May 17, 2023
Ann Carden - Reaching Serial Success Seizing Opportunity

Ann Carden is a strategic business consultant, coach, author, and serial entrepreneur who launched and sold five successful businesses. Today she uses her marketing, sales, and business strategy expertise to help others reach...

Apple Podcasts podcast player icon
Spotify podcast player icon
Google Podcasts podcast player icon
Castro podcast player icon
RSS Feed podcast player icon

Ann Carden is a strategic business consultant, coach, author, and serial entrepreneur who launched and sold five successful businesses. Today she uses her marketing, sales, and business strategy expertise to help others reach higher levels of success. 

In this episode, you will hear about Ann’s natural ability to recognize opportunities that took her from stay-at-home mom to serial entrepreneur well before the days of social media and online marketing and how she’s gone on to create her own method for successful business building that she uses to coach others who want to scale their businesses.

Ann tells us how she launched her first very successful business making and selling dolls after looking for a way to make a little extra money for her family,  the hard work and long hours it took to build that business to global success, selling that first business, and how she got the idea for her next business after overcoming a personal challenge.

Ann reveals her natural gift for seeing opportunities, using that gift to build multiple businesses, what she says your fastest path to success in business is, and the life-changing experience she had working with a business coach that sparked her passion to become a coach herself. 

Ann describes how she knew it was time to exit a business, how she aligned her business to do what she most enjoys, why you shouldn’t feel guilty about making money in your business, and her A to Z model for working with her coaching clients helping them level up and scale their businesses.

You’ll be inspired by Ann’s ability to identify opportunities, her commitment to pursuing them, her openness about the hard work and mistakes along the way, and her heart for helping others achieve success.

Skip to Topic:

3:09 - Figuring out what the market wants
5:54 - Creating a global business out of a spare bedroom
8:52 - Selling a successful business
9:47 - Launching a new business solving a personal struggle
16:46 - Finding your fastest path to success
18:58 - Staving off lower-priced competitors
21:39 - Becoming a coach for business owners
23:32 - Recognizing when it’s time to exit a business
25:28 - Doing what brings you  joy in your business
31:13 - Why entrepreneurs should not feel guilty about making money 

Find Ann  at:


Visit Stephanie at:

Follow me onInstagram|Facebook|LinkedIn|Twitter


Support the show

Did you love the content in this episode and would like to continue the conversation?

I'd love to get to know you better!

Book a free call with Stephanie to chat about your strategy and what's next for you in your business.

Learn more about Stephanie here.


Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes, and I'm a business strategist who helps experienced business owners design asset-based business models that set their businesses up for growth and exit. I love to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and the gritty details on how they've navigated their own way through. On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you can see online, and you won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear the real vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of our guests businesses today. I'm so excited to welcome Ann Carden. After leaving a 13 year long corporate business management career where she managed multiple million dollar departments in a multi-billion dollar national retail corporation and began her first business over 30 years ago. Though she started out in financial hardship, Ann was able to propel that business into the international market even before the rise of the internet and current social networks. After selling that business, she went on to start and build five more businesses to success. She sold five of her six businesses and today she has a passion to help coaches, service professionals, and entrepreneurs build their own success to higher levels. Welcome to the show, Ann, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today. Thank you, Stephanie. It is my honor and my pleasure to be here. Okay, well let's hear it. So you started in that corporate career and then you got bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. No, it wasn't like that at all. I had kids, I had kids, and I, I knew, you know, I was, I was living because I was in management and I was living in that career and they were not, you know, this was so many years ago, 40, 40 ish years ago, or 30 plus years ago. And they were not kind about being a mom and having a career. It, it's not like it is today, even though today that's still a struggle, I think, in corporations. But, so I made the decision that I was going to leave that corporate career in income and we were going to make a move across the country. And I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, but the math didn't work. My husband's job was not enough money and we, we were really struggling. I mean, I tell this story, I, I literally, the turning point was I, I sat down and cried because I didn't have money to buy my son sh my four-year-old son shoes. They had been getting a lot of hand-me-downs from their cousins, which was a real blessing. But we just, we, I didn't, could not squeeze anything out of another dime of my husband's paycheck. And I started looking for a way to make money. I prayed about it and, and found a way to kind of turn my talents into. A money maker and it started, it was just going to be some extra money to kind of relieve the pressure and, and then I saw the opportunity and it just kept growing. So then I was able to employ a lot of other moms that were struggling with the same thing. So I employed many moms and helped them out as well as I built this manufacturing company outta my home. So, So you didn't just, you know, start small, we just went straight to manufacturing. Well, no, but it's, it did start small, but it, it really did kind of turn into that. I was really, in a way so I did Creative Dolls at that time and again, 32 years ago. You know, the craft industry was ex. Bloating across the country. I was very creative. I knew how to do things and I, oh gosh, this story really takes me back. But I was like, maybe I could create some little craft things and make a little bit of money. There's a store in town and I can take those things and put 'em on consignment. So the things that I made, I took in there. And I didn't do any market research or anything. I just made these little towel rack things and took 'em in and, and she was very gracious. She said, well, I'm not sure these are quite what people are looking for, but I'll put 'em in here and we'll see. So after about two weeks, nothing sold because that wasn't what the market wanted. And I, so I went in and I said, what are they buying? And she said they're buying these dolls, these rabbit dolls at the time. And I said, A rabbit doll. I have no idea how to do a rabbit doll, but I borrowed my mom's sewing machine. I said, I'm going to figure it out. And I went, and I always have been creative, but I, I went and I looked at like pattern after pattern after pattern of different. Rabbit dolls and got ideas and looking at her store at the different things, and I, I started designing my own, but that turned into a global business where I numbered my dolls. They were, there was an entire line of them. I had people waiting for the next doll. To come out. And they were all animal kind of, they weren't all animals, but it was all built around the same look. But I just kept adding different types of dolls and then I, then I started designing patterns and selling those. So I had really two sides of my business going. I was, if people wanted to make them themselves, they could, I, here were the designs and they could buy the pattern. And I worked with a big local or a big company that sold patterns and. I was making those dolls and I had people doing doll parts and stuffing and people sewing and, and so yes. So it really was a manufacturing company out of, you know, an extra bedroom in our home. You know, I love this, I love this because I think it's it was a, a real surprise for me when I started learning about how big the crafting industry is. And I had a friend who, whose wife had started. Like a scrapbook booking store and we were like, you can make a store just from scrapbooking. Mm-hmm. Oh yes. Mm-hmm. Oh yes, there. It's a huge, huge industry. And so I'm, you know, I love, I love that your purpose was to employ other moms. I know. That's why I got into business in the first place too, cuz I couldn't stand, I. My kids talking about their teachers and their friends, and I had no idea who those people were. Right. It was hard though. I mean, you know, when I look back what the things people don't know and I, you know, I was making a six figure income, not revenue income all those years ago. I. From that business and there were still things I didn't really, I wasn't good at in business, but I have, I always have had a good instinct and the reason that went global, because that was before we had all the technology and everything that we had today. I knew to run print ads. I knew to, you know, to advertise and I advertised. In a, an international magazine. And then I had my dolls in stores across the country because there were a lot of craft stores across the country. And so I was shipping, I mean, every day the u p s truck was coming to my house and I was shipping boxes and boxes of dolls out. And then I had individual clients, you, that were customers that were waiting for the next doll. I'll never forget But I, I interviewed in this, or I ran an ad in the International magazine. At that time it was, it was called Country Sampler. I don't think it's around anymore, obviously. But one of the things is you could not buy the cover. You had your, your crafts had to be selected for the cover. And my dolls, two of my dolls made the cover. And that was a complete game changer in my business. It blew it up overnight and. So I remember the first time I got an order to Iceland I thought. Iceland. I mean, here I'm running this business out of my, an extra bedroom in our house and I get to send an order to Iceland and, and when I got on the phone, you know, back then people would call you and they would give you their orders and it, it was not technology savvy at all. And I remember this, this woman talking about how she was I think her husband was in the army or something. Wow. I hadn't thought about this story in years and years, but I think her husband was in the Army, so she traveled. She had to move with him a lot and she, you know, she's in Iceland and she was very, Kind of felt alone. And she said she just could never wait for my next doll to come out. Like she had every one of them. And so I started signing those dolls for her, and then it kind of sparked another thing. Okay, I'm gonna sign and number these. And so that added value to them and it made them even more desirable for people. But it was, it was really a fun business. But the things that. I don't talk about, I was up at three in the morning making dolls before my kids ever got outta bed, and I worked when they were in school. So when they got a little bit older and they were in school, I worked all day. I would be for them, you know, with school activities and all of that, but then I would often come home and work late into the night, all the things that I had to do to make that business work. It was, it was hard. Those, those were tough, hard times, but it was such a blessing. It was such a blessing to us and to our, to my family. It was such a game changer. So this business grew mm-hmm. And you eventually sold it. I did, so I sold the designs. I hadn't been, so the assets that I really had in the business, because I, you know, I went ahead and sold out, obviously the products and things that I had, but the assets that I really had left in the business was the creative side of it were the designs. And I did have a manufacturing company that approached me about making my dolls. But it was overseas and that was just something at that time I just wasn't. Excited about doing. I didn't wanna be traveling and, you know, working out the details with them to create my dolls and market those in the US And so that just didn't light me up at the time. So, but selling my, my patterns out to that company is what I ended up doing. So I sold the, I sold all the designs and everything and that, you know, that was fine. And then they could print them and, And keep selling them. But that took me into my second business because in the process of that, I also gained a lot of weight. It was very sedentary. It was a hard job. You know, I, I was always doing, but it wasn't active and I gained a lot of weight and I was really at a crossroads. Like, you are kind of like, you lose your, you know, like, I felt like I was okay. My, my baby's gone here, right? I've given this up now, and now what? What am I gonna do? And I, I was kind of in a depressed place, like, what's next for me? You know, I can't go back to my retail career because I would have to drive an hour both ways. I still wanna be a mom. I still wanna be active with my kids. And so, I thought, well, the only thing I really have control over at this point, I don't even know what my next step is gonna be, is I need to get, I need to take better care of myself. I need to get this weight off. I need to get in shape. And that took me into my next business, which became a fitness business, and I started that again. You know what I wanna, it changed me so much I wanted to help other people. And I went to a back to school barbecue and handed out flyers to the moms and said, Hey, do you wanna take this? Is, this will really age me. Do you wanna take aerobic classes? Did you wear leg warmers and a leotard? We did not. That was a little past. That was a little past. So this was in the nineties, not the seventies, but but they said, yeah, you know, I would love to do that. And so, I started that I thought, well, I need to find a place. I need to find a place where I can do these classes. And I found a community hall and I started, I, you know, I had moms that were paying me, I dunno, $36 a month or whatever to come and we were doing workout classes and it kind of kept growing. And then I took over some, a little store that. In town that they weren't going to be using anymore. And she let me rent that out. And it, it was so small, it was like 1200 square feet. It was really small, but I put mirrors up and it was, it was pretty redneck, I'm just gonna say it was, I worked with what I had. But you know, that, that got started and then I started helping teachers and, and then we started working out in the gym at school, you know, with, and it just kept growing. And, but here's the thing that put that business on the map and exploded it. I came up, I in the, in the meantime, I started learning about nutrition and how to help people with their nutrition and all of that. Now again, All these years ago, it was not a common thing for nutrition and fitness to be put together. Like they were separate, you know, gyms were kind of coming onto the scene. And so I, I came up with a program. I'm like, I wanna make a bigger impact with these women and these people that are working out with me. They need to lose weight. And so I, I created a program called Body Blast, and it was a four week program. They came in five mornings a week at 5:00 AM and worked out with me. And then they had nutrition plans and we tracked all their results. And I did that program for 20 years and it made me a fortune. It just, I became known for that. And it was, it was something that allowed me to make a lot more money with what I was doing. And then I also had an office set up in my home and people were coming and I was helping them with their nutrition for that as well. So that grew into a 16,000 square foot. Fitness club. It grew into a full-blown weight loss center. It was like two businesses in one, and they sold that way. And then I expanded into another market, two more businesses. So that's how that all came about. But it came kind of out of, you know, here's a problem and gosh, there's nothing available for people. I saw the opportunity and I just, you know, I've always been a hard worker. I've always been very committed to anything I do. I. I always want to find a way. I know there's always a way and always a solution for, for anything that I put my mind to and that I feel called to do. And you know, it, they weren't easy times. I, there were a lot of mistakes I made along the way, but it was, it was a game changer for our life to be able to sell all of those. So, yeah, I mean, what you seem to have is this natural gift to be able to identify the, and clarify the opportunity. I think there are a lot of people who understand where there's a problem or there's a gap. Mm-hmm. But have a hard time sort of clarifying what. The actual opportunity is, and what that means in terms of like, a lot of people will be too on the nose around mm-hmm. What the solution is. And if it was that simple and that clear, I think, you know, it would've been done. But I think you seem to have a knack of fi figuring out how it needs to be delivered, packaged and, and what the angle really is. And that's what I do in my business today. That's what I've been doing for years. I look at people and I go, wow. Why did you go down that path in your coaching business? Or why are you selling that in your consulting business? Like what, where's your expertise? Where's your background? Your experience? Oh, you're going down a hard road. Yeah. I mean, that is exactly what I do in my business because I've been doing it for so many years and, and you're, you're really right. You know, it's so funny you're saying that because I never really thought of that as. A natural gift, but now that you're saying that, it probably is because it's easy for me to see the opportunities for people, and it's easy for me to see how amazing they are and what they could be doing. And how to package them up in a way mm-hmm. That actually meets a need and Yes. Meets the client because I think we, we have a lot of trials and tribulations, and we have a lot of false starts because we're kind of, you know, there's a lot of information that we have to gather at that sort of startup phase. And most startup founders are doing a lot of, you know, course correcting as they go. Mm-hmm. And I'm, I'm certain that you had some of that, but there are people who get there faster. Because they have that sort of intuition. Mm-hmm. And I think it's just like any other skill. I know for me, I'm more, I'm much better at figuring out how to execute and how to, you know, implement one. Mm-hmm. But I'm not necessarily the ideas person. Mm-hmm. You know, that's not where my strength is. Every now and then I have a good idea, but I, you know, but we all sort of fit in somewhere along the way. Mm-hmm. Right? And, and once you start collecting the information and the feedback, it gets easier and easier. Right. Right. And, and I think that's true. I think a lot of people don't really have, they don't have clarity around what they could be doing or, and what's going to be marketable and what is going to be valuable in the market, which is one of the reasons I love strategy so much, and a such a big piece of what I do in my, in my business today to help other people is really mapping out. That strategy that can help them get to the goals they want. And I always say the fastest and with the least pa, with the, the least resistance. So, If, if you're, if you're trying to learn something to sell or to deliver, or you're trying to do something that you've never done before, that's going to always be the slower path because it's not really in your expertise. So now you've gotta learn your thing and you've got to learn how to build a business around it. And a lot of people don't even, like the math doesn't even work for a lot of people. I see people start their business. And they're, they don't even really realize, okay, if I'm selling this thing for, you know, $200, I've gotta have a lot of people to hit my goal. I've gotta make a lot of sales to hit my big goals. And, and they don't understand why they don't get there and why it's so hard and why it's so costly versus saying, okay, how can I do something? So one of the things I've done forever, And I've done it with, every business I've ever worked with is, where's your big opportunity? Let's go after that. Where's the thing that can make you the most money? And it's gonna be fast. And it's also in your, in your wheelhouse. It's your, it's your expertise. Now, you don't have to teach now, you don't have to convince anybody that you know what you're doing because you do know what you're doing. And it gives them just that faster projection forward. Because if we, it's just like the body blast that became my biggest money maker. I mean, every time I wanted to bring in thousands of dollars, we would, we would've a waiting list for that. And I became known for that. And that's what I try to help people do in their business today because it is their fastest path. And so fast forward to today. You I think you, you had, you know, a couple more ventures in there as well, and now you're working with business owners. Yes. So I worked, when I started working with a coach in my last two businesses, because I expanded in the recession, I opened three businesses in the recession. So I had this big health club, and I didn't go into all this story, but the recession hit. We had just taken out a big loan and put everything on the line, our home, everything we owned to expand this club. And I, I signed a lease for six years. We had to do all the build out. I mean, it was, it was a huge, costly project. And all of a sudden the recession hits. And on top of that, we had a very low price. I was a kind of a high end club, and we had a very, very low price competitor. Come in now, they're all over the place, but at that time, a $19 membership and a $10 membership was unheard of. And so they came in with those prices while also the recession hit. So people were very price conscious about the money that they were spending. And we know with. Health and fitness. It's, you know, it's the back burner for most people. Mm-hmm. So I started looking for a way to keep myself apart from them and not look the same, but also be able to keep, you know, really be able to keep the level of my club up and be able to still make the revenue that we were making because we started losing people. It had nothing to do with what was going on in the inside. Anyone that was, that price was a huge issue for them. Jumped ship to go to the other club and I was, but I still had the very affluent people in my club. So we still had the very high paying people, but I still lost people to that other club. And so I started looking for a way to offset that. And I came across I. A company that was there, it's like a franchise, but it was a license. And I, I was on a call with my merchant service and they were running a webinar. This was, again, a lot of years ago, and she talked about doubling your club dues. And I thought, okay, I need this. Right. So I, I got on there and it was all around this weight loss. Program that we could run like a separate business. Why? I already had all the nutrition background and so I, I bought into that just like you would buy into a franchise, and I added that to my business and that was such a game changer because now we drew people for different things from just. Fitness and, and I still did the body blast. So it all worked, like everything just still worked. It wasn't a disconnect from what I was really known for. And then when I expanded into another market, I opened another one of those weight loss senators, senate, another. Weight loss center can't talk. And I opened another club. That one specifically was a high-end training club for women and built those out. But those two businesses could not get above break even. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and I knew how to run businesses, but I just could not get them making money. And I was. Kind of at that time still own. I owned four and I was, you know, I had different teams and all those businesses, but I was killing myself. It was about an hour away from my other clubs and I was going back and forth and my husband said, something's got to give here. I mean, you are exhausted. We don't see each other. And so I hired my first business coach, and it turned out it was a marketing problem. It wasn't a business problem, and she fixed me in 30 days and everything turned around and I was able to then really grow those and then sell those later on. But that is where my fire for coaching came from. I was like, oh my gosh, this has been so life changing. I could do this. And so I just really went on a mission to learn everything. You know, to better my business skills, but also learn everything I could about marketing. And so yeah, that was, I don't know, many, many years ago. So then I started working with small business owners, just telling them, Hey, I can help. Let me help you with your business. And discovered I was really good at it from all of my experience, and I loved it, but, I was part of a coaching organization and a lot of the coaches were struggling because they had a very cookie cutter kind of system. And I broke away from that and I figured out my own way to be successful and it worked and, and so they started kind of elevating me on their expert calls and Ann's doing this and, you know, doing, Ann's doing, but it wasn't their system. And coaches started coming to me and I started helping them and I. That was my next opportunity. So I always feel like my opportunities found me in a way, but I think also because I saw them. So when did you know it was time to exit with each of your businesses? With the first, with the first the first one I saw the market turning. And I realized that it wasn't going to ever be what it had been in the seven years that I did it. So I saw a shift, so everything was being imported from China and all of these different places, and so I, I did have enough. You know, I was savvy enough to realize that the market was changing and I needed to figure out what my next step was going to be. And at that time, that's when I dis, that's when I started doing the pattern end of it. So brought that revenue stream in, that did very well. And, but then here was the thing, I didn't love the pattern side of it, and that was really where the business was exploding and it wasn't. Something that I just didn't enjoy that. So for me it was, I don't love this anymore. And that's what inspired me to exit. And I think if I really look at every single one of my businesses that was probably the thing that inspired me to exit because. I got to the point where I knew there was something different that I should be doing. So for example, when I had the big club and I had the weight loss center, I still enjoyed that. But when I opened the one where I was training women, high-end women, and we had the weight loss, that was where my passion really was. And it was almost kind of like when I started, right? It was on a smaller scale. It was intimate. It, it was you know, again, we have the affluent people, the professional women, and I loved that and I wanted that business to be successful because that was sort of where my heart was. So I, that's when I made the decision. I don't want this Big O Club anymore. I don't want the. Pain that goes along with this club that have always having to buy new equipment and always, my other club was so streamlined. We had, we had equipment, but we had a small amount of equipment. We were, I was running more boot camps and kettlebell training and personal training and everything was very streamlined and I found that I loved that. And so I think that it's really funny. As I'm talking to you, I may actually even kind of seeing some Ideas here about why I love the business I I'm in today. I, my business is very streamlined. It's, it's, I work on a higher end. I don't love the volume. I don't do volume methods, and I teach that same thing. It's really, it comes from, I think, my experience with volume versus high end, let's see, a $36 client or a hundred and or a $200 client for this, you know, for this body blast. So, yeah. I think you make a really good point, and I think it's something that You know, I've talked to my clients about it a lot as well, and I know personally, I've had a lot of people say to me, why didn't you become a c e O of a big company? You know, you could have done that. And, oh, nothing feels less aligned for me than you know, that like, could I do it? Yes. Do I wanna do it? No. I love the flexibility. I love this. I love the sort of intimate nature of the work that I do with my clients. I am not somebody who likes. Who enjoys the challenges of doing something at scale. Mm-hmm. And. Others might. And I think this is where we're starting to see a lot of separation, a lot of awareness and acknowledgement in the business industry that particularly women do have a tendency to want to be more aligned with something more intimate. Mm-hmm. And something more purposeful. And yet the messages that we get in the business world, and this is changing, but the messages that we have traditionally gotten in the business world have been from male-centered and male dominated. Mm-hmm. Business tactics where it was like the only way to go is up, big scale, huge. Mm-hmm. That's the yard stick. And now people like you and like me, And many others are delivering the message that we're far more satisfied and we're far more our energy is far more aligned when we're doing something that feels more purposeful and more intimate. Mm-hmm. And we can see the results. And so is that, that seems sounds like it's kind of been that trajectory for you in your career as well. I. You know it, it really has, I think what you're saying. However, I will say this, I still love making the most money I can in my business, but I want to do it with something that really lights me up. I want to do it with something that I still really love. But a lot of people, so Stephanie, I know you probably see this too, so a lot of women in particular are, they're either, you know, they're either so money focused and everything's like volume, volume, volume, create courses, run ads, yada, yada, you know, all that stuff. Then you've got women that are so passion driven that they don't think about the business side of it, and I'm, I. Merge those things. I think you can do what you love and you can make a lot of money doing it. And it, the money is the impact and that is not only, it's life changing for you, it's life changing for your family, it's life changing for other people. I mean, every year when what I get to give in, when I, what I get to write checks for and give every year when I get to see that go up. Because I have missions that I love. I have a real heart for kids, so anything with kids, I do a lot of giving to kids organizations and to my church and things like that. Those things are important to me. And if I'm not making money, I can't do those things. I can't support those things the same way. So I don't think it shouldn't, in my opinion. If you're going to be in a business, then treat it like a business. Make the most amount of money that you can, even if you give it all away. Still run it like a business and do your very best. Don't but you can love what you're doing. And so, yeah, I, I don't know if that makes sense, but Yeah. I, I, I mean, absolutely. I don't think those things have to be mutually exclusive. I think that we can certainly make money and make really good money without. Having to follow a career path or follow a business trajectory that doesn't align with who we are. It's all possible. I mean, I would much rather do what I'm doing now and keep the amount of money that I make than, you know, scale up to some, you know, multi seven figure business. Mm-hmm. That's only keeping like, where I'm still only keeping the same amount that I'm keeping now. Right. These, those are, those are two different. You know, like you see a lot of these sort of, oh, I made seven figures, but you ego numbers, right? But you also spent $800,000 on ads to get that seven figures, right? Yes. That's the kind of, yeah. Right. So I like it. And, and maybe you really love running that business and that can skill and that's amazing there. We shouldn't be afraid of money. And I, I know a lot of women and a lot of service providers have that, especially in like healthcare and like the, you know, the cer the, the personal development space. There's this guilt. There's this guilt that we, we should be charging less and making everything accessible and, and, you know, we shouldn't be money focused, but it's like you're running a business, you're not running a charity. Yes. Even charities have to be money focused. Right. And even in a not-for-profit still has to make money. Right. I can't believe, you know, when you're talking about guilt, like I, I look at that now and I don't feel guilty about the money that I make now because I've worked really hard to learn everything that I know and I am always. Still investing back into myself to get better and to learn more. And but, you know, you talk about the guilt. I can remember when I expanded that first club. It was, I was on my third location. Third, yeah. I think, no, I was on my fourth location before I bought the, really, before I did the really big thing. And I can remember someone that worked for me. I, I got a new car now. I had been driving a car. For several years like it, it had lots of miles and I can remember getting a new car and one of my employees, she was kind of my right hand person, said, do not tell people you got a new car, because people are not, they're giving you their money every month. They are not going to think very highly of that. And I remember the guilt that I felt, even though there were times I didn't get a paycheck, there were times I didn't, I put in more hours than I ever would've worked for someone else, often for, for a lot less pay. Right? That's part of being an entrepreneur until you get it to a place where you're making good money. But I, I will never forget that and. I had to really get beyond that. Oh, it took me a long time to get beyond that. As my businesses grew and became more successful, I had to really get a thick skin around that and say, it's nobody's business. Yeah. I'm the one with, in fact, it was my coach said, Hey, you are the one that put everything on the line that you could have lost your home. You could have lost your everything you've worked for all these years, you are the one taking all the risk. You're the one putting in the endless hours, the sleepless nights. And so she really changed my mindset around that. But I know that a lot of people still. A lot of women feel that way or they make more money than their husband. That's another thing that can cause guilt too. Like if I'm so successful, I'll make more money than my husband and then that's gonna cause problems. So there I get all of that. I've been through all of that. But you know, the thing is it that's not serving you at all and it certainly is not serving anyone else. No. And women are supposed to be nice and asking people for money isn't nice, right? And so there's all this old, this, this old stuff, right? This old mindset, these old perspectives that are still following us today and it's getting better. And we're, you know, we're talking about it more and we're, you know, kind of breaking some of that stuff down. But that's where those old, like I've seen women just crippled, just crippled and unable to grow because they are so conflicted by what it means to them. To be asking for money and to be wealthy. Right. And we, you know, we have an opportunity to change some of that. And so, you know, in the work that you're doing now, tell me a little bit about who you're working with, how you're serving them, what that transition was like to becoming one of those service providers. Yeah, so what I do now is really teach the model that I, I learned through all of my pain, I should say, and it really is. So I see a lot of, I work with coaches and consultants, and I work with people who also have a lot of ex. Experience and expertise, knowledge, skills, and they want to become a coach or a consultant. So I love taking a very successful business owner and turning them into a business coach, a really high paid business coach. So I have two sides. I work with coaches and consultants who are one. Wanting to really level up their business and scale. And they wanna work with really high-end clients. So they want to maybe have a million dollar business or a half a million dollar business, but they only wanna work with a handful of clients. So if you're only working with, you know, if you're working with $50,000 clients and you want a half a million dollar business, that's 10 clients. If you want a million dollar business, that's 20. So that's the model that I teach and I help people really. Redesign, how they're doing things in their business, if they already are in their business, and really level that up so that they're working with the top of their market. They're not working. What I like to call in the shark-infested waters where everyone's, you know, price You know what I mean? Everyone's going for the price, the lowest prices, everybody's competing. I move them into the market where they have no competition. We position them where they have no competition. So that's, that's what I'm really doing today. And then I will help people start their business. I see. So my, my last book that was a number one bestseller expert in you build a lucrative and impactful coaching and consulting business with your expertise. I wrote that book out of frustration with the coaching industry. I was very frustrated with all the cookie cutter. I was very frustrated with the volume method, the value ladder, all the stuff that people are out there creating the courses. I tried a lot of that stuff. And number one, it didn't align with who I wanted to be, but even the, the organization that I was with helping me get business coaching clients, I was bringing in the wrong people. I was bringing in people who didn't have the right mindset to be successful. I cared more about their success than they did. It was the most miserable business when I started. It wasn't really when I started, it was when I sort of went into, oh, I have to have a program. Oh, I have to have a process. Okay. So then I started buying into all the stuff that people are out there teaching, the very cookie cutter stuff, and I started bringing in clients that I just made me miserable. I mean, I just, I almost left the business. I almost left my coaching business and. I took a step back and I said, what's wrong? I had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in this industry. What is wrong with my coaching business? Why am I not loving this? What's missing? And what I realized is that I was bringing in the wrong people, and everything I was trying to do was like pushing a boulder up a hill. And I, I said, unless I redesigned this business and I changed this I'm not going to stay in this. And here's a good example of what I mean. I created an eight week program because that's what I was told in the cookie cutter phase, right? And I brought in clients and I was helping them bring in high paying clients. So that was my whole model. And I would help them get high paying clients and get their offer in place where they could charge a lot more. But then what they left me because I didn't have anything to help them with, and I, it was very frustrating because with all my experience and all my years in business, I knew I could help them build their business, but I wasn't getting people that wanted to build a business. I was getting people that wanted to build a program. And that was the disconnect for me. I'm like, no, I want people that wanna build a business. They wanna build wealth with their business. They want to, they want this to be something, not an income. Not just an income. And when I changed that, I even worked with a coach. Gosh, I, I've talked about this, it seems like a lot. But I remember working with a coach and pay, you know, I paid her to help me with some online stuff. And she said, Ann, you'll never get anyone to pay you. You'll never get a coach to pay you for 12 months. It's not gonna happen. People aren't wired that way. And what I realized is she didn't know how to position me to work with people for 12 months because I was already doing it with small business owners. So I just needed to figure out how to bring that into the coaching and consulting industry. And I still have quick programs. I still have those, but my main focus is people that want to build a half a million dollar to a million dollar business with a handful a clients. So, yeah, I love that. I love that. And I, I, you know, I I, I'm just sitting here nodding as you're speaking because I'm like Yep, yep. Heard it, heard it before. Yep, yep. Heard it before. And I think I think there is that sort of real stratification in in the business owners. And I think a lot of people have a hard time breaking through that because the. You know, they, they build programs and they build sort of these mm-hmm. They, they build an offer that is shortsighted. Yes. And if you're looking for a business owner that is not shortsighted, don't sell them something that's shortsighted. I. You. Oh my gosh. I could not have said that better myself because here was the thing when those clients left me after eight weeks, even though I've got testimonials about the results, do you know what happened? They would leave and they would go look for the next thing, and they would invest in the next coach. And a lot of times that next coach wouldn't understand what they were doing because they didn't have that same. Background or that same experience. And so they would, they would take them down a different path, and I would watch everything that I had done with them. Go backwards. They wouldn't, all of a sudden they weren't even doing the thing, or I would watch them quit because they didn't have that ongoing support to keep growing it and keep, you know, keep making that better and building that into something. And I just, it was just my pushback because I thought, this is just wrong. I don't need it. I call it piecemealing your business together. Okay, well, where's the next coach that can help me do the next thing, right? And so I am an A to Z approach for my clients, and that's what I love because that is where my genius is. It is helping them figure out what is your best and fastest path, and then I wanna help you get there. I don't wanna just like strategize this for you and send you on your way and say, okay, good luck. Here's your little program. Go figure out, you know, how to, how to make a million dollars with this. That is not. What I signed up for. So if I, I wanna keep working with them and keep supporting them and giving them everything they need. And the other thing about that is it keeps making me better because if they come up against something that I is not my area of expertise, I am going to invest in someone who can teach me. How to do that well so I can go help my clients. So I continue to grow because as I see that they need this or they need that, I, I am there for everything they need. And so that means I'm going to make sure that I know how to help them. And there just aren't a lot of people that are putting in that kind of effort. To help their clients. It's like, okay, let's just do a rinse and repeat thing that nothing wrong with that. Those are great scale strategies, but to me, that's not really building a business. And to add to that, I think that it also, it, you know, it, it also depends on the customer being ready and at that stage. I remember when I launched my first group program, I was like, this is six months minimum, right? Mm-hmm. Because I know, I know that you, I know how long it takes. I know that they needed to go through this process. Right. And I had my own framework and that sort of thing, and the feedback I got from a lot of people were like, oh, six months just seems like a long time. I know. I don't know if I can commit to something. I'm like, well, there's your problem. That's the problem. That's right. Oh my gosh. Yeah, you and I sing the same song. I will tell you I can I, even if I've had coaches come to me and they're interested in, you know, my, my mastermind or my working with me and they only want to work with me for six months. I mean, first of all, if they're in a place in their business where that makes sense. Then that's fine. I can do that with them. They're not gonna be in my mastermind, but I can work with them for six months. I'm fine with that. But if I look at what they're, they're trying to do, and I know that that can't happen in six months, am I really serving them if I sell them that? Exactly. And so I would rather turn that client away, go, you know, good luck. Go. You'll figure it out. Go piecemeal it until you decide that it's not working, and then you'll come back to someone that can take you where you wanna go. Yeah. And I am fi perfectly fine. With turning away those clients, because they're not my clients, they're, they're not in the right mindset. They don't understand business. They don't understand what it takes, and I want people that are on fire to do what I know I can help them do. So I have no trouble turning those types of clients away and, and we have to set those boundaries. That's how we become fulfilled. When I wasn't fulfilled as a coach, because I knew there was so much more I could be helping people with, that's what made me not love the business. That's, that's what made me lose my passion for it when I started working with people who valued the fact that they were building something and they were excited to build something that changed my entire business and my entire business model. And, and I love it. I love what I do. And I'm glad that you said that because I think a lot of people get stuck in this kind of like, well, I should be giving them what they want. And I'm like, Hmm, they may not know what they want. And every one of those clients, they don't know signed up. No, that signed up for that first six month program. All said to me at the end, Six month wasn't even enough. Right. Right. So, so they, they don't, and I think that if you give into the pressures of the industry to mm-hmm. Get into this hustle, hustle, hustle, and six figures in six weeks, I'm like, come on, you know it. I'm fine being okay with people going elsewhere mm-hmm. And learning their lessons there. That's right. Is, you know, it's a strength. Right. And it's, it's eventually you get there because you get tired of talking against yourself for so long. And so I'm glad that you said that. We're coming up on time and I, I do have one question that I like to ask of all my guests and I'm excited to hear your response. What's the difference between what we hear out there in the business world and what's real about being a business owner? Well, the reality is you can't ever quit growing yourself. So I see a lot of people that have some success and they sort of rest on their laurels and you know, business evolves, everything evolves, marketing evolves, business evolves. Don't. Don't get hung up on tactics, learn fundamentals and strategy. Learn how to market and sell, but the fundamentals not the next shiny thing. You know, chat bots and, you know, all those things, those are all great tools, but unless you have the right messages, they're not going to work. So the, when we talk about business, You have to know the fundamentals of business, and you have to know how to build a business anywhere. I got shut down on Facebook a few years ago and lost everything. Well, fortunately it wasn't, I was making a lot of money on Facebook, but I also was on LinkedIn. I had a YouTube chAnnl, I had an email list. I knew how to go out and get clients and speak, and, and that's building a business, so. I, I think the, the biggest thing is know how to build a business. Don't get, don't get stuck in the shiny objects. If you only know how to build a business with a Facebook group, for example. I, I fear for you because your business is at r a, a lot of risk. So I would say that learn, understand you're building a business. You need to understand the pieces, the moving parts so that if something happens somewhere, like I would, would not worry if my business, if something happened and it got shut down today, I know how to go out tomorrow and get a client. I know how to go out tomorrow and sell something because I understand those fundamentals. Yeah. And I know how to, to start back up a business. And I think you have to know yourself as a business owner as well. Right. That's a huge part of, of where your business is gonna go and, and what works and what doesn't work for your growth. Absolutely. All right. Well, we're, we're gonna have to wrap up because it's coming up on time. I'm sure we could talk for another hour, but can you tell our listeners where they can find you? Yes, absolutely. So you can find me all over social media. But you can, if you want to book a call with me, it's a, but reach out to me on LinkedIn, on Facebook. I love to connect with people and get to know you and, and see, you know, how I can help you, even if that's free resources or whatever. I'm always open to new connections and I love to give back and I love doing shows like this because it is my way of giving back. Versus the little course. So just gotta say, I, I, yeah, I love that. And I think that there will be, there'll be a lot of listeners who will for whom you will resonate, or with whom you will resonate especially in, in the work that you're doing right now. Thank you. So we're gonna wrap it up. I am so happy that we had the opportunity to chat with Ann today to hear more about how her business is, came to be, her experiences along the way, and what the future of her business is entails. And thank you for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to. The show notes, resources, and links are from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms. If you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review and whatever. Platform you're on to help share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience. Until next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.

Ann CardenProfile Photo

Ann Carden

Strategic Business Consultant for 6-Figure Consultants/Author/Speaker

Hello, I believe Ann Carden would be a great guest for your show. Read her impressive profile and I know you’ll agree!

With more than forty years of business, marketing, sales and management experience, Ann now coaches hundreds of coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs in more than forty different industries. She built and sold 5 successful businesses and knows what it takes to succeed in all areas of business.

Today she has a passion to help others take their success to higher levels.