David Trotter of Rise Up Creatives: “Embrace your true identity”

“Embrace your true identity” — Rather than building an identity around your education, title, business, or socio-economic status, what if you built your identity around something that was long-lasting and even eternal? I believe you are inspired, enough, and loved, because God / the Divine / Source created you. You don’t have to do or be anything […]

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“Embrace your true identity” — Rather than building an identity around your education, title, business, or socio-economic status, what if you built your identity around something that was long-lasting and even eternal? I believe you are inspired, enough, and loved, because God / the Divine / Source created you. You don’t have to do or be anything else to be valuable in this world. When you embrace this as your true identity, you have a strong foundation from which to grow your life and business.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Trotter.

David Trotter is dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs as they start and scale their businesses. After consistently hearing from his clients about the challenges of creating content for social media, he launched Rise Up Creatives, a membership platform to help business owners create beautiful, engaging social media content in just five minutes a day. David is also the host of the Inspiration Rising podcast with over 200 episodes featuring female entrepreneurs and leaders sharing their experience and wisdom, and his latest book is entitled “Empowered to Rise: The Secret to Embracing Your True Identity, Uncovering Your Super Powers, and Bringing Your Inspiration to the World.” David and his wife, Laura, have been married 27 years and live in southern California.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Believe it or not, I was a pastor for over 10 years, and my work was focused on starting fast-growing churches, which was quite an entrepreneurial experience. When you work with a dozen or so people to envision and grow a community into hundreds who gather on Sundays and throughout the week, it requires an incredibly clear vision and strategy while often operating on a shoestring budget.

Unfortunately, I was burned out and quickly on my way to hitting rock bottom after a decade of this work.

My desire to help others had morphed into workaholism in an effort to fill that hole of not-enoughness inside me. If I could just grow the church bigger and land that book deal, I would finally “make it” and feel like I was enough. The result was broken relationships and a three-day hospital stay to clear my head and re-calibrate my life. I transitioned out of ministry and started a marketing studio that focused on branding, web development, photography, and videography, and the business grew to a six-figures rather quickly.

Meanwhile, I still had a passion to make an impact in the world, and my attention turned to the plight of orphans in India. I had led humanitarian trips to this great nation eight or nine times over the years, but this time, I worked with a partner to shoot a documentary that captured the lives of 25 orphans, aged three to 23, living alongside a railway. The film, entitled “Mother India: Life Through the Eyes of the Orphan”, was picked up for distribution and featured on Netflix from 2012 to 2014.

I naively thought to myself, “Well, that was easy!”

While still running the marketing business, I rallied a team to produce and direct another documentary — this one focused on sex trafficking in the United States. “In Plain Sight: Stories of Hope and Freedom” features six female abolitionists who became aware of the issue of trafficking in their cities and opened up aftercare homes to help survivors. In addition to being available on Amazon, the film has been shown over 400 times in grassroots screenings across the United States.

After completing two more feature films, I began to feel a desire to make a difference on a day-to-day basis than year-to-year. As you can imagine, films require an enormous amount of time — especially when self-funding or crowdfunding. In late 2018, my wife, Laura, and I started talking about what it might look like for me to leverage my entrepreneurial experience to start business consulting and a podcast.

The natural question was, “Well, who would you want to serve?”

After looking back over my 25 years of ministry, marketing, and movies, the group of people who seemed to be most impacted by my work were…women…especially those 30 to 60 years of age.

In January 2019, I launched Inspiration Rising as a podcast featuring female entrepreneurs and leaders who share their stories and wisdom, and we’ve now released over 200 episodes. Alongside that, Rise Up Business Academy helps women start and grow businesses, and Rise Up Creatives is a monthly membership that provides business owners with images, customizable captions, and graphic design templates to stand out and save time on social media.

For most of my life, I’ve enjoyed the start and finish of a project, but I feel like I’ve finally found a way to leverage my gifts and experiences that feels inspiring and enjoyable on a day-to-day basis…not just when a big goal is reached.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

First and foremost, I am a man who is dedicated to championing women in business.

There are very few male business growth consultants who are focused on coaching and creating resources primarily for women. While I don’t state this on my website or online profiles, the branding, language, imagery, and testimonials are definitely geared toward females. I found that when I was explicit in stating this, I would get some pushback from a few women stating, “Why are you trying to tell women what to do? We’ve had enough of that already!”

Without knowing my heart or the nuances of my work, that might be easy to assume. The truth is I’m here to listen, encourage, and inspire. I have the ability to breathe “belief” into those who need that extra nudge of encouragement. I’m not here to tell anyone to do anything. I’m here to support and serve.

Frankly, my business might grow faster if I focused on both women and men, but that’s not what I feel called to do. I thoroughly enjoy helping women start and scale their businesses, and I feel like I’m living and working from my highest self when I’m focused on that mission.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I can’t believe I’m going to admit to this, but it’s real life.

One time I was meeting with a business consulting client at her home in Beverly Hills, and we were taking a short break. I walked what felt like the distance of a football field to the nearest restroom, and I was checking email on my phone along the way. As I was taking care of business in the expansive and plush surroundings, I could feel my phone slipping out of my hand, and that’s when things went into slow motion.

My phone is falling, falling, falling.

As I reached out to prevent it from plunging into the water, my body jerked from side-to-side and something else landed on the floor as well. I was mortified…and quickly went into clean-up mode!

Lesson learned. Focus on one thing at a time when taking care of business.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had many mentors at different stages of my life as a pastor, business owner, and filmmaker, but there are several that stand out in the online business space. These women have been mentors from a distance as I’ve enjoyed their books, podcasts, and online courses.

Rachel Hollis is a genius when it comes to sharing her life and wisdom with passion. Because she doesn’t hold back on her opinions, she gets into hot water sometimes, but I see her as a life-long learner. She dreams big, lives loud, learns fast, and asks for forgiveness along the way. I want to be more like that.

Jenna Kutcher is the real deal…at least that’s what she projects. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet or work with her, but she feels authentic and humble in the midst of running a massive business and podcast. I’m drawn to her realness — from celebrating all body types to processing the challenges of motherhood — her bright and shining smile radiates joy.

Maria Forleo has helped me embrace that everything is figureoutable. Not only is she an incredibly savvy businesswoman, but she infuses a belief in those around her. She believes you can figure it out, and she’s there to help you each step of the way. On top of all the biz learnings, I just love how playful she is. I want more playfulness in my life, because that’s what makes the hard work of business sustainable.

And, last but not least, the queen herself — Amy Porterfield. A couple of years ago, I was listening to her podcast as my wife and I were getting ready for bed, and I heard these words come out of Amy’s mouth, “I want to read an amazing review by David Trotter.” What?!?! Did she just say my name? Yes, she did! Amy’s online courses have been a tremendous education for me, and I admire her incredible intelligence and tender heart. What a gift she is to the world!

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I believe that disrupting an industry is positive when it’s for the ultimate well-being of the client or customer. If the motive of the disruptor is one of service (not just sales), they will be focused on making the end user’s experience better in some way. The product will be more effective or more efficient, and the end user will ultimately benefit. In theory, the disruptive business will grow financially as well.

When the disruptor is simply seeking financial gain without benefit to the consumer…or when the disruptor is out for revenge or payback, the results won’t likely benefit the end user or the market as a whole.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The first is “embrace your true identity.” Rather than building an identity around your education, title, business, or socio-economic status, what if you built your identity around something that was long-lasting and even eternal? I believe you are inspired, enough, and loved, because God / the Divine / Source created you. You don’t have to do or be anything else to be valuable in this world. When you embrace this as your true identity, you have a strong foundation from which to grow your life and business.

The second is “replace the lies with the truth.” We all have those limiting beliefs (aka lies) that are being spoken into our minds by the proverbial devil on our shoulder — or more likely, the echo of important voices from our growing-up years. When you raise your awareness of this voice and clearly state the lie you’re prone to believe, it’s possible to replace that lie with the truth. The lie is “I’m not __________ enough”, but the truth is “I don’t have to be or do anything else to be enough. I am whole and complete.” That is the truth!

The third would be “you can do it.” That can easily sound like a weightless cliché, but it can be one of the most powerful statements uttered to someone who is struggling with whether they can actually pursue their dreams. When you look into the eyes of an employee, team member, or friend and genuinely express a belief that they are worth pursuing what’s in their heart, something magical happens. Your belief sparks a greater sense of courage, and that person is more likely to take that next step toward their dreams.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

After watching many of my business consulting clients struggle with social media, our team recently launched Rise Up Creatives, a membership platform that helps business owners stand out and save time. Each month, we provide 31 lifestyle images, 31 customizable captions, and hundreds of graphic design templates inside our drag-and-drop graphic design studio.

Instead of wondering what to post and how to post it, we teach our members how to leverage the top seven post categories to help them cultivate relationships with their ideal clients.

The results have been tremendous. Coaches, consultants, speakers, authors, lightworkers, and other small business owners are loving how easy it is to use, because they can create beautiful, engaging social media content in just minutes a day.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

“The Four-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss opened my eyes up to an entrepreneurial life. I grew up in a home where my parents both had stable nine-to-five jobs, and I didn’t personally know a single entrepreneur until after college. When I dove into Tim’s groundbreaking book, it opened up new possibilities I had never envisioned. From concepts around outsourcing to travel to living anywhere in the world, that book changed my life. So much of what I’ve done as an entrepreneur can be traced back to the lessons I learned by reading his book multiple times.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I love to say to our kids, “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” Of course, they roll their eyes, but I believe it’s true. When I take the time to reflect on whatever it is that I’m working on and take the time to prepare, I’m going to be so much more confident when it’s time to walk into that meeting or make that presentation. Planning isn’t just about a big event either. It’s about being prepared at any time to jump into action in the context of my business. That means that I’m physically rested, mentally engaged, and spiritually connected…ready for that opportunity at a moment’s notice.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂

I want you to know that you can live out that dream. I believe God / the Divine / Source has put hopes and dreams inside of you that shouldn’t be carried to the grave. You have one life, and now is the time. Take a step forward and get the support you need to get started. You may not be able to see every single step of the way, but you can take one step today.

The world needs what you have to offer, and we will be so much better off when your dream comes to fruition. And, ultimately, you will be so much better off as well!

How can our readers follow you online?

Inspiration Rising Podcast: www.InspoRising.com/Podcast

Facebook: www.facebook.com/insporising

Instagram: www.instagram.com/insporising

Rise Up Creatives: www.RiseUpCreatives.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/riseupcreatives

Instagram: www.instagram.com/riseupcreatives

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jdavidtrotter

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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