Women are on epic missions to achieve big things. We are on a paradigm shift where women-owned businesses are growing based on the way women grow best, veering away from the male-dominated set up it has been for a long time. Helping many female-led businesses maximize their impact on the world, today’s guest, Meghann Conter, graces the show to talk about her empowering networking community. She is the founder of the nationwide group called The Dames, an international membership-based community of women who own or lead rapidly growing six and seven-figure organizations. Meghann shares with us her mission and how women need as much personal growth as professional in order to succeed in business and life.
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The Dames: Empowering Women-Led Businesses With Meghann Conter
I have another relationship-based person, who has an organization out of Denver that is going national and it’s all based on relationships. I’m excited to have Meghann Conter. She has never been one to accept the status quo. Her perspectives on marketing will banish the dread you feel when you think about promoting yourself and your business. Over the course of her action-packed career, she’s helped hundreds of female-led businesses maximize their impact in the world. She founded a nationwide group called The Dames in 2015, which I am a member of, with the dream of making the million-dollar revenue mark a reality for more mission-driven women. With everything she does, she shared her belief that work, marketing, and everything in between can be both fun and profitable. I’m excited to welcome Meghann Conter.
Thank you, Juliet. I’m excited to be here with you and spend some quality time together.
Thank you. Tell us a little bit about The Dames and why you created The Dames.
When I had the vision for The Dames, it was just a local organization here in Denver, and I was part of a business mastermind and feeling this need to be able to connect with women who are at and above my level. Everywhere I looked and lurked around me in Denver, there were many communities that were nonspecific. There were a lot of communities where I would go in and I would have to sift through lots of people to find the other women who are experiencing similar challenges and similar celebrations to me at the stage of business I was in, which was early six figures and growing.
I kept asking questions about various networking groups and people that I would meet. I found the answer that, there are a few women, when they reached a certain level of success, would go out and network or build community in the same kinds of communities that they used to. I further examined and said, “If you have gone into the networking witness protection program, what would it take to get you out of there?” What I heard resounding over and over again was, “It would need to be a good event to get me out. I would need to want to be there and see tangible reasons why I should be there.”
I asked further questions and said, “If we had this, this, or this, what would get you there?” With all of that information plus my internal values and my internal GPS that I had done so many years of work to uncover, I realized what the community was lacking was fun, humor, inspiration, and a place where they knew that they would be in a room with the people who are at and above their level. Denver Dames was started back in 2015 and we’ve always had humor-forward speakers, comedians, or improv troops at all of our events and that will be the way it is forever. We’ve always had the Dames of Influence Award, which is presented to a woman who runs a seven-figure business.Women are on epic missions to achieve big things. Click To Tweet
One of the biggest things that we’re working to achieve in my life and at The Dames is to get more women-owned businesses to the $1 million mark and beyond so that we can create sustainable employment. Women are on epic missions to achieve big things, and it’s a shame, oftentimes, that we don’t get close to achieving those missions. That is because of a lack of resources, oftentimes. The more money we have, the more revenue we have, the more resources we have, the closer we can get to achieving those epic missions. That is what The Dames was founded on and that’s what it exists in. As we got proof of concept and started growing rapidly here in Denver, we realized that this problem doesn’t just exist here in Denver, it exists everywhere.
That’s when I rebranded to The Dames and I started creating the online membership programs so that we could connect women virtually all over the place. We’re building an international organization now since we have members in Australia. I see this mission and vision expanding to a worldwide network so that we can connect with each other. As you’ve experienced, to connect one another to the learning, the resources, the community, and the growth that we all need to continue to become even more successful and achieve our dreams.
A lot of you know this, Meghann probably doesn’t, I have a new book coming out called Pitch Slapped. It is exactly for this reason, going to network groups and feeling exhausted when you walk away because it’s all about those other people and telling you what they do. I love this because to sell high-ticket items, you need to build relationships. Not just throw a pitch at someone and go, “Do you want it?” That’s what I love about this organization.
I’m going to an event in Scottsdale, and what I’m excited about is a couple of the Dames are going to be there. I haven’t been to Denver yet because you conflict with another group I’m at all the time. I’m excited about it because I get to meet some of those ladies that are going to be there. Your group has training and it’s not standard for networking groups that are online the way yours are. Do you want to share a bit about happy hour and all the training?
Women, when you know exactly who you’re serving, in the case of The Dames, we are an organization for women who run 6 and 7-figure businesses and women who are in director, VP and C-Suite positions at large corporations and nonprofits. We are solving these similar problems that exist both in the world of the entrepreneur and of the corporate woman. What I’m finding as I grow this organization is that we are in the middle of a giant paradigm shift. We are going to this place where women-owned businesses will be able to grow based on the way women grow best. As opposed to what it currently is and what it has been for a long time that we’re growing in, typically, male-dominated industries using male models. Male models for growth, male models for the fact that that’s the way it’s been.
There’s nothing right or wrong, good or bad about that. It’s just we’re on the precipice of a huge change as it relates to business growth. With that said, looking at the tenants of what it looks like for a woman to grow a business, what I’ve realized and studied is that women need to have personal growth at the forefront, as much as professional growth. At The Dames, part of the learning that we do is personal growth topics are as important, if not more so than professional.
We have a good mixture of those two things. We call them our next-level skills training and those are facilitated by experts all around the world who have expertise in areas that our members have told us they want help in. Whether that’s something that is niche-specific like improving your sales processes, how to publish a book, how to create a podcast, or how to use meditation to destress yourself and to get out of overwhelm or understanding your personality type and how that drives you as a business owner, these personal and professional growth topics are crucial to helping us get to the next level in our businesses and in our lives.
We then have our virtual happy hours, and those are so much fun. It’s connecting our members all around the world with the ability to talk about who they are and what they do, but what are the kinds of resources that they’re looking for at this stage of the game? Whether they need connections to power partners who can help fuel their business, or they’re looking for an outsource fractional CFO for their company, or they’re looking to hire up, whatever the case may be. We want to advocate that our members make connections for each other. As well as what we do at The Dames, which is making strategic connections for our members. Learning about the goals that you, Juliet, have as a business owner and the kinds of power partners that fuel your business. We want to make sure that we’re making those strategic connections on a regular basis.
We’re also empowering a community of women to do the same thing. To look past their local boundaries to say, “There is a whole big world out there and I wonder what I could learn from a woman in Australia who does marketing and branding in a different way. I wonder what I have to learn from that person, or who I could refer to that person or so on and so forth.” Last but not least, we have our million-dollar power hours. Those are our events that allow women who are running seven-figure businesses to share with us the keys to success, personally and professionally, that they have experienced in getting to and running an ongoing million-dollar business. There’s a lot for us to learn from all those different aspects that we put together.Women need to have personal growth at the forefront, just as much as professional growth. Click To Tweet
There’s so much to learn. I’m hoping she introduces me to any of the Australians. I’m hoping to walk away with her cool accent.
It would be a different accent because she’s British living in Australia and has been living in Australia for a long time. There’s a good mixture there. She’s also part Dutch and speaks French, a good mix and match.
What brought you to this point that you said, “I can’t do this anymore with the way men grow?” I broke through the glass ceiling back in the ‘80s in a male-dominated world. I picked up some bad habits doing that as well, such as playing golf, let’s go have a beer. What do women do that’s different, that’s more intuitive with that?
The one word that is the key there is intuitive. We’re still trying to figure that out. By no means is there one blanket way of doing it because each woman is different. Some of the things that when people ask me, “Why all women?” I was raised by a strong female, who has been working for her whole life in a philanthropic way to help women get ahead. I hadn’t previously looked at it as, the way men do it or the way women do it until I started getting in and seeing, “There is need for a shift here.”
It doesn’t mean that we have to go to the full opposite side of the spectrum, but we can start looking deeper at the psychology of how women do things and at the practices of women. What are the best ways? What I can tell you is, women have to have self-care at the forefront. Men have the ability to warrior through things, and that’s not how women are physically, physiologically or psychologically built. We like to look at it as we are built like men and so we should be able to warrior through things, but that’s not the case.Looking at our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health more so than business health will translate into a healthier business. Click To Tweet
If we can, as women, make sure that we’re looking at our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health more so than our business health, it will translate into a healthier business. We as women can’t separate the two. It’s by nature of being mothers and wives or being anything, any role that we have to be in our lives, we have to have a blend of all of those things. We have to make sure that we are not ignoring one part of the other. There are a lot of competing priorities that we are managing. We get to figure it out together.
That warrioring through is one of those things being in a male-dominated world. It works when you’re young because you’ve got enough hours in the day, but as you get older, it does start to take a toll on you. You have to learn how to relanguage a lot of things and retool how you’re doing it, otherwise, you’re just burnt out.
Thank God, younger generations are figuring it out earlier and they’re saying, “No, I’m not going to work myself to the bone, work my fingers to the bone.” They’re realizing that that doesn’t do us any good. Even though they can work that hard and go to that distance, Millennials and Gen Z are doing it in a smarter way. They’re exploring the world. They’re saying, “No, I want work-life blend. I don’t want to bust my ass until I’m 60 years old. That’s not the way that I want to live my life.” That’s pretty cool. We need to learn from their book.
My son is 24 years old and I offered to help him start his own business. I was surprised when he said, “No, you made it look hard.” I thought I made it look easy, but him growing up, I’ve had my own business since 2000. Apparently, I didn’t make it look easy enough for him to want to do it. I would love to see him start his own business, but that’s part of that balance where they’re looking at it saying, “Does the reward meet the needs of what I want to do?” It’s very interesting. Even though your group is a fairly low cost, you still had to build a platform and relationships to get people in for different reasons. To me, because my stuff is a high ticket but for you, it’s because you’ve got so much competition out there. Tell us a little bit about how you did that because there are women’s empowerment groups springing up all over the place, but they’re not springing up like yours.
I still do have a high-ticket business as well, and my marketing business, I’ve seen both sides. On both sides, what I can tell you is, what is crucial is identifying that niche that you serve. That opens the door to literally everything. We had an incredible million-dollar power hour with two women who are in a very niche area. The company is called Clergy Advantage. They provide CPA and financial services for clergy and ministers. If there’s more of a niche than that, I don’t know one.
The key is they have been able to get to a point where they have a systematic business that can go on without that CEO. That CEO has been able to systematize that business and get the right people in the right place, on the right seats of the bus to move forward. Taking a page from that area of expertise is once you understand who you are serving in your business, then that differentiator is established. You get to start saying, “Now that I know this target audience so well, I’m going to get to know their needs, wants, and desires better than anybody else, and then I’m going to serve them and solve those problems.” That’s what I’ve done in both my marketing and The Dames.
First of all, it’s the same target audience, but I know the needs, wants and desires of 6 and 7-figure women. As I grow and learn and as my team and everyone starts pulling together, we grow and learn the needs, wants and desires of the women in the corporate, we begin to be able to create the solutions in the form of our products and services. We begin to be able to package those in the right way, and price and position them in the right way. These are all the basic fundamentals of marketing, but once we’re able to do that and put that in effect, we can create amazing results for our target audience because we know them so intimately and we’re there, we exist for them.
I exist for myself. The Dames exists for me. The Dames exists for women who are like me and who are struggling with similar areas and issues, and are desiring to find other like-minded women to talk with, to grow with, and to learn with. That’s why it’s easier and more enjoyable because it’s solving problems. That’s one of the basic principles, identifying that target audience and then figuring out, “What is the competition doing?” Most of them are not serving the target audience. They are solving the problems of the market at large. Right then and there I can say, “We’re not here to solve everyone’s problems. We’re here to solve this group of people’s problems.”
Building the network from the beginning, you ask, “How did I do that?” I started reaching out to people and I would say, “Who do you know that fits this description? Will you introduce me to them?” I would talk to them, I’d hear from them and I’d understand what problems are they facing in their business and what are the celebrations that they have. I would turn right around and say, “This is exactly who we are and this is how we solve the problems that you’re facing. If that’s for you, great. If not, here are some other organizations that might be a good fit for you.” “If you’re not at this stage of business yet, here are three organizations that I recommend that you join so that while you’re growing in these earlier stages of business, you have the support, education and the tools that you need because I don’t want to solve everybody’s problems. That’s not what I’m here for.”
That is such a great point because the niching down is what’s important. First of all, it’s hard to market to everyone. It’s expensive. It’s generalized. You have to agitate whatever problems are going on for people, and you can’t agitate the world at large. That does make a lot of sense. Going to networking groups in general, you’re going to meet a lot of people, but are you going to be able to do business with any of them? Probably not.
When you come to a Dames’ event and in-person event, what you’ll witness is that icky feeling that normally gets felt at networking events isn’t there. People are there to look for power partners. They’re there to look for strategic partners in their business growth because they’re not at a level where they’re desperate for business. They’re at a level where they want deep connection and they want resources, tools and people that can help them get where they’re headed at the next step. They’re not there to stab people with their business cards and try to make the next deal.It is crucial in business to identify the niche that you serve. That opens the door to literally everything. Click To Tweet
It makes the whole energy of the network itself different, whether it’s online or offline, in-person or whatever. The energy is different. I teach all day long this concept of once you understand your target audience. The natural next step is understanding who else serves those people in a different way than you or in the same way but with a different focus area. Those are the people you need to be talking to on a daily basis because they’re the ones who are going to be the natural connectors to your target audience. You get to start serving them. You get to say, “How can I make your life better? How can I connect you to the things that you need, the clients that you need?” Serve first, not sell first. It creates a whole different energy to the community itself. It’s a high vibrating energy, and that’s what I’m creating. A high vibrating energy community of people who want to be there, don’t need to be there.
I always want to be the dumbest person in the room. A lot of times when I attend the online events, I feel like, “Why didn’t I know that?” There’s a lot to be learned, like the clergywomen. I was shocked that it’s a thing. Apparently, a good thing.
Here’s how you create a company culture. It’s like, “It makes so much sense, but I never would have had that perspective had I not met these women and had I not had these women who are running a multimillion-dollar organization with 35 people on their payroll.” I’m like, “That’s amazing.” That was another reason back in 2015 that I created The Dames the way I did because I was tired of being the smartest person in the room. A lot of women that I was building community with were tired of that too.
By the way, Meghann is a great connector. It’s one of the things I liked about her because I like connecting people as well. I saw that right off the bat. If people want to find out more and connect with you, where do they get ahold of you? What do they look at?
Go to www.TheDames.co and there you’ll find a couple of fun things that you can get involved in. One is our free gift, which is called How to be Queen of Your Jungle Without Becoming a Total She-Beast!. Imagine the anti-Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada, how to become the queen of your jungle without becoming that woman. Oftentimes, women think, “If I get to that point where I’m running a big business, I’m going to be a total jerk.”That’s not the case. There’s that free gift that can get you in and get you to know about the personality of The Dames.
Of course, we have local chapters in two states. We’re opening our third state in February, and then our fourth state in March or April. We’re going all over the nation with in-person chapters. You can apply to join The Dames from anywhere in the world at this point if you meet the criteria, both from a revenue standpoint, as well as a mindset and a cultural standpoint because we’re here to be givers and to learn, to give and grow with one another, not just take. That’s the kind of person and personality, and if you have a good sense of humor, that certainly doesn’t hurt. As women who are high-performing, we’re in serious environments a lot, there’s a tendency for a lot of stress and overwhelm. The Dames provide a good amount of comic-relief, hence the humor-forward events and the inspiration that comes from that.
You’re in Denver and Orange County, California. Where are you guys opening up later in-person?
In Madison, Wisconsin, and then soon followed by, hopefully, this is not for sure set in stone, putting it out there to the universe that this goes through easily, Chicago, Atlanta and Phoenix. We’re growing steadily, quickly and excitingly, but in a quality way because we have extraordinary chapter presidents who are bringing The Dames to these local markets. If that sounds like something exciting to you, you might want to reach out to me.
We need one in Salt Lake, but I’m not going to be it.
If you find somebody else in Salt Lake, there you go.
Meghann, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it and we’ll talk soon.
- The Dames
- Clergy Advantage
- How to be Queen of your Jungle Without Becoming a Total She-Beast!
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