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Small Biz Buzz—129—Big Grit: Natasha Davis

Natasha Davis, who is the founder and CEO of Impact Branding Consulting, joins Small Biz Buzz in our Big Grit docuseries to talk about her journey from being a nurse to realizing her real passion of becoming an entrepreneur and all the obstacles she had to overcome to be successful.

“It takes time. Shifting from a mindset of being an employee is a big shift to being an entrepreneur, but then you have to shift from being an entrepreneur to being an employer, to being a business owner, it's two different mindsets,” said Natasha. “You have to begin to make different decisions. When you start a business, you're making $5,000 decisions, maybe $2,000 decisions, but then as you continue to grow, if you're doing it right, you're now making $25,000 decisions and $50,000 decisions, it's a different mindset.”

Natasha stresses the importance of never stop trying; never give up on yourself. “Even when people say no to you, you have to truly believe in yourself. And you have to believe in what you're doing. Believe in what your cause is,” she said. “And don't look at yourself as this little minute thing. You're on this earth to do powerful things. You are that cargo. And if one person says no to you, screw it, go to the next person. There are people there who need you.”

Natasha Davis can be found at impactbrandingconsulting.org.

Click play for more.

Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:05):

What is Big Grit? Starting October 19th, Keap will begin a new documentary series devoted to the struggles, adaptation and triumph of business owners like you and how they've been able to thrive amid absolute chaos. Join us for a raw and unflinching look at what Big Grit means, if you have it and how to find it when you need it most. Visit keap.com/B-I-G-G-R-I-T. That's keap.com/big-grit. Subscribe to get updates on new episodes as they release. As a business owner, you know it takes something extra to succeed. See the stories of entrepreneurs that exemplified Big Grit, visit Keap.com/big-grit. See how people like you have found growth by filtering out the chaos. Once again, that's keap.com/big-grit. See for yourself how gritty entrepreneurs always make a way.

Dusey (01:07):

Hello, everybody. This is Dusey van Dusen. And I'm joined as almost always, because recently we had one with Laura and not Crystal, with Crystal. Hey, Crystal, how's it going?

Crystal (01:26):

Good. How are you?

Dusey (01:27):

Doing well. And our amazing guest today is Natasha Davis. She's the Chief Visionary at Impact Branding Consulting. Natasha, how's it going?

Natasha (01:37):

Oh, it's going amazing. Thank you so much. How are you guys?

Dusey (01:42):

Doing well, doing awesome.

Crystal (01:44):

We are excited to have you here today.

Dusey (01:46):

Yeah. And we're super excited because Natasha has an amazing story. And we've got to listen to it recently, and we even kind of made a video on it that we want to put out there, a little mini documentary, but we get the full dish here today with Natasha, we get everything.

Crystal (02:03):

Thank goodness.

Natasha (02:05):

Tell it all.

Crystal (02:07):

I'm really excited. Natasha, tell us a little bit about how you got started in becoming an entrepreneur.

Natasha (02:15):

So my journey to becoming an entrepreneur has been an interesting one. And I actually started as a registered nurse and registered nurse, I always knew I was going to be a nurse as a little girl, that's just what I did. We started playing as a teacher, but I always ended up as the nurse, you know what I mean? And I went straight ahead, I was very young, I went straight into nursing school, I was one of the youngest head nurses, trauma nurses, I've worked in emergency room, I've had a great time there. However, fast forward a couple years in, and I started to have this huge appetite for entrepreneurship and for business. And I didn't really know what to do with that.

Natasha (03:00):

So I suppressed it for a little bit and it just became overwhelming. And I then began to play into the entrepreneurship role but I wouldn't let go of nursing. I didn't let go of nursing because I didn't want to be that traitor, that little hypocrite, "You went to school, you got these degrees, you're the RN. And then you wake us up, I think I'm going to leave this RN thing and I'm going to go into full-time business." So I definitely did not want to be the "hypocrite" [inaudible 00:03:30].

Dusey (03:31):

Yeah, I know that feel, you're talking to a video production guy who has a degree in psychology. So I've been there.

Natasha (03:39):

[inaudible 00:03:39] So I did that, fast forward a couple years and I still had my one foot in nursing and healthcare and then another foot on the side. I was dabbling in business I was on secretly going to business meetings on my day off and I would never, never disclose to anyone that I was a nurse. So when they'd ask me, "What are you doing?" Whatever, that whole part of my life, I completely omitted it, it didn't even exist. It's like I was born two weeks ago. And so there I stepped into business, made a lot of mistakes like many business owners have done, but I've also made a lot of positive decisions and grew a lot from that. And so as I sit here today, I have been in the world of entrepreneurship 18 years.

Dusey (04:31):

Wow, awesome.

Crystal (04:33):

That's amazing. Man, I have to say they should be making a show that's instead of undercover boss, undercover entrepreneur, because I have a feeling you're not alone, that first getting over the hump to jump into full-time entrepreneurship has got to be scary really. What was the little voice you were hearing in your head when you were a nurse that you knew it was something you had to start looking into?

Natasha (04:55):

So my story, I'm a real transparent person because I believe we should always just tell the truth.

Crystal (05:04):

Me too.

Natasha (05:04):

It was one of those things where I knew I had this little entrepreneurship bug, and my dad, who was my best friend and he's my mentor, my dad was in business from the age, I think he was 17, 18 and he was in business for himself at that young age and he excelled and I was around a family of business owners. But I remember this one particular day, I'm working in the emergency room and I just felt like this heavy weight on me, I felt like it was tons of concrete on my shoulder-

Crystal (05:40):

Wow, that's crazy.

Natasha (05:40):

... and I was struggling. You got the good devil and then you got the angel on the other shoulder. And then the devil is like, "Ah, you traitor, how dare you?" And then you got the angel [inaudible 00:05:52] "Oh, may God be with you. You can do it if you want." And I'm sitting here like, "What do I do?" But I had this flood of emotions. And I just felt so... I was empty. I was so empty and I felt disconnected and I felt like I don't even want to be here, but how could you not be here? And I finished out my 12-hour shift. I was walking to my car in the parking lot. And of course, I didn't want to break down in the parking lot in front of people, you're in the emergency room leaving [crosstalk 00:06:26] something's wrong with you. I'd be on a gurney back into the trauma room a minute, right?

Natasha (06:29):

So I'm holding it together and I'm choking back tears. I'm choking back the absolute ball. And I get in my car, and thank God, I have really dark tints, you know what I'm saying? And I just let it go. I mean, I just cried like a baby. And I started crying. I knew what I was crying about, I knew what was happening but I didn't know, and it was at that moment where I felt like I was oh, but no disrespect to anyone, because I don't take it lightly, I felt like I was committing slow suicide, you're sitting here doing this, you're not even happy anymore, and you're holding on to this, but you feel so alive when you're out doing business, but yet you're a traitor, because nobody knows what you've been doing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Crystal (07:22):

That's powerful.

Dusey (07:23):

Yeah, that feeling of living two lives, of getting pulled two different directions like that is torturous, that's hard, yeah.

Natasha (07:32):

It was hard. It was overwhelming. It was hard. And that was the pivotal moment for me where I realized this can't be it, this can't be life, this can't be right. And I realized at that point that I was going to go ahead and begin to make my way out of nursing, and I wasn't going to be ashamed of it anymore, in the sense that I wasn't... not even ashamed, I was still ashamed for many years, I wasn't going to be afraid. I won't be afraid. I was willing to go ahead and step out. And so I can tell you it was the best decision I ever made, I feel so alive. And so here's the funny thing, sometimes when we have to make a decision, we kind of don't make the decision at the time, we hang on.

Natasha (08:24):

And so I didn't go in and say, "I'm done." I kind of held on to it, you'll have a little bad attitude, because I'm in control, right? Yeah, whatever and go into work and not being the true team player, because you're not giving it your all. I mean, I still love taking care of people and I was kind and still very effective to patients, but I wasn't that team player. I'm not coming to team meetings, I'm not picking up overtime-

Crystal (08:51):

I like your style.

Natasha (08:54):

Don't call me in the office because I wasn't nice to my team work. I don't even care, right? [inaudible 00:08:59] There were two instances that happened, I got called into the office, and this is when I knew, you've got to be kidding me, I think this is where my extra confidence came from. Because here I am working my little side business and I'm making great money, and people are like, "You're amazing." I'm like, "Yeah." I'm not getting cussed out and spit out and kicked at [inaudible 00:09:20]

Dusey (09:19):

Oh, man.

Natasha (09:22):

[inaudible 00:09:22] glamorous as people think.

Crystal (09:24):

Hopefully this has been a step up in this entrepreneurship.

Natasha (09:28):

It has, [inaudible 00:09:28] I have not been called one of those names since. It's been great.

Crystal (09:32):

Thank God.

Natasha (09:33):

And so here I am, I get called into the office one day and I had a come to Jesus talk with the manager, she wanted to call me and we will have a sit down, right? An intervention. And she let me know well, it's performance evaluation time. And I'm thinking, "I don't even care about this, but I got to do it technically." And so I'm sitting there and she's [inaudible 00:09:53] she's talking and she goes, "Well, we're not going to be able to give you that 3% raise." Really? I'm thinking, "Why won't I get the 3% raise?" I didn't even care, she goes, "Well, because you're not a team player anymore. You're not picking up time." And I just had these big Kahunas [inaudible 00:10:09] say that? You're threatening me with 3% [inaudible 00:10:12] a week. I said, "You know what, this job is beneath me."

Dusey (10:21):

Meanwhile, it sounds like you're making pretty good money in what you've started up, right? So it's like this 3%, I was already thinking this job is not all that much. This 3% is nothing, right?

Natasha (10:32):

Nothing, nothing. I told [inaudible 00:10:34] "You know what honey, you can keep the 3% because you gone need it more than me." I mean, talk about [inaudible 00:10:37] talk about having a sass mouth. Keep in mind, I'm not even 30 yet. So I'm in my 20s and I'm total beast mode [inaudible 00:10:51] So then I then move forward. And that was a couple months later. And this was the big pivotal point where it was sink or swim. This was sink or swim episode number one, right? So I get called into the office with the other manager, a couple months down the road. They didn't take too kindly to what I said, they didn't like it. So I got called in a couple months later and I was terminated. And I was terminated for you're not this, you're not that, whatever. So I didn't care because in my head, I was like, "Well, thank God, I can go to that networking event that I needed to go to [inaudible 00:11:27] to cover me."

Dusey (11:30):

Yeah. So I want to dive into that for a second. It sounds like your heart knew where you wanted to go, right? But you were still kind of... you were holding on to that. And I'm sure at first it was something that you said you knew you wanted to do it your whole life. So I'm just kind of curious what your thoughts are for somebody that's moving into entrepreneurship, is the answer dive in 100%? Is it, well, take your time and make sure you've got everything in place? How did you feel on all that?

Natasha (12:02):

I'm going to say something and some people would disagree, but I truly believe that if you know in your heart of hearts that you're ready to make that shift, right? You're ready to shift out, you know this is not for you, don't purposely put yourself in a hard position, because business ownership is hard, okay? And especially if you have no understanding of what business ownership is. People think it's all glitz and glam and all this other stuff. Business is hard. And I would say to a person, if you've come to that realization where you realize, "I want to do something greater," my advice, do it, do it, but do it strategically. Really get your plan in place, write the vision, make it clear as day and then begin to have a mindset, turn the mindset of a business owner on and start thinking about the business decision.

Natasha (12:54):

So for example, if you work full-time, I can tell you right now, if you're going to try to start a business and work, you might as well forfeit sleep all together, it will not exist, okay? Those days are gone. But what I would say is begin to treat your business like a line item on your home budget, because you're going to have to fund it to get it rolling. So the same way in how you budget for groceries and your mortgage or your rent, you need to now put a line item that says for the business, put it by the name and you start feeding that little budget, that little bank account, feed it because you're going to need money to get things rolling, go to networking events, register the business with the Secretary of State, do all that stuff. But then you also want to start to think, "I'm going to work full-time. My physical presence is full-time at my place of employment and I'm going to be part-time at my place of business but my heart is full-time with my business," right?

Natasha (13:50):

And so now you begin to turn the pendulum because what will happen is if your heart does not become full-time for the business, you will be pacified by a check. You will be pacified by a 3% raise, okay? It'll pacify you. You'll sit there and be like, "Well, it's not that bad." I went years without medical insurance, praying every day, "Girl, don't you get sick-

Dusey (14:13):

Oh, man.

Natasha (14:14):

... don't you [inaudible 00:14:15]"

Dusey (14:14):

Yeah, that is dedication, man. Yeah.

Crystal (14:19):

I feel like I feel like birthing a baby and birthing a business are very similar in the sense that no matter when you do it, no matter how ready you think you are, you're probably still not ready. Meaning that you're going to face tribulations, you're going to face issues and then you're going to have to overcome that. It's all worth it in the end. Is that right Natasha?

Natasha (14:40):

It is. That's 100% right. There will be some days that will be so hard and just like with a child, right? There's some days where you're like, "I don't even like my kid right now. [inaudible 00:14:50] but I don't know if I like you, you know what I mean? I [inaudible 00:14:55] and just like a child, right? Just like a child, a business sometimes won't love you the way you love it. Just like a child, you give more to that business some days and it just may not love you back at that time the way that you love it. But just like a child, if you just keep loving it, eventually they will come back around. And if you are committed and dedicated to the success of your company, believe me, it will. The myth that needs to be seriously debunked is people decide, "Screw my boss, I'm leaving, I'm quitting and in a year, I'm going to be a millionaire." I don't think so. And if that does happen, I'm coming to work for you.

Natasha (15:42):

It takes time. It takes [inaudible 00:15:44] seed and you got to water, you got to mill the ground, you got to do the work. You go from working, from an employee, and that's a big shift. Shifting from a mindset of being an employee is a big shift to being an entrepreneur, but then you have to shift from being an entrepreneur to being an employer, to being a business owner, it's two different mindsets. And so we-

Dusey (16:07):

Yeah, as you grow, right? There's all these challenges, first of barely even getting the business running. And then as it grows, now you've got new kids you've got to take care of, right?

Natasha (16:19):

Yeah, I got new things to do. You have to begin to make different decisions. When you start a business, you're making $5,000 decisions, maybe $2,000 decisions, but then as you continue to grow, if you're doing it right, you're now making $25,000 decisions and $50,000 decisions, it's a different mindset.

Crystal (16:40):

Dusey, you just said that you were really into it, but in my mind, I was thinking, "Gulp! Oh, geez, that's scary."

Dusey (16:50):

Yeah, no, I definitely meant it as that's a lot that's going on there, but there is excitement to it too, right? But it's for sure a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure.

Natasha (17:01):

It's pressure but you know what? I can tell you, one thing I can say on my worst and my hardest day, I still hashtag love what I do. I still love it. I would still get up every day and do the same exact thing. I would not go back to what I used to do, I would not. I get calls, even still today from nursing staffing agencies, "We'd like to pay you 110 an hour to come back." And I'm thinking, "I make more now. So no thank you. But listen, if you need a brand strategist, baby [inaudible 00:17:37]" So they call to pitch me and I end up pitching them, but I actually got a client like that.

Dusey (17:43):

That's so wonderful.

Crystal (17:44):

That's awesome.

Dusey (17:46):

That's so awesome.

Natasha (17:47):

[inaudible 00:17:47] calling for people, I got something for you. Let me do [inaudible 00:17:54].

Dusey (17:53):

So I want to hear more about how... it sounds like you thought of yourself as a nurse, and that was a big part of your identity and you kind of had to shift. It wasn't just shifting, what you did, but it sounds like it was really shifting who you were, right? And you mentioned that your dad was a good coach for that, how important is that identity to running the business?

Natasha (18:22):

God, it is huge because you don't automatically come out the gate with all this confidence. And you don't have all the answers and you don't have all the support, you're not sitting in an office with 50 other people immediately bouncing ideas off of them. And many times when you start, it's just you, you have to figure everything out. And so your confidence is not always there even though you exude that. It's outward, right? It's over, like, "Hey, I'm confident." But inside, you're like, "Oh my God, I hope I made the right decision." So you have to begin to, and the only way that I have learned over this time to increase my confidence, my true confidence, inner and outer confidence, right? Was to continue to reaffirm myself every single day, I have powerful affirmations.

Natasha (19:19):

And I reaffirmed myself and let me tell you one of the greatest tricks that I start doing to myself, right? I read my bio back to myself, I read my bio to myself. And when I'm done, I'm like Superwoman, I'm like, "[inaudible 00:19:33] let's go get it, let's go get it." Before I have to go and do a big presentation, because in the beginning, you do not feel confident and worthy of asking for that hundred thousand dollar contract.

Dusey (19:48):

Yeah. Yeah, that imposter syndrome of, "This is something that other people do. This isn't something that I do. Am I really worth that much?" Right?

Natasha (19:58):

Exactly, exactly. You really don't. So you begin to question yourself, "Can I do it?" All right, so I got my little team, but when my team failed me because sister girl last time, she forgot to and you didn't follow through and so and so done got sick and she was off for a week, you have all this stuff going on, but if you walk into a business meeting or a deal and you have not reaffirmed yourself, you haven't built yourself up, it's going to be hard because as soon as they ask questions or they even begin to communicate like, "I don't know if you can do it." If you haven't built yourself up, you're not going to be able to get through that meeting. So I affirm myself all the time. I mean, I can be a little conceited sometimes, I'm like, "Girl, you are the best." I'm feeling it. I'm like, "I am branding [inaudible 00:20:54]"

Crystal (20:58):

I am branding.

Natasha (21:00):

[inaudible 00:21:00] like Michael Jackson said, "I am music." I'm like, "Natasha E. Davis, I am branding."

Dusey (21:06):

I love it.

Crystal (21:07):

But Michael Jackson also said look at the man in the mirror.

Natasha (21:10):

I'm talking to the man in the mirror [crosstalk 00:21:13].

Crystal (21:13):

That's right.

Dusey (21:17):

It makes me think of a friend of mine that I had that started up a business installing phones in offices, those office phones that have all those bunch of functions that nobody ever uses other than caller ID and calling, right? And this was years ago, and he was just getting started and having a little bit of success, but it was him and his buddy that were installing this stuff. And he had a client come approach him and be like, "Hey, we want you to install stuff in our office building and set up our phone system." "Okay, how many is it?" "Oh, it's 1,500 phones and this whole thing." And they're like, "Okay, yeah." They're looking at each other, "Yeah, I think we can do it okay." And they go, "How many employees do you have?" And they're looking at each other going, "Well, it's just us, what do we say?" Because we're going to have to hire 10 more people to make this happen, right?

Dusey (22:05):

There's that moment of making that leap of that commitment of, "Yes, I can do this." And sometimes even without history of, "I haven't done it before, but I have the confidence that I can do it now." Right?

Natasha (22:20):

Right. Being able to remind yourself that you won't always get it right, but you know what you know, and you're good at what you know. I don't have to know everything, and I forgot who said that first, so I won't even start calling in names. But whoever said it first. But I don't have to know everything, I just need to know who to go get to do it. See, and that's the mindset of that CEO mindset. I don't have to do everything, I really don't. But I need to know who to go get to do it.

Natasha (22:48):

And I think that it's when you start again, you go from employee, to entrepreneur, to employer, making that true transitional shift, I always tell people, you would need to get people in your corner because business ownership is lonely at the top, the more you do and the bigger you grow, and the great you get, it gets lonely, it gets lonely for a couple reasons, right? It gets lonely because unfortunately, people will prey on you. And the bigger you get, and they'll look at you like, "Oh, so you have it and I don't so then you should just give it to me." And-

Crystal (23:28):

I wish someone would.

Natasha (23:32):

[inaudible 00:23:32] I mean, and it's so interesting because people will prey on you. And no one sees the hard work, the late nights, the sleepless nights, the tears, the pain, the sacrifices that you've made to make that quantum leap or to make that baby step, but then sometimes they do want to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Dusey (23:55):

Oh, yeah.

Natasha (23:55):

And so it gets lonely at the top because you actually do have to begin to block off and isolate yourself from people because some people really don't mean you well. It also gets lonely at the top because very few will commit to do what it needs to take to be successful.

Dusey (24:11):

Yeah. It makes me think of that old chestnut. Yeah, as an overnight success, it only took me 20 years, right? There's so much that goes that's not seen.

Natasha (24:20):

I'm just chipping up the iceberg. I'm right at the tip of the iceberg here. And I mean, 18 years in and I remember, oh, my God, I even remember my first business card and my logo would look horrible. My first [inaudible 00:24:33] crappy, oh my God, I remember this crap. It looked terrible. I remember my first book I published, it was a journey. The second book was another issue. I didn't have processes and systems. I was flying by the seat of my pants like, "Let's just get it done." I remember pricing, my pricing was poor. It was like, "How do you eat off of this?" Peanut butter jelly time. It's little things like that you do grow with it. And I believe that we as people, we have to trust the process, but we also have to commit to never becoming complacent. Here I am today, I promise you 18 years from now, I'm going to be even more amazing because that's the goal, that's where I have to [inaudible 00:25:20], right?

Dusey (25:22):

Yeah, you have to grow as a leader and as a business owner as you move along as well, right? If you're stagnant, your business will also be stagnant. You also said something about process that I want to get back to, but I've got a question about something, even before that you're talking about-

Crystal (25:35):

Geez, you're just hogging all the questions-

Dusey (25:36):

Sorry, I've got a lot of questions. This is awesome. You talked about being an employer and about finding other people to take off your shoulders the things that you don't need to be doing, was there ever anything that was hard for you to give up and to give to somebody else?

Crystal (25:53):

It's a good question, you're lucky.

Natasha (25:55):

Everything, control. Once you start, it's just like a kid, right? So if you have a baby and picture you just passing off your firstborn to anybody that shows up, right? So it's the same thing with your business. I mean, you live and breathe your business. I mean, literally, you live and breathe and sleep and eat your business. And so when you get to the point where you're like, "I got to hire somebody, because I can't do all of this." And then you begin to hire somebody, now you have to learn how to do what, see, delegate. But most people can't delegate because they never got the process and systems out of their head. Is right up in here in their brain, I got it right here, right? And so it never gets documented.

Natasha (26:39):

So therefore, I can't delegate it because I never documented it. And I really don't know what to tell you, because I don't have a process for what I'm doing. And so the challenge was, I had a hard time passing off a lot of things because again, I was flying by the seat of my pants, I was just getting it done, I was just getting it done. And then you get to the point where you realize if I don't begin to get someone to help me then I can't grow. You can't scale the business by yourself. No one can have a million-dollar business by themselves. It's impossible. It's impossible. Even if you have you plus two, there has to be something else helping to drive things because systems and processes have to be executed by people. And so the main thing to help anyone that's listening to this, if you're finding yourself in this place of like, "But they just won't do it the way that I want it."

Dusey (27:40):

I could relate to that. Oh yeah, I could really relate to that.

Crystal (27:43):

So can I.

Natasha (27:46):

[inaudible 00:27:46] They didn't put the team the right way. [inaudible 00:27:50] Here's one thing that I will say, first thing is always remember, as long as you get it right according to the process, according to the outline, long as you get it right and you didn't violate policy procedure, you didn't not do it correctly, I don't care how you cross the T as long as the T got crossed, that's it. And so that was the part of the growth factor for me, shifting out of entrepreneur to employer was, "All right, really I don't care how you get it done, just get it done by this deadline in this way. I don't care how you go about mixing it to look blue, just get it to look like blue." So that was step number one.

Natasha (28:35):

Step number two was preparing the business to scale. And that's the hard part. Most people when they start the company, and I did it too, I never prepared the business to grow to scale, I never did. I didn't even prepare it to be profitable. And so [inaudible 00:28:51] let me get a check-

Crystal (28:53):

I believe it. That's what terrifies me, that's what terrifies me about becoming a business owner.

Natasha (28:59):

It is. So it's one of the things where well, principle one I had to learn is a true difference between revenue and profits. Huge difference. And truly when you drill it down, it's like I could sell a pen for a dollar, I made revenue, but it costs me 99 cents to make the dag gone pen but I [inaudible 00:29:15] dollar, so I didn't even [inaudible 00:29:16] because the one cent that's left, I got to go put that to operations. I didn't make any money. So you want to prepare the business to scale and to be profitable. But one of the key things is begin to document processes and systems, because once you can get it out of your head, when someone says, "What can I do to help you," you can literally hand them a document that says these are the steps, do this.

Dusey (29:39):

Ready to go.

Natasha (29:40):

And don't keep calling me and asking me what to do because I already wrote it down. That's how we begin to grow and scale a business and that was one of the most beautiful things in the world because when you young, because I'm not young anymore, I [inaudible 00:29:53]

Crystal (29:54):

You still look young, I have to say.

Natasha (29:56):

I get it from my mom. But I'll tell you that over time, team no sleep wears out around age 30, 35. And if you have kids, it begins to dwindle down a little bit more. But see team no sleep, work all day, graveyard shift, all that stuff, that ends probably about in your 30s. And when you hit your 40s by six o'clock, hair bonnet, rollers and everything, you're in bed. It's like your brain shuts down. So I'm telling you, when you're in it, you're going to have to get to a place where you have to let it go. There was a time I could, man please, I could bang out 16, 17 hours a day, I slept two maybe three hours a day and I was ready, you can tell me that I didn't have it together. That 35 hit, it was a new day.

Dusey (30:49):

I feel you. Oh, man.

Natasha (30:57):

You want to be okay with putting the business in position to function without you. If the company can't run without you, you're not building the company right, you're not building the company right. And so that was my first step. How do I get my company to run without me for a day? How do I get the company to run without me for three days? And then I got to a point of a week. Now I've grown to the point now I can successfully go away, like I'm planning to go to St. Kitts for month, just go sit down and lay out in the Caribbean sun and the business has-

Crystal (31:27):

That sounds great.

Dusey (31:29):

That's awesome.

Natasha (31:30):

Yeah, everybody here, if you have a business, that's a key thing, get the business to learn how to function without you, but without you losing money, you should still be making money [inaudible 00:31:39] paid in three weeks, what?

Dusey (31:46):

Yeah, you want to come back and still "have a job," right? Still have a business.

Natasha (31:49):

[inaudible 00:31:49] business, right? Something that can actually put food on the table. So yes, so that's one of the key things.

Crystal (31:55):

So what I'm curious about is... I had to jump in before Dusey there because I know he's got a list of questions. But I'm curious about things that pop up, things in life that happened that make it hard to keep going as an entrepreneur. And it's a little different than just showing up and doing your job every day when those things happen. So what have been some of the hard things that you couldn't foresee that have kind of happened? And how did you keep going through that?

Natasha (32:23):

Yeah, you really never see things coming. So my very first moment of this is some bull bleep. After 12 years of being married, my ex-husband came in the day after my birthday, and he was like, "I don't think I want to do this marriage thing anymore." I'm like-

Dusey (32:44):

Oh, gosh.

Natasha (32:45):

[inaudible 00:32:45] about, you've been smoking that weed? What's going on?" So you sat down, you're thinking, "This is a joke, what are you talking about? We're moving and shaking here, what's going on?" And he had an early midlife crisis, even went through his own little situation and the only thing that he could exercise control over at that time in his world was if he was married or not. And so he exercised that control and we're still good friends today, but at the time, I was going to do him some damage you all, I was going to be in prison.

Crystal (33:21):

Yeah, I'm like he waited the day after the birthday, I mean.

Natasha (33:27):

[crosstalk 00:33:27] Look, I don't even get a gift. I was like, "You planned this a long time. You should-

Crystal (33:31):

He should have done it the day before the birthday then let you at least have some good plans.

Natasha (33:36):

[inaudible 00:33:36] And so here I am, 12 years after being in this relationship, and I pretty, I grew with him. I was in my 20s, my early 20s [crosstalk 00:33:47] And that hit me, it hit me hard because I kind of lost my identity. I didn't know who I was because you're in your 20s, well, you're no longer Natasha Davis, now you're Natasha with your married name, and that's who you became as you grew into being a woman. So here I am in my 30s as a woman and I was in this no man's land, I don't even know who I am. And I honestly could not work. I could not work. I could not go into my office. I have a home office proudly, and yes, I'm proud, and all my home office people, fist bump, let's get it.

Natasha (34:23):

Let me tell you something, well, having a home office is amazing, okay? The commute is beautiful. So I have my home office, and I'm telling you, it was painful because I couldn't think. I literally could not think, it's like my brain wouldn't turn on. It turned on enough to tell me to wake up to breathe, to eat, the basic stuff, but I could not strategically think, I couldn't do anything. And I felt so heavy and so I would close the office. I'd close the door to my office. I didn't even come down the hall where the office is because I couldn't do it.

Crystal (35:00):

Man.

Natasha (35:01):

And it was so much going on. And I remember that went on literally for two or three months, I couldn't function. And I remember just laying on the sofa some days, just comatose, just like, "What the hell is happening?" Like, "How is this happening?" You know what I mean? And fast forward into that, eventually I had to pull myself together and I had to reaffirm me, I had to reaffirm me. And the point of reaffirmation of who I am happened in the courtroom, and it's so crazy. Let me tell you how-

Dusey (35:38):

This drama in the courtroom.

Crystal (35:40):

I know. I'm like, "Where's my tea?"

Natasha (35:42):

Right. I'm Jamaican by culture, so you never know how if I did cut him or did something [inaudible 00:35:47] but what happened is, I was in route and I went to court and everything like that, and here's the crazy part, I'm sitting in the courtroom and I'm looking at the papers, I'm just kind of mentally whatever, and it hit me the same day that I'm sitting in court to get divorced is the same exact day we got married, same exact day. Now, if you don't tell me that's some bull bleep. There I am and I got enraged, I was so mad. And of course, I'm sitting in court and the bailiff is there, everybody there, everybody, you got to act right.

Natasha (36:28):

And so my ex-husband was sitting on the same bench with me, and I looked at him and I said, "Move." [inaudible 00:36:35] Slow down, don't have a scene. So anyway, we're there, the judges, they're going through their spiel. And let me tell you something, it took all about 10 minutes to get divorced. It took me 12 hours to get married, a year to plan it, it took me 10 minutes to get divorced. So I'm sitting here and the judge comes to this question, and he said, "Well, Miss Bowen," at the time, She goes, "Well, how do you want your name to look now?" I said, "Put me back to my daddy's name. I want my daddy's name. The way I came into this world is the way I'm leaving this courtroom. I want my name back. That's who I am." And the judge was like, "I don't think I've ever heard it quite like that, but okay." My old ignorant self, I'm spelling it D-A-V-I-S, "Yes, Ms. Davis, That was clear. I can spell that."

Dusey (37:33):

That's so awesome. I love that. Just-

Natasha (37:35):

Regaining my identity. And that woke me up and said, "Okay, girlfriend get rolling." So that was movement one. And pivotal moment two was my best friend, my dad, he passed away two days after Father's Day. Very unexpected. He was not supposed to die. I talk to my dad what, two, three times a day. We even had shared business. We had another business that we worked on together. And that was last year. That was last year. And some days is harder than others to get through it, but what I can tell you is I couldn't function for like a month. I couldn't function for a month. I mean, I tell anyone, if anyone's going through a loss, you lost a family member, a parent, anyone close to you. Take it day by day, take it day by day, moment by moment and don't stress yourself and don't try to work because your brain is mush anyway. You cry every day, you can't think, you can't eat and everything like that. But it was my dad.

Natasha (38:36):

Just remembering him and remembering his legacy and remembering what he's instilled in me and his statement was never stop trying. And that's actually what I had on his gravestone, that's exactly what it says, never stop trying. And that is what pulls me through every day. Never stop trying. So even on days now... and between last year and this year, I am a different person because I have so much more drive because of him. When I tell you my dad lived by never stop trying, dad was in ICU grasping for his last breath, we had a trucking company, this man is on his cell phone sealing the last deal.

Crystal (39:22):

Wow.

Crystal (39:22):

That just gave me chills.

Natasha (39:26):

Oh, I love him so much. He is in there sealing the last deal, he's gasping for his last breath, and he's sealing the last deal because he wanted to make sure that the truckers' work secured, because he knew he was leaving the earth and he said, "I got to close this deal. Make sure the truckers get paid on time. Make sure this gets paid. Everybody's good." He wanted to make sure everybody was good, he's dying. And the doctors are like, "Mr. Davis, we need to intubate you." And dad is like, "One second, I need to finish my call."

Natasha (40:01):

And I'm just, "You all let him be, this is last thing in the world." Never stop trying. And so that to me, when I have the flashbacks of, "Damn, this is a hard day," or whatever, or, "I can't do this," or whatever, or I get nervous or scared, that hits me like, "My dad said, I retire when I'm dead." And he totally lived that out. So some days I can get through it easier, today is an easier day to get through it because I'm thinking of all his awesomeness, but that man right there, yeah.

Dusey (40:39):

That's incredible. [inaudible 00:40:41] I was going to ask you what advice you have to our... final thoughts and I think I know what it is right there, I think we just heard it, never stop trying. I love that.

Natasha (40:48):

Never stop trying. Never stop trying, never give up on yourself. Even when people say no to you, you got to truly believe in yourself. And you got to believe in what you're doing. Believe in what your cause is. And don't look at yourself as this little minute thing. You're on this earth to do powerful things, powerful things. And so you are that cargo. And if one person says no to you, screw it go to the next person. There's people there that need you.

Crystal (41:13):

That's right.

Natasha (41:14):

People need you. So this universe needs you. So just be proud of you and always believe in you first, once you believe in you, it doesn't matter, everything else is a done deal.

Crystal (41:26):

Well, there is absolutely nothing better than ending on that note because I think that is important for everyone to hear out there, especially our entrepreneurs. So can you tell everyone where they can find you if they need some branding help?

Natasha (41:41):

Yes, yes, come and find me at impactbrandingconsulting.org, that's impactbrandingconsulting.org. And we will take care of you. You can find all my information, social and everything there. But if you need me, I'm here.

Crystal (41:57):

Okay, and as we talked about, we did a great documentary on Natasha and her Big Grit journey as an entrepreneur. So you can check out her video at bit.ly/big-grit. That's B-I-T.L-Y/B-I-G-G-R-I-T. That's like a little bit of a mouthful for a shrunken link.

Dusey (42:21):

I know. Right, it looks real clean, but it's a lot to say. And we'll have links in the descriptions wherever you're listening to this, so.

Crystal (42:27):

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Natasha. And we've really thoroughly enjoyed talking to you. I feel like we could have talked for a couple days. So many great nuggets for everyone listening. So thank you so much for being on today.

Natasha (42:39):

Thank you so much for having me, and I really hope this was a blessing and an empowerment to everyone who's listening. Thank you.

Dusey (42:44):

Absolutely. Thank you.

Crystal (42:45):

And that's a wrap for Small Biz Buzz.

Speaker 1 (42:51):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five-star rating, it helps keep the show going. And, if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.