cost, like $50 a month membership once I did become a social media manager, but then I didn't invest till that next year. And coincidentally, the person I invested with was our mutual friend, Chris Orzechowski, and his Email Copy Academy. Cause I decided I was going to write emails, but uh, God bless Chris. We, I always joke around with him because I was like terrified like Chris, uh, I didn't know who he was. I found him on a podcast and I was like, my husband was like, are you sure $500, you know, is, and I'm like, well, I think it's gonna be okay. But I actually, like, I wanted Chris's reassurance. And I remember him sending me a video being like, and that was the reason why I joined cuz he sent me a video and he reassured me, um, which I think there's another story in and of that. Right? Like you never know. And now I, Chris is one of the line items in my, uh, monthly profit and loss. Um, but like never, you know, those people who are hesitant, right. Sometimes I think too, as we move along, like the entrepreneurial world, we're like, oh, you know, this person doesn't even wanna spend $500, but we don't realize that $500 to some people is like spending 10,000. Right. So I think that's what I always wanna carry with me as I move on in this business. Like it, every person, every dollar they spend with me, how, how important and how I really take take stock when someone invests, when it comes to things like that,

Angie Colee (12:08):

I love that you have that thought process that kind of, I don't wanna say ideology, but that belief system underpinning what you do with your business. Cause I, I do think that that's important. There are certain sectors of the business that really like the business world and entrepreneurship in general that are like, somebody's walking around with my money in their pocket and I need to go get it. Um, and if that's your style, Hey, great. You're are probably like wanting to smack yourself in the forehead, listening to this podcast. What are you even doing here? Go away. Uh but over here at Angie lands, uh, we believe that there is plenty of people who need your help, who need whatever you sell, whether it's a service or a physical product. And your job in life is to go find that person and present your thing, your service, or your offer to them as a potential solution that they should consider. It's not to beat them over the head with like, why don't you buy the thing? Oh my God, you're dumb. If you don't buy the thing, it's just $500. Why don't you buy the thing? Um, that's not how you build relationships for the long term. And I think thinking about with a lot of respect and a lot of care with, you know, $500 is a big deal to some people. And I care about that. I wanna make sure that I'm helping them for $500. Even if I've got a $5,000 product over here. I don't care more about this person cuz they're paying me more. Um, I just really think that's a good business philosophy in general to care about people.

Brenna McGowan (13:33):

I agree. And I, I think keeping it's, I put a quote up on my Instagram stories today where it was talking about how empathy is the highest form of knowledge. It was a Plato quote that I had never had heard before before. Um, I can't remember exactly, but I do think it circles back to what we're talking about. Like when we can keep true empathy for our client and what we're doing, that's, you know, then all of a sudden, too, I think whether it's our copy or business plan or whatever it is, like everything opens up because when we're empathetic with our customer, we can help them solve a problem. And we truly care about the outcome.

Angie Colee (14:07):

Yes. I love that. And the, I of course my brain automatically went to people who would probably object to hearing that well, but I'm not a very empathetic person news flash I, I was not either you may have, you may have noticed a little bit of sass that is kind of my default mode, but it also meant that in my early day, especially in my twenties, when I knew everything, you know, like we all do in our twenties, uh, which means that I know how other people should be living their life. Right. Even if I don't know a single thing about this person, I know that you could fix your life. If you do this, I know that you could fix your life. If you do this, do it Angie's way and everything will be fine. I was very judgey. I would say that I probably burned more than my fair share of bridges. And eventually it got to a point where I had to look at me. I was the common denominator in losing all of these friends and not landing these clients with the first iteration of my business. And I think it was John Carlton posted something about getting into the head of the people that you hate. Like if you can't stand this person, maybe the best exercise that you could do is to really try to get into their head and understand them, not so that you could pick it apart, but just so that you can make sense of what they're doing and what they're saying and why they might be behaving that way. So I started a little social experiment, I wanna say in my late twenties, early thirties, where every time somebody did something that didn't make any damn sense to me in my first instinct was to tell them, well, this is, is how you should fix that. I would just listen. I would ask questions for clarification. And then if I didn't get kind of enough information to be able to process it and figure it out later on, I would go back and I'd put myself through a thought exercise of what would, in what situation would this make sense? Like what might be going on to where this thing that they said is actually true versus me and, and dismissing it. And the more I actively practice that instead of dismissing it well, what that person's doing, doesn't make any damn sense. We're just gonna ignore them and say that they're dumb. The more unconscious that became to where I find myself being, um, you've, you've probably seen me do this, like the leader of the anti Pitchfork mob, wherever anybody is convinced that a client is trying to take advantage of them. I'm like, here are some things that could be happening that could be leading.

Brenna McGowan (16:24):

Yeah. I love your insights when I see them too. Um, they're always super astute and I, I love that. You're saying that you had to like train yourself to think like from a different angle,

Angie Colee (16:34):

It was practice and I definitely don't always get it right? Like I'm, I'm human too. So sometimes I fall into that trap with that mother fucker?! How dare you. Um, but I also work with a very talented psychotherapist and a life coach that help me to step outside of myself when those feeling kind of step up and, and start driving the bus. As I use that in the last podcast recording that I did, which was right before this, I'm like when fear, steps up and drive the bus. So we're just gonna just drive the bus for everything. When righteous I am right about everything, Angie steps up and tries to drive the bus. I've got people in my life specifically for the purpose of helping her sit back down, let's get logic back in control of this.

Brenna McGowan (17:18):

I'm the opposite, well, not the opposite, but I am a Libra and I am like true and true, which is like the balance of scales where I'm always looking at things from both angles to the point where I wanna lose my mind. Right. Because sometimes I, I need to come to a conclusion, but I'm too busy, like looking at things from all the angles. Uh, so it's interesting how, how we're all wired a little bit differently.

Angie Colee (17:41):

That's a, that strikes me as such a good thing to know about yourself though. Just personally, how you operate the patterns that you default into that bring you a lot of comfort, because I would say that I am, you know, I've done my Kolbe test. I don't know if you've done your Kolbe test or not.

Brenna McGowan (17:57):

I've never done that.

Angie Colee (17:58):

Oh, I, I did it. And I found out that I'm a high fact finder and a high quick start and I'm like super low on implementation and follow through. So I do a lot of research and I come to a decision very quickly and I like go, and then I lose steam after a little while. So I basically start a whole bunch of product projects that I get really super excited about in the beginning and then abandon them halfway through. And so I'm really, really good at doing some research and coming up with a decision quickly. And so it's been interesting to me to be able to coach folks like you, I'm not saying that you're my student, but I've worked with people that say the same thing. Like my process is I need to learn everything. I need to look at this from all of the angles. Um, and

Brenna McGowan (18:42):

That's why I will always need a business coach because I need someone to like come in and be like, stop thinking, start doing like, and then, uh, even yesterday I was joking around that. I'm an ennegram three. Have you done your engram?

Angie Colee (18:55):

I haven't. Okay. So you need to do Kolbe and I apparently need to do ennegram.

Brenna McGowan (18:59):

Yes we do. So, uh, and I'm a three, which is an achiever. So like, I, I always joke around, it's a very hard life living my life because I am someone who like super, like, wants to achieve, but then I also wanna think of everything from every direction possible. And so then I get like caught up and then I, I kind of like freeze a little bit sometimes, or I start trying to do too much. And then, and nothing either way doesn't work. You too, you do too much. You burn out, you can't go on. Or if you overthink. So either way, it's not, it's not good.

Angie Colee (19:31):

I think that's really accurate too, because with all of the different projects, I start, I think that contributes a little bit to me feeling overwhelmed sometimes. Uh, and you know, those days that I get up and I don't feel like doing a damn thing is probably because I've got like five different projects and various stages of doneness. And I don't feel very accomplished on any one thing because of my struggles to follow through which hints that's why I hire people to help me with follow through. And I have accountability buddies like Brenna that I can go to and say, Hey, that's we did that recently. Didn't we were like, I'm ready to have a million dollar business.

Brenna McGowan (20:09):

We still need to set up an appointment so we can like reverse engineer our, uh, million dollar dream.

Angie Colee (20:15):

Yeah. Like surprise guys, this, uh, lifestyle that I live, where I travel all over this place and go to Disney all the time. I am not actually a millionaire and I am not independently wealthy. I made it work with the income that I already had. Uh, doesn't mean I don't wanna be a millionaire. I'd like to see if I could get there, but that's not because I have this need of, of a Lambo or anything. I just wanna see if I can freaking do it. Come in from the background that I have with two blue collar truck driver, parents, and a mom who turned into a pastry chef. Like, is it possible? I don't know. We'll find out.

Brenna McGowan (20:47):

I just wanna retire and not be broke. Like now I'm in my mid forties. I'm like, oh yeah, I wanna, I wanna get to a point where I, uh, retire and can live a comfortable lifestyle. So that's where I, these that's where my shift happened into the millionaire mindset has nothing to do with like spending money. It has to do like saving it all so I can live a nice and like, uh, not and spoil my grandkids someday. So

Angie Colee (21:11):

Yeah. Well, I think that's really important too, because knowing why you're doing all of this is what really can keep you going during those times where you do feel overwhelmed. Cuz you've got too many projects started and you're being human when, uh, you have a day with no motivation and you just wanna sit like my latest obsession is Grace and Frankie. I just wanna sit on the couch all day, watching Grace and Frankie and being in somebody else's world for a little while where I could laugh at their troubles instead of dealing with mine.

Brenna McGowan (21:41):

Right. The escape, Netflix escape,

Angie Colee (21:44):

Netflix escape. Oh gosh. That's a, that's a rant from another time too. You know, the, the boss isn't coming to write you up. If you spend one too many days, binge watching Netflix. So, uh, you gotta be the boss on that one and not indulge in Netflix during the Workday. Anyway. Uh so I just, I'm really interested in this progression. We talked a little bit about how it started with, I, I wanted to, I wanna feel better. I wanna indulge in this vanity a little bit. I'm wanna get this eye, these eyelashes, I wanna help somebody. Right? So you barter social media for eyelashes. Then you start a business and start bringing in more clients. Then you learn, you don't really like social media, the more that you do it. So then you discover copywriting and throw everything into that. That right there, I think is pretty damn miraculous too, because that's another thing that newer entrepreneurs are terrified. I think making a pivot, particularly people that I've worked with in my, uh, coaching programs have struggled to like plan a flag, like I'm a social media manager because they worry that they'll have to stick with that forever, even when they don't like it. And so here you are going well, I tried that. I don't like it. I'm gonna go over here and do copywriting for a little while. Wait, can you tell me a little bit more about that thought processes?

Brenna McGowan (23:03):

Yeah, I think, well, when I say it was a social media manager, that's what I was calling myself, but I was like doing everything for online businesses. Right. Like I, I was blogging for people. I was doing Pinterest. Like I actually think I was doing Twitter posts at one point I, there, I have no business being on Twitter. Like I started doing. And I think because of the ignorance that we talked about, like, I didn't know, I shouldn't be doing all that. I was just like, oh sure. I can write a blog. I could throw it on WordPress. And then I'd watch a YouTube video and figure out how to get onto their WordPress. Like I'd I would learn like keyword searches and how to do yo. Like it was all of these things that I think, cuz I didn't know, I just started teaching myself and I was like, sure, I can do this.I can figure it out to some degree. And so in a very short time though, I was, I get, I don't wanna say burnt out, but I knew I had to make a change because I knew that I couldn't keep learning all the things I couldn't. And um, I, I think that's part of it too. It's just like, I, it, I had to like kind of niche down if you will, because I couldn't keep doing it all. So I think at that point, and so right before I found Chris, what had happened is I actually found Laura Belgray and I was thinking about it last night, I found her, uh, I think it's five secrets to non sucky copywriting. It's a freebie she still has. But I had to go into this writing thing and she had sent a email over like her, her welcome series. And I remember reading it and being like, wait, like I can make money at this. Cause I've always had these like weird stories in my head, like weird connections and parallels. And so when I read Laura's I was like, oh my gosh, like you can make money writing emails like this and taking these stories that I was already kind of doing, but didn't know what I was doing. So yeah. So I became a copywriter and like moved myself over quickly and um, I, yeah, it, it just kind of started from there. And I decided to be very specific when I did move over that I was calling myself an email copywriter and I think that that's what happened at that switch. I think set me apart in terms of what people were, what I was known for at the time was email copywriting. Um, so, but I do think as I've progressed and I ha I continue to tweak and pivot, it's like all of this content and stuff that I did at the beginning has really helped me like develop into who I am, because I think sometimes with copywriters now, you know how to write copy, but maybe, you know, you're not thinking through sometimes as much as a strategy components or the positioning and all of these things. So I'm always thinking of like, okay, how does this piece of copy fit in into the overall scheme of things? Because that's what I was doing. I just didn't realize that when I first started that, that's what I was up to. So

Angie Colee (25:55):

I th that's really interesting too. And what's so interesting about it is this concept that I run into with a lot of creative people in particular, which is this thing comes naturally to me, this is the thing that I'm already doing, because I don't even know any better. Like this is, this is what makes sense to me. I'm gonna write a piece and how does it fit into the overall big picture of everything? Not everybody has that. That's not a, a skill or a trait that comes naturally to people. So we tend to undervalue those things that come easily to us until we run into somebody that, that doesn't come naturally to you. And we can actually see how difficult it is for other people to think or process or do in that particular way. I know that happened to me where somebody watched me edit an email and I think I changed like two sentences. And she was like, how, what witchcraft is this? I don't understand how I slaved away in this for like two weeks. And you edited two sentences and completely changed this thing and it's better. And it didn't occur to me until that moment that it was like, what I do is something that this person does not understand how to do. To her, it looks like mad and that was life changing to me, to her. This looks like magic to me. This is really easy. So I, I think that's interesting that, and I'm, I'm guessing this is what helped you move into the kind of launch strategy, trusted consultant role that you now operate in. Was this ability to see the bigger picture. Uh, what was it that made you notice that you were see, you were thinking in a strategic manner that you could behave in that function for your clients? Does that make sense?

Brenna McGowan (27:34):

Yeah, I think what was happening is as clients would bring me in, um, so my last pivot was, uh, I really focused last year on like doing VIP days, which I love. Cause I, I think all along is that I'm trying to figure out like this balance of like, how do I work well with clients? How can I take my talents? And you know, so I think it's been a slow progression and I was helping people a lot on VIP days, which was nice because I love the fact that I come in, I help someone, they get a great result and that they're not calling me all the time. I are emailing me all the time. Right. So, but on the flip side of that, I started to notice like, Hey, yeah, I can come write this launch E these launch emails for you. I can come do this stuff, but it's not gonna work because I know enough about like marketing for myself, all of my background experience. I know how people work, how they F thanks. Like all of this stuff, it's like, this is not gonna perform well because you're missing, you know, a piece of this huge puzzle. So I think it was just a progression of seeing that, and then working with some clients where things didn't turn out the way that they were hoping and, you know, going and saying, well, yeah, now I could see I, this is why I should have been more vocal in terms of this isn't, this isn't gonna work the way that you think. So I can come in and write copy all day, but this isn't gonna perform because of this and this and this. And I think it's just at that point, I decided that, um, the slightly bossy, confident, uh, the confident person you mentioned earlier came out and me, and I'm like, no, I wanna be in with people helping them call the shots. You, you know, like, I wanna make sure that if I'm gonna come in and if they're gonna spend this money with me, I wanna make sure that I'm teaming with them to get them the best results possible. And I think this, like this compilation of everything I have done up to this point, just kind of lent itself to, yeah, this is what I can do. This is what I have been doing. I just haven't charging for it.

Angie Colee (29:28):

And I see this interesting through line, going back to that $500 customer that we talked about earlier with really caring about people. And I, I was writing down some notes, as you were talking about that I wrote down, um, setting up your business in a way that you want it to operate, because I really liked that about you talking about the VIP days. Here's what I can come in. Here's what I can do. Here's what I can help them accomplish. And I get this freedom and flexibility. Like I can disconnect at the end of the day and not constantly be attached to my computer, wondering what my clients are up to worrying about. If this is working for them, by the same token, seeing this gap that they have in the strategy, recognizing that they're missing some critical piece of the puzzle. And knowing not just from a like self-protective standpoint, this is, this is what I, how I was hearing it. It's not just, well, what am I spending all this time doing the VIP days for if they're just gonna run it out there and I already know it's gonna fail. It was more like they're spending all this money with me on VIP days. And I know they're missing this component and I care enough about them to want them succeed. So I wanna help them with that.

Brenna McGowan (30:33):


Angie Colee (30:34):

I thought that was interesting that it tied all the way back to that first, you know, Chris reassuring you over $500 and just the, of caring about your customers and how that started a whole new business for you. Like, how cool is that?

Brenna McGowan (30:48):

Right? And I never thought about it that way either. I love this discussion. Like the flip side of it is like being, being very cautious and thinking through when, the way I feel when someone treats me a certain way. when, and even every, in all aspects of my business, even last week, someone sent me an email and it was like a cold email and I wanted to be their best friend. I'm like, okay, I need to go figure out what they did. Cause I wanna be like that person. Right? Like that's what, so I'm always being very aware too, of not just like the, the strategy part, but the people part, right? Like the people, people part you, it doesn't matter how much strategy you have if you don't have the people aspect of it. And so I'm always what this goes way back. The first book that, um, I ever read or not ever read, but the first like business book, um, my senior year in high school, my dad handed me a copy of Dale Carnegie's How to win friends and influence People. And I feel like that has become like part of who I am as a person. Because I did read it. And every time, um, that I would go on an interview when I was young, I, I would go and like read that book because I knew if I could like go in that angle of it. But, but by doing that, it's actually become like how I think. And I do think that's part of, it's like, I'm a always thinking about like, okay, who, who is my client? How can I help them? So now as I go into that net, but then I have to figure out also like, how do I set up boundaries properly? So that, because I do want to be an over giver. I like coming in helping, like I like, right. So I gotta figure out this, like, and this is the continuing of my business. It's like, okay, okay, now I got this part down, but now I gotta figure out this next component, which is the strategy, or like, what's this next thing that I gotta work out so I can keep get, so I can get to a place in 2022. It's my year. I swear where I feel like I going in with a vision of what I want this to look like. And I think all of these years of experience. And so I think that's the other thing too. You feel like when you pivot people sometimes think you're a failure or in my mind, I think, am I being flaky? Like, right. Am I being flaky? If I keep kind of switching things up and it's like, no, it's just because I I'm walking this thing out. That there's no perfect path for any, for any one of us.

Angie Colee (33:04):

Yeah. I don't see it like, well, I, I mean, I've, I've evolved and I've done kind of this empathetic practice, but I could see how some people might misinterpret a pivot as a failure. I see it as a course correction, like, all right, well, I'm out there sailing this ship every once in a while. I gotta check cuz I'm out in the middle of nowhere with no landmarks, really. So every once in a while I gotta check all the things that I know how to check and make sure that I'm actually still heading in the right direction. Um, and Ooh, shit I'm off course a little bit. We gotta adjust the sales. We gotta figure out how to get back to where we were supposed to be going or just accept the fact that we're in for a new adventure altogether arrive where we plan to arrive. But I love the way you think, because I was thinking along the same lines of, you know, this people first focus and it's important to point out boundaries and figuring out how you deliver value without giving away everything that you have. I think that's such an important part of business. Cause I know I struggled with that for a long time. I, I switched to giving kind of as a business model, that, that sounds kind of weird as I hear myself say it out loud, but there, there was a point in time where I was kind of hold everything close to the vest. You can't get access to this knowledge until you pay me. And then realized that I was kind of shooting myself in the phone because people never really figured out what I knew or what it was like to work with because I wouldn't share anything. So it was kind of this, you know, chasing my tail. I'm trying to get people to pay me for my expertise, but never actually showing them my expertise so that they could pay me for my expertise.

Brenna McGowan (34:38):

That's a good email right there.

Angie Colee (34:40):

Yeah. That's your subject line? That's my favorite game lately. So then I met Kevin and he challenged me to just answer what questions I could share, what I could. And over time I started being startled when people that I've never met before was like, oh yeah, you're Angie. Like somehow my name got around because I was out there being helpful to, to people. But I still had this, you know, tendency that I think a lot of new business owners have to just over way over deliver on a call. So the fact I solved their problem on the kickoff call for free. So they don't see a reason to pay me to continue. Um, or I want people to like me so much and I want this business to continue for a long time. I wanna have a relationship, right. So I give them more than we agreed to, which doesn't help. But recently, you know, I I've been experimenting with just telling people what's on my mind and trying to do it in a caring, you know, back to the people. First matter. So recently I had a client that had hired me for two consultation calls and they wanted to talk to me about a launch strategy and they just wanted to have me on those calls. So they could ask me all their questions as they were planning this out, get some direction, some advice from me and then go take it. It morphed into them asking me to look at their emails, which was outside of the scope, right. Of two consultation calls. I did the first couple and then it started becoming, you know, just as a favor and it was quick and easy for me. The afore mentioned, you know, I've got skills that are difficult for them. It literally took me like five or 10 minutes to edit these emails. So I didn't see it as a problem at first until it became, they asked me to review every email and the deadlines are getting tighter and tighter. It's like, we just wrote this email. We would like to send it out in two hours. Could you take a look? So finally, when I got to that point where, uh, I was a little bit frustrated that I was giving a little bit too much, that was when I decided something needs to be said.

Brenna McGowan (36:29):

So what did you say? Because this is I, this is when me, but then I'll just run myself into the ground until I can't. So I wanna know what you said to course correct this.

Angie Colee (36:38):

And I was very deliberate and took a little bit of time to think about the way that I wanted to say it with them, because I wanted to make it clear that I wanted to continue to work with them. So I went to them and I I'm loosely paraphrasing here and said something to that fact. Okay. Well, at this point, we're a little bit outside of this scope of the agreement, which as you remember was for two consultation calls. Now I'm editing. It is taking up a little bit of my time. So would it be fair for me to go ahead and apply the second call consultation fee to the editing that I've done so far? And then if you need to book a second call to talk to me, we can just do that at the normal rate. And they came back and they were like, yeah, Absolutely, we recognize that this is outside of the scope. That sounds fair to us. So that's a trick that I learned from, um, a, a business coach who specializes in like team connection, team communication. And I'm thinking this, you know, invites a conversation. I'm thinking this, what are you thinking instead of you should pay me for the time that I spent editing this email, why don't you realize that I was working outta scope, being confrontational, naturally sets somebody else up to be defensive, which is not actually gonna lead to a productive conversation. So I like to leave it kind of soft and open ended like that. So would it be fair since I'm doing this extra work, just like underscoring, I'm doing extra work, would it be fair for me to apply this fee that you've already, you paid for the consultation call to the edits and then if you need the extra consultation call, we can book another one at the rate and they agreed right away.

Brenna McGowan (38:08):

Okay. So after this comes out, I'm gonna like go back and transcribe what you just said and like data, like everyone should save this because it was so good. And I love what you said. Like I'm thinking this like the way that you said it in, in such a I'm definitely not someone I'm I'm, I'm afraid of being confrontational to the point where I'm very unconfrontational, to my own demise, but I love the way that you did it, where you were able to like assert what you needed, but do it in a way where it felt where they didn't, they weren't feeling defensive, the way that you put it. So that was genius by the way.

Angie Colee (38:40):

And this is a practice in an evolution too. And I, I got that from Annie Hyman Pratt who works with teams at like super high level. She's she's a genius at this kind of communication and language and kind of helping defuse situations that have gotten really tense and figuring out how to start the communication. Again, she's a genius at all of this for, uh, you know, how I learned and how I got to this point definitely looked to her for leadership, but this has been a practice too. And it first started with needing to acknowledge and honor the fact that sometimes in business, I get frustrated. Sometimes the client frustrates me because they do something or they make an assumption. That's not necessarily true, or they do something that's really inconvenient to me. Sometimes I frustrate myself because I overcommit to something, or I gave myself an unrealistic timeline, or I didn't charge enough. So it started with, in the course of business, giving myself permission to be like, I'm frustrated, I'm pissed off. I I'm stressed out right now. Okay. What can be done around, around this to, to resolve this? Sometimes nothing can be done. Sometimes we're too far down the path and it's not worth readjusting everything. So like, there's all these different factors that come into play, but mostly it starts with recognizing something needs to be said, just like I said, you know, they they've asked me to, to do a bunch of work that's out outside the scope. And even though it's easy for me, that doesn't mean that there's not a time component to it. So something needs to be said are, and Annie puts that, I think brilliantly, like the, the conditions and the assumptions that we made at the start of our agreement have changed. So now we need to make a new plan. And when I started thinking of it, like that way, it became less about confrontation or trying to win them over and get their approval on something and more about connecting, like person to person and saying, so this has changed. What else will change in order to make this closer to the initial agreement that we had so that it works for both of us.

Brenna McGowan (40:40):

Right. And being okay with the evolution sometimes, right? Like sometimes things have to evolve because once you get into a project it's not quite the same or people need different support, or you're seeing something that you didn't know of. So, I like the way that you put that as well. It's like, okay, it's not, it's not that someone's trying to take something from you. It's just, something has evolved and we need to course correct or figure out how to do it so we can work together in a positive way where everyone's needs, if you will, are getting met.

Angie Colee (41:08):

It's so it's hard. And it's an ongoing process. I know a lot of people have told you about the little heart drawing and the fact that I can have hard conversations, I don't always get them. Right. I don't always leave people without tears, which makes me very upset. I don't like making people cry, but, you know, I know sometimes having hard, hard conversations leads to a lot of big feelings and I have cried those conversations myself too, but that people, first thing, I just wanna circle back to what you said, caring about them as a person, caring about their business, recognizing when you're getting frustrated. Okay. I care about this person and I'm frustrated, what do we do to resolve this? And just taking that people first problem solving mentality, I think will take you really, really, really far in business. Not just you, Brenna, but like everybody listening to them.

Brenna McGowan (41:55):

I, I, I wholeheartedly agree. Uh, absolutely.

Angie Colee (41:59):

Oh man, this has been so fantastic. I love how clearly we can just like see this progression of experimentation and clients and just kind of, I don't wanna say stumbling, cause that's not the right word, but just making a choice Figuring out what happened. I like this. I don't like this. And keeping on moving forward and making better decisions as you have more data. I freaking love this path and I hope that everybody emulates it. If you want eyelashes, go start a business. Like clearly this is the take away.

Brenna McGowan (42:28):

I had this joke in my welcome series. Cause I talk about like going on whole 30 and like, how did ripping all the goodness from your life, including carbs, sugar and alcohol, help me start a business. Right? Like, uh,

Angie Colee (42:41):

Stripping out everything that makes life worth living helps me start a business.

Brenna McGowan (42:46):

Pretty much

Angie Colee (42:47):

Fantastic. All right, Brenna, this has been such a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for having this with me. Tell us a little bit more about your business and where to find you on the internet.

Brenna McGowan (42:55):

Right? Well, and my pivots have led me and you kind of talked about it a little earlier, which is moving over to help people with strategy. And because, and once again, I have these like little light bulbs moments with this conversation. I think because I am a people person, um, I have really started to focus my business on and I do all types of launch strategy, but really focusing on the part that comes right before, uh, your doors open on the live launch, which is the pre-launch. And I do this too, cuz it's kind of takes that content strategy people first component and combines them all into creating an effective strategy that helps you go into your launches, more confident, um, less stressed and uh, more profitable because you have more time. You're not putting all of this effort into trying to sell to someone in a five to seven day period. We're actually kind of pre-selling all along. So um, I just created a brand new freebie, actually it's my, uh, pre-launch plan cheat sheet, which, uh, gives you my formula to what someone has to believe before they buy from you. And I give a whole bunch of content ideas on how to create content be going into your prelaunch. So, uh, that you can find me at brennanmcgowen. co and then that chea sheet is sheet.

Angie Colee (44:14):

Fantastic. And also you should follow Brenna on Instagram because she posts all kinds of smart things. Totally not doing a shameless plug for the fact that you promoted the podcast today on your Instagram

Brenna McGowan (44:24):

Oh that's and that's the thing I, and growing my business, I I've, no, I didn't do this because this is what I wanted, but I've been, I constantly share people, other people shout people out. I try and really not go into things. Not all the time, sometimes it's rough, but, um, try not to be competitive that I want to like support people and help. I feel like we all kind of in a cheesy way, we all build each other up. Right. When we help each other out. And so, uh, I love Instagram. I spend too much time over there. uh, but yes, come find me on Instagram and come say hi. Awesome. Thank

Speaker 1 (44:57):

You so much for being on the show. We're gonna have to do this again.

Speaker 3 (45:01):

Thank you.

Angie Colee (45:05):

So that is it. Another awesome episode of Permission to Kick Ass on the books. If you want to know more about the show or if you want to know more about me, Angie Colee and the mission I'm on to help entrepreneurs punch fear in the face and do big bold things, then head on over to That is all one word together, Make sure to sign up for my email list so that you know whenever there's a hot, fresh and ready podcast episode out for you. And also on Mondays, I like to send out a little newsletter called Kick Monday's Ass. I'm sure you're totally, totally surprised by that. So thank you for being here with me today. I'm Angie Colee. Make sure that you share this with a friend that needs to hear this message today. Like it, share it. Comment wherever you're listening to this today and let's go kick some ass.