Identify and reinforce your boundaries. Entrepreneur life is such a huge transition from 9–5 life. There’s no one telling you when to check in and out. There’s no one telling you to go on your lunch break. It’s up to you to create limits and to enforce them. Other than working in flow, this is the biggest secret to keep you from burning out.
As part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company” I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffani Purdy, a Marketing Strategist, Human Design Expert, and the owner at Human Design with Tiffani. She helps entrepreneurs get seen and sold the easy way, using their Human Design. Students love Tiffani because of her actionable, down-to-earth perspective and the fun, inclusive atmosphere she cultivates for her classes and workshops.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
When I got started in my entrepreneurial journey, it wasn’t because I had some grand plan to change the world. It was because I had a brand new baby, and I refused to believe I had to leave her for half of the day to make good money. Along the way, I found a passion for helping the people with big ideas for impacting society in a positive way to get started the easiest way possible.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
I was still working most with clients one-on-one when COVID hit last year. There were so many people suddenly at home, out of work — in a very similar situation to where I was when I started freelancing five years before COVID. It was in April 2020 that I launched my signature program and shifted my work to include more one-to-many, classroom-style experiences, so I could teach everything I’ve learned about being a solopreneur and marketing yourself to large groups of people who never thought they’d need those skills.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Right before that “breakthrough moment” last year, I almost gave up. My daughter was about to turn 5, and I knew she’d be in school soon. I thought about going back to work for someone else and how easy it would be to know I how much I’d be getting paid and when that money was coming. Ultimately, I am too attached to the lifestyle I’m afforded as an entrepreneur. I love being able to set my own hours and to take spontaneous trips and to choose the people I work with. When I asked myself if I could ever really go back to answering to someone else and having another person set my rate of pay, the answer was a hard no.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Today, my business is bringing in an average of $30k cash every month, with about 70% of that being pure profit. I have two regular part-time contractors, and I am building a team of facilitators to host my signature program’s live class that comes around for virtual attendance four times a year. In less than a year, our signature program has served over 200 students all around the world. It’s been a wild ride!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Even though we’re talking about things that are typically “serious, masculine subjects” — like business strategy and money goals — I like to bring a sense of fun and humor to the conversation. I think that most people would rather be having a good time than working, so if I can fuse fun into work, I’m giving my students a totally elevated experience.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
I distinctly remember setting myself up for my very first webinar. I didn’t have fancy webinar software, but I really wanted to be official and have the webinar hosted through my URL. I made a new page on my WordPress site, set up a window that was supposed to let me stream through YouTube, and found some chat application I could embed underneath for interaction. I’d marketed the event for a week or so on my social media channels and through my email list. For being my first webinar with a very small audience at the time, I was surprised to see we had close to 100 people on the guest list. I sat down 10 minutes before the webinar was scheduled to begin, set up my ancient Acer laptop with my $20 USB-microphone I used every week to record my podcast, and when it was time to go live…my sound wasn’t working. In front of over 50 people, I started having a panic attack because I couldn’t figure out what wasn’t working properly. I closed my laptop, called a friend who is also a business owner for a pep talk, then sent an email to my list telling them we’d have to come back for take two the next day. I had a couple of people unsubscribe and be super critical; most people were very understanding and came back the next day for the webinar. I laugh about it now — because everyone experiences some kind of tech issue at some point. No one is perfect. The people who criticized me for having a tech issue? They’re probably not running businesses now. It takes courage to fail for you to take the action that leads to success.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
There is so much toxic advice out there for entrepreneurs! When I first got started, there was a lot of glamorizing of “hustle culture,” and if you weren’t working 24/7, you obviously weren’t serious about starting a business. Now I realize that, yes, you have to put in the work — but if you burn yourself out, everything is going to come crashing down eventually. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Adaptability. When something didn’t work or an offer didn’t sell, I didn’t throw in the towel or make it mean something about me, personally. I picked myself up, examined why that didn’t work, then adjusted where necessary and tested again.
Open-mindedness. I never fool myself into thinking I know everything, so I stay open to new information and new perspectives. This keeps my business innovating and evolving, which is essential if you want to thrive beyond a season.
Confidence. It cannot be overstated — there’s no replacement for believing in yourself and what you’re doing. If you can’t bring that belief into your work and into your marketing, it doesn’t matter how good you are — people don’t buy from insecure people.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Build your business on a foundation of respect for the human energy that feeds it, starting with yourself. Humans need to rest AND relax, and they aren’t something you have to earn. Visualize your ideal average work day — what does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? Does it look like toiling away, never taking breaks, shorting out your nervous system with too much caffeine? Or does it look like being a powerful leader, upholding your own boundaries, delegating tasks, and honoring your team’s personal energy as well? I’m willing to bet it looks more like the latter. Start implementing that now, and it’ll only keep getting better.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Waiting too long to outsource things outside their zone of genius and zone of joy. Instead of wasting time and energy pouring yourself into DIYing it all, figure out what you’re good at and want to do all day — then see what else actually needs to get done for you to stabilize at the next level, and hire people to help you get those things done. When you’re stabilized at the next level, you can re-evaluate and expand. Growth will happen so much faster if you have that support, rather than waiting to get support until you’re at a certain level.
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Being a good salesperson. There are a lot of people out there who are excellent at what they do and have a lot to offer the world, but they’re not great at selling themselves or their ideas. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing — from the CEO meeting with investors, to the team members sharing ideas with their managers, to the potential employee coming in for an interview — everyone involved in the company will be in a position where they’re selling something at some point. Empowering everyone, from top to bottom, with great sales skills will take your whole company to the next level.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- You come first. Something that should be obvious (but unfortunately is often conditioned out of us) is the need for you to be happy and healthy, first and foremost. You can’t create, give, or share something fantastic when you’re in an energy deficit. Take care of yourself first.
- Fun in crucial. I don’t know about you, but I grew up seeing a lot of adults doing jobs they didn’t like. They were working for the weekend, and that’s just what people do, right? Wrong! When you create while you’re inspired, happy and fulfilled, you’re in flow. And bonus: The people you want to help feel it, too.
- Do it your way. Don’t get suckered into thinking there’s some kind of business model and workflow you can download from that IG guru and bam! You’ll be swimming in cash. What’s great about this though is that you get to figure out what works for you and create from that space.
- Keep it simple. Start where you are! Comparing yourself to that other coach who seems to be everywhere isn’t helpful — you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, like if they have a team or if their strategy is even working. Instead of trying to do #allthethings, start simple and build from a space that makes you feel good.
- Identify and reinforce your boundaries. Entrepreneur life is such a huge transition from 9–5 life. There’s no one telling you when to check in and out. There’s no one telling you to go on your lunch break. It’s up to you to create limits and to enforce them. Other than working in flow, this is the biggest secret to keep you from burning out.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
In 2021, we are focusing on giving back, and we’ve outlined an ambitious giving plan that we’re very excited about. In addition to paying our own team members premium rates for their work, we are committing to donating to (at least) 12 different non-profit organizations throughout the year. We’re projecting to donate $30,000 or better, in total for 2021. It’s our hope that we can inspire more small business owners to commit to their own giving plans — at whatever level they can, currently.
How can our readers further follow you online?
You can follow me on Instagram @humandesignwithtiffani; and you can subscribe to my podcast, Seen and Sold, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
Thank you for having me!