Stephanie Synclair: Business Coach and Author

Stephanie Synclair doesn’t want fear to stop you. She certainly didn’t let it stop her when she quit her corporate gig on a whim in 2009. And while Stephanie will be the first to tell you not to do it quite her way (moving back in with mom isn’t the most glamorous thing she’s ever done), she will tell you that making the jump was one of her best decisions to date. That decision was the catalyst for her own journey to success and – ultimately – to helping others find theirs.

An entrepreneur and business coach, Stephanie’s built her own dynamic brand by helping others overhaul their own.

Utilizing her corporate background and extensive personal experience, she’s committed to translating her ever-growing success into the success of her clients. Stephanie says it all starts with being ok with asking for help, “It’s ok to not know what you’re doing.” If that matter-of-fact admission takes some of the pressure off, you’ll love what Stephanie has to say about work-life balance. Superwoman need not apply!

Let’s go back in your career just a bit. What was the turning point in your career to become an author and entrepreneur?

I’ve always known that a traditional 9 to 5 wasn’t for me, but I was definitely willing to fit into that box because I didn’t know that other box existed, and then I had a child. Having to drop your baby off at daycare early in the morning, not seeing them the majority of the day and when you pick them up, it’s time for dinner, bath and bed. It’s exhausting for both of you. Then you start that process over again, and it’s not the relationship that I wanted with my son. I felt like I was missing a lot of milestones. I would pick him up from daycare and the daycare teacher would share what he did, and I would miss it! I felt it [work and stress of being in a box] all compounding and in December of 2008, my son had to have surgery. I remember my job threatened that I couldn’t take off work and they would make me take a leave of absence, and it wasn’t guaranteed that my job would be there when I came back.

Yes, I was able to come back, but there was a shift that happened where I realized as much as I loved working for the company, the work that I did and the transformation we were making with our team, they didn’t necessarily value me as much as I valued them. It was like this big bell went off for me, and that was the beginning of the end.

In August 2009, I hit a point and was fed up. I wrote out my resignation effective immediately, walked in, cleaned out my desk and left. It wasn’t planned. I did not know when I was driving into work that day that I would turn in my resignation. It was this force that you cannot take anymore. I like to say when you’re truly fed up with something you will make a move no matter how scary it is. You know you’re scared, but the fear means nothing because you know something else is on the other side of that.

What did you do after you quit? How did you transition into consulting and business coaching?

I wish I could tell you it was the best decision that I ever made, but because I didn’t plan it, I had no plan. I literally had no idea what I was doing. I quit, picked my baby up from daycare and went back to my apartment and told myself I was crazy. I figured that I was so amazing and great with marketing and business, that the word was out that I was done working there and someone would come knock my door down. I’m laughing now because it sounds silly, but at the time it made a lot of sense to me. And it didn’t happen. I actually didn’t know when I left that I was leaving to start my own business; I didn’t know what I was leaving for, I just knew I couldn’t be there anymore. So I sat around and waited for three months. About four months in, the eviction notice showed up to my door. I realized that my plan was not panning out quite like I thought. It did not happen, and as a matter of a fact, I am losing everything. I did get evicted in November.

Right after Thanksgiving, my family got a U-Haul (I couldn’t even afford a U-Haul) to help me move out of the apartment. I moved from Atlanta, Georgia back to Alabama with my family. I literally had lost everything. About three weeks later, I lost my car. So here I am, this woman, a single mom with a two-year-old at my mom’s house in the bedroom I grew up in. You couldn’t even get the door open all the way with a full sized bed, a toddler bed sitting at the foot of my bed and a desk with a computer. Now living back in my mom’s house I realized that I’ve hit a crossroads and I have two options. 1) I can go back to work, which is what everyone told me to do. Or, 2) I could figure out a way to make money on my own. Though the logical thing would’ve been to go back to work, which I agreed, but the logical thing wasn’t feeling amazing to me, it actually sadden me and depressed me more than I was already depressed in that small room.

I thought about what is it I know how to do. For years the one thing I loved to do was make all natural skin care products. My son has eczema, so when he was born I started doing research on different natural products and essential oils I could mix up for him. I had began making his baby products and would give them away as gifts.  I wondered if other people were interested. So, in the corner of that room with my desktop and webcam, I started a web channel to talk about all natural skin care, my son’s eczema and how these different ingredients can change your skin. And something that was surprising to me was within about a week or two, people started asking where can we find these products.

At that point, I knew I could make a few bucks from this. I told them you can place an order for your products, but it’s going to take eight to ten business days because they’re made with love. Now that’s the truth that they were made with love, but if I was to be a bit more transparent, it’s because I didn’t even have the money to buy the ingredients to make the products ahead of time!

About three months in, we were making about $5,000-$6,000 a month, which maybe isn’t a ton, but I had $21 when I moved home with my mom. I felt really good and I absolutely loved it. I used YouTube, Facebook advertising and Twitter. I used every free resource I could and by the end of the first year, we had crossed a $100,000. I loved getting on camera and talking to people about these products, and I realized a lot of my conversation wasn’t just about the products. I was talking about life, about being a mother and about being a mother who is starting a business. The conversations shifted, and people were following me, not just because of the products, they were actually following me (and my story).

I started receiving calls asking me to speak at events and to be interviewed by the media. No one was really interested in the products anymore, everyone was interested in how I did it business-wise. From here, I started hosting calls on Saturdays on where people would call in for group training on marketing your business, focusing on free platforms. People started sharing positive results and saying ‘my business is growing or I’m gaining subscribers on YouTube.’

I would hear people talk about consulting and coaching, but in all actuality, I thought of it like a made up industry. However, this changed when a woman emailed me after the fourteenth or fifteenth free session that I did linking me to another woman’s website who basically taught what I taught. Except when I started digging into what the woman does, she had a multi-million-dollar business and she was creating programs!  I wondered how I could get paid doing this.

I decided to test it. I charged $40 per class to see how many people would sign up, and the first class had over 300 people signed up! And, they were paying every week. I created packages and decided it was going to be a second business for me. About six months in, I surpassed what I made the previous year in the brick and mortar business (natural skincare products). I made $100,000 in six months. I decided to shut down my business called the Beauty Bar and focus on the consulting business. People ask if I regret creating a product company, and I do not at all because the fact is if I had not, then I would not be here. I still to this day make my son skincare products.

What do you believe is the key to successfully making the jump?

The key is to do what I didn’t do; have some form of preparation. In some ways I feel blessed because I did have family to fall back on. However, a lot of people don’t have family to fall back on. What I would do different is I would have ensured that I had enough savings to at least support me the first six months, and I also would’ve connected with someone who was an expert to help me get my business off the ground.

What I have found is most of my clients, by the time they come to me, have already been trying for a year, sometimes two, and they fail and ruin their credit. The key is at the beginning to acknowledge that I don’t know what I’m doing, I want this to work, and let me find someone who is an expert at this so that I don’t have to have the pitfall that other people have. You have to understand what you’re great at and admit what you’re not great at. I have clients who come back to me within 60 days because their business is making money, when they spent a year before doing it on their own and losing money.

How did you transition into writing and becoming a published author?

I believe that when you have a book, it’s better than a business card. I could give you my business card and you could throw it right away, but a book is more difficult to throw away. When I started writing it was about having a business card, having a platform to speak on, and I quickly realized it was more than that, it was in addition to your resume.

A book is lead generation. A book is marketing. I think you’re missing out on a key piece if you don’t have at least one piece of published work. Right now, I have four or five of my clients that are writing books. Whenever they write a book, they follow the below writing process:

  • Why are you writing the book?
  • Are you writing the book as a lead generation source?
  • Are you writing the book as a platform piece, something for the media to interview you on?
  • Are you writing the book as something for you to step on stage with?

If you go in knowing why you’re writing the book, it’s easier for you to get the result you want. Most of my clients write to gain clients or for lead generation; to get people reading, know that they’re experts and to reach out for help. In your book, make sure to link to different ways people can connect with you: free trainings, articles and keep people in your sphere. That’s why a book is so powerful, they’ve sat down and read a hundred or two hundred pages from you; they’re somewhat invested in you and what you have to say. They want to keep going as opposed to maybe reading a five-minute blog post from you.

How do you become published?

I wrote my book in four days. I have to say I am blessed because one of my closest business friends owns a publishing company and she teaches people how to write in three days or less. It’s a crazy process in order to do it in four days. First off, knowing why you’re writing the book (what is the point), and what do you want people to walk away with. Second, you need to create an outline for the book.

I actually attempted to write a book several times before it was published, because I would sit down and just write. That’s one of the worst mistakes I see people do. That’s when people start to get creative block. You start with an outline. If you know what the point of your book is, you know where the key points are. If I ever get a creative block, all I have to do is go back to the outline. It tells me what I’m supposed to be writing about, and I can just sit down and write.

Congratulations on your new book, “Shut up and Do the Work.” Could you tell us what inspired you to write this and what your goal is?

What inspired me to write it was my clients. When people come to me they have a million excuses. The title on the cover of the book is aggressive, but it’s exactly who I am. I’m the truth teller. If you’re not really ready for someone to be 100% authentic and honest with you about what is happening, then I’m not the one for you, because the answer really is ‘shut up and do the work.’

The title is a bit tricky, because when people read it, they think the physical work. However, this particular book is actually about the mindset work behind success. Because you can hustle and grind, but in all actuality what is happening is you’re moving forward with action steps, but you don’t even believe in what you’re doing or yourself. It doesn’t matter what action you take; you’re not going to get the results you want.

Clients were coming to me saying they were busy all of the time. They never had time for their family, they were never able to do anything and they still didn’t have the business success they wanted. As I saw my clients doing work and not getting the results, I would stop, hop on the phone and we would spend an hour or two just on mindset work, because they didn’t realize that’s what was holding them back. We would get off the phone, they would go back to taking actions and they would start getting results from the actions. It’s a difference between taking an action for the sake of taking an action (‘I’m going to post on social media because that’s what I’m supposed to do’) as opposed to purpose (‘I’m about to post because I’m fired up, I have something to say and I need people to hear it’).

You have to be able to visualize and see yourself successful, but the work has to come in as well. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t just do all this hustle and grind, but you don’t believe in what you’re doing. And, you also can’t just sit and meditate and visualize and think that something is going to happen. If your mindset is together, it’s easier to do the work.

Do you feel that you have a good work/life balance, or do you have more of a work/life integration? Why?

It’s a work/life integration. In the way I built my business, I was very mindful of the fact that I wanted something where I could travel the world and my son could be with me. I needed to build it that way. People will ask if I am taking a vacation or traveling for work when I say I just spent a month in New York or next week I’m going to London.  Well no, it’s just my life now. My life is if I decide I want to go to Barbados for two weeks, it’s not a vacation but it’s not work either, because my life allows me to live a work-cation.

There are some days where my work gets more attention than my son. That’s the truth. I hate when people lie about that. It’s some days that my work gets the attention. I think the search for balance will drive you crazy because there is no such thing as balance. There’s just not. I think as women, as mothers, as wives and as friends, we are always trying to be everything to everybody and have that balance that does not exist. I think we need to let ourselves off the hook and know that we’re doing the best that we can with what we have. Some days some parts of your life will get more attention than another part of your life. It’s ok. Be ok with that.

I think we naturally have Superwoman syndrome. It’s ok to be less than Superwoman. I think being Superwoman is actually accepting the fact that some days you won’t get it all right.

What are some of the rules you live by?

If it doesn’t make me happy and does not lead me to where I desire to go, I don’t do it.  If it does not light me up, I will not do it. That goes from interviews and sponsorships to taking on clients. Even today, even where I am, I still interview prospects before I take them on as clients. At one point, I did have a sales team and they would bring people in that once we started working together, we were not a match. I realized that if people are going to work with me on such a close basis, then that meant I needed to have conversations with them. If talking with them didn’t light me up, then the answer is no, we’re not a fit, and I can refer you to someone else.

Sometimes we want to take paychecks because we’re desperate to take them. I’ve been there before, but you need to ask yourself: ‘Will taking this lead me to where I want to go?’ If the answer is no, let the money go. And that’s difficult, but other opportunities will and do come, you just have to be strong enough to say this isn’t the opportunity for me.

Any final thoughts you would like to share with the IWHJ community?

Other than the fact that I truly want all of your readers to follow whatever it is that they desire. I want them to understand that the only difference between the people that get the things they desire and those who don’t, is that the people who don’t, see fear and they allow the fear to stop them. Where as the people who do, see fear and they allow the fear to motivate them to keep moving. Instead of allowing the fear to put pressure on you and to stay in the position you’re in, know that the fear is there and move through it.

After Hours graphic

I’d love to grab coffee with:

Richard Branson

My favorite purse is:

Alexander McQueen Large Padlock Tote

My go-to outfit is:

All black, fitted knee length dress

My favorite dinner spot is:

Andrea’s inside of the Encore in Las Vegas

I can’t live without:

My iPhone.

My favorite way to unwind is:

A long hot bubble bath and a glass of champagne

I feel my best when:

I’m relaxing in Sicily. When I’m there, everything is perfect.

I think being Superwoman is actually accepting the fact that some days you won't get it all right.