A business failure is your stepping stone to achieving your dreams. If you’re open to growth opportunities, you know how to turn those failures into fruitful success. Listen to your host Juliet Clark as she talks with Sam Eaton about problem-solving and being business builders. Sam spent many years being haunted by pink wheelbarrows, built an online retail business, and worked her way to the top. With her company MindAbility Consulting, their mission is to empower HR business owners and their teams to realize their business goals using unique growth programs for profitability and life improvement. In this episode, she dives deep into how she wrote 45-Minute Life-Changing Business Breakthroughs and published it to educate people while providing a fun experience. Learn how to implement strategies in your business and watch it grow effectively!
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The Trouble With Pink Wheelbarrows With Sam Eaton
We have one of our author guests. You’re going to see a lot more author guests because this is the time of year in publishing where we have a lot of people who want to be out by Christmas. You’re going to be inundated with author interviews. That’s okay because we always want to know the inspirational reasons that people wrote their books. Before we get started, remember to go over to BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com and grab your free subscription. There are no costs. There are lots of tips, tricks, author interviews and expert interviews. We have a great cast of contributors that you’ll find a lot of value from, and it’s free.
In October 2022, we have our ten-day challenge. We’re going to be doing that on LinkedIn this time, which means that you have no opt-in. How exciting is that? You get to come along and play. We don’t get to inundate you with emails unless you want that. You can participate in that by going over and subscribing to our newsletter. That’s at BreakthroughAuthorNewsletter.com. We are excited about the lineup because we have an article every day to help you build your author platform, as well as a video. I’m done doing my five tips for a great launch video. There’s a lot there, ten days worth.
Our guest is Sam Eaton. She is the global business coach for the HR professional with many years of experience in building successful consultancies internationally. With her company, MindAbility Consulting, she serves clients across the UK, US, Canada and South Africa. It’s her mission to empower HR business owners and their teams to realize their business goals using mind abilities and unique growth programs to become much more profitable and improve their family lives. Welcome, Sam.
It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.
Sam is the author of the upcoming book, The Trouble With Pink Wheelbarrows. That is a very odd title. Why that?
It came out of my biggest failure. Having run five businesses, I’ve also been part of teams of a growing consultancy. At one stage in my life, I thought I could make a huge success of an online retail business. I love shopping and gardening. What could possibly go wrong? How wrong was I? In our first year before Christmas, I had the opportunity to buy a ton of pink wheelbarrows and sell them. I thought I was doing an incredible job.
No one else was buying them, none of our competitors. I knew that I’d hit paydirt here. Absolutely not. You try packaging up from a distribution and logistics perspective wheelbarrows and sending them out. It’s not profitable from a time or anything else perspective. That’s where the name of the book comes from. I know a lot of people I’ve spoken to have said it intrigued them. I’m looking forward to this.
Sam talks about how she had committed to gift wrapping them. If you’ve ever bought a bicycle for a child or something with wheels, at least they have those pre-packaged things you can put those in. What a nightmare. I bought big gifts and had to piece the sheet around them and then try to match them up because I’m OCD. I tried to put the tape so it matched like I was selling. I can’t even imagine with the wheelbarrow and the heaviness of it. It’s big, bulky and heavy. Did you not think that through?Standing still is never good for a business owner to do. Click To Tweet
The honest answer is no, I did not. I did everything on the spreadsheet. We did the finances. We did everything else. The human element, me, because it was a new business, packaging it up, I didn’t give that enough thought. I’m such a can-do person. It’s like, “I can’t do that yet.” I went in with my normal mantra, “I can’t do this yet. I can’t be the first one. I haven’t set a precedent here.” I’m sure it’s bigger companies, not the startups. I know it is now you did that kind of thing. It may be different these days, but it is an absolute nightmare.
The whole premise of the book is most people take a failure and they say, “It’s a failure,” but it’s not. Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s something we do every single day. I remember a conversation I was having with my children and their friends were there. My child was whining about something that they had failed at. I’m like, “Life is tough. Get used to it. You’re going to fail every single day of your life.” One of her friends was sitting there like, “Your mom is mean. My parents would never say that to me,” but it’s true. As an entrepreneur, I fail at something every single day. It’s how you handle it.
I say to a lot of my clients, “It’s about being comfortable being uncomfortable.” The second you get comfortable, particularly running your own business, it’s the time you need to evaluate and reflect on why that is. Yes, you’ve grown, you’re happy with the business and it was successful. Standing still, in my opinion, is never good for a business owner to do. I wanted to capitalize on, “If you like my mistake, it was a mistake. I don’t see it as a failure, but in some ways, it was. Put something together that was based on not only my experience but the experience of others.”
You’ll find as you go through the book interviews there that are from other business leaders and successful entrepreneurs from all sorts of walks of life and businesses. For me, that was important because that’s the whole thing around that diversity of thought and the whole piece around unconscious bias. My voice alone wouldn’t be enough for a would-be entrepreneur to pick this up and learn from. I want them to walk away with it and feel they’ve got a friend in the book that they can constantly refer to.
As business owners, we’re problem solvers. Not only the idea that we put out there. I’m not quite sure what problem you were solving with the pink wheelbarrow, but it’s cute. We’re problem solvers every day. When something goes wrong, the first thing I go into is, “How can I fix this, so it’s a win-win for everybody?” I could fix things, but am I going to alienate them in the process? You’re an HR professional. Talk about that because HR professionals have to walk this line too in their problem-solving.
I’m not an HR professional, but what you’ve demonstrated there is a lot of people think I am, first and foremost, a business builder because this is my fifth business. When I first entered the world of HR consultancy years ago, I entered as a shareholder of a previous business. What I brought to that was my commercial expertise, my ability to be able to sell so I could help grow the business, but I also understood the world of business.
From there, I learned HR. In fact, I had a voracious appetite for it. I could see that HR, when so well, is much more than just a perfunctory course or an employee handbook. In fact, we’re moving much towards a society where a lot of that is going to be done by AI and computers and that sort of thing. I wanted to form a business that would help HR consultants because I saw that a lot of them were going to come out of the corporate world and set up their own businesses they’d spent.
In many instances, many years dealing with someone else’s business and big budget, budgets that have got like telephone numbers. All of a sudden, there’s no one around the water cooler to talk to. There’s no one who’s going to fix their books or fix their computer when it’s broken and, “Now I’ve got to sell. I don’t want you to sell me. How do I do that? Is that price right?”If you’ve done planning so well, you’ll get clarity of thought. Click To Tweet
Right from the get-go when they’re launching their businesses through to more established businesses that I’ve worked with, who’ve been around in some instances for 10 to 15-plus years, who’ve got different challenges in their business. My role as a coach is to put the mirror up and help them solve that problem and decipher it.
What I’ve ended up doing in a lot of instances we built our programs around the fact is we’ve now realized we’re a hybrid between a coach, and mentor, helping them with their business and standing with them shoulder to shoulder. We know we’ve created something unique. We’ve gone out to the marketplace. We know what our competitors are doing, and we’re able to help them overcome their issues and challenges and get them to the next stage. We are part of the solution. We are not necessarily the solution itself.
A very long time ago, in one of my first jobs out of college, I was the CFO for a company and we had an HR director. We were both pregnant at the same time. The plan from the president of the company, “Juliet, we’ll cover for you when you’re out and you will cover for her.” We both came back to the table and I have no tolerance for the things that go on in HR with the, “Sam did this to me and I’m offended.” I was like, “Get over yourself and get out of my office.” I had no skillset to handle the things that these people handle on a daily basis. It was wild. I don’t know why that came up. By thinking about HR, I feel for these people.
When you look at what they’ve been through the pandemic, overnight, some of them were moving masses to work from home. In some instances, there are 10,000 people in the workforce. There are computers, security, insurances, and there are all sorts of other things that none of us even thought about that they had to consider and then contend with their own change overnight.
That’s continued and what’s come out is it resulted in what we have seen in the pandemic is more change in the advances of HR technology like we’ve never seen before. There’s a lot of fear in the sector that some of this may take over their roles, which we fundamentally disagree with. We think it’s going to enhance their roles and help them to be the strategic pillars of organizations, and definitely, they’re the heart and future of work moving forward.
How did it feel from a writing standpoint? Sam was incredible. She came to me in January 2022 and said, “I’m going to write this book. I’m going to pay for the publishing package. Who do I go to develop the book with?” She did it. I kept hearing from the book developer like, “She shows up. She’s sending me chapters. She’s motivated,” which is not normally how this is done.
How did it feel for you being a first-time author, to work with our developer, dive in and share this failure story? For most people, that’s the piece that we have to drag out of them. We’re like, “You’re not perfect. You have to tell people why this applies and your own deep story about it.” How did that feel for you? Did you feel like you were reliving it? Were you anxious? Tell us what was going on there.
I wasn’t anxious. I was more about the outcome. The role of this business is to serve. I very much saw the book as part of this. There was a huge vulnerability that needed to show up in order for it to be authentic. At some point, I could bluff my way through this or I could just tell you how it is. I enjoyed it. One of the things I fundamentally learned as a first-time author and someone who’s a parallel thinker, I’m all action and all over the place. I have to stay present with what I’m doing and that courtesy, my bad, isn’t my natural go-to. I have to work on that. Those are the areas I had to work on. The planning, certainly your team and our book coach helped me with that planning stage.You need to show up authentically. Otherwise, you’re not going to get the results that you want. Click To Tweet
For me, the hardest bit was going from the planning to almost diving in. I felt like I was the swimmer on top of a huge cliff that I had never dived into before that. I knew that I had to be careful going down and going in order to get this right. Halfway down, it started to become easier. I found off the first few chapters, I put time aside, I’d got the clarity of thought because we’d done the planning so well, and then it accelerated. I got to the point I was finding from Friday night through to Monday morning, I was writing. More and more chapters were going out. That’s the piece I struggled with. I’d come to terms with the fact that I needed to show up authentically. Otherwise, what was the point?
I was like, “Where’s Sam’s book?” Chris is like, “She keeps writing chapters. I have to stop her.” You’re one of those people with a Type A personality. When you’re in, you are all in.
It was enjoyable. I had such a connection with Chris. I’ve been talking to a couple of my clients about writing their books. Where they’re instantly falling down is they’re sitting at their computer to try and write a book. I can’t emphasize it enough for anyone who’s reading and thinking about it. Get a book coach, get that accountability, have someone to talk to, and get an expert. If you’re looking at your finances, you get an accountant. If you’re looking at building your people strategy, you get an HR person. If you’re looking at different areas of your business, you bring an expert in. Why wouldn’t you bring a book coach in?
Those are the most successful books. You’re in our hybrid program. We don’t take people unless they’ve worked with a book coach because we want the most extraordinary well-written book in any place we go. Are you excited about promoting?
I’m excited about promoting and also, I’ve got to admit, a little bit nervous. It’s new ground, new territory for me. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes, what happens and how it’s received.
We already have the graphics done. Sam is good at connecting, so she’s got her partners in place to do this. One of the things that we’re going to be talking about a lot in the ten-day challenge is what are the next steps. Where are you leading people to? We’ve talked several times about we don’t get a lot of ROI from that actual publishing. Where are you leading people to that you feel is a good monetization point?
We are using the launch and the publication of the book to help emphasize our knowledge and mission, which we retrieve through education, experience and humor. We will be using that. Around the same time as the books were published, we got a number of keynote speaking opportunities. We’re launching other workshops for all our marketing teams, our paid search teams and our LinkedIn teams. Everyone is poised and knows exactly what’s happening and when. We can prioritize and expand on this.
We very much see the book as the launch pad for future work and future thought leadership. We’re still a fledgling business. We’ve come far with what we’ve done so far. The book is very much part of our strategy to grow our base and followers and to add value continuously. The feedback we have got, particularly from those who have endorsed it, is it is not a boring read. That’s something that means a lot to me.Authors want to publish books that are enjoyable and fun while people are also learning. Click To Tweet
When we look at all our bookshelves and I look at mine, there are some of the books that I read, I think, “I know I’ve got to get through it.” I didn’t want that mindset or thought with this book. I want it something to be enjoyable and fun, yet people still be able to look at different things that they can learn and get from it. That’s where we are going with it. We want to use it as a launch pad. We want to use it to help thought leadership. We want people to enjoy it.
You have a great sense of humor. I can imagine from what I’ve read already that this will be. You can buy the book at PinkWheelbarrows.com if you want to go over and grab your copy. Talk about your speaking events. What are you doing at the speaking events? How many do you have? Are they online or in-person?
We’re starting to promote some of them. I’m excited to be doing an empowerment summit. We’re going to a lot more of the HR events both in terms of attendees and helping out on panels. We’re looking forward now to more keynotes throughout 2023. As part of that, we will be talking about the book, offering giveaways and that kind of thing with it. It’s all part of giving that value in helping the HR community, particularly those coming out of corporate, build their commercial career and help them enjoy it.
I didn’t enjoy my time in HR. It felt like a sentence. It’s coming out on September 27, 2022. It is PinkWheelbarrows.com. Where can we find you if people want to connect with you?
Either through the website, which is MindAbilityBusinessCoaching.com. The team’s email address is Info@MindAbility Consulting.org. I’m quite easy to find on LinkedIn. I’m happy to share that with you if they want to connect and got any questions. I’m always open to that. It is @SamanthaEaton1450.
Thank you so much for being on.
Thank you for having me.
- Info@MindAbility Consulting.org
- @SamanthaEaton1450 – LinkedIn
About Sam Eaton
Sam Eaton is a Global Business Coach for the HR Profession with over 25 years of experience in building successful consultancies internationally. With her company MindAbility Consulting, she serves clients across the UK, USA, Canada, and South Africa. It’s her mission to empower HR business owners and their teams to realize their business goals using MindAbility’s unique growth programmes so that they become much more profitable and with that improve their family lives.
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