Melitta Campbell coaches would-be female entrepreneurs how to start businesses from scratch. She won a Wings contest for an all-expense-paid day of 1:1 coaching with 4X serial entrepreneur Melinda Wittstock with a stay at the 5-Star Watergate Hotel in D.C. with luxury spa treatment thrown in. Melitta shares all she learned about scaling, systems, recurring revenue, mindset, beating perfectionism, passive income, sales funnels and more – plus why she now talks about “world domination”.
Melinda Wittstock: Melitta, welcome to WINGS.
Melitta Campbell: Hi, Melinda. It’s great to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I am so excited to have you on this podcast because, of course, you, as a listener of this podcast, won this amazing, I think, chance to hang with me in Washington, DC for a whole day, and we worked on your business. It seems like a long time ago. Right?
Melitta Campbell: I know, I know. Yeah, and it was a full day. And when I mention it to people and they ask how it went, then I was like, “Yeah, we met at 8:30 in the morning, and it was well into the night before we ended. But it just went so fast, and then we had so much to discuss, and it was amazing. And we loved it.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. I’m going to set the scene for everybody because we went to the iconic Watergate Hotel, and… we started the day in the spa. And this, everybody, is so important because so many of us really neglect to put our own health and our self-care first. And we forget that we are the number one asset in our business, and if we don’t look after ourselves we’re not really looking after our business either. And so that set up the day pretty well. We both had massages.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, that was amazing. And that’s so true as well because in my first business I came so close to burnout for exactly that reason. I put my clients or my family first, and I didn’t feature in my life at all. So I learned the hard way that balance isn’t just something that happens. You have to really consciously create it and really actively manage it and take time out, allow yourself permission to do that.
Melinda Wittstock: And so what’s changed for you in that respect about that kind of … Seeing as we’re onto self-care and balance and all of that, how do you operate differently now, Melitta, than say you used to in previous businesses, or even at the early stages of the business you’re working on right now?
Melitta Campbell: I think I’ve changed my tack completely. I focus on myself first, so working on my mindset, on my personal growth, really developing my skills regularly. But also taking that time out to take a walk every day, to get outside, to do something every day that brings me nothing but joy. Because I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as too much stress, the problem comes when we don’t have enough counter-stress, so it’s really, really important to always take some time out and not feel guilty about it.
And I think that’s the biggest thing that changed for me. I always felt so guilty when I wasn’t working, or I wasn’t focusing on someone. Just taking time out to do nothing, or go to the spa, or anything like that, I just felt so guilty. And I think … I don’t know if that’s a female thing, but I see a lot of women around me having those same feelings of guilt. But now I realize how important it is, then I don’t feel that at all, and it’s changed the way I prioritize my time. And actually, I’ve found that the more time I take out, the more focused and productive I am. And so it really, it helps. It feels counterintuitive sometimes, but sometimes a little thing I quite like to do, because I work from home, is have lunch, and then I go and have a bath and go to sleep in the middle of the day. But it’s wonderful, I get so much more done, and it feels very luxurious. But it can change everything.
Melinda Wittstock: It really can. That’s such good advice, because we can so easily become these ‘human doings’, and we think we’re being really productive, but we’re actually not.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And so when we can get really into inspired action, where we’re working on the most important things in our businesses, the things that are going to get us the most leverage, but doing so in a way where we feel good, we’re just going to have better results.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, absolutely. And actually, there was something that we discussed on the day, and that’s something that I used to suffer with but now I’ve put aside. It was two things. One, I used to compare myself to everyone else, and we always put ourselves down and build other people up, and so that’s never a good thing to do. So I’ve really stopped doing that completely, and instead I look to other people like yourself for inspiration instead, and feel inspired by what other people are doing and what’s possible.
The other thing is the perfectionism, and that’s something that [crosstalk 00:05:05-
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melitta Campbell: Talked about, and [crosstalk 00:05:07-
Melinda Wittstock: Ah.
Melitta Campbell: -doing that?
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my God. We talk about this on this podcast all the time, there should be an AA for perfectionists.
Melitta Campbell: I love that idea.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m curious where this comes from in our psyche because men tend not to do this, they tend to think more in terms of, what’s the shortest distance from A to B? What’s the least I have to do to get the biggest results? Whereas women are like, “Oh God, how can I do … ” not only, “How can I do everything?” but, “How can I do everything perfectly?” We put all this unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Where does that come from?
Melitta Campbell: I have no idea.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s-
Melitta Campbell: [crosstalk 00:05:51-
Melinda Wittstock: -it’s-
Melitta Campbell: I had a big lesson when I worked in corporate. And before I started my first business and I was pregnant in the office, I had such bad morning sickness, it lasted all day. I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything, but my team were awesome, and they really picked up the baton and they took on a lot of the tasks that I was supposed to be doing. But they didn’t do it to the standard I wanted, but I just had to let it go. I just didn’t have the energy to do anything different. But everyone loved it, they were doing it good enough. And all of that time I’d put years, and I was working early mornings and late nights to deliver 120% when actually 80% was perfect, and it was what people wanted, and it was quicker. And it was a huge lesson for me.
Melinda Wittstock: When good enough is better than perfect, and often this truly is the case in business. Look at it this way, have you ever met anyone who was excited about working for a perfectionist?
Melitta Campbell: No.
Melinda Wittstock: No. So, if you want to scale and grow your business you need a great team, and the only way you’re going to find a great team is if you’re a great leader. And if you’re a perfectionist, man, if you hold yourself to high standards you’re going to hold everyone else to super high standards. So there’s an element that we all have to get better at, I think, and just letting go. Just accepting that 80% is better than, oh my God, stressing everybody out for this 100%, which is going to change anyway. Because as you grow and evolve your business what worked today might not even work tomorrow anyhow, so it’s just a different mindset, isn’t it?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, and it does work to get stuff out there. And then you see what the feedback is, and work with the client to turn it into something that’s perfect. Because what you might think is perfect the client might not value that at all, and then you’ve completely wasted your time and resources.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, yeah. Oh gosh. It’s so, so true.
So, what are some of the breakthroughs that have happened for you since we met last fall? I know we did a lot of work together on mindset issues, and we also worked on numbers, knowing your numbers. This is another big one. What do you think have been the biggest breakthroughs, Melitta, since last fall for you?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, I think with the numbers, when I was getting ready to launch my group coaching program, it really helped to think about the numbers first, and to … because I knew I wanted to keep it quite an intimate group, and not have hundreds of people in there, but I want to have people in there so I can spend enough time helping them and really delivering the best value I can, without being a perfectionist of course. But keeping focused on the numbers has really helped me to see what’s viable, what would work as a group and what would work for me personally and in terms of where I’m going with my business. And work out a plan of how I’m going to scale it from there, and what’s going to be possible, and to design it with the end in mind, if you like. So that was really great, to start thinking about things a little bit differently, rather than just working on something and getting it out there.
So that’s been really helpful for me, and also the whole idea of how to put that together, how to structure it. Because I had all these ideas, but what helped with working through it with you was just to get that validation that these ideas can work. And you gave me some amazing ideas of how far I could push these ideas, and I was thinking way too small. So now I really have a plan of world domination.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s fantastic. I love that, I love when I hear women say, “world domination.” That’s amazing, because we need to play bigger. I think sometimes we … when we get all wrapped up in thinking about the how, we cancel ourselves out. Instead it’s so much better to be in alignment with, know your mission, have this big mission, all the people you’re going to go help, and focus in on that, that mission and the what. What do you actually want?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? And not the how, and that helps. And I think … I’m a curious … Sorry, I’m just going to pick up there. I have a question for you that I’m curious about though too, about what holds women back from playing bigger. Because I’ve been thinking lately that there’s maybe this underlying fear that somehow we won’t be liked. Either we’re going to repel men or something, because we’re going to be too strong and we’re going to be intimidating, or other women won’t like us.
Melitta Campbell: It is quite complex, isn’t it? And you touched on something just then where you were talking about the how, and when we got together that was something that was holding me back. It was like, “Well, this is what I want to be doing, but I’m not quite sure how I’m going to achieve that.” And you were like, “Well, don’t worry about ‘how,’ just go for it.” And actually since I’ve decided, well, okay, this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to launch this group coaching program to really help women get their business up and running. The how just figured itself out, and actually some great advice and mentoring came up on just exactly the topic I needed, and it was the perfect timing, and everything came together, and then I had my [inaudible 00:11:48 up and running really fast.
But yeah, by focusing on what I wanted, the big goal, and not the how, it helped me to push things forward more. And I think that how holds people back a lot, and I see that all the time. But also, I guess we … It comes down to just role models as well, a little bit, that they’re so important for women because if we haven’t ever seen someone in our circle achieving then we don’t have the courage to push forward and do it. Whereas if you see a whole bunch of women that have achieved great things already, which is why I think your podcast is so important, then you have the courage that, “Yeah, okay, well they didn’t know it all but figured it out. I can do that too.” Rather than thinking the other way around, that you have to have your detailed plan before you take your first step.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, mmm, right.
Melitta, that’s so, so true.
So I want to get into the numbers thing a little bit, because this was a big theme in our work together, and I find with all the women that I work with, and also women who’ve been on this podcast have had to master this in the end, is really actually just knowing your numbers. Right? From an intentional standpoint. How big do you want your business to be? How much money do you want to make? What are you charging? What’s you profit margin? What are all the other KPIs that go around that? Right? The analytics, the numbers, because if you know the numbers tell a story, and you need to stay on top of them, and if you ignore them you can get into a terrible mess. You can run out of cash, all kinds of stuff can go wrong in your business.
So that side of it. Let’s talk about the intention, of setting the intention around numbers. Is that something that’s gotten easier for you, or is it still a work in progress?
Melitta Campbell: It’s still a work in progress because through our discussions it became clear that I do have this big money block, and it’s not necessarily my money block, it’s to do with the impact it would have on other people. And I hadn’t really … I think I’d been blindsided by that a little bit, so it was great to open that up a bit. But yeah, you’re right, with … I think in terms of business it’s so important to get clarity, to really understand what it is you want going forward, and then the path becomes a lot clearer. And it’s so much easier to make the right decisions, to get the confidence that you’re doing the right thing. And when you have the numbers then that almost tells you what you need to be doing as well, that makes a lot of the decision-making so much easier because you’re not guessing anymore. You know exactly what you need to do to get to where you want to go, or reach the next milestone and take it to the next level.
So yeah, I think it’s really interesting, and it’s something that … I have a thing called dyscalculia where I can’t really … numbers freak me out, basically. So it was something I really shied away from, but it was great for you just to bring that back and really highlight the importance of those numbers. So now I’m definitely taking them more seriously, and they are a big feature of all of my planning now.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, that’s really good.
And so what are some of the big goals this year for 2019? Talk a little bit about your business, where your business is at right now, and where you want to be by the end of this year.
Melitta Campbell: Okay. So last year I launched this three-month private coaching where I was helping women to start their own business. Because the business I was in before, I was a global coach and mentor but for a specific brand, and helping people with that brand start a business I saw the one thing holding women back more than anything else was a lack of confidence. And a lot of that confidence came from not really understanding what they wanted, or how to structure their business, or what to do, and not having access to role models or any support.
So I developed this three-month program to help women start their business the right way, with a strong foundation, to build their confidence and mindset at the same time as building their business blueprint. And I’ve been blown away by the results women have had with that. I thought by the end of it they’d be ready to start their business, but in fact, part way through, as soon as women have got that bit of clarity, a few extra skills, and the confidence, a lot of them have come away growing from business idea to having clients, which has been awesome.
But I really wanted to up my game, and after speaking with you I turned that into a group program, so that I can, with my limited time, because I do only work part time, and that’s really important for me to maintain that balance, so to make the most of my time I wanted to move it into group setting. And that was the point where I was like, “I don’t know how to do it,” but that’s all done now. And it’s amazing how quickly it all came together. So that’s about to launch right now, and so I’m really excited about seeing how that goes.
But I want to then develop that into a membership site or some kind of academy to take that further. So once women have their business, they’ve got the foundation, I want them to have that continued support so they can continue to grow their mindset, grow their confidence, and have access to a support circle. Because a lot of the women that I’ve been speaking to over the last few months don’t have a supportive environment around them, so having access to that, I think, is going to be really important for them. So I’m really excited about bringing all of that together.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, that’s fantastic. It’s very, very exciting.
So with the group coaching … this was so interesting to because we talked about scale, and there are so, so many women who start businesses around something that they’re really good at doing, or knowledge that they have, and it’s so easy to create, rather than a business, just a very busy job.
Melitta Campbell: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Melitta Campbell: That’s exactly what I did with my first business. Because I used to be head of communication for a private bank, and it was my dream job. I reported to the CEO, and it was great. And I set up a women’s network, which is what I loved, but then when I had my children and decided to start my own business I thought, oh, what can I do? So I said, “I can just write newsletters for some companies.” So I started with just doing something I could do, but then that became my business. And, yeah, it just became this job that I wasn’t inspired by, and it wasn’t really activating any of my emotions, or I wasn’t excited by it, I wasn’t motivated by it, and it took me so far away from my purpose, which I believe is to help women gain that freedom of choice that they really want. Because that’s what I was hearing in the women’s network, that’s what I was really determined to work on, is helping women figure out how to get more choice and more freedom and create the life they really want and deserve.
And so it’s taken me 10 years to get there, but I think now I’m in a stronger position to help women as well because I’ve taken such a varied route to get here. But yeah, I think because I wasn’t living my purpose initially that’s also contributed to that burnout that I mentioned. So yeah, that’s really important.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, yeah. No, it’s true, and to really build in scale-
Melitta Campbell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: -right from the start. To think about how you’re going to transition from working entirely in your business to ultimately entirely on your business, and that presupposes that you can price into your offerings a way to hire other people, and tools and things that are going to make the delivery of it … take you out of that day-to-day constant work. Right? And that’s a transition that a lot of people don’t get, that, am I working in it? Or am I working on it?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah. I think-
Melinda Wittstock: You know? So-
Melitta Campbell: -we feel if we’re not present then we’re not delivering value, and that’s not the case at all. [crosstalk 00:20:38-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Well I have my best ideas, for instance, for the business, and I probably create the most value in any of my businesses, when I’m not working in it. Like when I’m not an employee in it in the sense that when I’m out walking the dog, or, going back to the spa, the massage or whatever, or really taking myself up to a 30,000-foot level where I can see where the storms are on the horizon, I can see where there are clouds. Right? I can see new trends, I can see what’s going on, a whole bunch of different things like that. You get so many more ideas, you can connect the dots, and that’s where you’re going to find those, what’s that new revenue stream, or this new business model, or a new product, or whatever. And that’s what I mean by working on your business, just separating yourself a little bit from the day-to-day and creating space and time for yourself to do that.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, exactly. And I think if you’re thinking more in terms of the impact you can have, rather than the work you can do, it’s different, isn’t it? So taking that step back, say, “Okay, well how can I create something, but not be the person delivering every single element of it?”
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm. Gosh. Absolutely right. Yeah.
And then so turning it back to numbers again. Right? When you set that intention or you have an idea like that, what I think is really, really a wonderful thing to do that, again, a lot of founders forget to do, and it’s not just women that forget it’s men as well, is to build profit margin into it. So you’re pricing it already, and you’re working out the cost, so you automatically have a margin. And I think all so often we’re so focused on revenue and top-line revenue, and so sure, yeah, seven figure business, but what if it cost you $999,000 to get to a million? Right? You make a one dollar profit, right? That’s not a business.
And so profitability is really important in your numbers. Have you gotten to that stage yet, Melitta, where you’re really beginning to think about, okay, where’s the profit? How do I grow the profit margins?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, I think … My first job, actually, was working with an entrepreneur, and he was great. He was a very powerful mentor, and that was always his first approach, was like, okay, well where’s the profit in this? And he was always quite good at turning around … I remember he always was saying, “This is the price that we operate at. This is our margin, and if you offer that price and if they don’t fall off their chair then you say, ‘Oh, and then that’s plus tax.’ And if they’re like, ‘What? How much is it?’ ‘Oh well, tax is included.'” But he was always looking at you have to have that margin because it’s all about cashflow, and you don’t have a valid business if you’re not generating a profit. So that’s always something I’ve been quite aware of, and yeah, I think it’s an important part of the pricing decision that we need to get that money. And [inaudible 00:24:05 just about meeting our … breaking even. And yeah, that profit is … you need to have a bit of courage sometimes, but it’s a necessary part of the business.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s so true.
So when you work with women who are thinking of becoming entrepreneurs, what are the biggest single things? So your clients, because you’re really working with women at the very, very beginning of this process, and what are some of the blocks? What are some of the things that you find are holding them back?
Melitta Campbell: I think a lot of the things that are holding them back all comes down to fear, but they don’t realize that. So it may be … a lot of the time it’s excuses that feel real, they’re like, “I don’t have the time,” but in fact that’s just an excuse because we all know that you can create time. It’s just a matter of planning and prioritization and wanting something badly enough. So I really get them to start by deciding what it is they want. And we put quite a lot of time into this, to evaluate what they’re passionate about, where their talents are, what they really enjoy doing, who they want to be working with, what they want from their business, and being as specific as possible about that.
And really looking at what’s important for them in life, as well as the business. Do they want time with their family? Is it public recognition of their achievements they’re looking for? Do they want to make a contribution to the bigger world? To be financially independent? To really pin down this because that’s going to help them with all of their decision-making from thereon in, and it’s going to help them feel a lot more confident in their choices, and create a business that they’re going to really love. Because you have to love it, because it’s not always easy and you have to be consistent, and you’re not going to show up consistently if it’s not something you’re really passionate about.
So I really help them with that clarity I think is a big first step, and it’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs or new business owners that I see miss because I think they … you see people out there being successful, and they have this great website, and their online presence, and their business plan, and they think, oh, that’s what I need. But it’s … you do need it, but later. First you need to know what it is you want. You need to build that foundation so that then you can build a business that’s really going to deliver what you want, and, thinking with the end in mind, how you’re going to scale it in the future. If you know where you want to be 10 years from now you’ll make very different decisions according to what that’s going to look like. So helping them create that big goal, and then work backwards creating the milestones and the plan of exactly how they’re going to get there.
So that’s really the first point. And I also do a lot of work on their mindset and confidence along the way too because that is something that’s crucial. If you don’t have the confidence to show up in your business then you’re not going to get very far, and you really need to push outside your comfort zone all the time. So learning how to do that, taking small steps and building that confidence to enable you to do that, is really important as well. So we really look at not just creating the business plan, but the confidence so that you can actually implement it as well.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. There’s so many ups and downs along the way in entrepreneurship that, gosh, if you’re not tethered to some sort of higher purpose or mission it makes those struggles just all the more difficult. Right? So I think when you’re going into it one of the biggest things is just making sure that it’s in alignment, not only with your talents, but with this higher calling or purpose, or actually understanding that. And there are so many exercises and things you can do to really figure out what is the perfect business for you. So I think it’s very important that you’re doing that work. It’s very holistic, Melitta, I think, what you’re doing, and it’s very similar to my approach as well. Because so much of this is the, what’s going on inside your head is what’s going to manifest externally at the end of the day.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah, exactly. And I think a lot of women when they start out what’s holding them back is what’s in their head, but they don’t know that yet because it’s a journey to find that. It’s a bit like The Wizard of Oz, isn’t it? You can give them the answers from the beginning because you can already see exactly how they can build a business from their idea and where their strengths are, but they need to discover that for themselves to have the confidence in their own ability, and to live it, and to really grow with their audience and their business. And yeah, then it’s just really … and it’s so exciting when you know the journey they’re about to go on, and how awesome they’re going to be. I think that’s my favorite bit, is getting those application forms at the beginning, and you just think, oh, this is going to be amazing. And you speak to them and you just know they’re going to have the most amazing journey ahead of them, so it’s very exciting.
Melinda Wittstock: Mmm, that’s wonderful.
So at this stage, where you are right now, with all that you’ve learned, what would be your top three go-to pieces of advice for women in business? The most important things that you wish you’d known when you were starting out.
Melitta Campbell: I think it’s those, to not shortcut working on your vision, and having the courage to have a big goal. Because when I look back to when I started the goal I have now was my goal back then, but I just didn’t have the courage to pursue it because I didn’t know the how, or where to even start making that happen. And I had that imposter syndrome, who am I to do that? I do comms, I don’t do women in business stuff. And so I really held myself back, so I think you need to have that courage to dream and to seek out a success circle. So that could be an inspiring network, it could be mentors, and these could be real mentors that you pay to work on your business, or people that you may find on your podcast, for example, that you can listen to on a regular basis who are going to inspire you to dream bigger and give you that courage.
So I think having access to role models and support and inspiration on a regular basis is really, really important, especially for women. And I know to see it myself, and if I don’t get that fix of inspirational women around me on a regular basis then I see the self-doubt starting to creep back in again. So it’s really important to [inaudible 00:31:18 on your mindset, your self-development, and keep yourself inspired and motivated every day. So I think that daring and getting the support and the vision is really important.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Gosh, this is so, so true.
So Melitta, how can people find you and work with you?
Melitta Campbell: The great thing … Do you know? When I was looking at my name for my company I was trying to find something that was unique, that would really express me, and then I was in a conversation with someone and they asked, “Well how can I find you?” I said, “Oh, just type Melitta into Google and you’ll find me,” because I’m the only one, I’m the only Melitta Campbell. And then it hit me, it was like, that should be my business. [crosstalk 00:32:07-
Melinda Wittstock: Because you are indeed the only Melitta Campbell.
Melitta Campbell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. That’s wonderful.
Melitta Campbell: -[crosstalk 00:32:13 very easy to find. So, melittacampbell.com is my website. I’m on most social media platforms, and I’m sharing lots of tips and advice there as well. So if you type in Melitta Campbell into pretty much anything you’ll find me.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s fantastic.
Well, I am so delighted that you were the one that won the WINGS contest, and we’re going to do another drawing. And so all you have to do, everyone, just review this podcast on iTunes. It’s super simple, but with a twist. You got to take a selfie of yourself reviewing on iTunes, and you can send that to me, your selfie, with your review at email@example.com if you’re an email person, or you can post it on Facebook on the Facebook WINGS Podcast page. Please go there and like it, it’s just Facebook.com/wingspodcast. And then I’m going to do another drawing soon, and you win, as Melitta will tell you, you get to come all the way to Washington, DC. And we do some spa time, and we do a deep dive into your business.
And I would like to say that it’s transformational. Melitta, do you agree? Was it helpful.
Melitta Campbell: That was exactly the word I was going to use, actually.
Melinda Wittstock: It was transformational?
Melitta Campbell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Awesome. There I go putting words into your mouth, but seriously, I loved my time working with you, and it was so much fun. And nothing makes my heart soar more than to really see that all the stuff that I’ve done, or things that I’ve achieved but also the skinned knees that I’ve … all the lessons and bumps and things along the way result in helping others up. Because my mission, of course, is that women must lift as we climb, so it was good to put that into practice. And thank you so much for being our first winner.
Melitta Campbell: Oh, well thank you. It really was an amazing experience from start to finish, and yeah, it’s really helped me to take my business to the next level and myself as well. The extra courage I’ve got and the clarity of vision I’ve got now as well, it’s really going to help me no end. So thank you so much.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s awesome. Well thank you for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Melitta Campbell: It’s been a lot of fun.