I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Theresa. Liz Theresa, business coach and founder of LizTheresa.com, has been helping entrepreneurs find clarity and uniquely market themselves with confidence for the past 7 years through her strategic website design and clever copywriting services. She wants every entrepreneur to rise and be the star of their own business. She’s also the creator of Concept to Creation, her flagship branding and web design program. Liz lives with her husband James, a US Air Force Veteran, in the Boston area. When she’s not working with clients, she’s recording episodes of her podcast Liz on Biz, shopping for things she doesn’t need at Target, or dancing like no one is watching (except they are) at Zumba class.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
With pleasure! I never expected my life to be what it is now…but, I think most people feel that way, right? In my younger days, I had absolutely ZERO interest in business. I never hustled to sell newspapers and I didn’t top the girl scout sales cookie board. During my adolescence, I was just busy being myself — a very normal (albeit, high-achieving) girl from a super small town in Massachusetts. I worked at the grocery store up the street when I was 16 (which is where I met my now-husband.)
I got knee-deep in the arts when I was young — doing lots of theatre and minoring in it during college. It turns out I hated the vanity of showbiz — so, rather than pursue my dream of being a regular on Days of Our Lives, I pushed my life in a different direction. I always had a talent for writing and ended up focusing my studies by majoring in English. I didn’t stop going to school after I finished my bachelor’s because I genuinely didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life — which is why I got a Master’s from Bridgewater State University.
During that time (the economic woes and throes that plagued 2009 to 2011), my parents’ business hit rough waters. They asked me to help — so I started googling things like marketing and how to increase sales. If you asked me then what marketing was, I’d have shrugged my shoulders and said that’s what people who sell Avon do, isn’t it? Of course, the only marketing I’d heard of was ugly multi-level stuff. I had no idea that my attempt to help my parents improve their business would end up spurring a business of my own.
Once I learned a little about online marketing, I got hungry for more of it. I read articles daily and to test my knowledge, I offered freelance social media and à la carte design services to small businesses. I learned that marketing is only effective if a business has a strong and solid foundation — which is why I redirected my services to be focused on branding, strategy, and website design/development.
Oh — and I couldn’t get a job — because no one could get a job in the digital space unless you had 3 to 5 years experience — which was hilarious because Twitter was only 2 years old at the time.
That’s when I hired myself.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
I genuinely didn’t discover my spiritual side, at least — my spiritual side in its most developed form, until I divorced my first husband in 2016. Our divorce rocked me to my core and came as quite a shock. When someone you care about leaves your life for any reason (death, divorce, separation), it’s a trauma for you mind, body, and soul. Going through any type of trauma forces you to pause and go within — whether you want to or not. I spent a good amount of time wondering who I was if I wasn’t married to him — and how I could possibly continue to fit into this world.
I met a wonderful therapist who recommended I start meditating. Being willing to try anything to help myself, I dove right in and downloaded the Headspace app. I’d thought meditation was supposed to make you feel calm… I didn’t expect that it would come with all these other benefits: being less quick to anger, less reactive, more empathetic and accepting toward others, more focused and mentally clear — to name just a few amazing things.
All of this self-exploration led me to getting published my very first time in 2016, in an online publication called Elephant Journal. I titled my article, “How to get Divorced and not want to Die,” and I still get emails from readers about my journey to this day.
Meditation is just one modality I cited in this article for its impact on my healing / spiritual awakening — I also explored hypnosis, read a ton of books, and rediscovered some of my former hobbies — all of which helped me reconnect to who I really am. Someone who’s really pretty cool — I now enjoy hanging out with myself. Alone time can be so much fun!
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
So much of my work depends on having positive, healthy relationships with my clients. If we get along, my clients are more likely to grow and make the most use of the strategies I teach them about. This said, daily meditation and self-care is a necessity — not an option or something I do “when I have time.” My mindfulness and spiritual practice is what gets me in the right headspace to be most effective when it comes to coaching and supporting my clients.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
The worst thing I can do is say, “I’m too busy to meditate.” I don’t say that anymore.
I actually used to work on LizTheresa.com stuff for 5 days a week. Now, I’m down to 3 or 4 days per week. (Yes, only 3 or 4 — you read that right.) It’s not out of laziness, but because I have a personal commitment that takes me away on Wednesdays — and then, if I don’t have to work a Friday, why would I want to?
To make my 3 to 4-day workweek possible, I hired an incredible woman who specializes in time management. She doesn’t market herself that way — but in my opinion, she should. She fundamentally changed my relationship with time. I don’t earn less because I work less — — it’s just that when I do work, I get a LOT more done than I used to. And it’s thanks to her. (Her name is Tessa and she’s the founder of the Palmerton Group — in case anyone here would like to look her up!)
A big part of my work with Tessa was contingent on keeping up with my daily meditation which keeps me clear, calm, and focused. She also taught me the Pomodoro method which I would call a mindfulness technique that helps you be more effective with time.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
“To lead a good life” is to live a life according to your values. My #1 value is family and relationships — which is one of the greatest parts of self-employment in the first place. My obligation on Wednesdays is family-related, which is why it spurred me to change the way I do business.
I would recommend determining what your values are. I’m really big on helping my clients design and grow a business they love — which emphasis on the word love. No one loves a business that makes them feel trapped or stops them from spending time doing things that matter. I might even say — for seasoned entrepreneurs who may be reading this, if you have the business blues, it very well may not be your business’s fault. It might just be that you’re not living a life in accordance with your values. You might have blamed your business for this — when you’ve neglected to remember it’s YOUR business and YOUR life.
What small changes could you make to even the coming week to make sure you’re “leading a good life?” I suggest making them and seeing how that makes you feel.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
After my divorce was finalized and during the latter part of my spiritual healing, I joined a self-help book club. We read a book called The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein. The premise of this book is that if you want something to change in your life or to happen for you, that you need to simply ask for it. You ask the Universe (or God — or higher power — whatever you believe in) for what you want, and it will be yours — so long as it is in your highest good, that you really do want whatever it is, and that you’re ready to receive it.
It sounds a little out there, I know. Please stay with me.
I went to dinner after the book club meeting with my friend Lauren who’d hosted it. She asked me simply, “Do you have something you’d like to ask [the Universe] for?”
I paused and considered the question. I took a breath and thought about it. Then, I said, “I would like to ask for emotional intimacy.”
If you’d asked me *right* after my divorce what I wanted, it was to be married again. It was something I said to my therapist on repeat. I just wanted to be married again, because I’d forgotten who I was when I wasn’t married. I’d had a boyfriend at that time, too, who probably would have married me (even though we were very wrong for each other.)
Here I was — and the number one thing I wanted wasn’t to be married, it was to have emotional intimacy.
I went on to tell her that I wanted emotional intimacy — however it would like to show up and however it may be in my highest good — a new friend, new closeness to someone I already know, or romantic. What was so staggering about this is that romance was no longer a requirement. I’d finally enjoyed spending time with just me — and I valued myself enough to not need someone else to do that for me.
And what happened? Two weeks pass — and BOOM. I run into my ex-boyfriend James at the very place we’d met all those years ago — the grocery store up the street from my parents’ house. Love hit me like a high-speed train and we were married within the year.
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?
My mom, for sure. I’m very fortunate to be following the example my parents set by being self-employed — although my business is very different than theirs was. My parents worked in manufacturing — and that’s something I would never do. I’m happy working in service for now.
My mom’s always been a huge role model for me. She’s compassionate and hilarious at the same time. I went to only one interview after I completed my Master’s program. It was for a random dot-com that happened to have an office here locally. The position was to write product descriptions for wigs. Yes, wigs. Like “wear THIS wig out for girls night!” — that sort of thing.
I was pretty excited for the interview — since getting an interview for a creative position during an economic downturn was pretty hard to do. I showed up dressed to the nines in a brand new outfit with a graphically-designed resume. I glowed the whole time.
At the end of the interview, my interviewer (the company’s art director) said, “I’ve got to level with you. This job will suck the soul from your body. You’re way too creative to be here.” Verbatim.
I paused and thought to myself, “Does that mean this went well or is this not a compliment?” Before I could think of anything to really say in addition, he showed me to the door and I walked to my car in total confusion.
I took a breath and called my mom. Exasperated, I told her what the man had said and explained, “Mom, all I want to do is help businesses market themselves better.”
And she replied, “Liz, you don’t need permission to do what you want to do. If you want to help businesses, go do it.”
And she was right. ☺
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
Following the golden rule is huge. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That goes for your team. My team has told me they think I handle them with kid-gloves. If that’s the case, it’s also why no team member has ever quit working with me because of the way I treat them. Being kind to your team is not removing your boundaries. It’s about respecting theirs and playing to their strengths.
I also have a monthly team kick-off call to talk about our company’s most recent wins and upcoming challenges so we’re all always on the same page. Creating ways to boost transparency and interpersonal communication within a team can be a challenge when everyone works remotely, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job at taking care of each other.
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. 🙂
Kindness is contagious. Elaborating on what I said above, when interacting with someone in any context (professional or personal), I always stop to take their feelings into account. I would love for more entrepreneurs to run their businesses with empathy — which can be especially when any professional confrontations or conflicts arise. Warmth can keep relationships from going off the rails — and I think everyone can agree that everything works better when we all get along.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
They can follow me anywhere online @LizTheresa. I love Instagram! You can also join my Facebook group Internet Fame to get connected and inspired at https://www.facebook.com/groups/InternetFameNow/. Last but not least, I have a FREE copywriting training video available for streaming at FreeCopyVideo.com.
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Medium magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live