Use this time to figure out where your business was most fragile or vulnerable. I think Covid-19 shed light on a lot of our businesses and we now know where we need to give a little extra attention. If we can get through the pandemic, imagine the fearlessness that will happen on the other side.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacy Tuschl has made a name for herself as an expert in growing small businesses. Put it this way, Stacy started her own business at the age of 18 in her parents’ backyard and turned that company into a multi-million dollar business she still runs today (The Academy of Performing Arts has two locations in her home state of Wisconsin). In addition to being a Small Business Growth Coach, Stacy is a bestselling author, and founder of the Foot Traffic Formula — helping small businesses around the world get more customers in the door, more profit in their pocket and more happiness in their homes.
When local area businesses started asking Stacy how she grew her company so rapidly, it sparked the inspiration needed to launch The Foot Traffic Podcast. Her podcast now has over 1 million downloads and is frequently on the top 30 of all marketing on iTunes. She’s interviewed leading experts like Suze Orman, Dave Hollis, Jasmine Star, and Amy Porterfield.
Stacy was named the 2019 Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration. She was featured in Inc. Magazine as one of the top 10 podcasts for moms looking to grow a thriving business and has also been featured in Forbes, Fox Business, Huffington Post and popular podcasts like Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield, Eventual Millionaire, and Social Media Marketing.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I started my own business at the age of 18 in my parents’ backyard and turned that company into a multi-million dollar business that I still run today (The Academy of Performing Arts has two locations in her home state of Wisconsin).
When local area businesses started asking me how I grew my company so rapidly, it sparked the inspiration that I needed to launch The Foot Traffic Podcast.My podcast now has over 1 million downloads and is frequently on the top 30 of all marketing on iTunes. I have interviewed leading experts like Suze Orman, Dave Hollis, Jasmine Star, and Amy Porterfield.
It was such an honor to be named the 2019 Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration. I have also been featured in Inc. Magazine as one of the top 10 podcasts for moms looking to grow a thriving business and has also been featured in Forbes, Fox Business, Huffington Post and popular podcasts like Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield, Eventual Millionaire, and Social Media Marketing.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
One of the biggest things that I can stress is to just be open. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can in the beginning while you’re finding your sweet spot. Saying yes has led me to finding my strengths and things I really don’t enjoy. It also has led to really great opportunities. For instance, live streaming was very intimidating to me at first. I had never been on camera and it was so foreign to me but I decided to try it anyway. After some refining and getting more comfortable I actually started to enjoy it. One day US Bank called me up and said “we are looking to do a small business feature and we are looking for someone who will allow us to record you on camera, we notice you do a lot of video so we thought of you.” By putting myself out there, I received a really incredible offer. They had their entire social media team fly out to my location in Milwaukee and produced a beautiful 4 minute highlight reel that they gave to me for free. From there, one of the bankers a few months later said would you mind if we nominated you for a Small Business Administration award? I of course said yes and the next thing you know they called to let me know I was selected as the S.B.A.’s Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year. These things happen because I’ve been open and willing to try new things. The best things happen outside of your comfort zone.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I just recently released my new book! The Implementation Code: Unlock The Secret To Getting It All Done. It is all about creating systems. During the pandemic and as we transition our home and business life, we need to start creating a new normal. This book is designed to help us create those new systems. This will help people tackle their business in a new and more efficient way. It will help people approach homeschooling and home life in an organized way!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
It’s important to realize we can’t do it all on our own. Picking one person sounds impossible to me. I wish I could give you a list of 20 and I would still have a tough time making it that small. From the countless mentors, coaches, peers who share their wealth of knowledge and lessons learned to our team that treats this business as their own. From the customer who believes in us and tells us we should raise our rates to the people who continue to support and show up even though they no longer need our services. It definitely takes a village and surrounding yourself with people that lift you up. It’s also important to let go of relationships that aren’t serving you any longer.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family-related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
During the pandemic, my businesses have needed me more than ever. When Covid-19 hit, I needed to get both my brick and mortar and my online businesses into the best position possible. I wanted to pivot and make sure that I was showing up for all of my clients. Of course, my children were home during all of this. So they would come into the office and say things like “mom why are you working so much?”. My husband, Kent, was taking care of the girls more than normal so I could focus on the businesses. I was feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I have really started structuring my day. You hear me talk about systems all the time. I live by my google calendar. These days I schedule an hour at the end of my day to wrap up all my tasks. That starts at about 2:00 PM. Once 3:00 PM hits I am off the computer and my attention turns to my family and being present with them.
Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
I would say that one of the biggest work related challenges that I have faced recently is how quickly things are shifting and how proactive you need to be. When the pandemic first hit, it felt like the business market changed every day. Each day you would hear something new about how long the pandemic was going to go, or the stock market, really anything. So working to not get overwhelmed and continue to be creative and move your business forward has been a great challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Taking action and truly showing up everyday is how I have addressed the ever changing climate these days. Instead of letting myself get overwhelmed during the pandemic, I have talked to my peers, talked to my mentors, listened to the news. Taking every opportunity to get inspired. I also have not been hesitating. I am being proactive. I have gone through my businesses financials and credit card statements and made sure that we are being as smart as possible. If one of my team members has a good idea, we implement that day! We don’t wait to see if it is a good idea. The other thing is that I have really been engaged with my clients and listening to what they need. When the pandemic started, I went live in my Facebook group almost daily to give them updates about what I was doing and ask them how I can help them. Even showing up for my clients like that has been inspiring.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
Systems are the way I work through everything! Work and home life! The way you start to implement systems is by setting some expectations in the household and getting everybody on board.
So one of the things that I do at the beginning of starting homeschooling with the kids is, I make my kids kind of make up their own rules for our classroom study and their rules that I approve of. But just the fact that they’re making them up and they’re thinking about them, they’re buying into it too!
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
My family and I are trying to find things that engage us all but are new and we can experience together. We are reading a lot of new books, we are baking together, we go on a lot of walks outside. Make sure that you are also keeping to a schedule. Kids thrive off of a routine. So we try to stick to the same bed time as well as school routine. Sticking to a schedule will also allow you some alone time, or time with your spouse that you need to make sure you are taking!
Many people have become anxious about the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
The pandemic blindsided us in 2020 and now we are waiting for even more unknowns. As much as we want to get through it, I think it is important we reflect on a few key areas.
1. Use this time to figure out where your business was most fragile or vulnerable. I think Covid-19 shed light on a lot of our businesses and we now know where we need to give a little extra attention. If we can get through the pandemic, imagine the fearlessness that will happen on the other side.
2. Embrace the innovation. As someone who has owned a business for 18 years, it was a pretty well oiled machine and sometimes it can start to feel stale or a little flat. Covid-19 has required us to think outside of the box and do things we’ve never done before. Some of the new additions will be permanent changes for our business. Although we have 2 physical locations we now realize how many things we could be doing remotely including some of our team meetings. Our leadership team has saved a lot of time not having to run in and out of meetings in our building. We really wouldn’t have thought to do some of these new ideas without being forced to change.
3. We are building raving fans. This time will either make or break you. You will build lifelong customers or people that will never shop with you again. The way we react, respond, and adapt speaks volumes to our clients. We’ve never received so many compliments, kind emails, and thank you’s before. Our hard work is not going unnoticed and I imagine we will receive the benefits of this for years to come.
4. An opportunity to lead by example. It’s time to step up as a leader and show you can do hard things and anything is possible. People want and need hope now more than ever. It’s time to stand up and show what your organization is really all about. Your community is looking for leaders and it’s time to give back.
5. We are going to be stronger than ever when this is over. We’ve had to cut our expenses, go back to the basics, and get really lean. We are making smarter decisions and removing things that weren’t serving us. When we start getting back to full operating conditions we will be in a much stronger position financially. We’ve seen what we can do with half of our budget and we definitely won’t be going back to everything we were doing.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain it?
The current situation really did come at us with no warning! It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed right now. If you have a family member or loved one that is feeling anxious right now one of the best things you can do for them is to show up for them. Set up Zoom calls, reach out over social media, call or text. Really anything to make sure that they feel like they can talk to you if they need or want to. That is one of the biggest things I have found, talking to my peers and then taking action is how I am thriving during this time. Also, sending little care packages is great. So many businesses have started offering online products or shipping options these days. Send them something they could do with their family to de-stress or relax.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Maya Angelou — do the best you can until you know better and then when you know better do better. Give yourself a little grace. When you’re going through something you’ve never experienced before like the pandemic, go a little easy on yourself. But now that you’ve learned a few things, you know better and you need to make sure you are actually doing better if you don’t want the same situations to repeat.
How can our readers follow you online?
Yes! You can find me at www.stacytuschl.com or on social media!
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!