Embracing Your Not Perfect Self – Nicole Saunders

Our guest today is Nicole Saunders. Nicole is a business coach whose mission is to empower womxn entreprenuers. Her strategy is to tap on one’s personality and strength, and help them work out the best and most suited business model for their business. She loves hiking with her husband and dogs. Her obsession with personality tests is helping her communicate well with her clients. She became a Pinterest Manager last 2018 and has been winning clients since then. It was an absolutely fun and successful journey but she still felt looking for something more.

Learn more about how she transitioned from being a Pinterest Manager to a business coach.

Nicole’s website: https://saunderssays.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saunders_says/

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Nicole Saunders. Nicole is a business coach for female identifying entrepreneurs. She empowers women to grow their businesses by tapping into their personalities and strengths. When not working with clients, Nicole can be found hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina with her husband and their three dogs. While jamming out to a little Mumford and Sons girl after my own heart. I love Mumford and Sons. She also enjoys making pottery, and is obsessed with personality tests. Nicole, thank you so much for joining me and coming on the show today.

Nicole Saunders 0:55

Of course, thanks for having me and glad to be in the same space as another Mumford and Sons fan.

Katie Brinkley 1:03

Yeah, I you know what Mumford and Sons I was a little hesitant when they decided to bring in the drums a couple years ago, but I still love them. I just can’t get over his voice. It’s they are one of my favorite bands. And I actually had the opportunity to see them at Red Rocks. So that was, that was

Nicole Saunders 1:20

incredible. Now and now I’m jealous. I’m super jealous that’s on my bucket list. If they ever go back to red rocks, I don’t care how much money it costs. I’m going

Katie Brinkley 1:29

well, and I know that, you know, like you said, you enjoy hiking in North Carolina. I know that a lot of my guests, I have all of the different business owners here in Denver that I really enjoy bringing on just to share their networking opportunities. But then I really enjoy bringing people that are outside of Denver that are experts in marketing or in their digital digital space that can bring value to the listeners. And that’s why I just thought that would be such a great guest for today’s show. We had the opportunity to connect on clubhouse and we’ve been in a lot of the same rooms on clubhouse and really enjoying a lot of I’ve enjoyed every stage that you’ve spoken on. So it’s a pleasure to have you on the show today. And I’m really looking forward to our discussion.

Nicole Saunders 2:10

Yeah, me too, as clubhouse is such a powerful tool out. I love how it’s helped me meet so many people that frankly I didn’t know existed a couple months ago. So

Katie Brinkley 2:21

Right, exactly, exactly. Well, just give us a little bit of background about you. I really enjoy having our listeners get to know you a little bit before we dive into all the nitty gritty marketing stuff. So tell us a little bit about your background about where you grew up and what life was like growing up.

Nicole Saunders 2:38

Yeah, so born and raised in a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Um, fun fact, I still live in my neighborhood that I grew up in. I actually married my next door neighbor. He’s about four years older than me. So we grew up together. It was really cool. And I went to school at all the mountain schools in North Carolina. So I did my undergrad at UNC Asheville, and then, um, started grad school at Western Carolina. And then I’m transferred and finished grad school at Appalachian State University. So our big three public schools here in the mountains, which I guess are kind of like foothills to you guys out there and the Rocky Mountains but yeah, I love school so much. I decided that I wanted to go to grad school and do that as a career and really never grow up. So I spent almost a decade in higher education and working with students and helping them transform and just grow and experience things outside of the classroom like hypnotist bans comedians, and all the fun things and eventually, my office I’m there was some downsizing across our university and we went from an office of to or an office of four to an office of to within two weeks with no change. No, no end in sight for rectifying any of the situations that was just you know, basically double the work and no change in pace. So I was starting to do this blog thing and tailwind reached out which tailwind is a scheduling system for Pinterest and also Instagram now but um, they wanted to promote my blog, and I was like, Okay, I guess I know, I’m talking about um, but then I started working with clients one on one. So in March 2018, I decided to leave my job and watch my own business and I did Pinterest marketing for clients for almost three years, but early January 2021. I decided to pivot thankfully, and I’m really excited to be here so pivoted basically from clubhouse. I like to say hashtag clubhouse made me do it. I realized we were all like freshmen in college and it was a blank slate. I could be whoever I wanted to be on clubhouse. And someone’s like, you know what, I’m tired of talking about Pinterest. It’s time I’m switching because I had wanted to pivot last year but my dad passed away in March and then COVID happen so it was a very, not so fun year and just kind of had to embrace that suck. So yeah, I finally got to a place where I have pivoted. And now I get to pour into female identifying entrepreneurs and help see them transform and give them the tools that they need. So, yeah, well, I

Katie Brinkley 5:13

didn’t want to interrupt you, because you you mentioned Appalachian State. And I’m sorry, but we’re gonna have to end the podcast now, because I’m a Michigan fan. And that was the beginning. For us, for Michigan football fans, when Appalachian State beat us. And I think that we were ranked number one or number two in the country at the time, and things have just gone downhill for us Michigan fans ever since. So,

Nicole Saunders 5:37

yeah, yeah. I actually wasn’t at the school that year. But um, yeah, it was kinda it was a big upset and finally put the AP state name on the map. So it did it

Katie Brinkley 5:48

did. Well, and you know, I love you, I love that you told us about pivoting too, because I also came from I was the note department for a marketing department for I was the was the marketing director, marketing manager, and then marketing supervisor and coordinator and an A merger happened. And we went from a marketing department of four, down to one. So it went from four people down just to the director position, and I was one of the people who was laid off. So I also had to pivot a lot of what I was doing, because I was like, Man, I just lost my dream job. Now what, and that’s when I started my company now, and honestly, I, I can’t imagine doing anything different. So it’s crazy how life will present these opportunities to us. And it just really depends on how you decide to take advantage of it and see what the next step along the way is going to be. So a lot of similarities here with you, Nicole, and I’m I’m really can’t wait to dive into a lot of these business topics that we have planned for the day. So if someone is listening right now, and they’re an aspiring business owner, or a new business owner, or are being faced with the opportunity to pivot, like you and I were, what’s the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as their journey starts

Nicole Saunders 7:03

whole, I would say be patient and just embrace it. Because like, last year, when I tried to pivot, I think I just came out the gate, like, this is going to work. And here are my prices. And this is what I do now. And it didn’t happen. And thankfully it didn’t. Because now I’m at a much better place. And, um, thanks happened. But um, this time, I think I pivoted much better because I was completely done of what I used to do. And similar to you, Katie, like your jobs gone. You can’t go back to that, right. So I went out, got rid of my old thing, which was Pinterest marketing, and I still have clients, I just don’t book new clients, I’m still working with my current clients. But when I quit making room for current for new clients to come in, I was able to then have that space to allow new coaching clients to come in. So you’ve got to quit kind of straddling the fence, you’ve got to pick one side or the other. It’s like, okay, I’m done with this, I’m really going to focus on my new thing. So just knowing too, that whatever you say you are is what you are like you can be whoever you want to be on the internet or whatnot. I’m not saying the catfish people by any means, but you can change what you do know there are no rules in entrepreneurship. As far as that goes. Like you have complete freedom and creative control. Like if you want to be CEO today and tomorrow, you’re like nope, I like that founder, the title of founder better well then go for that like that’s, that’s the beauty of being in entrepreneurship. So I think embracing it and not straddling the fence like you can’t be in both places at once. So you really just got to pick what really sets your soul on fire and go for it.

Katie Brinkley 8:50

I love the hugest said that and I am I’ve spent too much time on clubhouse I always mute myself whenever we’re recording a podcast and I just about started tapping the microphone because that is the silent clap on clubhouse but I love what you just said there because as an entrepreneur, that’s something that we can do if you if you are the founder of your business if you want to on the internet you know change it founder of feels better I know that others a lot of people out there who that I’ve met on on the internet that are like I don’t really don’t like the phrase of coach but I really like the phrase of mentor or so I think that that’s one of the the perks of being your own boss is that you can choose your title, and you can really decide on what direction you want to take your business. A lot of similarities. Again, I was doing a lot of done for you client work and now I’ve really transitioned a lot of my business to the one on one and group coaching and it’s been it’s been phenomenal being able to teach people social media but I still do enjoy having those clients that I do the done for you social for. So as an entrepreneur. That’s one of the the perks of it. We don’t have to worry about answering to a boss or applying for a new job. Pat fits that criteria if there’s rules that we want to take on or don’t want to, we have the capabilities to do that. What do you think that some of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when they are trying to grow and sustain a successful businesses?

Nicole Saunders 10:14

Oh, that’s a good one, too. I think sometimes we get, we just get too big for our britches. Like, we’re like, Okay, I’m making like, $10,000 this year. And next year, I’m going to make seven figures, like, probably not going to happen in all reality. But I mean, it could there. I’m not saying it couldn’t, it could. But when you focus on realistic goals, and sustainable business growth, that’s going to set you up for success long term, everybody that looks like an overnight success is not like I know, a lot of when Lizzo came out and was really popular, she had been doing this stuff for years, they just looked like she was an overnight success, because suddenly she blew up overnight, but she set that foundation and that groundwork. And while it’s sometimes not so fun or sexy work, we have to do it right, like getting your LLC or or your S corp, and setting up taxes and bookkeeping. Like that stuff’s not fun, at least not for me. I know, there are CPAs, and people out there who really enjoy it. And I’m glad they do. But all of that foundational stuff, that’s what’s gonna keep you running in the long term. And then another part to that, I would say is making sure your business is built on what is innately good for you. So as an introvert, and people have asked me, Hey, do you want to do public speaking? Well, sure, yeah, I could do that. But it’s going to be very draining. And I would be very selective about doing it, I wouldn’t build an entire business around that, because it doesn’t suit my personality. I also don’t really want to, I like traveling, but I don’t want to have to leave my dogs and my husband. So you have to build this business around what makes the most sense for you, your lifestyle, your personality. You know, if you’re a mom, and you’re a single mom, and you have five kids, great, well, you have to build a business that works for you, and what Tom can commit and all of that. So do not compare your chapter one to somebody else’s chapter 100, because you don’t know the struggles they’ve been through behind the scene. Again, they could look like an overnight success, but they’re probably not. So I don’t get caught up in that comparison. Itis game.

Katie Brinkley 12:19

Right now those 100% Emojis are going off like crazy for me over here in my in my head? Because that is so 100% True. You don’t know what the struggles are, the challenges are the strategies that have taken somebody to get to where they are. And everyone’s path to success is different. So your path might not be the exact same as someone else’s. But it doesn’t mean that you should, you should stop trying but and I’ve 100% agree that stick with what works for you and your business. And honestly, that was a perfect transition into my next question. Because I would love to like you said, you’re an introvert. I am an extrovert. So like COVID was, was hard on me for not being able to have random, competent conversations and meet people and I love having like my neighbors over for like Super Bowl parties and stuff like that. So 2020 was hard. So I’d love to hear how you advise your clients and people that you mentor, how you can use your personality for your business. I know you and I were talking before I hit record here about how you just got some branding photos done. And a lot of people, especially those in the home industry and realtors might really might not realize how much they are the brand. I would love it if you would elaborate a little bit on that.

Nicole Saunders 13:38

Yeah, so not only is your personality in building your business and your strengths, important, because it’s like, you know, if you’re, if it feels like you’re going against the grain and constantly and everybody’s like, build a course have a podcast, Do this, do that. And you’re like, oh, I should do that because everybody’s doing it. But it doesn’t feel right. And it doesn’t line up with you. Of course, you’re going to fail at it, right? So if you find what works best for you, and maybe that is the course maybe that is the podcast, but it could be something else. It could be YouTube, it could be clubhouse rooms, whatever you have to focus on works best for you, and knowing your personality and your strengths. So if you’re really good at being strategic, but you’re an introvert or whatever, you’ve got to figure out what works for you. And it’s different for everybody. So it also depends on like, what personality assessment tool you’re looking at. So whether that’s Enneagram Myers Briggs string quest, there’s a ton of different tools out there, so okay, I forgot the second part of the question.

Katie Brinkley 14:38

No, you know, absolutely. I’d love it. If you elaborate a little bit about those different personality tests. Some people might say any gramps and like our DISC assessment or anything like that, and I’d really think that those are really important to think about and to take in. Would you mind just kind of elaborating a little bit about what those are and then we can pop back to how you are the brand and How a personal brand is so important, but I’d love it if you answered the question on the Enneagram, or the personality tests and why those are important to pay attention to.

Nicole Saunders 15:08

Okay, cool. Yeah. So depending again, on the personality assessment that you’re looking at, and Enneagram is really popular right now in the entrepreneur space. And that’s the one with the star kind of circled looking thing. But there’s nine different types. And each type is based on your most core fear and your biggest motivation. So I’m a four. And on some, well, a force core fear is being abandoned. I don’t have that core fear that everything else lines up with me on that my on biggest motivation is being the most unique. And that’s part of my coaching. I was like, I’ve got to be the most unique How do I do that? Oh, yeah, personality stuff. Oh, this. So for me as an Enneagram. Four, I want to be I want to stand out and not in a way where I want people to look at me, but just where people realize, Hey, she’s not like everybody else. So that’s kind of Enneagram Myers Briggs is another tool. So there are 16 different types within Myers Briggs, but honestly, there are on eight letters, so you could be an introvert or an extrovert. And you could have seen, like, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and then judging or perceiving. And there’s lots of definitions with all of those. But the biggest one people recognize is introvert or an extrovert. So introverts, we process internally. So you will see us thinking, we might look quiet and introspective. And there’s a misconception that shy, quiet, or socially awkward people are introverts. That’s not true. Extroverts can be the same way. It’s all about your processing. So extroverts they process out loud. So I have a friend who’s very extroverted. And we’re the same Enneagram type. But we look completely different when you’re looking at us as how we interact with the world. So she’s processing out loud, where I’m in, internally processing. And then she recharges by being around people and getting their energy and I recharge by being alone and having my alone time. So I used to drive home from my higher ed job. And I would drive an hour in quiet, no radio, no podcast, nothing. And then I would come home to love or husband and be like, I still need an introvert Tom sorry. And so that is what you can see the two differences in that and then strengths. So people refer to this as Strengths Quest Strengths Finder, but it’s all from Clifton Strengths. And there are a think about 35 different strengths. And everybody has some of them. But your top five is what you see the most. And so if somebody asked, Hey, what’s your what’s your strengths, you can look at those top five and share those. And there’s different category. So there might be more of that analytical type, or more of that learner type. So there’s a whole different ballgame with those. And then there are some other assessment tools, I used to use True Colors with my students because it was very simple. It’s only four personality. So there’s orange, gold, green, and blue. And basically, it’s all about how you interact with others and perceive the world. So for like, as a gold, which is my first color. I’m very organized. And I like my structure. So we’re a blue is more relationship based. And an orange is going to be more about spontaneity, and just having fun and flying by the seat of their pants, or green is very analytical. So those are kind of the four that I look at the most. But there are a multitude of other ones out there. So yeah,

Katie Brinkley 18:43

yeah, and you know what, I think that it’s really important to Nicolle just with how, how important it is to to realize one where you are so that you can be an effective leader and an effective boss, or an effective entrepreneur, knowing where you are on some of these tests, but also to know where you’re where your employees are, because somebody might not react the same way that I might not react the same as you would to a task that’s given to us presented a certain way. And so knowing where your employees are on these different personality, and any grams and all these different tests, really is important to help you be an effective and a really good leader.

Nicole Saunders 19:28

For example, I had a student a couple years ago, and I was like, I just I can’t understand him. I don’t I don’t know why, you know, I was like, Hey, can you take this test? I had him take the Myers Briggs and I got his personality back and I started reading I was like, oh, and suddenly it made sense. So I was like, Okay, well, I know he does. He’s not going to talk to me about anything that is like, emotional or anything personal or whatever. Like it’s all about for him. It was all about solving a puzzle and basically a Rubik’s cube. So it was like okay, well But this is how we’re going to go about things instead of going about it this way, because I had another student, also a male, and he was very emotional and came in my office and just like always poured his heart out. So it was like, Okay, I’m having very different students, and they worked on the same project. So it was very fun. And it was very interesting for like, team dynamics two,

Katie Brinkley 20:21

I think that that is something again, that is really important to do for your employees. And for yourself, just to know that how everyone handles a situation and everyone handles a task differently, is extremely important. So thank you so much for going into detail on that, and kind of giving us a layout of some of the different tests that are out there. If someone is listening right now. And they’re like, Okay, I had no idea that these existed, or I didn’t realize the importance of them. Which one should I do? What, which tests do you think people should try and give to themselves and their employees, if you could just recommend one.

Nicole Saunders 20:59

I think the easiest that doesn’t have to have a lot of interpretation is true colors. And if you find it, it’s going to have the four colors. So the orange, green, blue and yellow, orange, and yellow gold. But if it’s one that has purple in it, that’s the wrong one. Don’t take that one. And it’s like a PDF, and you haven’t, don’t add it up. And it’s so simple. Like, especially because it’s only four colors. And my students used to use this all the time, like, how do I communicate with this student? Oh, they’re a blue, I’m a green, I need to say it in a nice way, or whatnot. So that was a really effective tool and a very beginner entry level friendly one.

Katie Brinkley 21:36

Awesome, thank you so much. And I’ll try and find a good link to it and include it in the show notes here for everybody. Yeah, I can send you one. Oh, perfect, perfect. All right. So everyone, it’ll be in the show notes. If you want to find a good one that you can take and you can pass off to your employees, I do want to circle back to the the importance of having of knowing the fact that you are the brand. And again, like we were mentioned earlier, you just had to branding photography done. And I think that a lot of people that are solopreneurs, or real estate agents, contractors, it’s really hard to realize like how important it is that you are, in fact, the brand, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, realizing that and accepting it is just going to help you grow. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Nicole Saunders 22:21

Yeah, for sure. So, you know, like you just said, knowing who you are, I think is important. Because once you understand how you operate, you can start showing up for who you truly are. And, and I speak it again, as an Enneagram. Four, we really value authenticity. And I do think that has kind of become a word recently in entrepreneurship that’s been watered down. But when you show up as your true, authentic self, you are going to attract your soulmate clients. If Katie and I both were realtors, and we sold homes, we might have two completely different audiences. And that’s okay, here’s the thing when we work together, and we help each other kind of rise, the width, the water, like a rising tide lifts all ships, we are all gonna do better and be better. So I’m knowing my brand, if I was a realtor, and a client came to me, and I was like, those are the really the type of homes I work with, or you know, just not an ideal client. And I could refer that calling it the Katy, like, knowing that that client would be an ideal client for her. Like, could you imagine how much better we would all have it. And I’ve seen this a lot within the coaching industry and in Pinterest as well. So I think that’s one thing is knowing yourself and knowing those around you, but when you are showing who you truly are. And, you know, I did my brand photos because I just dyed my hair purple and I had previously had blue green hair and weird people were talking to me all the time. But on the internet, my profile picture had been my blondish brown hair. And I hadn’t changed it in like two years and found me when I went purple. I was like, Okay, I need to change this, but really showing who you are. And I did this. There’s these like brand cards. I did this branding deck at a retreat I went to a couple years ago. And it was like my friends at that retreat. Were like Nicole, you’re a bold brand. You’re fun. And I was like really like, bullet. Okay, cool. Because I always felt like I was given off this just very dominating and person. I’m just very, here’s how it is kind of vibe. And I don’t know why I always felt that way. And maybe it was a little self conscious about it. But even in college as the sorority president, I remember this freshman who came through and she joined a sorority, and at our bid day, she was like, I was really scared of you. I just thought you were so intimidating. And I guess that’s just what I give off. But the thing is, when you embrace who you are, and just show that it’s a good thing. And now if people came up to me and said that I would be like heck yeah, because I’m confident in who I am. And I’m going to show up for who I truly am. If I don’t want purple hair and I’m gonna be in leggings all day because I work from home. That’s who I am. I’m not some corporate PR In a suit so I think once people know you as you, they’re going to connect with you more because they know you they know your story and they want more of that they don’t want just sell me this thing Sell me this house sell me this coaching service only this Pinterest marketing thing, like they want to buy things because of who you are. So when you truly have a relationship, and they see you and your story, and you’re showing up on whether that’s Instagram stories or clubhouse rooms, or wherever, like people want to know, like, and trust you. And that’s the best way to do it.

Katie Brinkley 25:33

I love that again, I was back here, clapping away while doing everything I could not to to hit the microphone like you do on clubhouse. This has been such a great conversation, Nicole, I honestly think that this, this could go for an hour. But it is the end of the show. And I again, I loved having you on. I’d love to have you back on as a guest again in the future. But before we finish up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think would be important to share?

Nicole Saunders 26:02

I think if you’re sitting on something, just do it, like quit holding yourself back. If it’s an Instagram post, if it’s a YouTube video, a podcast, whatever, hit publish, and let it out into the world quit trying to make perfect happen. There is no such thing as perfect on this earth and actually heard this quote a couple years ago that perfectionism is the highest type of self abuse. And ever since then I was like, wow, that just flipped my mindset on that. So if you are holding something back, because it’s not ready, it’s not up to your standards, whatever. Just put it out in the world, you don’t know that one person who might need it, and you can help them out. You just don’t know. So put it out there and quit holding everybody else back because you’re too scared. It’s not perfect.

Katie Brinkley 26:45

Nicole, this has been such a great conversation. I absolutely want to have you back again someday. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?

Nicole Saunders 26:54

Yeah, of course. So the best place to connect with me is Instagram. So at Saunders underscore CES, and that’s sa u n d RS underscore says, you can connect with me there. That’s kind of my main community hub. So you can find out more about my coaching there. You can find out more about my clubhouse challenge. You can find out more about our YouTube videos, all the things I share on Instagram.

Katie Brinkley 27:18

Well, awesome. Well, thank you again, so much for coming on to the show today. This has been a wonderful discussion. And like I said, I would love to have you come back again. And we can talk more about me and I feel like we only touched the surface with all the different tips and strategies that you can share with us. So thank you again, Nicole, for coming on the show today.

Nicole Saunders 27:36

Of course. Thank you so much for having me. And yeah, I would love to come back anytime it’s been a blast.

Katie Brinkley 27:44

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.