Entrepreneur Rachel Brenke shares why its vital not to sacrifice your health and wellbeing to reach your business goals, and why we all do better when we’re enjoying the ride and balancing our personal needs with the demands of business. Host of the popular Business Bites podcast, Rachel is a mom of 5, cancer survivor, Team USA athlete, and massive social media influencer. We talk about the mindset and mojo you need to succeed in this inspiring advice minisode.
Melinda Wittstock: Rachel, welcome to Wings.
Rachel Brenke: Hey, thanks for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: It's great to have you on. I'm so excited to hear all your advice for our supershero listeners. But first, what's inspiring you right now?
Rachel Brenke: I think just knowing that I, it sounds so cliché, but knowing that I'm an example for my kids as I've built my businesses, they were really little in the beginning but now they're really aware and they're really involved and it's exciting to me to see them learning and so I'm inspiring them and they're inspiring me and it just keeps going in a cycle and I'm really reveling in it and enjoying it.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh that's awesome. How old are your kids?
Rachel Brenke: The oldest is 12, and the youngest is three.
Melinda Wittstock: You know our kids learn so much from what we do as opposed to what we say. And having a ringside seat seeing their mom just kind of crushing it on entrepreneurship is great. Like mine are 11 and 15 and it's just given them this different sort of mindset I think than they would otherwise have had.
Rachel Brenke: Yeah, for sure. My eight year old is very similar to me and so I've definitely kind of been seeing same characteristics and I'm hoping to channel, they're not necessarily good right now as an eight year old confined in like a regular classroom environment so I'm trying to channel that for good for when she gets out. Hopefully she'll be her own CEO and entrepreneur.
Melinda Wittstock: That's so awesome. You know, I wish the schools were better at teaching things like financial freedom and financial literacy and passive income and those sorts of things but also mindsets.
Rachel Brenke: Yes. And you know that's so huge because even though I've been an entrepreneur, I've been doing this in multiple industries, multiple businesses that I've owned over a decade now. I'm still in the last few years just now getting into mindset. I mean I've always kind of had one but now it's just more intentional. So I'm right there with you and that's a really good point, I'm going to note that to really talk to her and focus on that with them a bit more.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, positive thinking, visualization, you know. If you can see it, if you can feel it, you can do it. You know, that kind of thing.
Rachel Brenke: Yeah, I agree.
Melinda Wittstock: So I always ask on these minisodes, you know, what's challenging you right now? ‘Cause there's always something for an entrepreneur and I think the more transparent we can be about our challenges, the more we kind of take the charge out of them in a way, right?
Rachel Brenke: I agree. You know, it's the same answer I've had for years. It's management of a team. And with the different brands and the different businesses, some are online, some are in local community in person, it's a challenge for me in a good way stretching and growing me as a leader and a manager, learning interpersonal skills. It's super easy for me to be able to communicate, I feel like, with audiences and potential consumers. It's different when it's a team that you're really wanting to cultivate a specific culture with.
Rachel Brenke: I really want to focus more on team-based and so I probably apply a lot of my own pressures on myself for that but it's getting better and I have developed a really good team that extends me a lot of grace so, as I make mistakes as a manager and a leader so, it's working. But yeah, that's definitely the biggest stressor that I have and biggest thing I'm trying to overcome in my business right now.
Melinda Wittstock: Team is actually one of the hardest things. And it's actually one of the biggest predictors of success, too, the people that you surround yourself. And I actually have a curious question for you. Are your kids making you better at team?
Rachel Brenke: You know, it's funny because I take things that I do in parenting and I apply it to my team and then things I do with my team, I apply it to the kids. I'm all about taking ownership of your actions, you know, of your consequences, of things that you create and really owning that task or whatever it is and not just doing it. Not just going through the motions. So yeah I definitely apply it across the board.
Melinda Wittstock: That's so interesting. It was funny, I asked because on Mother's Day, I was writing about this on my blog. I was just thinking “oh it's really interesting, I think my kids have made me a better manager”-
Rachel Brenke: Oh for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: I think like my companies, you know 'cause I'm one of those serial types, right? My kids thought that meant Cheerios for a while and like I owned the Cheerios company or something.
Rachel Brenke: And they're disappointed when they find out you don't!
Melinda Wittstock: I know, right? So they find the other meaning of the word serial. Anyway, but that has also made me a better mom. I think there's a real interesting interplay between the two and how we can leverage that. Rather than feeling that we're lacking something like when we're with our kids, we feel like we should be with our team, or with team we should be with kids. Instead, they actually accent and help each other.
Rachel Brenke: Yeah, I agree.
Melinda Wittstock: Speaking of mindset, that's the right way to look at it, right? It's more positive.
Rachel Brenke: Yeah, for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, what's your top three go to pieces of advice that maybe it's something you wish you knew yourself, like when you were just starting out or you just know you can't succeed as an entrepreneur without doing these three things.
There’s no point in entrepreneurship if you’re not going to have a life. #WINGSofInspiredBusiness #WomeninBusiness @RachelBrenkeClick to tweet
Rachel Brenke: So before I go into that, I want to clarify a key list and just note how easy it sounds for us sitting here, 10 plus years in and you giving these tips. But know that we still go through these things. These three things that I'm going to tell you guys are still things I have to actively kind of work at. The very first one, I'm a huge proponent of there's no point in entrepreneurship if you're not going to have a life. And I don't mean this in a feel good lifestyle, fill my Instagram with great travel pics, nothing wrong with that if that's the life you want. But I just mean it, even from the, what may be considered, the mundane of living in Suburbia, picket fence, a dog and two kids or whatever. My goal with entrepreneurship is so that it can support the life that I want.
Rachel Brenke: Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I just think it's the means to an end, I love and I thrive being an entrepreneur but, from setting up multiple businesses over the years, it's really easy to fall into the trap of mistaking busy for business and vice versa and it's really important to make sure that you carve and protect out your time and your goals. So this could be actually a couple of these notches, the first point. But setting your expectations for yourself knowing that this is a marathon, it's not a sprint, you can go as fast or as slow as you want and it depends on the circumstances in your life.
Rachel Brenke: And for me it's about being able to put the things that are most important, I talk when I travel and speak in the context of the example of we all have a vase. And that represents how many hours we have in a day, week, month or year. And within that, I have rocks, these big rocks about the size of my hand and they represent these important life goals and things that I want. For example being present with my kids, teaching them about entrepreneurship, competing with Team USA, having a thriving marriage. And the goal is you have those rocks and then you have this bucket of sand which is all the other kind of obligations you have to do in life and the entrepreneurship stuff. And the goal is to put those rocks into this vase.
Rachel Brenke: This set amount of time that you have, and then pour the sand in so it goes around the rocks. ‘Cause if you did the sand first then try to put the rocks into the vase, they're not going to fit. You know you'd be trying to jam them down in there and so I think out of that, maybe the key pieces that you guys can take away from that is first, make sure you identify what's really important. Having that life outside of entrepreneurship, let entrepreneurship be the thing that helps to support that life.
Rachel Brenke: The second is protecting your time. I feel like entrepreneurs are super reactive in the beginning because you're wearing all these hats, they're falling off your head, you're just trying to get your bearings [inaudible 00:08:59. And I wish someone had told me this specifically in the beginning. ‘Cause you're looking in the context of this vase and your time. Know that it's okay to not say no, but you also don't have to say yes to everything.
Rachel Brenke: I adopt the approach of “not now”. As entrepreneurs we're multi-passionate and you're not going to be successful if you're trying to do all of the things at one time. But just because you narrow to one thing doesn't mean you can't shelve the ideas and come back later. So that definitely has helped satisfy me as an entrepreneur to know that I haven't cut off this thing that I'm passionate about, but being able to focus on the task that I currently have hand, get that under control, and then within the confines of my trajectory of business and my life goals, then I can eventually get to working on whatever is next that I Was passionate about.
Melinda Wittstock: That is beautiful advice. I don't think I could top that. That's awesome. It's so interesting about the rocks and the sand. I mean what a beautiful way to explain that and of course I presuppose it that you know what you want.
Rachel Brenke: And that's the thing, is that I was trying … and my rocks could change. My rocks change from year to year, you know. And I didn't learn this by looking at it going “Oh I need to safeguard my life”, I looked at it when my family was like “we haven't seen you, you're burnt out. Why are you doing all these tasks that you don't need to do?” And it was kind of a sink or swim moment that I realized, “Crap, I need to run through this idea of, do my fingers need to be touching that email, that customer service email that goes out, do I need to be updating the plugins on WordPress and how can I regain the time so that I can have this identity and pursue other goals?” ‘Cause as amazing as entrepreneurship is and as fulfilling it is to many of us, including myself, there's still more out there.
Rachel Brenke: Life's way too short. I'm 11 years cancer free now and I want to do everything. Life is so super short. It sounds cliché, but it's ticking and I want … and the only way to do it all is to be very methodical and intentional with it.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. I didn't realize that you had beaten cancer. So, my goodness, thank goodness and congratulations on that. And yes, it does make you realize the value of time.
Rachel Brenke: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I mean you can always make, if you lose money, you can always get the money back. But when you lose time, you lose time. And you know it's value. So my goodness. My heart goes out. And I'm … you know when you meet people who have gone through things like that, and they have persevered and they have triumphed, regardless, it's an inspiration to all of us.
Rachel Brenke: Thanks.
Melinda Wittstock: So Rachel, how can people find you and work with you and do you have any special offers for any of our listeners today?
Rachel Brenke: Yeah so my mothership website is RachelBrenke.com, from there you can find my podcasts and all of the different niche sites. I provide primarily legal information in different industries to help you guys stay legally protected. On there there's free checklists, articles, downloads, feel free to reach out if you guys have any questions. Myself or my team can help direct you guys to all of that. There is specifically a legal business checklist that all entrepreneurs need to walk through and that all entrepreneurs need to go through every year because things change. So download that, it's linked right at the top. You guys can work through that and again, if you have any questions let me know. I'm happy to help.
Melinda Wittstock: That is awesome. Well thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Rachel Brenke: Awesome, thanks for having me.