With the market constantly evolving, especially in today’s most challenging times, doing a business pivot right is extremely important. By keeping up with the trends and the ever-changing demands, you can prolong your business lifespan and make it future-proof. Kim Hayden is joined by Dr. Kristen Fenrick, best-selling author, teacher, and coach. She shares her work focused on helping entrepreneurs and business owners level up by building resiliency and learning the art of letting go. Dr. Kristen also explains how to find your true self-worth, avoid taking yourself for granted, and embrace your strengths to move forward in life.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Most Important Business Pivot Tips With Dr. Kristen Fenrick
I’m really excited. We have Dr. Kristen Fenrick on the show. This is a woman who’s had an incredible journey and path. She’s done a little bit of everything, but she knows a lot of stuff on everything. She’s going to be great to get in there and figure out how we can be a little more resilient in our lives, business and make the most while we’re here. Welcome, Kristen. How are you doing?
I’m well. Thank you so much for having me on. This is so super exciting.
We have to catch you in between cities. You go back and forth. You’re all over the place. We’re catching you right now in Houston. Is that where you’re at?
Correct. I am in Houston, Texas. This is home for me. Even though I grew up in Chicago, there’s something about Texas that feels like home.
Everything’s bigger in Texas. The love, fun and everything. We’re going to get right into the brass tacks because, as I mentioned, Dr. Kristen Fenrick. You just got your doctorate. You’ve been around. You have made a lot of high-level sales and engagement, but you also started out as a teacher, which is very cool because teachers make very consistent leaders. Share with us a little bit more of your background, who you are and then we’re going to dive into what you do.
Thank you for that introduction. I love the fact that you said, “She does a lot of great stuff.” I have been so blessed throughout my career to have done a lot of interesting things. Again, my name is Kristen Fenrick and I’m the Founder and CEO of Klearly Kristen, Inc., but I’m a mom. I am a woman, a friend and all of these wonderful things. All of these things are a combination of what makes me, me. I started my career off in teaching. I originally got my degree in Elementary Education. Sociology was the actual degree with the emphasis on Elementary Education.
I love the study of people, places and things. It all interwove together with me starting a sales career back in the ’90s with Xerox. It gave me this new platform to where I was a stay-at-home mom. I had my children and had been doing this teaching thing. I’ve taught preschool and fifth grade and it all came together one day when I got an offer from a gentleman that said, “Teachers make great salespeople. You need to come to join me on my team,” and that’s where my professional career in sales, technology and all the things I’ve done started and began.
You’ve also made sales in educational components and now you’re in the educational space in sales. Tell me a little bit about that part of your life and how that has transitioned a lot of your thought process and your methodology behind building your programs, leadership, books and everything. Can you dive into that because a lot of us like myself never had that structure? That’s always what I find amazing.
It’s a couple of things. It’s interesting. I never thought I’d find myself in the capacity of almost having an online university. I help other business owners to put together their programs and systems, and a lot of that entails education. As business owners, we have to be in that place of being able to teach. Teaching and leading all come together. Even when you’re selling a customer, you’re informing them about what it is that you do. You’re teaching them about your products and services. Many times, you’re even teaching them how to utilize your products and services because you’re showing them how to make it work in their business.The pandemic helped everyone realize that no one has to do something that they hate anymore. Click To Tweet
That’s what I do. I teach business owners how to systemize. I teach them how to put together their different products into a packaged format. A lot of us have so many different talents, skills and abilities, but if you can’t package them, then it’s hard for people to purchase them. That is what I help business owners to do is to figure out how to monetize and package their expertise in a way where the consumer can be able to purchase that and be able to glean and learn what they need to learn so that they can be successful in their business.
You’ve touched on something that we’re hearing a lot of within this shift the world has gone through. We have gone through a shift and they’re saying now that a lot of professionals that are over 40 are not going to go back to the office. What would be your advice and insight? Let’s create a woman for you. She’s 45 and worked fifteen years in a C-Suite position. She has a Bachelor’s of Business or something along those lines and she’s proficient. She’s very good, but going back into an office setting after having months of free range is maybe very hard. What would be your suggestion? Where would they start unearthing what their opportunities are?
What’s interesting is that it no longer takes. We have a couple of things that are going on. From a technology standpoint, it no longer takes eight hours to do things. A job can be done, completed and tasks in what used to take 8 to 10 hours in 1 hour or 2 hours. What we’re finding is diversification is what’s important. I would tell a woman who is in their 40s is to know, “What is your actual passion? What skills and capabilities have you learned over the last couple of years that you now can take and create something that’s unique and for you?”
None of us have to feel like we have to go to a job anymore that we hate. To me, that’s the main thing that the pandemic has helped a lot of us figure out, is you don’t have to do that thing that you don’t want to anymore. If you can figure out how to take your talents and say, “I’m good at painting, but now I need to know how to take that skill of painting and monetize it.” We have a couple of things. You can take that and teach others how to paint. You can take it and we’re in a knowledge economy, so you can take that into that. You could do your paintings and sell them online. We all know that. It’s eCommerce, but you can also find out something creative.
I know a woman who makes jewelry and she’s decided to do these jewelry parties. It’s like the painting parties where people came before, did painting and they had their glasses of wine. She’s doing that by simply making jewelry. She’s taking a craft or a hobby and now she’s scaling this business to where she can go national with it as a franchise because that’s where we are. If you have the passion, skill and desire to teach or you want other people to learn, you can go anywhere with it. The sky’s the limit. It’s only according to what you can imagine for your own self.
You can sign me up for one of those parties. That would be a blast. You have been identified as a voice to lead women. You’ve been selected to work with the Resilience Series on a number of the stages coming up shortly here in Calgary, Alberta launching. Also, moving into the States, can you give a specific example of how resiliency showed up in your business decision? Was there something that pivoted and that’s where you knew and what you drew on was the resilience?
I have to tell you that for me, when I think about my past, there’s no reason why a woman that had the past that I had is sitting right here in front of you. I grew up when I call the definition of suburban poor. I lived in the suburbs. It seemed like everything was perfect, but my life was way far from perfect. I experienced so many different challenges. I was homeless and had a baby at eighteen. All of those things that you think about, pregnant at seventeen and baby at eighteen trying to figure out how to live life. I knew at some point there was a light bulb that switched on to me that said, “Kristen, you have to figure out something that is going to take you from here to here.”
I’m going to give you this story that happened to me one day. I was, at the time, a receptionist. I had gotten this job and I thought I had made it. I was like, “I’m cute. I had this receptionist job.” Do you remember the Bell companies were around? I was working at Illinois Bell and was working at the front desk. This woman came in one day and she had this garbage bag. It was this huge garbage bag full of clothes and she dropped it off in front of my desk and she said, “I went through my closet last night and I brought you all of my old stuff because I’m tired of seeing you wear the same thing every day.” She snidely smirked and walked away.If you have the passion, skill, and desire to teach, the sky is the only limit of what you can do. Click To Tweet
It was in a black trash bag and I remember looking at it going, “I have become somebody’s charity case. How did that happen?” I went into the bathroom and I cried. I’ve cried in that bathroom for an hour. I came back out and I said, “There’s got to be more than life than this.” I realized that I had settled into this place of complacency. I was going to have this job, make this money and be able to pay my bills, but that wasn’t what I was created for. I wasn’t created to live in a minimum wage job. It was so much more than that. That woman, even though it was very degrading and all of that, unlocked something in me that day because it gave me this tenacity to say, “I don’t have to live this way. I can rise above my circumstances.”
I knew at that moment, it was something that was like, “Education is going to be my way out.” To make a very long story, but a very great story wonderful, I ended up enrolling in school the next day. I walked into a college that I used to ride by the bus stop. I remember seeing this beautiful campus and I’m like, “I’m going to go to school there.” Granted, I had no transcripts and paperwork. I barely graduated from high school and my GPA was probably 1.0 something. Nothing that would make sense that this school would accept me.
I walked in the door. I told the Dean of students my story and they accepted me in. I told them that if they accepted me into school, I promised them that I would graduate and I would graduate with honors. I ended up graduating with honors, and I spoke at my college graduation. It was a very big moment in my life. I have to tell you one last thing. I never give away clothes in a garbage bag. Anytime I give anybody away clothes and anything like that, I always go and get a nice shopping bag and put it in it, because I remember that moment for me and what it felt like. I felt like I was somebody’s hand-me-down. I felt like I was somebody’s trash and that was a big moment.
There are a lot of women out there who are going through exactly like that. That’s very powerful what you shared. Let’s see if we can translate that story into business. There are a lot of businesses that have struggled or had to pivot during COVID. When we look at that and we start looking at, “This always worked before COVID,” but maybe it’s not working. Overall, how could somebody step back and build a little resilience into their business, knowing that what they once used all the time is not what can be used or what is going to resonate now?
I personally have gone through this with real estate. You sit there and you have your current market analysis platform and your book that you take to everybody. You realize years later, “This is so outdated.” That’s my question is when do you know it’s resilience when you’re letting go of something or when you’re building forward?
I love that when you use the word letting go. That’s been the toughest and hardest part. It breaks my heart when I see business owners who are going in circles. They’re trying to unearth the past. They’re trying to take something that used to work and make it work again and it’s not. Building a business in 2021 and beyond, going into 2022, requires something very different.
You have to brush up on your skills and technology. I was probably one of the most technology-phobic people ever. I was like, “No way,” when the shift first started happening. It was like, “What are we doing?” Again, it’s like going from analog to digital. We all had to have that shift, but once I embraced it and said, “I’m going to embrace all elements of technology. It all began to click with me.” I think that’s where a lot of times women over 40, it’s like, “We’ll have my kids do it. That’s for my kids. That’s not for me.”
It is for you because we are in this great place. Women in that age range of between 40 and 60, are young enough to be able to jump onto the technology bandwidth but wise enough to understand how to use it properly. I think that shifting into those things and understanding your business cannot survive without technology.
Even mom-and-pop businesses had to see that during the pandemic. They had to shift from even restaurants. From being able to deliver to now going with things like here in the States DoorDash, Uber Eats and all of these different things to where, “If they didn’t get on board quick enough with being able to provide delivery service, they weren’t going to survive.”
It’s the same thing in every element of business. You have to figure out where technology is going and jump on board, even if you can only grab one with your pinky finger. Grab, figure out who you need to talk to and help educate you on what you need to do and begin to move forward. You have to make that shift.No one is created just to live in a minimum wage job. Click To Tweet
It’s funny that you say that you begrudgingly jumped into all this because you’re my hero. I’ve been watching everything you’re doing going, “How does she do that?” I would have never known that this is all new. Something that you’ve reinvested yourself into. Let’s talk about future-proofing. We know that a lot of female business owners go into business because of necessity. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. When they’re building and creating those foundational pieces of whatever they’re going to do next, what are some ways that they could future-proof that business?
Women are naturally nurturers. We want to nurture everybody and love them. The thing is, when you’re future-proofing your business, you have to still be able to have that nurturing and caring about your company and people that you employ or work with, your team. All of that, but you have to be able to take that and translate it into what is this going to look like in 5 to 10 years? What I mean by that is this. Every business and I hate to say it but you have to be creating something that, whether you are here or not in the middle of it still survives. That’s the hardest thing for women I see to do because we’re naturally nurturers. We want to nurture the baby.
We want to take care of the baby. We want to take the baby to the park. We want to be in the middle of everything, but the more we’re in the middle of everything, the more you’re crippling your company. It’s because you will never be able to expand and go to the places you could go to if you’re willing to let go. We’re back to that statement that you made earlier of letting go and you have to hire the right people and nurture the right team members.
You have to be able to put things in place so that whether you’re in Tahiti or whether you’re sitting behind the counter at your place of business or you’re behind the scenes, everything is still going on. I see female business owners have the hardest time with that one. They have the hardest time letting go. They want to be in every single element of the business and it’s good to do that when you’re building, but you have to build something that you can let go of.
We’re going to go into our social time. Aside from your book, because you are published three times and you have another book that’s about to launch, correct?
It’s called The Launch, yes.
That would be a four-time published author. Just so everybody knows what the statistics around that is, as they say, they have run surveys at 82% of North Americans believe that they have a story in them. They want to write a story or they have something already in process, yet less than 3% get published. That’s pretty awesome and that’s something that we have to give credit to the women who are putting that time in to create the legacy through the written word so it lives on beyond them. When we talk about books, what’s a book that you think all women in business should read?
I am a big fan of Brian Tracy and he has a book called The Psychology of Selling. I think that as women, we sometimes have a big challenge with asking people for money. In learning the psychology behind selling, it teaches you the psychology behind why you’re resistant to asking for money because if you can understand a buyer’s philosophy, it will help you to unlock those hidden things in you that prevent you from wanting to be able to ask people to pay you what you’re worth.
That’s one of my favorite books because it does delve deep into the psychology behind why people buy and also the psychology behind why you, as the salesperson, do the things that you do. That’s a great book for women entrepreneurs because the more that we can begin to ask for what we’re worth and ask the customers and not get into the immediate, “Reduce the amount,” but understand why people buy and how we can be better. That’s what helped most business owners to be able to reap the benefits they want financially in their companies.
You touched on something there and it’s knowing your worth. That’s a big challenge. I know I have done it. I start something and I put my heart and soul into it. You almost feel guilty asking for revenue because you feel like people will think that you’re doing it from a false pretense or less authentic if you’re receiving money. However, one of the things I’ve only started to truly embrace is that without money, I can’t deliver the service and I can’t deliver the product. This whole cycle that happens for a lot of women is that they paint themselves into unemployment because they’re not asking for what they need to generate.
We’re givers too, because we have that philanthropy element behind what we do. We want to give people everything and do everything, but there are two things that came to mind with me that I began to make the shift. I knew that in order to impact the world that I want to impact the world, I have to have money. You have to have revenue. In order to get revenue, you have to be able to ask what you’re worth and people understand that. I think men sometimes have it. They’re like, “I’ve asked, it’s no problem,” but women will tiptoe around the daisies. “No.” You have to and you have to understand that.
The other thing is I realized, especially when I deal a lot with entrepreneurs who are beginning. Businessmen and women who are getting started and you want to help. It’s like the baby birds. I want to help the baby birds. I realized that by giving a lot of free services to them, I wasn’t helping them. I was almost crippling them because I was teaching them something that was the opposite of what they need to be doing. In that, I started having to charge for all of the different things I’m doing because it helps them to understand that time is money. You do have to charge money for the product and service you’re providing because if you don’t get the revenue, your business won’t survive. We do. We can’t be scared to ask for what we’re worth.
In the journey, so you’ve had a very rounded journey. Is there one piece of advice or one quote, something that’s been your North Star that’s always propelled you forward?People may not remember what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Click To Tweet
I always remember the Maya Angelou quote, that people may not remember what you said, what you did or any of that, but they always remember how you made them feel. When I’m working with anybody, that’s always my thing. At the end of the day, I want to make sure that they feel that they were heard. They feel that they were respected, honored in their thoughts and that I was present with them. That’s more important.
We live in a world right now where people are pulling. It’s nineteen different directions at one time. Most people want to know that you hear them, that you care about what they’re saying. That’s something I even have to tell myself sometimes, “Slow down, Kristen, and listen.” Have real authentic conversations with people so that they know that I value them and their time.
Yes. There is a saying in sales, “Emotions buy, logic justifies,” the emotional connection. That’s why department stores have the music that soothes and there’s all this psychology around that, but it is absolutely. It’s how you make them feel. I think women, if we learned to ask for the money and we stay on track, would prosper far greater than men because we are natural nurturers. We want to see people happy and others fulfilled. When we talk about that, what would be the advice? Knowing everything you know now and you’ve got twenty-year-old Kristen sitting there, what would be the advice you would give her?
Never give up. Don’t give up no matter what life tosses you. I’ve been tossed some major doozies and because of resilience and that thing behind me, that fire, I have fallen many times. I get back up and dust my pants off. Sometimes I cry a river and I say, “Jesus, help me please. What’s next,” and I’m able to get to that next place. I think I would tell twenty-year-old Kristen don’t give up. The other side is beautiful. You’re going to make it over there and it’s going to be great. Keep on going and continue. Tell her to love on herself.
I spent a long time not liking who I was. Even though from the outside, everything seemed very normal, I didn’t like myself for a long time. Now not only do I like myself, but I also love myself and I love the place that I’m at. It’s been a journey to get here and so I would tell twenty-year-old Kristen, you will survive, so keep going. Never give up and you’ll make it.
You have every reason to love yourself because you do a lot for a lot of people. First of all, being patient enough. Everybody knows, I hit the wrong button the last time and we had a killer show. I’m still learning the technology. I’m still on the other side of the curve. Can you share with us where people can find you? How can they get in touch with you, if they’re needing your services or they want to book a 30-minute talk to see where they’re at?
They can go to my website, which is www.KlearlyKristen.com. You can also find me on Instagram @KlearlyKristen. You can find me on Facebook at Klearly Kristen. You can reach out to me and I’ll get back to you.
I want to thank everybody for sharing their time. I want to thank you, Kristen, for sharing your time because our time is our most valuable resource and it is non-renewable, so don’t waste it. Do something to make your life propel forward. To make you feel a little more resilient and more happy. Do it for yourself. I want to thank you for sharing your time. I want to invite you to like and subscribe to this show at KimTalks.club or visit me at my other site of ResilientSeries.club and I look forward to connecting again.
- Klearly Kristen, Inc.
- The Launch
- The Psychology of Selling
- @KlearlyKristen – Instagram
- Klearly Kristen – Facebook